Love, Sleep, Play– even more with Pampers

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsorship with BabyCenter. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review.

When you have your third child, you think you are ready for anything. (Or it might just be that you expect the unexpected). After having first a boy, then a girl, I figured I knew what to expect with my youngest son.

Of course, this little bundle of mine has challenged that thinking at every turn. Mischievous only begins to describe his personality. Busy is another key descriptor.  He started rolling over almost immediately, crawling early, and then, just as we thought he would walk…

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He didn’t. He took his good old time, though we now suspect he was practicing when we weren’t looking. Once he took off, we realized why he was waiting– he wanted to wait until he could run. We’ve been chasing after him ever since!

In between climbing on everything he finds, running as fast as he can, and stealing his older sibling toys, it’s so important that we keep everyone- and everything!- dry. We tried the brand new Pampers Cruisers, which provide superior protection. New Pampers go beyond ordinary diapers to help babies get the most out of love, sleep and play– and driving their siblings crazy!

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One of my favorite features of the new Pampers Cruisers is how long Brady stays dry. After not sleeping for the first year-15 months of his life, he now sleeps through the night- and we were worried about major leakage-which did not come about! However, I was still concerned about play. While certain diapers can keep them dry at night, it’s another story while they’re at play.

But Pampers realizes that fit matters! New Cruisers offer the best fitting diaper for baby which means better daytime DRYNESS protection. With a 20% increase in absorbency, so baby can PLAY longer without being interrupted for a diaper change. This means more times down the slide or on the swing for baby, more fun crawling and running around the park … those moments that we’ll always treasure and that just matter most.

Pampers are available in so many places- but to make it easier, buy right now on www.pampers.com. Don’t miss them on Facebook or on Twitter, where you can get all the latest news right away.

Giveaway fun!

Are you ready to keep your baby dry longer for more playtime fun?

3 Winners will receive: One month’s supply of diapers and wipes!!

Please enter by telling me a play moment you love with baby in the comments below! Note that this is open to US Residents 18+ only. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery after giveaway has ended. 

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Perking up with Healthy Essentials

Disclosure: This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

This has got to be the longest winter that I can possibly remember- and I’m sitting down here in Texas. Snow, ice, cold temperatures… what is the point of surviving 120 degree summers if we’re going to have to deal with winter too?

I know, I know, all of you northern and east coast folks are shaking your heads at me. I get it- I grew up in the Northeast, spent a year in Alaska and another in Utah, and y’all have it a lot worse than me. But right now, I am over this crazy season.

The worst part about dealing with this weather is the side effects- the sickies, the dry skin, etc. It’s hard to be motivated to look your best for Valentine’s Day when you’re feeling anything but your best!

Luckily, Rembrandt makes it easy to spruce up your smile without ever having to leave your (warm) home. REMBRANDT® DEEPLY WHITE® + Peroxide Fresh Mint Toothpaste removes surface stains and deeply penetrates to visibly whiten teeth inside and out, all while restoring enamel. In fact, it uses the same enamel-safe whitening ingredient that dentists use. (And psst… Get a printable coupon for $3 off any two REMBRANDT® Whitening Paste or Rinse products at HealthyEssentials.com!”). So while I may not be willing to head on out to the dentist for a whitening treatment in subzero (okay, 40 degree) temperatures, I can certainly dazzle up my smile at home!

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Whatever you’re looking to spruce up – like beautiful, conditioned and volumized lashes to flutter at your Valentine using NEUTROGENA® Healthy Volume® Mascara or kissable lips, thanks to NEUTROGENA® MoistureSmooth Color Sticks, which instantly moisturize lips while continuously conditioning them, check out HealthyEssentials.com so that you can save money while doing it!

Use HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® Products to Help You Prepare for Valentine’s Day and Get Significant Savings, Too!

HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® is offering amazing printable coupons, tips & tools and so much more for all the products you and your family love. You can get significant savings by visiting the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS website in February and signing up for extra-sweet HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® coupons and offers. As you prepare for a special Valentine’s Day, these HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® products and tips can help you be healthy and happy for the ones you love.

#Moms4JNJConsumer Twitter Party for Healthy Essentials

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

I love when a box shows up at my door. I love it even more when it’s full of essential items my family needs so I don’t have to make the 500th trip to the store this week because I forgot the mouthwash! And that’s what Johnson & Johnson is all about- focusing on the Healthy Essentials your family needs.
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Get Significant Savings from Healthy Essentials this Month

To help families usher in a healthy New Year, HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® is offering amazing printable coupons, tips & tools and so much more. Here’s the deal: you can save over $45 by visiting www.HealthyEssentials.com in January and signing up for extra-special HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® coupons and offers.

Now is the perfect time for a fresh start to your healthcare routine and to create healthy resolutions. From pain & allergy relief to dietary & digestive health to products for kids & babies, there are significant savings on items for every member of the family! Visit www.HealthyEssentials.com to sign up!

Ring in the New Year with Healthy Essentials at the #Moms4JNJConsumer Twitter PartyI’m so excited to join Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies for a Twitter party to talk about HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® for the New Year, resolutions, family wellness and how to score great deals on health and hygiene products! Learn how HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® can help you reach health-related goals for 2014.When: Tuesday, January 14, 1 p.m. ETHashtag: #Moms4JNJConsumer (plus #ad or #sponsored for co-hosts)Prizes: We will randomly award 15 prizes throughout the party, from all eligible correct responses to trivia questions. Each prize includes an assortment of Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® products with an estimated retail value of $50.

Prize Eligibility: No purchase necessary. Entrants must be legal residents of the 50 United States + D.C. 18 years of age or older. Void where prohibited.

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann, @TheMotherhood25

Soccer Fans! 

Want to go to 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™? Visit HealthyEssentials.com and see if your wish could come true. Plus, get tips and coupons to save on your favorite products for the New Year.

All you have to do is share a picture or story of a moment of caring in your life and you could scream “GOAL!” from Brazil.

Visit www.healthyessentials.com for more information on this amazing opportunity!

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Being present in the new year

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2014. I realize that we’re now a week in, but I finally feel like I’m present in the new year. I realize that might sound a little crazy- or maybe not with so many of you battling horrible storms. But between gearing up for my husband to travel long-term again and getting the kids back to school and work, it has been a tornado of activity and emotions. But now, I’m ready. I’m ready to tackle this year, to take it on. So what if the calendar says I’m behind a few days?

As I approach this year, I’ve been thinking about what word to use. Everyone has their word, they’re so sure and ready to go. I seem to have the opposite reaction- each word I consider, I find myself dismissing.

Control. I am a big fan of goals, lists, and getting things accomplished. I like to check things off and move on to the next thing. This is a great attribute- some of the time. But, of course, not everything in life is quite so cut and dry, and this year, I’m working on accepting that- no, embracing that. While I will never be someone who can “go with the flow” (let’s be honest), I do want to focus on not worrying quite so much about what I can’t control.

Then there is the word balance. It seems that whenever I am determined to achieve a balance, something happens to swing it one way or the other. And you know what? I’m learning that that’s okay. I don’t have to be in perfect balance all of the time, as long as I make sure to keep my priorities in order. For me, as long as my husband and children are getting what they need from me, I don’t have to be the perfect wife and mother- I just have to do my best. As work and sports practice and errands and toddler shenanigans abound, my life certainly gets crazy and out of balance- but it’s certainly full, and that’s what I need to embrace.

The list goes on. Organize, Accomplish, Better, Fabulous, Improve. There are so many words out there that I want to take on, so many words I want to embody, so many words I want to be. But even as I sat down to write this post, the baby woke up minutes after the sitter left. An email popped up in my inbox the second time I tried to finish it, and then it was time for a work call before rushing to pick up my son from school. The third time, this time, the dog had to go out as soon as I settled in even though it was the crack of dawn. I just shake my head and have to laugh.

Life happens. As it should. And this year, instead of saying I need to this more and make that better and stop doing this and if I check all of these boxes off my list, I’ve got it all right… I’m not. I’m going to give my full attention to each and everything that needs it when it needs it, and I’m going to kick ass at it. And then I’ll move on to the next thing, and the thing after that and the thing after that, all amidst my own version of chaos. As I write these words, I realize maybe I knew something when I started this post. Perhaps I do know my word for this year after all.

This year, I’m going to be present. 

Holiday Traditions {Old School Blogging}

I have loved the excellent Old School Blogging from The Miss Elaine-ous Life. This month, she puts on a Holiday version with the ever fabulous Kir of The Kir Corner (and so many other places too). It’s the perfect way to get into the spirit of the season!

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First things first: 1 Holy Night or 8 Crazy Ones? (Do you Celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, both?)

I grew up Catholic (as did my husband) so we’re Christmas here. My sister’s husband celebrates Hanukkah, so we’re learning a little bit there!

Peppermint or Chocolate?

 Chocolate. Or Peppermint. But my weird quirk? Never together.

Sing us into the Holiday Season, what is your favorite Carol this time of year?

My favorite classics are Walking in a Winter Wonderland and I’ll be Home for Christmas. However, I listen to any and all Christmas music.

Tell us about a Favorite Family or Personal Holiday Tradition.

My father’s family is German, so we always had/have a pickle ornament and see who finds it first! The prizes have ranged from sweet to silly over the years.

C’mon you remember your favorite  (Christmas, Hanukkah) gift, tell us all about it:

When I was young, I had lost my favorite Cabbage Patch doll (and we all know what a big deal that was!). I wasn’t a huge doll fan, but this one was special. Anyway, when I came down on Christmas Morning, she was miraculously found and sitting on a chair in front of the Christmas tree! I knew it was her from the nail polish mark on the back of her head (I don’t remember the story behind that mark…). It of course didn’t occur to me that it was made to look that way and it was a real Christmas miracle to me at the time :) That might be one of my first memories, period.

That magical moment? (Your favorite scene from a Holiday movie…it’s okay if you have 2)

I love all Christmas movies, from classic staples to new sappy ones. I don’t think you can beat It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street. And you have to have both each and every  year.

Kissing under the mistletoe?  Who do you hope is standing underneath (We know it’s normally your spouse, if it did not have to be, who would you choose?)

Hmm… Channing Tatum wouldn’t ruin my holiday. Or Matthew McConaughey.

Swans a swimming, lords a leaping, golden rings; which gift of the 12 days of Christmas would you like most?

Well none of the birds; I’m terrified of birds. This song actually leaves me very few choices. I’m thinking the drummers would give me a headache, the leaping would do me no good, dancing ladies are just a no… I think it has to be the rings!

Play Secret Santa, what inappropriate gift would you love to give this year?

This is a hard question!! I seriously don’t even know…

Martha Stewart or the Grinch? What is your decorating style? (Pictures would be awesome!)

I am not even close to being Martha Stewart but I am definitely not a grinch. I ADORE Christmas, and I usually have my decorations up the weekend after Thanksgiving; however, my husband is in Hawaii until next week so there’s only so much decorating I’ve done so far so we can maintain family traditions. (In other news, they will be up until June).

What is ONE WORD that defines the holiday season for you? (Examples: Believe/Wonder/Bah Humbug?)

Family. It’s always just us for Christmas since we live far away from family wherever we are, so the traditions, the moments, the memories… these are so significant and mean the world to us each and every year.

 If Santa could assure its delivery, what’s the first thing on your holiday wish LIST?

I’d like to freeze time and have it slow down a bit. But, since that’s probably out of Santa’s wheelhouse, I’d take new pots and pans. Or some clothes!


Creative Christmas Gift {un}Wrapping

Disclosure: I was provided this toy as part of the Toys R Us Mom Blogger Campaign. 

My husband and I have an annual tradition of wrapping our kids’ presents on Christmas Eve. Once we (finally) get them tucked in bed, we settle down by the fire in front of the Christmas tree and dig into the gifts we stashed in various places throughout the year.

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While we enjoy our tradition and the time spent together, we seem to forget that this tradition was born out of having just moved and the need to rush through present wrapping so that we’d be done by 3 am the night before Christmas. (But we don’t let little details like this bring us down.) So, as the night wears on, we inevitably get a little creative with our wrapping- either dumping a few unrelated items in one gift bag so they can try to figure out how they go together (this was unintentional, we swear) OR putting some of the items out with just a big bow.

This year, we’re planning ahead with some of our gift-wrapping ideas for once. One of the gifts we know our kids are just going to love is the K’NEX 521 Amazing Value Tub Building Set. While we are a technology-loving family, we also love gifts that encourage our kids imaginations. Loaded with 521 parts for lots of building fun, this set allows them to do just that. There’s so much to create- and, for convenience sake, parts and built models can be stored in the convenient storage tub.

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The detail that will help us with our Christmas wrapping this year, however, is that this K’NEX Value Tub Building Set includes instructions/ideas for 35 unique models, such as dragsters, Ferris wheels, dinosaurs, creatures and more- check out the K’NEX Pinterest Boards for more ideas! One of the instructions is for a plane, which is one of my oldest’s favorite things. So, I’m going to have my husband- Mr. Aerospace- engineer up a plane to put on top of the tub.

Ahh, I just love creative presents- especially when I can put my husband to work :)

This awesome K’NEX 521 Amazing Value Tub Building Set is available exclusively at Toys R Us- shop now, they have a ton of great sales going on!

Disclosure: I received this product as part of the Toys R Us Mom Blogger Promotion with no other compensation. All thoughts, opinions, and fun/crazy Christmas Eve wrapping traditions are my own! Go here for full disclosure policy.

2013 Blogging in Review {Extravaganza}

2013 has been an… interesting year. It’s been a long year. There have been so many challenges and ups and downs (and lefts and rights) that I still spinning trying to sort through it all. While time passes way too quickly, I can’t say that I will entirely mind bringing this year to a close.

But, before we do, it’s a great time to look back over the past year- particularly in blog posts! I love this fun idea from a great group of bloggers, and not just for the awesome giveaways they’re including! At the end of the year and into January, it is a great time to evaluate a blog and consider what I want to do- what changes to make, what to do differently, what to keep the same. Looking back through some of the posts and my year at a glance is a great way to think about just that.

January

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In January, we found out we would need to make a move and I would have to leave my beloved Georgia behind for the Great State of Texas. 

I wrote about the emotions and feelings involved in making yet another move- since we don’t do it nearly often enough (ahem). Read my thoughts in Moving on… Again.

At the same time as preparing for a move, packing, and trying to sell a house- with a 3 month in tow- I also was preparing to be my sister’s matron of honor. This year was busy from the start!

February

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My pretty girl turned 4!

My beautiful daughter turned 4 years old… I could cry just thinking about it. (Even crazier is that she’s about to be 5!) Lily turns 4

While we were awaiting our move, life went on… including Valentine’s day. With my son determined to be creative, I had to attempt some craftiness. This is not news-worthy for most people; however, I’m decidedly not crafty. Check out my Valentines for the Uncrafty post to see how I did!

March

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Our first meal stop view while road-trip moving to Texas.

March (and april) were some busy times. We packed up the house and got ready to head out on a (long) road trip to Texas. But, I did take some time out for some fun Old School Blogging!

How to increase your blog comments

While all bloggers love to share their words, comments are the most exciting currency. Building up readers is an ongoing process and it can take time to create a network with fluent comments. The first question many newer bloggers have (and experienced ones for that matter) is how on earth did they get so many responses?

Unfortunately, there is not a quick and easy method that bypasses good, old-fashioned hard work. However, there are a few things you can do on a regular basis to generate replies (in addition to awesome, enticing content of course).

Ways to increase comments

 

1. Comment, comment, comment. I can not stress enough the importance of visiting other blogs as much as humanly possible and commenting on them. Blogging is so much about connecting and you get what you put out there. Seek out blogs that are similar to your own so that you enjoy the content as well as have the chance to make new connections with other bloggers.

2. Join communities. Communities are amazing resources for bloggers. A great example is the BlogFrog Communities, and the fabulous discussion forums over on SITS. Find relevant communities, whether business planning, blog writing, or any other niche that may fit your goals and become an active member. It’s a great way to find other blogs and increase your own’s visibility.

3. Ask a question at the end of your post. This is one of the most simple and most effective ways to engage your audience is to ask them a question at the end of your post. Did you share tips on how to frugally save and spend for the holidays? Ask readers to leave a tip they have used in the past. Was your article centered on creating a new look for a room in your home? Ask your readers to share their own design inspirations. The idea is to connect and engage.

What ways have you found to increase comments?

(P.S. Notice how I ended with a question? :) )

That first baby connection

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsorship on BabyCenter. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review.

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There is something magical about the time right after you have a baby. With each of my three children, the few days immediately after they were born were always a unique combination of blurry sleeplessness and pure joy from welcoming such a miracle into our lives. After having Brady, I was hyper aware of how signinifcant those first moments would be and tried to ensure I embraced them.

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As soon as I held this gorgeous baby boy, I was amazed once again at how quickly I fell in love. My heart grew even more once my other two came and I got to witness the sibling connection among my three kids for the very first time.

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As we brought him home, our older kids wanted to know what the baby would do and what he would need. As a baby, we explained, he would need lots of love, {hopefully} lots of sleep, and lots of play. The most important thing was being able to balane them all and keep him happy, so we tried various games and ways to comfort him. We very quickly learned that trying to swaddle him in blankets was not a way to keep him happy.

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Luckily, using Pampers Swaddlers provided a much different reaction. Provided to us first in the hospital, (and now available through size 5), the softness and comfort of pampers swaddlers to help keep him protected and happy was crucial- especially in those early days where we desperately all needed sleep. Pampers, the #1 worldwide diaper brand serving 25 million babies in more than 100 countries around the world, is continuing to deliver on its commitment to help keep babies drier and happier. And as a new family of five, we all needed Brady to be drier to keep the rest of us happier.

What was one of your first moments of connection with your little one? If you’re expecting or have a little one in diapers, now is the perfect time to stock up with diapers from pampers.com. Stay tuned to all of their latest updates, like the improvements to all of their 370 skus including graphics, packaging, absorbency, and cleaning on wipes, through the Pampers Facebook page or on Twitter @pampers.

Even better? Pampers is giving away a month’s supply of Swaddlers to 3 lucky winners! Simply enter the raffelcopter below for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is part of a sponsorship on BabyCenter. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review. Giveaway winners allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of coupons for the one month supply of free diapers. Winner will be contacted within 24 hours of ending of the sweepstakes. US Only/13+ up please. Giveaway ends December 5, 2013 at 11:59pm.