When Chloe was born, we used our Doona stroller, and that was basically all she used until after she turned one. Once we knew she needed something bigger, I did a little research and found that the Zoe XL1 was a fan favorite. I mentioned it to my parents, and they ordered it for Chloe as a gift for her first birthday.
While Chloe was in her infant seat, Caleb never asked to sit in the stroller. But the minute we switched over to the Zoe, every time we sat Chloe in the stroller, Caleb would tell us he was tired. We ended up carrying Chloe and pushing Caleb in the stroller - not exactly convenient, nor the point of having a stroller for her.
Since we loved the Zoe XL1 so much, I reached out to them to find out if we could work together. They ended up sending us the XL2 double stroller in exchange for my honest review, and I'm so happy they did! Having a double stroller has been so much easier - I don't know why I fought getting a double stroller so much at the beginning! I think it might be because I feared I wouldn't fit through a lot of spaces with it, but after using it for the last couple of weeks, I have been able to fit through doorways that I definitely never would have anticipated fitting through (including the ones at home!).
A lot of the things I loved about the Zoe XL1 are still relevant with the XL2. Living in the sunshine state, one of my absolute favorite things about these strollers is the canopy. Of every single compact stroller I have seen, the Zoe is the only one whose canopy extends so far down. It has a basic two panel canopy, but it can be expanded as it has two hidden panels - one that's folded in, and another that can be zipped up when it's not in use - totaling FOUR canopies with UPF 50. The canopies are independent of one another, so if one of the kids is napping and the other is paying attention to whatever we are doing, one canopy can be up and one can be down.
A couple of other things I love are how maneuverable it is, and how easy it is to open and close. The XL1 I can open and close one-handed. The double requires both hands, but it is still very easy to open and close. It is a Disney-approved double stroller, and it comes in at 19 pounds, so it can be gate checked with most major airlines.
I also love that each seat reclines, has a 5 point harness, and has an adjustable footrest. The stroller comes with a parent cupholder, child cup and snack holders, and a double belly bar. Have more than two kids? The XL2 can be turned into a triple or a quad stroller with the purchase of their tandems!
I also worried that with the kids size differences, the ride would be "off," but I haven't found that at all. Caleb has napped in there, which means it's comfortable enough for him, and when he does decide he wants to walk, I'm okay pushing Chloe by herself, too. There is tons of storage space underneath, and it made our trip to the zoo last week so much more tolerable since I was able to keep them contained when I needed to!
They also have some accessories that you can purchase, including a half belly bar, an organizer console, rain cover, and a storage bag/backpack for traveling.
The awesome people at Zoe were kind enough to set us up with a 10% off promo code, too! Use "jenise10" for your 10% discount, through June 30, 2019!
When I say that this double stroller has everything I was looking for in a double, I'm not kidding. I have a video review up on my stories highlights on Instagram, so you can check it all out in action on there.
One thing you might consider a drawback if your babies are tiny - you cannot put an infant seat on this. I figure it's worth mentioning!
Let me know what you think! And if you end up with a Zoe stroller, tag me when you post pictures of your kids in it, I'd love to see!
We were provided with a jar of Pic's Peanut Butter in exchange for our honest opinion.
Deconstructed Smoothie Bowl
1/2 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp of your favorite peanut butter
Fresh fruit (we used strawberries and blueberries)
1 tbsp local honey (only if baby is over 1 year old)
1/2 tsp chia seeds
Click below for the printable version!
It's so easy and Chloe has devoured this every time I've prepared it for her.
I first tried Pic's Peanut Butter a couple of years ago and we loved it. It's an Australian company that only uses 100% Australian Hi Oleic peanuts. This smooth no-salt peanut butter (they have a salted option, and a crunchy one, too), is so smooth and has such a rich, nutty flavor. The ONLY ingredient in this particular one is peanuts. That's IT. So I know exactly what it is that I am giving my kids.
I like to use local honey because it helps with allergies and also because I want to support local growers as much as possible. The one we buy is an Orange Blossom Honey and it's delicious.
Let me know if you try this recipe, and how your kids like it!
I have always been very forthcoming about my journey with breastfeeding and how hard it can be at first.
Not too long ago, I was out with some friends, and the topic of extended breastfeeding came up. I am someone who has breastfed for an extended amount of time with both of my children. With Caleb, I went to 21 months, and Chloe is 15 months and still nursing. I came into the conversation late, so I didn't really have time to interject or give my two cents. But when I started paying attention to the conversation, they were basically making fun of another mom for breastfeeding her almost two-year-old child.
Aside from coming in to the conversation late, I was too floored to interject. It's 2019, and we are STILL criticizing other moms for choices that they are making for their family? I honestly wanted to say "What the actual f**k is happening here?"
Who is that mom hurting by feeding her almost 2 year old? Honestly, nobody. Plus, there is no set age for when a mom needs to stop nursing her child. Again, HER child. Not yours, not mine. If a mom wants to breastfeed for two weeks, two months, twelve months, or two years, it's NONE OF OUR BUSINESS.
But the more I thought about it, the more upset I got. Finally I realized that getting upset wouldn't get me anywhere, but educating others about extended breastfeeding might. Anytime I mention to anyone that Chloe still nurses at 15 months, I get a variation of comments, ranging from, "Wow, what a sacrifice," to "Oh my goodness you're my hero." I honestly don't even think about it most days, it's just something we do. You go to your refrigerator in the morning and pour your kids a cup of cow's milk or almond milk or oat milk, and I nurse mine (only Chloe - even I would admit that Caleb, at 4.5 years old, is a little too old to nurse for my taste).
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months with continued breastfeeding along with introducing appropriate complementary foods for 1 year or longer. WHO also recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to 2 years of age or longer.
But considering that fewer than 35% of infants in the US in 2018 were breastfed to 12 months (according to the CDC), there are a large majority of women out there who have no idea what an extended nursing relationship looks like.
Breastfeeding at 15 months looks VERY different than it does 6 months. So if you're one of the women who nursed up until 6 months, then you are probably imagining that the nursing relationship looks the same at 15 months as it did at 4 or 5 or 6 months. But that couldn't be further from the truth! The same way that babies consume less formula once they start eating solids, they begin to consume less breastmilk, too.
Up until 6 months, breastmilk is still their only source of nutrition, and Chloe, for example, nursed every two hours during the day until we introduced solids. After 6 months, solids are introduced, and by the time a baby turns one, they should be getting the majority of their nutrition from solid foods. When she was 12 months, Chloe's feeding schedule looked something like this:
This is still what it looks like today. She nurses as soon as she wakes and right before she goes down for bed. I rarely have to nurse in public anymore, and she has been introduced to cow's milk and she takes it just fine. In the event that Eddie and I have a date night or I have an event, she just gets a cup of regular milk. I don't pump anymore (although I might express if I miss a night feeding and a morning feeding), I don't get engorged, and I don't leak anymore.
Some other myths include that I must get bitten often, because Chloe has a mouth full of teeth. Well, she's had teeth for a while, and has she tried to bite, yes. But I pull her off the breast and cut her off for the session, and she knows better. It doesn't happen as often as people seem to think it might.
Why do I still nurse? Easy - because it's still convenient, and she still asks for it. When it stops being beneficial for either or both of us, that is when we will stop. With Caleb it was 21 months, and while I do have a cutoff of 2 years in mind, I wouldn't be upset if she chose to wean earlier. The nursing relationship is something that is so special, so personal, and so dynamic. It looks so different for everyone.
Whether you choose to pursue an extended breastfeeding relationship or not is nobody's decision but your own. And ladies, again - it's 2019. Lay off the criticism of other moms for doing what they feel is right for their families. Just because it's not the way you did it, doesn't mean it's wrong.
Seriously, with all the love in the world,
P.S. This is not to make you feel bad if you didn't nurse at all, or if you nursed for 2 weeks, or a month, or 6 months, or however long you did or did not nurse. The amount of time you nurse does not make you a good mom. Feeding your child, and being the best mom YOU can be, makes you a good mom.
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*This post contains affiliate links and gifted products. All opinions are my own.
Summer is here, whether you're ready or not! Memorial Day weekend is behind us, kids are wrapping up the school year, the days are getting longer, and the beach is calling your name, right? But before you hit the beach, there are a couple of things you should make sure you have with you. I've compiled my top 5 items for a day at the beach. These work whether you have kids or not - they're really just essential beach items to keep you comfortable and safe in the sun!
If you take nothing else with you to the beach, take sunscreen. Melanoma is becoming more and more prevalent, and it's so scary. There's a big debate going on about chemical vs. physical sunscreens, and what you need to know is that chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays and then release them from the skin, while physical sunscreen literally acts as a physical barrier to UV rays. This article has a good breakdown, and it says that at the end of the day, as long as you are using something that protects against both UVA and UVB rays and use the product correctly (which means reapplying often), then you should be fine. For the kids, I really love using Blue Lizard sunscreen, and I actually use it on myself, too. My skin is really sensitive to the sun and I have found it to be what protects my skin the best.
2. A Towel ft. Tesalate
Any towel will do, but Tesalate sent me this sand-free towel for a review and it has come in so handy! First of all, this "Mojito" design is gorgeous. Secondly, Tesalate towels are made with AbsorbLite™ fabric. They rapidly dry compared to regular ones, while still being able to absorb a lot of water. It's also compact and light, and folds to about a quarter of the size of a regular beach towel. It's perfect not just for the beach, but also for yoga, picnics, and any outdoor activities. And even when it's wet, the sand comes right off of it.
3. A Beach Bag ft. Tingueli
I have been through dozens of beach bags, and this is the first one that I can say is truly functional and does everything I need it to do. The Tingueli beach bag was also sent to me in exchange for my review. It is large and the main compartment comfortably holds 2 full sized beach towels and multiple hats, a book or magazine, baby wipes, and diapers for Chloe. The bottom of the bag is a leak-proof cooler compartment, where you can store drinks and snacks along with ice or ice packs to keep everything cold. It has several pockets on the outside, as well as an inner compartment and a zippered pocket on the outside for things like cell phones and keys. It's truly such a functional beach bag, and at a really great price point!
Your skin needs protection, but so do your eyes! Sunglasses are a necessity for me - otherwise I'm squinting, which in turn creates wrinkles. So bring sunglasses along. We've got really cute ones for Caleb that the kind people from Toucca Kids sent for him. They've got UVA and UVB protection, they are polarized, and they're shatter and scratch resistant. Plus they look really cute, too!
5. A Hat
We all bring hats to the beach in our family, but it's especially important to me for the littlest ones. Chloe won't leave sunglasses on, so the hats helps shield her eyes from the sun, as well as protecting her head, her face, her ears, and her neck. The one Chloe is wearing here was a gift and I'm not sure where it's from, but I've linked another great option here.
Those are my top 5 items to take to the beach, but we definitely don't JUST take five items with us. What else do we take? Here's an extended list...
What did I miss? What are your must-have beach items? Let me know!
And get ready to enjoy the sunshine!
If you've followed the blog for a while, you know that I have been very open about our struggles with getting pregnant with Caleb, our first. One of the reasons why we had this struggle is because I was diagnosed with PCOS. Truth be told, I was diagnosed at 18 and I never really thought much about it. I was prescribed a birth control pill to take care of the symptoms and that was that.
Once I had Caleb and stopped breastfeeding, my cycle became pretty regular again, and I always noticed that with a good diet and exercise, my symptoms eased up. When we thought we were ready to start trying to get pregnant with our second, we went to see our reproductive endocrinologist, and I was told that I didn't have any cysts at the time and I was good to go.
But I feel like there is always a huge question mark when it comes to PCOS. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Jennifer Schell, MD and ask her some of my (and your) most pressing questions about PCOS. I also included some questions that my followers sent me via Instagram. Keep reading for her responses.
First of all, what does PCOS stand for? Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
What is it? Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder characterized by an excess of male hormones (testosterone) or symptoms like acne and excess hair around lips, nipples etc, ovulatory dysfunction, and polycystic ovaries. The cause remains unknown, and treatment is largely symptom based and on a case by case basis. PCOS patients can be at increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
How common is PCOS? It’s debatable but some criteria say between 55-91% of women.
What are the most common symptoms of PCOS? Irregular cycles, hirsutism (excess hair like a mustache, around nipples or belly button), and acne. Many are overweight and it’s difficult for them to lose the weight despite healthy habits.
When I was younger, my PCOS was managed by taking birth control pills. What are some other ways that I can manage the symptoms of my PCOS? Birth control pills are probably the best way. I usually prescribe a diuretic called Spironolactone along with my go to pill Ortho Tricyclen to improve my patient’s acne and hirsutism. This combination lowers the amount of circulating testosterone. One of the most serious problems that can occur when a patient with PCOS (not on hormones) doesn’t menstruate is endometrial hyperplasia which can lead to endometrial cancer. Birth control pills and IUDs like Mirena and Kyleena help keep the endometrial lining thin and prevent this. Some people may need to take a pill (usually Provera) to induce menses before starting the above hormonal treatments.
Another medication often added to the regimen is Metformin. It’s excellent for weight loss and to decrease the risk of diabetes. PCOS patients are usually prediabetic.
I recently heard that the Keto diet can help you manage PCOS symptoms. Is this true? I think any diet can help in just helping patients lose the weight. I don’t think the Keto diet is special for this.
Is it true that PCOS can make it difficult for me to get pregnant? Unfortunately, it is true. The reason people with PCOS have irregular cycles is usually anovulation (lack of ovulation). The good news is that it’s easily treatable with an oral medication.
Can PCOS go away on its own? Unlikely.
Can PCOS cause miscarriages? What are safeguards that can be taken to prevent a miscarriage, if any? Not really. It’s more a problem to conceive.
I’ve blogged before about our struggle to get pregnant the first time. Why was it so difficult for me to get pregnant the first time, and then have a happy surprise when I got pregnant again? That is a question that is not easy to answer. I’d love to know more about your circumstances back then: weight, stress level, how often you had intercourse, use of ovulation kits, etc. The majority of infertility cases are diagnosed as “unexplained infertility” and it is very frustrating to both the patient and the doctor. One of the theories is stress levels. Once you get pregnant with your first and then “relax”, boom! 😃 Another theory is that this “unexplained” infertility somehow fixes itself or “resets” after a pregnancy. The truth is: nobody really knows the answer to this common and important question. So glad your second time was easier! I have a friend who had multiple miscarriages, did ovulation induction meds (Clomid and Femara) decided to go through IVF, failed THREE cycles and then I gave her Femara (one of the ovulation induction agents) and she has TWINS now :)
Thanks Dr. Schell for all the information!
Jennifer Schell, MD is an OBGYN and a mother of two young children. She was born in Miami and raised in Puerto Rico. Dr. Schell completed her training in PR and Dallas, Texas. She is well versed in anything from birth control, vaginal infections, some infertility, high risk pregnancies to menopause. What sets her aside from others is that she truly cares about helping women understand and take care of their bodies. After all, you don’t get another one. She also tries to help mothers with advice on feeding their children (whichever method they choose), decreasing mom guilt, and navigating the post partum period. She’s currently interested and learning about conscious discipline methods in order to help her children grow up assertive and to help women who ask questions about trouble with toddlers and beyond!