We just got back from our California vacation, and while I was prepping for our trip I realized I needed some baby swim items. I thought I would be more well versed in baby swim gear (considering I grew up in California and was former swim team member, and my mom still swims as her daily form of exercise), but it turns out I was a bit out of touch. I assumed I would need to just grab disposable swim diapers and a baby swimsuit, but after asking the experts (AKA other mom friends and Amazon reviews) I quickly realized there's much more to know for the best experience with a baby in the water.

Swimwear. There are cute suit options all over, but for babies I like the idea of long sleeve rashguards, covering as much skin as possible for the best form of sun protection. These cute striped ones are by SwimZip and we're big fans.

Hat. Something with a wide brim, with back of the neck coverage and an under the neck closure is ideal. This one has a self-clasp which I think stays on better than the self-tie ones.

Swim Diapers. A common misconception here is that swim diapers work just like typical diapers, but I learned that swim diapers are designed to only hold in solids, not liquid (otherwise they'd be absorbing all that pool water also and defeating their purpose). There are two kinds, disposables and reusables, and I'm going with reusables, for what I've read in terms of effectiveness and saving money over the long haul. There's tons of brands and styles, I'm choosing snaps instead of velcro closures so that it doesn't snag on my own swimsuit, and a grow-with-you design for the most bang for my buck. You want them TIGHT for them to work. You also want at least two, so that if one gets messy you don't have to end your swim day. The two companies I found to be the highest rated are by Apple Cheeks and AMP Diapers (both are recommended in the Lucie's List review here), and both fit about 15-35 lbs and I loved them. Fast drying and easy to travel with (the AMP ones even come with that tiny travel bag pictured above), and they double as swim bottoms for babies as well.

Another cool swim company to recommend, Splash About, is based in the UK and carries a new kind of swim diaper, the Happy Nappy. These are made of neoprene material (the same as a wetsuit) and look more like spandex shorts than a diaper, and are cute enough to be worn as-is. I love companies that work to make life and play accessible for everyone, and Splash About also makes swim options that work for bigger children, including adults with disabilities. Beyond swim diapers they make a variety of swim products including the Floatie Swimsuit pictured above. Love that concept of removable floats.

Sunscreen. Of course, right? But strangely not the easiest decision since the chemical content is a little controversial, but after 6 months it's generally advised to use if you're going to be in the sun with your baby for more than a few minutes with exposed skin. Apparently "sunblock" is technically a better term to look for than "sunscreen," since the ingredients used are physical blockers (ie zinc) as opposed to chemical "screens" but in retail the names seem to be used interchangeably and thus the confusion. I've heard the best formulas available right now are by ThinkBaby and ThinkSport (same company and formulas, easily blendable and no weird chemicals) and also I have some friends who love Babyganics.

Life vests. This is more for boating than pool use, but I've heard good things about this classic style one. For pool and learning to swim age I've heard this is the best for arm movement.

Sunglasses. We have these. Not really a necessity but cute (if your baby will keep them on!).

If you're into matching your mini (like me) Raising Wild makes these. The mama suits are functional and fashionable (hello, triangle cut out and high waist), a big win for one pieces.

Wishing you and your bab(ies) lots of fun and safe play in the sun!

Shared in partnership with most companies, some links are affiliate. 


Growing up in California, "winter" was an entirely different concept to me than it is now.

During January of my freshman year of in college in the Pacific Northwest, we were just shy of breaking the historical record for most days of rain in a row (33 days in 1953) and I was thisclose to packing my bags and transferring to a southern California school, to trade my rain boots and down jacket in for sunscreen and swimsuits.

But I didn't and I'm glad I stayed. I ended up marrying a Pacific Northwest native, and we're here now with our little family.

When you're somewhere that wouldn't be your first choice, you have to make it your first choice. Here's how I survive winter in the Pacific Northwest:

1. I get outside even when it's cold. I have been terrible at this lately, but it's one of my goals for 2017 and motherhood in general; to get fresh air every day. Even just a few minutes can make such a change in my mindset.

2. I bundle myself. I just now, this year, bought a warm hat. (??) My husband thinks I'm crazy. I never really found a knit one I loved, but these are ethically made and cute. I've also been loving my double insulated jacket and have my eye on these boots.

3. I bundle the baby. I've written about winter gear for babies here, but got a few more items that are worth a mention:

This poncho is meant for babywearing, like with an Ergo, which is Trey's favorite mode of transportation currently and I happily oblige (hands free!), but it also works great as a car seat cover. I love that it comes with a detachable hood that can be used for facing in or out of a baby carrier. Something to note that I've learned recently is that typical down jackets (that buckle under the car seat straps and create bulk) can be dangerous for babies on the off chance they end up in a car accident and need those straps tight to work properly (article by the Car Seat Lady here) so the trick is to bundle them after they've been buckled in, to keep the straps as close to the body as possible, and also warm. This car seat cover does that, and so does this fleece one (if you don't need as warm of coverage as the down one). The arm slots on these help them stay on, instead of a typical blanket that falls off, and they are the grow-with-me sizing to last a few years. I'm also using this warm hat that covers the ears and these boots.

4. I make it a point to work out. I have definitely failed at this one. But I'm convinced endorphins could save the world, at least my little one. I'm trying to find ways to get my heart rate up in the winter when it's cold. I know many people who love their gym memberships, but I am a outside-running kind of girl, so I'm trying to get creative here.

5. I plan a trip. Every February we fly south like little snowbirds, on a purposeful trip to see my grandparents in Southern California and also to get some sun. It doesn't have to be expensive or lavish, many airlines have discounted fares this time of year. Even just having this on the calendar mid-winter is something to look forward to, and sitting by a pool soaking up Vitamin D for a weekend is just enough for me to make it to spring in one piece.

And of course, when all else fails, there's always more coffee and/or wine and maybe even a good old fashioned paper chain. Spring will be here before we know it.

Shared in partnership with 7am Enfant, the winter baby gear brand I love. Thanks for keeping us bundled.


Pre-baby life and post-baby life sometimes look vastly different for me.

Pre-baby I did things like: curled my hair, had organized closets, made dinner, showered regularly.

Post-baby I do things like: compare the safety ratings of car seats, run out of dry shampoo and laundry detergent more often, shop for the baby instead of myself, and play and laugh more than ever.

Sometimes my pre-baby life feels like a lifetime ago, and in some ways, it is. But this new version of my life and myself has so much more to offer, creating something even better than before.

I used to be a runner. I loved to run. Running and group exercise classes are my top two favorite forms of exercise.

But I have an 8 month old baby and I just now got a jogging stroller. I have no idea what took me so long to make this happen. Sometimes you're so in something that you can't really see clearly, you know?

I think the first bit of motherhood was like this for me. But now, at 8 months postpartum, in the middle of winter in the northwest, I have a jogging stroller. The timing seems simultaneously odd and perfect.

Because there are some things from my pre-baby life that are too good to leave behind. Things like self-care, exercise, and endorphins. These are the kinds of things I want to bring with me into this new self that I'm becoming, as I begin to merge my old life with the new.

Running is one of those things that feels like it's at the core of who I am. I ran my first 5k at age 12 and have ran many races since, including three half marathons, (which is the longest distance I will likely ever desire to run thankyouverymuch) but it's enough and so much more for me.

I feel like myself when I run, and as a new mom, sometimes I just need that little reminder. That even though I have this new identity as a mom, at the core of it I'm still me. The me who loves to run and read and write and design. The me who is all those things and a mom. Not one or the other.

Babies demand a lot, and it's a good thing to give into that, giving up sleep and time and priorities for now, but it's also good to hold onto a few things that are non-negotiables. For me that looks like taking care of myself so that I can best take care of my baby. I can only pour out all my love, time, patience and attention when I'm filled up first. Running is one way that I'm trying to do more of that.

Stroller pictured is by Thule (too-lee), the trusted outdoor gear brand, and this post is shared in partnership with them.  Originally I chose this stroller because of the Baby Gear Lab jogging stroller review here, and while I absolutely love it for running, I was surprised at how great it also performed as a day-to-day stroller. It's lighter than the Bob or Nuna, the straps click in much more easily, and the three wheel design instead of four is a game changer in terms of maneuverability (and as a bonus it's the least expensive compared to the other two by a landslide). If I was doing it all over again I would just have this stroller as my main one, plus the car seat attachment for the first few months. Truly a great buy.