All Posts By:

Rachael Burow

  • Travel Vibes

    A Fairytale Town Called Franklin

    The last weekend of October we decided to make a spontaneous family trip to Franklin, Tennessee. The drive from Buffalo, NY was 11 hours and 30 minutes. I visited Franklin 2 other times before that and one being when Nate proposed to me. I instantly fell in love with the town. I feel like each time I go there I come back loving it even more which I didn’t think was possible.

    If you have ever watched Gilmore Girls you know the small and cute town called Stars Hollow. This town reminds me of that, except better! The old fashioned brick walls, the old time movie theater, the short narrow roads that meet at a circle, the local shops that sell the most adorable and unique items, and the best part is everyone is friendly to everyone. You feel so welcomed and it all makes this a dreamy town.

    Philanthropy

    One of my favorite stores in downtown Franklin on Main St is Philanthropy. You walk into a beautiful rustic setup with hanging lights everywhere. There is worship music playing and the staff is incredibly nice. My favorite part of the store was the prayer wall (as shown in picture above). The prayer wall is for anyone to write a prayer!  Their clothes are gorgeous. They are also one of a kind, they only make one or two of the same clothing which makes your buy unique.

    On top of all that they are a charity supporting work in the United States, The Caribbean Islands and East Africa. 100% of proceeds from online sales goes to charity and Minimum 10% of in store total sales goes to charity. If you ever make it to Franklin I would highly recommend this place, if not they also have an online store!

    Breakfast in Franklin

    We visited the great breakfast joint called Merridee’s Breadbasket also located in downtown Franklin on Main St. This cute rustic diner gives you a homey and warm feeling. They have a wide range of delicious homemade southern food. Both mornings I caved and got their french toast which did wonders to my tastebuds. I also got their gold rush latte which was delicious as well.

    Pumpkinfest

    This past weekend Franklin put together their yearly Pumpkinfest. And although it was a chilly day it was a fun time. They closed off all the roads and brought in hundreds of crafters, food carts, and performers. There were fall decorations everywhere, pumpkins on every corner and tons of people dressed up in costumes. There were games, contests, and activities for the kids. It was also funny to watch a lot of people bringing their dressed up dogs. I’ve been to a lot of fall festivals but this tops them all. I can’t wait for Isaiah and Annabelle to experience this stuff together!

    The Factory at Franklin

    Right outside of downtown Franklin (about a 5 minute drive), is a place called The Factory at Franklin. It’s this small mall filled with rustic local shops, art galleries, a record store, local restaurants, juice bar, and brewery. I can’t believe the amount of talent that comes from such a small town. The artwork that is created here blew my mind. “The Factory at Franklin is on its way to becoming an interactive cultural destination for excellence in the performance and visual arts, dining, and retail experience.”

    I visited the brewery located in the Factory at Franklin,  Honest Coffee Roaster’s and got their famous latte. It was SO GOOD! I wish I could get my morning latte there everyday! The company also has a cool story behind how they opened. (Check their site to read about it!)

    Going Home

    Franklin, Tennessee.  It’s so hard to say goodbye… This small town has stolen our hearts. It is such a magical place to be. When we are there we already feel at home and someday in the near future we hope to actually call this place our home for real. I encourage everyone to make it out there someday. You don’t come across a town like this just anywhere!

  • Mom Life

    Technology Ruined Me As A Parent

    Boy with ball

    Technology. It’s a lovely thing because it helps us in so many ways nowadays. It can also be a terrible thing. It distracts you, consumes you, and steals time from you. If you don’t eventually come to a moment of realization, it could cause you to regret not being present for the most cherished seasons of life.

    I thank God that he showed me when he did, although I still feel that for Isaiah’s first year I failed him as a mother. This all started at Isaiah’s 15 month check up. The doctor was concerned that he wasn’t saying any meaningful words at that point (at 15 months babies are expected to say 3 words and know what they are saying.) She was also concerned at the fact that he wasn’t walking yet.

    I remember leaving that appointment in tears. I was overwhelmed and mad at myself. I started to think of what might be responsible for the delays.

     

    Did I give Isaiah too much TV time?

    Was it because I didn’t breastfeed longer than 2 months?

    Was it because I dealt with PPD for Isaiah’s first year of life?

     

    I kept overthinking and blaming myself. But still, I didn’t want to accept it as it was. I wanted to improve myself as a mother… as a person in general. I decided I needed to put aside my worries and do everything in my power to help Isaiah get to where he’s supposed to be.

    The first thing I did was cut tv time down.

    About the time Isaiah should have been developing, I was pregnant with Annabelle and often sick, so I’m guilty of putting Isaiah in front of the TV all the time to keep him occupied. Even after I felt better, TV became such a normal thing in our house that it was always on.  Isaiah learned to ignore us, and have more interest in the tv instead of his real life surroundings. I cut down tv time to 30 minutes a day. Within a week Isaiah was making better eye contact, was becoming more social and interacting with us more, and playing with his toys.

    Next came cutting out phone time for myself.

    In the moment, I never realized how much of my time was spent on my phone screen. Working on social networks is an income for me, but there should have been boundaries. When I’m on my phone I am distracted, mute, and unaware to what is around me. This tells my son my phone is more important than what’s around, and sets a horrible example as he learns how to interact with the world.

    How is he supposed to know what good eye contact is? How is he supposed to know how to conversate? How is he supposed to interact when he has nothing to learn from?

    After cutting out phone time around him I truly saw a difference in him interacting with us. But something that really stuck out to me was how he changed emotionally. He became more loving and less frustrated. Why? Because he got the attention he should have gotten in the first place, and wasn’t met with the blank wall that was me on my phone.

    I needed to make an intentional effort to socialize.

    As a stay at home mom, it’s easy to be isolated within the walls of your home. Some other things we did for Isaiah was signing him up for speech therapy twice a week for 30 minutes, having him play with kids that are around his age, bringing him outside more, and exposing him to different settings, toys, and activities on a daily basis.

    Today Isaiah is now 20 months old. After 2 months of speech therapy and the other changes, Isaiah now knows how to say about 10 words along with the expected gibberish. He also shows interest in wanting to learn and repeat things.

    I know I’m not the only parent out there doing this.

    I am willing to admit to my mistakes and I want to bring this harsh truth to light so we don’t raise distracted kids… So we show them how to express themselves… So we show them how to communicate. If you really truly think about it, it’s incredibly sad how much distracting technology comes into play in our daily lives.

    Something I really battle with is living in the moment. I’m a photographer at heart so I have to have photos of everything. I love that I can look back on moments and frame them in my home. BUT, what is that picture worth if you don’t remember living it. All you remember is trying to get the perfect angle, the perfect lighting, trying to look your best…

    Technology made me less confident.

    There are also times where you find yourself comparing your life with others because of the highlight reels you see on their feeds where everything looks perfect. It took me a while to realize but no one is as perfect as their facebook or instagram would have you believe. That is another big problem we have with technology: it destroys our confidence and eventually cripples our self worth… And when I think of it like that it makes me wish that times were simpler. But it’s 2018 and technology is only going to be more and more embedded in our everyday lives, so we need to teach ourselves balance.

    This generation is distracted more than ever, and now that we’re becoming parents. I’m worried to see what our children will grow up like if we continue this way. We can be the change if we each choose to for ourselves. Let’s do it for our kids, because they are worth it…so worth it.

  • Baby Drama, Mom Life

    Hospital Bag Necessities

    Pregnant Woman

    Last pregnancy I was headed in to be induced. My plan was to deliver vaginally but after 12 hours of a failed induction I had to get an emergency c-section. This time around we scheduled a c-section so I know what to expect and have a good idea at what I need. Most of what I’m going to list are great for both moms who will deliver naturally and by c-section. Let me start off by saying that between your needs, your husband’s needs and your baby’s needs you’ll probably have more than one “hospital bag” (depending on how big your bag is). Lol.

    I received this roomy and cute diaper bag from Jujube. They have a huge selection of diaper bags with different styles, colors, and uses. I got the Be Prepared Diaper Bag (The Queen of The Nile) style. This one is perfect for moms who have two little ones. The room, pockets, and convenience of this bag will blow your mind. I also love that this diaper bag is 100% washable. You can literally throw it in the washer and have it as shiny and new as the first time you used it!

    What I’m Packing For Myself:

    • A Long and Soft Robe. This was a huge use at my last stay because not only was I comfortable but I had something easy to slip on while doing my daily walks to the nursery or whenever I had visitors.
    • Fluffy Socks With Grips. These work well because hospital floors are so cold and slippery. Plus Fluffy socks are always fun!
    • Nursing Gowns. I actually never packed these the first time around but I was gifted them at the hospital by family. They are a total life saver for breastfeeding moms. I had the gowns that clip and unclip making it easy for breastfeeding time.
    • C-Section Waist Band. I know that is one thing I needed last time. Since my wound was so sensitive to touch this is a must because it helps relieve pressure of your clothing on your wound.
    • Breast Pads. When your milk finally comes in it comes in full force…literally. lol. Aside from it being uncomfortable the leaking part was always such an annoyance. Slipping breast pads into my bra or nursing gown helped SO much and It made for less laundry!
    • Manual Breast Pump. Do not waste the space of bringing in your huge breast pump to the hospital! Your milk probably won’t come in until a day or two after delivering. I was given a manual breast pump at the hospital and it helped so much when I was engourged. I also got a head start on saving my breast milk! These things are easy, small, and handy at your short hospital stay!
    • Feeding and Poop Log. Of course for the baby! lol. I got myself one of these last time and it was such a relief having it. The nurses are hardcore about keeping a log of when your baby poops, pees, and eats. It’s also helpful for yourself so you have an idea of when to you will feed the your baby next and which breast to use. This goes on past the hospital stay. I used my log for 2 months last time.
    • Chapstick. Whether you’re pushing the baby out naturally or laying on the operation table your lips will end up dry either way! I was so happy to pack chapstick last time because I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I used it!
    • Toiletries. I brought my own last time and was so glad I did. The hospital shampoo and conditioner is very watered down so it was nice to have my own. I also brought my own tooth brush, toothpaste, face wash, deodorant, and makeup!
    • 1-2 Outfits. One outfit just incase you take family photos at the hospital and a comfortable outfit for the day you leave! I will be bringing high wasted leggings so it won’t be uncomfortable with my C- Section wound.
    • Your Favorite Snacks. Because let’s face it hospital food is never the best. lol. I packed some of my favorite granola bars, candy, crackers, and some drinks! (this also is nice for when your husband stays too!)
    • Camera. I mean your phone could work too but I’m a photographer at heart so I will be bringing my camera to capture some special newborn moments.
    • iPad. This was nice because my husband and I were able to watch some shows, and play some games to make time go by.

    What I’m Packing For The Baby:

    • Pacifiers. The hospital will provide you with them but I didn’t care for the kind they offered with Isaiah. So this time I am bringing my own.
    • Pamper’s Sensitive Wipes. The hospital we delivered at didn’t have actual baby wipes. Just small cloths that you would have to wet before using. This time we are packing wipes to save us the time and hassle. Pamper’s sensitive wipes are all we ever used with Isaiah because he has sensitive skin. We will be using the same for Annabelle.
    • Dr.Smith’s Diaper Spray. Oh my goodness was this the best thing ever once we discovered it! The hospital doesn’t have actual diaper cream from what I can remember and when we did use diaper cream it was always such a mess. This diaper spray leaves your hands clean and your baby’s butt soft and refreshed! I totally recommend this for any mom out there!
    • Hand Sanitizer Wipes. These are convenient and easy for when you have guests! It’s always so nerve wracking when someone else holds your new fragile baby. You want to ask to see if those are clean clothes they are wearing and if they took a shower that day, you want them to load up on hand sanitizer..but trust me as long as your baby isn’t kissed or touched without clean hands it will be fine:) These wipes fit into any pocket and are easy to hand out!
    • Car Seat Carrier. This is an obvious one but just remember to really understand how it works and how your baby needs to be strapped in. The hospital is not allowed to tell you anything when it comes to putting your baby in a carrier/carseat.
    • Swaddles. Oh how I wished I had one before the first few weeks of having Isaiah. The nurses make it look so easy when they swaddle up your baby. Let me tell you..it most certainly is not! lol. My husband and I always failed at it. Isaiah loved to be tightly swaddled as do most newborns. After purchasing a swaddle we were able to easily swaddle up Isaiah!
    • 1-2 Outfits. If you plan on having the hospital photographer take photos your baby will have a cute outfit on in the photos. Also, don’t forget a going home outfit suited right for the weather. Annabelle is a winter baby so we will have to bring a warm onesie, blanket, hat, mittens,and a carseat cover!

    What I’m Packing For The Husband:

    • Air Mattress. We thought the hospital chair (that turned into a bed) would be ok but it made for a rough stay for my husband. He had some serious back issues going on so this time we are bringing a small air mattress to make it easier on him.
    • Snacks and Energy Drinks. As I stated above for what I was packing myself, same goes for my husband! Throw in some of his favorite snacks and drinks..especially energy drinks because those will be needed. lol.
    • Comfortable Clothes. Just to make the stay more relaxing. It’s important for your husband to be comfortable as well.
    • Toiletries. Because obviously just like you, he will be needing some body care as well! lol.
    • iPad/ Laptop. Perfect for playing games, and watching tv when bored.
  • Lovely Products, Mom Life

    Say Bye Bye to Mama Problems With Buy Buy Baby

    Shopping at BuyBuy Baby

    [This post is in partnership with BuyBuy Baby Inc, a brand that I love. All opinions here are my own.]

    I cannot tell you enough how much I love Buy Buy Baby! After having Isaiah I’ve been there probably a hundred times to pick up our baby needs and wants! Now that Annabelle is due in less than a month I know what I need to stock up on in order to have a relaxed transition at home. Buy Buy baby has an endless amount of products to fit all your needs. Out of all the baby stores I went to they offer the best service, prices, and products which is why I am such a frequent shopper there! I wanted to share with you a few items I got to prepare for my soon to be newborn, Annabelle – also for Isaiah becoming a big brother!

    Here Are 9 of My Must-Have Finds

    1. Dr. Brown’s Bottles

    When I had Isaiah my plan was to exclusively breastfeed. We had a hard time with Isaiah latching and he wasn’t gaining enough weight. I exclusively pumped the first 2 months. He had some reflux which made our nights more stressful. When I switched over to the Dr. Brown bottles I did see a big difference. We are saving the time and frustration and starting off with those first. We stocked up on the 4oz and 8oz pink ones too! How fun!

    2. MAM Pacifiers

    The hospital gave us soothies for Isaiah. They were always a bit big for him and he eventually started to refuse them, which made it difficult to calm him. I tried many pacifiers and the only ones that he liked were the MAM pacifiers. Not to mention they have the cutest designs! I got a few for Annabelle!

    3. Aden & Anais Snap Bibs

    I stocked up on some snap bibs because no matter how many times you wash them they work like they did the first time. I have had a terrible experience with regular velcro bibs not staying attached after a few times through the laundry. Plus it helps that Aden & Anais have an adorable selection of styles for their bibs!

    4. Burt’s Bees Calming Shampoo and Lotion

    Many shampoos, soap, and lotions have dangerous chemicals in them. I feel at ease when I’m washing my babies in Burt’s Bees products. The calming shampoo and lotion has a scent that helps put them to sleep too! We stocked up on these!

    5. Chair Top High Chair

    This is going to be a lifesaver since I can use it for both Annabelle and Isaiah. It fits on almost any chair and we can bring it to Grandma’s easily with no hassle, and it’s great for road trips since it takes up little space. We got the Chicco Pocket Snack!

    6. Burt’s Bee’s Baby Mittens

    Newborns tend to scratch themselves, Isaiah did and these mittens came in handy (literally) hehe. They are also made with organic cotton, so you can feel good about these!

    7. Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother

    Isaiah was excited to be getting this (as you can see above)! I have heard so many great things about the Sea Dreams Soother for both babies and toddlers! We got one for both Isaiah and Annabelle to put in their cribs. It helps put them to sleep and soothes them if they wake up. When they finally wake up after nap time this will keep them busy until I get to them.

    8. Baby and Toddler Clothing

    I’m guilty of purchasing clothes for my son and daughter whenever I step foot in Buy Buy Baby. I can’t help that they have so many adorable clothes. I love all the lines there but my favorites would have to be Burt’s Bees Baby and the Jessica Simpson line! We stocked up on some spring and summer outfits for Isaiah and some needed sizes for Annabelle too.

    9. Nursing Gowns and Bras

    I honestly didn’t even know these kind of nursing gowns existed until I was gifted a few at the hospital when I gave birth to Isaiah. They were a complete lifesaver. Not only are they easy and convenient for breastfeeding but they are comfortable especially for us mamas who have had c-sections. BuyBuy Baby has a great variety of them!

    Nursing bras are another lifesaver for the breastfeeding mamas out there. They are comfortable and easy to manage. I’m also guilty of wearing my nursing bra even after I stopped breastfeeding/pumping because they were just so comfortable!

    Help Yourself With 20% Off!

    Buy Buy Baby offers great prices and on top of that when you sign up for their email mailing list they send you a 20% off coupon! Even if you aren’t a mom or expecting, this store is great when it comes to buying gifts for those who are.

    More Photos From Our Adventure

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  • Lovely Products

    DIY Shiplap Walls

    As I was planning out Annabelle’s Nursery a few months back I knew I wanted shiplap. There are many kinds of shiplap and many ways to do it so as a first timer I was overwhelmed. I went to countless stores that carried shiplap but it all seemed liked it would be turned into this huge project. With the limited time we had we wanted something simple, but also something that could deliver the shiplap concept well. I came across Woody Walls and was amazed by what they offer: adhesive shiplap (no nails!) that is thin enough where you don’t need to remove any trim either! I knew this would be perfect for Annabelle’s nursery. I’m not exaggerating when I say, it literally took only 1.5 hours to do the one accent wall. Below I will be explaining how we did it with some added tips and photos!

     

    What you will need:

    • Woody Wall’s adhesive shiplap
    • J Roller/ Rubber Roller
    • Saw/ Hand Saw
    • Safety Glasses
    • Dry Cloth
    • Level
    • Measuring Tape
    • Grade 80 Sandpaper

     

    Before you get started

    • Make sure the wood has laid flat in it’s box at room temperature for atlas 72 hours before installation.
    • Make sure that the wall on which the product will be installed is sanded with a grade 80 sandpaper.
    • Make sure all electrical outlets and switch plates are removed.
    • Make sure the wall is straight, clean, dry, and free of dirt, dust, wallpaper, nails, extra paint or other bumps to ensure that the product adheres properly.

     

    Let the Fun Begin

    1. First, take all the shiplap boards out of the boxes and lay them out individually on the ground.
    2. Make a section of the lighter colored boards and darker colored boards.
    3. After doing that make another pile of the shiplap and make a pattern of light, dark, light, dark, etc. (This way the wall will have an even amount of each! )

     

    1. To ensure that the first row of wood is absolutely straight place first board at the top of the wall using a level and mark a reference line below the piece.
    2. Trace a line with the level from one end of the wall to the other starting from this reference.
    3. Remove the protective film form the adhesive strips on the back of the first board and place it following the reference line.
    4. Stick the top of the board first, then the bottom and press firmly for 10 seconds.
    5. Repeat for each piece along the row.

    1. If necessary, cut the boards with a hand saw or circular blade saw, taking care to properly measure so that they fit perfectly to the adjacent pieces. (We used a circular blade saw to save us more time).
    2. Before removing the adhesive strips, test each board in place because once the board is stuck it cannot be removed.
    3. Woody Wall’s recommends installing boards from left to right, and taking the trim left over from the last piece of a row to start the next.

    1. For a natural finish, take care to layer the joints from one row to the next so that they don’t form a vertical line. We did the Vertical installation style!
    2. Make sure to go over outlet very carefully and cut the exact.
    3. Once you are done with cutting and applying to around the outlet put the cover back on.
    4. Once all the boards are installed, apply pressure using a rubber mallet (we used the wonderful J-Roller that Woody Wall’s provided us).
    5. And there you have it, a beautiful shiplap wall thanks to Woody Walls!

    I highly recommend this company and their adhesive shiplap. Not only is their product beautiful quality but the customer service is great too!