Lorena Canals Rug: The Machine Washable Wonder

When I first heard about a rug that could be machine wahed at home I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical. I thought to myself, “Oh sure, it can go in the machine, but I’ll bet it comes out fluffy, pulled, and faded”. But, then one showed up at my door from Lorena Canals, and I got to try it for myself…game changer!

Soft & safe!

I believe the secret to life with twins is places to set them. You need rockers, bouncers, swings, walkers, chairs, and playpens. Places that you can strap them into or safely lay them to play unattended while you tend to the other or tend to the house. We have blankets and rugs EVERYWHERE! I like being able to get up in the morning, lay the boys on a blanket to roll around and play, and have a few minutes to myself to make breakfast and get my coffee. Before this wonder-rug, I was getting up, strapping them into a swing and laying down blanket after blanket after blanket to provide cushion on the hardwood before unstrapping them and laying them on the floor. The Lorena Canals rug; however, is super soft! It stays in place (no rug mat needed) and it’s fluffy enough for them to roll around on without bonking their heads.

Lorena Canals Dark Grey Ombre

Lorena Canals Dark Grey Ombre

Lightweight!

The twins also LOVE to play in their walkers and scoot around all over the hardwood. The rug is lightweight enough that I can put them in their walkers and one-handed (while holding a 20lb baby boy) fold it up, scoot it out of the way, or even kick it out of the way so they can run around. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but have you ever had a rug that was super heavy you couldn’t move it without a helper, or two? Have you ever had a rug that was so flimsy all your guests tripped over it? Or, what about the rug that needs a rubber mat underneath it to stay in place, which makes it difficult to move? Trust. Having a play area rug that’s easily moved when you have twin babies is a huge deal.

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Not Min-Numbingly Colorful

I gag when I walk into someone’s home and 80% of it looks like a high-end designer showroom, but the other 20% looks like Barney vomited. The mismatched patterns of the children’s toys, the cartoon characters, the cheesy animals, and the primary colors on all the gear…blaech! That’s not for me and it’s not good for babies either. It’s overstimulating, unpredictable, chaotic, and frankly it’s not modern. My home is greys, whites, beige, and classic black and white stripes. Therefore, I opted for an ombre grey rug and it’s beautiful. It takes the place of a coffee table so we don’t have to worry about bumped, scraped heads as much and it’d not distracting from the overall ambiance of my home.

Washes so easily!

We use the rug for storytime, playtime, feeding time, and I even change their diapers on it from time to time. After about a week of being scared I’d ruin it if I washed it I finally decided to bite the bullet and just go for it.

Step 1: Put it in the washer.

Step 2: Put it in the dryer.

Need me to repeat that? It’s that easy. A gentle, cold cycle and a low tumble dry and it was stain free and pull-free! It looks the same, if not better, than it did when we first got it. I will likely be purchasing several more of these rugs…one for every room of the house!

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Get your machine washable Lorena Canals Rug HERE

Stay gold, 

Chelsea Vail

Swaddledesigns

Not all swaddle blankets are created equal. I repeat- not all swaddle blankets are created equal. You may THINK all you need is a square blanket to wrap your baby up tightly and recreate that bomb-diggity womb experience; however, there’s a bit more “That Girl” requires to meet the swaddle blanket standards.

1. Stretch

When I teach new parents how to swaddle their baby I often hear, “Our baby doesn’t like to be swaddled”, to which I want to reply, “Then you’re not doing it right”. I’ve never met a baby that didn’t like to be swaddled. Fat babies, tiny babies, preemies, hell, even drug babies like to be swaddled….IF it’s done correctly which requires STRETCH in the fabric. If you’re swaddling with a blanket, but can’t stretch it to fit snug, your baby will likely be annoyed because you haven’t yet hit the “trigger” point to calm.

2. Breathability

I’m from the camp of “moms” that will only put a baby to sleep at night in a Woombie or a breathable swaddle blanket because, blankets come loose. Your Woombie will stay snug and in place all night, but blanket swaddles shake loose and can work their way UP and OVER the face. Ahhh!!! SIDS Alert! You must choose a swaddle blanket that is breathable such as a muslin blanket and not one made with flame retardants or other hazardous chemicals. Babies can NOT (and should not) breathe in harsh fragrances from detergents either…such as Dreft, my arch nemesis.

3. Size

You want a blanket that is large enough to get a real nice swaddle, but also one that can be multi-purposed. For example, Swaddledesigns Marquisette swaddle blankets double as nursing covers, tummy time mats, and carrier covers to protect baby from sun, wind, and bright lights.

4. Adorable-ness

Babies should be swaddled often for the fourth trimester (0-3months old) so you want your swaddle blanket to be cute! I’m not a big fan of Disney characters, cartoons, or bright neone colors. I prefer the chic, modern, stylish designs like the medallions, mod circles, chevrons or paisley prints from Swaddlesdesigns.

Check out the Swaddledesigns Marquisette Swaddle Blankets and Swaddle sacks by Woombie at ShopWholeHeart.com

The Best Baby Gift Ideas

Whether you are a new mom, attending a friends baby shower, or a proud auntie wanting to spoil your new niece or nephew, you’ll want to get them something special, but also practical and useful. Here is what I have found to be the best gifts for a new baby, and for making transition for mom and dad easy too!

1. OBALL RATTLE. This is a great first toy for baby as they learn to grasp objects. It’s soft and easy to hold with it’s unique design. Some even have a rattle in them which is fun for baby to shake!
Oball

2. ONESIES. Whether you are in warm or cold seasons, onesies are great for going under sleepers and you can’t get enough of them. It’s basically all they live in for a couple months. We love the organic onesies by Under the Nile, available at ShopWholeHeart.com

3. SLEEPERS. Okay, I think it’s a little ridiculous to get newborns 3 piece outfits- you have to change them every feeding, the clothes are awkward and hard to get on when they are so little and honestly it does not seem very comfortable for baby. Let them be cozy in their favorite sleepers. Zipper ones are the best for easy middle of the night diaper changes! If you insist on getting that adorable outfit, get in a size that at least 3 months or larger. Also, sleeper gowns or rompers are great for middle of the night diaper changes.
Sleepers:Rompers-ShopWholeHeart.com

4. BURP CLOTHS. Babies spit up, drool and poop. Whatever the scenario, mom can never have enough of these. You can even get crafty and make them as a gift by adding cute ribbon to them! We love the shape of the Aden & Anais burp cloths that go over the shoulder.

5. BATH SET. Make a cute gift basket with towels, washcloths and baby shampoo/body wash. I recommend the Mustella Brand, Honest Company, Bathtime Baby, or Original Sprout as they are very sensitive to the skin and have natural/organic ingredients. Here’s a trio gift set by Bathtime Kids.

6. TRAVEL DIAPER STATION. This is a lifesaver when you are on the go and need to change baby in the car, in a dressing room or at a restaurant. As a new mom, I never leave home without one of these! Skip-Hop is fabulous and if you can spring for a PateMM Pad, DO IT!
Skip Hop Diaper Changing Station

7. DIAPERS, DIAPERS AND MORE DIAPERS. Diapers are expensive and any moms out there know that you go through a box pretty quick. It was so nice to have a stock pile before baby came. The last thing any mom wants to do is realize you are on your last diaper and have to run to the store in the middle of the night to get more! If your friend is using cloth diapers, find out which brand and get her some accessories (wet bags, diaper pails, detergent) OR, go in with friends and purchase a full set! I also recommend getting sensitive wipes or using washcloths, and finding a good diaper cream. A&D ointment, Honest Co. Diaper Cream, Beaudreaux Butt Paste, or Napinol Nursery Therapies all work pretty well!

8. BABY SWADDLES. Swaddling your baby is recommended by most doctors for the first few months. It helps babies feel secure, recreates the feeling of the womb, and helps them sleep better. We love the Woombie swaddle sack because it is the ONLY swaddle sack with a vented front, peanut shape, and double zipper.

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9. BABY STROLLER BLANKET. Nordstrom and Pottery Barn kids have GREAT blankets to give as gifts. The Little Giraffe Chenille Blanket is a baby favorite, and is sold at several stores. Here are a few by Swaddledesigns, too.

10. SOUND MACHINE. White noise helps babies sleep since the sound is similar to being in the womb. It also helps keep out other outside noises that may prevent baby from falling asleep easy. The Baby Shusher is the ONLY white noise machine on the market with a human voice doing the shushing.

Baby-Shusher

11. BREASTFEEDING PILLOW. Whether moms breastfeed or not, having a sturdy pillow to nurse or prop baby on is essential. Unlike regular pillows, these are made for nursing and for babies to lounge on. A Boppy or a MyBrestfriend is a must have for mom!

12. BABY PLAY GYM. This is great for tummy time, motor play, and visual development.
Baby Play Gym

13. DIAPER BAG. What a gift it is to get the diaper bag of your dreams! This is pretty much mom’s new purse for the next year or so. We love Skip-Hop, Lily Jade and Mudpie.

14. BABY SWING. These are helpful for when mom or dad needs a shower, to cook up a quick meal or for when baby naps during the day. Baby’s generally LOVE the swing and sometimes it helps them sleep a little longer in those first few weeks. The 4Moms Mamaroo is fabulous!

15. A MEAL. When baby arrives this could be one of the greatest gifts for mom and dad!

What are your favorite baby gifts to give or receive?

Sisters By Heart, Not By Blood

There’s a line in To Kill a Mockingbird; “You can choose your friends, but you sho’ can’t choose your family.” For me, this line tells the story of why I am the person I am today and it is because of God’s plan that I have been blessed with both.

Without them even knowing it, I became my parents “miracle baby”. Being a difficult pregnancy for my mom was the start of my stubbornness. Three months into my mother carrying me, she began dilating, had her cervix stitched closed and was placed on bed rest until the 8th month. My parents wanted multiple children, the picture perfect family, but unbeknown to them; they would never get pregnant again.

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Growing up, I also wanted the dream my parents envisioned. I always wanted an older brother. My parents, shot down that dream and told me it wasn’t possible! Darn! Even so, I wanted siblings. Being an only child wasn’t always easy and didn’t give me the advantage of making friends easily. I didn’t have many friends who lived closed by, and I was certainly never good at playing by myself!

I never would have imagined that many of my 7th grade cheerleading teammates would become people I now call sisters. Growing up as an only child, it is easy to fit into the “stereotypical” mold that only children are selfish, spoiled, and not maternal. It was for that reason, that up until about a year and a half ago, I was confident in my decision that I didn’t want my own children.  I didn’t have the experience that most get with having younger siblings. The lack of experience, and being the perfectionist that I am, feeling that I wasn’t maternal enough to be good at it, created a desire to not pursue that path. I was perfectly happy with my school “kids” and my fur babies!

Having friends that you can pour your heart out to, share your deepest insecurities with, and have them be your unbiased sounding board is a gift I will forever be grateful for.  I’m less selfish and I’m less stubborn because they never sugar coat whether I’m being unreasonable and unrealistic and in a lot of ways they know me better than I know myself.  They hold me accountable to loving myself, to being a better person, and their unwavering love and support reminds me every day that they are more than friends, they are sisters.

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Each of them are unique, all strong minded, and together we are a family. As we have grown from teenagers to adults, our differences have allowed us to grow closer together, to learn from each other, and I am blessed for that rarity.

One of the biggest things I am grateful for is them challenging me on my decision to not have children, questioning if that would be something I would regret looking back, and sharing with me all the reasons it was worth it.  Seeing my best friends go through the experience of carrying and raising their children, and having them embrace me as their Aunt, opened my view to a different sense of purpose…the concept of loving someone more than I love myself.

It was this love that allowed me the ability to open my heart more than I ever thought I could and embrace my husband’s children. It certainly wasn’t easy at first, and I continue to grow and learn everyday as a step-mom, but I’m better for it… for this has shown me that I am maternal and I am deserving of being a mom.

It’s funny how God’s plan is better than the one you have for yourself and how it comes full circle.  My parents are now grandparents, embracing a large family, I’m a mother to an amazing son and two bonus kids, and most importantly, I have what I always wanted…sisters!

Do you have lifelong friends that are more like brothers/sisters?

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Mommy Pigg

You really just have to roll with it when you fall madly in love with a man whose last name is Pigg. Ten years of marriage later, hubby and the kiddos (which I refer to as ‘my people’) get a real kick out of calling me Mommy Pigg. So here I am in all my Mommy Pigg glory.

How did I get here? You know that girl with whole heart? We were freshman year college roommates! Oh girl, how did we get here? I am crazy honored that she asked me to blog for you all!

The journey: After college I got married, became a school counselor, and had three sweet boys. My life journey thus far has included many seasons; joy, sorrow, relief, longing, calmness, and wild. We walked alongside my sister-in-law through a 20 month battle with cancer that ended with her joyously meeting our Lord. We lost a baby to miscarriage but had three healthy boys. We made two major moves and started over with friendships, churches, and jobs. I talk a lot about seasons and believe that they are a huge part of our lives.

two little Piggs

The here and now: So in this season every day looks just about the same; I stay at home with my three boys, ages 5, 2, and 6 months! I work hard to take care of my family, feed them well (hear me saying ‘feed them enough’ because they are human garbage disposals), honor God, and spread joy around me. The boys take an incredible amount of brain power (and some days there just isn’t enough) but I long to raise men of character.

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My passions: Let me just say that I am passionate about my husband; this man is so wonderful! He and I began a mission in January to simplify our life and create space to enjoy it while serving others. I love to be active, be on the go, and take my people with me! We are trying to figure out how to be better versions of ourselves both individually and as a couple. As much as I hate to admit it, I am a little behind the times on the clean and organic movements. So we can walk the journey together as I become a healthier and more thoughtful consumer.

Moving forward: Yes! Let’s walk this life journey together through the crazy seasons and celebrate the highs, stick together in the lows, and laugh through it all! For me, laughter is key. Why, you ask?

Because my people call me Mommy Pigg.

Steph

10 Products New Moms Don’t Even Know They Need

If you’re one of those “with it” chicks who does all her research and knows just what she needs, and wants, for every life transition, this post may not apply to you; however, I’ve compiled a list of must haves most moms don’t even know they need for the other 95%. 

Most, if not all, of these products are available at ShopWholeHeart.com via the links in the post or page on this blog. Toot, toot! (#ShamelessPlug)

New moms have a habit (that must be broken) of getting pregnant, rushing to big name baby store, and registering for everything they’ve seen at friend’s houses figuring it must be the best. I’m here to say, “Stop it!” Alot of these products are low quality, high toxin, and poorly constructed. But don’t worry, I gotcha covered.

1. Keekaroo Diaper Changing Pad

Keekaroo Peanut

Ever changed a kid’s diaper on a regular diaper changing pad or table? It’s a great way to get your eye gauged, drop a kid on their head, or paint the walls a, ahem…baby poop green. Well, the Keekaroo company has designed a peanut shaped pad that prevents the gymnastics your wee one will inevitably do during a diaper change. Plus, it’s not made from the highly toxic polyurethane, vinyl, plastic, or foam that mainstream pads are made of. It’s 100% nontoxic, ecofriendly materials, AND it’s puncture proof, water resistant, and stain resistant. Plus, it comes in a plethora, if you will, of colors. Check it out!

2. Baby Shusher

Dr. Harvey Karp, famed pediatrician and author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, includes shushing loudly as one of his “5 S’s for Calming” fussy babies. The Baby Shusher is the ONLY white noise machine on the market with a human voice doing the shushing. What will they think of next?!

3. Lalabu Soothe Shirt

Many parents nowadays have learned that babywearing is not only convenient (hands free rocks my world), but it’s also best for baby. Better trunk control, physiological development, language development, sleep, etc. yada yada yada…but, many carriers aren’t safe for a newborn. Either they’re only front facing which is overstimulating, or they’re rear facing, but have the face squished against mom and the hips splayed out (hip dysplasia, anyone? Bueller?) Well, there’s always wraps for newborns, but alot of moms are overwhelmed by wraps. The Lalabu Soothe Shirt is actually a shirt, with a pouch like a kangaroo that you just place “Roo” in and snuggle. Plus, it doubles as a nursing tank. I can hear you sighing in relief.

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4. Woombie

Halle-freakin-lujah for the Woombie, y’all! I’ve been told I’m pretty kick ass at swaddling babies (shout out to Julie Nietzel, another baby whisperer, for her fine training), but I’m not a fan of swaddling once babies get their super human strength around day 3 and can houdini out of things. I love the peanut shaped Woombie because it allows baby to be swaddled snuggly WITHOUT wrapping, baby can be hands down or hands-to-heart for comfort, Plus, the legs are free to roam which again protects them from hip dysplasia. Bonus: It’s got a double zipper for easy late night diaper changes. wahoo!

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5. 5 Phases Bottles

I hate…no, I LOATHE, plastic bottles! You don’t heat your food up in plastic tupperware, right? Why not? Because you know that plastics contain BPAs which are endocrine system disruptors and have been linked to cancer. So, why would you use a plastic bottle for baby’s milk? Glass is the ONLY sure fire way to protect baby from BPAs because even the “BPA free bottles” are made with a cousin of BPA that hasn’t been tested for safety logitudinally yet. 5 Phases are glass, ecofriendly, come in 4oz or 8oz, have vented silicone nipples and a silicone sleeve for added protection.

5Phases

6. Knock Nanny

This lil device slides right over your doorbell and has a heap full of decals you can use to let noisy neighbors or the UPS man know that mama bear will kick some ass if they ring the doorbell during naptime. We love it!

7. Shrinkx Belly Wrap

Shrinkx Belly Wrap should be in your travel bag for the hospital so you can wrap your belly after birth and encourage your uterus to retake shape, hold ab muscles in for comfort, and encourage healthy posture while nursing. Plus, there’s the added benefit of getting your pre-baby body back, but we heart moms who don’t make that a number one priority.

8. Softskin Stretch Mark Prevention System

This system includes the Soft Skin Signature Oil (all natural, paraben free, organic) and a soft tank and boy short made from a material that keeps the oil on your skin without making clothes sticky or rubbing the oil away.

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9. Humidifier

We have a whole section on humidifiers and air purifiers because babies breathe through their noses primarily until 6 months. If their nose is stuffed, they can’t breathe. Yikes! Keep their noses wet with a cool mist humidifier in the nursery.

10. EzPz Less Mess Happy Mat

This mat is great once baby starts eating solids. The mat is made from nontoxic, food grade silicone so food won’t stick to it which makes for easy clean up. Nonstick, dishwasher safe, microwave safe, oven safe, AND, the coolest part? It sticks to the table’s surface and will NOT budge unless an adult lifts the corners. Get it here.

EzPz Fun Mat, Shop Whole Heart

If you’re a veteran mom, what would you add to this list? Create a registery on ShopWholeHeart.com for 10% off and FREE shipping.

EzPz Fun Mat, ShopWholeHeart.com