Our Daily Bedtime Routine That Works for Us & Our Child


Tips for Travelling and Working Moms. Handling the emotional logistics while on a business trip (4)

This post was sponsored by JOHNSON’S, as always opinions are my own

Like many parents, I too strive for the perfect bedtime routine for my son. After all, we all want calm evenings and some time for ourselves and with our partners. And over the last 2 years I have realized having a consistent bedtime routine for my toddler has now become a cornerstone of our family routine.

I started to establish a sleep routine very early on with my son when he was as young as 3 months old. Earlier it involved crib training and getting him used to sleeping in his nursery. And now it is about maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, a relaxing bedtime routine and a soothing sleep environment to help my son achieve healthy sleep. He sleeps for an average of 12 hours every night and wakes up at 8am on weekdays and around 9am on weekends. Yes! We get up late on weekends.

We follow a routine that has been put together by a predictable sequence of events that we consistently follow in the same order every night. It has evolved as our son is growing but the basics remain the same.

Bath Time has been central to our bed time routine for the last 2 years. My son loves his bath time as it is calming, soothing and helps him relax. We love JOHNSON’S bath products and have been using them for the past 2 years. They are an integral part of our daily routine as well. Their products have been free from parabens and phthalates since 2015 and now all their washes, shampoos, lotion and creams are even gentler without sulfates and dyes!

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I love using the Head-To-Toe baby wash and shampoo. It is pediatrician-tested and pH-balanced to baby skin. Also, it is ultra-mild and gentler on my son’s sensitive skin and eyes and lathers well.  Containing over 90 percent ingredients of natural origin*, this sulfate-free and dye-free baby wash & shampoo is gentle enough to cleanse my toddler’s sensitive skin. The Johnson’s No More Tears formula makes it tear-free and as gentle to your baby’s eyes as pure water. In my previous blog post, I shared how you can make the bath time a fun and safe experience for toddlers.

After bath we move towards the wash basin to brush my son’s teeth and get him to try to pee one last time before he puts on his diapers and PJs. Somehow my son doesn’t enjoy getting his teeth brushed and it’s a struggle every day to get him to open his mouth and use the brush. I am hoping this chore will also become as easy bath time soon!

Vir is not yet potty-trained but he has started to use the potty seat sometimes. This is another experience I will hopefully share a post on soon with all my readers.

Once the bathroom chores are completed I massage Vir with JOHNSON’S baby lotion made with coconut oil. I love how it absorbs quickly and has a calming scent. I love to use it on my skin too. That fragrance makes me nostalgic.

At this age, our bedtime routine also involves the process of putting on PJs and Vir likes to select which color he wants to wear. We also love to read a good-night story and these days we are using the Moonlite story projector to make it more engaging. We make it a 20 to 30 minute special and exclusive time with my son for reading, snuggling, and being together. He loves to sleep with his stuffed toys Pooh and Pluto that provide him comfort in his crib and have been with him since he was a baby.  And when it’s time to sleep, I kiss and cuddle him once more before turning off the lights. We use a nightlight too so that his room is not completely dark.

Bedtime routines work best if you reserve the hour before bedtime for quiet play. This will lower your child’s activity level and prepare his nervous system for relaxation. Running, playing, tickling games, and even watching action-packed TV shows or videos make peaceful transition to sleep especially difficult.

Aside from relaunching their washes, lotions and haircare product, did you know JOHNSON’S recently launched a new collection, CottonTouch™? The lotion is made with real cotton and is lightweight in texture and absorbs quickly. The wash has a velvety lather that is easy to rinse and leaves no unwanted residue and cleans the skin without leaving the skin dry. I highly recommend getting these products from a store near you and experience it for yourself.

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetFor 125 years JOHNSON’S mission has been to create the gentlest baby products in the world. And recently I had an opportunity to go to New York and experience these products and the story behind them from the company’s baby care experts and scientists!  It was such an insightful experience to learn more about the company’s mission and their CHOOSE GENTLE campaign. No doubt JOHNSON’S has truly perfected products so gentle that they can be used for every age and stage of a baby’s life! I love their range and recommend all my readers to go and try the new redesigned washes, lotions and hair care products. To learn more visit www.Johnsonsbaby.com or head over to Target to shop JOHNSON’S latest products.

*Since there is no regulatory definition of “natural,” they follow the only independent international standard for naturals in cosmetics—the International Organization for Standardization. According to this standard, “natural origin” refers to ingredients that are more than 50% from natural sources, such as plants or minerals.

XOXO

Arushi (2)

 

Tips for Travelling and Working Moms. Handling the emotional logistics while on a business trip.

Tips for Travelling and Working Moms. Handling the emotional logistics while on a business trip

Let’s face it, being a working mom can be extremely challenging. It takes a lot of planning and support to manage a household. Add business trips and travel into the equation and things get exponentially more difficult.

I always get emails and messages from my Instagram followers on how fun and glamorous my work travels are. And yes honestly, being able to visit new places and try new things is fun, but every month being on the road, another hotel, another restaurant eating alone, the glamour fades, especially when you miss your child a day or two into a five-day trip.

I have come to think of it as a necessary sacrifice that I am making to ensure I continue to build my career and not give up on my aspirations, while also providing for my family. I love my job and everything I do, but I won’t sit here and say I love it every single day. Days get long, sometimes I don’t get to FaceTime with my son before bedtime, I miss my own bed, and I feel guilty for being away and probably miss on some new words too that my son started to speak.

In the last year, I’ve realized that even though it is necessary, there is a way to handle it in a way that I don’t feel horrible for the decision I made and to not get frustrated or burnt out from my work travels. You may wonder – How can we be a good mother while also traveling for extended periods of time? Contrary to what society may tell you, there are plenty of ways to make the situation work for you and your family. Here are few tips I recommend for travel savvy moms-

  • Take it as a Break – Being a parent to a toddler can be Pickups, drop offs, swim days, play dates, other activities and your day to day chores at home while working full time can be tiring and monotonous. And so, I’ve started to look at my trips as a “break” from the job of parent at home. It’s a little break from the busy lifestyle of having to work full-time and then be on again at home as a mom
  • Make a calendar and set reminders – I usually have a calendar in front of me of my upcoming travels and start to work on putting up a plan for the family on what to do while I am away. List out all activities at daycare that needs special attention like soccer practice timings, splash day packing, events or special celebrations that week etc. Also, it lets me also confirm with my caregiver on her availability.
  • Maintain your child’s routine. While it’s important to have something fun planned for while you’re gone, don’t abandon routines. Bedtime, naptime, meals, school and playtime should remain the same. Kids rely on their schedules and if they are interrupted, it can be confusing and upsetting.
  • Leave a Meal Plan– To ensure my home is running smoothly in my absence I make a meal plan for my family and mail it to my husband and my caregiver, while also placing a print out on our refrigerator. You can also freeze meals or use local services of cooked meals that deliver at home for the days you are away. Also, I make sure to do groceries before I leave so that we are not short of the important items like Bananas, Milk, Eggs, Bread and snacks that are needed on a daily basis.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for support when and where you need it- Without my family and my in laws here in the US to check in or help out when I am gone, I rely on the support of my close friends, neighbors and my son’s teachers. I ask them for extra help when needed. Lately I have been looking to share a nanny with a close friend on the days when my husband gets late at work. It is very important to have several backups and foresee few situations that you might need help with, when you are away.
  • Create Fun Rituals – Baking cupcakes or banana bread or pudding for days when I am gone is a sweet way literally to treat my son. He is very young to understand the association, but I am sure it makes him happy especially if he is moody or cranky. Also, I try to leave a new book to read every night in my absence and come back with a small gift from my travels for my son to open. He is 2 and he thoroughly enjoys it.
  • Ditch the guilt.I know it’s tough, but you should not feel guilty about this choice. I never let others negative opinion affect how I think about myself. It may not be an ideal situation in your mind, but if you love what you do, never feel guilty about that and the fact you are providing for your family. Remind yourself that you aren’t a bad mom for traveling and don’t compare yourself to other moms on the block. If you communicate with your child before, during and after travel, they’ll be prepared for your departure and be fine while you’re gone.
  • Let your significant other rest and have a day/night to themselves.
    Even though I come back tired from traveling, I always make sure to give my partner a break, it could be some time away at the weekend with friends or a short getaway. It is very important to tell your partner you appreciate them and that it’s okay to go out and take a break and let me take on everything you’ve been doing the past few days.

In the end I will like to say that to have a family’s ability to function well with a travelling mother is also linked to the attitudes of its members. We need to make sure our partner is happy to contribute and is appreciated, and that the kids adapt well to the changes in routine, so that all goes smoothly. In our house we have learnt to treat Travel as just another facet of life that needs to be managed. I always say it’s all about Teamwork! And so, me and my husband try our best to treat travel with resourcefulness and optimism. It is hard to leave on a monthly basis, but I look forward to coming home to see my son’s face and get a hug and kiss from him (as there will come an age when he won’t  want them from mommy). His smiles make it all worth it.

Please do share your opinions and thoughts on how you are trying to balance travel and home duties.

If you are a breast feeding mom and travel for work, check my previous post –How I Prepared to Leave My Breastfed Baby for a Work Trip

Love

Arushi (2)


 

 

5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Holi at Home With Your Kids. Free Holi Banner Included

Among the many festivals we celebrate, HOLI has always been my favorite since childhood. This year I am so excited about being able to share my love for Holi with my son . Although he is very young to understand the culture and its essence in our lives, I cannot wait for him to sprinkle colored powder on me and enjoy the water balloons and water pistol battles with his friends and siblings in the years to come.

Simply defined HOLI is the celebration of the vibrancy of spring, fertility, love and the triumph of good over evil. The festival is usually celebrated in March and signals the coming of spring in India. It’s the start of new hopes and relationships, signified through the burst of colors everywhere. Holi is also about warmer weather, sweet delicacies and of course, special Holi crafts and activities for kids.

In this post I am sharing some fun ideas to enjoy the festival of colors with some easy to do colorful play for toddlers. Also, I made this

PRINT THIS BANNER FOR 

Pre and  Post Holi picture memories. 

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CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE HOLI BANNER by thesnazzymom.com

I got the print out from Office depot on four A4 sheets. You can get them laminated so that they are sturdy and can be reused later. Note you will have to cut them into circles and can use tape to attach them to a thread. I used white wool.

DIY,  TWO INGREDIENT EDIBLE PAINT FOR BABIES.

Last year during Holi, our son was only 7 months old. We celebrated the festival with him with these simple and safe DIY water colors in our bath tub. It’s a great activity for babies and note the paints are edible too.

Click here for the post and make your own paints

 FLOWER HOLI

We also played Holi outside with some rose petals. Our son  wasn’t interested earlier but later tried to throw the rose petals and joined in the fun. Playing with rose petals will also make great photo opportunities with your baby. Try it out and let me know.

RAINBOW FOAM BUBBLES PARTY

rainbow soap

Picture by Funathomewithkids.com

Rainbow Foam bubbles is a great sensory activity for kids to play and learn colors and celebrate Holi in a fun and easy way.  Note this will be good for older kids as younger kids might eat the foam and the soap could also get in their eyes.

Click here for the post and learn to make the colored foam bubbles.

COLORED TOASTS FOR TREATS

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Picture by HelloWonderful.co

Rainbow toasts is a must try! You can remove the sprinkles and just get your little one to eat his/her toast when they are fussy. It is also a great kids party snack idea and healthier than cake, cookies or donuts. The frosting is actually cream cheese and not frosting!

Click here for full recipe.

FUNFETTI MALAI KULFI IN EDIBLE SPRINKLE BOWLS

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Picture by LoveLaughMirch.com

A modern and colorful take on traditional malai kulfi. This frozen desert is a staple on Indian festivals and this twist of sprinkles will add some more fun to your Holi celebrations ! Also a great way to involve older kids in the festivities of making fun, delicious and colorful dessert while making memories. Check out this latest blog post on making this delicious desert . Sprinkle some colors on my Kulfi !!

I wish you a fun filled HOLI with your friends and family and these ideas can add to the celebration !!

HAPPY HOLI !! XOXO

Arushi (2)

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How My Toddler is Learning Basic Life Skills Through Age Appropriate Chores

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Few months back I observed my little guy wanted to lend a hand in our daily home chores. He insisted on holding the mop or putting the clothes in the washing machine to feeding our pet. I thought it would just be a temporary phase and he would soon be bored of it. However, to my surprise my 20-month-old loves to be busy with these daily tasks and now it has become more of a daily fun routine for us. ( #momwin )

There are many benefits of house chore for kids. First and foremost, it is some Help after all !

But one of the main benefits is that giving my son his own special chores has made him more confident of his still developing skills. He feels valued and appreciated with the plenty of praise we offer him after he completed his chore. Also, he can concentrate longer and his sense of coordination has improved too. I have also used this opportunity to teach him the concept of responsibility from an early age by reminding him about the tasks he need to complete like cleaning up after play and feeding our pet a treat after a walk.

Before I share my list of chores I want to say that we should take the advantage of our child’s desire to imitate whatever we as parent work on at home. Children are natural imitators they learn everything by watching us. Therefore, it is so important to allow them to watch you work from the time they are born. Modeling how work should be done and assisting your child can be tough. Sometimes it can even be painful. But by asking them to leave you alone when you are doing a chore, might send an idea that they are not good enough or they don’t need to help, since mom will do everything for them.

I have realized young children love to feel useful and want to help around the house. I had read somewhere that

“Allowing them to help, even when it makes it harder for us, encourages this aspect of their nature. When we discourage them from helping, we eliminate this natural tendency.”

This left an impact on me and I worked with my son on this thought.

Below are few steps I recommend to engage your kid or toddler in your household chores. You can also make a chore chart for older kids. At the end of this post I have one image that you can save or Pin.

Simply invite and allow your child to help. If your child is not interested… no problem. No pushing, forcing, or shaming. The kid will usually find something else to do, which is a win win situation.

Using kind works like please, thank you, very good … etc. matters. As all our kids want is to be like us and to please us

Guide your child on what he or she is doing. Help them help you.

Unless there is a safety issue, allow your child struggle and figure things out on their own whenever possible. Don’t help your child unless they absolutely need it.

And always praise their effort not their ability. I try to use phrased like “Thankyou Vir, you are doing a great job. I really appreciate the help” I know he will not understand all of it now, but he knows he is being appreciated and will associate the words as positive reinforcement.

Below are a few home chores ideas we introduced to our son in past few months-

  1. Toys Clean Up – Once my son is done playing with his mega blocks or the plastic dinner wear in my kitchen’s pantry closet, I start repeating “Clean Up, Let’s Clean Up” and picking up the blocks, toys and putting them in their place. He follows along and once it’s all done we clap!
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My little Helper ! Time to unload the dishwasher

  1. Unload the Dish washer – I take out all the sharp knives and dangerous items, then ask my toddler to pass me the plates , spoons, spatulas from the dishwasher and sort them too. This way he is also learning the different kitchen items
  2. Sweep Up– With the swiffer and small broom, our son likes to brush up old cereal pieces and make a pile. He has seen me using our handheld vacuum cleaner and is also now reaching to hold it and to clean up the dirt we collected.
  3. Helping with laundry–I ask my son to get his dirty clothes from his laundry bin and place them one by one in the washing machine. Post which I put in the detergent and let him finally slam the door shut and press the button of the washing cycle.  It’s obvious he likes the slamming most.
  4. Cleaning the high chair – I spray with water he wipes down the table Or vica-versa.
  5. Putting books away– We do a lot of reading in our family and mainly I like to read on the couch or the bed, so by the end of the day, there are usually several piles of books scattered around the house. He helps collect the books and bring them back to the right shelves or baskets.
  6. Throwing diapers and plastic wrappers– This is simple and self-explanatory. Also, now my son has started getting me all plastic wrappers and any bits and pieces of paper on the floor to throw away in the trash. Yesterday I saw him open the trash and throw his juice box after he was done.
  7. Watering the house plant – We recently started to do this. He likes to pour water and balance the cup so the water doesn’t spill. I give him a small plastic cup to water our house plant. This way he knows to care for the plant too.
  8. Fill the Pet’s dish– My son loves his furry brother “Rio”, he cares for him a lot and loves to share his toys and food with him every day. Once we are back from our daily walks he offers Rio a bone and fills in a fist full of kibbles in his dish for dinner.
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Too much fun with the Swiffer

Home life is one of the developmental domains of childhood along with language (reading), math, science, art, music, gross motor, fine motor, sensory, and social-emotional learning. The primary lesson of home life is learning how to help around the house and learn to become independent. Are you raising a Helper? Do share your thoughts in the comment below.

Arushi (2)

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My Top 2018 GOALS – Finding the Right Balance

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December is coming to an end and holiday festivities are winding down and pretty soon we’ll have a fresh start for “resolutions” or “promises” for 2018. Honestly I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, as in the past I have typically bitten off more than I could chew, which led to disappointment. Have you been there before? I certainly have.

I started to work on making goals few years back that are realistic and logical. I try to work on goals that can be accomplished in a calendar year. As goals force you to look at the big picture and work towards something, instead of just working. I want my goals to be doable and also enjoyable and eventually become second-nature. They should contribute towards a happier life and a healthier body and brain. I followed below simple steps to work on them-

How to make Goal?

Start with some categories like Personal, Health, Family, Financial etc and focus on just a few.

Classify the Goals

Big Goals (Mostly Yearly Goals) , Smaller Goals ( Quarterly Goals) and Tasks (Monthly Goals). In my opinion, the best actionable way to meet goals is to have a mix of the three and then break each down into clear achievable monthly objectives. Remember the saying -“How do you eat an elephant ? One bite at a time”.

Prioritize

We need to set priorities and reminders for our goals. A good way is to maintain a Planner, or simply set reminders on your phone and email calendar that sends you alerts weekly or monthly. I also like to put notes on my refrigerator on a white board or sticky notes.

So before the start of 2018 I took out sometime from my schedule to set my 2018 goals that will help me find a better balance.

  • Find more ME Time – Honestly I have been stretched too thin and have overextended myself this year with my full time job, running behind my toddler, managing my home and all my official and personal travels. So this year I am going to take out more time for myself. Personal space is very important for my sanity and I am going to start by organizing my home, binge watching my favorite shows in my bed and going on a SOLO trip this year (I need to plan this out and it will definitely be somewhere close to nature! )
  • Mixing up my workouts- This year I have focused only on running to maintain a healthy lifestyle and I definitely need to switch it up and start going to the gym. Running has been convenient because my son also joins me in the stroller and I don’t have to worry about leaving him for my workouts right after I finish work. However, this year my goal is to workout at least 4 times a week in the morning instead of evening.
  • Plan a Special Activity every weekend with my kid- Being a busy working mom I end up being away from my kid for a solid chunk of the day while he is in daycare. So my goal is to make sure that every week or weekend we do fun activities together like going out to a Library, children’s museum, the zoo, botanical gardens, open gym etc. I will be making a list of all age appropriate events happening in our city and plan to attend them too.
  • Set Long Term and Short Term financial goals –It’s important to look household finances squarely in the eye, because that’s the only way to control them. It is very important I sit down with my husband and set a family budget. By watching our income and expenses, we can better plan for our vacations, activities, big purchases and plan for future. As distasteful as the task is, it really is important to map out our expenses and purchases so we can see just where our money is going.
  • Learn to cook 1 new healthy recipe weekly – This is definitely something I can accomplish in a calendar year. I am hoping to find new recipes I love, and that I can incorporate into our weekly menu. I want my son to enjoy different types of meals and get introduced to new flavors too. Definitely will be bookmarking many healthy recipes on Pinterest . While my life may be busy, I have found that making the time to learn something new – and eat at least one good meal a week – is always worthwhile.
  • Concentrate on my Relationships– As moms we tend to put our energy into kids and that doesn’t leave much time for anyone else. I want to make sure I am planning Girl’s Night with my gal pals once a month. Find a good babysitter so that I can plan date nights with my husband. Nurture my relationship with distant family members by calling them more regularly. Making these relationships a priority is good for the soul.

I will be giving you updates on my progress on my workout goals, the new recipes I am trying, plus more as the year progresses!

What are YOUR goals for 2018? I’d love to hear! Let me know in the comments!

Arushi (2)

Top Nursery Essentials + A Tour of Vir’s Room

img_3899As 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 theirBaby 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.)

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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.

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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.

img_3906A 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.

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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.

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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?

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.