I've been dying for some good pictures of my babes but the studio thing was just an overwhelming idea. I book a time and my kids must be happy, awake, and perfectly groomed?! And even if by some miracle I could make that happen the pictures would look staged, which is fine and has its place but wasn't really what I was looking for. My gorgeous friend Kaley Munday offered to come and photograph my little family in our home... And I don't think I'll ever be able to do it any other way! Owen was just waking up when she got to our place and she was incredible and patiently waited while I nursed so we could get lots of content smiles out of him.

We didn't have to force poses out of Lorelai, Kaley asked her to read with me or play with Owen. We even had a little dance party.

Owen got tired really quickly (laughing is hard work) so I put him to bed and thought we'd have to be done but Kaley had other plans.

There just isn't a lot of silly one on one time with my girl these days. When baby sleeps I seem to always have a list of things to get done. But I try to have a moment with her once a day. To reconnect and give her the praise she deserves for being such a great big sis and being patient with me as I figure out this whole family of 4 thing.

So we made cookies. And a mess. And I cried when Kaley sent these to me, because that's my girl. That's the perfect little human that changed me forever, that made me a mother. I worked in an OBGYN office for years before I had kids and I saw so many women struggle with infertility and the desire to fulfill that natural calling. I don't have the answer as to why some get the opportunity while others don't but I can say with sincerity that I know what I have, and I am truly grateful for it. May each woman find her motherhood role in whichever way she can.

I am ever so thankful for Kaley. She captured my family and the sweetness of my little babies and made it so effortless for all of us. Xxxxxx


Aggressive adoration

It's my favorite that she automatically puts her arm around him.

I've got like 15 pictures of him playing with her hand.

I melt.

Then inevitably it starts to get aggressive and he starts to look at me like, "mom you're seeing this right?"

So I tell her to give him some space and she turns around and licks him.

THIS is my perfect.


The perfect stroller

Before Lorelai was born I went into babies r us and I registered for a bunch of stuff... I had no clue.
"Ugh... That one is cute."
"That one is more expensive so it's better right?"
"I don't think I'll use a stroller that much."

But after you have your first baby you figure some things out (maybe before if you have super powers). You find the rubber bibs that you can rinse in the sink. You realize that the massive high chair you got is bulky and a pain to clean, and you buy a simple plastic one that you can strap to a chair, with a tray that can go in the dishwasher.

Simple. Clean. Minimal. Less crap in your house.

I could do multiple posts on this.

But by far the baby items I think matter the most are your car seat and stroller. Your infant car seat will be your baby's bed whenever you are out of the house for about their first year of life. It has to be safe, comfortable, light weight and easy to use. And as for the stroller- I have never been more wrong than when I made that statement above.

So baby #2 comes along and I really really want to do it right this time. I researched. I read. I went to every store and pulled down every stroller. I tried to do it the cheap way and bought a couple of inexpensive strollers that I ended up returning (the odyssey harmony and the baby trend euroride.) You really do get what you pay for in the world of strollers.

But I swear to you I've found it. The best stroller. The best car seat. The best travel system.

Here it is!! The britax b-safe car seat, the baby jogger city elite stroller and the adapter that makes them work together- everything in black (that pattern on the inside of the car seat is a removable insert). I got all of that on amazon for just under $430, normally $600. I have prime so it got here in 2 days and I didn't have to pay tax.

Stroller: here

Car seat: here

Adaptor: here

Here's how I decided this was the perfect travel system...

I almost bought the britax b-agile travel system. Great reviews. Great look. Loved the safety ratings on the car seat. But the handle bar is covered in foam that looked a little cheap for how much $$ it was. The reviews said this was the part that was first to wear out, and sweaty hands in the summer left white chalky lines. And the wheels didn't look super durable. Plus, a lot of conveniences like a place to put your keys and phone were accessories sold separately. And I read this review and just felt unsure about its overall durability.

Then I found the chicco cortina travel system. Supposed to be the safest car seat on the market. Stroller seemed sturdy, I liked that the handle bar had rubber where you actually put your hands- foam on the rest though. Big storage basket. Seat laid completely flat. But the colors were a struggle. I really wanted all black and all they had was a black, grey, and white patch work. I almost got the solid navy but again, the wheels didn't look that durable even with all wheel suspension. And after messing with it I realized you cant reach the basket underneath when it's fully reclined, which it has to be to put the infant car seat in. Plus it's massive even when folded down.

I almost got the graco fast action fold click connect jogger system. Rubber wheels with suspension! Sure it'd be a pain to inflate them occasionally but they would last! But the seat seemed so uncovered and unprotected. It would be very hard for a child to sleep in it and wouldn't have great coverage against the elements. And when folded down it seemed huge and heavy.

This just in: 3.8 million Graco car seats recalled  This doesn't include infant seats but apparently that doesn't exactly mean they are safe. Not sure what I think of this article but glad that I don't need to worry about it. Anyway...

Then I found the Bumbleride indie. It's beautiful and gave me hope for a combination of everything I wanted. But holy goodness. $500 for just the stroller was just too much for me. Plus an adapter and car seat... No.

But it lead me to the Baby Jogger City Elite... One of those "customers who viewed this also viewed" on amazon. I had tried the city select and city mini gt in a store and liked them... But each had a few details I didn't like. For a comparison of the 3 city strollers watch this.

The city Elite has literally everything I want in a stroller, and when I found a great deal on amazon I had to do it! FYI the best time to buy a stroller is January and February when they all go on sale- they roll out the new ones in March. Plus babies r us does their trade in program in February. Bring in any piece of junk baby gear item, get 25% off a stroller, crib, travel system etc!

Ok here's (finally) why this is THE best stroller of 2014 and the best overall travel system:

1. Huge canopy to protect against weather and to aid in good naps on the go.
2. Seat is fully covered in the back even when fully reclined, but you can roll up the cover to reveal mesh for breathability on hot days.

3. It nearly reclines flat.
4. See how the basket underneath is U shaped? Makes it easy to reach into even when reclined, and you can reach into the basket from the side as those have elastic.
5. One foot brake.
6. Peek-a-boo window has magnetic closures instead of Velcro- quieter and more durable! It also has a window on each side of the canopy.

7. "Never flat" foam filled rubber tires. No pumping these suckers up, but you get the all terrain durability of rubber tires! And front wheel suspension. You can lock the front wheel and lightly jog with it but true runners are going to want something more heavy duty. I just wanted it for snow, parks, a trail here and there.
8. Parents organizer built in, 3 separated pockets in cloth so it is hidden vs the plastic ones that make the stroller look more bulky. Perfect for keys and phone. Plus a mesh pocket on the back of the seat.

9. That rubber handle- no foam!! And it adjusts to multiple heights!
10. The foot rest goes up... Again aids in comfort and naps!

11. Easy, compact fold.

12. Options and accessories! Bassinet, second rider seat, jump pad! Rain cover, cup holders... Etc. You can accessorize this sucker to death if you want to. I prefer it more minimal but I do like to have options.

13. Lastly I loved the britax car seat for its safety and ease of use. This stroller only has adapters for the britax or uppababy car seats. It also has a universal adaptor but if I had to use it I think it would bug me.

Not a click it in, easy system. The strap seems frustrating and less secure. And I decided against the uppababy because I had already researched the britax and knew it had a great safety rating, plus the uppababy car seats were around $100 or so more. $430 already sounded like a lot to me. But I will tell you this:

"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price."

This is so true of an item you will use every day with your baby. Save yourself the migraine and get it right the first time! With something as durable and gender neutral as this- you'll be using it for a long time and could use it with multiple children. Hope this helps someone else!!


P.S. all of these pictures are from google images and I do not claim own them. :)



Lorelai is an outdoors run-around-like-a-maniac kind of girl. Which makes long snowy winters difficult. Praises and thanks for pinterest. For this foam recipe and other kiddie entertainement ideas- head HERE to my "Littles" pinterest board.

ice castle

It lights up at night, has an ice slide and had actors dressed up as Frozen characters. Needless to say Lorelai loved it. 

"Snow is my favorite food!"

We had to institute a no licking policy. 

L & O



When Papa Mann took me to his hometown in England for the first time shortly after we were married, I made sure that I got to see all his baby pictures and home videos. If I'd considered myself baby hungry before this, I was starving afterwards. My husband's freckles across his nose and ridiculously sweet and happy demeanor had me picturing us with 10 kids. Then I had one and realized I wasn't a 10 kids kind of woman ;) but I sure do enjoy the 2 I have, each with their bits from their daddy.




Ever since I got pregnant, Lorelai has been talking about her "baby bruh-yah." She knew he was a boy from the start and was even the one who picked his name. She kissed and loved on my belly... But would she love a tiny screaming baby? Would she be resentful or apathetic? I thought it would be ages before she cared about his existence or wanted to play with him but I was so wrong... She really is his fairy godmother. She is his 2nd mommy. And he is madly in love with her.

Mama Mann


I resolve.

1. To not compete with the world and to teach my kids they don't need to either. You are you and that's perfect to me. 

2. To listen to Lorelai even when she's talking nonsense, because hopefully it'll keep her wanting to tell me everything.

3. To stop, breath and take a look around as often as possible, and realize how much I have already been blessed with.


mann cubs

I had just placed Owen down for his morning nap and by some miracle I didn't have anything on my to do list so I decided to use the time in the wisest way I know... I went to find Lorelai to get myself a snuggle. She makes my life so easy. When I need to put O down, she will just find something to do on her own. This time she was laying on my bed playing with the Ipad mini.

Being a mom is the coolest job around. I look at these pictures and suddenly being the person who has to unclog the garbage disposal (which ended up on my to do list about 20 minutes after this) seems a very small price to pay to get to hang out with these cool people all day. 

I love my little brood.