Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pooches in the Ballpark 2017

Today marked year FOUR of being invited to Purina's Pooches in the Ballpark at the Cardinals game!  (check out the past Pooches posts - 20162015, and 2014 if you're so interested!)

This year we had a busy day planned, so I just took Patrick and Scoots and Mike and the girls went to Danny’s graduation dinner...which we were sad to miss, but couldn’t pass up our yearly Pooches in the Ballpark trip!


Patrick was SO EXCITED to go to the game -- especially with his GoPro and taking Scooter too.  He was giddy with excitement all week once I told him he’d be the one going and it was so cute seeing him beaming when we pulled up to park and walk to the stadium.

I should add that Patrick was AMAZING our entire time there -- he listened to everything I said, never whined, and was just a great kid to bring to the game!  I think he liked having the solo one-on-one time too, which Mike and I are trying to do more of with each of the kids (like next weekend he gets to go to Paw Patrol live!).  Anyways, he was a gem and it totally makes me want to take him again soon!


We parked at the Crime Lab and had to walk a few blocks to the stadium, and both Patrick and Scoots had their GoPros on and it was so cute hearing everyone oooooh and ahhhhh at them with their matching techie attire.






Once we picked up our tickets and got checked in, we had to wait a bit until the gates opened for us to do the parade around the field.  Patrick was so good waiting and just chatted it up with the people around us telling them all about his dog Scooter and how much he loves him.



Once we got inside we had to line up for 15 minutes or so before the parade started.  Patrick, again, was so good with all of the waiting!  I snapped a few pics and such and then we got to head out around the field!  This was Patrick’s favorite part (and mine too!).  Patrick got to walk Scoots around the field and it was probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.














We always have to kinda hustle around the field because they don’t like you stopping, so I didn’t get great pics but I think we got some decent ones :)








Scooter got some great snaps on his GoPro though!  I should have had it set to take pics every 3 or 5 seconds instead of 10, but oh well, still some fun snaps!












After the parade we headed to our seats and I snapped a few pics of the boys at our seats (and a selfie of all of us!) before we decided to go get some dinner...which Scooter enjoyed a hotdog (or two!) as well too.



Patrick woofed down 2 hot dogs, nachos, and a few cookies!  He also drank 2 whole glasses of pink lemonade as well!  Scooter then passed out and laid on the ground...I think he was way tired.

In the second inning Patrick said he had to go potty so we grabbed everything and headed to the bathroom.  After he went he said he was tired and asked if we could go home, which I was okay with since we’d been there at 3.5+ hours thus far andddddd the radar looked like rain!  So we bid the stadium adieu and headed out!  Patrick was kind of dragging as we walked to our car -- dude was tired!  He fell asleep almost instantly once we got in the car, and then after a quick bath it took him maybe 3 minutes to fall asleep in his bed!  The girls and Mike got home right around when we did and they had a blast at Danny’s graduation dinner so it was fun to catch up with them too for a bit before I whipped up this post for you (you’re welcome) and am now heading to bed cause I.am.tired.

All in all it was another wonderful day at the Cardinals game for Pooches in the Ballpark!  A big thanks to our buddies at Purina for sending us again -- Scooter LOVES it so much as do we!  One of the highlights of our year!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mamas of Milk Monsters Must Haves

I write a lot of posts here and there about my favorite 'must haves' for mamas and kids.  However, I do talk a TON about breastfeeding and pumping too, and you know what?!  I sat down and realized there are a TON of things I keep recommending to people in regards to pumping and breastfeeding...so I figured what a better way to keep track of all of these things than a handy dandy little blog post alllll about my recommendations and must haves for mamas of milk monsters.  I feel like I'm a seasoned pumper and breastfeeder, having had 3 kids in less than 4 years and all of them being very hungry milk monsters, so!  Lucky you, here's a fun little blog post with all of my favorite (and oodles of pictures and links too!) breastfeeding and pumping items!


SPECTRA S2 BREASTPUMP



Before having Annie, my go-to pump was a Medela Pump in Style Advanced.  It did its job and I never had any complaints about it.  However, when I was pregnant with Annie everyone was RAVING about the Spectra S2 so I decided to cash in my free insurance pump for one of those and I have NOT been disappointed!  It.is.awesome.  You can read my full review here but the gist is this is the gentlest yet most powerful pump I've ever tried and for the price tag (less than $125 on Amazon) you cannot go wrong!  I love how you can control the speed and suction intensity -- you can'd do that on many other pumps.  You can get bigger bottles (like 9oz) on Amazon too.


SIMPLE WISHES HANDS FREE PUMPING BRA



Thanks to Scooter for helping me out with an appropriate pic for this product :) But if you're a pumping mama you NEED a hands free pumping bra.  This is a game changer -- you don't have to hold your flanges to your boobs -- this does it for you!  I've tried a few different brands and this one by Simple Wishes is HANDS DOWN the best out there.  It's about $35 on Amazon, comes in a few colors, comes in 2 sizes (but each size is SUPER adjustable) and is machine washable!  I have 3 of them and I even bring them to the hospital after birth to use when I'm first pumping.


MY PUMPIE


I wrote an entire here about this already, but this little bag is AWESOME to use to wash your pump (or bottle) parts!  It comes in 2 different sizes and a few different colors and does a great job of keeping ALL of your parts together (even those teeny tiny pesky little membranes!) AND getting them clean!  It's portable too so if you need to take it with you on vacation or anywhere to clean your parts on the go it's super compact (and wayyyy easier to pack than those big bulky hard plastic ones) and easy to take!  You can get one here.


PORTABLE DRYING RACK



If you have to pump anywhere but your house, this portable drying rack from OXO Tot is a MUST.  It's a steal at $15 on Amazon and is my must-have for pumping at work.  I have this on my pump desk and after I've cleaned my parts I just let them dry there until I need them at another session or the next day.  It folds up to the size of a pencil case and fits in my travel pump bag!  The brush breaks down and fits in as well and also has a smaller cleaning brush inside the bigger one.  I love this a ton and it's great to not have to dry my parts on a paper towel (or anything else I can find!).


PORTABLE FRIDGE


I am in 2 places during the day at work: in my office and in my classroom.  They are not close to each other...and at the end of the day my classroom which is closest to the parking lot is where I leave from (usually in a hurry cause I have to pick up Patrick from school) and I don't have time to run back to my office.  However, my milk needs to stay cold, and this nifty little portable fridge is my answer!  It's less than $30 on Amazon and can fit 4 bottles of milk in it.  It plugs into a normal outlet and I keep this under my desk in my classroom and it keeps my milk cold until it's time for me to go home (and without me having to run back to my office to get my milk out of my big fridge).  Plus, this works great for any workspaces that have shared fridge space -- now you don't have to share because you have your own!


NURSING TANK



I literally wear these nursing tank tops 24/7.  They are comfortable, supportive, and so easy to one-handed unsnap and nurse from!  I wear them under all of my outfits so if I need to pump or nurse I'm not completely topless or having my belly hang out.  I have tried a lot of nursing tanks and there's some really good ones out there but this one from Target ("Women's Nursing Cotton Cami - Gilligan & O'Malley") is hands-down my fave.  They're $20 a piece but WELL worth it in my opinion.


BOOBIE BUTTER


Post baby, your nips get used and abused A LOT.  Lanolin is your bestie in this regard, but not all of them are created equal.  Some are super thick, some stain clothes, and some smell funny.  This Best Boobie Butter by CJ's Butter is MY FAVORITE.  No smell, doesn't stain, isn't thick, and is super soothing to your tender nips.  It's about $10 for a 2oz container on Amazon and I've already gone through 2 of these in 3.5 months cause I like to keep putting it on to make sure my nips are nice and happy and don't get cracked or sore.


ON THE GO WIPES


These are great to keep in your pump bag for quick cleaning of parts when you don't have access to a sink (hint: like if you have to pump on an airplane these come in super handy).  They are about $5 on Amazon and get the job done quickly so you aren't having to carry around dirty parts with milk on them.  And as much as I'd like to say baby wipes do this same job, they really don't -- they are meant just for pump parts and do actually work better than baby wipes (which I've tried :).


UP & UP STORAGE BAGS


I have used A LOT of storage bags over the years, and pretty much all of them get the job done, but my current favorite are these Up & Up (Target) brand storage bags.  They are about $10 for a box of 100 and work great -- I've never had a leak with them at all!  I like how the label that you write on is facing outwards and it actually has a spot for the amount (some of the other brands don't!  crazy!).  They freeze well flat and thaw well -- they say don't fill more than 6oz in them but I've filled them with up to 8oz no problem.

BOPPY NURSING PILLOW


I may be the minority here, but I really like the traditional Boppy nursing pillow.  It's $35 on Amazon and I really like it that it's very pillowy and comfortable!  I tried the Ergo nursing pillow and I didn't really like it and how firm it was -- I much prefer the traditional Boppy pillow to anything else I've tried!  These are great to nurse with AND as a lounger for baby to lean on or lay on as well.  My mom made these donut and Cardinals covers for me, but there are gajillion Etsy shops that make custom ones too that you can find a print or pattern you'd like.


STORAGE SACS


These storage sacs (mini-zip (unicorns) and size 1 (flamingos)) from Applecheeks are my favorite.  The mini-zip is about $10 and the size 1 is $15 and they are made of waterproof PUL material so anything you put inside them that is wet keeps that wetness inside and doesn't leak!  These are great to put your pump parts in, extra tubing, storage bags, etc...  I have several of these with various pumping materials inside my larger pump bag and it's great that everything is nice and contained within these sacs and not strewn about in my big bag.  (Hint: these come in a variety of colors and designs AND are great for putting wet swim suits in too.)


NURSING PADS


These are THE BEST nursing pads out there.  HANDS DOWN.  They are made with buttery soft bamboo material and then PUL (waterproof material!!) backed on the other side.  So the bamboo is soft against your boobies and the PUL prevents any leaks through the bamboo getting onto your bra or clothes!  Seriously, THE BEST out there.  So comfy and NEVER a leak through them!  They are about $22 for a 6 pack but well worth it.  They're machine washable (and dry-able) and hold up for many MANY uses.


SPINNING DRYING RACK


For $10 on Amazon, this thing is AWESOME.  I was just using a drying pad (see pic!) before and I kept knocking over all of my bottles and parts because they were balancing on their tops.  Welp, not anymore!  This spinning drying rack is great because it has so many spots for each of my bottles/parts and takes up less space than my pad did!  Plus more air flow through the parts drying so they dry faster.


ADAPTERS


These are a must if you're a pumper: car adapter and battery pack adapter for your pump!  I use a Spectra pump but these are Medela brand adapters and they work too (because everything uses an AC adapter!).  GET THEM.  They'll save your life, like if you have to pump in the car on a 18 hour road trip home from Florida or if your power is out at your house.  They're both less than $15 on Amazon and most definitely something you want to have!

Runners' Up:

  • Manual pump/manual pump adapter - in case your battery pack craps out too and you really need to relieve yourself! I have this one for my Medela pump
  • Milkies Milk Saver - for those early days when you're really leaking a lot when nursing to catch the excess that's coming out of your boob when feeding off of the opposite one
  • Milkies Milk Trays - freeze your milk in 1oz sticks that are easy to thaw and pop in bottles. I have this and I've only used it a couple of times; great idea just a hassle to freeze and then bag the frozen ounce sticks
  • Flange Adatper for Spectra - connect your Medela pump parts to the Spectra S1/S2 breastpump using these adapters
  • Thirty-One Zip-Top Tote bag - this is what I use as my pump bag -- it holds all of my pump parts, pump, portable drying rack, towels, extra bottles, cleaning wipes, and so much more!
  • Milk Snob nursing cover - this is pretty cool cause it doubles as a carseat canopy!  I don't ever use a nursing cover cause they're hot and annoying to mess with, but I do have one with me that primarily gets used as a carseat canopy (or a blanket!) -- and if I needed to use one to nurse, this one is a great one to have cause it's multi-use!


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So!  There it is folks -- my recommendations and must haves for any mamas of milk monsters that are breastfeeding and/or pumping!  Obviously these are all of my own personal recommendations and I didn't get any compensation for promoting them (although gosh that would have been nice, or a least a freebie! haha!) so it's my honest insight as to what my favorite breastfeeding and pumping products are.  If you use any of these let me know how you like them and if my recommendation is spot on or way off :)
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