20 Baby Items Every Parent is Thankful for

What You Really Need

It’s so easy to get lost in the millions of baby products out there.  How do you decide which ones you need or don’t need.  These 20 products below are everyday (or close to everyday) items that are helpful, unique and amazing quality.  You will leave you wondering how you lived without them.

20 must have baby items

  1. UPPAbaby Vista Stroller
  2. DockATot
  3. Noodle & Boo Skincare
  4. Natursutten Pacifiers
  5. Coco and Kiwi Diaper Bag 
  6. Britax Boulevard ClickTight
  7. Bloom Fresco Chrome
  8. Solly Baby Wrap
  9. 4moms mamaRoo
  10. Puj Tub
  11. Nosa Frida Snot Sucker
  12. BioKleen Baby Laundry Liquid
  13. Bloom Baby Care Baby Wipes
  14. LEVO Baby Rocker (sweet grey) by Charlie Crane
  15. Spearmint Love Swaddles
  16. Tranquilo Mat
  17. Milk Snob Cover
  18. Como Tomo Teether
  19. Joovy Boob glass bottle
  20. Dohm White Noise Machine

Already have one or more of these items?  What do you think of them?  What else would you add to this list?

Other Posts You May Like:

Two Under TwoWhat it’s Really Like with Two under Two

DIY Cake Smash Photos (When You’re NOT a Photographer!)

10 Minute (or less) Beauty Routine


Postpartum Healthy Hair Tips & Tricks

SugarBear Hair Vitamins

A huge thank you to SugarBear Hair for sponsoring this post.  All opinions are my own.


Before I was pregnant or had kids I didn’t know that postpartum hair loss was even a thing that women experienced.  Quite honestly I had only heard of women talking about “the glow” and how their hair was stronger, longer, and healthier from pregnancy (I think they were all lying, just kidding.) Unfortunately for me I experienced the complete opposite.  I have long hair (and yes, its all my hair, no extensions.) But, long hair does not equal healthy hair.

I dreaded showering and brushing my hair.  I would end up with so much hair in my brush or in my hand it was depressing and most of all, frustrating. And don’t even get me started on those damn baby hairs…  What was I doing wrong? and how could I fix this?  Here are a few tips & tricks on what I did to help with my postpartum hair loss:


  1. Take Two SugarBearHair Vitamins a Day

    I take mine right before I brush my teeth at night, its become a great routine.  Plus, I normally have a little sweet tooth at night and these little gummies are tasty.  They help with hair strength, elasticity, stopping hair breakage, and growing longer and stronger hair.  I’ve noticed less hair loss, tangles, and dryness, which were all HUGE problems after having my babies.  You can buy them in one, three, or six month supply.  I highly recommend the three or six months to see full results.  If your curious about the ingredients, SugarBearHair doesn’t keep them a secret, here is a full list of the effective ingredients in every gummy.  SugarBearHair Vitamins

  2. Keep Hair Washing to a Minimum-

    I used to wash my hair once and sometimes even twice a day!  It was drying out my hair and encouraging it to fall out more easily!  Stick to dry shampoo when you need it.  Also, braids and updos work so much better with “dirty” hair, I promise!  If you haven’t read my Quick Beauty Routine I share a secret on how I still shower without getting my hair wet, because no one wants to be smelly.Long Fishtail Braid

  3.  Brush Right- 

    No, not your teeth (even through thats important too!)  Your hair.  Always start at your ends and work your way up.  I can’t stress this enough.  You need to work any tangles you have out at your ends first, if your starting at the top, I can guarantee you’re pulling out healthy hair and causing more hair loss then needed.  Also, find a brush that works works for your hair type.  This is my current favorite and its under $10!Molly and Vivian

  4. Keep up with Trims-

    I have always been awful at this but, it’s a must!  I know when you’re trying to grow out your hair and struggling with hair loss the last thing you want to do is go get a hair cut/trim.  It feels like you’re going backwards, I get it. But healthy, fresh cut ends are the key to preventing breakage and giving your hair the best chance to grow out.

Thea Nike Sneakers & Hair Braided

5.  Give it Time-

Postpartum hair can be a real b*&@#  and sometimes it doesn’t want to go away overnight. Don’t rush it & don’t stress – it will get better!  Once you’re giving your hair the help it needs (using the tips above) give your hair time to change and become healthy again.  In the meantime enjoy that precious bundle of joy!

Mom, Henry & Vivian

Other Posts You May Like:

Lily Jade Diaper Bag Easy Pull Through Braid Tutorial

18 Stylish Diaper Bags

What It’s Really Like with Two under Two



What it’s Really Like with Two under Two

Two Under Two

The Big Announcement

17 months and 13 days.  That’s how far apart Vivian and Henry are, exactly.  I still remember finding out we were expecting baby #2. Henry was about to be ten months old and the Fourth of July was around the corner.  The Fourth of July seems to really stick in my head, we were out on a boat with family and I didn’t want people to be suspicious when I turned down homemade sangria.  We weren’t ready to share our secret until after our first appointment.

pregnant 4th of july

Fourth of July 2015. I was about 5-6 weeks pregnant.


At the time, Henry seemed like our “big boy.”  We didn’t see him as little baby anymore, he was standing on his own and on the verge on walking, in our mind he was our little toddler. We were excited about baby #2 and once we got past our rocky first couple appointments we shared our big news!

Here’s where you can find Henry’s announcement shirt.

Pregnancy Announcement

What we didn’t realize is that everyone else still saw Henry as a baby.  So now we were “those people” with a baby, having another baby. Most people thought we were crazy.  I can’t even tell you how many times I heard, “But, Henry won’t be two when the baby is born.”  “Was this a planned thing?”  First of all, if someone announces they are pregnant you have two choices:

1. Say “Congratulations” and be excited for them.

2. Keep your pie hole shut and say nothing at all.

End of story. Unless, you are the father of that baby or the one who is going to be caring for the baby those are your options.

Being Pregnant & Having a One Year Old


I think this is for most people having a second baby, but your pregnancy will fly by.  Seriously, it felt like one morning I woke up and was 37 weeks pregnant and our little peanut was going to arrive at any moment. But, with the realization that she would be here any day I started getting feelings of “Holy Shit, this is real. I’m going to have two babies soon.”

During this pregnancy I got a lot of stares, looking back now, I get it.  People are curious, they are trying to do the math in their head, “How pregnant is she? and how old is her baby she is carrying?”  I should have just worn a T-shirt that had it all, “Yes, this was planned.  I’m seven months pregnant.  My baby is 15 months old.”  It would have answered a lot of questions I’m sure.





She’s Here

It all became real when she arrived, life was about to get crazy.  Vivian graced us all with her fast arrival on February, 10th (a week before we expected her to arrive.)  We were so excited for Henry to meet his little sister.  I must admit, at some points my “mom guilt” took over and I felt bad that we were cutting Henry’s “only child” time short.  He was very interested in meeting her, but it only lasted a few minutes before he decided playing with trucks in the lobby and running around getting attention from the nurses was more entertaining.

Henry meeting Vivian


We went home as soon as the hospital would let us.  I missed Henry, it was the longest I had been away from him.  My heart was SO full and I was on cloud nine.  Our first week home was much “easier” then I had anticipated with my husband taking a few days off and people visiting Vivian reality hadn’t set in yet (I just didn’t know it yet.)

Vivian was born on a Thursday and I believe Derek went back to work on the following Tuesday or Wednesday.   Thats when the panic set in, I was worried.  How was I going to survive the day by myself.  Slowly, I got the hang of hit and we had a schedule down.  But, getting out of the house was a whole different story.  It was hard.  Henry still needed to be carried in any parking lot and carrying a car seat at the same time was difficult.  Again, this brings stares and people trying to do the math.  A full year later and I’m still getting “those” mathematician stares.

Henry and Vivian Napping

I remember the first doctors appointment I had for Vivian, She was two weeks old and Derek had an important meeting he had to go to.  I was on my own and again, I was panicked.  It wasn’t a walk in the park, Henry didn’t listen in the lobby (he wanted to run around) and I had a crying, hungry newborn that wanted to nurse and I wanted to cry too.

Fight or Flight


A few times (okay, maybe more) I felt pity for myself.   I felt like I needed more help, I didn’t always want to be stuck at home,  I wanted a few minutes to myself, and even more sleep.  PAUSE.  I want to be clear, when my husband was home he was helpful and when my mom and sister were free they were willing to give me a hand too.  BUT, Monday through Friday 6am-5:30pm felt long when I was alone with the babies.

It didn’t take more then a couple weeks of feeling like it was impossible to get out of the house before I figured it all out.  I figured out how to juggle it all on my own.  If you’re reading this and you are pregnant with your second baby, know you will figure it out too, its like some magic power “us moms” have!   The exhaustion may never go away, but it will be filled in with lots of hugs, snuggles, kisses, and millions of happy moments.  Below are moments where I started to get it “down” I started to feel like I could really handle this two-under-two thing.


Looking Back


Both kiddos were sick a few weeks ago and we went in to see their pediatrician.  She reminded me that this is the busiest I will ever be.  Even though it may never seem feasible… in a few years I will look back and wonder how I did it.  When I think about it, as a mom with two kids 17 months apart, you just do everything that needs to be done and you don’t think about it until someone brings it up.  Getting in and out of the car and car seats, diaper changes, lots of crying, feedings, lack of sleep, messy house, learning to multitask.  I don’t think anything of nursing Vivian while making Henry lunch and trying to find cartoons he wants to watch until I think about how silly I look trying to do it all at once.  You just do it.

A year later and I’m still surviving, I have even had a few brief moments of baby fever.  Don’t panic, it will be a couple more years until another Budde baby joins our gang.  But, I want you to know I would do it all over in an instant, happily.


Other Posts You May Like:

Henry and Vivian20 Baby Products Every Parent is Thankful For

DIY Cake Smash Photos (When You’re NOT a Photographer!)

Bath Time with Noodle & Boo


DIY Cake Smash Photos (When you’re not a Photographer)

Vivian Cake Smash

You Don’t Have to be a Professional

As most of you know, Vivian just turned one and I wanted fun pictures to look back on.  It’s a hot trend right now to do “cake smash” pictures, so I decided to try out my own (I am not claiming these are professional quality.)  I did them with Henry too, but  his birthday is in the summer and it was ideal to do them outside!  With Vivian’s birthday in the middle of winter I had to get clever to do them indoors.  My biggest concern was my background, and secondly attractive lighting.  I don’t have a studio or even an area set up for photography, so I made my own with things I had around the house (and so can you!)

**This post is not a knock against professional photographers.  They are talented people and I admire their work and love getting professional portraits taken too!  This is just showcasing another option when your budget is tight or you’re in a pinch for time.**


photographer cake smash supplies

Here’s what I used from start to end:

White Bed Sheets– The bigger the better – I used a king, but a queen would work well too!

Tape– I used clear packing tape to hold up my sheet you will see below.

Rug or Blanket– A rug is preferred, pull it up to the sheet to give a seamless look, if you’re in a pinch a blanket could work.

Cake– I was lazy and bought mine, but you can easily bake one!

Props– I used a cake stand I made from a glass cup and plate from the thrift store, $3 banner from the Target dollar spot,  a few flowers for on top of the cake from Trader Joes!  All my props cost me under $15.  (Candy hearts were for bribery!)

Camera– Yes, I have a “nice” camera, but your iPhone will take nice pictures too!  If you’re not blowing them up too big and you have good lighting, your phone can take incredible photos, especially close-ups.


photographer cake smash set up

I like to tape my sheet to closet doors, but it is key to have your light coming in from behind you.  Tape the sheet to a wall or closet door that is opposite the wall with a window, this will give your pictures the best lighting.  Try to get the sheet as tight and wrinkle-free as possible and then pull your rug or blanket to where the sheet meets the floor.


Taking Pictures

Don’t be afraid to try a little bit of everything.  Different angles and poses and just keep clicking, my favorite shots are the candid ones.  Sometimes the ones you least expect to turn out are the best captures.  Since you’re not paying a photographer for their time, take advantage, change outfits and props as you please!


Henry was feeling extremely left-out so he took it upon himself to bring up a spoon from the kitchen to have some cake!

Henry and Vivian Cake Smash


I use Lightroom editor, it is an expensive purchase if you’re not using it a lot.  There are a lot of free editors out there that are adequate.  My favorite free PC editor is Fotor and on my phone VSCO.

Also, when editing multiple photos from the same shoot I highly recommend creating your own preset or using one from your app to give all the photos a similar look!


Other Posts You May Like:

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10 Minutes (or less) Beauty Routine

20 Baby Items Every Parent is Thankful for



Vivian Turns One

 Time Flies…

I think I’ve heard a million and one times in some form or another that time flies.  “Enjoy it now, they grow up fast.” “Don’t blink, they will be in college!” “It goes even faster with your second baby!”  Now, I’m that person.  One year old, how did that happen?  It feels like just a few weeks ago we were in the hospital meeting Vivian, however, it also feels like she has been a part of our life forever.  On the flip side, I survived a year of two under two (patting myself on the back.)  Here are a few pictures of her as a fresh newborn…

baby feetNewborn Vivianvivian newbornNewborn Vivian Newborn Vivian

Newborn Photos by Meg Cooper

Little Miss Personality…

Vivian is so different from Henry and it’s been fun to see both their personalities come to life.  She is a little lover, she loves to cuddle and give kisses.  She isn’t afraid to get messy and prefers to use her hands when she eats (we are still working on manners. Vivian loves to “talk” and is just now standing on her own.  She is stubborn and refuses a bottle, but loves to nurse (especially in the middle of the night.)  She is our tiny little peanut weighing just over 16 pounds and standing 27 inches tall.  But, she is healthy and that’s all we really care about.

The Big One

This past weekend we celebrated her birthday with lots of cake, ice cream, treats, and good company.  Keep scrolling to see the evolution of her cake eating…

Good Memories

So much has happened over the past year and here are just a few of my favorite moments we captured of Vivian!



Bath Time with Noodle & Boo

I hope I’m not the only one who looks forward to bath time.  Mainly because it (normally) means that bedtime is around the corner and I may get a few minutes to myself, maybe a glass of wine too.  But, it also means I get to sneak in those fresh smelling baby snuggles before they hit the hay (and of course once they’re sound asleep I miss them again.)

I’m so excited to partner up with Noodle & Boo and give you a chance to win a bundle of my favorite Noodle & Boo products!  I’ll be giving away three bundles and you can find out the details of entering at the end of this post!

After a messy lunch, a craft or if we just need a little quiet, I turn to bath time.  It works like a charm. It’s soothing warmth, gentle sounds, and relaxing smell of Noodle & Boo bath products are everything!  They (almost) always leaving their bath more relaxed.  This dry winter weather has also taken a toll on our babes skin, so right after the bath I lather them in Super Soft Lotion and hit the extra dry patches with Ultimate Ointment. Henry has very sensitive skin and gets flare up’s of eczema during these winter months. We rely on Ultimate Ointment to keep his skin healthy.  And who doesn’t love a little massage after bath time?  Here are a few tips to massaging your little one.

These pictures perfectly depict their relationship.  Henry isn’t always a gentle lover, but Vivian loves any attention her brother will give her even if he is being rough.  I can’t wait till she is a little bigger and can get him back when he is being not so nice.




Each bundle will include:

16oz Extra Gentle Shampoo

8oz Leave-In Conditioning Hair Polish

5oz Ultimate Ointment

You must be 16 years or older to enter and reside in the United States.



Please email me (within 24hrs) at raisingbuddies@gmail.com to claim your bath bundle! Please include your name and address! Thank you and congrats!

Tara Maple
Meghan Jean Cleveland
Jessica Cooper Federico


  1. “Like” Raising Buddies Blog & Noodle & Boo on Facebook (If you already “like” my page skip to step 2 to enter.)
  2. For an extra entry tag a friend in the comments of the Facebook post.  Each friend tagged is an extra entry.
  3. Giveaway Ends Sunday (2/5/17) at 11:59pm CST
  4. Winners will be announced on Monday on here and Facebook



Freshly Picked Giveaway


A huge thank you to Freshly Picked for sponsoring this giveaway!

I am so excited to team up with Freshly Picked and give a pair of moccasins to three different people!  Below are details of how to enter and where I will be announcing the lucky winners!


Today (01/31/17) Freshly Picked released three new moccasin designs and we were lucky enough to get a sneak peak to share!

Spring Orchid 

Robin’s Egg



Henry is sporting Robin’s Egg and Vivian is showing off both Spring Orchid and Dalmatian.  I mean, a girl can never have too many shoes, right?  I’ll be honest, it’s been a little while since Henry has worn moccasins and I was skeptical if he was “too old” to wear them now (he’s two and a half.) He seriously loves them! We love going to the YMCA and right now with the snow and wet ground the Y asks that kids come to daycare with a second pair of dry shoes and Freshly Picked moccs are perfect!  My diaper bag is already filled with a million and one things and I don’t need two more pairs of bulky shoes.  Freshly Picked moccs are perfect for this, they don’t take up much space and my littles love playing inside in them too! #momwin

With most shoes Vivian kicks them off within 2 minutes, with her Freshly Picked Moccs they stay on her feet until I take them off!  Plus, she loves touching the little tassels on them, its so cute!

Giveaway time!

To enter you must be residing in the United States and over 18 years old.

  1. To enter the giveaway subscribe to my blog, if you’ve already subscribe leave a comment about your favorite pair of Freshly Picked moccasins.
  2. Follow Freshly Picked on Instagram, click here.
  3. For an extra entry “re-pin” this.
  4. Pick out your favorite pair of Freshly Picked moccs and keep your fingers crossed!

The giveaway ends on 2/2/17 at 11:59pm CST.  I will announcing the winners here and on my Instagram “Stories.”  GOOD LUCK!


Winners, please email me at RaisingBuddies@gmail.com with your name, address, mock style choice, & size, congrats!

Must claim your moccs within 24hrs (2/4/17 @ 1pm) 

  1. Jilliankrieglmeier@gmail.com
  2. michelle.ragghianti@yahoo.com
  3. janellec@live.com




18 Stylish Diaper Bags

When I was pregnant with Henry, it seemed I was on the hunt for a diaper bag that I actually liked for a long time!  I had found many that screamed “Diaper Bag” and I wasn’t ready to give up on staying trendy just yet (or ever.)  I was looking for a diaper bag that was stylish, no one could know it was a diaper bag, and that I would have plenty of room to stay organized.   I’ll keep it short and simple, after a long search I’ve found some real gems!  Here are some of my favorite places that sell the best fashionable and functional diaper bags.

**Every brand name is “clickable” and linked to checkout what other styles of bags they have to offer.  Here are just some of my absolute favorites.


Lily Jade





Little Unicorn




CoCo + Kiwi



Fawn Design










Puerto Rico or Bust!

We’ve had our holiday vacation to Puerto Rico planned for months and I have been nervous about the flight with our littles for just as long. We’ve heard horror stories of babies crying the entirety of the flight. Henry is a ball of energy 24/7 (he seriously never sits still…)  I didn’t know how he was going to last being contained to one seat on an airplane!  Armed with some advice from a few mom groups I belong to we prepared the best we could.  Side note, I know good parents that try anything and everything and their kiddos still aren’t happy to be flying.  But, I am sharing what worked (and didn’t work) for us to have a successful and easy flight.

The flight from Minnesota to Puerto Rico is roughly 4 1/2 hours long (give or take) plus the time you sit on the runway before take off and after landing. We took off around 7am and landed around 2:30pm (2 hour time zone difference.)

  1. Comfy Clothes-  We left our house at 4am so we had the kids sleep in their outfits that they were wearing to the airport.  Because we were traveling on Christmas Eve I wanted to be festive. So, naturally, they both wore their new Christmas Gap pajamas to the airport!
  2. Know the Rules-  I read through the TSA rules on breastmilk, baby food, liquids, snacks… yada yada yada before I packed our carry ons so I knew exactly what I could bring.  To my surprise you CAN bring baby food that is over 3oz (within moderation) in your carry on as long as its in a separate zip lock bag that can be looked at security check.  I also needed to bring Vivian’s medication for her ear infection that was well over 3oz and the same rules applied, zip lock bag that TSA could easily see.  I had zero issues getting through security-it was a breeze.
  3. No Carseat- Yes, you read that correctly, NO carseat.  We decided not to bring Henry’s carseat with after a few moms shared their flying experiences with me.  I am so happy we didn’t bring it!  TSA recommends carseats that are 16″ wide and Henry’s seat is 20″ wide so it would have been taking up a huge portion of our row.  Also,  we kept him busy by rotating seats with him and he slept on my lap and I could stretch out my legs while he laid on me.
  4. Take Advantage- Strollers and carseats are free at baggage check and you can bring your stroller all the way to boarding the plane before having to leave it.  Take advantage of this, it makes navigating the airport 100 times easier!  Also,  people with babies and toddler get to board the airplane along with first class, I recommend this because getting situated and getting carry ons stowed away takes much longer with little(s).
  5. Snacks, Books, iPad, Oh My!-  To keep both kids occupied we packed snacks, a few books, and loaded the iPad with (pre-downloaded episodes) ‘Paw Patrol’, ‘Special Agent Oso’, ‘Octonauts’, and the new movie ‘Secret Life of Pets’.  Henry didn’t watch all of these, but it gave him options to pick from which was nice.  We also packed play dough, a puzzle, coloring book, and a couple small Transformer trucks.  Rotating playing with each toy kept him busy for most of the flight.
  6. DockATot-  I almost didn’t bring it.  I had so much already packed and my carry on was full and even my husband thought it was going to be “just another item.”  But, let me tell you I am thanking my lucky stars that I decided to bring it!  I set it at our feet on the airplane and during takeoff I nursed Vivian, she fell asleep and I set her in the DockATot.  She slept in it for 3 hours!  It was amazing and I will be bringing it along on our flight to Myrtle Beach in the spring! #lifesaver


All of these things helped us get through our flights with minimal problems.  I’m not saying it was perfect, Henry and Vivian both had a couple small rough patches, but overall they were rockstars and I am so proud of them. You know it’s good when a couple families of 4 (now teenagers) mentioned how well our kids handled the flight, they were so kind, and very impressed!


An Open Letter to my Friends Without Kids

I admit it- I am a shitty friend.  Sometimes I don’t text back for hours or I forget altogether.  You ask about dinner or coffee, but the truth is my kids can be real assholes.  Being in public and expecting them to sit still and behave is asking for a miracle.  My toddler is fast approaching his terrible twos and I can’t even get in and out of Target (not even looking at handbags and home decor, I’m talking essentials,  the milk/toilet paper kind of trip…) without a meltdown (or five.) Thinking about going to dinner gives me anxiety.  We just avoid it like the plague. The last time we were out to eat my husband chased our toddler around who insisted on “flying” around like Buzz Lightyear.  I stood, bounced, and breastfed our daughter who cried every time I went to sit down.  Oh, did I mention we ended up taking our food home in to-go boxes and eating dinner after the kids went to bed.  Yes, we are the family everyone hates at the restaurant.  And hey! Coffee sounds fantastic, I practically swim in that shit.  But, coffee in a quiet, cute, calm place sounds like a disaster.  Pretty much the same story as the restaurant, but add the toddler trying to run behind the counter too, its a ton of fun. Typically, trendy baristas aren’t known for being understanding of little ones.

Babies sleeping

Too bad they aren’t always this sweet!  Bow: Eleanor & Co  Blanket: Stella & Lu

Yes, I have a husband who could watch the kids, but our five month old still won’t take a bottle so, I’m lucky if I have two hours away.  Just when I think I could sneak away, my husband gets a call from work for an emergency deployment or the toddler has an ear infection and isn’t feeling well.

Now, you might be thinking I’m antisocial.  I promise I’m not, I used to be a social butterfly!  I was the first one to get dolled up and be ready to rally for night two.  I used to laugh at people when they said they were hungover, even if I drank 4 beers, 3 shots, and 2 mixed drinks the night before.  Today, I drink a glass of wine and I’m ready for bed.  This doesn’t mean I’m not happy, because I’m happier then I’ve ever been,  I just don’t find joy in the same things I used to.

Girl With Drink

Saint Patty’s Day Pre- Kids

I don’t want you to take this as an ‘I don’t care about you’ scenario, because I do. I miss you and I miss our good times together.  You are a great friend and it means a lot to me that you care enough to reach out.  There are just things in my life that have changed and have to come first.  But, I want you to know I think of you often, I wish you the best, and I hope your still staying up late enjoying one too many tequila shots.


XO Mol


tequila shots