Saturday, November 10, 2012

Reviews: Baby Carriers for All Moms

Baby carriers have been around for at least 37 years when the Bjorn baby carrier was introduced. Since then we have been introduced to the Ergo, Beco, Boba, Moby Wrap and I am sure there are more. But it's only when you become a mother that you truly understand that they are a wonderful necessity.


When I first became a mother I borrowed a Bjorn from a friend because I wasn’t sure I would like using a carrier. Well I was wrong. It was the best thing that happened to me. I would take hour long walks with my daughter to get back in shape or to get her to nap. Everywhere I went, she was attached to me. As she got older I had her face forward so she could see the world in a new way. I would point things out to her and do touch and feel with her. This not only helped her, but it also helped me. It helped me feel closer to her as she continued to grow. It can be an adjustment carrying a baby outside your body when you carried them inside for 9 months inside. Your not always prepared for that. I found that the baby carrier helped me to maintain that connection.


There are several carriers out there and there is not a best one. There is the best one for you and your child. I have found among my friends and mothers group that the commonly used carriers are: Bjorn, Ergo, Beco and Moby Wrap. Again, it's all about finding what is right for you. I am hoping that by reading this it will give you an idea of what fits best for you. There is no right or wrong.

How did you come across this carrier?

Bjorn Mom: I registered for it at Babies R Us while expecting my first child.
Beco Gemini Mom: In my Mommy & Me class at Mothers' Haven, we discussed the benefits of "squat-seating" carriers as opposed to "crotch-dangling" carriers for infant spinal development.  The Becco Gemini was recommended over the Ergo, which I already had, because it allowed for forward and backward facing in the front carry position and because it had more padding.
Ergo Mom: I have the organic ergo in blue Recommended by a friend and read lots of reviews
Moby Wrap Mom: My friend had one before I had kids and I thought it was so cool. It's the only one I tried with my daughter.

How long did you use it for or are you still using it?

Bjorn Mom: I've used it for both of my children up until they reached the weight limit so about a year each time.
Beco Gemini Mom: Still using it; it's been about 1 year
Egro Mom: I am still using it and it's been 2 years.  Got it when Camden was about 4 months old and am still using it with Bailey who is 10 months now.
Moby Wrap Mom: I used it for about 6 months with my first daughter, mostly because she was the only one and I had her in a stroller a lot. I am still using it currently with my 7 month old.

How durable has it been?
Bjorn Mom: It's still in great shape, even after both kids!
Beco Gemini Mom: Very durable; hasn't even faded after several washings
Ergo Mom: Very durable, a little fading from the wash
Moby Wrap Mom: The Moby wrap is durable, however I think it has stretched out a little bit over the last 2.5 years. The nice thing is, every time you put it on you can cinch it more and tighten it if needed.

What are the perks of having this carrier for you and your child?

Bjorn: the closeness. I love having my little ones close and still being able to have two free hands!
Beco Gemini Mom: Versatility - grows with the child without having additional pieces to buy (unlike the Ergo); allows for front, side, and back carrying; allows for forward and backward facing in front-carry position; great support for baby; adjustable crotch width adds to baby's comfort and makes front carrying easier on mom's back as child grows; comes in a variety of neat designs so it feels more individual
Ergo Mom: Very easy and quick to put on and then baby fits in quickly too.  Used the infant insert when Bailey was a newborn up to 5 months.  Andy (hubby) has also used it to carry Camden and the straps are easily adjustable.
Moby Wrap Mom: The best thing about this carrier is the versatility. There are (I think) 7 ways to wrap it. It can grow with the child and be used to accommodate a child's favorite position. It is also super compact. I can fold it so small that it fits easily in my diaper bag. The only down side might be how silly I look putting it on.

What suggestions would you give mothers that doesn't have a carrier?

Bjorn: Get one! But make sure it will fit a wide range of weight, for instance, newborn to 35 pounds
Beco Gemini Mom: Test it out on baby first.  You don't have to have a carrier as soon as you get home from the hospital.  Whether you try it on at the store or borrow it from a friend to take for a test run, baby's got to be comfortable in it or it won't get used!
-If you do feel you must have a carrier before baby is born, be prepared to buy a second one later on!
-Make sure the whole thing can go in the wash.
-Learn about the implications of squat-sitting versus crotch-dangling for a child's spinal development before you buy.  That knowledge may very well impact your decision.
Ergo Mom: A carrier is a must have for all sorts of activities outside or inside the home - shopping with 2 kids especially; bonding with baby; when my babies were/are fussing and won't sleep I carry them for a couple of minutes and that puts them to sleep. I can still go about doing household chores and cooking with them in the carrier.  I use my carrier almost on a daily basis and it probably is my best baby buy.
Moby Wrap Mom: For mother's that don't have a carrier, I would suggest "trying out" a variety of different carriers. Put your friends carriers on, borrow them for a couple days and see what you like/dislike about each one. You want to make sure the carrier is comfortable for you. Even a 6lb baby seems heavy when you are carrying them like a kangaroo. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Barack Obama 44th President


However, we may feel about our elected President Barack Obama, lets wish him luck. May our children see a better tomorrow. This can only start by us parents supporting each other and being the best parent we can be.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mothers Event at The Pump Station ~ 20% off, Baby Carriers & Belly Bandit + More Giveaways

I thought how can I get some of the best brands to our mom... by hosting an event at the must stop shop for moms, The Pump Station in Westlake. The event is a check list of what you will need as a first time mom and what you missed second time moms. I will have vendors with information about baby carriers, bands to shrink down your waist back into shape, and so much more.  So come out and enjoy. No purchase necessary.

When: Saturday, November 3rd
Where: The Pump Station in Westlake - 2879 Agoura Road, Westlake Village, CA
Time: 11am-1:000pm

* 20% Pump Station in-store discount

* Belly Bandit will be picking one mom to fit into their Belly Bandit band and following their journey as they shrink down their waist size.

* A limited supply of Belly Bandit tote bags will be given away

* Belly Buds will tell you and show you how music effects your baby

* Buy some unique bows and burping clothes

Giveaways raffle includes:
Belly Buds
http://www.bellybuds.com/
Ergo Baby carriers
Bjorn carrier
Moby Wrap
Beco baby carriers
Belly Bandit

So much more to come....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fashion: Matilda Jane Clothing Trunk Show

Kate in Matilda Jane Clothing
I love fashion just like any other woman out there. Now that I have a little girl and another one on the way, fashion has taken on a new meaning. I am always looking for fun, comfortable and shabby clothing for my daughter, aka my little “pixie.” So, who do I turn too?-- often, my friend Natalie. She is always on top of the latest trends, not only for herself but for her daughter, Kate, and she often runs her own trunk shows.

Recently she posted a picture on Facebook of Kate in a darling outfit. She is wearing a simple pair of jeans and a top, but it had a fashionable “wow” effect. Of course I, along with other friends and moms, had to ask, “Where did you get the outfit?”  Turns out, it was by Matilda Jane Clothing. Once I went on the company’s web-site, I was amazed! The clothing is precious… just what I was looking for. It has fun colors, fabric and great styles. Most important-- it’s comfortable.

As mom’s we are busy! And sometimes fashion is the last thing you have time to think about. You can make it simple by mix and match your daughter’s basics with something that makes a splash. Have her jeans paired up with one of Matilda Jane's shabby tops or your basic top with their knit ruffle pant bottoms. Start off with a couple of items to jazz up your daughter’s wardrobe. Matilda Jane is designed for the ages of 12 months - 12 years old, so you have time to continue to add the “wow” factor to your daughter’s closet. You can even start by winning a piece of the Matilda Jane Clothing line from our blog (See below).

This Wednesday, September 26, 2012, join Natalie's Matilda Jane Clothing trunk show, exclusively sold on-line, from moms to moms. To look through all the fun clothes, go to www.matildajaneclothing.com.  If you would like to order, create a wish list, email it to yourself, and then forward that email to leat@matildajaneclothing.com.  Make sure to have a convenient contact # so you can be call to get payment. Be sure to mention Mothers of the Valley blog to get 10% off your purchase an extra goodie. $4 flat rate for shipping, how often do you see that?

Enter to win a piece of the Matilda Jane Clothing line by just commenting on this article on what your idea of fashion is for your little one. Be funny, be honest, and be yourself.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Food: Gluten, Dairy, Egg & Peanut Free Cookies, Oh Yum!


My husband was out of town on business recently and came home with best cookies EVER! Isabella's Best Baked Goods cookies. An even bigger surprise was that they are gluten, dairy, egg, and peanut free. Did I mention yummy?!?! My husband is allergic to whey, which is a protein found in all dairy products. So, when I find a dairy free products as amazing as this one I must stock up for him. I want to stock up on these for me!

It's amazing to me that in today's time when I say, "no dairy please" people still think it's a life style choice, smile and ignore me. It's not a lifestyle choice, like I change jean brands. This can kill. Luckily, most times there is so little dairy in the product that it will just cause my husband a stomach ache for a couple of hours to a couple of days. This is the best case scenario vs. a visit to the emergency room. With just one bite he can tell how much dairy there is in a product. I worry because people can be so careless about this. Some unsupervised tween or teen with food allergies will take another person's word and drink their latte or eat a piece of something that can cause a deadly reaction. Yes, high school and middle school kids pick up their lattes before school too, just like the rest of us. I have yelled at so many people about this. I can go on about this all day.

On a happy note, check out Isabella's Best Baked Good cookies (http://isabellasbest.com). They are better then any cookies you will find at any bakery or Whole Foods. I will be on the look out for yummy Gluten, Dairy, Peanut free items and let you know what I find. Until then enjoy some cookies.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Inspiration

The Olympics are here and no athlete does it alone. It's determination, hard work, coaches and most important the parents that help them accomplish these dreams. Here is P&G's inspirational ads to let us moms know "The hardest job in the world, is the best job in the world." 


P&G London 2012 Olympic Games Film
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMunV1Y4X2o 
  
Here are the kids having fun (2012 US swimming teams Call Me Maybe video)
Call Me Maybe - 2012 USA Olympic Swimming Team
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPIA7mpm1wU&feature=plcp

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: Mommies Make Pancakes with Tyler


I feel that Tyler Makes Pancakes (by Tyler Florence & Craig Frazier) needs a second mention. The reason is not just because it is a fun and adventures read, but because it also brought four moms together to cook some amazing pancakes. We try to get together about once a month so our kids play together. We take advantage of this time to exchange stories, gossip and talk about issues that effect us and our kids. Another reason for me, maybe my favorite-- we just love to share our favorite dishes! 
 
Tyler Makes Pancakes was a treat for us because we were able to read a fun story to our kids and make a delicious dish together. “First it seems like there are a lot of ingredients but then you realize they combine well to make very good tasting pancakes,” says Tristan’s mother, Cynthia. “The blueberries melt perfectly in the pancakes and add the perfect amount of sweetness. The story does well of describing to the reader where the ingredients for the pancakes come from. A simple story to read for breakfast and a great recipe to make any day” she said.
Cynthia whipping up the pancake batter

Both the mothers and the kids had fun. Raudel’s mother Lindsay says, “He (Raudel) loved being able to mix his own batter and was super excited to eat what he helped make.” Abbey, my daughter, tossed her fork aside and decided the best way to eat her pancakes was with her hands. I do have to mention that we did add a bit more milk to make the batter a little thinner than the recipe asked for.  
We look forward to getting together again and make some more tasty meals. Though sometimes it is more work to cook with the kids, it’s a great adventure to have together. Until next time-- Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Events: Plum Organics Taste Test

It seems like everyday you hear of a new organic product that says it is the best choice for our kids. Many of
Katie getting a serving of the Little Cremes
these may be healthy, but many also fail to pass a taste test with our children. Well, one company that has continued to measure up for me and my daughter in both health and taste is Plum Organics.

Plum Organics was put to the test when they came out to one of the West San Fernando Mothers and More meet-up dates. Its products had to take on the toughest critics... our toddlers. Well, the kids just ate them up. We, the moms, were ecstatic that they were enjoying these healthy snacks. Plum Organics "Mish Mash" products have solid nutritional fruit and vegetables value. Camden had to be cut off from the pomegranate, beet & berry "Little Cremes." While Abbey and Katie indulged in the purple, roots & fruit Mish Mash.
Abbey enjoying her Mish Mash

It's hard to find a product that parents approve of and our kids will enjoy. When this does happen, we want to tell all of our friends!

All Plum Organics products come in BPA free packaging and certified organic. It has a great variety of healthy snacks for infants to toddlers. For more information on Plum Organics products you may go to  http://plumorganics.com.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Welcome

Mothers of the Valley, welcome! We've designed this website to better connect with each other. Let's share information on our meet-ups, current events, products we love, our favorite books and anything else we want to share. It takes a village to raise a child, so here's a place to help build ours!

Live with Kit Hoover

Kit on the set of Access Hollywood Live
Kit Hoover juggles being a mother, wife and, dare I say it, the spunky half of the morning talk show Access Hollywood Live with co-host Billy Bush. Kit brings that every-day, every mom’s point of view to the show.

Abbey and I with Kit
At twenty-five years old, she made her TV debut in 1995 as a cast member of “Road Rules: USA the First Adventure.” Flash forward to 2012, she is a mother of three (two girls-- Campbell, 9, Hayes, 7, and a son, Crowley, 4) and a wife of 13-years to husband Crowley. She keeps it all together with her southern charm… and an occasional glass of wine (as she is not afraid to tell you).

Kit is our first celebrity mom featured on our blog. And she jumped right on board, enthusiastically lending her time and thoughts! I met with her in her AH Live dressing room. She greeted me with her energetic smile and a heartfelt, welcoming embrace. As I looked around her dressing room,I could see that her kids are never out of sight or mind. She has pictures of them all around her vanity mirror.
 
Her schedule is tight, so we had to get right into it. We begin with, what else, but breastfeeding… and how she would plan some of her feeding times.

"I use to plan my breastfeeding around whatever show I wanted to watch. Like, I loved Rosie and she was on at 10am, so I started feeding at 7am"

- Did you make a conscious decision to breastfeed?


"No, I kind of didn’t know what I was going to do and it was my first so I wanted to do everything right. I breast fed the first one [Campbell] for six months. The second [Hayes], I started a show on ESPN right after, so I only breastfed for a month. For the third (Crowley), I did a colostrum at the hospital and went straight to formula and that was the best thing for me. It was too much, because I had so much going on. I was scared that they weren’t getting the best nutrients from me because I was so worn down. So, with the first it was great because I had a great milk supply. But as I wore down ...  I went six months [for the first], basically a month or two[for the second], and then just in the hospital."

- Is there a difference between having one child and having three, in regards to breastfeeding?

"My whole rule of thumb is happy wife, happy household. Would I have liked to have breastfed the third, absolutely, but it was too stressful. My girls are really close in age and they really needed me, so that was too much. That made me a better mom. The formula they make is great stuff. I still had the guilt through."

- Every mom has an issue with feeding. Was it different between the three kids?

"I was fanatical with a schedule. When they were babies I did this book called Baby Wise and all three of my kids slept through the night starting pretty early. So the baby feeding… I was [super strict] with this thing. It was feed, wake, sleep, and it worked for me. So, I loved the schedule. As far as feeding goes, it’s funny, I’m a southern woman, so I don’t get caught up on things. My kids had sugar early and they did whatever. And it is interesting now they are 9, 8 and 4 and they have no food issues. They'll eat a cookie and they’ll eat broccoli. I don’t make anything a big issue. My big thing now is we always have a good breakfast. I mean they have waffles, but maybe I will do whole grain. I don’t get too “thinky.” Also we always sit down for dinner. We do macaroni and cheese night, taco night. Just don’t get too “thinky,” because then they will have issues. Especially females, I don’t want them to have any weird food issues. I grew up with an Oreo jar and we could take anything we wanted, and I think I look fit. I eat sweets, broccoli, I work out… just moderation."

As we're talking about feeding from nursing to solids, we must move from her dressing room to the stage for Access Hollywood pre-tapes (all those intros you see her do on Access Hollywood at night). Instead of waiting on the side lines, Kit has me in the middle of the action. There I am asking her “mommy” questions, while her hair is being curled, her make-up is being touched up, and stylist Nicole Allowitz is making the final wardrobe decisions. This is pretty normal for Kit-- balancing her Hollywood job and motherhood.

- What are your must haves when going anywhere with your children?

"A must have for every mother out there is wipes. Always keep wipes in your purse. Whether it’s for the“boogs,” whether for the clean hands, wipe down the airplane tray, whether it’s where you are sitting at dinner, always have wipes. Those [restaurant] tables are nasty." 

- Did you work out while pregnant?"

"When I was pregnant I couldn’t really work out so I made it all about the babies. I don’t get to “thinky” about motherhood... I like being with the kids. I enjoy motherhood! This job is great though."

- Is there a balance between this job and being a mom?
"For me I think this is the perfect job. I never worry about work, but I get anxious when I am not with the kids and missing something. I need to get out at 9 and be a full time mom. It’s the best thing. It works for my schedule and I am not missing anything."

- Kit used to get up at 5 am to go for an early morning run with her father and brother. How does she bond in the same fashion with her children?


"Every weekend we get donuts. That is our ritual. My mom and dad said they enjoyed every moment of my and my brothers childhood, and I want my kids to have that same feeling. Whether it’s playing, throwing ball… we have a trampoline… I just like to be with them."

- With so many books, shows and information available, what do you think about all the resources for mothers?

"Here is the deal with being a good mom-- be flexible. It’s the same thing with having a schedule, be flexible. Things are constantly changing. Don’t be so hard on yourself, be flexible and laugh along the way. My mother always said to me, 'this mother thing has no finish line. You’re a mom forever so enjoy the ride.’ Sometimes you take the wrong turn, sometimes you’re doing great, sometimes you need to make a U-turn, but just keep driving."

- How about teething... I blame everything thing on teething… What did you do for that?

"I felt so bad when my kids were teething. You really feel so helpless. I tried the southern thing-- bourbon, because that works great. I tried Orajel. I gave them constantly popsicles, anything cold. They say adults cannot handle the pain of teething. That is how bad it is."

- You've gone from reality TV, to sports TV to Hollywood. Which have you enjoyed most?

"Definitely Hollywood. My husband and I laugh because I did reality TV and that is like teenage boys, I did ESPN… it's all middle age, I did Real Simple and now I feel, I hope, I am representing the moms out there. I’m a true stay at home mom. When they hired me they said they need a real mom and then I show up the first day with my beat up Volvo with McDonald’s falling off the sides, and they were like, “woo a little too real.”

- How is it balancing motherhood, work and a marriage?

"I have so much guilt. I don’t care what people say, “balance” is a four letter word. There is no such thing as [being balanced]. Sometimes I’m better at being a wife, sometimes I’m better at being a mom, and sometimes I’m better at my work. In general you do the best that you can at balancing, but it’s never equal. And I do think now at 41 I need to work on, to focus more on my husband. I focus more on the kids before him because I have the work guilt.” [She turns to her hair stylist]. “So, Tommy (hair stylist) will focus on my husband. Hey, it takes a village…. hahaha"

- Have your kids seen you on TV?

"They don’t care. The other day the show was on and they said, “this is so boring.” I said to my daughter the other day, 'you could be anything you want to be when you grow up… like a hostess, a talk show host' and she said, 'Oh mom that is so boring' (laugh). You’re not cool, your mom."

- Have you been star struck yet?

"Julia Roberts. I was very star struck with her and I liked her as one of the best. She is so grounded. She is cute. I feel like we would be good friends because she is a good mom. In this business, someone who is a real mom has to have no ego, because kids don’t care who you are. They just want you to be with them. They don’t care what your job is."

- Have you finally joined Lisa Rinna's mommy club? [Kit has been gunning for an invite more than once, when Lisa fills in as a guest host of the show]


"Oh no. They asked me to do it, but as a typical mom I couldn’t do it that night. One of my daughters had a practice and one a game. Kids always come first."

As we wrap-up our interview Kit is about to race home to her most important job…as “mom.”

“I never knew what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to be a mom. I’m so fortunate that I got a really fun morning gig."
She left with one last piece of advice… She and her friends would take turns watching each other’s kids. There were four moms. So, on Monday they would drop their children off with one mom, then Tuesday another, and so forth. It equals to three days they had covered for babysitting. Three mornings she knew she could work out, go grocery shopping, or do whatever errands needed to be done. They all looked forward to it, including the kids who could play with their friends. Kit learned it from her mother, who did it when she was little. 

“I hope if the moms watch they get what I got when I use to watch Rosie. While a stay at home mom, I breastfed around her show. It made me feel as if I were a part of something. I felt good watching it. And I hope we give people that.”