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When it came time to plan a birthday party for the boys, I knew I wanted to add one extra special touch to the day. I loved the idea of a custom birthday shirt for each of them, but nothing I found came close to what I was envisioning. That’s when I remembered Courtney Bock Designs. I’ve been following Courtney over the years — meeting her first through her sister’s blog and later following her beautiful (expanding!) family through her Facebook — and have watched her business grow into something amazing.

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Courtney Bock Designs is a monogram-junkie’s dream. If you can imagine it, Courtney can personalize it. From baby bibs to custom crib bedding, from monogrammed drink koozies to totes, tumblers, bridal items and flags…even jewelry! I’m not kidding, she has it all, and each piece is special and unique. When I first contacted her about my idea for the shirts (“sailboat-ish with their age on it? Kind of?”), she took my ideas and ran with it. I couldn’t have been happier with the results.

cbd birthday shirt

The shirt she designed for Owen. It was a huge hit and makes me smile every time I see it. Ryan’s is a onesie with the number “1” in the same design. (Also, nope. That’s not a picture of Owen!)

I am thrilled Courtney offered a giveaway to These Little Moments readers, because you guys just need to check her out. I basically want to deck myself in head-to-toe personalized items.

From today through Friday, enter to win a monogrammed envelope clutch from Courtney Bock Designs!

cbd clutch

This unique clutch comes in 14 colors and is customizable with your initials in a variety of thread colors. The removable gold chain attaches to rings inside the bag, giving you the option of using it as a clutch, cross-body or shoulder bag.

cbd clutch 2

How to enter in three easy steps:

1. Visit Courtney Bock Designs and check out all she has to offer.

2. Leave a comment here telling me your favorite item.

3. Like Courtney Bock Designs on Facebook.

Easy! Happy shopping!

Also, I’m officially 30 and a HALF now, so if anyone would like to send a personalized gift, you know where to find me.

We were pretty well stocked with baby stuff after Owen was born, so we didn’t really need to get much for Ryan. As it turns out, though, there were some items that I feel I wouldn’t have survived without the second time around, and since I’ve seen some bloggy moms who are pregnant with their second asking what they could possibly need, I thought I would share what I found helpful.

Baby Carriers

I wore Owen a fair amount, but this time it has become an absolute necessity that I wear Ryan. There’s no way around it, with a toddler, I need my hands to be free. When Ryan was new the Moby wrap worked wonders at calming him during fussy times. I use it less now at three months, but occasionally I’ll wrap him in a hug hold if he’s being a pill and he will chill out.

Three-ish weeks old.

Unless he’s sleeping, Ryan does NOT like the car seat, so when we go shopping, putting it in the cart isn’t an option. Owen still rides in the cart anyway, so if I were to put the seat in the big part I’d basically have no room for groceries. Because of this, the Bjorn is always in my car ready to go. If he’s sleepy, I’ll face him towards my chest and he’ll conk right out. If hes’ awake, he faces outward and takes everything in. I also use the Bjorn when I take Owen to the playground or just playing outside at home. That way I’m free to push him on the swing, play with cars, etc.

If Ryan is anything like his brother, he will eventually become too chunka munka for me to carry him in the Bjorn comfortably, so at that time I will switch to our Boba, which works all the way through toddler years.

Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper

Both of my kids hated the bassinet. It felt like the minute I lay them down in it, their eyes would pop right back open. Fail. Owen spent many of his early weeks sleeping in the bouncy seat, but with a toddler that comes into our room in the morning, I didn’t want Ryan on the floor in the feet zone. I mentioned this to a friend, who offered to loan me her Rock and Play. I had read reviews of it at some point and knew people loved it, but I didn’t know how much of a convert I would become.

The design keeps baby at a slight angle much like a bouncy seat, which helped with that newborn reflux. It’s high enough off the ground that I could reach him from bed and if he just needed a little soothing, I could gently rock it back and forth. We moved him out of our room and into his own by four weeks when he started sleeping longer stretches. I would set it up in the center of the room, and easily fold it up in the morning. We used the R&P for about 5 weeks before I transitioned him into the crib. I probably would have used it longer, but because he sleeps swaddled I was unable to latch him in, so as soon as he started wiggling around I didn’t feel it was safe for him any longer. That being said, by snapping baby in, the Rock and Play is designed to hold baby up to 25 pounds. I wasn’t willing to give up swaddling for that, though. Which brings me to…

The Miracle Blanket

When Owen was born he didn’t like to be swaddled. After a week or so of trying to force it, I gave up until around four months old when I brought it back to help transition him out of our room and into his crib. I can’t help but wonder if it was just first-time parenting naivety on my part. I may have done us all a disservice by not finding a swaddling solution that worked for him. Maybe we would have slept more! There’s no going back now, but when I heard about The Miracle Blanket, I knew I wanted to have it from the get-go this time.

(Not my baby)

 

I’m glad I did! This baby straightjacket kept him from smacking himself in the face and I thought it worked better than any of the Velcro ones I had tried. I can’t give the blanket all the credit, but Ryan is a really great sleeper, and I know the blanket has contributed to that. We used the Miracle Blanket from day one until just now at 12 weeks when he started to break free and wake himself up. We are now using a double swaddle method with a muslin blanket and a sleep sack, but I am tucking these blankets away for future children for sure.

(Actually my baby)

We also purchased a double BOB jogging stroller, but I haven’t used it too much since Ryan is too small to sit in the seat and I have to use the car seat attachment. Which works awesome when he’s screaming!

So really, we didn’t need that many new things at all. Got any must-haves to add to the list?

I was not compensated in any way for these reviews. I just really like this stuff!

I don’t need anything for Christmas, other than some jeans that fit right, but if you ask me what I want, they’re kind of big-ticket items this year. Why? I guess because those are the things to dream about. So, if funds were unlimited, I would ask Santa for…

Diamond stud earrings that I would wear every day!

A fancy new HTC Evo (I’m a total phone junkie…good thing we have an unlimited plan!)

Pretty much everything about this bathroom (I really don’t like our bathroom).

New boots.

What’s on your no-budget dream wish list?

Ask me anything!

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Alltop, all the cool kids (and me)