Life After Baby, One Year​ Postpartum

     I’ve been a mom a little over a year now, such a long, exhausting and beautiful year. Calvin is fifteen months and life after birth has been quite interesting. Between the sleepless nights and long playful afternoons, motherhood has definitely gotten the best of me. It’s nothing that I imagined but definitely is not what most people made it out to be “ the end of my life”. I recall this past year being the beginning of my new life. One that I would choose over and over again.

   When we brought Calvin home for the first time Ruben and I were scared and we had no idea what life would look like for us now that Calvin was here. We were clueless when it came to baby basics like folding a stroller or the fact that you can simply use the car seat in a cab without carrying the base everywhere. Ha! I still laugh at that. The big and small things about parenting transform you, they lead you to make hard decisions and also many sacrifices.

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     Entering motherhood has changed the way I see myself and everything around me. It has set my eyes on things more important and has been a breath of fresh air in every way. Children have a way of teaching you to be present no matter how distracted you are, they challenge and grow you in ways that you never saw yourself growing. People ask me all the time ” how has motherhood changed you?” and as I say said goodbye to 2018, I’ve reflected on some things that have grown me and things I’ve learned this past year, these are just a few of them.

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Words of Affirmation

      I’ve never been someone who felt loved by words, it’s the love language all the way at the bottom of my list. Before being a mom, I was an “acts of service” and “quality time person”, but now words mean so much to me. If you don’t know this already, motherhood comes with lots of insecurities. I think the last time I felt this insecure was when I became a wife. I wasn’t prepared for how emotionally, mentally and physically being a mom takes a toll on you. It seems like all you ever get is criticism. “You’re not doing this”, “ you look tired all the time”, “ you didn’t breastfeed?”, “wow, he’s in daycare?, I would never leave my kid in daycare”. All of these words have discouraged me, but I’ve also had people encourage me in this season. I realized how grateful I am for words now. They have a way with lifting you up, especially in a season where I have no idea what the hell I’m doing. This is one of the reasons I started blogging, I want to encourage other moms and others that could relate to me in whatever season they are in.

Postpartum Depression

    It’s real, very real and very scary for moms. As your body tries to recover after birth, your mind and emotions also try to do the same. According to doctors, Postpartum Depression happens days or weeks after a mom gives birth. It can be due to the hormonal drop you experience after birth but also due to lack of sleep, worry, anxiety, and even lack of social interaction. I can honestly say that my postpartum depression happened right after giving birth. As I shared before Calvin was premature and therefore I only got a few minutes to hold him before they took him away to the NICU. I spent two days in the hospital trying to pump but had very low supply and I spent two weeks going back and forth to the hospital to see Calvin there since he couldn’t come home with us. I cried a lot, my mood would change often and I was mentally exhausted.

     When we finally brought him home I think it hit me harder. I couldn’t handle the lack of sleep, Calvin crying, being alone and feeling like I was failing as a mom by not breastfeeding. A lot of days I would call Ruben crying to come home from work because I didn’t want to be with Calvin. If he would cry for hours, I would go to my room and also cry. I told a friend months after, that during those months I felt like I understood why very often moms are inclined to hurt their babies and it’s scary. When I felt scared of myself I would cry out to God to help me be calm and give me the wisdom to care for Calvin. I was thankful that my family and friends helped us a lot. My mom would sleep over to help me with him so I could sleep, friends would come over to visit and bring food and Ruben did all the night shifts, I really learned to depend on people in this season but most importantly in God. He really kept me sane and covered my mind and thoughts in days when I felt at my lowest.

The Supermom Mentality

     This “supermom mentality” is what I think moms develop after giving birth. It’s the ability to believe that you can conquer anything or smack the hell out of someone who hurts your kid. ( but I got Jesus… so he holds me down) I feel like when you become a mom you feel like you can do anything! It’s like a supernatural strength that you grow and it comes from knowing that you have someone to care for. I don’t have time to complain about what needs to get done, I just have to do it. If I need to go out and have no one to watch Calvin, I still have to go even with the stroller, diaper bag, and a tantrum baby. If you’re a city mom, you know that’s not easy. However, this mentality is why I work full-time, attend grad school, volunteer in ministry with youth, and blog. I feel like I can do it all, but I can’t. I think I’m learning to have balance, it’s great that I’ve developed this sense of strength but it can be difficult trying to do it all. This mentally also means knowing it’s okay if I can’t do everything. I can be a super mom doing what I can and the rest leaving it in God’s hands trusting that He will do what I can’t.

Faith

    This one has been the hardest one. As someone who was involved in church so much, not being in the community for the first three months after birth really disconnected me from God more than I already was. I was so exhausted and angry that things were so hard at the beginning with Calvin that reading my word and praying was the last thing I wanted to do. I’ve struggled to make time for God and my spiritual growth this past year and this is the most important piece of my life. Having Calvin has shaken the way I see Jesus and his love for me. I understand it more and value His love but I also see the weight of my responsibility as a mom. If I’m not growing in Jesus, I cannot reflect Jesus to my son. Ultimately if I’m not growing I’m dying spiritually, so it’s easier for me to act on my flesh. Which means I’ll be impatient with Calvin or yell at Ruben for failing at something small, which I’ve seen myself do a lot this past year. I need Jesus more than ever now and I desire to grow more in Him more than anything.

Postpartum Body

    I’ve always struggled with my appearance, after giving birth my body started changing. I definitely put on more weight. I’m constantly changing my outfits and I only wear high-waisted jeans to avoid the stomach pouch that I hate so much. A lot of moms struggle with their body after birth. We all echo the same questions, “what will my body look like after?”, “how can I get rid of stretch marks?”, “will my boobs sag? “, ” will my spouse still find me attractive?”. All of these are real questions and insecurities, I feel all of them. I’m learning every day to embrace my body and be proud of it. Some days I can feel really beautiful, other times not so much. This is what encourages me ” I gave birth to a whole baby!” that’s one hell of a power! If you’re reading this and you can relate, I want to challenge you to cover yourself in truth and affirmation. You are beautiful and honorable. Yes, your body will change, it won’t be the same again and that’s okay, embrace it. I want to increase my confidence through self-care and eating better for this new year. What goals do you have for your self-care? Body? Mind?

Working Mother

    Going back to work felt so strange after Calvin. The night before I went back to work I rocked him to sleep and cried. I was worried about leaving him and who would take care of him, I felt guilty about not staying home with him and transitioning back into the real world was difficult. Adjusting was so emotional that two months after going back full time to work, I went part-time. As a first-time mom, I just didn’t know how to be apart from Calvin, all I thought about was him and it was even worse when he was finally at daycare. I think this transition is so hard because so many factors play a role in it. You might have paid maternity leave or you may not and only have a few weeks with your newborn. If you’re nursing, you’ll be pumping at work and also trying to keep up with your workload, which can become exhausting. Maybe you won’t have a family member to watch your newborn and that will make it hard for you to trust someone else.

     For me it was both, my family was too far and after a while of pumping at work, I couldn’t keep up with my workload and pumping and my supplies kept dropping which means my milk supply was at its lowest. Being a working mom is bittersweet though. I get to be outside my home and talk to adults ( which is something you get very little of when you’re a stay at home mom in the city during the winter) You also get to miss your kids and spend time with yourself. As a mom you need that often, I think that’s how I survived this first year. Work gave me freedom in some way and it allowed me to care for Calvin in a healthy way that meant I needed to trust God more with my son.

Friendships 

      I’ve been really grateful for all the friends I’ve had in this season. I remember moms sharing with me about many of their friends slowly spending less and less time around after they became moms and this can be real for many mothers. Motherhood is lonely sometimes, especially if your closest friends aren’t moms. The truth is life happens and you’re in a different season as them. That’s something we can’t change. In this season, in all honesty, my attitude is this “ if I haven’t seen you in months or heard from you, no hard feelings but I’m not looking for you.” Yup, it sounds salty but I’m just not in a place to seek after friendships that aren’t around. I can’t pick up and go as I please like before, now I have to wait for Ruben to get home or find someone to watch Calvin. Invites to hangouts?, I barely get those and I’ve come to be okay with it. It’s about being grateful for those that are around and understanding that things change. God has a way of providing people in your life when you need them.

    I haven’t lacked friendships nor in people watching Calvin so I can go to school or go on dates with hubby. He has placed specific people to serve me without feeling like I needed to give something back.  I have so much going on that mentally I just don’t have the energy to pursue friendships right now like I once did. Perhaps it’s just a season but I’m learning to value friendships more and desire ones that value my family and build me up.

Loving Your Partner 

     Keeping up with your marriage is just as important as caring for your children. It needs to be nurtured and loved. Trust me, nothing about doing that is easy with a baby. After Calvin all I wanted to do was rest, bedtime meant time for sleep. For a while, my husband felt like we were co-parenting or just roommates. Yup, that bad. I slowly realized that it was unloving of me to not make time to love and date my husband. Children should not change the way you love your spouse, in fact, it should increase your desire to serve, love and create spaces for you both to spend time together. I can truly say that I have grown a deeper love for my husband after having Calvin. He is one heck of a father and husband, and I’m grateful to have someone who fathers my son so well. Those late nights when Calvin is crying his eyes out, he’s the one getting up just so I can sleep enough to go to work the next day. I have to constantly remind myself that my husband and I are one together and he also desires to be desired and affirmed.

     I hope to continue caring for my marriage, going on more dates, affirming my husband with gratitude and of course killing the “ I’m tired “ excuse to avoid sex. Sex is a beautiful thing within marriage, God desired for us to be intimate in this way. I truly believe that it’s important for you both to continue pursuing each other and displaying gratitude for each other. Thanking your husband for waking up earlier to stay with the baby and letting you sleep in is something to acknowledge and be thankful for, not brushed off by saying ” well, you’re just doing what you should be doing because you’re a dad now” (which I’ve thought so many times). We were able to survive this by acknowledging that we both were clueless and we needed each other to survive a lot of the struggles of parenting.

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I have so much to say about life after Calvin but I’m thankful I got to grow in each one of these areas and also learn things about myself. I pray that they would speak to you and also prepare you if you’re a mom to be or a new mom. If you’re a new mom, how has that been for you? Leave a comment, I’d love to know.

 

love,

Transparent city mama

Christmas Gift Guide for Mom and Kids

Christmas is finally here! I’m so excited for this Christmas, it’s the first Christmas that Calvin is actively moving around the house and baby talking his life away. I have so many plans for our family this season and of course I can’t forget the gifts. I wanted to share with you guys some of our favorite things in case you’re looking for gifts to get the kiddos or a mommy friend. I’ve chosen Calvin’s top faves and my favorites. 

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Christmas Gift Guide for Kids

1.My B Toys:

This is Calvin’s favorite toy right now, the whacky ball. He loves playing with small items and anything in motion. This toy is perfect for sensory development and repetition. The toy has a mirror background that reflects the motion of the balls through the maze. Can’t forget his favorite plane. My B Toys has so many amazing toys, so be sure to check them out. 

http://www.mybtoys.com/toys/

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2. Hape:

I put this toy on Calvin’s birthday wish list and it’s just wonderful. Calvin loves the small balls, he crawls around the house with them in his hands and has learned about sounds when the balls drop onto the xylophone. They’ve helped him a lot with his motor skills. The other thing he got was this wood bike, I ride him around our home with it and he loves it. I can’t wait for him to learn to ride it on his own. This is such a great gift for toddlers. 

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3. Books:

Right now I have two favorite book brands, ” Canticos” and ” BookRoo“.

If you’re Spanish and grew up singing ” Mi Burrito Sabanero” you are in for treat. Canticos has created their own version in English and Spanish for kids and you can even download the app and sing or read along to the book.

https://www.amazon.com/My-Little-Donkey-Burrito-Canticos/dp/0996995935/?tag=canticosworld-20

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As always BookRoo has my heart, they are a month subscription for children books. I think it’s a wonderful gift for any child, baby and up. The best part? you don’t even have to wrap the books, they’re already wrapped for you! surprise!

https://bookroo.com/

The Jesus Story book: We got this one for Calvin’s baby shower and I treasure it. We asked for the bilingual version and it’s amazing. definitely a sweet gift during Christmas time.

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4. Teepee:

This tent is from Cozy Culture and it’s my favorite part of Calvin’s room. I love that I can change the style of it and love watching Calvin play in it. We spend mommy and me moments in it always. Cozy Culture sells the tent and mat separately. If you don’t have a tent, you want to get one for Christmas!

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5. Puzzles: 

I love these puzzles by Melissa and Doug, their so fun and perfect for toddlers. This is great for teaching toddlers to identify shapes, colors and matching. They have so many different puzzles for kids and cheap too.

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6. Art:

” My first Crayola”  are products by Crayola intended for babies and toddlers. I love both of these products. The ” Mess Free touch lights” is like a light board. so perfect for keeping toddlers entertained while it being mess free. I love that you can just use your finger to create art. The ” Washable Finger paint” kit is perfect for introducing baby to paint. Calvin love painting but that gets messing quickly. The kit comes with paint, apron, and drawing paper. However, you can easly get paper, non toxic paint and any shirt you’re okay with baby messing up.

Christmas guide For the mama’s:

1.Jewelry:

My amazing and talented friend started a small business along with her mama and their jewelry is to die for. They’re handcrafted made of clay and each inspired by their favorite art pieces and Dominican culture. These are perfect for any mama friend or even for your own wish list. Be sure to check out their website & instagram account.

https://www.agustandambar.com/

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2. Market Bag from Apolis:

I love, love this bag. It’s my go to bag when I make trips to the supermarket or a quick run to Target. I love how much space and weight it can hold. Definitely a bag I recommend any mama to get. 

https://store.apolisglobal.com/collections/bags

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3. Fanny pack:

This summer I purchased my first fanny pack and it’s probably my favorite one ever! I loved that I got to wear it all summer and use it as my goto bag when running errands. I bought mines from Fawn Design, they have so many colors and also have other bags. 

https://fawndesign.com/products/fawny-pack

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4. Spa Date:

What woman does not love a spa date? I definitely would gift any mama a spa date. Right now the most talked about spot is called ” Sojo Spa. Club“. I hear the view is amazing and such a great place to relax. It’s located in NJ for all my city mamas. You can book them a facial or massage also.

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5. Backpack:

So I’ve been trying to get a comfy backpack for school since September and recently I stumbled upon this Nike backpack! And I LOVE IT! I always go for girly back packs but the straps are always so thin and mess with my back! So this has been a game changer for me. I can carry my laptop, books and even carry Calvin’s stuff with me to work and it’s easy on my back. If you’re a traveling mama, yup.. you want this bag.

https://www.nike.com/t/radiate-backpack-b191xP

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6. Coffee Mug: 

I am not a coffee lover, but motherhood has made me one. I had a IG mama introduce me to the ” Keep Cup’ and I needed to have it! It’s super cute, glass and the perfect to go cup and reusable!  Such a great gift for the coffee lover mama.

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https://us.keepcup.com/

7. Essential Oils/ Diffuser: 

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This is on the top of my Christmas list! I’ve been so blessed by essential oils through my friend Sam and learning about all the benefits of using them has convinced me that I need them and a diffuser in my life. I use essential oils for my anxiety, you’ll always find a roll on oil at my desk. Plus you can use them on your kids for their tummies, to help them breathe better and clear the air.

https://www.youngliving.com/vo/#/shopping-cart?returnUrl=https:%2F%2Fwww.youngliving.com%2Fen_US%2Fproducts

 

I hope this gift guide was filled with things you would enjoy and purchase, have more suggestions for gifts? Leave a comment! I would love to add more things to share. 

 

love, 

transparentcitymama

Smilingtreetoys (Review)

There’s just some baby things you never want to miss out on getting, baby blocks are one of them. There just so adorable and precious, they remind you of childhood. I knew that I wanted wood blocks even more Calvin was a thought. So I was supper excited when @smilingtreetoys ( https://www.instagram.com/smilingtreetoys) sent us over these custom-made blocks for Calvin. Their just so precious. He loves  playing with them and even loves it more when I stack them up so he  can push them down. He loves building stuff. Each block even has a letter of his name, so sweet is that! These blocks are beautifully made and add the perfect touch to any kids room. I uses them as decor for Calvin’s birthday party.

They have so many custom-made pieces for you to choose from, teethers, puzzles, ornaments, wood trucks, building blocks and so much more. If your looking for the perfect shop to buy these things, defiantly get them from their company!

I’ll hold these pieces forever.

http://www.smilingtreetoys.com/

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https://smilingtreetoys.com/collections/block-sets/products/personalized-wooden-name-blocks

The Little Homies ( Review)

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Learning our A B C’s with A B to Jay- Z and numbers with 1 2 3 with the Notorious B.I.G. Man, these books are legendary! If you want to introduce your kids to hip hop and rap legends you want to check out @thelittlehomie_ 

As a bronx girl and a lover of music, I was so excited to read these books myself. Everything about them is so much fun. From the hip hop artist to the design of the books, you can’t help but love these them. I love introducing Calvin to new books, especially ones that enjoy. The Little Homies have a few books on their page but ” 1 2 3 with the Notorious B.I.G and ” A B to Jay -Z ” are their top books.

” 1 2 3 with the Notorious B.I.G. is packed full of our most loved Hip Hop, Rap and RnB artists from then and now, with plenty of tongue in cheek references that even the bigs are sure to get a giggle from”

These books definitely should have been part of my baby registry! How did I miss them! So don’t make the mistake I did and put them on your registry! I think you might enjoy them more than the kiddos!

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“If you’re having alphabet problems I feel bad for you son.” – Jay- Z 

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Be sure to follow them on instagram and check out their website https://thelittlehomie.com

The Muddy Puddles Project

Last week I decided that I needed a day to spend with Calvin. Being a full time worker and student has been very overwhelming to say the least. I’m either at work or anxiously at home waiting for him to go to bed so I can start homework. I feel like often I’m too tired to give him the energy he needs from me, he’s crawling, standing, grabbing everything insight and I’m just sitting on the couch trying to catch a breath of air to let go of the emotional load I carry from work often. A few weeks ago I was invited to an event taking place in “The Little Gym” which is located on the Upper West side. They were having an event to celebrate the the launch of Peppa’s Muddy Launch Party. But before I tell you about the party I have to tell you about the charity behind it called “Muddy Puddles Project” 

The Muddy Puddles Project is a celebration of children and childhood, it is the shift towards letting go of the everyday stress and finding the fun in all the messy things.

( Lord knows I needed to hear the story behind this project. I’m always freaking out over messes! Just keeping it real with y’all. )

” It was inspired by Ty Campbell, a little boy who absolutely LOVED Peppa Pig and dreamed of jumping in muddy puddles just like her when his cancer was cured.  The project embodies the act of kids being kids in honor of those who can’t. Ty passed away back in 2012 and he is finally free to jump on muddy puddles and be a kid.

At its core, The Muddy Puddles Project is a vehicle to remind parents to stop sweating the small stuff; but it is also a fundraising platform for the Ty Louis Campbell (TLC) Foundation in support of childhood cancer research.  In 2017, The Muddy Puddles Project became the official charity partner of Peppa Pig, enabling the nonprofit to meet more families, far and wide, and raise awareness for childhood cancer.” ( Taken from their website)

At the event we got to meet Ty’s mother, what a brave woman she is and I admired her courage to start something so amazing that speaks so profoundly to parents. I’m constantly complaining about Calvin’s messes or avoiding putting food in front of him so he won’t through it everywhere. And here I was being told to embrace those messes because the reality is that many children don’t even have the chance to be just kids. I think as a new parent I’m learning about picking my battles wisely. Do I really want to stress over peas being all over the floor? or the fact that Calvin got his shirt dirty? When I get the chance to watch my son be a kid, make messes, laugh, jump, cry and give me a million kisses throughout the day.

This event reminded me why I needed this day with him, yes I love my job and I’m enjoying school but I want to take in every part of Calvin for as long as I can. I don’t want to waste my time with him stressing over things that I can’t control without controlling him. I want him to be a kid for as long as he can and I want to enjoy it.

So if your like me, stop sweating the small things, let your children make a mess. Join them in the mess and enjoy it.

These are a few pictures I took of the day, we also got a really cool gift bag filled with goodies.

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Also about “The Little Gym” 

“The Little Gym is the world’s premier enrichment and physical development center for children ages 4 months through 12 years. Programs offer children a Springboard to Life’s Adventures by using movement-based learning and imaginative play to help build the confidence and skills needed at each stage of childhood.” Be sure to check out their website for more info.

Bookroo (Review)

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@bookroo_love has sent us another box of books and we are loving it. The month of September introduced us to the books “ Skip Hop: My backpack”, “Arf! Buzz! Cluck! A Rather Noisy Alphabet” and ” Peekaboo! On the farm”. Our favorite is “Peekaboo! On the Farm”, Calvin loves playing peekaboo with us. It’s our go to game when we want to keep him entertained. #parenting The animals are hiding their faces and when you open the flap… PEEKABOO! it’s a CHICKEN! ha! I love that each book is filled with colors and very detailed. I enjoyed that two of this months books had surprise flaps, those kinds of books were my favorite growing up because you never knew what you find under it.

 Bookroo is a subscription for kids that helps them fall in love with reading by combining the excitement of opening gifts with discovery of new, treasured books. Bookroo offers three types of boxes, board book (ages 0-3), picture books (ages 2-6) and chapter books (ages 7-10). Every month is a new surprise for books!

Every month you can look forward to a new theme. I truly believe this box is worth the subscription, I hope that Calvin loves reading as much as our family loves book! His book shelves are filled with books and we’re glad some of them come from Bookroo.

 

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USE THE DISCOUNT CODE : ROSDALY FOR 15% OFF YOUR FIRST BOX 

New favorites delivered monthly!

<a href=”https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1068525&u=1826122&m=66323&urllink=&afftrack=”>Bookroo’s Junior Box</a>

https://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=40&u=1826122&m=47

Hooray Heroes (Review)

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    oh wubbanub, how much Calvin loves you! If you haven’t heard of this pacifier, it’s a must buy. @wubbanub should be on the top of your list for your baby registry. We’ve had to buy two of them because Calvin uses it so much. I’ve tired buying him other paci’s and even shared about how he flings his pacifier for fun anywhere he goes!, which can be gross especially because he bites all parts of it. Yuck! Anyways, I’ve tired to take away his wubbanub but he won’t take any other paci, deep down I love it for two reason: keeps him calm outside and it’s part of him, it’s his Hobbes. Eventually we will have to put it away and saying goodbye to it will be hard for us then it will be for him I think.

http://www.hoorayheores.com/

@hoorayheroes gave me the opportunity to personalize a book for Calvin and it’s perfect!! They have so many books you can personalize for your kids, who doesn’t love a story about themselves?  I really loved doing this book for him.  On their website you get to customize the book by using traits of your kid and adding them to the character. You can choose their gender, skin color, eye color, and even their hair style. I really loved the fact that he’s gonna see a little brown boy that looks like him in this book. Theres not many of them! It definitely will make saying goodbye to our paci Hobbes easier and sweet!

http://www.hoorayheroes.com/

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These are some of the things that  make this book wonderful:
” For our youngest audience: 
This book’s short and simple story makes it easy for the little ones to understand. Happy reading!” 
” My first ABCs
Toddlers are inquisitive little sponges. While your little one is saying farewell to her binky, they’ll say “Hi!” to the alphabet. ” 

So check out @hoorayheroes 

You can use my code ROSDALY15 for 15% off on all of their books!