MommyCon Vancouver

MommyCon came to Canada! I was so blessed to be able to attend with a media pass. Affiliate links used.

I only live a measly 1-1.5 hours-ish away depending on traffic…but that’s a different story for another post 😉 I hadn’t been to Vancouver in over 15 years so this was a a good excuse to go. The Pinnacle Hotel was very nice and the staff was AMAZING and everyone was so helpful. They were happy to help us find places to eat even though they had a restaurant two feet away from the lobby.

The vendors were spread out in two different rooms, with the MommyCon Shoppe in the lobby between them. They had the fun toys that were previewed on the MommyCon facebook page, and lots of other fun stuff. I bought Abel the teether that looks and smells like an ice-cream cone from SweeTooth Baby Teethers. My kids are all fighting over who gets to sniff it, and Abel only likes the cone end and the kids are trying to make him hold it correctly…it’s pretty entertaining.

The vendors were all great and ready to chat. I FINALLY got to meet Allana who works for Diono, I’ve corresponded with her a few different times being a CPST, so that was great. I networked with a few different great brands and hopefully a few giveaways will be coming up soon. Re-play gave me a replacement valve for a sippy cup I was having issues with, and they gave out samples for posting a selfie with their SnapChat filter. Britax had two little stations up, so I checked out their newest version of the B-ready and it was the same length as my Keenz give or take a few. Nested Designs had a bunch of great products, I bought a sleep sack for Abel, it has openings on the bottom so it will last years longer. I’m going to need 500 more. They also had blankets and sleep suits, it was hard to walk away. I also got some samples of reusable squeeze pouches called the Squeasy that are leak proof, and they are a one way valve so you get every drop! I’ll post a review on those soon.

Grovia came to Vancouver with some exclusive diapers and I was excited to get one, but they sold out in under an hour with a huge line up. Unfortunately I was unable to score one for me and two for a friend like we had planned, so I bought three Grovia O.N.E. diapers because they might actually last baby all night…we will see. Tula had some reps there, and they had a cute new robot blanket. I also got to finally see the ‘Free to grow’ carrier, it came out right when Abel was almost fitting the standard so I decided not to get one. There was a booth with beautiful handwoven baby wraps, made in Canada. West of the 4th Weaving is the brand, if you love handwovens you need to check them out. I also saw Evenflo, a mama who makes finger print jewelry (I need to find my info on her, it was amazing), there was a great cloth diaper booth that showed all the different brands and styles. SO MANY different booths I can’t even list all the awesomeness.

Other than fighting for elevators to get around because we had the Keenz (MommyCon did email that having strollers would make it harder..I was warned) the venue was not too crowded. I’m not sure if it’s because it was in Canada, or if it was because everything was really spread out on different floors. I went to the cloth diaper 101 class with Cotton Babies, that was cool to meet the creator. She had lots of great info and I bet she convinced everyone to cloth. Most of my stash is BumGenius because they work and are super easy to use. I would have done a few more classes, but I was too busy talking to other moms and vendors!

The giveaways at the end are always so fun! They had strollers, car seats, cloth diapers, tula blankets, and more! Brie had so many that were only one number off, I still can’t believe she didn’t win!

After the giveaways were over they gave out all the extra goodie bags…that was a zoo! In my picture below you can see the media gift bag on the left and the regular on the right. This years seemed a lot smaller than last year and I’m thinking that’s because it was in Canada and less things could be brought over. I’m excited for the diaper changer clutch from Diono! Abel got to try Mango baby food for the first time thanks to the goodie bag, and he ate the whole pouch! He’s never done that before 🙂 MommyCon gets an A++ from me and I hope they come to Seattle again, because there are no toll roads for me to get there! I would have taken more pictures, but handling an almost 9 month old baby and a phone that wants to die every hour is hard! HUGE HUGE HUGE shout out to Kate who answered all my emailed questions…I have severe mom brain and may have asked things twice..she didn’t block me! Hope to see you all next year! ITSAMOMLIFE17 will still get you $5 any general admission ticket in 2017 for MommyCon.

 

Keenz 7s Stroller Wagon- You need one!

    Wagon was purchased by me! Affiliate links included in this post.

If you haven’t heard of the Keenz 7s Stroller Wagon yet, you’re about to! This is a full size double stroller with the practicality of a wagon. Currently it comes in three great colors: Grey/black, purple/navy, or green/tan. Some of my favorite features are: two harnesses to keep kids safe, a removable canopy with roll down privacy shades, cargo basket with shoe storage, parent organizer, push and pull handles, and an easy fold! Optional accessories include: Rain Cover, color coordinating Cooler Bag that fits the cargo storage perfectly, Cup Holder, mosquito net, beach wheels (roll over sand effortlessly), wind cover, and hopefully the cool seat padding set that is only available in Korea will be here soon! For a limited time if you order from keenz.us the cooler and cup holder are free with the wagon, but delivery time on average is 5-6 business days. Amazon prime is something to consider if you need it fast!

The assembly was easy other than a stumble over the part where the manual shows you to put the rear axle on backwards, once it was all put together I realized it wasn’t working right and flipped it. I was told they are re-doing the manual. I made a video time-lapse of the assembly HERE, a video of the fold HERE, and a fun trailer of clips of the videos HERE where you can see my daughter pushing it through the mall easily with my husband assisting at steering.

The best part about the Keenz is that it pushes amazing! I am somewhat of a stroller snob and this meets my expectations. If I had to compare it to a stroller I’d say its one step above a city select double. I can get up curbs easily, I prefer to walk to the front and lift that handle to pop it up the curb and then go back to the rear and lift that end, I don’t want to jolt the baby since he’s only 8 months. (Recommended age is 12 months to 5 years of age, the wagon can hold 110 lbs total). We took it to our local community days at a park, and it rolls effortlessly over grass. My husband offered to push for a while and I declined because I wasn’t strained at all! I rolled the privacy shades down, and unzipped a portion of the canopy for air flow so my son could sleep. People left and right were asking me where I got my wagon, and I loved showing off the great features. My baby looked like a real VIP during his nap. I would never leave my child unattended as the harness not being used could be a strangulation hazard. I would love to see a panel that zipped over them when not in use in the future.

Let’s talk fold! If I take the large wheels off I can stow it behind my third row if I have a kid back there hold it secure for opening and closing the hatch. If the kids are not with me I can leave the wheels on and slide in with one seat stowed. You do have to remove the canopy for folding, but the canopy supports screw down into the frame, that’s one of my favorite features! Plus the canopy storage bag has snaps so you can attach it to your handle. Full fold video is down below.

Accessorizing! I added a Dot & Dot parent console (review) to the push handle bar, a Bag Nation backpack diaper bag (review) to the pull handle. The Keenz manual says not to hang things from the handle and that the cargo basket can hold 10 lbs, so I use the attached stroller clips on the backpack to keep the bag attached, and it’s the perfect length to have the weight on the basket. Win win! The reason I love this bag so much is because the wipes case is easy access and since the wagon is easily wipe-able, it’s a match made in heaven. The cooler still fits in the cargo area as well. If you choose to use shopping hooks the Dot & Dot console linked above comes with some as well. For extra storage I added the Skip Hop Grab and Go Saddle Bag its perfect for their extras! I have a Brica Deluxe Snack Pod (not pictured) that I can attach as well in the inside that fits a sippy and snack cup, or two sippys/bottles. You just pressure mount it over the covered hinge part. I ordered a rechargeable fan for hot days, and tablet mount (not pictured) for my toddler if I ever need to contain him somewhere he can’t play. The fan is still in transit, but the mount so far has held up to my 3 year old’s use on his crib. (Yes he’s in a crib right now while family is staying in his room..he gets tablet time when I need sleep lol).

Skip Hop Saddle Bag

 

Another thing worth mentioning is that this is certified as a stroller. Keenz is working to make sure you are not denied entry into Disney because of their “no wagon” rule. Also this Stroller wagon is JPMA certified. More that on that HERE from Keenz.

It feels great to have found something perfect for football practice/games, trips to the beach, farmers market, everything! I have an umbrella stroller, and jogger, so I am completely set! Plus, I don’t feel weird if my 3 year old wants to walk, this is perfect for one or two kids. I’ve even seen moms with picture of three kiddos comfortable in this.

 

 

Elastic topped pocket inside cargo basket^

 

Shoe storage, mesh bottom so dirt/sand can fall out ^

 

Cooler in cargo basket ^

 

Cargo basket stored ^

 

Sample can of baby formula to show size, very roomy cooler^

 

close up of cargo basket

 

Folding is actually even faster if I’m not doing it so you can see how!

 

I loved this stroller wagon so much, find my fan group on facebook! Keenz Queenz, there just might be a giveaway happening. Lots of hacks to make the Keenz even cooler!

 

 

 

 

Can’t Wait for Mommy-Con Vancouver!

It’s just over a month until it is Mommy-Con time again! This year I have a “new” baby who will be almost 9 months and it will be his first trip to Canada.

Last year I had so much fun and came away with a trunk load of goodies between my friend and I! You can check out my overview of Seattle’s event here.

One of things I’m looking forward to most is finding new things to check out! I’m always looking for something new and exciting for the blog, and to tell my friends about. I also can’t wait to try Abel in ALL THE BABY CARRIERS! (Drool emoji). I just ordered a Keenz 7S stroller wagon and I think it will be great not only for a blog review, but to stash all our stuff at Mommy-Con. There isn’t room to really push a stroller around, but the 7S should be easy for us to spot tucked away in a corner for easy access. (Bring a carrier/sling/wrap…you won’t regret it!)

I’ll be packing in as many classes/sessions as I can, the schedule was just posted here. Last year the social media one was very helpful to me. I also bought a VIP ticket for Friday’s ‘Not your Momma’s Baby Shower’ event, I have  never attended a VIP one before so I am pretty happy.

I will also be posting a give-away for two general admission tickets that can be used at any 2017 Mommy-Con! So make sure you are following my Facebook page!

Grab your ticket now at Mommy-con.com and use ITSAMOMLIFE17 to save $5 off your general admission ticket, if you happen to win one from my giveaway you can sell the one you bought or bring a friend! The Vancouver discussion page is here. Hope to see you there! Now… what baby carrier to bring?

Leave a comment and let me know what you are looking forward to, or what class/session you would make sure to attend!

Allergy Season is Here! Be Prepared with Scotties Facial Tissues by Royale

This post is sponsored by Scotties Facial Tissues.

Allergy season is upon us! Luckily Scotties sent me an allergy care pack! We are fully stocked on Scotties Facial Tissues by Royal and made a pharmacy run to get all the kids their meds. So far 4 out of 6 kids have seasonal allergies and their prescriptions only do so much. Itchy eyes, runny noses, and sometimes a cough. I was lucky this year and was only miserable for a week, my kids have not been this lucky. Scotties tissues 3-ply or 3-ply with aloe are the best for this time of year, to keep you layered in comfort. If you don’t have time to run to the store you can now get them delivered by Amazon, visit the Scotties section here.

My kids are not letting allergies slow them down! They are out jumping on the trampoline with friends. They take their meds with breakfast and don’t let anything get in the way of having fun! I saw a post Scotties had on Facebook and it’s been so helpful, you take an empty facial tissue box and use a rubber-band to attach it to a full box. That way you can put your used tissue right into the empty box and not have a gross tissue pile that kids tend to leave behind. Genius.

So get out and enjoy the summer! Don’t let allergies keep you indoors! Scotties 3-ply tissue are layers of comfort for your face from runny nose, to watery and itchy eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ideas of Free Things to Do This Summer

  1. #1 is a classic…Go to the park! My kids learned to beg for that as soon as they could talk. It’s now a 15 minute drive for us, but I am going to be using this option a bunch this summer. Kids love basic parks, nothing like a 20 year old swing set to tire them out for a good nights sleep. Hopefully no one puked on the tire swing. If you are lucky, it will have a splash pad! (We are not that lucky close by).
  2. Beach/lake/river/creek. If it’s wet and you can throw rocks at it, kids will have a good time. We like to visit a local park about 30 minutes away that has a small creek perfect for wading. We also drive about 30-40 minutes to the river very frequently for free swimming when this Washington weather allows.
  3. Trails. We live in the mountains so we have many trail options available. Take baby carrier in case you can’t take a stroller to the trail you choose. We love to check out the woods around some waterfalls locally.
  4. Kids programs. We personally love to take advantage of Vacation Bible School (VBS) for something to break the summer up. If you are non religious and in a larger area I bet there is something similar available. Schools sometimes run a day program during the summer.
  5. Set up play-dates. My kids are always begging to go to a friend’s house or to have someone over. If I like the kids I let it happen. Maybe if you get along with their mom, you can split a bottle of wine while they play (or just coffee). Other wise use your free time for doing something for yourself if you are not the hosing home.

Abel is 6 Months Old Already!

My little squishy, my last baby… it’s going so fast! It’s been an unexpected journey so far… We started out on formula and couldn’t get him happy, he had terrible gas pains, he reacted badly to Enfamil so we tried Similac Sensitive. He would only drink 1 ounce every few hours and the doctors were worried, turned out he couldn’t latch the bottles correctly. I switched to Mam Anti colic bottles and they worked great! He was still having tummy trouble with the formula so I decided to breastfeed.. he was 2 weeks old when I did it for the first time and my milk came back fairly easily. I realize I am very lucky. He took to the breast better than he ever did the bottle and started gaining like a champ.

Colic. He was gaining fine but crying like he was in pain almost all day long if not being actively soothed or fed. It was exhausting, we would make appointments to see the pediatrician and he would be mesmerized by the florescent lighting. I would feel so incompetent as a parent explaining how he’s always screaming as he’s being so good, then get home and he’s back to crying.

Finally at 16 weeks I was told to try going dairy free. 3 days later he ended up in the hospital with bronchiolitis (I think that’s the word!) and while in the hospital he was an angel.. the peds doctor that saw him gave me tons of advice on being dairy and soy free. I thought maybe he was being so good was he was too sick, but he was smiling and loving all the nurses. We were released at 17 weeks old and 17lbs due to fluids. The colic never returned!

By 5 months his potty symptoms hadn’t resolved and he was reacting to hidden dairy and soy so I decided to wean him off breastfeeding to formula full time again due to his doctors recommendation . I had no plans to breastfeed but this has been so heartbreaking for me. He was the easiest baby to breastfeed so far even with his latch issues. He just loved it. I got him on Similac Alimentum (so gross, yes I tried it) and he’s doing ok, but he still has the potty symptoms. He doesn’t get the issues from me messing up my diet so that’s the only plus. We will need another appointment to talk about trying the next step of formula.

As for milestones, he learned to roll the week he turned 6months, and now he’s all over! He’s not sitting or trying to crawl yet, but he’s so observant he’s happy to just take things in. I’m not stressing milestones like my older kids.. I’m on Abel time!

 

 

How to “Survive” a Hospital Stay with Your Little

I have had 4 out of 6 of these kids in the hospital at some point. Most of them were breathing related (RSV/pneumonia) so I wasn’t prepared, but when number 3 had a bunch of surgeries I knew what to bring!

I’ve never had to stay for more than a week in the hospital with one of my children, and I count myself lucky for that. (And so blessed they came back home with me)..But there are some things I don’t think I could have “survived” without.

1) Cell phone charger. If you’re like me, you like a charged cell phone all the time. And when your little love bug is sleeping and you’re awake stressed out there is only so much day time cable you can handle. Facebook and Amazon shopping to the rescue! Keep an extra charger in your glovebox or purse and only use it for emergencies, or pack one in your bag if it’s a planned stay.

2) Snacks. I like to eat, my kids like to eat (if they are allowed!) Nothing is worse than not wanting to leave the room where your precious child is hurt or sick, but you haven’t eaten since yesterday. I pack a bunch of trail mix if we are having a planned hospital stay. Tastes great and has the stuff to keep you going. Our hospitals provide drinks.

3) A new toy. On our last trip to children’s hospital we had no idea if it was going to be an overnight stay or just a consultation. We decided to stop at the dollar store and pick out a few things for our then 7 year old to keep busy with that didn’t require too much movement or noise 😉

4) Extra clothes. Make sure you have a full change of clothing for you and your SO if applicable. A one night stay can easily turn into a few days and Monday’s yoga pants might not feel so fresh after a couple nights.

5) A book or kindle. Because even the good ol’ internet gets old.

6) Your toothbrush. Yes, most hospitals will gladly give you one..but in the land of $7 Band-Aids..it might be better safe than sorry if you don’t have amazing coverage. Plus hospital toothpaste is really really gross.

7) Shampoo and a towel. I have made do with what the hospital has so far except for when I’m there having a baby. So if you are picky about what you use in the shower, bring your own!

 

Scotties Facial Tissues Welcomes The Homeless Into Permanent Housing

Scotties Facial Tissues Welcomes The Homeless Into Permanent Housing

*This post is sponsored and provided by Scotties Facial Tissue.

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January was a great month for 100 homeless people in Boston who are now living in permanent supportive housing thanks to the generosity of The Pine Street Inn. The Pine Street Inn is the largest resource for the homeless in the state of Massachusetts. They provide emergency shelters for the homeless, have street teams, they offer job placement programs as well as many other resources.

 

In a partnership with Scotties Facial Tissues, the new residents were welcomed into their new homes with comfort care packs. In an effort to kick off 2017 with a worthy cause, Scotties provided each of the 100 residents with a queen-sized fleece blanket, warm slipper socks, a mug with hot cocoa and marshmallows, and of course boxes of  soft Scotties tissues! These small gifts of comfort can be just what may be needed to turn a house into a home. For so many homeless people, who have not had a room of their own for a long time, this acted as one small step in their journey to a better life for themselves.

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Maria, who has lived in her beautiful home for the last three months was previously homeless.  She has made her home her own by beautifully decorating it in the style of her native home, Columbia.  She is eager to put the Scotties blanket to use this winter!

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Pictured above (L-R)

Lyndia Downie, President & Executive Director, Pine Street Inn

Maria Suarez, Tenant John Robertson, Director of Marketing, Scotties Facial Tissues

Pamela Ricci, Brand Manager, Scotties