Top Nursery Essentials + A Tour of Vir’s Room

As a new parent, moms have plenty of decisions to make for the first time, be it decorating the nursery, shopping for your baby’s outfits, deciding on the style of the baby-shower dress, picking out the baby registry Must Haves, packing the hospital bag and so much more. Working on all these tasks during my pregnancy in 2016, made me realize that one can never be too prepared for parenthood.

Yet, I will like to say the first and foremost step during your pregnancy is listing out the products you want for yourself and the baby. I had an excel spread sheet of items that I needed and was gradually listing them out in my baby registry after taking recommendations from my mom, friends, and seeking reviews online.  Thankfully, Amazon recently made the registry process extremely convenient for all new parents with their Baby Registry service. They truly have Earth’s biggest selection of products, meaning you can pick and choose items from any retailer, giving you endless product options, great discounts, rewards and prime member offers. (I am glad to partner with them for their #BundleOfBenefits Program and share my opinions on their convenient service.)

Decorating Vir’s nursery was our most exciting and creative project so far. Honestly, planning it was a bit overwhelming, as there are tons of options to choose from styles, accent pieces, décor and colors.  In this post I am sharing a tour of our son’s modern /neutral nursery while hoping to send some inspiration your way. He is a toddler now and growing fast so we have also made some more additions to his room in last couple of months. I have compiled a list of my Must Have Items, after using most of them for more than 17 months.

Décor : We stuck to mainly white walls and white nursery furniture. To pop up the room we put grey triangle decals on one of the walls and added a personal touch with 4 small paintings made by me and my husband. Highly recommend making a simple piece of art whether you are good at art and craft or not. There is a keepsake framed artwork, which has balloons signed by our guests from our baby shower and a ledge with books right above the dresser. I really like the animal theme so most of the décor pieces are influenced by it.

Nursery items Must Haves

Crib: Vir has been sleeping in his Babyletto convertible crib since he was 3 months. Creating a safe sleep environment and good sleeping habits are important for your baby’s physical and emotional well-being. An important part of establishing good sleeping habits is the sleep environment – where your child sleeps, the kind of crib or bed, the type of mattress, and so on.

Dresser: Closet organizing can really take a lot of your time. I choose Ikea 8 drawer dresser to store my son’s clothes, diapers, bedding, toiletries etc. It is very convenient to fold and store the tiny clothing and easy to rotate as they grow. Highly recommend buying drawer dividers to separate their tiny pieces of clothing like onesies, shorts, pants, t shirts, socks etc.

A cool mist humidifier (warm mist can breed bacteria in the humidifier)- Highly recommend Crane Drop humidifier to all my friends, in fact this is the gift I like to pick up for baby showers. So definitely add it to your Amazon Baby Registry. It has been so helpful especially on those nights when our son has a stuffy nose. One of the most important benefits of having a humidifier in the nursery is the protection it provides against dry air. This is especially true in the winter months when indoor air tends to become dry from your heating system robbing the natural moisture in it.

White noise machine or soft toy– The Gentle Giraffe has been Vir’s sleeping companion since he was 3 months old. It has over 4 soothing sounds to lull the baby to sleep and is very convenient to travel with too. Babies are used to hearing a lot of noise in the womb, so I think its hard for them to sleep in a nursery that is too quiet. The white noise machine is one of my highest recommended registry items.

Diaper Pail: We live in a town home with 3 floors; we definitely needed 2 diaper pails as our baby lounges with us in the living room, too, apart from napping in his nursery. The Diaper Genie has been the most convenient option. Tip : While looking for a diaper pail remember trash bags need to be bought with them too. Amazon Registry lets you earn free baby essentials when your registry’s total purchase value reaches $1000 (from you and your gift givers), you can redeem $100 in diapers, wipes, formula, baby care products and more. Learn more here

Basket Bin: The clothing hamper is an important decorative piece of Vir’s nursery. It is so convenient to have all dirty clothes in 1 place. Also, instead of having several small baskets to store toys I recommend getting 1 big bin.

Nursing Chair: Breastfeeding is hard and sometimes you want your own zone to bond with your baby. My nursing chair was our space where we sat for hours. It supported my back and gave me the right positioning and comfort to feed or rock my baby to sleep.

Books and lots of them– Reading is essential to every child’s growth and development. Whether you read to them or they page through books themselves, you probably have an ever growing and changing stack of books for your child at home. Some of my son’s favorites are –The very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Little Zoo, My Papa Loves Me, Goodnight Moon amongst many.

With Amazon Baby registry, one can make their complete list of items that they need for their little one from the convenience of their home. No more running around the stores with a list and searching for scanners and bar codes, you can choose what you need with just a few clicks. Additionally there are many other benefits like (a) It is extremely simple to set up (b) Returns are easy and hassle free (c) A surprise from Amazon for parents-to-be and baby is  a Welcome Box containing selections of full, travel and sample size. The contents of the box changes from time to time, but always includes a full-size swaddle blanket and more. Learn more here  (d) Prime member Baby Registrants are eligible for additional rotating limited time offers. These offers can be found in the Exclusive Offers section of your desktop registry dashboard or in Offers & Benefits from your mobile device

nursery essentials by The Snazzy Mom

What are some of your highest recommended baby goods or nursery essentials? Will you be suggesting Amazon Registry to your friends and family after seeing the benefits and convenience in this post?

*****This Post was sponsored by Amazon and as always opinion are of my own******

Arushi (2)

The Most Important Family Decision I Made to Protect the Future of My Child !

There are many child-related issues that keep me awake at night. Guilt trips of leaving my son behind while on a work trip, my toddler’s hunger strikes in the evening or even failure to understand the reason why my son was too cranky on a particular day. But lately, the importance of naming a guardian for my child in my will and deciding on a prospect had been on my mind a lot.

Making a will is something that has been on the top of my to-do list since the birth of our son, but I have been putting off for more than a year.  Of course no one likes to face their own mortality. However, it is imperative that we are prepared for the unpredictable.  So finally last weekend my husband and I finished making our wills and appointing a guardian in case something were to happen to us.

My life changed when I lost my dad at 14 years of age. I have seen my mom run around for paper work, settling accounts, finding documents and figuring out everything on her own. Fortunately the entire financial bit was in place due to the proper planning of my parents and we had nothing to worry.

 

Yet, I still cannot forget my mom’s face and her words to my aunt 19 years back at our home in Mumbai “What would have happened to my children if I was also gone?”

 

The loss of a parent had taught me from a very young age that there is nothing guaranteed in life. And after becoming a parent myself I want to take all the right steps possible to ensure a secure future for my child /children.

Creating a will is crucial even if you don’t have a lot of money or property to pass along because it is where you designate a guardian for your minor child. In the absence of a will naming a guardian, a court will appoint one, and he or she could be the last person you would ever have chosen. If something were to happen to both the parents, and no official guardians have been appointed, the children could end up in foster care while the court appoints a guardian of its choosing.

Note below are the questions I had before starting the process of creating a will. I thought this might help my readers too if they plan to make their own wills. I am not a legal expert and this information is limited to my research of the country and state I live in. I encourage you to look up online or consult with an attorney in the country or state you reside to understand the legalities and your options.

What is a will?

A last will and testament is a legal document that lets you, the testator (the person making the will), designate individuals or charities to receive your property and possessions when you pass away. A last will also allows you to name a guardian to care for minor children. The main purpose of a will is to ensure that the testator’s wishes, and not the default laws of the state, will be followed upon the testator’s death

What happens if you die without a will?

Dying without making a will mean you’ll have no say over who receives your property. State laws will decide. In some states, only 1/2 of one’s assets go to the surviving spouse. Depending on your situation, the rest would go to your children, parents or close relatives. If you have minor children, a judge will decide who cares for them, and the situation may not be ideal.

Remember laws vary from state to state and not all states will automatically place children with a family member, even if they are a grandparent, aunt or uncle. Judges weigh placement based on the best interests of the children. Your kids might have a close and loving relationship with your parents, but if your parents are elderly, the court might decide they’re not up to caring for them, especially if they’re very young (LegalZoom.com).

What is the cost of making a will?

Honestly when I heard about the potential price of failing to make a will, and putting my child’s future in jeopardy, I immediately made one in a period of few days without really caring about the cost. However, the cost of any legal endeavor depends on whether you decide to handle it yourself or use the services of an attorney. You can access free templates online or pay for something more complex, or you could pay an attorney to do it all for you. Whether you use an attorney to draft your will or do it yourself, costs will depend on the complexity of your estate

How does a family pick the right guardian?

Appointing guardians who could offer our children the support and love they would need in a horrible situation is the most important decision in the will making process. It can be also be very emotional and political decision.

I and my husband used a website www.legalzoom.com to create a will. It was very effective and fast. We also consulted our family and friends for more information regarding the will making process. (not sponsored)

You can look at more detailed information here –

  1. Baby Center
  2. Wiki How

In the end I would like to say that the decision of safeguarding our children after we are gone is a crucial one, and one that I dread to think of. Who will be my child’s guardian is too important a decision to leave in the hands of someone who doesn’t know me, or my child, or the values that are important to me. We know our children better than anyone. We are in the best position to make the decisions that will affect their lives.

Arushi (2)

My 2017 Goals, Keeping it Real

It’s the dawn of a New Year and as always a few resolutions are to be made. Honestly, most of these resolutions don’t stick for a long time, and I end up breaking them by mid of the year or even as early as 2 weeks. So, I am tired of these resolutions and won’t bother making them this year.  Instead I have set up realistic specific goals for myself and look forward to achieving them.

A goal is more flexible and achievable for me. I don’t have to be ‘resolute’ in my journey to achieve it. As I got to the end of the year, I looked back and assessed how it went. I tried to categorize the year into eating habits, fitness regime, health, family, baby, finances etc and drew from there my top goals for 2017.

I strongly feel if we do not take the time to think about our hopes and dreams and set goals and actions steps to get there – nothing will ever change. By working on each aspects of our lives that are important or we are frustrated with, we can feel better about ourselves.  In my previous post I stressed upon the taking out Me- Time, and that is more of a lifestyle change I am already working on.

But setting goals is important for us because doing so helps us change things in our lives that are not as we would like them to be.  Defining goals that pertain to both ourselves and our relationships with those who are important to us can result in changes that make our lives happier and more fulfilling.  Isn’t that what you want for 2017 and moving forward?

Below are my TOP 2017 Goals . Please do share yours.

Happy New Year Everyone !

Love Arushi

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“ME” Time – Every Mom Deserves It !


This year, my life has been wrapped around my pregnancy in the first half and with the newborn for the latter half. As a new mom, I don’t have time or energy to think about anything that does not directly impact my child’s life. I am constantly ensuring that everything runs smoothly and I am able to maintain a proper work -life balance.

If you are a busy mom like me, you know how difficult it can be to find time for yourself. We are constantly ensuring that everyone is taken care of and are left with very little time for ourselves. Feeling burned out, exhausted, and also craving things that YOU love to do most.

I honestly feel we MOMs need to pencil in some “ME” Time for ourselves. And I stress that one should not feel guilty for taking time for yourself. It’s important to schedule time for yourself on a regular basis so that you can feel refreshed and energized to be on top of our game.

The key here is to tap into things that make you feel most rejuvenated, and  yes few might need more time or may cost more. {I say to myself I deserve it 🙂 }

“Me” Time could be anything, from a decadent dinner date, to a relaxing evening at home with a good book or simply doing nothing. The biggest challenge most moms face is insisting on ‘me’ time,” says Laura Stack, author of The Exhaustion Cure. “If you wait to give yourself time until all your work is done, you’ll never get to play.”

That is why I am listing my some things that I do just for me

  1. Stay Active: These days for me it is impossible to finish work and go out for a workout. Timing everything between mine and baby’s schedule well enough to get some sun is not simple anymore. So I recommend staying active at work or home by taking regular walks throughout the day especially if there is too much stress. If I can’t walk enough in the day or have no energy to workout, I make sure to get out for at least a 30 min stroll around the neighborhood with Vir in the stroller while listening to some peppy music. It helps clear the mind.

 

  1. Take a Bubble Bath: This is truly a relaxing and rejuvenating experience if you can take out some time from mom duty. I recommend treating yourself with some aroma therapy oils, bath bombs and candles. I have been shopping for more of these lately than makeup or beauty products.

 

  1. Get your favorite drink and read up: The best time to lounge and snuggle in a comfy blanket is when your children are sleeping. I can have coffee anytime of the day and with the chill in the weather these days I am also sipping on some soup. If you know me well I don’t read too many books, but I do love flipping through articles on magazines and journals on my ipad or just happily pinning. Ever since I started the blog I am also writing down my thoughts and working on new posts for all my readers.

 

  1. Go out with your friends: A girl’s night out or grabbing a drink at a pub with your family friends can be a great way to start a weekend. You can get a sitter for sometime if you are going with your husband or put him on daddy duty for the evening- while you dress up snazzy, put some heels and mascara!! It is very important to socialize and feel good about these moments.

 

  1. Don’t forget a Spa/massage day : I got a monthly massage membership at a local spa and this has been by far my most rewarding expense. An hour of deep tissue massage can do wonders as it takes away your stress and gives relief to those aching back and neck muscles.

 

Don’t forget to check in yourself this Holiday season !! Lets Treat Ourselves too.

Please do share what are your favorite ways to pamper yourself , or how you like to spend your “Me” Time. 

How I Prepared to Leave My Breastfed Baby for a Work Trip


In my previous emotional post I wrote about my anxiety and fears as a new mom, who was leaving behind her 5 month baby for a work trip for the very first time. It was an emotionally challenging experience and physical one too, as I am exclusively breastfeeding Vir. I couldn’t have left my house without a plan for my family and support of my husband.  As new parents we want to make sure we are doing everything right and at the same time hoping that things go smoothly.

Every mom has to leave the nest sooner or later and to get through this difficult time, I am sharing the list of things I did before getting on the plane:

  1. Introduce care giver ahead of time: I am working from home and of course to be most productive I need to be able to focus without distractions. After my family left, we got a nanny to manage Vir during my work hours. This worked well for us, as by the time I left for work to another city, Vir and my nanny had gotten used to each other. It is hard to trust someone else with your baby other than family, but having a good caregiver can be very comforting.
  2. Enlist a Trusted Relative or Friend: Thankfully my husband could take an off on one of the days in my absence at home and manage Vir. However, I am thankful to have a close set of friends whom I can trust Vir with. It is ideal to have someone living close to your home, just in case.
  3. Maintain sufficient supply of milk in the freezer: Vir is being exclusively breast fed and my biggest worry was running out of the frozen milk. I was short of 7-8 bags as per my calculation and so I made a plan to start pumping after every feeding to increase supply in 1 breast. I pumped only one side, so that I don’t run out of milk on the other. This worked perfectly and I was able to store milk and also give Vir his full feed. Also, I was eating more food that helped in lactation and drinking lots of water.
  4. Leaving behind Mom’s scent: I wore my husband’s T-shirt to bed for 3 days before I left, so that my scent could be transferred to it. In my absence Deep wore the same T shirt to soothe Vir and put him to sleep every night.This strategy also worked for us very well while we were crib training Vir and making him sleep in his nursery. I would leave my t-shirt on the side of his crib, so that he felt that I was around. Note: this might work for younger babies only.
  5. Setting up security cameras or a nanny cam: We bought a security camera for the house through which I could see Vir when I wanted. I could monitor the daily activities live on my cell phone from anywhere. Not only did it give me a sense of relief but I also felt involved. These days baby monitors and security cameras have great features. Ours has a mic function through which I could talk to Deep if he needed something and also see the entire day’s recording. (We have the new Logitech Circle camera)
  6. Make a List of Things related to the baby: A list with all information that is essential for the baby like feeding and nap routines, allergies , medication, place for baby gear and supplies, important phone numbers ,etc etc. This can be very handy for the care giver or your husband. I had emailed it and also printed it and left it on the refrigerator.
  7. Packing your Pumping bag: Even though you might have a temporary break from the baby but that doesn’t mean you get a break from breastfeeding. Our body continues to prepare the milk and that means you can’t forget to carry the breast pump, nursing pads, bottles and the freezing pack. I was pumping daily in the morning and at night, at the restaurants and at the airports. I can do an entire blog post on it, and honestly I hadn’t realized it would be such a complicated affair until this trip. I was able to bring back only 2 bottles of milk from the trip as I had to dump the rest. (TIP: If you don’t have an ice pack, take zip lock bags and put the bottles in it with ice to keep the milk chilled. Also if you have a milk bank close enough to where you are and if time allows you can donate it there. Sadly I couldn’t. Try to carry a manual breast pump too if you want to pump anywhere and not be stuck to a plug.)

I hope these tips come in handy if and when you plan to travel without your baby. There are a lot of things about Motherhood I am still discovering and I hope to share my experiences with all my readers.

Planning ahead of time is key to our sanity!

You can also check my post Tips on Travelling with the baby. (Our short trip to New York)

 

 

 

 

When I had to leave my 5 month baby for a Business trip. 

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The Snuggle is Real 

My head was hurting, my heart was racing. I felt I couldn’t breathe and all of this was happening exactly at the same time while I was waving goodbye to Vir from the window of my cab. Leaving the baby for the first time is not easy and even though I spent a ridiculous amount of time snuggling him and kissing him beforehand, the moment of panic at the door was not going away. I still can’t tell whether at that moment I was feeling guilty of leaving him for 2 days or if I was terrified of the thought of how will he survive without me. It was one of the weirdest moments of my life and is very hard to describe in words. It felt like I was carrying an extra bag that day – A bag of Guilt.

Inside this extra baggage was the guilt of leaving Vir at home while I traveled, guilt of not rocking him to sleep those 2 nights, guilt of leaving my husband on his own to manage an infant and taking leave from work. From the moment I sat in the cab till I reached the airport, I was stuck to my phone the entire 40 minute drive, watching Vir play with his Nanny while I kept taking heavy breaths with moist eyes.

Honestly I am so blessed to be a full time work from home mom. I can see my child whenever I want, have the flexibility to manage my work and calls, apart from adding income to the household and doing what I love most. Having a house with an office space I am able to get so much done effectively on a daily basis. And with the help of my nanny I don’t have to worry about Vir either. It’s the best scenario I could have asked for. However being a Sr. Account Manager and handling a huge pool of clients across the country, travel in my job role is inevitable. Honestly, I have always looked forward to my work trips as I not only get to reconnect with my colleagues but also get a break from my routine.

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Likely, most of you are not gasping in horror at the thought of leaving a 5 month baby with his daddy, while mom goes on a business trip. Business travel is fact of life for few moms far sooner than 5 months and many 5 month old babies are not exclusively breast fed. But this is a very big deal for me, as I never left Vir for more than few hours a handful of times until this unexpected work related travel. The very thought of getting on an airplane without Vir had been giving me heart palpitations. I was having anxiety of what might happen when I would be away. Will he be all right , will Deep be able to manage the baby, what if Vir doesn’t take the bottle , what if I miss my return flight, what if things falls apart…..I was losing my sleep. The angst of leaving a kid behind is natural and biological; it is out of concern for our children or even out of the fear of leaving our comfort zone as a new mom. The fact that we control our household makes leaving the responsibility on someone else more difficult.

But having a supportive and understanding husband and a loving and hands on dad can make a mom’s life more manageable. I am so blessed to have a husband like Deep. He is a great dad and I knew in case of any urgency I can count on him to manage Vir. This trip was a huge learning experience for me and Deep on dealing with our fears and anxiety as first time parents. While Deep is now more confident in handling Vir, I am more comfortable in leaving the responsibility on daddy at unplanned situations.

But then there are other situations out of our control, like my nanny was not able to make it the next day while I was out and the ordeal on the date I was flying back….

After a very productive meeting, I was looking forward to getting home from LA and snuggle with my baby. To avoid the crazy LA traffic I reached the airport early only to learn that my flight was delayed by an hour. I immediately rushed to the airlines counter to see if I could reschedule my flight to an earlier time, and I was lucky to get one. But, that luck was short-lived; I was put in another frustrating situation where my rescheduled flight was delayed by 4 hours due to maintenance!! Wow !! That is exactly what I needed on my first trip away from Vir. (Screaming in my brain) It almost felt like my nightmare was coming true. But honestly, there was no point getting mad at that time…  Rather, I actually felt blessed, as the flight I was supposed to initially take got cancelled!

After speaking to Deep and knowing that all was good at home, I finally found the time to get something to eat and make most of the delay with a pumping session.  (If you follow me on instagram , you must have been pretty amused with the instastories I made that day.)I pumped at the ladies room standing for an hour splitting the pumping session on each side while watching Vir and Deep play on the camera, as the nursing room at the airport was occupied. While pumping I was able to speak with Deep through the house camera mic function, it gave me so much relief and I almost felt I was with them. Apart from that, I was glad to take the express milk home, unlike the last few pumping sessions where I had to pump and dump. (I hate throwing away breast milk, it makes me feel terrible)

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After an exhausting 10 hour wait time from LA to Houston between flight delays, traffic and flying time, I was finally home at 11 pm holding Vir tightly in my arms, with a heart full of joy and a needy dog liking my face and asking for equal attention.

Even though we might be connected with rapid transit and wireless technology, the emotional distance while traveling is challenging. I wish I could handle everything at once, but motherhood has taught me the unfortunate rule of being a human: I can’t. We have to make hard choices and cope up with the real world. And as a working mom I have to act like one and deal with my lifestyle changes while coming up with strategies that work for my family.

Yes ! The Struggle is Real !!

…In  my next post I will be sharing with you how I prepared to leave my baby overnight for work  and what I discovered about being a mom when I was off the clock.

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VIR’s First Diwali !

In my last post I wrote about how much I missed celebrating Diwali at home in India. And this year I long for it even more as its a very special one, since we have our beloved son Vir celebrating it with us .

The entire week I was face timing with my mom and brother and hearing their daily activity updates, shopping sprees, reminiscing old days and getting to share the real Gharwali Diwali experience with them. My mom got Vir a really cute ethnic outfit which she will be sending with my cousin sister and even though its is arriving post Diwali, I am super excited to dress him up in it. There is a charm in wearing vibrant desi/ Indian clothes, they make the festival so much more authentic.

Vir is 5 months old this month and loves being around people, he enjoys getting all the attention and lately has been putting his entire fist in the mouth and babbling. He has also started to flip over on his tummy and is in awe of Rio. Rio too has also started warming up to Vir and its a great feeling to see both my boys finally  show some love towards each other.

I am glad to share with you all, Vir’s first Diwali story  at our home in Houston  with these pictures.We celebrated it with our loving friends with great home cooked food,  Coconut ladoos ,Rasgullas,music, lots of cheer , laughter and a long game of Flush. I hope you enjoy looking at them .

(If you follow me on Instagram , you must have seen some of our celebration pictures and videos on my Instastories too)

Thanks to our friend Abhishek for these lovely clicks.

My Anarkali dress : Meena Bazaar

Vir’s Cardi Set from : Amy Collier Designs

 

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Home made coconut ladoos

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Our wonderful friends !!

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Diwali cannot end without some sparkles.

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The focus of this pic was on our fur baby Rio who was waiting to eat mom’s coconut ladoos.

 

Missing Home This Diwali !

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Hi Everyone!! Hope you are welcoming Autumn with high spirits as this is the season of festivals and celebrations. Festivals are a huge part of anyone’s culture and ‘Diwali’ – The Festival of Lights,  is one of the most significant festivals celebrated by me and my family.

This year we are celebrating Diwali on October 30th and although it is almost 2 weeks away, I just don’t feel the same excitement and fanfare around me as it was back home in India…..

The bright decorations at the mall, the shiny packaging on the sweets,

 the aroma in the meals, the sparkle on the clothes,

the buzz at home, the lamps on the floor, the gifts galore,

the shiny lights on the street, the new Bollywood beat,

the hymn of the prayer, the agarbatti smell in the air,

the colorful rangoli, the diya  and roli on the pooja thali ,

the ladoos and  the burfi , the win in teen pati,

I miss it all …..I feel the absence of my family.

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Image: Pinterest

Of course it is hard to find the same cultural experience here in United States and I know it is silly of me to even expect it. But hey! At least I can long for it. The other day I was in Michael’s to get some supplies for Vir’s Halloween costume which I intend to DIY, and as I stepped into the store, the buzz and hullabaloo reminded me of the scene at the firecracker store in my hometown in Rajasthan, where we would go when we were kids. How we loved going through all the different colored sparkles, amused ourselves looking at the creative names on the new rocket and chakri boxes and searched for that new cracker which our neighbor wouldn’t have, while making sure all of them were within our budget.

As a kid, Diwali for me was about new clothes, firecrackers, chocolate covered dry fruits, decorating the balcony with lights, meeting my cousins and enjoying the break from school. Chores like cleaning the house, shopping for gifts, selecting that dress, seeking for more pocket money were the little things we looked forward to every year as Diwali got closer. As I got back from Michael’s the first thing I did was to create a Diwali wreath with the help of my cousin sister and my dear husband. I just wanted to get a whiff of that the Diwali spirit which has been lost in modern times.

Today, I am so thankful for all the cultural traditions that I grew up with. With every passing year, I have learnt to appreciate the meaning of each of these traditions even more. They constantly remind me of who I am and where I come from. These festivities also make me reflect on the literal importance of the holiness of each occasion. Staying away from home has made me preserve these traditions even more…..my culture, religion and language are the essence of my Indian Heritage and as a new mom I feel it is my responsibility to introduce my child to them and maintain their essence in our lives.

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Image: Rang Decor

Even though I have been visiting India every year since I moved to Houston 6 years back, I sometimes get nostalgic. Especially during the festival season! On our trips to India, we would travel between 3 states to visit our homes and squeeze in as much as we could within the 2 to 3 week vacation. Lately, these trips have been planned around marriages in the family. A perfect opportunity to meet all our cousins and family members at the same place and the same time, dancing off to latest Honey Singh’s songs, while wearing  elegant desi outfits and enjoying the incredible food.

However, right now, at this moment , I wish I was home preparing besan ke ladoos with my mom , making  rangoli with my brother, choosing the color for this year’s salwar suit, packing the gifts for my friends and practicing my skills for teen pati. And even though there is time to book my tickets and head off to India, there are work and life commitments that I cannot get out of. Celebrating Diwali at home will have to wait again.

Yet!! I believe, it’s more the reason for me to celebrate my ‘Gharwali Diwali’ with similar emotion and joy at my home in Houston, because this Diwali is SPECIAL !! We were blessed with our son ‘Vir’, our bundle of joy this May !!  And even though it will be difficult to recreate the same sentiment, I aspire towards sparkling my home with happiness, decorating it with shades of love , preparing the food with more joy and stand in the light with my husband and son beside !! My hope is not to lose my texture as an Indian in a foreign land with time, but to celebrate its elements and authenticity as much as I can.

A Happy Diwali to you and your loved ones!! May the divine light of Diwali spread peace , prosperity , pleasure and good health into your lives.

Do share with us on how  you are planning to celebrate Diwali and what is missing this time.

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Happy Diwali !! Acrylic Rangoli perfect for wooden flooring.

 

10 Baby Products That Make Motherhood Easier!

 

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Here comes the Baby and so does more stuff then we dreamed of.  Before Vir was here, I did a lot of research on the products we needed for the baby. While I was pregnant I turned to my trusted friends who have already been there and done that and also referred to  the online resources.

I wanted to make sure we get only the stuff we will use and not go overboard. It’s super easy to get sucked into all of the fancy gear and adorable toys directed towards that newborn stage. Whether it were essentials items for the baby, the nursery or for me as a new mom , I had a spread sheet for everything with several columns and rows listing out all details of the products in my must have list. It is almost like a ritual for me that before I make any purchases, I always go online to check reviews from multiple sources, compare products, and find any deals or discounts and post that check out any order as we hate to make returns. (It’s definitely a time-consuming task).

In the short time since I’ve become a Mom, I’ve learned about so many products that I’ve found to be Life Savers or some that are straight up useless. We are so thankful to our lovely friends and family for gifting us most of the baby gear I registered for my shower. I used Baby List for my registry as everything I wanted was at 1 location. Apart from the baby gear from all different websites and stores, you can also register for a Doula, a diaper service  and even homemade meals.

Below I am sharing a list of my most loved Baby products that have made a huge difference in my life recently with little V . Most of these products are not your regular baby registry picks, but products that made Motherhood more effortless for me one step at a time.

1.Silicone Place Mats : I bought this for Vir as I know feeding a baby can be a real messy adventure. These mats are great as they stick easily to most of the surfaces so that they don’t get  ripped out and thrown by your little one, plus it’s sized perfectly for fruit and cereal. I like the Ezpz happy mat.

mini_mats_on_white_food_clean_coral__60444-1453865533-1280-8002.Teal Baby Bamboo Sleeping Bag – I would always swaddle up Vir to make him sleep, but I guess some babies just hate being wrapped up. He would always pull his hands out and kick open the swaddle and I would be wrapping him all over again. Thankfully I came across the Teal Bee bamboo sleeping bag for babies made using natural thermal regulation bamboo, working to keep the baby warmer in winter and cool in summer. Vir loves it and sleep so well.

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3.ORB Bottle Warmer– If you are a pumping mama and store or freeze the milk, the ORB bottle warmer will save so much hassle. It steam heats bottles and baby food without hotspots and is BPA free. Also its very light and portable to carry while you are travelling. Plus it looks cute and can fit  all size bottles.

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4.Car seat handle cushion cover – If you don’t have upper arm strength like me, you will have a hard time lifting the car seat with your inner arm. I looked up online to help me with this issue and came across Itzy Ritzy car seat handle cushion cover which has thick foam padding for comfort and universally fits to all types of car seats.

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5.Baby Carrier for Mom and Dad: Baby carriers are definitely a staple of life with a new born, as your hands are free and the baby is cozy and secure. For longer trips and especially when baby is 5 months over Baby Bjorn is a great carrier to have. It looks great, is sturdy and has a waist belt for support. Also the babies hand and legs are free.  But when I am out with the baby at a park, grocery store or running an errand,  I prefer the Baby K’tan . It is made of 100% cotton and has good stretch too. The material is very soft and cozy for an infant and the best part is it is very light and easy to carry in your diaper bag.

6.Tote Savvy –Tote Organizer: I don’t feel like carrying my diaper bag everywhere, I miss my cute and light totes. I came across  Tote Savvy , it offers the best of both worlds by combining the inner lining of a diaper bag with any handbag. Also it is available in 2 sizes. Its expensive, but it makes sense if you want to be organized and search for your lip stick and car keys in the diaper bag.

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7.Skip Hop Bath Kneeler: Trust me it is so much better to kneel on this cushioned surface especially if your knees hurt. I prefer kneeling to sitting while giving Vir a bath in our bath tub. The bath kneeler doesn’t skid and is washable too. I had registered for the Skip Hop Moby Bath set on my baby registry  and I love it.

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8.Dr Brown’s Bottles – Vir was very gassy  for the first few months and I was looking at all possible solutions to reduce his gassiness. Glad to have found the Dr Brown’s bottles they come with a Infant paced Feeding Valve which helps decrease air intake and helps burping with non squeeze method. They are BPA Free too.

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9. Baby ear protection ear muff or Baby Headphones– There are some events, concerts, games that you just can’t miss and if you are worried about your child’s hearing, I highly recommend getting noise cancelling earphones or ear muffs. We recently attended a concert with 4 month baby Vir and he slept through the entire concert with his headphones on for 3 hours. These ear muffs/ noise cancelling head phones are your best bet if you have a light sleeper or if your baby is sensitive to noise. I wished I had them while flying to New York for the first time with the baby. These headphones are easy to wear and have foam filling cushions that can fit to every child and are available in different sizes and color options. I am glad they make these. We have the Walker’s ear phones for babies.

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10.Squeeze packs of baby food– Vir will be very soon starting solid foods and I am looking forward to make some homemade healthy and nutritious purees. I will like to avoid as much store bought squeeze foods as I can as they are so freaking expensive.  I really liked the concept of  Foodii Squeeze Snack Filling and Feeding System as they are so convenient, compact, easy and also BPA free. You can bulk them up and store it for mess free meals on the go.

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I hope this blog post has helped you find something you need . I will appreciate if you can reply or comment below with your favorite baby products which worked well for you and the baby. .(You can catch us on Instagram )

 

Pink Blush Maternity GIVEAWAY!! $50 gift card 

Such a classic little black dress from Pink Blush . You can never go wrong with one !

 

$50 Gift Card !! 🎉🎉INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY 🎉🎉
I have reached 2000 followers today on Instagram , and that too in such a short time, so here’s a way of saying THANKYOU 💖with my first #giveaway .

I’m a total sucker for dresses and Pinkblush has such an exciting collection for 🍁Fall🍁and has something for everyone. This #Pinkblush Dress has totally taken its place as one of my favorites. Check out their amazing collection www.shoppinkblush.com.

Because I love you all and want you to enjoy modern and versatile designed pieces, I’m teaming up with @shoppinkblush to give one of YOU the chance to win $50 to their shop, and entering is super easy!
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Go to Instagram

*TO ENTER*

1. You must be following both myself (@the_snazzy_mom) AND @Shoppinkblush

2. Comment ‘All Steps Done’ (the winner will be chosen from the comments, so make sure you do this step!)

3. ‘Like’ the giveaway picture

4. Tag a friend or friends

*For Extra Entries*
• Like my  FB  page TheSnazzyMom and let me know what will you get with your credit on the giveaway picture.

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Giveaway will run from 10/2-10/7 at midnight CST, and a winner will be announced on 10/11.
-Open to Internationals too.

Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by Shoppinkblush and no way sponsored by Instagram !

Tips for Traveling with a baby. (Our short trip to New York)

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Vir enjoying the breeze and views on the boat tour to Statue of Liberty! Highly recommend it

We just returned from our trip to New York City and I couldn’t wait to share some pictures with you! Mostly though, I wanted to share our experience of traveling for the first time with the baby. Travel is definitely not the same anymore, yet we discovered that even New York City is a friendlier place when you have a baby with you.

It had been almost 8 months since I visited my colleagues and friends on the East Coast, as I was busy preparing for the arrival of baby Vir. This gave me an opportunity to plan a work trip cum mini-vacation to New York City.  The last time I was in a flight, I was 5 months pregnant, flying to India for my brother’s wedding all excited and thrilled. Even though I was excited to meet my friends and colleagues, I was nervous as I was going to be travelling with a 3 month baby. Images from my past flight experiences with crying and howling babies in the plane flashed in front of me, reminding me how much I dreaded sitting next to a crying baby. I know first hand that the city can be intimidating to come with a baby as everything is spread out, you have to walk a lot and you aren’t sure what is baby friendly. It was nerve-racking thinking about issues like, baby fussiness on the plane, judging stares from strangers, changing diapers at a germy roadside bathroom or moving around in NYC with a stroller. Now there is no denying that a vacation with a baby is tougher than a vacation with just grownups, but in our case, the mini vacay turned out to be quite a pleasant experience.

I did a lot of research online, consulted many mom friends for travel advice and got a ‘go ahead’ from the pediatrician before I made the travel plans. The main bases one needs to cover are Eating , Sleeping and Getting Around. A well fed, rested and comfortable baby is usually less fussy or a happy one. “Babies can be surprisingly good travelers,” says Shelly Rivoli, author of Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers and Preschool-Age Children. “The major advantage is that they’re not very mobile yet.”

My first advice is  Don’t over pack : I allowed myself plenty of time to pack the diaper bag. I thought through every possible scenario and packed all that stuff that I needed. In fact I shared my diaper bag pic on my instagram to get more input from all my mom followers. (You can also catch my daily updates there ) With an infant I think you need more stuff, yet I tried to leave as much behind as I could. I made sure I had minimum 3 days supply of clothing so that there was enough time to do laundry if needed. We didn’t over-pack diapers and wipes as it is easily available everywhere. But I made sure to carry at least 6 diapers in my diaper bag, allotting one per hour for travel time. I carried 4 pieces of Vir’s favorite Pacifier as they always tend to disappear and I was sure I would lose them, which I course I did! (I was too late in buying pacifier clips, highly recommend buying them) A solid supply of wipes and cleaning cloths are a must, as you never know of diaper blow out and spit ups, plus I used wipes to clean every surface close to the baby in NYC. TipI also made a small travel pouch with Vir’s bath and medicine supplies that I will need on all my trips, it is good to have it ready.  In big baby gear items we carried the boppy pillow, car seat, a caddy stroller and the baby carrier. You can also rent these items (babysaway.com, rentittoday.com) but since it was my first time, I didn’t want to take any chances.

 

Hungry Baby is Grumpy Baby: As I am exclusively breast feeding, I made sure to carry my nursing scarf, an extra supply of pumped frozen milk packs ,my Madela breast pump, storage bottles and a cold pack to carry the frozen milk. I nursed Vir during takeoff and landing to avoid the ear pain due to cabin pressure change in the flight. Babies have narrower Eustachian tubes, and changes in cabin pressure during take-off and landing can cause ear pain for them. Swallowing helps relieve the pressure, and that can come in the form of nursing, a bottle, or a pacifier. While travelling around the city I always made sure Vir was fed before we left the hotel. I also carried some pumped milk and my nursing scarf every time, as you never know when duty calls.

 

Nap Time is essential for your Sanity : We booked the flight around Vir’s naptime and it totally worked, as he was cheerful in the morning flight and slept easily on the return night flight. I highly recommend carrying a pillow, as it makes it so much easier to feed, carry and lay the baby in your lap. Maintaining Vir’s nap times and sleeping routines daily was important to have a happy baby join us for our day trips. We made sure Vir was well rested before we left the hotel. And to avoid any fussiness we took short breaks every 2 hours to sit, feed and put him back to sleep. Of course we knew that there will be several breaks for changing diapers, stretching and wiggling so we planned our trips accordingly. Tip -I had made a list of stores and places convenient for feeding and diaper changing in the city.

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He was great during the flights !

Getting Around : The best bet to travel with a baby is in a car. However I wanted to gain the City mom experience and traveled in trains, cabs and even a boat with Vir. One of my biggest concerns was maneuvering the stroller around the crowded tourist spots, stores and restaurants. Thankfully we carried our small caddy stroller, as it was perfect for squeezing through the tight lanes of the shopping stores and light enough to carry. Baby wearing also worked out perfectly for us. I love wearing Vir in our babybjorn and it was extremely convenient during our day and night trips. We wore him mostly at crowded places like Times Square, Rockefeller center, Madison Avenue etc. Tip -I practiced wearing Vir much prior to our trip, to get him used to the feeling and to see if he would be comfortable in the carrier. At the same time I wanted to train my back with the carrier. So far, Vir loves being worn and it has definitely been fun carrying him around. Honestly, with some practice and a comfortable baby carrier it can feel like a breeze.

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I walked almost 3 hours around the city wearing Vir !

Adjusting our Mind set : I was mentally prepared that most of the things won’t go as planned. There will be delays and it might take twice as long for activities that would have been way faster without a baby. Planning ahead of time and adjusting and readjusting your day trips will be the key to a stress free trip. Also flexibility is key to a fun and relaxed trip. Make sure to follow your baby’s cues on your day out.

This was a memorable trip as it was Vir’s first time travelling in a plane, train, boat and cabs. I never wanted to give the excuse that I couldn’t travel because of the baby. I believed that it was a silly excuse and didn’t ever want my baby to hold us back from life experiences; I want him to experience them with us. Looking forward to our adventures with our little one.

Remember, Happy Baby =Happy Parents.

For more travel advice on travelling in a flight with a baby you can refer to Mommypoints.Boardingare.com they have some great tips and links for reference.

You can also check out mommyppopins.com for Things to do in NYC with an infant.

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So glad to have Mom on this trip with us !

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Date night at a Rooftop Bar overlooking the Empire State Building!

 

 

 

When Our Fur Baby Met our Son! 

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Rio warming up to 3 month old Vir

I am a mother of two. One is an adorable 3 month old who loves to smile and squeal.The other is a 5 year old terrier, who loves to chase squirrels and cuddle. One is our baby Vir and the other is our “fur baby” Rio !

Hell yes my dog is my baby!! I feed him, bathe him, walk him, play with him, take him to his vet appointments, buy him treats and toys, dress him up for Halloween, protect him from danger (stray cats in our neighborhood are vicious!), worry about him all night if he is ill, comfort him when he is scared, take family pictures with him, miss him when I am traveling, scold him when he is naughty and most importantly, love him with all my heart as I am his MOM. No wonder I didn’t refrain from celebrating Motherhood as a Dog Mom for the past 5 years.  Oprah’s quote – “Biology is the least of what makes… someone a mother” has stuck with me all this time.

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Rio when he was a puppy

The feeling of maternal love and the sensibilities of a mother first came to me when we adopted Rio from a local shelter here in Houston, when he was just 4 weeks, back in 2011. He just didn’t walk into our house with his tiny paws; he walked straight into our hearts.
We knew we were ready for this commitment of loving and caring for him for the rest of his life. His dark brown eyes and constant need for cuddle and kisses filled my heart with immeasurable love and an immediate need to protect and treasure him! For us Rio isn’t a domesticated animal but our first child. And I don’t mind saying that Rio trained me to be a better mom, since I made those classic first born child mistakes with him.

 

I believe it is the little things that shape our relationships in life, and my relationship with Rio is no different. Everything I do for him results in love and gratitude. His unconditional love, boundless energy, unrestrained affection and loyalty make us smile even in the worst of days! The mere mention of “Let’s go” makes him jump with joy. Watching him stick his head out of the car window just cracks me up every time. And the best part of the day is coming home to a wagging tail.

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Our pregnancy announcement photo shoot at home

When we found out that we were pregnant we were excited that our pack was going to grow! From flooding hormones to slight differences in routine, it is more than likely that Rio picked up on changes even before I started sporting a bump. He would sit and stare at me and follow me everywhere in the house, especially when I was suffering from nausea. (He would always be standing outside the bathroom). Rio also started camping at my feet in the bed and liked laying his head next to my belly when we watched TV. Things would sometimes get weird when he would chew up my underwear while I was gone. Now that I think about it, maybe he was acting out or feeling neglected. But he was definitely picking up something. They say a dog can tell that you are pregnant “Although it hasn’t been scientifically explored, it’s within the realm of reason,” Jennie K. Willis, an applied animal behaviorist, told Animal Planet.

Some people believe that it can be dangerous to bring a baby into a home with a dog. However, according to all the dog parents and owners between our family and friends; ‘Dogs have been loyal, loving and protective family members for them’. We were quite confident that Rio would be a good dog around Vir. As he prefers the company of human friends over dogs and is most excited when our friends come over (I think he is convinced that they are his buddies and are there to visit him). Yet, we often wondered how Rio would react when he would see Vir for the first time. Would he be scared, friendly, excited, indifferent or jealous? We researched online on how to introduce your baby for the first time to your dog, read online forums and checked out the cute videos recorded by awesome dog parents.  Please look up dog adoption and training guide for more information and tips on dog and baby relationship.

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Rio meets Vir for the 1st time

As newborn baby Vir entered his house for the first time, Rio waited anxiously at the door the entire day. I walked in first, hugged him and let him know that I missed him too. Once his initial excitement had died down a bit, we moved to the living room to introduce Vir to Rio. I remember he was excited, anxious, nervous all at same time and started to whimper as we walked into the house carrying Vir. We sat down on the couch and Rio immediately jumped next to me (still whimpering) and was bewildered to see Vir for the first time. He kept licking me and Deep and then very slowly, came close to Vir and sniffed him. Their introduction was priceless. Rio was extremely curious, but above all he was gentle towards his baby brother. It was a very emotional moment for all of us; I wasn’t prepared to see Rio whimpering like that for almost five to ten minutes after we got in the house. I was in tearsLet me tell you, Rio has grown extremely needy since the baby has got here and is comp

eting for our attention by acting cute.  Sometimes it seems he is trying too hard as he tries to play on his back or rub his face on the carpet or just constantly wag his tail while staring at us. He is slowly getting used to the fact that this new human is here to stay.I wished the two would have hit it off as BFFs right from the start, but it seems we will have to wait a bit longer. Rio still maintains his distance from Vir and avoids getting too close to him unless I call him to sit or sleep next to him. He does not show much affection towards Vir, but at the same time thankfully he isn’t jealous of him. (I think, he thinks of him as a mischievous tiny human, who has not only taken his spot on the sofa but is constantly pooping, and peeing all day!!) ( You can follow their journey on my Instagram account)

IMG_6687We are working on creating that special bond between them. We make sure to include Rio in all our daily activities and keep the same routine as earlier. Rio knows that the baby comes above him in the pack order as he is  aware of his boundaries of where he is allowed in the house and that the baby’s stuff is not his to chew or play. (Rio avoids everything but chews on his diapers when we are gone, I don’t know why he does it, but we are dealing with this phase right now). We call Rio every day to come and sniff the baby and also give him treats when he licks Vir’s feet to associate with space and respect. Its now a rule in the house to play with Rio first and then hold the baby, especially when our guests come over, as he would jump in between to get all the attention first. (jealous one)

My relationship with Rio made me realize dogs are nothing like humans; they can go through hell, yet forgive easily. This kind of love is one of the best things in life to experience as he filled a space in my heart that I never knew existed. It is an amazing feeling to be licked on your face when you are stressed or rubbed by a wet nose when you are lonely. No matter how crappy your day is, there is always a happy face waiting for you to get home.

I am thankful for my Dog for all the paw prints on my floor, for all the slobbery kisses on my face and for the fur on my clothes… for there will come a day when there is too much room in my bed.

“Parenthood requires Love not DNA”- unknown 

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Pregnancy photoshoot at home. (Photo credit: My dear husband)

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Catching a nap on the bump

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