Mother's Day is upon us and it's always been such a beautiful holiday because I think my mom is basically superwoman. I've been on the search for the perfect gift to give, and here are some of my favorites :)
Mother's Day is upon us and it's always been such a beautiful holiday because I think my mom is basically superwoman. I've been on the search for the perfect gift to give, and here are some of my favorites :)
Favorite Food: Watermelon, corn, "salad" (loves lettuce), tomatoes, greek olives. I also discovered at our Easter dinner that she loves brussel sprouts! I had never given them to her because I just assumed she wouldn't like them! Jokes on me I guess! P.S. I'm so excited for warmer weather because we have been using the grill lately and just eating lots of fruit! It's amazing!
Favorite Thing To Do: Go on the swing at the playground. This is new development because she never used to love the swing...all of a sudden she stays on for about 30 minutes. The difficult part is, she doesn't like giving other kids a turn...she thinks it's her swing (oops...toddler problems). She also LOVES her new water table that a friend gave us! I bought some cute water toys at Target and she loves to splash around with them! Here's one I found for under $35!
Most Aww-Worthy Moment: Watching her chase down eggs during the Easter egg hunt was pretty amazing for me. She was SO competitive and was frantically trying to gather as many as she could. Being that my husband and I are sports people ... you can understand why this would be an "aww-worthy" moment for us (LOL!) I love to watch her competitive little spirit come out!
Most Exciting Thing She Did: Goodness...what's NOT exciting these days. The fact that she says something new nearly every day is pretty freaking exciting. The other day, I asked, "honey, are your shoes too big?" to which she replied..."no, they're great!" Oh my heart. I about fell over. I LOVE having conversations with her and I know this is only the beginning but I never want to forget these little feelings or moments with her! I try to jot it all down in her little baby book...so we can reflect later :)
Fun Things We Did This Month: London and I hosted a little Easter party for her friends, which was super fun. We made cupcakes, did crafts, had an egg hunt, and watched some Frozen of course :) I loved watching Lo look for Easter eggs ... she was SO excited. We celebrated Easter day by going to church and doing a nice dinner with my in-laws! (You can see photos from our day, here) We took a visit to my parents house for a long weekend and had a really fun time. Lo loves to ride on the four-wheeler around the farm and visit the chickens! I can't wait for strawberry season and consistent warm sunny days ... then we'll REALLY never want to leave Grammy and Grampy's!
Biggest Thing I've Learned: I've noticed that Lo is more independent lately. She wants to try to put her shoes on, read books by herself, and feed herself EVERYTHING, etc. It's a tough adjustment for me as a mom because I'm so used to doing things FOR and WITH her (which I love to do!) and now, all of a sudden, she wants me to give her space. Wahhhh! I'm thankful that she can play solo and entertain herself...but when I sit on the floor and she tells me "mumma gonna sit on the couch" a.k.a. away from her ... it stings a little bit! I have been letting her have extra t.v. time just so I can sneak cuddles and be close to her, is that bad? I just feel like she's growing up so fast and I want to hold as many moments as I can...motherhood can be a real B sometimes. Actually, not motherhood...TIME; time can be a real B.
We had the most amazing Easter Sunday! To start, it was 85 degrees ... which always makes for a good day, but we also had such a fun time hosting family and playing outside with our girl. She was so excited to tear apart her Easter basket first thing in the morning and was most excited about her new children's bible and bubbles! Of course, I had to let her steal a Reese's peanut butter cup right away because, well, EASTER! We filled some eggs with yogurt bites and goldfish for a little egg hunt as well, which she loved! For dinner I made a pot roast in the crockpot with carrots and onions (you can find the recipe I used here) and for sides we had brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, apple cheddar biscuits, and deviled eggs! Dessert was a double-decker chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, which I added green food coloring too as "grass" so I could top the cake with mini cadbury eggs! Lolo thought it was pretty cute ;) Funny story ... I tried to get a head start on dessert the night before so I baked the cake and then realized that I hadn't put the eggs in! #EasterFail
What did you guys make for dinner? We typically do ham, but broke away from that this year and it was pretty nice to stick a roast in the crockpot and forget about it for 10 hours! May have to make that a new tradition :) I wanted to share some photos from our day ... and also my dress which is only $35 from Target. It's from the new Victoria Beckham line ... she has designed so many cute pieces! I also loved this orange one-shoulder shift dress too, but ended up going with the pink because it matched London a little bit better :) I think it would make a great wedding guest dress too! You can shop it above but make sure to check out the photos from our day, below!
Playing "hide and seek," building forts with blankets and pillows, reading books, and having tea parties ... These are a few of London's favorite things! When she was about 18 months, we went to a friends house and they happened to have a teepee that Lolo discovered and NEVER came out of. She was obsessed, so I knew we just had to get her one of her own. When I started to research "play teepees" online and on Instagram, I came across the most BEAUTIFUL designs from Sugar Shacks Teepees and instantly fell in love! They're so delicate and detailed + I also loved that they were neutral to fit into any space in the house! Anyone who knows me well, knows how much I love lace - so that was a large reason why we chose the Isabella Teepee! It's just so gorgeous and sweet.
It took us about 60 seconds to put the teepee up (so easy!) and we couldn't wait to decorate it! Sugar Shacks also sells these adorable flower toppers which add a little something extra to the top of your teepee. You can see mine in the photos above and below - the pink floral garland :) We also added our own pillows and a blanket to make it extra cozy. (You can shop Sugar Shack's teepee mat here!) London loves her new little space ... I think she feels like it's her special spot. She brings all of her stuffed animals inside and reads to them, or even her tea set so she can have tea parties. It's really adorable to watch. She uses it so often, that the teepee is in our family room, but I don't mind because it's so gorgeous that it only adds to the room!
Favorite Food: CARBS. Basically what I hear all day is "I want more crackers!" ... this little chick could eat a sleeve of Ritz and be perfectly happy with life. Please tell me this is normal! I also introduced her to bagels and cream cheese (oops!) and that's what she wants for breakfast everyday. Bagels and pancakes. WHAT HAVE I DONE ;) ...I can still sneak some oatmeal and fruit in there too, thank goodness!
Favorite Thing To Do: Our mommy friend just gave us their toy kitchen and London is obsessed! She loves all of the pretend foods and it's so cute to listen to her as she "cooks" and puts things in the fridge. Her favorite things to "cook" are couscous and corn!
Most Aww-Worthy Moment: She loves to say "hi gorgeous" to everyone, and it's so sweet! I've posted a few videos on my Instagram via my "instastories" because it's just too adorable! When I say she says this to everyone, I mean it! The cashier at the grocery store, our waiter at breakfast, and a random lady at Dunkin Donuts. It's totally her go-to line because she's figured out REAL quick that it almost always gets a pretty stellar reaction ;)
Most Exciting Thing She Did: London has started to go down the stairs on her own! (Does that count as "excitement" in mommy world?!) Ha! We have baby gates at the top and bottom of the staircase, but just in case I ever forget to close the gate at the top, we've been trying to teach Lo to slide down the stairs on her bum. Sure enough, one day the gate was open and I heard her say "go down on bum!" and when I ran out of the bedroom, she was sitting on her bottom at the top of the stairs waiting for me. My first thought was sheer panic BUT then I was just so happy that she decided to sit as she had learned to do rather then plummet head first. Mommy win ... and Lolo win I guess - because no one wants to take a tumble down our wooden stairs!
Fun Things We Did This Month: Honestly...this month has been ROUGH. Lo got sick starting February 1st and wasn't really feeling well until the 20th! Three trips to the doctor and one ER visit later ... she had croup coupled with a double ear infection, then bronchiolitis and was dehydrated in there somewhere! It was insane! She had really high fevers and didn't want to do anything but just lay and snuggle with me. It was hard to get her to eat or drink + I hated that she felt so terrible. We spent most of the month resting, recovering and watching WAY too much Frozen. I felt guilty about that for a hot second but...then I didn't. It was the only way to get her to actually rest! We are looking forward to warmer temperatures on the way!
Biggest Thing I've Learned: This month has been a real DOOZY. I'm ready to say goodbye to February and HELLO to spring and some warmer weather. When Lo is sick it really throws EVERYTHING off and makes each day seem extra long. With a husband that works long hours and travels a lot - it can make life pretty near miserable to be quite honest and maybe THAT'S what I learned this month. That it's ok to be HONEST about motherhood and how it can really suck sometimes. I don't want to sound ungrateful - because trust me, I know how blessed we are to have an overall healthy baby girl ... but some days just aren't all that glamorous. Most of this month was spent in sweatpants with greasy hair and no make up. Blogging was a struggle as it's hard to feel inspired on little sleep and when life gets stressful. So, mamas ... it's OK to admit that motherhood is hard, often draining and sometimes just plain sucky. It doesn't mean you aren't appreciative for this life or blessed to be a mother, it just means you're going through a tough season. Remember, it will pass and you'll come out stronger :)
Favorite Food: CHEESE. Goldfish. Yogurt bites. She basically asks for these three things full time ... and she mixes in the occasional ketchup request. A new one to add to the list is olives ... GREEK olives that is. She absolutely LOVES them so we make a weekly trip to Sophia's Greek Pantry in Watertown to stock up :)
Favorite Thing To Do: Sing! She sings ALL the time. She loves the songs from her Music Together class (I wrote all about it here) and a few of her other favorites are: "Twinkle Twinkle," "You are my sunshine," and "Jesus Loves Me." Too cute! She's also really into imaginative play right now - she pretends to change her doll on the changing pad...gets a diaper out and asks me for a wipe :) Then I'll hear her say "have a good day" while she carries an empty shopping bag and pushes her shopping cart.
Most Aww-Worthy Moment: She loves to fold her hands and pray, which she randomly does throughout the day. I'll hear her saying "Thank you for an amazing day, for Grammy, for Lolo, for Daddy...Amen!" It's pretty adorable and it makes me happy that she's absorbing what we're teaching her :)
Most Exciting Thing She Did: She can count to 15! One day she counted to 10 and I was SO excited then she randomly kept going! I had no idea she could count that high, but I'll take it!
Fun Things We Did This Month: At the beginning of this month we celebrated a belated Christmas with my husband's side of the family. It was really fun to have everyone here and especially his brother, who flew in from Wisconsin! Chris has been traveling a lot for work, so London and I have taken a few trips to Maine this month as well. Last week, we all went to a "baby farm animals" event at the Little Lovage Club in the South End. London got to meet and pet baby goats, bunnies, and pigs. We had so much fun and even went to a fancy Italian dinner after, where Lo was an absolute dream.
Biggest Thing I've Learned: I'm trying to stop putting so much pressure on myself to be the perfect mom. I've just come to the realization (only took me 18 months) that there are going to be days when I'm not feeling well and it's OK to put Mickey Mouse on in order to get 20-30 minutes of relaxation. Also, London will be ok if one-two times a month she has to eat mac n'cheese. I think sometimes as women, we put SO much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. It's so much easier to just stop pretending that we've got it all together and realize that we're all just doing the best we can! So, go pour yourself a glass of red, park it on the couch, and watch some trashy TV - you deserve it!
Also, when do we stop counting in months?! I don't wanna be THAT mom that gets asked how old her kid is and says "33 months" ...I'm thinking after two? Help me out! ;)
This afternoon we are taking London to the Little Lovage Club in the South End to see baby farm animals! I'm so excited because she LOVES animals so much + they'll have baby pigs, goats, chickens, and more all for the kids to pet! I'll make sure to share on my Instagram stories so make sure to check in later this afternoon ;)
I'm SO happy the weekend is here! My sister and brother-in-law are spending tomorrow with us and my husband has Sunday off (YAY!) I'm excited to relax and have some time together as a family. I do plan to hit the gym in the morning to start the weekend off right! I've been reminiscing about the early days with London a bit, and how difficult it seemed to find the energy to do anything, let alone workout! I came across this "Mommy and Baby" workout posted on the Healthworks site and I thought it would be great to share with you all! Even if your baby isn't an infant - you can try to do some of this with your toddler at home! It's a 15-minute workout from Phyl London that was voted Top 10 on YouTube. Definitely worth a peek! If you CAN make it to the gym this weekend and you missed last week's "Fit Friday" I shared a killer arm workout from Healthworks trainer Hannah Butera! You can find it here!
Also, check out some of my favorite activewear pieces below :)
What do you all have planned this weekend?!
I was pretty much the best mom ever before I had kids. Apparently reading Dr. Oz's book, "Having A Baby" can turn you into a real expert on the art of parenting (insert eye roll here). I'll be the first to admit that I was real judge-y pre-child bystander and now I'm totally punching my own self in the face because of it. Soooo many things I swore I'd NEVER do have already been done and were probably done in the first week of my daughters life. Let's be honest ... we're all just trying to make it through the day alive, am I right? I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!
I'm not sure what I was thinking before, but bribery is actually the best thing ever. These mini transactions don't happen daily, but I'm not above a good bribe every now and again. It's amazing how far one m&m or a lollipop can get you!
2. Let my kids watch TV
This was one of my major "pre-mom" rules. No TV before two because the doctor says so and because my kid isn't going to be completely mesmerized by technology. Oh really? Nope. If I'm being completely honest, this "rule" went out the door pretty quickly (like, around 4 months in). Lo would get super fussy around 5:30-6 every evening so we would put "Baby Einstein" on for 20(ish) minutes and it was pure magic. Fast forward to today (18 months in) and I'm like, "honey, you haven't watched Mickey yet today - do you wanna watch an episode?" And I refuse to feel badly about it.
3. Let my child leave the house without looking anything less than their best
You guys, I try. I really do. But some days I'm just not up for wrestling her into a dress or pinning her down to get the cute little bow on her head. If she's got socks, pants, and a shirt on (preferably all clean) then we're good to go!
4. Feed my child anything but well-balanced meals
This is a great mindset to have, but then this little thing called life happens and the next thing you know your kid is eating pasta for the third night in a row. You're bound to have at least one day/night a week of food mayhem. Typically it happens for us when I need to do groceries, but naturally haven't yet. I try my hardest to make sure she's getting balanced meals with fruits, veggies, protein, and good fats all sprinkled with gold flakes (HA!), but sometimes London asks for pizza on a night when my energy is low and I just go with it; mostly because it's like she knows when I'm vulnerable and takes advantage ... that level of manipulation deserves to be rewarded my friends!
5. Use the "sucker thing"
Goshhhh, it's gross but I found out REAL quick that my unofficial job title would be "booger extractor." Somehow my skills trump my husbands in this category so he gets a free pass (eyeroll). BK (before kids) I swore that I would never use the "booger sucker" and I'm over here using it basically every other week ... essentially a professional. UGH. Seriously though, the Nose Frida is pretty much the best invention of life, can I get an Amen?! Who even uses the bulb sucker thing? IT DOESN'T WORK.
6. Give up "me" time
Ummm...come again? I'm not sure what "me time" is considering I don't even pee alone these days. I definitely underestimated what a time-suck having a child is...and I mean that in the most loving way ;) I do miss sleeping in on weekends and going to brunch without rushing home for "nap time" or even shopping alone. Who knew that doing groceries solo would sound like such a treat! The truth is, she takes all of my time and I wouldn't have it any other way.
7. Formula feed
BK: "Surely my child won't have difficulty latching...she'll just snuggle right up to me and know what to do!"
My gosh did I underestimate how difficult breastfeeding would be. It was stressful and disappointing when I finally decided to start Lo on formula; I felt like a total failure. Once we got into a groove it was fine and I realized that she was super happy and thriving - which is what ultimately matters most!
8. Use food to reward good behavior
I should have known I would never be able to stick to this considering eating is one of my favorite past times ;) It's REALLY fun to be able to say "London, let's go to Target and then we can go to Starbucks for a treat!" The truth is, I get pretty fired up for a Starbucks run and I love that I can share it with her. Is that so wrong?! (Don't answer that).
9. Call my husband to excitedly discuss our kids poop
I'm kind of embarrassed at how many times this has happened, but isn't it just delightful when your kid FINALLY gives you a soft bm?! It's totally worth a phone call, am I right? And who better to call than your hubby whose been patiently waiting on the edge of his seat! (Come on, please tell me I'm not the only one who does this?!)
10. Make plans to fit around nap or bed times
"I'll never miss Chris's games - I'll just bring London with me!" or "London will just nap on the go, wherever we are!" Yea right. I'm basically a slave to London's sleep schedule. Not only have we missed every single one of my husband's 7PM basketball games (due to London's bed time) but I make sure I'm home for every CRIB nap. I value sleep (and a schedule) way too much to chance messing it up. Yep, I'm THAT Mom and I'm actually ok with it these days.
Favorite Food: Prunes. No joke...my kid is obsessed. Lately, she's been having some issues in the bowel movement department - so we've added prunes to her diet and she couldn't be more thrilled! On the other hand, I'm all stressed because, HELLO a constipated baby is NO fun at all! Hoping we can get back on track soon ;)
Favorite Thing To Do: Organize and collect. She loves to pick a spot in the room (typically she sits in front of the stairs) and positions all of her "stuffies" around her. She collects little things she finds around the house too, for example, a comb, a piece of tupperware, a Christmas ornament etc. and lines them up in a row. Once she gets on a roll it keeps her busy for a good 15-20 minutes, which in mommy world feels like an hour, am I right?! Major win!
Most Aww-Worthy Moment: Like any mom, I feel like she does something aww-worthy every minute! I'm starting to figure out that she's a real jokester! For the last week she's been calling Santa "Uncle Santa" because she knows it will get a laugh out of everyone. That then turned into "uncle dada, uncle grammy..." and so on HAHA! She loves to make people laugh and that is definitely a quality that I hope stays around for a long time :)
Most Exciting Thing She Did: She is starting to speak in FULL sentences and also started going pee on the potty! Big month in the Markwood house ;) Her favorite thing to say is "where'd (insert name of toy here) go?" Usually it's "where'd bun-bun go?" (Her stuffed bunny). She also furrows her brow and holds her hands up at the same time, for added effect ;) ...it's pretty cute.
Fun Things We Did This Month: London met Santa for the first time! Let's just say they were "besties" from a distance and she wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with sitting on his lap. We did end up snapping a pretty epic photo, which I'm sure we'll be laughing at for years to come (see below). Of course, this month was spent seeing lots of family and friends over the holidays. London and I spent 9 days at my parents house in Maine, which was SO lovely. My mom always decorates so beautifully for Christmas and we love the hustle and bustle of their house; always something going on! Christmas was extra magical with London this year. She would "ooh and ahh" at all of her gifts and loved to rip apart all of the presents!
Biggest Thing I've Learned: The holidays have come and gone and our second Christmas with London is complete. I feel so blessed to make these memories with her, but a little part of me is sad if I'm being completely honest. Time moves so quickly and these years are precious. I struggle with wanting to keep her little, innocent and in my little protective bubble forever. I guess this month I've gained some perspective; to be appreciative of every fleeting moment and soak up as much of her presence as I can every day. I wish you all an amazing New Year; may 2017 bring you more love and happiness than you could ever imagine.
Favorite Food: Oranges, strawberries, broccoli, and haddock. Oranges, strawberries, and broccoli are nothing new, but she's really on a kick with them lately. Haddock she's lovely A LOT now -- especially when I cook it with coconut on top.
Favorite Thing To Do: She's currently into crafts, which is really cute. We went to Target recently and picked out a bunch of fun things for her; finger paints, markers, crayons, coloring books, etc and put them all in a little plastic bin. Now every morning she runs over to it and yells "craft!" She's a big organizer so instead of actually using the crayons, she will line them up or take every marker out of the bin and put each one right back in. It's really funny to watch - but I love that she's already into organizing ... makes mommy happy ;)
Most Aww-Worthy Moment: She is really into kissing her stuffies goodnight before she takes a nap or heads to bed. She says "na night teddy, na night big bird, na night bun bun" (her stuffed bunny)...etc! And gives them all kisses. It's SO sweet. Why is this age the best ever?! I am totally loving the cuteness, which totally outweighs the tough moments.
Most Exciting Thing She Did: She has started to get a handle on the whole "please and thank you" thing, which makes this mama VERY happy! No one likes an impolite child, am I right?! But the cutest thing is when she hands me something and I saw "thank you, London" she replies with "welcome!" OH MY GOSH. True story, I say "thank you" sometimes just so I can hear her little response because it gets me every time! Yay for raising polite kiddos ... it's important!
Fun Things We Did This Month: November was a SUPER busy month! I feel like it's flown by and here we are with December starting tomorrow! Ahhh! Chris started his basketball season a few weeks ago so it was really fun to take her to a few games while my parents were visiting. She actually sat still the entire first half (20 minutes!) just watching, singing, eating cheerios and having the best time :) We also spent Thanksgiving in Rhode Island with family and London got to play with her cousins, which she loved! This past weekend we picked out our tree and totally transformed our apartment into Christmas-mode. It was really sweet watching Lo taking it all in; she loves the lights and yells "star" while she points to the top of the tree (Melt!)
Biggest Thing I've Learned: I'm entering the world of tantrums and it is SO not fun. My husband said "she's in a phase right now" but I didn't have the heart to tell him that I think this phase lasts a few years. Ugh! I'm having to be firm with her as she pushes the boundaries daily and I'm not going to lie, it really tests my patience! I try to remind myself that she's only 16 (well, almost 17) months - but I'm DEATHLY afraid of raising a spoiled kid! I guess I'm kind of learning as I go and taking it one day at a time. Lately I've been trying to ignore her major tantrums ... you know, the kind where they throw themselves on the floor because you tell them they can't have ketchup for dinner? That seems to work pretty well, although listening to the screams really does pull at your heart strings! I'll gladly take any recommendations on how you all deal with the tiny tantrums now, so they don't erupt into crazy tantrums later ... any advice, mama's?!
I've turned into quite the homebody and I'm totally fine with it! Nothing makes me happier than snuggling up in my cozy robe with a cup of tea! Now that it's cold outside and dark at 4:30pm, it makes it THAT much easier to wrap up on the couch and watch a movie or read a book. With that said, I've put together a little gift guide for the homebody in your life! I have the SOFTEST robe, lined with fleece so I linked this fluffy one from Nordstrom and it even has a hood! This pom-pom throw looks SO soft and it's a great price too! Loungewear is my favorite, and this star pajama set is comfy AND cute! My favorite scented candle of the moment is this "Prosecco Rose" ... because PROSECCO but it has the sweetest hint of a floral smell and it isn't overpowering!
If you missed my post from a few weeks back I did a stocking stuffer guide for the ladies in your life! I also put together a list of holiday style picks to shop as well. Stay tuned for my Black Friday + Cyber Monday posts to come with all the best deals!
Shop The Post:
It's been awhile since I shared our favorite pieces for your mini fashionista! We absolutely LOVE Cat and Jack from Target because it's so affordable - and since these babes grow so ridiculously fast, there's no need to break the bank trying to keep them stylish :) Of course, Baby Gap is another favorite place of ours and they have the cutest holiday outfits right now! I need to get London some warm weather gear, and I found this North Face hooded romper which would be perfect for walks during the colder, winter months! Here's another North Face option with thicker material. Below I've linked our favorite finds from Target, Baby Gap, and Nordstrom Baby! Click each photo to shop the item directly! Enjoy!
Plan one final beach day. Last summer, I took Lo to the beach on September 14th! I'm hoping for the same thing to happen this year! I'm loving the warm weather carrying into this month + I plan on taking full advantage of it!
Go to one last outdoor music festival. The great thing about living in the city (especially in the summertime) are all of the amazing events going on ... there's always something to do! Music festivals are great because first of all, there's almost always food :) and secondly, your kids will bust out the dance moves and enjoy watching/listening to the performers!
Roast marshmallows and make s'mores. You're never too old to roast a 'shmallow, am I right? How GOOD are s'mores?! I'm slightly obsessed ... so much so that I'm not above making these in my microwave from time to time (oops). You know who will love roasting marshmallows even more than you do? Your kids! Don't let the summer end without trying this yummy treat!
Go on a picnic. Get yourself a picnic basket, fruit, cheese, and crackers. It's a nice reprieve from the daily routine + who doesn't like their lunch with a view? Find an open field or post-up near any body of water for instant relaxation. A change of scenery doesn't wonders sometimes (at least for this mama!)
Set up a lemonade stand. Lo is a little too young to do this, but it's one thing that I can't WAIT to do. It's a great project to do with your kids ... have them decorate signs for their booth and help you make the lemonade to share with their thirsty customers.
Rent bikes + go for a long family bike ride. A great way to explore where you live, get some exercise and have fun! Being that we live in Boston and Massachusetts drivers are every bit as crazy as you hear, I think we will stick to the bike path along the Charles River ... which is gorgeous anyway!
Visit your local farmers market. There's something about them that is so exciting and beautiful. I love to get farm fresh produce and show London all of the neat things at each vendors table. The South End has an AMAZING market on Sundays that we love to visit called the SoWa Market. You can see other great kid-friendly things to do in the South End here.
Go "backyard camping." Pitch a tent, set up sleeping bags and pillows, pack a backpack with games and snacks to hunker down for the night! The kids may just make it through the whole night, but if they don't, no biggie - just find your way inside!
With a reputation for being Boston's most vibrant community, the South End is one of our favorite places to frequent in the city. The neighborhood highlights beautiful tree-lined streets, amazing restaurants, art galleries and open markets; there is truly something for everyone, including your kids! Here are a few places you should visit in the South End...
Five Horses Tavern. I don't know what makes this place the restaurant of choice with your kiddos...the beer selection (40 varieties on tap) or the fact that you can roll your stroller right in off the street. You'll find that this American pub has easy stroller access, high chairs for your use, and a full menu with lots of choices for your little ones. Did I mention the bathrooms have changing tables?! MAJOR BONUS!
CouCou pronounced "koo-koo") is every parents dream! It's located in the heart of the South End and includes everything from clothing and toys to home decor and stationary. What makes CouCou so wonderful, is that they also have a "playroom" for children to play with amazing toys and read books. They offer scheduled classes such as kids yoga, craft-making and art. Another spot that I cannot wait to check out is Kodomo Boston. This playful and stylish children's boutique is opening at the beginning of August on Tremont Street.
The SoWa Farmer's Market on Sundays is one of my favorite places to go. I love to show my daughter the fruits and vegetables and she loves to watch the vendors and shoppers bustling about! When she gets a bit older, it will be a great place to teach her about where food comes from and the importance of nutrition and healthy eating.
I always love visiting parks in the city and seeking refuge in nature on hot summer days. Peters Park in the South End is a beautiful place to take your kids with gardens, basketballs courts, baseball fields and a great playground for your kids to enjoy.
Titus Sparrow Park Summer Concert Series is a children's concert that happens every Tuesday at 10am in the summer months. It is free to attend and a great way to let your kiddos burn off some energy by dancing to live music! Another added bonus...Whole Foods provides the snacks!
While the baby sleeps...we can work out! There are a few pieces of equipment that I keep at home to make it easier to sneak in workouts when I can't make it to HealthWorks.
1. Resistance Bands
2. 5-lb dumb bells
3. 15-lb kettlebell
With just these three things - you can accomplish a lot! I've been making myself workout for just 10 minutes during each of Lo's naps...so I'll do 20 minutes straight of weights/resistance training. It's a totally attainable goal + instead of getting sidetracked during my workout by all of the things I have to do around the house, I tell myself that it's just 10 minutes, and I can do it! I power walk about 3-4 miles/day with London (sometimes more) so I know we are doing ok in the cardio category.
Here are some of the exercises that I do + rotate them in any order! Just make sure you are doing 10 STRAIGHT minutes of work, no resting. Your heart rate should definitely be up!
Body-weight squats (sets of 25)
Walking lunges (15 each leg)
Mountain climbers (30 sec - 1 min)
Side arm raises
Planks (30 sec - 1 min)
Sit-ups (30 sec - 1 min)
A few weeks ago, Lo and I went on a little city excursion checking out some of our favorite places on foot! We stopped at The Pavement Coffeehouse for an impromptu lunch with Daddy, walked down Huntington to Copley Square, and got a little sweet Pinkberry treat to enjoy in the park! The Pavement Coffeehouse is so yummy and I always get their "Tequila Sunrise" sandwich. It is served on a bagel (I get multigrain) with egg, cheese, bacon + jalapeño cream cheese! I mean...so ridiculously good, and I highly recommend this spot!
Here are some photos from our day! The Gap denim dress that I wore is so light and comfortable; perfect for hot, summer days! I've linked a few similar ones below.
London and I ventured to Pine Point Beach in southern Maine last week, and it was absolutely gorgeous! There's no place like Maine in the summertime. Truly, it's magical. The beach was pretty packed, which I didn't mind since there were lots of kids for London to watch ;) This little fishy absolutely loves the water and is FEARLESS. She will crawl head first into a wave and cry when I pick her up so she doesn't drown! We had an awesome day, but by the end of it, I was one tired mama.
London's cute towel is from Pottery Barn and I've linked some other adorable ones! I've also linked a few swimmy diapers as well, if you scroll to the bottom of the post - you can shop there!
Below you'll find some tips for taking your little(s) to the beach! Enjoy!
1. Invest in an "easy to set-up" beach tent. We scored this LL Bean tent that I used for the first time last week, and it is AH-MAZING. I was solo with Lo, and it took me all of 2 minutes to set up and break down. Major win for this mommy!
2. Snacks, snacks ... and more snacks. Did I mention snacks? If you think you've packed enough, pack more. Of course, none of said snacks will be for you, because you'll never have time to sit, relax and actually eat something - but your kids will thank you. Quick + easy snacks like cut up fruit, crackers, PB + J bites, sliced cucumbers and watermelon are all good options!
3. Arrive early. There's nothing worse than having to park far away and then lugging all of your stuff (and your kids) what feels like multiple miles to the beach. You'll be sweaty and exhausted before you start with the fun stuff, like chasing your kid(s) around for the next 3 hours ;)
4. Sunscreen. Protect your kiddos skin + apply some SPF! In the 2.5 hours we were at the beach, I probably used an entire bottle on Lo. I am a psycho about it because I'm a big baby when I get a sunburn...do you think I wanna deal with an ACTUAL baby getting one? Also, while we're on the topic, guess who didn't apply sunscreen ONCE? Yep, you guessed it, this mama! I reapplied Lo's multiple times but didn't put any on myself. Sounds about right. #momlife :)
5. If you have a baby wearing swim diapers, BRING EXTRA. If your babe is out of diapers, BRING EXTRA CLOTHES. Lo wears the baby diapers of course, and while at the beach, nature called (specifically #2), and thankfully I had an extra diaper on hand for a quick change. Otherwise, she would have been "nakey baby" for the rest of the day and I would have gotten lots of "judgey" looks from other parents.
My inspiration came from a beach ball. It will come as no shock to anyone who knows me, that I thought of desserts and London's "smash cake" FIRST, of all things :) All of the decor, food, favors, etc played off of that and came after. To help with my vision, I contacted my friend Sue Warren from "Sweets by Sue," who operates an amazing business in Maine, and makes the yummiest treats! (You guys should totally check out her website, and find her on Instagram here!)
London's smash cake was a mini beach ball, with vanilla cake + vanilla buttercream frosting. We decided we wanted to do beach ball cake pops for the kiddos, with the best flavor ever...Funfetti! So yummy! For variety, we also included cupcakes; chocolate and vanilla with buttercream frosting! Sue was amazing helping me iron out all of the details and play with some different ideas.
When it came to party favors, I wanted to make sure that the kiddos would leave with something they LOVED, and also something they could use. I got in touch with Christina at Plum Polka Dot (Find her on Instagram here!), who creates custom hair ties and other designs! I thought that hair ties would be perfect to give out at the party! Something so unique, that both kids and parents would love :) Well, they were certainly a HIT! Everyone LOVED them and especially loved how they were customized with London's theme party slogan!
We were also super excited to receive this breathtaking handmade crown from Brandy at Little Blue Olive. Sadly it came a day late for Lo's party, but I did manage to capture her wearing it + I will be sharing those photos soon :) In the meantime, look how beautiful it is!
We are so incredibly thankful for all of our family and friends that came out to celebrate our amazing little girl. It was such a memorable day, and of course, one that we will never forget! Below you can see more photos + shop London's birthday look!
There are so many transitions you experience in life; going off to college, getting married, finding a new career. But I would confidently say that there is no transition more intense (for lack of a better word) than the transition to being a parent. It's truly life-altering in so many ways. You simply cannot prepare for the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion of motherhood, but you also can't prepare for how much LOVE you'll feel toward such a tiny being.
When I think of who I was 365 days ago, I barely recognize that "girl." I feel like I have grown up this year. I am stronger, more secure in who I am, more patient, and more loving. London has brought me to this place, and I am so thankful to be her "mumma." While I'm no expert ;), there are certain things that I've learned thus far that I would love to share with all of you. As always, expect some good candid-ness (is that a word?) Here are a few things I've taken away from this year...
1. It's way more difficult AND way more amazing than you could ever imagine.
2. Do things YOUR way. No one knows your child better than you do. Not your mother, your friends, the doctor, or the random people that like to put in their two cents. Trust your instincts.
3. Don't "sleep when the baby sleeps." I think that is the WORST advice because it just simply doesn't happen. Here's what you should do; make yourself a coffee, read a magazine, watch crappy tv, and just do something MINDLESS.
4. Motherhood takes the word "TIRED" to a whole new level.
5. Soak up the snuggles. Want to let your baby sleep on you? Do it. It won't last forever. London is only 1, and I already find myself missing her daily naps on me. Enjoy it.
6. Don't get too comfortable! Just when you think "I've got the hang of this" ... something changes! The baby gets sick, schedules go array, I mean, it never fails!
7. Take time for yourself. I'm a better Mom when I can do something for myself once a day....even if that "something" means eating a normal freaking lunch or taking 5 glorious minutes to myself. It just HELPS.
8. Babies are incredibly resilient. They are small, but they are super tough and in terms of their schedules ... it's ok to change it up from time to time. They will adjust.
9. My husband is the best guy in life. He has been my biggest support, cheerleader, and confidant this year + parenthood has enhanced our marriage is so many amazing ways. I'm incredibly lucky.
10. It's OK to formula feed your baby. I had to accept that breast feeding was not in the cards for us, and that is just fine. London is thriving, she's healthy, and she's HAPPY.
11. Write in a "baby book." I'm so happy that I did this. The first few months are such a blur, and I have this book as a way to remember what it was like!
12. Get Outside. Walk. Walk. Walk. I found solace in the great outdoors; even in the winter I would bundle Lo up, and we would get some fresh air. It always made me feel better.
13. Being "flexible" is an art...I'm still working on it.
14. Buy a bathrobe. A big soft, fluffy bathrobe is what I lived in all winter (sorry, Chris!) If Lo woke in the middle of the night, she would snuggle into my bathrobe and fall right asleep. Have to admit, Chris has worn that bathrobe MANY times as well! :)
15. It's ok to have bad days. There are times when I just simply don't feel like "momming," as I like to call it. It's OK! Cut yourself some slack...you can't be "on" all the time and usually the next day is better anyway!
16. Nothing beats the sound of a baby's laugh or giggle. It's the sweetest sound in the world + it makes my heart so happy.
17. You don't need too many toys. Funny enough, babies will want to play with everything BUT their toys. Have a spatula? Tupperware? Pots and pans? All great options ;)
18. Motherhood and parenthood in general is "freeing." I just don't care about the petty things I used to care about. Frankly, I'm too busy to give energy or effort to anyone/anything that is negative.
19. Grandparents are absolutely amazing in every way. I am appreciative of them 100% of the time. Family in general is pretty freaking awesome!
20. "Bittersweet" is the word I have used most since becoming a Mom. It's a big tug-o-war of emotions between excitement when you're baby masters a new skill, and sheer sadness that they're growing up so fast.
21. Let them be little. Let them explore, let them be curious...even if it makes a big mess! I'm a bit of a neat freak, so this is tough! I'm still learning...
22. Don't feel guilty about "me" time or taking time as a couple. It's so important to have alone time and it's completely normal to need it! Your relationship should be nurtured, so take the time to do so and you'll be better for it!
23. Try to stay in the present. Each month I remember saying "this is the best age!" What I've found is that it keeps getting better and better. Enjoy each and every stage.
24. London is the BEST, smartest, happiest, most beautiful baby on the planet. I've learned that every parent thinks that about their own kids, and that's exactly how it should be :)
25. Love for your child is love in its purest form. There's nothing I wouldn't do for my baby, and I will always call her my "baby" no matter how old she gets!
We had such an amazing time celebrating Chris's first Father's Day! I thought it would be nice to let Chris sleep a little, since he never gets to do that. It was a small gesture that I think was much appreciated :) Of course, London decided she would wake up at 6am! Ha! It actually worked out perfectly, since we got outside for a beautiful morning walk to Starbucks + had coffee and scones waiting for Daddy when he got up! We had an easy morning just lounging around together, playing with Lo until it was time for her morning nap. One BIG thing to mention...London took her first steps this morning, on Father's Day! Not a bad gift to give Daddy, right?! She's a little love! Such a nice relaxing morning as a family, which I always savor.
I had planned brunch in Cambridge at Alden + Harlow, which is a place Chris and I had been wanting to try for awhile! I'm SO glad that I was able to snag a reservation, because IT. WAS. DELICIOUS. Oh my word. If you live in the area or are planning a visit here, it's definitely worth a look! I'll be doing a separate post about it soon ;) After brunch, we scooted back home in time for London's afternoon nap (Have you figured out by now that everything revolves around London and her naps?! Haha!)
We were really excited to join our friends at the Medford Boat Club for the afternoon. It's beautiful there + we enjoyed a boat ride, putting our feet in the water, great food + even better company. We played some bocce ball and basketball, where I realized just how out of shape I really am! Eeek! London was a little peach the whole time - just loved being outside and around lots of people.
We had an amazing weekend + so much fun as a family. I was sad to see it come to a close, but happy to enter the week with a full heart!