Sunday, November 23, 2014

Holiday Traditions for Toddlers

It's here! It's here!  The holiday season is here- my favorite time of year!  If you know me, you know I start listening to Christmas music around November 1st [i actually did wait till a little bit later this year!] and I've got a ton of Christmas socks to get out of storage.  Now that we have Brooks, I want to make sure the holiday season is as much fun for him as it always has been for me!

So, I'm curious.  What are some easy inexpensive FUN holiday traditions that you've done with your young children?  I've seen LOTS of suggestions on Pinterest, so I'll just list out all the ones I'm thinking about doing...


This one seems pretty doable [although we haven't acquired 24 Christmas books quite yet, so I might be ordering some from Amazon... Or wrapping library books. Is that weird?]

2.  Bake cookies/ treats.  Brooks is very interested in helping in the kitchen lately. He loves sitting on the counter and dumping ingredients in for me when I bake.  I hope we'll be able to make a few different kinds of Christmas treats this year...and perhaps give some away! Here's my helper making brownies...

3.  Drive around and look at Christmas lights.  I'm not sure if he'll be into the lights this year [at least not for very long] but I think a quick trip around the neighborhood would be fun!

4.  Pick out a special ornament for the tree.  [hopefully one that's not breakable :) ]

5. Write a letter to Santa/ get picture taken with free  Santa [at the fire hall breakfast!]

I know there are a bunch more things we'll do as a family this Christmas season- watch a holiday movie together, decorate the tree and house, read stories...but I wanted to make sure I had a list of special things to do with Brooks so that I don't forget them.  He is already admiring all the Christmas decorations in the stores. What a great holiday season it's going to be!  

Monday, October 6, 2014

2 Years Later- Brooks' Birth Story

This time every year- late September/early October - always makes me think of being super pregnant.   [if you're looking for a definition of super pregnant, i'll start with this: so pregnant you can't tie your own shoes]  The fabulous weather was perfect for my multiple walks per day and having the windows open for afternoon naps.  So, since it's that time of year again and almost my baby's second birthday, I thought I'd share his birth story.  Ready, go!

Brooks was due October 6th, 2012.  I had high hopes that he [like me, I'm told!] would be born on time, but as that Saturday came and went with no signs of labor, I knew he was going to be very late. At that point I was walking at least 2 times a day, rubbing primrose oil on my belly, and eating spicy foods like it was my job.  On Wednesday, the 10th, my mom and I went to the organic market where one of the women working in the essential oils/vitamins section told me to eat an entire pineapple [an ENTIRE PINEAPPLE. yes.]  I was having some contractions then, so I sat on a stool in my parents kitchen and ate the entire dang pineapple.  I thought my tongue might burn off from the acidity.

That night I woke up in labor.  I was excited then- encouraging the contractions as they came- every 10 minutes at night, while I was trying to sleep.  They continued throughout the day, though more spaced out... and then again through Thursday night.  

By Friday I was beyond exhausted.  I had my 41 week appointment at the OB/GYN that morning, where the doctor looked at me and shrugged.  She told me I could take Benadryl or she could prescribe a sleeping pill so I could get some rest [which i refused] and told me I was dilated to 2.5 cm.  I cried on the way home.  

That evening we tried to walk some more, but I was too exhausted to even make it to the end of the driveway with my contractions coming every 5-7 minutes.  I called cried on the phone to the doctor around 7pm and we drove to the hospital [also known as- the most uncomfortable 15 minutes of my life].

After a nice triage nurse called my doctor and encouraged him to let me stay, I was checked in and got an epidural.  My body finally relaxed then and I dilated pretty quickly- we watched Friends on the TV in the delivery room and checked the baseball scores [the Nats were in the playoffs, I think] If said doctor had showed up at the hospital when he said he would, I think Brooks probably would have been born around 6am.  Instead, he didn't show up until around 10am. I was dilated to 9cm and my water hadn't broken yet, and only a doctor was allowed to break my water.  So, since the doc didn't show up until 10am, and my water still didn't break on its own, I wasn't fully dilated until around 10:45 or so. I pushed for about an hour until Brooks was born at 11:39am on Saturday, October 13th, 2012.

I remember seeing Brooks for the first time and crying...trying to get him to nurse, then being hustled out of the delivery room [for what reason, you ask? i have no idea.] And then I ordered lunch.  A personal cheese pizza, nacho cheese doritos, and a ginger ale.  Most delicious meal I've ever eaten.  After only having ice chips [and sneaking saltine crackers and apple sauce] all night long, I was ravenous.  [side note- do you remember the first meal you ate right after giving birth?  one of my girlfriends had her dad bring her Chic-fil-a french fries, which i thought was a fantastic choice.]

And then, reality set in.  I was so unbelievably exhausted, but so excited to finally see Brooks and tell everyone his name! I didn't feel connected to him right away- which I felt terrible about - but I had read a lot about giving birth and knew that some women felt this way for a short period of time.  Of course, I loved him, but I felt like I barely knew him!  Looking back now I can't believe I ever felt like that.

So here it is, 2 years later, so I don't forget it!  It feels like just yesterday and also like forever ago.  Happy birthday, my sweet Brooksy boy.  I love you more than words.    

I'm leaving out a lot of the details that I wasn't too thrilled about at the hospital.  I think I'll have different plans whenever we decide to have another child- I'd like to look into a doula, a midwife and a birth center.  If you have recommendations on any of these people or centers in our area, please let me know :)  [also, i am not currently pregnant. ] 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The S Word

Sleep.  Do you sleep?  Do your kids sleep?  Yesterday the Directv maintenance man [who woke my child up approximately 30 seconds after he had fallen asleep- grrrrr] asked me if Brooks slept well.  What?  Why is sleep the only thing people/strangers want to talk about with parents of small children?  Guess what, Directv man, my child doesn't sleep well.  He wakes up a lot.  Yes, he is almost 2 years old.  No, I don't care what you think about it.

On a related note, Brooks has been going through a bit of a sleep "regression" per se lately, and so once again I find myself looking at sleep articles online [late at night...when i should be sleeping]. Every time this happens I try to remind myself that it's just a phase, and to stay calm about it...but you know something...sleep deprivation makes people do stupid things, ya'll. I've been grinding my teeth now for weeks because it frustrates me so much.

I came across an article on Pinterest during one of my late nights last week that was titled "10 ways to make your baby sleep". I don't know, for some reason the word 'make' just really rubbed me the wrong way.  I mean come on, aren't going to 'make' your baby do anything. Encourage them, maybe, but make? No. Just no.

I think, currently, Brooks is having a growth spurt, which is the reason for his more frequent waking at night.  I'm hoping this phase will pass quickly- in the mean time, I am rewarding myself for being sleep deprived with more Starbucks and cookies- the only logical solution.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Seasons // Fall Shopping

I think it's about this time every year that I begin to be very grateful that we live in a place that has true seasons.  I love summer [even more so now that I have Brooks!] but I'm longing for some cool fall breezes, pumpkins, and BOOTS.  Boooooots!!!!

I think my anticipation for the switch in seasons also has something to do with the fact that I'd like to stop wearing my summer clothes and switch into my fall/winter wardrobe.  Is anyone else tired of their shorts and tank tops?  I am just done.  Every day I check the weather in hopes that it will be below 80 degrees so I can wear some sort of pants and not sweat my buns off.

So with that, here are some fall clothes and boots I am currently lusting after!

j.crew factory
free people - these are called the "Brooks Ankle Boot".  is that the universe telling me i need these?

short hunter boots

asos trapeze sweater

I haven't taken the plunge on any of these quite yet, since I just scheduled a Stitch Fix that will get here in the beginning of October.  I've gotten 2 Stitch Fix boxes so far [one in January and one in April], and liked most of the items!  I haven't really loved anything...but I have high hopes for this next box.  Even though I love to shop, something about someone else picking out styles for me is too exciting to pass up!

What's on your fall shopping list this year?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Should I be writing all of this down?

I frequently wonder if I should be writing everything down. Lately, every stinking thing Brooks does is cute.  He's the first person to tell me that he spilled something [oh no! i spilled!], or the floor is wet...and then he actually cleans it up [who care if he just used my freshly washed shirt, right? he's cleaning!]  Lately we've been reading "We Are In A Book!" before nap time, and now whenever I say "banana" he cracks up laughing.  My teacher heart could not be more content!

To add to the cuteness, last weekend he sang a song that was just the words, "I love you" over and over. (Except when he says it, it sounds like "I ruh you"). We were sitting there listening to him and I thought, if it were possible for my eyes to turn into tiny hearts right now, that is what they would look like.  If this is what two years old is like, sign me up! [i'd like to unsubscribe from the tantrums, though, thankyouverymuch] 

But about "writing it down" you write everything down? I kept track of most of Brooks' "firsts" [still waiting on that 'first time sleeping through the night' one...sigh] but after his first year I lost track of everything.  Now when I think about all of the things I want to keep track of I feel overwhelmed.  I want to record videos of everything and take pictures of him all the time....but then I feel like I'm not enjoying the moment.  I want to keep him this little and sweet forever and at the same time watch him grow up into a wonderful independent human being. I suppose thats why people have lots of babies, right?  

And now, onto some ridiculously cute summer pictures...

Virginia Beach

The Baltimore Aquarium

posing with the wolf at the Catoctin Zoo

Happy first day of school to everyone going back!  Hope you have a fabulous day!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thoughts on Nursing Clothes

I am the type of person who needs to like what I'm wearing in order to fully enjoy myself.  I love shopping and looking for new pieces to add to my wardrobe, and after having Brooks, I needed more clothes that were conducive to breastfeeding.

I think, perhaps, one of the many reasons I've been able to be successful in nursing Brooks for 20 months now is because of my clothing choices.  For me, "easy access" has been key.  V-neck tops, button downs, and stretchy necklines are all super easy to get down and make up most of my tops these days!  There are few things more frustrating that needing to feed your cranky baby and having to maneuver your clothing around just to put a boob in his mouth.

Honestly though, it's easy to make your clothing nursing-friendly.  I usually wear a tank/camisole under most of my tops, so if I'm wearing a shirt that can't be pulled down from the neckline [or if I'm feeling like I want to be more covered while we're out somewhere] I'll pull the top shirt up and the camisole down.  I've always felt more comfortable doing this than having my stomach showing when lifting my shirt up.  

That being said, here are some of my favorite summery "nursing" tops that are out in stores right now!  

J. Crew Factory
J. Crew Factory


And my all-time favorite camisole [I started wearing these even before I got pregnant simply because they are so long!]

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Toddler Favorites

So, I thought I'd share some of my favorite things Brooks is doing/saying these days.  He is seriously repeating almost everything we say so it's hard to pin down just a few phrases, but these are the best ones!

 "opie!" = open; i.e. the box of tools, the fridge, the door, etc.

"hep" = help usually accompanied by "peese" = please; now this is almost always the answer for "what do you need?" "hep peese, hep peese, hep peese!"

 "go! go!" [takes person's finger to drag them to something]

 "wah-ee" = water

"ohhh, no."  Wish I could play you a recording of this.  It is so, so cute.  Ants on the floor?  Ohhh, no.  Drop your keys?  Ohhh, no.

He's also saying actual words- apple, dog, rice, milk, mama, daddy, baby, all done, all gone, oops! etc, etc.  I think I read somewhere that 2 year olds acquire like 20 new words per day?  He's definitely on his way there...and we're trying to watch our language over here so he doesn't repeat anything inappropriate!

Minus the occasional temper tantrum, I am really loving this stage!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Favorite Posts & Breastfeeding Resources

As Brooks has gotten older, I've become more confident in my parenting abilities.  Every once in a while I come across a blog post or article that really makes me say, "yes! exactly what I was thinking!" or one that truly makes me laugh.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

From The Badass Breastfeeder, on co-sleeping/bed sharing:


I definitely related to her struggle at the beginning...I never wanted to bed share with Brooks but once I decided to it really made our sleep so much better! [most days, at least :) ]

From Pregnant Chicken, on doing what works:

The Haggard Mother Sleep Training Method

My favorite line from this post - "You are standing in front of a door with a thousand keys and only one of them fits."

Other incredibly helpful resources to have on hand if you're breastfeeding:  
Dr. Sears
La Leche League

I think one of the things I found to be helpful was to have a friend who had kids to tell me, "oh yeah, my baby did that."  For some reason it was comforting to know that Brooks wasn't the only one who [insert ailment here: i.e. had a crusty eye as a newborn, was only taking 30 minute naps, refused to eat any type of solid food, nursing around the clock, etc].

And my final thought is this- if whatever you're doing is working for your family, you're doing it right.  We've got 18 years to teach our kids to be independent...why try and do it all in the first few years?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wednesday Confessions

Happy Wednesday!  I hope all you mamas had a wonderful, relaxing Mother's Day! [filled with naps, no cleaning and no diaper changing, I might add!]  I had a delicious and fabulous day with my family...and now it's time to confess a few things.

1-  Last week was one of the more challenging weeks I've had staying at home with Brooks.  It's official: temper tantrums are NO JOKE, ya'll.  I'm 100% certain that motherhood is my greatest accomplishment.

I call this..."Portrait of a hungry, tired toddler"

2- Have you seen the show "Fixer Upper" on HGTV?  It's my new favorite.  This couple renovates homes in Texas and I have loved every single one of them [well, 2.  i've watched 2 episodes so far.]  They have the "farmhouse" style that I love so much... not to mention that the woman [Joanna] reminds me of Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights, who is the best.

3-  I'm doing good with my "no shopping challenge" for this month!  I haven't bought anything for myself...things for Brooks and my hubby don't count though, right?!  I can't resist the baby tank tops and baseball hats that are out for summer.  Come on.

4- My air conditioner has been on since the temperature outside hit approximately 78 degrees.  Sorry.  The yellow film of pollen that I keep wiping off our patio furniture is reason enough for me to keep the windows closed.  

5-  I bought myself a Birchbox subscription for Mother's Day and have been obsessed with pretty much everything I've gotten in the last two boxes.  Tinted lip gloss? Yes.  Lotion? Yes.  I may or may not have already ordered a few full sized items.  [ i.e. this ]

Hope you're having a great week!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Month Without Shopping

Hello again!  April has been a fun month- birthdays, Easter, and a whole lot of desserts!  I definitely indulged quite a bit... shopping-wise and food-wise [although lets be honest- I always eat a lot of desserts.]

a bunny birthday cake made by yours truly

mr. bowtie at church

playing in the nursery/preschool

cheesin for birthday pics

After a ridiculous amount of ordering and returning [free shipping FTW!] I finally found a high waisted bathing suit that I love.  I am so excited to wear it when it finally gets warm!  I also got some other fabulous birthday gifts from my family this month.  And so, now I need to pump the brakes.

No shopping [clothes, for myself specifically] for the whole month of May.  Do you think I can do it? I've already banned myself from buying dresses or skirts of any kind since I don't really have the chance to wear them being a stay at home mama.  I've been able to stick to that, so hopefully this won't be too much harder!

I'm hoping I can do a little closet clean out and try to "shop my closet."  I'm thinking Pinterest will be my friend as well!  Anyone done this and have any tips?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Outfits, Nursing Friendly Edition

So when it comes to special occasions, I've started trying to plan out what I'm going to wear to avoid it taking a ridiculously long time for me to get dressed.  [I'm the type of person that needs to like what I'm wearing or it will bother me all day.]  With Easter coming up this Sunday, I can't help but look for some fabulous, pastel-y dresses to show off my pasty white legs.  Or, if it ends up being a bit chilly, perhaps a nice top with some white skinnies.  I sometimes  usually pick out two outfits ahead of time because I am a notorious mind changer the day of.

Banana Republic

Old Navy

To pair with white skinny pants/jeans & a cardigan [and perhaps wedges, if I'm feely risky]:



I can't wait to see everyone's preppy easter outfits.  Brooks will be wearing this:

And I will be trying not to smooch on him all day long.  Happy Easter!

Monday, April 14, 2014

On Babies Getting Older + 18 month update

Lately I've been very emotional about Brooks getting older.  He's now 18 months and his language is exploding...learning new words and expressions every single day!  I am absolutely loving this stage [most of the time- not you, tantrums!] and the more I see him being able to do things on his own, the more I am overcome with emotions.  Happy that he is finally becoming more independent, and then so sad that my baby is not a little baby anymore.  I never ever thought I would feel this way [ see here and here to explain] and yet, here we are.  I guess this is why people have lots of babies!

 Here are some things Brooks likes doing now, April 2014-

 Getting into mommy's closet and trying on my shoes!  His favorites are these blue pointy toed ones and another pair of nude colored pointy flats.

Easter Egg Huntin'- loves to open and close those eggs!  He also loves watching ladybugs on the driveway, or the parking deck, etc. [he says "lay-bug!" and squats down to see them]

Practicing saying "Happy Birthday!" & singing the birthday song since we have lots of family birthdays coming up.  He says "hap bur-day" and it is so incredibly cute.  I think I've tried to capture it on video like 1,000 times.  

Other loves: coloring with crayons [on all surfaces], smelling the daffodils outside, chasing our cat and jumping on Daddy.  Oh sweet baby, I love you so.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April Shopping

So, since my birthday is this month, I've been doing a bit of shopping.  I can't help it!  All my favorite stores know what they're doing sending me birthday coupons in the mail!  Not to mention a new Loft outlet opened by us, and the Peter Som collection for Kohl's is being released April 10th.  Now, I'm not crazy enough to wait in line for anything [I think the Missoni for Target stuff all sold out in like a few hours!] but I've been browsing the collection online and there are some cuuute pieces [ i.e. thisthisthis!]

I'm also currently lusting after these Jack Rogers sandals, but am hesitant to order because of the price and I'm not sure how well they'll stay on!  Anyone have them and know how they fit?


Also on my wish list is anything mint green.  One of my all time favorite colors [and now I'm wondering why I don't own more of it!]

old navy


And lastly, I think I'm ready to take the plunge on some comfortable "sweatpant" like pants.  I've had my eye on these Lou & Grey ones at Loft...
lou & grey

I think they'll look nice with a fitted top and sandals once it gets a bit warmer!  

*Also, for my birthday I'd like to live in John & Sherry's show house.  Thanks.

Friday, April 4, 2014

High Five for Friday

Oh hello again.  It's Friday!  We've had a busy week.  April is here, the spring weather has arrived and afternoons at our house are much more enjoyable.  Brooks has learned to say "outside?" ["ow-siy mama?"] which is super cute and makes it hard to say no to him.  Here are the highlights of our week!

1- I got to go see one of my very best friends and her sweet newborn baby girl on Sunday!  It was so fun to hold that warm snuggly baby.  Also, I used my pump for the first time in a year.  Since it was a 2 hour drive I didn't want to be uncomfortable, so I pumped and dumped before I left...oh what memories the sound of the pump brings back!

2-  This kid loves to try on shoes.  [I'm going to have to start hiding his green frog rain boots because he ALWAYS wants to put them on.]  Here he is getting ready for work.

3-  Brooks got Easter/18 month pictures done on Tuesday and they are ridiculously cute.  We're sending Easter cards so I don't want to spoil the surprise of the cuteness, but here's what he wore:

4-  I went a little tween-ish and got some pink in my hair...

5-  I'm determined to find a cute, toddler friendly bathing suit for this summer and have gone on a bathing suit ordering rampage.  I'm currently waiting on these cute J. Crew boy short bottoms to be delivered to see how I like them!

How was your week?  Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 28, 2014

High Five for Friday

It has been a loooong week.  Am I right?  Perfect weather, then snow, crazy wind, and freezing temperatures put me in a terrible mood.  I just don't want to wear socks anymore, okay?  I'm running low on matching pairs and I just don't want to do it! Bring us some sunshine and warm temperatures, PLEASE!  Anyways, despite the weather being a major buzz kill, here are five good things that happened this week!

1-  Brooks ate some of a white cupcake at a friend's birthday party on Saturday and gave himself a nice white mustache. [pardon the close up as it is quite difficult to get a picture of a moving toddler at a birthday party :) ]

2-  My sister made this recipe called "Cashew Chicken Coconut Curry" from Iowa Girl Eats blog on Wednesday and it was crazy good.  Like, I felt as though I had gotten it from Noodles & Company [except better because she didn't add cilantro!] Hope I can make it again as well as she did!

3-  We started watching "The Americans" and I'm hooked.  I'm still a bit of a sissy [more on that later] but - it's fun to binge watch a show together.  We've been looking for something since we finished season 2 of House of Cards and The Americans is filling that void nicely.  [also, can we talk about Keri Russell's hair?  so fabulous.]

4- So, we went to the mall the other day when it was snowing to just do some walking and found ourselves at Gap.  Before I knew it I was buying another pair of jeans [hey, they were 40% off!].  I ended up getting these skimmer straight legs and I'm excited to wear them with some of my comfortable shoes this spring!

5-  Brooks and I love to play with Photo Booth on the computer and took this picture the other day...I could not stop laughing at it!  Hope it gives you a chuckle on this Friday.  Happy weekend!

Monday, March 24, 2014

On Comfortable Spring Shoes

This spring, unlike last, I have a mobile toddler [how did this happen so fast?!].  Therefore, my usual footwear of sandals and flip flops are not going to cut it for chasing him around our park outings.  Lately I've been on the hunt for cute, comfortable shoes that can withstand a walk to the park, playing on the playground, and not give me blisters.  Bonus points for ones that take less than 30 seconds to slip on!  Over the weekend I wore my navy Keds that I got last summer, my $10 Anthropologie tee + these gray jeans from Loft.


I can't wait to put away my warm coats, socks and tall boots [yes I said it!] and get these spring shoes into rotation!  Here are some others I've been lusting after:  mint converse / superga / toms

Have a great week!