Saturday, June 17, 2017

Product Review: mifold - the Grab-and-Go Booster Seat

A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to try out a new product for parents...the mifold Grab-and-Go booster seat. It is a compact booster seat (10x smaller than regular boosters) that can easily fit into your bag. It adjusts the belt to fit perfectly on the child instead of lifting the child up to the height of the belt. The seat is designed for kids 4 years and up and at least 40lbs. It has been fully tested and meets or exceeds the United States, Canadian and European Safety Standards*. 

This seat comes in super handy for a second vehicle. Dad's/Grandparents etc. I know my husband hates having the bulky car seats in the back of his car for the occasional times he needs to pick up the kids. This can be folded up and put away when not in use. And it is easy to set up. I watched the video and then had Charlotte give it a shot. She is still a little young to do it herself, but was happy to sit on the seat. She said it made her feel like a big girl! 

I was happy with the lap belt and where it sat on her. It was tight and felt secure. Watching the video is a must. As well as reading the instruction manual. You don't want to risk installing it wrong!

Not only is this seat ideal for Dads, it is also good for carpools and of course travel. Airplanes, taxis, rental cars....they always present a dilemma of how to properly secure the kids. I always get worried if we have to ride in a cab briefly that Charlotte is not properly secured. And the annoyance of carting around a big car seat to a foreign country is never my favorite thing. And the rental car companies will change you an arm and a leg to rent a seat. Not to mention finding an Uber with a car seat? Hard and usually more expensive. This is the ultimate solution for traveling families! 

I love the idea and convenience of this seat. It still makes me nervous to put Charlotte in it on a regular basis. She is too wiggly and doesn't want to sit up straight the entire time. She is also still in a 5 point harness, so buckling the seat belt by herself would take some practice. And while it has passed all the safety standards, it doesn't feel safe for my 4 year old. Maybe when she gets a little older. I would definitely use this when traveling, especially for taxis. Now that Norah is almost big enough to face forward, the next time we go to California we can put her in the car seat my Mom has and Charlotte gets to use the mifold!  

Travel friendly

Installation and daily buckling takes some getting used to. More work than a regular booster
Might not be comfortable on long drives
Not ideal for younger kids

*US NHTSA Standard FMVSS 213, Canadian RSSR CMVSS 213, European ECE R44.04

Sunday, May 28, 2017

a BIG change

Many of you already know, some of you have probably guessed, but for the rest this may come as a bit of a shock....we are moving. We recently received orders to PCS to Philadelphia, PA this summer. We have known about this for almost a year, but with the military nothing is ever for sure (we actually almost, for a second, got sent to a ship!), so we didn't want to make it official until the military made it official. 

I know what everyone is thinking....but why? What about the house you bought? I thought the plan was to stay there for a few tours? Ah yes I had all those questions and more when we found out too. I was mad. I was sad. I was confused. We had plans. We wanted to stay in the area for at least one more tour, if not the rest of his career so we could live in this house we built. We finally achieved the "American dream" of home ownership. Our daughter was born here (in the house no less!). We have settled in. But we wouldn't be moving if it wasn't important. Matt was offered an amazing job. A job a lot of people try to get. It was a rare opportunity, one we just couldn't turn down. So as much as we didn't want or plan to leave our home and friends in this area, we decided that what was best for our family and Matt's career was to continue on our Navy journey to Philly. While moving is exciting and there are a lot of things to look forward to, like exploring our new city, moving also upsets the equilibrium we currently have. It means a whole lot of chaos and issues to deal with. 

One of those issues is what to do about our house. For a long time we went back and forth on whether to sell our home or rent it out in hopes of possibly moving back into in some day. After a lot of talking and putting it on the rental market to see what happens, we found a military family to rent it. I am extremely nervous, but hope and pray they will love and care for our home like it is their own. 

Leaving our home also means leaving our family. We were so excited when we got stationed in SOMD because Matt's brother and sister and their families lived in Northern Virginia. Over the past three years we have been able to spend a lot of time together, and we have welcomed three babies! Jack, Norah and Ryan have all been born during our time here. Such a blessing to be able to watch our kids grow up together, even if it is was for a short time. We will sure miss all of them a lot. Thankfully we won't be a plane flight away, just a bit of a drive (3-4 hours depending on traffic). It means when we come visit it will be for an entire weekend and not just an afternoon. 

I will also miss my Monterey friends who just happen to be living in the DC area too! I love that the military life brought us together one more time. We don't get to see each other as often as we would like, but we try to meet up for playdates and BBQs and holidays. I know I will be close to these ladies for the rest of my life. Fingers crossed the military reunites us again someday!

Just the talk of goodbyes and being farther from family has brought to light an issue we didn't think about right away, how the kids would react to the move. Obviously Norah could care less, she is just too young to understand. I do think she will have a transition period where she doesn't sleep well. She is super temperamental when out of her crib and element, total opposite from Charlotte who has (so far) adapted great to change. BUT this move is going to be hard on Charlotte. She has already gotten a little upset. She asks what is staying with the house (her playground) and what is going (all her toys, her bed, her "things"). Once we reassured her all her favorites would also be at her new house in Philly she seemed to be ok. I am sure there will be an adjustment period for her too. This will be her third move, and the fourth house she has lived in in her life (5th if you count my belly. It counts yes?!). Four different houses by the time she is 5. Not many people can say that! 'Tis the life of a military brat right? 

Speaking of military brats....want to take a guess on how many homes Harley has lived in in his 9.5 years? 5 so far, 6 once we move to Philly. He is a moving professional. I remember when we moved to San Diego and we took him to dog beach for the first time. He has never been so happy! And our first night in the house we had no furniture, so we slept in sleeping bags on the floor. I put his dog bed next to me but he insisted on burrowing in to my sleeping bag with me. As long as he has us he is totally happy. I do hope we can find a great dog park for him in Philly. 

One of my biggest annoyances/issues about moving....finding everything I need all over again. While all of our things will be coming with us, I have to spend some time finding our "favorites" again. First up on my list is a gym. I have been so lucky to find an amazing Fit family every place we have lived. I had my bootcamp crew in San Diego. My Stroller Strides Mamas in Monterey and I have my World Gym Family here in SOMD. I have met some amazing ladies at the gym and I am going to be so sad to leave them! I not only look forward to getting my workout on every day, but I love chatting with them, or grabbing coffee or lunch together. I am so thankful for the friendships I have made here, I am going to miss everyone so much!

After finding a new gym, which I hope can be on par with what I have found in the past, it's doctors, dentist, hair salon, nails, grocery (I suppose that's necessary lol), etc. One thing I can already check off my list: preschool. We already have both girls signed up for school, Charlotte 5 days a week and Norah 2 days. And the school is around the corner from our new house, yay! I am definitely looking forward to less driving in PA than we have had here. I love the isolation and peacefulness this area has offered, but I will not miss the driving. I am also looking forward to exploring the restaurants of Philly. While we live kinda sorta close to DC, we are not close enough to go out to dinner regularly and there isn't much around us. It has been totally fine. We cook all the time anyways. But date night is calling my name. So are the cheesesteaks. My plan is to try each and every reputable cheesesteak in town so by the time we leave I will really know who is the best....Pat or Geno...or is it someone else??!

Norah checking out the Philly guidebook. Read up sweet girl!

Geez this post got pretty long! There was a lot more to write about than I originally thought. While we haven't loved everything about living in Southern Maryland, it did become our home and we have been very happy here. More than anything we will miss the wonderful people we have met while living here. Like any place, the people make your experience. And we have met so many great people....our tour here has been unforgettable!

Until we meet again!!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Spring time fun

Spring is one of my favorite times of year. It really is a toss up between spring and fall. I absolutely love the colors of fall but the lush green of spring is equally as stunning. As soon as the weather warms up, even a little bit, all the trees begins to get their leaves and the green is so bright! It is such a welcome sight after the long cold winter. Although this year winter was fairly mild, we got lucky. 

Now that spring is coming to a close, I figured it was time to recap our Easter and Spring time activities. LOL. Typical me, I'm just late getting this one out. Time sure has flown by these last few months. I can't believe summer is just around the corner! Charlotte only has a few more days of school, our camping trip is coming up, and weather! 

Easter was so much fun this year. Both girls are now old enough to egg hunt, which was a blast to watch! We took them to 3 egg hunts this year, wait 4. I forgot the one at Charlotte's preschool. By the time the actual day came around the girls were egged out! They stepped up though, don't you worry, none of the eggs the bunny hid were abandoned. 

The first hunt of the year was at Charlotte's preschool. It was a beautiful hot day. Each child was assigned a letter and had to find all the eggs with that letter. We had "V". Part scavenger hunt, part Easter egg hunt. There were even a few eggs hidden for Norah and the other siblings to find. The girls had so much fun!
Charlotte and her bff Emma! 

hunting for eggs at school. 

all done and all smiles! (because I let her have a candy)

trying on sister's bunny ears. 

the face you make when you realize your dress is on backwards. dah!!

We also went to an egg hunt at a park near our house. The Easter bunny made an appearance and we attempted a cute photo. Not quite as good as the staged one from the mall last year, but this one was free! Charlotte was all smiles but Norah was too distracted by all the people and eggs. 
the official Easter Bunny pic! Norah refused to smile. 


and they're off!!!

the winnings :)

We were also able to get together all the cousins for some egg dying, egg hunting, and candy eating fun! These kids are so cute and they sure do love each other a lot! 
so cute! cousin love!

All four cousins. They got sick of the photos pretty quickly...

attempt at a sister photo

daddy and his girls
After all the family photos it was time to egg hunt. But first, a photo with the baskets. 

oh my gosh this face! 

making her game plan. 

it's a race to the egg!!! 

her expression!! haha

checking out the goodies!

And finally we have the actual Easter holiday! Baskets, eggs, and breakfast. No family photo this day, Mom and Dad decided to kick it in jammies all day instead. Priorities!

Harley enjoying his cookie from the Easter Bunny!

Dresses back on and ready to find some eggs!
finally time for the hunt. 

and they're off!
Harley rooting them on from the deck!

trying to convince me to eat all the candy now!

so happy to be in the swing!

After egg hunting I somehow managed to convince them to take just a few more photos. These are my favorites!! 

cooking with Dad!

And finally, a few more egg hunting photos.....kidding! I am sure you have seen enough of that! How about some random photos of our Spring time actives.....
Charlotte at soccer! She loved it!!
We spent a day in the city checking out the botanical gardens and playing with our best friends!! This place was on my bucket list. Glad to see it, but I will say it is not stroller friendly at all. The walkways are narrow and difficult to pass other people. And when we went the kids area was under construction so they didn't have as much fun as we had hoped. If you are really into botany this place is amazing!

just the girls 

exploring the trees :)

she wanted her picture next to the pretty flowers 

We also spent a few hours strawberry picking, playing on the playground, and meeting the animals. A southern MD bucket list item complete!

The latest edition of "who wore it best".....I think Harley takes the win again! So serious. 

nice weather = family stroll

dog crate is the best place to play!

two cool kiddos

his majesty Mr.H

that smile!!! 

sharing her popsicle with Harley


who says you need paper to color on!

showing mama her moves at gymnastics!
her first pony!! 
April was a lot of fun and I am still shocked that it is over! Shoot, May is almost gone now too! Gotta get outside and enjoy these last few weeks where the weather is beautiful and not too hot yet. I have a feeling it is going to be a long and hot summer.