Friday, December 28, 2012

Well, friends... this is a post I have been dreaming of making. If you remember back to the Wishlist Wednesday post from months ago... I digitally drooled over the beauty and organizational overload that is the Ju Ju Be Be Prepared, but at a price of $180, I did not foresee ever owning one of these beauties.  

Then I discovered the amazing world of B/S/T and adopted my very own, new to me, excellent condition Be Prepared in Mint Julep.  I. Am. In. Love. 

Everything I dreamed it would be, it is, and so so much more! I have probably watched every single "How I pack my diaper bag" video on youtube, looked up every possible review, and still, I get excited seeing new posts and videos. So here I am, offering you, my lovely readers a look into MY Be Prepared. 

A front view.  For those who are curious... this bag IS pretty huge.  Like, carry-on luggage/over night weekender bag huge. BUT if you're already considering a Be Prepared, you most likely are either: 
  • a mommy who cloth diapers
  • a mommy of multiple children (multiples or older/younger siblings)
  • Like me... just an organization fiend and terrible overpacker :) 
Yes, this bag is large. When I looked at the dimensions, I did not think it would be truly that much larger than my previous bag, the J.J Cole Satchel (love that bag too!). Side by side, however, the BP is definitely taller and a bit deeper too.  

As you can see in the picture, I currently have the messenger strap attached. The bag does come with attached (i.e. cannot detach) tote straps which are nice, but if you pack a lot, it can be a bit awkward to carry on your shoulder. The straps fit nicely into the pockets (one behind the mommy pocket and the other in the back).  I'm very picky about straps though, so you may find them perfect :)   The messenger strap is awesome. It has the memory foam pad to help with load bearing pressure and adjusts easily.  I love the hardware too. Nice and strong and secure! 

In the picture below, you can see the lovely D ring that connects the messenger strap.  One of my biggest pet peeves with bags is that usually, the strap connector has that icky rubber coating, which inevitably cracks and means that ultimately...sometime down the will need a replace the strap.  I do not foresee this happening as Ju Ju Be has the best and strongest hardware I have seen yet.  

One thing I do not love is that the mommy pocket tends to sag (you can kind of see this in the picture below). Keep in mind, however, that mine is an older "generation" and I believe they all come equipped with a snap built in now to keep the mommy pocket attached upright against the main compartment pocket.  It isn't a HUGE deal, but something I have found causes the bag to tip a bit. I will probably try attaching my own snap at some point. 

The Mommy Pocket.: I LOVE LOVE LOVE this pocket. Some of you may remember that my first diaper bag was the J.J. Cole 180 messenger style bag.  I liked this bag, and still use it as LJ's day care bag, but found the organizational pocket flap ineffective for moms as it only had slots. No real pouches or space for my super big Vera Bradley wallet.  As you can see below, Ju Ju Be did it again and has created a pocket that is perfect for moms! There is a mesh zip compartment where I currently keep my makeup.  I like this pocket especially because of its mesh, see through material, allowing easy access when on the go. I currently keep tissues in the next pocket, which I believe is intended to house a cell phone. I keep mine either in the side bottle pocket (see picture above) or in my pocket, so I made it my kleenex holder! I also do not keep sunglasses on me, so right now my sunglass pouch holds a lip gloss that I use frequently and a tide pen. There are more mesh pockets (no zipper, but nice elastic) along the bottom. I have only had this bag for about 3 weeks so I don't have it FULLY packed yet. I probably will ultimately keep store cards or library cards there.  I currently use the photo brag spots for coupons but will eventually put pics of my little man :) 

I also ADORE the key bungee cord.  I just toss my car keys into the pocket, but keep my store card key chain attached for easy access! 

Now onto the interior!

This is the main reason I bought this bag... the amazing gusseted interior that essentially makes every mommy the new Mary Poppins.  It's the clown car of diaper bags. Seriously.  
Below is a picture of my every day carrying.  In case you cannot tell...there is TONS of room left. Like, "could still fit a jacket, thick blanket, and a xylophone inside" tons of room left. The black bag is a Ju Ju Be Be newest obsession. There are seriously hundreds of uses for these and I may have already bought another. Ideally, I want to have about 4! 
This one currently houses LJ's toys so that they are all in one easily accessed spot.  I plan on having another for diapers and wipes, and one eventually for clothes instead of keeping them in the pockets.  Oh  and one for food so we wont have any messes! I'm sure I'll find reasons for more too!

And here it is all unpacked.  Again, I don't even have half of what I could fit in there.  But the contents of daily use are: 
  • Full wipes pack
  • boogie wipes
  • paci/table wipes
  • small wash cloth
  • spoon
  • pair of socks
  • 3 diapers
  • digital camera
  • baggie with snacks
  • formula pack
  • two long sleeved shirts
  • one pair of pants
  • one large burp cloth
  • one bib
  • light blanket (Aden and Anais) 
  • nursing cover
  • dumbo stuffed toy
  • cell phone toy
  • rattle penguin
  • Baby Einstein music toy
  • teether
  • Makeup bag with medications 
  • Not pictured: Tommee Tippee bottle. (the side pockets, which are insulated, hold these wonderfully!)

All packed!

I was all set to "officially" make this post when I decided I would just tell you all a little bit about how wonderfully I packed this bag for the past holiday weekend.  LJ spent his first night away at grandma's house last Friday.  I managed to fit all that I already mentioned, PLUS the following: 
  • a LARGE Costco's Kirkland brand formula can
  • an extra pair of pj's
  • an extra change of clothes
  • the V-Tech kitty toy (not sure what the real name is but it is rather large)
  • A Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Puppy Piano.  
Yes... I fit formula and two LARGE toys in here too. And it zipped. Amazing.

There you have it folks. I hope you found this review helpful and I would love to hear about your Ju Ju Be addiction! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


It's the day after Christmas. I am sitting on our family room couch, Christmas tree glowing, dog at my feet, listening and watching my little boy giggle and squeal while bouncing and playing on Daddy's lap.  For the first time in a long while, the only thing on my mind is: joy. Not the commercialized holiday joy that I will admit to being obsessed over, but pure, unadulterated, raw emotional joy.

Life is not perfect. There are times when I think that winning the lottery would solve all of the world's problems. But you know what? I am truly, utterly blessed.

I have a career. I have a beautiful home, two cars (between my husband and my self), a loving (albeit sometimes OVERLY so) dog, a husband who is my best friend in the entire world, and a beautiful, happy, giggly and healthy baby boy who makes my heart grow larger each and every day that he touches my life.

Screw the lottery.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Calling all android tablet mamas!

So I just got a new Galaxy tab 7 and am looking for baby app suggestions!  My little guy loves to play, so suggest away!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Buyer Beware... My experience with the Baby Bullet

Hello friends,

Today, I am saddened to be writing my first truly negative review. I hate complaining. I hate to make people or companies out to be of poor quality, I really do.  When attending conferences and being asked to evaluate the workshops, I almost NEVER rate to the lowest or poorest level. But being a mama blogger, and a blogger targeting new or soon to be new mamas, I feel it my duty to share my poor experience that I have had while dealing with Baby Bullet.

I received my Baby Bullet as a shower gift. I was beyond thrilled! Being of the semi-crunchy mindset, I was absolutely ecstatic to begin making my baby's food from scratch.  My husband and I anxiously awaited the day we could break out that beautiful shiny new "toy" and prepare our son's first meal.

We chose to start with a simple choice: avocado.  We followed the directions listed in the "cookbook" included in the box to a T. Suddenly, however, we heard groaning and grinding noises. I started smelling smoke. At first we thought that maybe some water had leaked in to the motor. Upon further inspection, however... this is what we found:

The clear-ish plastic ring that is set around the base had come loose, getting caught up in the blade itself.  As Baby Bullet provides replacements of this ring, I can only assume that it is not uncommon for them to break. Furthermore, a white plastic ring from UNDERNEATH the blade had come up and gotten wrapped around the blade as well. 

So much for that!  When I had a free moment last weekend, I tried calling the number listed in the manual. It did not work. I then called the number listed on their customer service section of the webpage and the call kept being disconnected. Finally,  I sent an email to Baby Bullet's customer service page. In my email, I explained what happened, and noted that I had received it as a gift, and did not have a receipt. 

I was pleased to find an emailing waiting in my inbox on Tuesday morning.  Unfortunately, the email was of no help. In my response, I was told that they would be happy to help, but that for the warranty to be covered, I would need to provide barcode information from the motor (which I had) and a copy of my receipt (which I, as I had already informed them, did not possess, as it had been a gift).  I wrote back explaining this and awaited a response.

Fast forward to Wednesday afternoon. I had no response back, so I chose to call again. I tried a dozen times and the call would not go through. Finally, I got through, but was told by a recording that I would receive a call back, as the lines were too busy. Finally, about an hour and a half later, I received a phone call back.  

After explaining my situation, I was ultimately informed that, as I did not have a receipt, they would still honor the warranty "this once", as I was just outside the one year limited warranty for the product. I would have to pay shipping and processing for both the motor and the blade replacements, and any future issues would be at my own expense (even though I had only received the item 8 months ago).  

 When I questioned why I would be outside the warranty, as the product was given to me just this past spring, I was told that without a receipt, they use the manufacture date on the product found from the barcode information on the motor base.  My immediate thought was: What about someone who purchases a model that was manufactured in 2011, but has sat on the shelves? Are they simply out the warranty entirely?

I was flabbergasted.  I told the woman that I would wait and see if I can return it at the store, as I do not wish to be without a warranty should anything further happen, but commented to her that I think it is of very poor customer service to market a product directly to parents of babies, to have it sold and advertised in stores where people would set up baby registries, and then insist on having a purchase receipt in order to receive the warranty of the product.  The woman was very polite, but simply told me that without that receipt there was no way of knowing when the purchase was made.

While I do see Baby Bullet's side in wanting to ensure that they are offering a warranty to recently acquired products, I feel that they are in effect punishing moms and dads who might receive this as a gift, by greatly reducing, or in some cases, eliminating their ability to receive a warranty on their product.  

Ultimately, I have been incredibly disappointed with the product but more so with the company's customer service and will not be purchasing this item (or any others from their company) in the future.  

***Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Baby Bullet, nor was I compensated by any other person or company to write this review.  None of the information provided in this review is falsified or exaggerated.  This review is solely that of my own, personal experience and should only be taken as such. ***   

Mommy---the only person I want to be...

I've been home with my little LJ for the entire week so far. Poor little guy has a nasty bug featuring a super fun congested phlegm-y cough and high fever.  It is truly the saddest thing in the world to me... he looks up during his coughing attack with this look of terror and implores me to help with his little blue eyes. "Mom!" they cry, "help me! What is happening??".  It's so unbelievably sad.

This week has had me realize just how much being a Mama really means to your child.  The love that you receive from your child is the purest and most incredible love there is.  To LJ, (his Daddy and) I am his entire world. I'm the security, the answer to everything that is scary or new.  If something doesn't feel right, Mommy's arms are where he wants to be and are better than any medicine I can offer.  The look in his eyes when I pick him up, rocking him and singing my "Mommy loves you" song---that look of love, trust and thanks... it makes every stress, every other thing that seems important vanish, and the only thing I want to do, the only person I want to Mommy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

This mama's back!

Hello my lovely readers!
First and foremost, I want to apologize for my little "dropping off the face of the Earth" adventure.  Between going back to work, dealing with the new found stress of working mama, my first semester of grad school, my husband and I both coming down with the flu and everything and anything in between.... my blog unfortunately was thrown to the wayside.

But, I am back.  I won't guarantee a post every day, but will strive for at least 2 or 3 a week (every other day).  (Although, I am very determined to try to pop in daily, even for a small "daily recap").

So... what is new with this mama over the past 4 months?

  • My little LJ is now 8 months old. 8 stinkin' months of adorableness and I cannot believe how fast the time has flown.  When I wrote my last entry, he was just learning the art of smiling. Now he smiles, giggles, babbles and is venturing into the butt shaking action of attempted crawling. I am already getting teary eyed thinking of throwing his first birthday party in a mere 4 months! 
  • I'm nearly halfway through the year at my job. It's crazy and I still feel like I just began! Definitely looking forward, however, to a much needed winter break in... 17 days! 
  • I've finally started to tackle my Wednesday Wishlist, and think I have purchased approximately... 3 or 4 of the items thus far. I promise to update with reviews asap! 
What's new with you? Feel free to share interesting thoughts or ideas for blog posts, as well! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday

I honestly am struggling to comprehend that an entire week has passed already.  Absolutely crazy.  I apologize for the lack of posts this week. I've been on an all consuming search for the perfect sewing machine as I am hoping to start adventuring into the crazy world of making my own cloth diapers! Seriously, buying a sewing machine is on par in my book with buying a car. Way too many options, features and makes/models.

But, this has helped me with this week's Wishlist Wednesday! This week's theme... DIY!

1) Babyville Book Cloth Diapers Made Easy ($9.99 from JoAnn Fabrics)

How awesome is this??? This 60 page book comes with patterns for 4 sizes and has a how to on making numerous styles of diapers! I've flipped through this at the store and had to tear myself away! Seeing as I just spent the money on a new machine, this will have to wait a bit, but I absolutely LOVE this book and its photo how to guide! It also tells you what fabrics you will need.

Speaking of which.....

2) Babyville Waterproof Diaper Fabric Dinos and Monsters 3/pkg (also available from JoAnn Fabrics)

Did you just squeal in delight? I know I sure did. Just LOOK at those adorable PUL fabrics! They also have little girl fabrics, as well as an adorable owl pattern, but I just about drooled looking at this.  It's only $14.99 for the 3 pack, which will allow you to make 3 diapers! Yes, you still have to buy the insert material, the inner fabric and all the notions etc, but can't really beat that price or that style!

And now, friends... I am off to play with my new best friend... my Viking Emerald machine!

Do you make your own cloth diapers? Where do you get your fabrics?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday

It's that time again... time for another round of Wishlist Wednesday.

With summer quickly dwindling down to its final days, I decided to make this week a combination of Wishlists for mamas, and teachers.

So without further ado...

1) Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner ($50 from

As you already know, I absolutely L.O.V.E my Erin Condren Life Planner. I have already converted my mother and best friend to the amazing cult of Erin Condren lovers :) I recently discovered their beautiful lesson planners.

I generally just use the the plain lesson books that are offered to us for free each year, and they serve their purpose.  But if money were no object right now, I would be jumping to buy this beautiful planner immediately.  The weekly planner pages are bright and colorful, and as always, Erin includes a bunch of stickers in the back to help organize your school life.  There are also great sections for sub planning, seating charts, and checklists for grades, picture day money or for whatever you choose to use them!  Right now through the month of August, they even have a special going on where you not only get $10 off (making the planner only $40), but a free set of Erin Condren's pens.  While I did not love mine that I purchased with my Life Planner, I would not turn them down if they were FREE! Order yours here.

2) Ju-Ju-Be Be Prepared

I am a diaper bag fiend. I should probably belong to diaper  bag collectors anonymous.  I have a problem, but hey, the first step is admitting it right? Even before my little guy got here, I was obsessed. I had purchased a Mrs. Smith Tempo bag, which I have used on occasion (a beach trip) and like, but felt it was not for every day use. I then got a J.J. Cole System 180 bag at our baby shower. I loved it at first, but as I am an over packer, I had difficulties finding everything easily. My husband used to laugh at me and say I did not need a new bag...until the day came when I needed him to find something and he had to basically empty the darn thing to find it.  That's when I got my J.J. Cole Satchel bag, which is my current bag. I do LOVE it. It has 4 large outside pockets, 2 smaller zipper outside pockets on the front, and 2 side pockets. Plus a large interior with 4 large pockets.  It's also adorable and looks like a giant purse which is great since I no longer carry mine.

Nonetheless, I find myself dream cheating on my bag. As we have recently started to officially cloth diaper, even while out, I find myself longing for a bag that will be roomier, and I am drawn to the tauntingly impressive  looks of the much desired Ju-Ju-Be Be Prepared bag.  The bag features a mommy pocket up front. I did not like the pocket flap on my 180, but I do like the one on the Be Prepared. It has a stretchy chain to hold your keys, separate slots for cell phone and sunglasses, and seems large enough to house my larger Vera Bradley wallet. Plus, it ZIPS rather than magnetically closes.  The interior opens out almost like a brief case with gusseted sides so that nothing falls out. Plus there is a memory foam strap and changing pad... sigh. I feel like I am ogling something out of a magazine when looking at this bag... so attractive!

The bag is EXPENSIVE... average price of $180, so sadly, this is definitely a wishlist item and not a "getting it any time soon" item. But hey, a girl can dream.  You can find them on as well as at stores such as BuyBuyBaby.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My poor baby! ----those dreaded 4 month shots.

Well, this mama is going through a whirlwind of emotions tonight, some of which include: exhausted, sleepy (two completely different things when you're a parent), heartbroken for my baby, frustrated, frazzled and all around loony....mixed in with a little bit of chocolate craving pms.

Why all the emotions? LJ had to have his 4 month shots today.  The appointment went well... he's still a peanut but his weight gain is going strong and he's at about the 25th %. He was all smiles and giggles for the appointment, showing off his super skills of standing (with support) and neck lifting.

Then... she walked in.  The second he felt the cool sensation of the antibacterial wipe, he started crying. Not just crying, but that "turn beat red in the face, screaming with no sound" cry.  I felt so bad. All I could do was kiss his face, tasting his salty tears fall as he got stuck.  The minute it was over, I picked him up and hugged him. The little trooper did great, and stopped crying the second he was in my arms.  I know it is for his own good (I am semi-crunchy, but pro vaccination), but it still hurts to hear my baby in pain.

But why so tired, Mama? Well... unlike the 2 month shots, he is not handling these as well. He has been Mister Fussmiester all afternoon and evening. The injection sites aren't red/swollen or irritated at all, but I can tell that this time around, he got the fussy side effects. Last time was great, he just slept all day...this time, not so much. I've basically been confined do doing things one armed all day. I can't get anything done, but I can't let myself leave him feeling alone and in pain either.

Poor thing... Feel better little man.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday----Belated!

Hi my lovely readers!

I apologize for being bad Mama and not having posted my Wishlist Wednesday this week. We've had lots of doctor appointments this week between the little guy and myself (I recently had gallbladder surgery... one of the perks of motherhood!), so I guess it will have to be Wishlist Friday this week!

Anyways... this week I have some super fun things to add to my wishlist! So let's get started.....

1) Chewbeads (Hudson style) 

Isn't it just adorable???? I saw a blog post on Cotton Babies' blog about new finds for parents, and fell in LOVE. I adore the color. I adore the funky-ness of this piece. I adore the price ($36.50). To make this even MORE amazing, Chewbeads were specifically created for mamas with babies who are in that oh so fun chewy, mouthy, handsy phase.  The beads are 100% silicone, just like many pacis and nipples. They're free of harmful ickies such as BPA and are totally safe for babies to do as they please.  Plus, my favorite feature----the breakaway clasp. No need to worry about little Hercules snapping that necklace and breaking it for good! Jewelry for me + a toy for LJ? I'm in! Click here to get yours!

2) The New Clothesline Co. DUO (in lime green)

I found this on Kelly's Closet's website  from the Great Cloth Diaper Hunt and am totally in love with this! My neighborhood homeowner's association does not allow clotheslines. So far, I have just laid my covers out on the patio table, but good old Mr. Wind tends to foil my efforts at drying outside.  For only $19.99, this seems like a great alternative! I love that it folds into itself, since I have a little bit of a clean house fetish and don't like having clutter out when I don't need it.  I also love that it comes in green... can you tell that's my favorite color? This "clothesline" will hold 16 covers, which is a great amount! Get yours here!

Until next week!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Diaper Review- Lovely Pocket Diapers

Hello fluff fans! It's time for another diaper review.

Today was laundry day for the fluff.  Over the past few days I have primarily used our bumgenius and Oh Katy diapers.  While these were not "out" yet, I had a wet bag with diapers from Sunday through now, so I figured it time for a wash.  That meant that today would be my Alva and Lovely Pocket day.

Now that I have had a bit more experience in the cloth diapering world, it was interesting to return to my "cheaper" diapers and see how they compare.

The verdict? I think I actually like the Lovely Pockets MORE than I had when I first bought them.

Here's why:

  • Adorable fabrics and patterns-- I just LOVE the variety that LP offers.  While I do enjoy the cute solid colors of BG, the solids from LP just seem brighter to me. Then there are the adorable minky fabrics.  SO soft and so cute! 
  • Trim fit--When I had first used these diapers on LJ about a month ago, they seemed bulky.  Maybe it was that he was smaller at the time. Maybe it was because I had not yet met bumgenius (don't get me wrong! I love my 4.0s!  They just are much bulkier).  Whatever the reason, I noticed that when stuffed with a single insert, these diapers a far thinner than other brands.  LJ still has a cute fluffy butt, but they definitely are trimmer fitting, which is a plus.  
  • Crossover snaps--the traditional LP includes crossover snaps. I usually have a big love/hate relationship with crossovers, as they always end up causing pinching as I try to match the correct snap to allow for a snug crossover.  LP had just the right spacing to make the crossover perfect! A nice snug fit on my little guy, without any muffin top or red lines on tummy or legs. 
  • The cost-- A cloth mamas favorite part... Lovely Pockets offer the classic style for a mere $7.00 ($7.50 for the fuzzy and pattern fabrics). They also offer the "Rave" which is similar to Alva Baby's colored snap pockets for only $12 ($12.50 for fuzzy fabrics).  I have one of these in the "older" style and love it. 
  • Local (USA) distributor-- While these diapers ARE made overseas in China, the owner of the company distributes them from right here in the US! That means quick shipping and great customer service! I think it took me about 3 days to get my diapers. MUCH better than the typical 2-3 weeks for Alva or other overseas distributors. 

What's the difference between the Classic and the Rave? 
  • The Classic:
    • The classic is your typical pocket. It has crossover snaps and includes 1 MF insert, has 3 rise options. They offer a single set of leg gussets and have a pocket opening in the back. 
  • The Rave:
    • The Rave features a double row of snaps, a 4 snap rise, double pocket openings and double gussets. 

I'm happy that I did get my bumgenius diapers, don't get me wrong, but I honestly believe that you would not be going wrong by creating a stash solely based on Lovely Pocket Diapers.  They are equally as absorbent as my BG (at least during the day. I have not yet used them overnight), and I have yet to have a leak of either the poop or pee variety! I really do love that they are trimmer. They also would be great for a diaper bag if you choose not to use the Flip System, since they are trimmer than BG.  And did I mention... the adorable prints??? You really cannot go wrong with them! 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Diaper Review--Ones&Twos.

Welcome to our newest diaper review here at The Mama Life.

Today  I will be reviewing the Ones&Twos brand AIO cloth diaper.  I received two of these diapers as my freebies with promo code from Kelly's Closet.  I had not heard much about this brand prior to receiving them, but was excited to add 2 new fluffs to my stash.

Before I go into my actual review, I'll talk quickly about what I liked upon first glace:

  • AIO with sewn in soaker--I have 2 BG Freetimes and love them, but I did feel they seemed slightly bulky with the two "flap" style inserts that were attached.  The Ones&Twos has a more streamline appearance and from the looks of it, would seem to be more trim than other AIOs.  
  • Extra soaker included---A small, MF soaker (with soft material on the side that touches baby's bum) is included to adjust the absorbency of the diaper.  
  • Super soft lining-  I loved the super soft inside of the diaper. 
  • Size options- This is an AIO OS diaper, but it is one of the only diapers I have seen that gets so small.  On its smallest setting, with the hook and look to the tightest fit and the rise on the smallest setting, it is SIGNIFICANTLY smaller than any of my others, including Oh Katy, which in my opinion get pretty close.  

Now on to the review.........

Yesterday was day 2 of 24 hour cloth. LJ woke up in his BG 4.0 and I changed him into his Ones&Twos.  We came downstairs and I laid him on his playmat to relax while I made breakfast, let the dog out and other morning chores. These chores took maybe a good 30 minutes.  I ate breakfast and went to pick him up as he was crying, and that's when I saw it.... 

that dreaded telltale leak mark, all up his front and near his legs.  Now, keep in mind that I had adjusted the diaper appropriately, with a snug but not TOO snug fit and the correct rise. When I had dressed him, there wasn't any gap by the tummy or the "bump out" ridge that sometimes happens and drives me nuts trying to avoid.  And for any mamas of boys... everything was pointing in the right direction too! 

When I removed the diaper, I noticed that the front half was totally saturated, especially near the waist. 

Needless to say... I don't think I will be buying any more of these.  To be fair, I will give my other Ones&Twos a go, and then try them again with the additional soaker attached, but considering I do not double stuff any of my pockets and never have leaking issues with the others...this will most likely become my "laundry day" dipe. Keep in mind though, that this is only MY experience so you very well may find them to be perfect for your child! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Reader Request: The "Bonus" Mama---AKA Step parenthood

I am very fortunate in that I grew up in a family with parents who have stayed together for over 30 years.  My grandparents have been married for over 65 years. I've only ever experienced divorce through television, movies, and the occasional friend along the way through life.

Divorce is often focused around the children and how they deal with the changes in their lives.  But what happens when you are the new member of an "old" family? What happens when a new, bonus mama, comes into play?  How does the family, as a whole, react and how do they, in the words of Tim Gunn, "Make it work"?

I remember being younger, watching Cinderlla and being introduced to the concept of a step parent.  Step parents are notoriously viewed in popular culture as the "evil intruder" into a once happy family.  They are the person who is taking the other parent's place.  You see the movies about the mothers who feel threatened by the new woman in their childrens' lives. The classic cases of Bonus Mama "incorrectly" parenting the children and WWIII ensues.

As I said before, I cannot speak on the subject from any personal experience, but as this blog post was a Reader Request, I wanted to take a stab at the "outsider's" perspective and see what other mamas and Bonus mamas out there have to say on the subject.

I would imagine that some of the biggest struggles for families with Bonus parents would be  fitting in/acceptance and discipline.  I can see two perspectives here:

  • Birth Mama: 
    • I would imagine, if ever placed in this circumstance, that I would feel very uncomfortable having someone else parent LJ.  Especially if this began to take place when he was older as opposed to a young baby, I can see where birth mothers might feel that the Bonus mama is undermining what they have been doing for years.  
    • What happens if Bonus Mama and Mama disagree about the severity of a punishment? Say, for instance the little one fails a big test because he was watching too much television? If Mama says he is grounded from TV for a week, does this punishment stay at Dad's house? Or what if Bonus Mama feels that this rule can be broken for a special circumstance? Does Bonus Mama, as a third parent, have an equal say in what happens with the little one? I can see being rather upset if I found out that a Bonus Mama had decided my little guy could watch television if I had already ruled that he could not.  I can also see myself being upset if Bonus Mama punished my child for something I did not feel was punishable.  I think it is a very sticky situation.  
    • Being replaced: I'm sure every kid at one point or another wishes they could get a "cool new mom/dad".  With divorce and remarriage, this in a way becomes reality.  Suddenly there isn't just Mom and Dad, but cool new Bonus Mama (or Dad).  As a parent, I would immediately feel concerned that my children would prefer Bonus Mama, particularly if she played no role in discipline.  I would fear that LJ would resent me and wish he could live with Bonus Mama or that somehow, he would love me less.  
  • Bonus Mama: 
    • Becoming part of the family: This would intimidate me immensely.  I would be the "newbie", the intruder, coming into a family that has already been through the hardship of divorce. Would the children like me? Would they respect me? Would I be able to love them as my own? Would the mother accept me and trust me with her children? Would we get along and be able to parent together, or will she try to make me simply a "babysitter" of sorts, without any parenting rights? 
    • Discipline: As I mentioned above, I would feel that a Bonus Mama would be placed in between a rock and a hard place when it comes to discipline.  On the one hand, I would feel that I need to respect the parenting decisions of the mother, as the children are "hers". But, on the other hand, by marrying and accepting my role as step parent, I would feel that I should be able to discipline the children when I feel necessary.  I would not want to feel that I cannot set rules in my own home simply because they did not coincide with their other home's rules.  
    • Replacing Mom: This is another area in which I feel it would be just as hard on the step parent as it is on the mother.  While mom is worrying about being replaced, the step parent is faced with attempting to become accepted by a whole new family.  Instead of having to become accustomed to a new person in your life, the step parent needs to gain acceptance from the children, the other parent, the grandparents etc. How incredibly overwhelming! 

Now, as I said before, I have ZERO personal experience with this. But to me, I feel like in order for a mixed family situation to work, both parties must be willing to accept one another and work together for the betterment of the children.  The way I see it, the ideal bonus parent would love and care for the step children as their own. They would consider these new additions to their lives as family and view themselves as just as much of a parent as the birth parent.  It would, however, be important to have a discussion with mom, dad and bonus parent in order to assure that all three are on the same page as to what is appropriate behavior for the children, and what discipline will be made if necessary and by whom.  Maybe there are some areas that mom feels should be decided between herself and dad... talk that through so that when that problem arises, it won't be an issue.  

Now, that is all easier said than done, but again, I was stating this as  an "ideal" situation.  

Bottom line: As long as the step parent loves the children as her own and wishes to be an active participant (note: not dominating) in parenting, the children will benefit from this and truly gain a "bonus" parent :) 

In the coming weeks, I actually have lined up a guest Bonus Mama to graciously write an opinion piece from the Bonus Mama's perspective for us here at The Mama Life.  

I would love to also feature the perspective of a mom who must share her children with a Bonus Mama. What are YOUR struggles? How have you made it work? Please feel free to  comment or email me at if you are interested in writing a featured piece for our blog! 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Diaper Review--- Flip Diapers

Ok here it is... the first review of my many new additions to my stash!

Back in the beginning of July, I decided to take my remaining gift card and purchase one of each of a few different cloth diaper brands, including: Flip, Oh Katy, Fuzzibunz, BumGenius 4.0 pocket and Freetime.  I did a "cloth diaper day" to see which ones I liked best.  To be entirely honest, I loved all of them except for the Fuzzibunz. Maybe it was just my son, but even on the suggested setting, and even on a smaller one, the leg openings still were too big. Plus, he soaked the soaker with one pee.  They're cute, but I liked others better.

Flip system appealed to me for a variety of reasons:

  • Diaper bag friendly---Because I'm the type mama who likes to always be prepared, I tend to over pack.  This is/was one of my major concerns with cloth diapering, as they definitely take up more space than your typical sposie.  I never leave my house without 5 diapers (disposable), so how on Earth could I do that with cloth?  The answer is Flip.  The covers are reusable (if poop gets on a cover, though, you will want to change it) so 2 in the bag is usually a safe bet. They're rather thin and you probably could carry 4 or more in one pocket of a diaper bag if you wanted.  As for the inserts, I have both the stay dry micro fiber ones and some of the organic cotton ones.  The organics might be a bit bulkier, as they are more of a typical prefold look, so I chose to travel with my stay dries.  I was able to fit three in the bag, but could have fit more if I wanted.  
  • Flaps to keep the insert down:   There is both a front and a back flap to help secure the insert. It doesn't snap in, which might have been nice making it more of an AI2, but I have yet to have bunching or moving issues with the insert.   My little guy is starting to be a big wiggler, and the inserts stay in place just fine! :) 
  • The fit:  For those who are BumGenius fans, these have the same design as other Cottonbabies brand diapers, including, my personal favorite...the stretchy tabs.  Other fluff out there have crossover tabs, but the actual tabs don't have much stretch making it difficult to get a "just right" fit. With Cottonbabies, both the hook and look and snap dipes feature a slight stretch to the tab, allowing for a more customized fit.  With my little guy, this means I can prevent leaking through the leg openings, while also getting a snug and comfy fit at the waist.  
After using the one Flip I had purchased, I knew I would want to buy more when I went on my fluff spree.  I decided to buy a Day Pack from which features a build your own pack including 2 covers and 6 inserts. The base price, with 6 Stay-Dry inserts, is $49.95, but you have the option of selecting the organic inserts instead for an additional $1.66 per insert. 

I purchased mine in Mirror (LOVE this color!) and Moonbeam.  

Today, LJ has worn his BG 4.0, his Oh Katy, and his Flip. We actually took him to go see a movie and I decided to take the Flip for a second test run. This time, he wore it for almost 4 hours (yes, bad mama.) without even the slightest complaint. He will almost ALWAYS scream as soon as he feels wet, so I take this as a great sign that the Flip Stay-Dry inserts do a good job wicking away moisture.  With all of our errands, I did not get to find a place to change him until we got back home. When I did, the insert was saturated, but did not leak in the slightest.  My little guy is a heavy wetter too most of the time.  

All in all, while I love pockets, I would definitely say that the Flip diaper system is going to become a staple in my diaper bag and will definitely become my new "on the go" cloth solution! 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Mama Memory

LJ is almost 4 months old.  I sit here, watching him sleep, and think to myself how quickly the time has passed. My little monkey, the squishy bundle of cuddles and nuzzles is growing so quickly before my eyes.  Sometimes I just stare at him, in awe of this little person that M and I created.  Those dimples? Those are mine. Those long, elegant eyelashes scream daddy's boy. And that smile...oh that's a smile all his own, with the crooked little grin and the flash of his prominent brow.

So often we get lost in the day to day, the rushing and comings and goings of life as a parent.  What do I need to pick up at the store? What's next on my list to clean and when will I ever get to that pile of pinterest projects? But right now... all I want to do is soak up the love and glow that is my son, embracing every minute of his precious life and the gift he brings into mine.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's here!

Reviews and more to follow but check out my BEAUTIFUL new additions to my stash!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Heart

As you may recall from my super fluff shopping spree this past weekend, I excitedly ordered some new BumGenius fluff from  I have ordered from them in the past, ordering my very first cloth items back in February and it had been a great experience.

I must say I was not disappointed the second time around.  I have had experience buying cloth now from 4 different retailers:,,, and (as well as Alva Baby and, but they only sell their brand so I am not counting them as part of this review.) I have had great experiences with each retailer thus far, but I must say Cottonbabies is one of my favorites for a few reasons:

  1. FREE shipping. Completely free. As in, no minimum purchase ever. This is great when you may want to buy one diaper, try out some new toys, or just need a refill on your inserts, and don't want to have to  make the minimum $49 or more order in order to get free shipping. 
  2. QUICK shipping. Not only do they ship their items for free, they also ship SUPER quickly! I placed my order Sunday and received my new fluff in the mail today (Wednesday).  I have to say that out of the 3 orders placed (plus a replacement order placed through Nicki's diapers that same day), they are the winners. My other items from Kelly's Closet, which I had paid extra to have UPS ship out sooner, won't be here until tomorrow.  Now, UPS means the shipment is insured which is definitely a plus when  shipping fluff, but hey, fast and free shipping is awesome in my book! 
  3. HUGE selection.  Not all mamas are crunchy. Not all mamas like fluff. But pretty much ANY mama can find something she needs (and wants!) at  They sell practically everything today's mama could need, from cloth (obviously) and accessories, baby toys, feeding supplies and gear such as carriers, strollers and car seats, to nursing clothing and pregnancy/postpartum supplies! 
And now, here you have it my beautiful fluff!:

Wishlist Wednesday

It's Wednesday, which means it is WISHLIST day! Each week, I will put together a wishlist of 3-5 items that I'm currently drooling over. If when I end up buying these products, there will be a link to the review :)

First up:

1) Blueberry Wet/Dry Tote Bag (in "dino)

I might have a little obsession with dinosaurs. Sure, this may stem from how adorable LJ looked in his newborn onesie with the dino feet that I miss dearly, or it may just be because, well, dinos rock. I have a diaper bag that I love (the JJ Cole Satchel, review to follow) and keep my Planet Wise "Owl" medium wet bag inside, but now that we are transitioning over to all cloth, and mostly pockets or AIOs, I think this would be a neat addition for longer day trips.  Plus, with the dino pattern, I can see Hubby actually being OK with holding this bag :)

While you can find these bags on Amazon with Prime shipping (which I LOVE!), I also found it at Nicki's Diapers for $28.95. Find yours here.

2) Aden & Anais Muslin Sleeping Bag (in "elephant")

My little guy is a sweatball.  When we first brought him home from the hospital, like every new mama, we would put him in his stretchy at night and then swaddle him nice and tight before bed. By the time the first feeding rolled around, however, we would wake to a baby with his hair plastered to his head and an actual wet spot on his clothing from his sweating in his sleep (nope, it wasn't pee!).  We switched him to just a swaddler and a diaper, since he still needed the secure swaddled feeling to stay asleep.

Recently, though, he's developed his most recent trick.... rolling onto his tummy during the night.  He has great head control and props himself up all of the time on his belly, but he has yet to master the roll BACK over. Considering I cannot be up all night to flip him back over, I want to be sure he has use of his arms during the night now. I have the A&A receiving blankets and love them, so I am sure these would be great too!

Nicki's Diapers has them on sale for another hour for 10% off the normal price of $32, making them only $28.80. Find yours here.

3) Bummis Bio-Soft Flushable Liners

LJ isn't on solids yet, but will be starting soon. Since I exclusively breast feed now, it's been wonderful just being able to toss any dirties straight in the wash.  I'm already dreading the day when this changes, but have heard great things about flushable liners.  I'm sure these would also be great for when LJ starts daycare in the fall, so that I won't be sent home with a bag of super stinky poop (well, at least not AS stinky!).

They're the deal of the day at Kelly's Closet today for only $6.96. Find yours here.

Well folks, while there are about a million other things on my wishlist... that will have to do for now. Until next time!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Erin Condren Life Planner!

Now, I know this blog is to be primarily dedicated to all things mama, but quite frankly, I believe that every good mama needs a good planner.  To me, a planner is not just a notebook that keeps track of my  schedule, but serves several other roles, such as: financial adviser, lesson planner, secretary, dietitian, personal trainer, and sanity keeper.  I use my planner for EVERYTHING.  

I discovered the wonders of Erin Condren Life Planners in January, and immediately ordered mine, falling in love with it at first sight.  I used it religiously during the remainder of the school year and throughout the end of my pregnancy, helping my mama brain keep track of everything from work topics and family gatherings to prenatal and pediatrician appointments, bills to pay, and meal plans for the week.  At work, people would stop me to ask where got my beautiful, custom designed planner and I proudly exclaimed "Erin Condren!"

One glorious day this summer, I happened to go to the EC facebook page and saw that EC had announced the new, 2012-2013 edition of the Life Planners. While the old one was fantastic, the new one had amazing features that made me giddy like a kid in a candy store... laminated tabs? 2 page month views? a slightly thinner feel? Sure, I had 6 months left on my current LP, but especially now having gorgeous pictures of my sweet LJ, I couldn't resist, and set out to order the new one immediately! My husband, who usually thinks I am crazy about "silly" things and that spending $60 on a planner is outrageous, didn't even bat an eye this time, knowing how much I used my 2011-2012 edition.

I chose to have mine start in August, so that a) it will go along with the school year and, more importantly, b) when they come out with the 2013-2014 edition, I won't feel guilty buying one right away in July :)

I did buy the EC pens, but personally, I would recommend using the ever popular Flair pens or Sharpie pens, as the EC pens were really, not all that great. I can never have too many pens, so they'll still be put to use, but for me, they did not really do the job or seem worth the price.

Great customer service makes all the difference!

I just have to stop in to write a quick little shout out to Kelly's Closet and for their awesome customer service.  I really haven't had any problems with any diaper or baby product purchases in the past, but I had a great experience yesterday with Kelly's Closet and felt they deserve the recognition.

During my fluff spree (see today's earlier post), I was giddy like a schoolgirl to find the promo code for a free AIO diaper from KC with any $69 purchase.  After sitting there like a mathematician, analyzing the different options and best way to combine my dipes, I made two separate purchases so as to take advantage of the promo code twice (2 time use per customer limit).  As it was a Sunday, I had to wait for the shipping confirmation, but by early Monday morning, I was greeted with those two glorious emails confirming my shipping.

Then, I looked... one of the shipments was sending to the billing address and not the shipping address! I had already gotten the UPS confirmation etc, and immediately feared having to chase down my package later this week, and therefore delay my fluff mail joy! I sent a contact request through kelly's closet's website, but being the super anxious mama I am, I chose to call to try to reach them first.

I was greeted by a very cheery customer service rep, who actually knew who I was (thank you Caller ID!) and told me that she had already caught the package before it went out and changed the label.  Talk about fast, friendly service!

I most definitely would recommend buying through KC or They have the "Mama" seal of approval :)

A spree of the fluff variety!

The other day I went on a fluff spending spree. It was a spree of the best kind...using gift money we had received from LJ's birth.  Now that the little guy is big enough to really wear his OS dipes, I decided it time to finally build my stash.

When I was still pregnant with LJ, the mamas in my birth board on BBC introduced me to the wondrous world of cloth diapering.  Of course, my family all thought I was think I am  crazy, but I loved the idea and spent hours stalking,, and several others.  I started my stash with Thirsties Duo Wraps in Size 1 with Indian prefolds, and was super glad I had done so, as little man ended up being a tiny guy compared to what I had been expecting.  Being that I nurse, I love that I can just put the dipes into the wet bag and not have to worry about any other prep work prior to washing.  Prefolds and covers were nice, but ultimately I knew I would want to invest in pockets and AIO OS dipes, as a large part of my reasoning to go cloth was to save money and I liked that I could buy diapers that would fit him from birth through potty training.

I started by buying a few Alva and Lovely Pocket diapers, as I did not want to spend a lot upfront.  I found that they both did a good job at keeping everything in, with no leaks after an average of 2.5 hours of wear.  The Lovely Pockets did fit larger than the Alvas, and I found myself wishing for a bit of a snugger fit in the waist, but overall I liked them.  When LJ officially fit well into the Alvas, I took the remainder of our gift card  and bought a variety of individual fluff to try out before building my stash. I bought:

  • Fuzzibunz Elite
  • BG 4.0
  • BG Freetime
  • Kawaii
  • Oh Katy
  • Flip
  • Imagine AIO 
  • Imagine pocket
I'll make a post reviewing each of these brands later, but overall my favorites were cottonbabies brand (BG and Flip) and Oh Katy.  I LOVED the stretchy tabs on BG and Flip, they allowed me to get a more secure and custom fit for LJ. I also loved Oh Katys, with their inside hip snap, allowing for a better leg opening fit.  

Ok, enough about my preferences... what did I end up buying????

Being a couponing mama, I wanted to get the best bang for my buck.  I found Kelly's Closet, and saw they were offering a promo for a free AIO OS diper with a $69 purchase.  They also had the Oh Katy promo going, for Buy 4 get 1 free for about $72.  I immediately jumped on this! 6 diapers for $72?! Yay!  

The promo code (FREEAIO), is still available through today, and you are able to use it twice (in separate orders).  I ended up doing this with a FLIP day pack and wet bag purchase too, spending $98 (with shipping)  for 2 Flip covers, 6 inserts, a large hanging wet bag and the free AIO dipe.  You also get free shipping for orders over $49, but I chose to pay for the UPS shipping.  

I also found a great deal on BG 4.0 through they ran the $86.90 special of buy 5 get 1 free, but also had a promo code for a free BG 4.0 with a $75 purchase :) 

I feel quite accomplished! :) 

Hello world!

Hi and thanks for stopping by!

  After months of blog stalking, I've finally decided to start my own mama blog.  The goal: feature daily (if possible!) posts about all things mama---from breast feeding to cloth diapering, to all things baby and even some mama-sanity breaks here and there.  I hope to help by offering yet another viewpoint of the new mama!