Are Devices Taking Away the Opportunity for Our Children to Discover Their Hidden Talents?

I just had a food for thought moment. I know I've talked about devices and how much is too much for our children, but I can't help but continue to think about how we can make sure to offer that balance to our children today..

When I was a kid and I would spend many afternoons at my grandmothers house, while my parents went to work, I had to find a way to entertain myself. It wasn't easy, but eventually it helped me to find out what I'm good at, what I enjoy, and what I would like to master someday. If I had a device such as a smart phone or tablet, would that have taken precious time away from me making my own personal discoveries about myself?

My grandmother owned an old black and white television set. There were only 6 working channels. There was no Disney channel. There was no MTV. There was definitely no binge watching of anything. I didn't have a smart phone to snap chat the boredom away either. It was just me, my grandmother who pretty much kept silently to herself, and an upright piano and a black and white TV. Do you see where I'm going with this? While in the early minutes of my arrival, when I would need to get settled in and except that I was going to be there for the rest of the day, I took a moment and allowed my imagination to come into full bloom.

It first started with me playing with my toys and exploring with dolls and fashion that I would spread out all over her sofa in the living room. Sometimes I would bang away on her piano. I would always ask permission and as soon as I sat down and cracked my knuckles ready to hit those black and white ivories, my grandmother would disappear into the kitchen and I was left to create masterpieces, as loud as I wanted, without any formal training what so ever.  Then, I moved on to reading books my mother forced me to read and found out they were actually really good. When ever I watched movies that really peaked my interest, the story and images would stay fresh in my mind, leaving me to ponder over characters and alternate endings. And then it happened, I asked, what if I wrote my own stories? It didn't take long before I purchased my first composition notebook for .75 cents and started writing my own stories.

Short stories, plays, what ever I wanted, I was in charge. As I got older and started spending less time at my grandmothers because my mother no longer needed her to watch me, I started showing up at her door asking if I could hang out for a bit.  She still kept to herself, I suppose that was the artist in her that enjoyed her solitude and perhaps her imagination was churning in her own head but either way, she didn't mind me being there with my head buried in a new composition notebook writing away while listening to my Walkman, (yes, I said Walkman). I also taught myself how to draw, to sew and do many other things in those times of insane boredom.

Looking back, sometimes, I felt like I wish I had more of an exciting time but now I realize that was me becoming me. I think about our children and I wonder if we are giving them enough of that balance. What talents would I not have, had I been glued to some screen that really does not offer the opportunity for me to search and dig until I find what's right for me. I watch  my son and how he uses the internet to learn things like playing the ukulele or discover information about what ever questions he may have. It can be an amazing tool but there is something to be said about just sitting in silence and digging deep within your soul to fulfill a need to be entertained or maybe even just content.

I know kids today have other activities going on just as they did yesteryear, but those moments they spend on their devices, does that take away from them having to deal with learning how to be bored, overcome that, and then discover parts of themselves they never even knew existed? I'm not saying that kids can't find their inner voices anymore or do amazing things for that matter, perhaps it just may be done in a different way, I just wonder, if some are not forced to have those moments, what will become of them? Will they find those secret treasures hiding right inside of them or will those things that make us quirky individuals fall to the side and lose the battle to the blue light that holds their gaze forever?


Co-sleeping, We Love It. So What's the Big Deal?

 I love our little family all snuggled up against one another in our bed. I love to hear the sound of my baby sleeping and I love the cuddles he gives me as he rests easy and feels the security of mommy and daddy being with him. He feels loved and I can see it as I watch him peacefully sleep. But I also love that he has now grown some independence and is able to sleep in his own crib and still feel safe and loved.

My little guy is finally sleeping in his own bed. We are a family of co-sleepers and I honestly thought this day would never come. This time around has definitely been a bit different and I know it's not over yet. Co-sleeping seems to be such a divided topic among us parents. Some seem to be totally against it and when you tell them you do it, they look at you like you're cheating on a test or doing something that is a big no no. Some treat it like it's a taboo subject and although they do it, they just don't talk about it or they whisper it like they're saying a dirty word. So what's the big deal?

With our older son, when he was a baby, we co-slept. Some family members raised eyebrows at us and claimed they could never. But we did it and we were fine with it. He would lie there perfectly still and sleep so peacefully. He would sleep in his bed as a toddler and then somewhere in the wee hours of the morning he would end up in our bedroom, standing by my side of the bed in the darkness just staring at me. No matter the fact that he did this pretty much every night it scared the crap out of me and after my mini heart attack I would scoop him up and snuggle him in the center with us. Co-sleeping worked for us. 

When Caleb is asleep in our bed, there is no doubt that he is there.  In fact, somehow his tiny body takes up the entire bed. I end up lying on my side hanging onto the edge of the bed for dear life.  I would sometimes look up to check on my husband because I thought maybe he was taking up more than his fair share, but no, my poor husband was usually in a worse place than I was with half his body hanging off the bed. It was my little munchkin who would be spread out in the middle of our bed. One foot pushing dad and an arm slapping me in the face occasionally. There are times where his little bum ends up right smack in my face. I'm not going to lie, co-sleeping with a toddler can get a little crazy. Our bed becomes a midnight circus with teddy bears flying around, blanky's being kicked off and individuals helping themselves to whatever snacks are around. My nights usually involve the occasional nibble at my nipple. Sometimes I'm so tired that I find myself waking up  with someone attached to my breast. But, we love it and wouldn't have it any other way. 

I am no expert, but what I have learned with situations like this is really to each his own. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these types of sleeping arrangements as long as everyone is on board and baby is safe in bed. Other than that, are we concerned that this will damage our little people and turn them into horrible adults one day who can't sleep alone? Am I worried that my boys will choose cheap and easy women to lie in bed with them because they can never sleep alone? I don't even remember where I heard that from but someone said that years ago to us about our first son, I swear I want to say it was one of our pediatricians but for some reason that just doesn't sound like something that would come out of a doctors mouth. Either way, NO! I'm not concerned.

My first stopped sleeping in our bed around three years old. I have this sneaky suspicion that our second will probably stay in bed with us until around four or five or sixteen, who knows. I love being a co-sleeping family because it brings us closer together. Snuggling is not a bad thing in our household and there is lots of it to go around and I usually get the most of it of course. 

What's interesting though, is that as Ian got older, and no longer slept with us, more and more people have started to open up about it, and it turns out, it's really not the worst thing in the world. In fact, at first, it seemed more of a cultural thing. People in other cultures around the world think co-sleeping is the most normal thing to do with your little ones. The more I started to hear it's normal all over from Japan to Europe to South America, I began to feel like some cool trend setting parent who raises her children in a cultured, worldly manner.

Now, with our second child, I hear even more people talking about co-sleeping with their kids. It seems to be quite popular among the millennials. So what's the big deal? Nothing and everything. As infants, this really helped with nursing. But something changes when they become toddlers. Look, we all have to choose what is comfortable for us as a family. I understand that sometimes things are not smooth sailing, but you made your choices because you know that's what works for you.

I've read different things that are actually in support and positive about co sleeping. Children feel safer and more secure. This helps to create a more gentle way to ease them into sleeping in their own beds. And this worked. Both times. Even though they are totally different children. We are not ones to put our kids in the crib and just let them scream it out. Caleb knows and understands exactly where we are in the house.

I wanted to share this in case there were some people sitting on the fence on whether or not to co-sleep. Remember, they do grow up and it's not forever. For those who are concerned about the safety of the baby in the bed, we used a Baby Delight Snuggle Nest. But there are so many other products out there like the Dock A Tot, which looks pretty cool.


Telling Your Kids to Marry for Money, is it OK?

As parents, we all want the best for our kids. In fact, we want them to have better experiences in life than we may have had. We know life isn't easy, but we sure do want to try to make it as easy for them as we can. We may try to nudge them in a direction that we know is best. In the privacy of our homes, we may share our "real" opinions with our kids, which if we shared in public, may make us sound a certain way. Sometimes, we make them the center of our worlds and not purposely, we teach them it's OK to be just a little "selfish" and to remember it's OK to look out for "#1" because we know this world can swallow you up in one quick gulp so, you have to look out for yourself and do what's best for you. Sometimes, this means being selective of who you spend your time around and where you spend it. This is normal and we do it out of love and they know this. But, in the area of love, is it OK to tell our kids to marry someone who is rich? To choose a mate that has money and wealth?

My concern is that we are teaching our kids to judge individuals based on what they have and not who they are. I get it. If your child can not acquire their own wealth but marries into wealth, this can ease our fears and worries. This morning I was watching the Today show and one of the topics was, "Is it OK to tell your daughter to marry a rich man?"  My first reaction was, "Hell No!" I don't even have daughters but if I did, I would not want them to choose men to date based on their financial situation. Wouldn't that make them gold diggers?

Also, as a woman, I am offended because that is the same thing as telling them they are not intelligent enough or capable of providing for themselves financially. This is showing them that happiness comes in the form of cold, hard plastic or crisp dollar bills.

It disheartens me to think that some day, women will look at my sons and see them for what they have and not who they are. I have a thirteen year old and a twenty month old, so I have no idea where they will be financially when they become adults. But I do know what we plan on teaching them when it comes to finding a spouse. I look at my oldest son and I see a creative, intelligent, talented individual growing into a fine young man. If I am concerned about any women he will be dating, it will not be because of what is in her pocket, but instead,what is in her heart.

Financial stability is a wonderful thing. No worries. The ability to take pay all your bills, live well, eat well, take vacations and come and go as you please. This is what everyone desires, however, teaching our children that only a certain type is good enough and everyone else is at the bottom of the barrel is horrible. This is a problem in our society and why we seem to be stagnant sometimes in so so many social areas. We lack empathy for one another and seem to think one size fits all.

I came across an article, "Why I Regret Telling My Son To Marry a Rich Girl". This was interesting because instead of a girl being told to marry a rich man, here you have a father telling his son to marry a rich woman. Because his son is "such a catch", as he put it, he believes that he needed to aim high in finding a woman to marry.

"You're such a good catch: handsome, athletic, working," I'd tell him, and then jokingly add: "You should aim high and find yourself a rich girl from a good family."
His son does find a rich woman but guess what, he's not good enough for her according to her family. What's interesting to me about this also, is that if you are rich does this automatically mean you come from a "good family"? I'm sorry, but I thought a good family was a family that sticks together no matter what. A family that supports and loves each other.  Does this mean , everyone else who falls below a certain pay scale is just not worthy enough.

I asked my 13 year old his thoughts and he said f he were to come across any woman who was more interested in his bank account than him as a person, then that is not the woman for him. I applaud him for that and truly pray that when he does enter the world as an adult, his values and morals will keep him strong in his decision making. My husband and I have been trying to raise him with the understanding that your job and your material wealth does not make you who you are. Your actions in this world is what makes you a man. The world is sometimes not a comfortable place and sometimes, you have to work hard to survive. Nothing comes easy.

First, everyone's journey is their own personal journey, so we tend to raise our children based on our own personal experiences and we try to prepare them for a world that we know and have experienced, so raise your children the way you want. No judgments, at the end of the day, we are all doing our best and just want our kids to be happy in life.

Let's face it, marriage is hard to begin with. Falling in love is easy. It's beautiful. It's sexy. When you find someone that rocks your world, it's quite magical. You get married and have a family, and then one day, you realize, marriage is work. Staying married, until death do you part, is hard. Like, really hard. It involves team work, it involves, empathy, and it involves paying the bills and living. Money does take the edge off if you've got it. Most couples argue about money and some even get divorced over it. So, wanting to keep your kids safe, I get it but isn't there another way to make sure our kids have some sort of financial safety without teaching them to depend on someone else?

There are young women out there who are entering the adult dating world believing they need to snag themselves a rich man. I can't be the only one out there that thinks this is absolutely disgusting. I have two boys, that my husband and I are trying to raise to be good men and I have to warn them about these women who will judge them and put them in a box based on what their income is. I don't know what their financial situations will be, of course I hope they are able to provide for themselves and hopefully live comfortably one day but I don't know if they will be rich. It's horrible to think that they may come across women who will judge their pockets before even knowing who they are. Honestly, if they are  not rich, I am happy that they won't have to worry about getting into relationships with these types, but I can't help but worry about the future of our society.

There are some serious things that need to change and this whole business of high society and million dollar bank accounts is not the future I pray for when it comes to our world. There are problems out there that are bigger than high society life and comparing and competing for what car you drive, what house you live in, etc. There is some serious soul discovering that needs to happen.This world is already filled with people who judge based on the way you look or what you have. I was hoping we could mover forward in our society by looking a little bit deeper.


Food Blogs, Glorious Food Blogs.

I love having access to awesome, healthy, tasty recipes right at my fingertips. Trying to cook healthy all of the time is sometimes not that easy. Especially when you have little and big bellies to fill. That's why I have to give a shout out to three cooking blogs I have fallen in love with.

Happy Kitchen. Rocks
I heart this blog. No really. I do. The recipes are approachable and can fit many types of diets. It's easy to navigate and there are many recipes to choose from that are different but yet you won't feel like your on a scavenger hunt at the supermarket. The pictures are beautiful and really inspire me. Elena Szeliga likes to make food "look pretty" she says in her about section. I agree, food should be pretty before it goes down. When you're  a mom whose on the go-go-go all of the time and dinner has to be on the table to feed little people who have not mastered patience yet, this is a great site to check out. The Vegan Mexican Chopped Salad with Avocado Dressing was a knock out. I actually did tackle the Ratatouille, which is a dish that takes a little bit more time when I was able to which was a hit at my dinner table.

Yes, More Please!
This blog is as cute as can be. Again, in any cooking blog I follow, I am looking for healthy, ease,and of course delicious. I crave different also because sometimes things get a little boring in the kitchen and my audience of tasters will not judge harshly, to my face that is, but I still aim to please the taste buds of my crew. One person doesn't love sweet potatoes. Another doesn't care for kale. And I believe I heard someone say, "Quinoa what!" But when you put it all together for Sweet Potato Kale and Quinoa Fritters, you've got a whole different story.  I also love this blog because it is run by a husband and wife team. Ian and Mariana McEnroe. How cute! She cooks he photographs. Lovin in the oven. That's awesome!

Living Sweet Moments
This blog is more than just a food blog. While there are great recipes to try, there's also a little bit of everything else. Tiffany is the author and cook of this food blog and also holds a degree in Psychology. She talks about everything under the sun, parenting, household, money, entertainment and travel. The dish that I really liked was the Cauliflower Fried Rice. First of all, I love cauliflower, second, has anyone else noticed the cauliflower craze recently? This dish is a must try and this blog is a must read.

I love skimming through Pinterest for all of the fantastic pictures of yummy foods out there. I follow multiple groups from gluten free, to clean eating, to my fave the avocado. In my opinion, a picture is worth a thousand taste buds when it comes to food. I hope you enjoy these food blogs as much as I have.


Teaching My Kids, It's OK to Be You

Drawing by Ian Kelewae

I want my kids to know that it's OK to be themselves, who ever that may be. In fact, it's not just OK, it's great. It's necessary, especially in current times. We need our kids to be in touch with their inner voice and to know when and how to use it. We need our kids to be individuals and not just follow the masses blindly.

When we first moved out to our quaint little town, I was too busy working to really understand the social situation here. It wasn't until I lost my job and went back to school. I was home more often with Ian taking care of him and continuing with my studies. It wasn't until then I realized, this city girl lives in the rural suburbs and that's when the panic started to set in.

Nothing this chick can't handle, just that it's different here. I was worried that me and my artist husband were not going to fit in which really made me worry about our son Ian who was starting school. We did things different and I didn't want Ian to feel different because of our choices. I wanted him to feel like he was just like every other kid. I never said this or made a big deal out of it but kids are really smart and thinking back to it, I know he probably could feel it.

I tried my best to be what I thought was "normal". But even then I felt a little like a pariah, but I never let on. The thing that concerned me was that I could see my nervousness in Ian. I know he so badly wanted to be a part of, what ever it was to be a part of. He wanted to live in the same development his friends lived in. Play the same sports. I was trying to "normalize" our family so that we didn't stick out too much like a sore thumb.

I went back to work and I was out of the loop again, somewhat. We had made some friends and the normalcy was there, somewhat. I felt stabilized, like we had made a home here and we belonged. But at what cost? I have to admit, I wasn't totally being myself. My quirky, odd, cool ( I wish, my hubby's the cool one), smart self. Instead, all this time I had been trying to fit in so that my son could fit in.

And then it happened. My husband did this awesome mural at one of the entrances in our town. It was all over our county's newspapers because it was so controversial. There were people who loved it and people who hated it. I was too busy to get involved until things had slowed down at my firm, I finally had a chance to take notice of some things. First of all, this cute little town that I was trying so hard to conform to was filled with not so cute folks.

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Some people were so nasty and out to say horrible things about my husbands work because he used spray paint and it was not historical. While many loved it, those who had other opinions managed to get their voices heard in newspapers. So, I too had to share my opinion, my real opinion that is and get heard in the newspapers as well. It was very interesting and it brought out my feistiness, which had been missing due to my unfortunate conformity for the past few years. It felt good to be me.

But then something else happened. I had started this new job right when Ian was starting 5th grade which was a new school. His whole world had changed and I had missed it. I was so busy with work, I didn't notice that his circle of friends were changing. The boys he once called friends were now on the road to becoming jocks and that just wasn't Ian. One friend that was a really good friend was going down that same road and my little guy was just trying to go down the road of being himself. He thought like we did, you can be who ever you want to be but your friendships stay the same. A friend is a friend is a friend, right? NO!

My fears were coming true. In the long run, it didn't matter how much we tried to conform, if you are not true to yourself, it's you who loses out. All this time, I just wanted him to have a normal experience growing up here, but at the same time we were teaching him how there's a world out there filled with variety. I needed to be comfortable being me, no matter who stuck around and who left and so did he. I later learned that it was tough on him. I also learned that Ian is amazing and so strong. He stuck it out and stayed true to himself even though so called friends wouldn't even let him sit at the same lunch table with him. And because of that, he made real friends. He told me, it's just a matter of finding your people, they're everywhere, you just have to be patient. He found his people.

He's in 8th grade now, still with the same "crew". They're a bunch of good guys. I'm so inspired by them. When I drive by downtown, seeing them hang out, I see a group of teenage boys who are all equals. No one is the leader. No one is the follower. Just teenage boys hanging out, being themselves. The way it's supposed to be.

It's OK to be you. In fact, it's important. We all need to have a voice. This world needs more creators, inventors and innovative thinkers.


I think I'm breastfeeding forever.

When I nurse my little guy I feel like it's the most special thing in the entire world. It really is an amazing feeling to be able to share these moments with him. The only thing is, he’s getting bigger, and when I say bigger, I mean, he's asking for "milk", "mamas milk", that is. I was just wondering how much longer I was going to be doing this because at this rate, it feels like forever.

We were down to a night feeding and a morning feeding and soon we were going to cut out the morning feeding.  But no! Something happened. My little man has an agenda of his own and now he demands it when ever he comes near my breast. If he sense they are around,smells them, or sees them, he immediately grabs for them. In fact, he’s the boss when it comes to his "mamas milk" and whenever he wants it, he must have it right then and there. 

My husband says it looks as though he’s trying to, “boob rape” me. That doesn't sound like a  nice way to put it but little Caleb is not gentle about getting it.  He takes his arm and thrusts it down my shirt and into my bra. Next he tries to dig my breast out as though he’s taking a cantaloupe out of a grocery bag and then clumsily places my nipple in his mouth and sucks as though he’s been walking through a desert and desperately needs what could be his last drink of water. If there are any on lookers around us, he quickly glances over at them and gives them a look that clearly says, “don’t judge me”.

Ha! We all usually have a good laugh at his process. I end up feeling like I tried to put up the good fight and lost. When ever he asks for it and I convince him that I will give it to him, he waits patiently and claps his hands and says, “Milk! Milk! Milk! Yeah..” And when it’s quiet and just the two of us, we look at each other endearingly, and there is a moment of pure joy and love we share. He looks at me like, “I just love you so much Mama!” And I look at him and think, “I love you so much baby!” And then all is good.

However, he is almost 18 months and I was just wondering how much longer I would be doing this. I'm not complaining, I love having these loving moments with him but we can create other loving moments. I breastfed Ian, my first for 11 months. I simply said to him, "I think we're done", and he said, "OK, cool", and that was it.

 I know it’s becoming the thing to breastfeed your kids until they are six years old and while that may be fine for some people, that wasn’t in our plans. I can’t see picking him up from school and him asking me for a snack, and the snack being me. It looks like we may be going until two years old. But what if he wants more. What if he wants it past two? When he is capable of having a conversation, I will just have to sit him down and let him know Mamas breast are retiring. I just don't want to break his little heart.

But in the meant time, it is nice to know that there are benefits to breastfeeding your toddler. The American Academy of Pediatrics  and La Leche League suggest that mothers nurse their toddlers for up to two years. Apparently it’s a win win situation for everyone. It’s great for their bodies, fighting off colds, ear infections, staying hydrated. And it’s not too bad for the mamas as well. It helps to stave off breast and cervical cancers. So as long as it's a good thing for everyone, I will continue to do it. 


The 10 Most Needed Things for Baby's First Year

The first time I became a parent, I made sure I had everything I thought I absolutely needed even if I had no idea I was going to need it. My sons room was perfectly filled with every ointment, toy, blanket, you name it. The second time around, twelve years later, I realized I wanted to keep things as simple as possible. Everyone is different having different needs for their babies, but these are the top 10 things I am so happy I had for my second sons first year.

Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby's First Year: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too!: the baby experts at Mayo Clinic: 9781561487509: Books:

This book is an absolute must have. Whether this is your first time parenting to your fourth time, this book helps to answer questions so that you are not calling your doctor or health insurance nurses hotline around the clock. There are so many things going on with your infant that a lot of it, probably most of it, is so normal. From skin rashes to baby burps and toots, there are images, definitions and real answers from real doctors. This book also helped me to monitor milestones and to be prepared for doctor visits. This book is easy to navigate and is a great  month to month guide and it can be used for referencing quite easily.

For a co-sleeping family, the Snuggle Nest is a necessity. It is a safe way to have your little one in bed with you. I know there are other versions of this out there. Which ever one you decide to get, it really does help to give you peace of mind that the munchkin is with you in bed but safe in their own environment. I highly suggest you consider getting a king size bed if you don't already have one because this thing takes up a lot of room and you and your partner may find yourselves hugging the edge of the bed in anything smaller.


First I must say that I love Aden & Anais. Their fabrics are so soft and their style has a very organic look which we love,love, love. The sleeping bag is soft and a safe way to keep baby cozy and warm. My guy hated being wrapped up so this gave him that secure, snuggled feeling while still being able to move his arms and legs around freely with out feeling trapped.

COMPLETE All Seasons Stone:

This carrier is awesome and this party is still going on into toddlerhood. We use this when we want to go on hikes or long walks. It offers great support and is very stylish. There are also a variety of ways to carry, whether it's in the front, the side, or the back and also depending on their weight and age. This was one of the best gifts I have received and would do it all over again. 

Glenna Jean Swizzle Musical Mobile in Yellow

5. Crib Mobile $46

This is the crib mobile we purchased. I know, it's just a crib mobile, but it worked for us. You wind it up and plays a little tune. When all you want to do is put down that baby for a couple of minutes, and you really need that moment, this crib mobile will keep a young infant entertained. Obviously you can get any crib mobile out there that will fit your style. This also helped us to get him to take naps in his crib.

Bibetts Pure Linen Ring Sling - Oatmeal

My husband bought this for me while I was pregnant. At first, I wasn't ecstatic with this purchase. It felt rough, and I wasn't sure I was going to feel safe using it, but boy was I wrong. This thing was awesome. Once I got the hang of it and washed it a few times, it softened up and made my life so much easier. I was able to nurse while moving around and doing things. I felt completely and totally comfortable maneuvering around with my infant all snuggled in. I would also use it to rock him to sleep. I was able to keep using it as he got older. The unfortunate thing is that I used it so much, I put a hole in it that eventually grew and made it rip in half. I've actually considered buying another one of these but my boy is growing so fast, I'm not sure if I will get much use out of it. Totally worth the buy.

Fisher-Price® Luminosity™ Bouncer

7. Bouncer Seat $40

Everyone needs a bouncer seat. I had one with my first son that did absolutely nothing and it worked like a charm. This one has different levels of bounce and it played different types of music. This is a must have. It is a place to put your baby down so that you can actually get some things done. He's happy, you're baby free for a moment.. The only thing is that they are happy and entertained for about 15 minutes so make sure you plan it out and use that time wisely.

HoMedics SoundSpa Portable Sound Machine

This right here is a great little tool to drown out all the other sounds around you. It's very soothing and calming for me and the baby. Now that Caleb is a little older, when it's time to go night night, he immediately goes to turn on the machine to the beach sound. This little gadget is portable as well and has traveled with us everywhere. This item we will hold on to for a long, long time.

city mini® GT

This stroller is the easiest stroller to ride around in. I love this stroller. We go for daily walks around town in this. We go for hikes on trails. This stroller is not tiny but it's not huge like some other strollers can be. It folds into a nice compact position and can easily fit in the trunk of a sedan. I can push this using one hand and have total control. The handle bars are adjustable so my 6' husband doesn't have to push at my 5'3" height. This is a keeper and will last for years.

Graco® Pack 'n Play® On-The-Go® Playard in Rumor™

There are so many of these out there. There is something to fit every budget and needs. We were able to and still are able to take this on the go. It folds up so nicely and is very compact. I used the bassinet when he was younger for naps. I would keep it in whatever room I was in. As he got bigger, we took the top layer out and lowered it. He still occasionally takes naps in it. Anything that makes my life easier to get my little guy to sleep is definitely a keeper.

This time around with my second son, things were so different. I didn't find myself getting all wrapped up into the must haves for my infant. Instead, I was more interested in the must need and the idea that less is more. I say, before loading up on so much gear for the first year, take into consideration what you need the first few months and then go from there. Also read my post about the top 10 things I could have done without or the top 10 things I wish I had the first year.