I know that you know that there’s an app for that, but I thought I’d throw even more apps at you to really get you boggled down with more technology. Just kidding – I really love technology and want to share what makes my life easier. I use most of these apps daily, some for over 8 years, and I’ve really come to rely on them for good information and data storage.


Google Photos

One of my (much more tech savvy) friends told me about this app years ago, and I’ve been so grateful to her ever since! In Google Photos, your photos automatically back-up to your Google account. So think, if you lose or break your phone, you won’t lost your photos. You don’t have to pay (unless you have an obcene amount of pics) like you do with the Cloud Storage. All you do is open the app every once in a while and your photos will automatically back-up.

google photos

If you’re concerned about privacy, don’t worry. You can change the privacy settings so that no one can see your Google Photos except you. You can also decide which photos to back-up if you’d prefer to only have a select few. I just love this app because I’m a hot mess. I’ve definitely dropped my phone in toilets, on the hard pavement with no case, and possibly may or may not have ketchup buried in its crevices at this moment. It’s good to know I won’t lose my photos + videos just because I’m a disaster.


Photo Editing Apps

I’m just going to list these because I don’t think they need much explanation. They’re in order of most favorite to lesser favorite:

#1: Tadaa

#2: Afterlight

#3: PS Express

#4: Food Photo Editor

#5: Blur Editor

#6: Layout

Also – any photos edited in these apps will automatically back-up to Google Photos as well.

favorite apps


Lose It

Hands-down my favorite app ever made. Ever. It’s definitely not for everyone. I realize most folks who are trying to lose or maintain weight use My Fitness Pal and a couple of other popular ones. This one has always kept me accountable (when I’m using it properly).

lose it

In Lose It, you count your calories (and carbs, sugar, fat, etc.) for the day. You set your daily calorie goal using their system for your desired results. You can choose from options such as “lose 1 pound a week” or “maintain” or “lose 2 pounds a week”. Whatever floats your boat. Lose It also automatically syncs to your Apple Watch, so your exercises are recorded as well as your steps (if you reach your goal).

lose it app

The reason I REALLY, REALLY like Lose It though is for its customizable recipes + food. You can manually enter recipes and ingredients down to whatever specification you want. For example, when I’m making my Hash Brown Quiche, I weigh the hash browns + cheese down to the gram to make sure I’m on track. That way, I know exactly the calorie count for each slice I eat. They do have foods already entered into the system for you to search and choose from, but I really like having ownership over my recipes.

lose it app


Fitness Apps

I’ll just list these because, again, I don’t know that they need much explanation. In order of most favorite to lesser favorite:

#1: 30 Day Fitness (abs, thighs, butt, total body, etc.)

#2: Daily Ab

#3: MapMyRun

#4: My Trainer Carmen – need a paid subscription, but you can get a free trial – it’s worth it!

favorite apps


The Wonder Weeks

This is a fantastic app to use if you’re a new parent (or doing it for the second or third time and want a refresher) or even if you’re a grandparent. In this app, you get a summary of each “leap” your little one makes. It gives you a forecast for how their moods might be (cloudy + thunder for weeks they may be angry; sunshine for weeks they will probably be cheerful). These are based on two Dr.’s experiences with children and their development.

the wonder weeks

I found that it was about 90% accurate with regard to Corey’s moods and leaps. As a parent, you really get to know your kid and their mood swings quickly. Most of the time, when Corey was about to make a huge mental leap, he’d get EXTREMELY cranky + irritable + clingy about a week before this big leap. My aunt and sister-in-law confirmed their kids did the same thing. I’d look up his leap in this app, and lo-and-behold, he’d be about to make a huge jump.

favorite apps

I liked the comfort of understanding what he was about to learn or experience. This app really breaks down the phases kiddos go through as they’re learning to grasp the things and people around them. It explains why your kid may have irrational fears or anger at certain times (it at least makes you feel like mayyyyyyybe it’s not just you). And please, if you do get this app or one like it, and your kid isn’t fitting the mold to a T – IT’S OKAY! These things are guidelines not rules, bokay? FYI though – only the first 10 leaps are free with the app (got him to 18 months).


Ovia Fertility

ovia fertility app

So, to get really honest for a second, we use this as our “natural family planning” go-to. Birth control makes me a crazy person (well, more of one than I already am anyway), so we stick to the “natural” way. In the Ovia Fertility app, I just track my cycle and enter data to see when we’d most likely get pregnant. It even provides a Fertility Score based on your cycle. We choose to avoid or act on it, depending on our state of mind. You catch my drift…

It’s fantastic because once you enter new data [for example: an ovulation test that’s positive], the app automatically recalculates when you’re most likely to get pregnant. It offers tips for how to conceive such as nutrition, mental health, etc. If you’re like me, you probably googled everything down to the color of paint on the walls that’s best for conceiving. No? Just me? Okay.

favorite apps

It gets pretty exciting when you’re entering data hoping that you’re pregnant. You enter your symptoms (I’m not going into those details – you can use the app to figure those out), and it will tell you if it’s a symptom of early pregnancy or not. My suggestion is to not get tooooo crazy with these kinds of apps. It’s just there to help you keep track – not to tell you how to scientifically make a little human. Guidelines – not rules.


Ovia Pregnancy

ovia pregnancy app

Gaaahhhhh I was so excited to use this app when we finally got preggo with Corey! It gives you a weekly update on the size of your little embryo + symptoms to watch out for. It even tells you what foods are best for brain development, eye development, etc. It’s super fun! BTW – did you know dark kidney beans are really good for brain growth? Just saying. You’re learning from this app already!

I would get giddy looking forward to the weekly update that explained what organs were developing and how big the big man was. There are also tons of articles to research when you’re experiencing a symptom that you’re concerned about. You can get as into the app as you want – all the way down to entering temperature, diet, exercise, and sleep patterns. I didn’t get that into it, but I did enjoy all the features it gave.

ovia pregnancy app

My favorite week in this app was definitely the week they said Corey was the size of a pickle. My aunt decided his name would be Pickle Baby until he was born (we didn’t find out the sex or tell the name until home boy made his debut). We have pickle band-aids and a pickle teether to prove his Pickle Baby Fame.


Pump Log

As the name says it, it’s an app all about breast pumping. I didn’t breast feed Corey; I exclusively pumped. That was my choice, and no I don’t want your opinion. But thank you. This app really helped me learn how much and how long to pump. It even calculated how many ounces I’d need extra in order to quit pumping at my desired time. I liked having the data readily available so I’d know when to start/stop. And to be totally honest, I was in such a mommy fog in the beginning, I’d totally forget if I’d pumped or not.

pump log app


gUnit

gUnit app

This is the app for people who suck at math. Like me. Or it’s for anyone who cooks, weighs, measures, etc. things all the time. When I’m creating a recipe, I like to stick to simple measurements, so I’ll usually convert things from mL to cups and tablespoons and things like that. This app does that for you automatically without you having to worry your pretty little head. I taught all of these conversions, so I should know them by heart. Sadly, there’s just not room for that info in my old noggin’ anymore.

favorite apps

But also – can we just talk about the name for a second? Hilarious.


What are some of your favorite apps and what do you use them for? I’m always on the hunt for something new!

So I’m not joking when I say that we spent a small fortune trying to find the right baby gates for our stairs. I bought almost every trial gate online, which then meant we had to return it via UPS or FedEx and eat the shipping cost. Nothing at Target, Buy Buy Baby, or anywhere else was quite working for our new (beautiful but difficult) staircase.

baby gates for stairs

We didn’t want to drill any holes in our walls, so we use all spring-loaded gates. We even bought these little guys to help protect our walls.

Baby Gate Guru Wall Protectors

[amazon_link asins=’B01LZV0JZP’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’atalioraeweya-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’5a8b8635-6976-11e7-835d-23a450c60d47′]

baby gates for stairs

baby gates for stairs

We went with this little number for our upstairs gate. You can adjust the springs to fit so it worked with our baseboards and our pillar. Jon adjusted the springs perfectly (I tried to do it myself, and that didn’t work out so well), so I don’t worry at all when Corey goes and shakes on the gate like a monkey in a cage. It’s super secure! It is NOT auto-closing like our downstairs gate, however, so you do have to make sure you lock it in.

Summer Infant Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate

baby gates for stairs
baby gates for stairs
baby gates for stairs

This is our gate at the bottom of the stairs. This was BY FAR the trickiest staircase to ever try and baby proof. One up me. I dare you.

On one side, we have an uneven surface because of the “baseboard” and the wall. On the other side, we have a tapered pillar surrounded by wrought iron. It was almost the end of my sanity trying to make this work. In the end, we found the things listed below that worked for us!

This gate is extremely secure (our son and nephew have both but it through the ringer) and it’s also an auto-closing gate. That’s awesome when you’ve got your hands full going up or coming down the stairs. No worries there! This bad boy isn’t going anywhere.

Dreambaby Chelsea Extra Wide Auto Close Security Gate

baby gates for stairs
baby gates for stairs
baby gates for stairs

We also needed to extend the gate to get it past the wrought iron, so we bought this extension to go with the gate.

baby gates for stairs
baby gates for stairs
In order to use the spring-loaded gate on the banister, we had to order these little accessories.
baby gates for stairs
You can adjust them based on the width of your banister, which for us, was thinner at the top and wider at the bottom.

baby gates for stairs

baby gates for stairs

baby gates for stairs

We wanted to be able to have a solid place to put our foot on the bottom step, so we had to angle the gate in order to get this space. It doesn’t look the best, but it works just fine and dandy, thank you.

baby gates for stairs

Whew! Corey’s only 14 months old, and I finally feel like his “nursery” is finished.
#momfail

Between selling our home, living at my mom’s, living at our in-law’s, moving into our new home, then having to move everything from the second floor out and back again [in a matter of 9 months], I’d say that I’m almost insane. Almost. I finally feel like we’re finished with Corey’s nursery/room now, so I’d like to share the final product!

This was his room at our house in Dallas, and while I loved it for all the [late night feeding and crying] memories it held, I’m happy to have updated and upgraded his room at our home in Houston. The items in his room now are all basically the same as they were then, so the links should still work for the pieces.

nautical nursery

nautical nursery
nautical nursery
nautical nursery

nautical nursery

nautical nursery
nautical nursery
nautical nursery

nautical nursery

nautical nursery
nautical nursery

nautical nursery

nautical nursery
nautical nursery
nautical nursery

I had to hang this fun gift up in his room! Our family friend named a star after him on the day he was born, and I couldn’t love this anymore! I think it’s so cool and such an awesome gift!

nautical nursery

This sweet quote is just outside Corey’s room – in between the other [hopefully future] kid’s room. I found the quote on Etsy, and it just really spoke to me. It reminds me daily that children are a gift and a miracle.

nautical nursery
I had to throw in a picture of pure joy. This kid here is enjoying the free froyo at Jason’s Deli. You can see it in his eyes that’s he’s his daddy’s son. Sugar is his life now.
nautical nursery

I can’t believe that one of my closest friends having TWINS! I’m beyond excited for she and her hubby to experience the absolute joy that babies bring. I’m also beyond excited because it’s just so fitting that she’s having two at the same time.
Tea for Two twins baby shower
Back when we were youngins, we would joke that I would live on her property (because, of course, she’d be totally rich, duh) and I’d take care of her kiddos. She’s very career-driven (and damn good at what she does), and I’m the domestic-type. Our little plan was working out so well until we both fell in love and got married. Put a kink in the “I’ll raise your babies” idea.

Tea for Two twins baby shower

But… now she’s about to experience the absolute best job she’ll ever have. She’s going to be an amazing mommy, just like she’s already an amazing friend, wife, coworker, etc., etc. Is she beautiful, or what?

Tea for Two twins baby shower

To show her how much we adore her, some of her friends and I put on a Tea for Two babIES shower. It was just perfect! Everyone did their own pieces and we pulled it all together right before the shower. Most of us didn’t even live in the city where we had the shower, so it was a lot of Google Sheets and Pinterest boarding that got us organized. These girls were so much fun to host with!

Here are a few of the details from the day:

Tea for Two twins baby shower
Tea for Two twins baby shower

One of her friends tied these faux flowers onto tea bags. It added such a sweet touch!

Tea for Two twins baby shower
Tea for Two twins baby shower
Tea for Two twins baby shower
Tea for Two twins baby shower
Tea for Two twins baby shower

We had a fun game where the guests wrote something funny or encouraging on diapers. That way, when mom or dad are changing in the middle of the night, they have something to brighten their very tired eyes.

Tea for Two twins baby shower

We went with books instead of cards and everyone signed their book. Love this!

Tea for Two twins baby shower

Anne’s friend just “whipped” these up after a long work week and a flight from California. No big deal. She’s kind of fantastic.

Tea for Two twins baby shower

She also arranged the absolutely gorgeous flowers for us. They matched the decor perfectly.

Tea for Two twins baby shower

For food, we kept it simple with tea-themed items, like these homemade scones.

Tea for Two twins baby shower

Cucumber dill + pimento cheese finger sandwiches

Tea for Two twins baby shower

Smoked salmon + cream cheese finger sandwiches

Tea for Two twins baby shower

We ordered these small bites from a wonderful local bakery: orange citrus tarts + chocolate fudge brownies + [my fave] Mexican wedding cookies

Tea for Two twins baby shower

These sweet napkins with the babies’ initials added a very sweet touch.

Tea for Two twins baby shower

For my gift, I decided to get my sweet friend some things that I’ve been given and loved.

These bags are just the right size for a weekend bag for baby and toddler. I use ours for every trip we go on! They’re also extremely adorable. [I purchased ours at a local boutique – Magpie’s Gifts in Cypress – where I had them monogrammed. Love Magpie’s!]

Tea for Two twins baby shower
Tea for Two twins baby shower
We also asked that guests not wrap their gifts so that the mommy-to-be wouldn’t have to bend over and go through that work. Instead, we went around and would explain why we purchased the gift we did for her. It was very sweet to hear what everyone had to say!
Tea for Two twins baby shower
 I also stocked the bags with some things that I’ve found to be my staples for a happy baby (and mommy).
Tea for Two twins baby shower
It was so much fun to shower my sweet friend and her babies with love. I can’t wait to meet them!

I’m definitely not the pinnacle of information when it comes to doing the Mommy thing, but I’ve found a few helpful things along the way. My friends, family, and physicians have been wonderful with their advice and helpful tips. I hope they’re helpful to you, too!

Ibuprofen Dosage Chart
children and infants ibuprofen motrin chart
Tylenol Dosage Chart
children infants tylenol dosage chart
Ages & Stages Learning Activities
This is a great resource if you need different activities to do with your kiddo at every age (games, conversations, vocabulary, etc.). It also tells you things your little one can/could/should/will be doing with each milestone. Take it, of course, with a grain of salt. Corey definitely wasn’t doing everything exactly on the mark – some prematurely and some later on. I think with charts like these, it’s best to know that it’s just something that could be going on. Don’t stress if your little one isn’t doing EXACTLY what this little diddy says.

Click Here

Medical Advice (for those 3 a.m. panic attacks)

Our pediatricians have been EXCELLENT when it comes to providing information and letting us gleam what we want from that information. They were never too pushy nor too laid back. I think having that confidence in your pediatrician makes a world of difference! Here’s a link to the advice I’d look up when I was freaking out in the middle of the night over [insert whatever parents freak out about at 3 in the morning]. I hope it’s helpful to you!

Click Here

I will say the best advice I can give you though is to ask for help and be willing to receive it. It truly does take a village, and I’m extremely grateful for mine. They’ve helped me on my journey to raise this chubby muffin.

baby and puppy