Family Vacay Time!

Everyone can appreciate the joys of a family vacation. They are normally stress-free, hassle-free, and sleep-free. Okay, maybe only one of those are true (cue the no sleep for parents), but one thing that is guaranteed is an album full of new memories!

I remember the family trips I went on when I was a kid. It usually involved us piling in the mini-van at 4 a.m., but my sisters and I were so excited that time meant nothing. Given that there were five girls my parents had to herd together, road trips were pretty much our only choice of transportation. Could you imagine taking five kids under the age of 10 on an airplane? No thanks!

A few of our family vacay destinations included Atlantic City, Orlando, Niagara Falls, and New York City. We also took a handful of trips to Tampa, FL to visit our Grandpa who lived there. To this day, I think my sister’s and I miss the massive pool he had in his development!

With Summer right around the corner, we wanted to share a great article we found on parents.com, that highlights “Top 12 Family Vacation Destinations.” Rounding out the top five are:

1. Pretty much everything in Orlando, FL
(Magic Kingdom Park, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Wizarding World of Harry Potter)
2. The Strong Museum, Rochester, NY
3. Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, SD
4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC, TN
5. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha, NE

For the full list, check out the online article here.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

Outside of the Box Fun

Are you getting tired of playing the same games or activities when watching the kids? Let’s face it, board games and “go fish” need a dose of resuscitation.

Our Bell Family sitters are helping everyone to think outside of the box with a slew of awesome ideas! Try out one of these fun activities the next time you are watching the little ones.

1. Get cooking: Pretend to own a restaurant and have the child be the chef. Practice using measuring cups and following recipes. Have them repeat the words you use and teach them how to cook and bake.

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2. Play Picasso: Pretend the child is a famous artist making paintings for their museum. Then be the customer in their gallery, view their original artwork, and buy them with pretend money.

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3. Play lifeguard: The sitter is the lifeguard at the city pool and the child pretends to be a grown up at the pool with his little sister or brother.

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4. Get outside and play town (a Bell family favorite growing up): Get play cars, make traffic stops, have a cop, driver, and have them direct traffic. If someone passes a red light they go to jail! Have a pretend jail.

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5. Think outside the box (literally): Get recycled boxes and make a train station or play house. Get construction paper, have the sitter use the scissors and create your own train station with a conductor.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

Diaper Bag Secrets

Have you ever wondered what exactly you should keep in your diaper bag? The list of items to throw in before heading out the door seems to be getting longer and longer. To avoid having to sit on the bag to get the zipper shut, we provided a go-to list of items to include in you diaper bag through parents.com.

Make your next house exit hassle-free by using the list below:

1. Diapers (who would have guessed?)
2. Small box of wipes
3. Fold-up changing pad
4. Diaper rash cream
5. Burp cloths
6. Set of clothes
7. Sun hat
8. Sunscreen
9. Bottle
10. Favorite thing (whether it’s a rattle, small plush toy, etc., what ever will help avoid the meltdown)

For the full list and inside details, check out the article on parents.com here.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

New on Demand: Breast Feeding

It is 3:25 a.m. and I’m awake. Four years ago the only time I was up at this hour was to dance at Southside (a then fun night club).

Nowadays, I spend these hours cruising through Facebook, responding to the mass texts from my sisters, and brainstorming new business ideas while I check my six e-mail accounts. Rather than swiping right on Tinder, I’m clicking “interested” to childcare providers and recruiting new sitters and nannies. So really, not much has changed.

As my fellow first time mommy pal would put it, “This sleep deprivation thing is no joke, huh?”

I know we are in an on-demand world now; on-demand babysitting, car services, grocery shopping, etc., BUT on demand breast feeding?!

I had no idea what I was in for. As coached by the doctors and nurses where I delivered, my baby basically regulates his meals and is fully in charge. When he begins rooting or making this snap sound with his mouth - it’s go time. A cry is SOS.

I keep track of each feeding, well, I did at first, now I can’t remember where the note pad is half of the time.

This on demand stuff happens every two hours or so, except at night when he gives me about 3-4 hours of relief. It’s weird how no one told me about this when I was expecting.

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Written by our Founder & CEO, and new mom, Lindsay Bell!

So Long Sleep

I can’t decide if I need a hug,
A large coffee,
Six shots of vodka, or
Two weeks of sleep.

Sincerely,
Every mom of a newborn

This sums up life with a newborn. You know the endless waking up through the night, the on-demand breast feeding, and the list goes on and on.

I’m up now and it’s 5:07 a.m. I went to bed around 1:30 a.m. My son is on an every 3-4 hour window feeding schedule at night, and during the day it’s between 2-5 hours (I know not consistent). By the time I’m done feeding I have time to check my e-mail, make a call, throw in dinner, and then it’s feeding time again!

Most moms are advised to sleep when the baby sleeps, but I have found that totally impossible. I have too much to do and I’m naturally not a good napper.

Thank goodness my lil guy sleeps between 3-4 hours at night, giving me about 7 hours of sleep in blocks of time typically between 11 p.m.-9 a.m.

My advice – have a solid routine-and don’t stray from it!

- Wake up and position yourself the same (use a boopy – it freed my arms to e-mail, read, etc. when feeding).
- Feed on one side, then burp.
- Feed on the other side, then burp.
- Change diaper.
- Swaddle (I love aden + anais).
- Sometimes if the baby is fussy he/she will need a top off (2-5 min of extra feeding).
- Soothe in your arms (we have a special dance).
- Place in same baby basset every night (try The Baby Box Company or Fisher-Price)

Note you can come up with any routine you want to, this just works for us!

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Written by our Founder & CEO, and new mom, Lindsay Bell!

How to Be a Super Productive Mom

Are you looking to find ways to increase your productivity as a mom? Here are some words of wisdom from the most productive mom I know!

1. Wake up and get started right away.
Make your bed, put a load of laundry in, eat breakfast and watch the news (so you feel like you’re still part of society).

2. Entertain yourself during feedings.
Catch up on work e-mails, respond to texts, make calls that need to be done, or read any mommy books you’ve wanted to complete.

3. Exercise.
Walk around the apartment, take the stairs, do exercises holding your baby while you soothe him/her, or sign up for a mommy and me class.

4. Get outside.
Go for a walk outside by yourself towards the end of each day to run errands, call family/friends, etc.

5. If you are working from home…
Prioritize your to-do list, cross things off once complete.

6. Spend time with your hubby. 
It’ll make you feel better that your relationship stays strong too, especially with all your attention going to the baby. Schedule a date night, make your husband dinner, tell him you love him, and give him a kiss tonight.

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Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell!

Elegant Personalized Baby Blankets

Greetings, all!

We’re bringing you a product review on a baby blanket that is quickly becoming one of our favorites. Elegant Personalized Baby Blankets set out to find the highest quality baby blankets they could at the most affordable price. What’s even better, personalization and gift wrapping are FREE!

Adding to the impressive list of reviewers (People, USA Today, Pregnancy & Newborn, and O: The Oprah Magazine), is Bell Family’s Founder and CEO, Lindsay Bell. Lindsay recently reviewed one of these elegant blankets, and shared her thoughts below.

Just in time for my baby’s arrival, the personalized Classic Dream Blanket from Elegant Personalized Baby Blankets was on my doorstep. And good thing, because one item I didn’t purchase for the baby was a tummy time blanket.

I was already a fan of aden + anais, as I have an assortment of their bibs, and this blanket confirmed my fan status even more. This natural, gentle muslin blanket is colorful, comes in a variety of modern prints, and was the last thing I needed to complete my first baby collection of items.

The part of it that made the blanket extra special was my son’s initials sewn into the corner of the blanket, in my husbands favorite color – blue. This was the first time I saw my sons initials and that was really special to me.

These Dream Blankets™ are sold in over 65 countries and in some of the finest stores. The four-layers of 100% cotton muslin are easy to wash, too. Just pop into the wash on cold and then you can even throw it in the drier (thank goodness with how much I’ll be washing it)!

If you don’t have a little one of your own, purchase for your next friend’s baby shower. I’m sure they will love the personalized touch just as much as I did. Visit the Elegant Personalized Baby Blankets website today – you’ll love it!

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Written by our Founder & CEO, and new mom, Lindsay Bell!

Gyst Please! What They Can Do for You!

Greetings, all!

We’re bringing you a special blog post today featuring our friends from GYST, a company whose mission is to simplify the lives and increase the capacity of their clients by providing excellent assistant support in a maximally flexible model. GYST is transforming the personal support industry through absolute dedication, allowing their clients to consistently achieve and exceed personal and professional goals.

We had the opportunity to talk with Founder and CEO, Brooke Stone, to get the inside scoop on what GYST is all about. Read below for our Q&A!

Q: At what time in your life did you recognize that a place like GYST would be in such demand?

A: I had the great privilege to work as a personal assistant beside incredibly dynamic artists and executives for many years, and many of my clients generously referred me to their associates. At some point I ran out of hours in the day and was unable to take on additional clients myself, so I began looking for a service that provided assistants with the same commitment to excellence I had myself. After looking for this type of service in New York, I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a single one to be found! I felt compelled to start GYST to fill this huge hole, and to give our city’s movers and shakers the personal support they needed to keep moving and shaking.

Q: For all those moms out there needing an extra hand, why should they turn to GYST? 

A: In addition to mom-ing and wife-ing, moms are almost always the defacto family administrator. With precious little available time, moms are expected to plan family vacations, stay on top of weekly errands, manage household staff members, pay bills, prep paperwork for taxes, complete school forms, research and enroll kids in camps and after school programs…and on and on the list goes. At GYST we understand you would always rather spend that time doing something fun with your family (or getting a manicure!), and we can make that happen for you. We also know how important it is that anyone working in your home and with private details about your family needs to be trustworthy, discreet and kind. Our assistants are fully vetted, insured and bonded and we are known for quietly knitting ourselves into our client’s lives in a way that feels very organic and unobtrusive.

Q: You’re more than just a personal assistant company. What are some of the unique services you offer your customers?

A: We sure are! Our assistants come to GYST with at least three years of experience working with a celebrity or C level executive, and then complete our training program before working with GYST clients. This combination of experience and training gives our assistants the tools they need to functionally manage tasks ranging from scheduling and travel booking all the way up to event and property management, and everything in between. Our clients value the proactive, anticipatory nature of our assistants, and the city savvy efficiency our team brings to the table.

Q: If someone wants to get on board with all that GYST has to offer, how do they go about getting started?

A: Give us a call at (917) 912-9206, or e-mail us at hi@gystplease.com. You can check out our on demand service, GYSTNow, by downloading for iOS in the App Store. We are really excited to have GYST assistants available in the Hamptons this summer too, but their availability out East is filling up fast – so definitely reach out to us now for Hamptons support!  

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!