Friday, June 14, 2019

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites - Mom Blog / Pittsburgh Blog / Baby Blog / Down syndrome Blog / Big Family Blog

Happy Friday! It has been a long time since I shared a few of my favorite things. Life got in the way of blogging - having a baby and adjusting to having five kids will do that. BUT...I figured it was time to get back into posting my favorites regularly!


Life lately has been very busy. Our Summer Break just started, but it doesn't feel much like a break at all. We're in the midst of dance recital week, and it's all we can think about right now! Next week should be a bit more calm!

I discovered so many new favorites over the past few weeks. Some are for me, some are for my kids. I'm taking advantage of the quiet time in my house (AKA the middle of the night), to list my favorites for all of you!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

School's Out for the Summer - The Last Week of the School Year

School's Out for the Summer!

School's out for the Summer! Dylan, Lexie, Lily, and Liam had their last day of school on Friday. They are now joining me and baby Coen at home until September 9th. The last week of the school year was a busy one, and although the last day of school was bittersweet, my crew is excited about the Summer ahead!

This past week included a fun event in our little town, a school kindness celebration, middle school graduation and a dance, an 8th Grade class trip to Cedar Point, Liam's annual eye exam, an oil change and car shopping, Lily's last dance class, the last day of school, a baseball game, sleepovers, and fireworks. I wish we had a lazy week ahead of us, but Lexie was asked to represent the school's STEAM program during the school board meeting tonight, Lily has a practice for the dance recital finale tomorrow, the dance recital rehearsal is on Thursday, Liam has an early baseball game on Saturday, and Father's Day and the dance recital is on Sunday. Gone are those lazy Summer days!

We are only four days into Summer Break and I can tell it's going to be a busy one! Kids are entering and leaving our house in a continuous loop for sleepovers/playdates. Did I also mention that Coen is rolling over EVERY time I put him down to sleep, then gets angry and starts screaming? Sleep just isn't happening for either of us! So many moms say that Summer is actually busier than the school year, and that seems to be the case this year.

Here's a glimpse at the last week of 8th Grade, 6th Grade, 2nd Grade, and Kindergarten..

Monday, June 10, 2019

How To Have The Best Summer in Pittsburgh with Kids

How To Have The Best Summer in Pittsburgh with Kids

This post is brought to you by Kidsburgh and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

School’s out for the Summer! Like many parents, I’m wondering what we’re going to do for the next 3 months. Thankfully, we live in the Pittsburgh area, and there is an abundance of family-friendly activities in and around our beautiful city!


Every so often, my husband and I daydream about moving our family to the beach, but the truth is, we won’t be doing that anytime soon. Pittsburgh is actually an incredible place to raise a family! It has everything - the best doctors and hospitals, an abundance of great museums, awesome professional sports teams, a booming arts district, four distinct seasons, fun public transportation, family-friendly events, and even the great outdoors.

You can easily find something to do every single day in Pittsburgh. From touring the beautiful gardens at Phipp’s Conservatory to cooling off at the infamous water steps to cheering on a favorite team to ice skating at the ice rink at PPG place, there is something for everyone. There’s so much to do that you just might miss something if you don’t put it on your schedule. That’s why I love Kidsburgh! Following along keeps me informed on all the exciting happenings for families in Pittsburgh!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Glow In The Dark Space Sensory Bin

Glow in the Dark SPACE Sensory Bin #sensoryplay #sensorybin #space #kidsactivities

We currently have a tough decision to make. Initially, we signed Liam up for Extended School Year so he doesn't regress between the end of this school year and the start of the next one. Now we're reconsidering, because we have a busy Summer ahead of us, and we think Liam deserves the chance to just be a kid and enjoy Summer Break. I think his once a week speech therapy session, baseball, lots of outdoor play, and sensory bins might be the path we take this Summer!


Our sensory bins, kids activities, and posts about Down syndrome bring this blog the most traffic, but I stopped sharing all of our ideas due to the busyness of life (more coming on life with five kids soon)! I'm getting back into creating weekly themed sensory bins, and pairing them with books, learning activities, crafts, and an occasional outing. This weekend, our town had a huge Mars New Year celebration and NASA attended, so I focused on a space themed sensory bin for the week!

Like the majority of our sensory bins, this space sensory bin is easy to put together. I reuse a lot of our fillers and just mix and match according to the theme, and everything I use is inexpensive! And this sensory bin is extra fun because it glows in the dark!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The One Item That Will Completely Change Your Tooth Care Routine + Giveaway

The One Item That Will Completely Change Your Tooth Care Routine + Giveaway


This post is sponsored by Smile Brilliant. I received product in exchange for my honest review.

After nine very long months of morning sickness, my teeth needed some maintenance. I'm breastfeeding, so it isn't safe for me to whiten my teeth just yet, and it's going to be a while before I'm able to use my whitening kit. I needed to do something to brighten my smile, so I turned to Smile Brilliant for some help!


The cariPRO Ultrasonic Electric Toothbrush by Smile Brilliant quickly became one of my new favorite things! It's SO good, that I immediately tossed out my manual toothbrush, and never looked back. I had never used a real electric toothbrush before, and wasn't sure they were worth the price. I had only used disposable, battery-operated toothbrushes in the past, and I really didn't see a difference. I soon discovered that I had been missing out on an amazing product. The cariPRO Ultrasonic completely changed my tooth care routine!

After a few weeks of use, I find myself asking one question: Where has this been all my life?!? Here are the reasons why I love my electric toothbrush, and how you could win one of your own...

Thursday, May 9, 2019

8 Easy Ways To Deal With Pet Messes

8 Easy Ways To Deal With Pet Messes


This post is sponsored by The Libman Company but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Like many pet owners, we believe our pets are valuable family members. Our already large family of 7 also includes a gentle giant - an English Mastiff named Ella - and 3 indoor rabbits. Our home is loud, chaotic, and crowded, but full of so much love! And even though our beloved pets bring so much joy to our lives, they also make messes!


With five young children, a 150+ pound dog, and three 12 pound rabbits, there is pretty much ALWAYS a mess to clean up! (Remember that time our rabbits had babies? See the picture above!) If I don't stay on top of it, cleaning can quickly become very overwhelming. I'm not one of those people who can spot a mess and ignore it - instead, it will bother me until it's cleaned up.

Now that it's Spring AND shedding season, the mess has doubled! If I'm not sweeping up chihuahua-sized hairballs from my giant dog, I'm sweeping up freshly mowed grass and mopping muddy footprints/pawprints that are tracked through my house. What does a (fur) mama gotta do to keep things clean around here?!?

I'm teaching my children to clean up their own messes (or at least help), but that doesn't quite work with our pets! Here's how I tackle those pet messes...

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Bloom - An Event for New or Expectant Moms in Pittsburgh

Bloom 2019 - An Event for New & Expectant Mothers in the Greater Pittsburgh area

As many of you know, my family lives in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Yes, I would love to live near the beach, because it's my happy place, but we stay in Pittsburgh because of how family-friendly it is! It truly is a wonderful place to raise a family. This weekend, Bloom is returning to Pittsburgh. If you are trying to conceive (or planning on trying soon), expecting, adopting, or have a new baby, this wonderful event is for you!


My fellow Pittsburgh Moms Blog contributors have been working tirelessly to bring Bloom to life for the third year in a row. I was involved during the first year, but missed it last year due to family weddings. I missed my PMB family during my looooong pregnancy, and I'm happy to be back!

Now that I have a new baby, I'm excited to both volunteer at the event and check out what's going on!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

I'm BACK!!! / Easter 2019 / Baby's First Easter

Easter Photography


Hello, friends! I'm (hopefully) back for good! I had no idea adjusting to life with five kids was going to be so difficult and time-consuming. Adjusting to life with 1, 2, 3, and 4 kids (even with a surprise Down syndrome diagnosis) was a breeze, but 5 is the number that did us in! Liam is approximately 10 kids in 1, and Coen has acid reflux and is such a mama's boy that my husband lovingly refers to him as my little parasite. My hands are never free, but I think I'm getting the hang of things, and I'm kicking off my return to blogging with a quick recap of Easter 2019!


This year, we kept Easter simple. We had no idea that Coen had acid reflux yet, so he was really fussy. We decided to spend most of Easter at home, focusing on family activities. Although it didn't feel quite the same, we had a nice holiday!

This year, we took the focus off of the Easter Bunny. We haven't visited the Easter Bunny in years, and this year we didn't do any egg hunts, either. We briefly mentioned the Easter Bunny bringing baskets, but that was it. Instead, we dyed Easter Eggs together. We had a small family dinner. We talked about the reason we were celebrating. We baked and decorated cookies. We sat down to watch The Ten Commandments together. Perhaps next year we'll actually make it to church, but this year, I decided to let go of the guilt, realize that we can't possibly do it all, and focus on WHY we were celebrating in the first place! And you know what? Once the pressure was off, it was GOOD!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Travel Trays for Kids + 10 Mess-Free On The Go Items

Travel Trays for Kids + 10 Mess-Free On The Go Items

*I received the Nuby cups for an honest review.

With five kids, we log in a lot of travel time in the car! Although we only go on a few road trips each year, we spend hours in the car each week driving our kids to school and activities. Like most older kids, Dylan and Lexie are glued to their phone and iPod, but our little ones get bored. Keeping a well stocked travel tray in our SUV helps us avoid hearing the dreaded "I'm bored!!!" while we're driving or waiting during sports and activities!


I've always kept my car stocked with road trip activities and snacks, but I had to pack a separate bag that we could take out of the car when we arrived at our destination. We ended up with so much stuff in our car. Then I won a travel tray from Kenley Kids in a giveaway, and it was truly a game changer! I honestly wish I had taken the plunge, and bought one sooner!

Not only does a travel tray hold all of our on the go essentials, but it also stores easily in the car, opens up into a convenient lap desk for on the go play, and can be carried like a bag to and from the car! It also has elastic pockets and zipper pouches to store cups, snacks, and toys, a convenient protective holder for a tablet, and a removable storage wall. It is the best car seat accessory for kids of all ages, and my young crew loves it!

Travel Trays for Kids


Hopefully I convinced you to make your life as a parent a bit easier, and buy one (or two or three) for your kids. But what should you put IN the travel tray? Here are 10 Mess-Free On The Go Items for kids...

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Our Five Ring Circus

Our Five Ring Circus

Welcome to Our Five Ring Circus! After 10+ years of some form of Lexie Loo & Dylan Too, it was time to bring some changes to my blog. It took a lot of thought (literally months), and it's a work in progress, but I feel like this new name fits this season of our lives so perfectly!


Back in 2008, I started this blog simply because I wanted to keep family members and friends updated on what we were up to, and to journal life with our two kids, Dylan and Lexie. Lexie Loo & Dylan Too was the perfect name at the time. When Lily was born, I changed the name to Lexie Loo, Lily Boo & Dylan Too. By the time Liam came around, my blog was already well established, and I didn't want to "re-brand" so it became Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam & Dylan Too.

When we found out that baby #5 was on the way, I did start to contemplate what I was going to do with my blog. Pregnancy is very tough on me, and I knew my time was going to be limited with a newborn and juggling five kids, but I didn't want to give up blogging completely. It was tough to realize that I was only able to post a few times a month, but I decided to give myself grace, and do what I could, when I could.

During the time that I wasn't able to blog, I started thinking about how I needed to re-brand, and began to brainstorm ideas for a new blog name...