Casey is officially almost here! Can you believe it? I feel like we just found out we were expecting. This pregnancy has gone by so fast.
I’ve been busy nesting and preparing for her arrival lately. During this time I’ve been buying a lot of necessities for her. I’ve found some amazing new brands and ones I used with Joey in the past. Today I am so excited to announce a fun giveaway with some of my favorite baby brands!
How to enter!
Go to my Instagram page and follow me and 3 of your favorite brands that are participating.
Comment at the bottom of this post or on my Instagram post.
Winners musthave a US mailing address. Winner will be announced on 10/23/2018.
Because Allen and I love watching TV and film, it’s only natural Joey would probably enjoy it a lot. We kept her away from it all for as long as we could and to this day only show her favorite shows and TV for about 20 minutes max. We try to stick to shows and films that are about nature (i.e. BBC’s Planet Earth), musical shows for kids and cartoons mostly about animals or girls who are not the typical “princess.”
Since so many of you have asked what we play for Joey, here’s a list of Joey’s favorite shows and films at age 2 (in no particular order because it depends on her mood!):
Rock Dog – A film about a Tibetan dog who leaves his home in the mountains to pursue his dream of becoming a musician. Joey really liked the music in the film and I’ll sometimes turn on the soundtrack in the car to calm her down. The story is super cute and the cat character is HILARIOUS. (Watch it on HBO)
Moana – Joey’s not really into this film anymore but was completely obsessed for months after we showed it to her. Love the strong female lead character played by Moana in this film! (Available on Netflix)
Frozen/Frozen Fever/Olaf’s Frozen Adventure: Can’t tell you how many times these films have entertained us so. Joey goes bonkers when any of these films are playing. Disney definitely knows what they’re doing! (Available on iTunes)
Ferdinand – Her current favorite movie to watch. After watching this, she keeps smelling flowers every where she goes! It is based off of the children’s book, The Story of Ferdinand about a bull who dreams of smelling flowers while the other bulls dream of competing in a bullfight. (Available on iTunes)
Hi-Five House – Joey’s absolute favorite dancing kids show. (Watch it on Netflix) It’s a group of Australians who like to sing and dance to different colorful skits. Beware, the songs are very very catchy. 😉
The Electric Company (the recent seasons) – One of the first TV shows that we played for Joey. It’s like Sesame Street but with an urban flair. Lin-Manuel Miranda makes appearances on the episodes too! (Watch it on HBO)
Bolt – Of course Joey would love this film cuz it has dogs, cats and a hamster in it! (Watch it on Netflix)
Coco – I thought for some reason the imagery of skeletons would scare Joey, but it didn’t! She absolutely loves all of the songs and is her go-to soundtrack in the car. (Watch it on Netflix) I bawled watching this film with her. It’s so good!
Nella the Princess Knight – About a princess who is also a brave knight. (Episodes available on iTunes) Sometimes when Joey is scared, I remind her of Nella and how brave she is and Joey suddenly feels better! It’s so crazy how referencing these shows actually work for kids!
This blog post isn’t about anything except me simply wanting to document that Joey loves helping me out with house chores lately. Whether it’s moping the floors, washing the dishes or taking care of the laundry loads. It’s so strange for me to watch Joey develop such a willingness to do certain things that she watches me do on the daily. Where did my baby go?? [Joey is now 2 years and 4 months old]
Not sure how long I’ll have before she’s not as willing to do house chores but for now, I’m going to fully enjoy these moments. 😉
I’m starting to see a very “helpful” personality in Joey. I watch her with others and she’s always asking people if they’re ok when she sees them fall or hurt themselves. She also surprisingly very good at wanting to help out with random things like setting the dinner table or throwing away trash. This is going to sounds really weird but because I grew up raising dogs, this is wild to me. My dogs have always had a limit to where they can grow in doing tricks (mainly because I haven’t taught them many haha!) so watching Joey understand what I ask her to help me out with is just nuts to me. Any dog owners, now parents understand what I’m saying? Anyway, watching Joey transform into this mature young toddler has been getting me excited for when baby C comes. I just have this gut feeling that Joey is going to be the BEST older sister.
[Side note] For those of you who are curious, our washer and dryers are the FlexWash and FlexDry. We absolutely love these machines because they’re so quiet (they’re right next to Joey’s bedroom and she never wakes up during the night when we have the machines running!) and on the washer, you can do smaller loads on top simultaneously with the larger load on the bottom and on the dryer, you can dry delicates like shoes and accessories.
I love how curious Joey always is and how she loves to learn by touching and feeling things in her hands. She definitely doesn’t mind getting a little dirty. Lately however, she’s been picking flowers EVERYWHERE. Anytime she sees a nice vase of flowers, she’ll want to pick at it. At restaurants, she’ll see flower arrangements on the table and she’ll go nuts. At her grandma’s house, she pulled out all of the blooms from my mom’s favorite faux flower arrangement. While it’s “cute” and all to pick flowers, I was starting to think she wasn’t understanding that flowers can also be enjoyed just by looking at them haha. The best way I thought I could teach her was to allow her to pick flowers with me from our garden the proper way so we can enjoy them.
When the flowers outside her room starting blooming, we decided to pick them out and put them into little vases. I told her how important it is to allow flowers to rest in “their flower bed” and let them grow without having any of their petals plucked. We did this once and have started making it a weekly tradition where we identify different flowers (including weeds haha) and place them into little vases. I think it’s been helping but she’s been asking for her own clippers now haha.
This post has been sponsored by The Container Store and Life In Jeneral. All opinions are my own. Photos of Day 2 are by Sunny Kim Photography.
When Allen and I got married 6 years ago we quickly realized we both had a lot of stuff. Every Spring we told ourselves we were going to go through all of our junk and purge it. Well 6 years later and 1.5 kids later and it still wasn’t done.
When I found out I was pregnant for the second time I decided this is happening this Spring no matter what! So Allen and I decided this was the perfect time! We opted to give this to each other for Mother’s Day/Father’s Day. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for the guy that’s hard to shop for here’s the answer.
I sat down and browsed the internet for home organizers because I knew I was in over my head doing this on my own. I came across Jen Robin of Life In Jeneral and fell in love with her work instantly! She made this one of the easiest processes I have ever done! Check out her website and her Instagram for instant inspiration.
One of the reasons why I first hesitated to use an organization service was because I wasn’t sure if the investment was worth it, but I’m telling you, IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT. It’s hard for me and Allen to find time to really tackle our home organization because of work, BECAUSE OF LIFE, so being able to trust a professional team to do it within use days for us was an investment we were willing to make.
We opted to join forces with The Container Store for this project because I knew if we were going to organize our garage we were going to do it right! Jen is also a Contained Home Specialist and was able to design an amazing elfa Shelving system for us. The elfa design is perfect for any budget. There were so many options when it came to designing the space we had. They also offer a full install or if you are looking for a more budget friendly option you can install the system yourself. We opted to have one of The Container Stores professional installers come and install our system.
Here’s where the fun began! When I decided to get this project started. Jen quickly got to work designing our garage….I literally just sent her a few pictures and measurements. From there she was able to send me a few designs that would work for our house and specific needs/goals. And she even took care of ordering everything from The Container Store that we needed for the shelving systems! Get ready for some crazy “before” photos of the garage below!
Crazy right?? Believe it or not, Life in Jeneral’s team (headed by Kamille) were able to go through all of this and organize it in just 2 days!
On day 1, the team showed up bright and early! I was told to go inside and relax. Excuse me?? I get to sit inside my house while these people do all the work I have put off for years?! Who would pass that up?? After a couple hours, I went back to the garage and everything I had been dreading to go through was on my driveway and out of my dumping zone. It honestly was such an amazing feeling being able to see the floor of my garage finally!
While it was slightly embarrassing to see all the junk I had accumulated over the years, but it had to be done!
We spent the remainder of that day with Jen’s team purging what we no longer needed. I quickly realized we were holding onto so much stuff we really didn’t use or need. I mean who really needs that box of receipts from 2007? All I had to do was point at what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to give away and they did everything else. I didn’t have to lift a finger!
The Container Store showed up a couple hours later to install the Elfa system while we were purging. What’s amazing about this Elfa system is that it’s completely easy to remove and can be adjusted to your custom sized wall. It requires very minimal drilling, that means less holes in the walls!
These are the products that were used in the Elfa rack installation:
We realized we had to upgrade to a new storage system because ours were all hand-me-downs since our college days and many had cracked and had missing lids so our items ended up getting spoiled by weather, moisture and dust overtime. The weathertight (air & water-tight bins) totes are all from The Container Store and you can find them here.
Find the links to all The Container Store products we used at the end of this post!
I have a lot of craft materials from various projects and of course from Naptime With Joey costumes but finding a way to organize everything was always a hurdle for me. Many times I wouldn’t be able to find something like glue sticks for my glue gun, and I KNEW that I have like 2 full bags of those laying around somewhere! For the LIJ team to be able to organize everything so I can find everything left me speechless.
At the end of Day 1, everything had been separated into keep & donation piles and then for the most part almost everything was already organized into their separate bins with temporary labels attached to the bins. What was SO IMPRESSIVE to me was that they took the time to separate my mountain stash of family photos into their respective years. As a photographer, this was EVERYTHING to me. They even fit our old dresser in the tiny little nook and designated that spot as Joey’s costume/prop area. It fit perfectly! Don’t ask me why that bottom part of that dresser is off-colored. (We had a small installation mishap when we put that together ha!)
I was amazed that evening when everyone left. I remember walking into my garage that night and just stood there thinking how could this get any better? The shelves were up, our purged items were in their designated containers….LIFE WAS GOOD! Little did I know it was about to get A WHOLE LOT BETTER!
On day 2 it was like an organizing spree in the Choi garage! Kamille and the team went full force with a label machine and file folding! I honestly had never seen anything like it. Her team got right to work making all of my garage dreams come to life. Like I said I didn’t think it could get better but I was sorely mistaken. All my costumes for The Joey World Project and Naptime With Joey were all stored in freezer bags and labeled.
I came back down to the garage at the end of the day when it was time for the big reveal and this is what we saw!
My photography gear and various household items that we need to access frequently like batteries, tools and extension cords, were stored in the corner.
They even hung up my Playdate Project sign!
There’s something about color coordinated books that thrills me.
They even found the perfect display box for Joey’s first shoes!
The costume dresser had been organized into various costumes in alphabetical order as well as different accessories like shoes and headwear. And WOW, do I have A LOT of wigs!
Our shoes were previously thrown together in several large bins where we’d have to fish out our shoes but the team went ahead and separated each pair of shoes into their own separate containers to protect them from dirt and so that they are now easy to find. The bins they used for that were these smaller shoe boxes and these larger ones. Joey’s snacks were kept in the garage because we always grab a few on our way to the car when we go out so the team put them in bins that were easy for us to pull them out from.
Our strollers were hung up on the wall so that it would save on floor space and the shoes we often wore, we put on a separate rack. You can find a similar rack here from The Container Store.
I know most people don’t think of their garage as a place to spend money designing but I am so glad we did! I can actually park a car in there now, I can walk in there and find that picture I was looking for, I can easily get to our suitcases. It seriously is such an amazing feeling!
If you’ve been putting off that dreaded organizing project because you just don’t want to deal with it now is the time! My biggest regret about this project is not starting it sooner. I was so stressed over the mess we had created in the garage I didnt realize just how out of hand it had gotten. Jen’s team and The Container Store made this such an easy and smooth process and I now have the most organized garage in all of Southern California! And the best part? I can now focus on the interior and preparing for a new nursery without worrying about this big project I need to finish!
Dear friends, Joey and I will be doing a local book signing this spring in the Los Angeles area! It’ll be at the Southern California Children’s Museum in Pasadena on Saturday June 2 from 10:30 am to noon.
Tickets are $25 which includes:
– Entry for one adult and up to one child (age 12 and under): Kids may play all day at the museum!
If you follow me on social media you know we have been traveling a lot this year with Joey. It might look like sunshine and rainbows but I promise it’s not. When I first started traveling with Joey it was absolutely terrifying. I was so unprepared. I will never forget my first time changing a diaper on an airplane (I’ll spare you the details). Whether you’re a new parent or an experienced parent these tips are sure to help (I hope).
Make a list-This might sound so obvious but I didn’t think about it the first time we traveled. I usually end up making multiple lists. I always have 2 lists for each of us (one for our carry on and one for our suitcase).
Extra outfit-ALWAYS pack an extra outfit in your carry on. Remember that diaper change I mentioned earlier?
Don’t pack so much! – I’ve learned that almost every time we travel we always pack more than we have to. I’ve learned that you don’t necessarily need a different outfit every day for everyone. I was concerned that Joey would need so much but she really didn’t. Because our trips are usually for just a few days, I just pack just a couple outfits for myself and a few for Joey and that’s it. If you don’t mind carrying a larger luggage that’s fine but I’ve learned that packing minimally not only saves time but is easily to manage overall especially traveling alone with a toddler (and a stroller!)
Snacks-Traveling isn’t easy on parents or kids so if you can prevent a hangry toddler then why not? I usually stash a few healthy snacks in a carry on bag for Joey (and maybe a few unhealthy ones for me). I don’t go overboard with the snacks because I can always find some at the airport.
Skip preboard-So I have always wondered why do parents preboard? I usually wait until the last minute to hop on the plane. I let Joey burn as much energy as I can before we get on the plane.
Buy a water bottle at the airport- I used to never buy water at the airport because I always counted on the inflight service giving us water but I realize after traveling a lot with Joey that flights can be delayed unexpectedly, you could board but be taxi’d for over an hour with flight attendants refusing to serve us any water until the plane took off (that happened to us! grrr!) or you could be seated at the very end of the plane where it will take about an hour after the plane takes off until they offer beverages (also happened to us!). Plus it’s good to hydrated when traveling.
Inflight entertainment-This has been the most difficult for us to conquer. While I love the idea of Joey never watching Netflix or playing on my iPad it is unrealistic on a long flight. I do however, try to pack a few activities for her. Our current favorites are sticker books, coloring books, and puzzles. Nowadays about a month before our trip, I hide one of her favorite toys (not her absolutely favorite toy haha but others that she wouldn’t notice is missing) and then bring it to the trip and surprise her on the plane. She usually plays with the toy the entire flight! If you have an iPad, download some educational games so you can always whip it out if you need!
Bring something for them to drink- When we used to travel while I still breastfed, I always nursed while we took off and landed so that Joey’s ears wouldn’t pop. Now I make sure to give her some milk (which she’ll drink all at once) as we’re taking off. I’m not sure if it makes a big difference but I’m sure it won’t hurt!
Pack a backpack and if you dare a fanny pack- I ditch the purse when I’m traveling. I always opt for a backpack and a fanny pack as carry on items. It makes wrangling a kid and all of our stuff so much easier. Plus all the pockets make organizing so much easier.
Bring a toddler pillow and small blanket-Flying is never easy with toddlers especially if it interrupts their nap time. I invested in a small travel pillow and a blanket that goes on every trip with us. It has saved us on so many flights.
Pack an empty duffel bag- You never know if you’ll need extra space in your luggage to bring back souvenirs or gifts. We always bring an extra duffel bag just in case and we’ve used it every time!
HAVE FUN-Remember they are only little once. Every time they fly it is going to be a different experience. People are usually pretty anxious when traveling and then adding a toddler to the mix can be even crazier. Try not to get frustrated easily when your toddler doesn’t behave the way you want them to. Being stuck in a small aisle for hours at a time might not sense for your toddler and will sometimes need to walk about the plane or stand on the seat to get a better look at the entire place. Let them do that so that they’re comfortable and understand what the situation is around them. Make it fun and exciting for them as opposed to looking stressed and worn out (even though you feel like it!). I realize that when Joey senses that I’m happy and excited while traveling, she is too. Kids pick up on everything!
Those are my 12 tips but I’m sure other experienced travelers will have even more. If you have any tips, leave them at the comments below! I’m always looking for new ways to make it easy for me and Joey to travel! xoxo
I remember when Pinterest first came out and I would spend hours pinning fun crafts that I swore I would make with my future children. Well, that day came and I feel so overwhelmed when I decide to start a craft with Joey. I always worry I am going to go to the craft store and either leave empty handed in shear overwhelm or I am going to end up with an epic Pinterest fail.
When each holiday comes up I get so pumped about making crafts with Joey and this Easter I finally decided we are doing it! I decided to take the pressure off of me and if it ended up being a fail I could consider it a memory we would just keep between us 🙂
I headed to Joann this time around in search of the PERFECT Easter craft. I was so surprised by all of the amazing Spring craft ideas and options they had. I opted to make an Easter egg we could hang up in our windows. Let me tell you this craft was one I couldn’t mess up so you can certainly make it too.
One of my favorite things about this craft is the possibilities are endless! You can virtually stick any little item on the contact paper. Joey helped me pick out some ladybugs which ended up being her favorite.
Stay tuned because this Pinterest WIN might come back again for every holiday. I am kidding but we will definitely be making this at Christmas this year!
How to make an Easter egg sticky wall
Cut out an over from a large piece of construction paper
Stick a piece of clear contact paper over one side of the construction paper
Stick the construction paper onto a flat surface like a table or window using painter tape
Let your creativity go wild and start sticking items on the sticky side of the contact paper
I have received so many messages lately asking about what books Joey is reading. I decided to share some of our current favorites with you today. It has been so fun watching how interested Joey is in reading and looking at pictures. My favorite thing about reading with Joey is that it gives us 20 minutes a day with zero distractions. Life has gotten so busy lately so this is a time I treasure.
I also get a lot of questions about how I got Joey interested in reading. This has been a challenge we have really just recently conquered. When we sit down to read a book we always go to the same spot in the house in her playroom, turn on some calming music, turn the lights down a bit and read away. It has also helped significantly that we have made this part of our daily routine (I have figured out routine in key to anything with children).
I hope you find this list exciting and helpful when setting up your library in your own home.
You can find the bookshelf in these photos here: http://amzn.to/2EVTk2x (My affiliate link)
About Laura Iz
Hi, I'm Laura Izumikawa. I'm a stay-at-home-working-mama to Joey and wife to the funniest guy I know. My photos of my napping daughter dressed up as pop culture icons became viral one day and now I blog about our lives because it turns out, people want to know more about us which is totally crazy to me! Thanks for visiting!
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