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.
My Outfit: Swimsuit: Asos (LOVE this one too!) Shorts: Free People (similar styles here and here) | Tote: Asos, only $23 (love this one too!) | Sunglasses: Ralph Lauren (similar style here) | Sandals: Vince Camuto, similar style here
Lolo's Swimsuit: Target
I loved rocking this swimsuit on our family vacation! I love the vintage feel that it has and the delicate ruffles on the shoulder...not to mention the low scoop back! When I found a matching polka dot swimmy for Lo I just had to get it!
I'm sharing some more polka dot pieces below, because there's something so sweet and feminine about them! Happy shopping and thanks for stopping by!
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!
I'm always looking for a good life hack to simplify the every day. When I was pregnant and living in downtown Boston, we started using a grocery delivery service and I thought it was super life-changing. Now that I'm a mom, doing groceries with London is considered one of our weekly "outings," so the service went out the window. I was finding it difficult, however, to plan meals and was often too tired to come up with fresh recipes or ideas. I'd heard of at-home meal delivery companies from some of my friends but they always complained that it took them so long to prepare the meal. With a toddler, I needed something quick, easy, HEALTHY but still yummy!
When I discovered Dinner Thyme, I was so excited to try the meals; mainly because the prep AND cook time is only 10-15 minutes, but also because they had a variety of recipes to choose from! I chose four different dinners which included one pasta dish, shrimp tacos, a chicken dish with arugula salad, and pork medallions. I wanted to make sure that I got a little sample of what each meal would look / taste like so I could give you guys a really good review. I have to say, the prep/cook time is exactly what they advertise. The fresh ingredients come in individual packets that are marked clearly so you know which meal they belong too. All of the hard work is done for you (aka the chopping/prep), which is why it takes such a short time to cook!
Not only is the prep time short, but the meals are SO yummy! It makes me look forward to cooking dinner! My husband was really impressed too, since he was my taste-tester :) The cool thing about Dinner Thyme is that it's the only meal-delivery service that offers the option of ordering single portions! I love that because Chris is gone a lot for work, so for the weeks he is gone I can order single portions instead of being stuck with more food than I know what to do with!
I am so glad I get to share this service with you all! If you're interested in learning more about the service for yourself and/or your family, check it out here.
Where to stay...
We went to Disney with a total of six adults and 3 children, so we were all about renting a house. We went through the Windsor Hills Resort in Kissimmee, located only 10 minutes from the Magic Kingdom parking lot. We LOVED it. For those who want to stay at a monorail-friendly Disney hotel, I've stayed at the Contemporary Resort five separate times and it's fabulous. Very kid-friendly and I recommend trying to book a "character" dinner at Chef Mickey's if you want a great meal and more importantly, if you want you kid(s) to meet Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, Goofy and Pluto without having to wait in line :)
1. Schedule character "meet and greets" ahead of time (see above). Pay the extra money and BOOK IN ADVANCE for a character dinner or breakfast. The characters will come to your table while you eat ... it's definitely worth the money. If you book the character meet and greets at the park ahead of time using your Fast Passes, you should be all set too!
2. Invest in a good, "easy to use" stroller. We used the BABYZEN YOYO+ and it was amazing! It's so easy to unfold and fold (you can do it with one hand) and also fits in the airplane's overhead bin. It comes with a shoulder strap so you can carry it just like a purse, and weighs just 15 lbs. I also love that while it's super compact, it has a great storage area underneath. Oh, and did I mention it comes with a rain cover?! It's basically the perfect travel stroller, and you can check it out here.
3. Schedule in nap time. We wanted to make sure that Lolo still got her naps so we purposely didn't schedule anything from 12-2:30pm. Actually, we rented a house just a few miles from Disney, so we would leave the park and do lunch/nap at the house. It worked out really well for a few reasons...1. We never had to deal with any toddler meltdowns because she got her normal rest time, and 2. We skipped the hottest part of the day! She did fall asleep one day in her stroller before we could make it to the car so we just walked around with her for an hour or so, and she was fine :)
4. Bring a backpack as your diaper bag. Trust me on this one, you need all hands on deck not to mention a million snacks, sunscreen, water, your phone, wallet, etc., so you'll need lots of compartments! We love our Skip Hop Chelsea bag, and Skip Hop also makes a pretty awesome backpack for under $60! I also love this one from CoolBell too because it's super functional and has an insulated front pocket to keep a bottle or snacks cool!
5. Plan Fast Passes in advance. Have a plan of which rides you want to hit and do your fast passes online in advance so you don't have to waste time trying to figure it out at the park. We made the mistake of waiting to figure out the fast passes once we got to the park and by the time we did, a lot of the rides we wanted to hit were booked up and the wait was insane. The second and third days we planned the night before and it was MUCH smoother.
6. Bring snacks/lots of fluids. One thing I appreciate, is that Disney allows you to bring your own snacks AND water into the park. (Also, if you pay the extra for preferred parking, they'll give you cold bottles of water before you park the car, which is nice to know!) I brought lots of options for Lo in separate snack bags like grapes, goldfish, harvest snap peas, yogurt bites, apple sauce pouches, and raisins.
7. Utilize the Baby Care Center. If you need a break from the heat, a sink, microwave, or a clean place to change your baby the Baby Care Center is a great resource! You can also find snacks, diapers, sunscreen, rockers and more! (There are locations in all 4 theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios)
General Park -Touring Tips + a few of Lo's favorite rides/shows...
If you're planning a 3-day Disney trip, I recommend two full days at Magic Kingdom and one at the Animal Kingdom. If you've got 4 days, go with 2 full MK, 1 day at AK, and 1 day at Hollywood Studios. If you're going for a toddler-based trip, I'd choose Hollywood Studios because they have SO many amazing rides and shows for kids (Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, Toy Story, etc.) We didn't get a chance to go, but definitely will on our next trip!
Magic Kingdom: It's a Small World, Peter Pan, Under the Sea; Country Bear Jamboree, Swiss Family Robinson Tree House, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise; There are also shows running every few hours or so on the stage in front of the castle. We caught one in the afternoon which included Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and the Frozen characters!
Animal Kingdom: Kilimanjaro Safari, Festival of the Lion King, The Boneyard, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail (walking trail)
Epcot: Meet + Greet with Anna and Elsa, Finding Nemo, Spaceship Earth (it's dark so could be scary for some kids, but Lo loved it), Frozen (it was broken when we were there, but I'm assuming it would have been a fave ;)
Favorite Food: Well, her "favorites" tend to change daily because, you know, she's a toddler ... but I'd say TODAY as I write this, they include: quinoa, pears, clementines, (still) cheese, and animal crackers. We also discovered a new snack, Harvest Snapea Crisps! I get them at Trader Joe's and Lo is obsessed! She literally wakes up from her nap and says "I want peassss!" Haha! It cracks me up. They're high in protein and fiber, so I don't mind giving them to her :) Animal crackers are another new snack ... I don't know how I waited this long to introduce them to her. I'm guessing it's because I knew I'd be the one eating most of them! Guess what, I was right (Oops!)
Favorite Thing To Do: Dance and sing! She is constantly asking me to put music on and loves to dance to the Moana soundtrack and Whitney Houston's "Dance With Somebody!" (I'm really proud of that one) She likes Chris or myself to carry her and dance with her ... and she HAS to be holding like a billion stuffies at the same time.
Most Aww-Worthy Moment: Chris and I usually tag-team bedtime as much as possible and after we read books/say prayers, London always says "mumma rock you!" Which (in toddler language) means she wants me to rock her - which I love. She lets me sway back and forth with her and sing her a lullabye then she asks to go in her "cribby," as she calls it. It's one of my favorite moments of every day :)
Most Exciting Thing She Did: She talks so much and is starting to speak in full sentences! She can identify the colors yellow, green, orange and pink and counts up to 15 now! It's so fun to watch our babies conquer new things and hit new milestones, right?! At the same time I'm like ... SLOW DOWN TIME!
Fun Things We Did This Month: March was a very busy month for us! We took a little weekend trip to Charleston and brought my mom along for the fun! We had such a good time exploring the city with London, and basically went on our own little "food tour!" It was pretty amazing and you can read more about it here! We also went to Maine to spend time with family and Chris + I even had a night to ourselves. I'm currently writing this post at our rented house in Orlando :) We are on a family vacation and having a blast taking Lo to all of the Disney parks! I will do a full post when we get home from our trip - but so far, it's been so magical to be here together!
Biggest Thing I've Learned: We had one pretty hellish morning with London last week where she cried for almost 2 hours. Granted, she was under the weather ... but this was unlike anything I'd seen from her before. It was pretty draining and overwhelming. I ended up taking her into her dark room, playing her lullaby and just rocking her. She didn't fall asleep (it was only 9am), but she let me rock her for probably 15 minutes, then once she was calm we read a few books. When I brought her back downstairs about an hour later, she was like a different girl. I think I forget that we all have tough mornings, and all we need sometimes is a little reset! For London, that was quiet time. I need to remember this for next time - and wanted to share in case you encounter something similar; it may work for you too!
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?!
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!
Happy Halloween! How was everyone's weekend?
Ours was pretty jam-packed + went by too fast (per usual). London and I spent the tail end of last week in Maine with my parents and I snuck away on Friday night for some mommy time and a surprise birthday party for a friend. I stayed up WAY too late and Saturday morning came early when Lo and I had a shoot with our favorite photographer (Kivalo Photography). Sunday was a lazy day + we just got coffees, watched football, made cookies, and snuggled on the couch in our pjs. Lo was extra snuggly and I wasn't complaining :) I've been obsessed with sleep shirts lately, particularly with cute sayings. This "Need More Weekends" one is super cute and seriously, MINKPINK got it right with this one, because pizza! You can shop a few more of my favorites below! Have a great day!
All Photos: Kivalo Photography
Favorite Food: This is ever-changing of course because TODDLER ... but currently London loves: asparagus, salmon, cheese, cantaloupe, and oatmeal with raspberries. Each morning she asks for oatmeal so that's basically what she has every day; oatmeal with cinnamon, a little bit of whole milk, and raspberries or blueberries. *Do you guys have any good lunch ideas?!
Favorite Thing To Do: Push her stroller up and down the sidewalk or all around the playground. It doesn't even have to be her own stroller either ... if she sees one, it's almost guaranteed that she'll march right over and try to push it. I've conceded that I need to get her a shopping cart to wheel around the house for when it gets REALLY cold (which is soon!) and/or a mini stroller for her baby doll. Christmas gift perhaps?! Yes, I'm already going there...
Most Aww-Worthy Moment: Blowing kisses. I've only been trying to get her to do this for FIVE months (not kidding!), so it was a big moment in the Markwood house when Lolo decided she was ready to blow me a kiss! It's pretty much as cute as I had anticipated! She also says "Night mumma, I luh yewww!" when I say goodnight to her - I will never forget such sweet moments!
Most Exciting Thing She Did: She is (FINALLY) starting to elongate her naps! We have been in a bit of "nap hell" the past 6+ weeks with this whole transition from 2 naps to 1 ... which no one really warns you about! I figured since Lo was a pretty easy going baby and a great sleeper that it may take her a week or so to adjust - but it feels like FOREVER since we have had any consistency. It literally brought me to tears some days and stressed me out (just ask my husband) when she would only sleep for an hour ALL DAY. Thankfully, for the past few weeks she has started to figure out this whole "toddler sleep" thing and they've been closer to 2 hours most days. So yea, I'd say this is 100% the most exciting thing that she's done this month :)
Fun Things We Did This Month: London's auntie Lindsey (my sister) got married this month! It was such a beautiful fall weekend in Kennebunkport, Maine (one of our favorite places!) and Lolo was the sweetest little flower girl ever! We stayed at the cutest bed and breakfast (Captain Fairfield Inn) with our entire family and had an absolute blast! My parents even took Lo for a walk both mornings we were there, so I could sleep an extra hour and take a shower. Talk about a treat!
Biggest Thing I've Learned: Motherhood is one big ebb & flow and it changes minute to minute. Literally, one moment you could be smiling and laughing with your sweet little babe, and before you blink they could be laying on the floor, belly down crying. FOR NO REASON (I should add!) It's definitely the most challenging thing I've ever done or dealt with and is certainly testing my patience. I'm trying (key word) to stay calm and do the ignore or distract tactic, which seems to work (most of the time!) ... more on this topic later ;)
I've been nursing a bum knee for a few weeks now and have been missing my trips to the gym BIG TIME. London and I were just starting to get into a groove and she was getting acclimated to the "Kids Club" ... so I'm eager to return to our routine! The gym has alway been a great way for me to relieve stress and it makes me feel better about myself overall. I appreciate my workouts EVEN MORE now that I have a baby so ...
Here are my top 5 reasons to join a gym with childcare...
1. It's a great "time killer." Now before you go judging me about the whole "time killer" thing ... hear me out. The days of "mom-ing" are long. Amazing, yes, but long just the same. A little 15- minute road trip, 45-min sweat sesh and an hour of time has passed. You're welcome.
2. Meet other fit mama's. I always meet at least one mom when I drop-off or pick-up at the gym. It's a great way to connect and chances are they're eager to chat with another mom (you!) too! Sometimes a 5-minute vent session is necessary and who better to dump all of your problems on than a fellow mom who can maybe offer you a bit of advice.
3. Get back in shape, both physically + mentally. Hitting the gym isn't just to get our hot "pre-baby" bod back. Working out is also scientifically proven to release endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in your brain! It always puts me in a better space mentally and gives me renewed energy for the day!
4. Cheap childcare. Does your gym have a locker room? Spa? TVs + magazines? Sometimes all you need is a short break from the chaos to walk (at a slow pace) on the treadmill, and catch up on some "US Weekly." Or maybe (just maybe) you want to shower in peace and blow dry your hair for once! I've definitely dropped Lo off at the Kids Club and headed straight for the locker rooms! A little refresh time is sometimes all you may need to jumpstart your day, and gym childcare is MUCH cheaper than a babysitter ... am I right?!
5. It gets you out of the house. This is a BIG one for me. Sometimes the thought of packing everything Lo needs and schlepping to the gym seems daunting, but I'm ALWAYS (yes, always!) happy that I did. No one (including your baby) likes to be confined to the house or staring at the same four walls all day! Once you've hit the gym, grab a coffee and get an errand done - take advantage of being in the outside world. It's great stimulation for your little one, and you'll appreciate the time out too!
Here are some photos from the Kids Club at Healthworks, where Lo spends her time! Nina (pictured below) is fantastic with the kiddos! She's super hands on, energetic, and guess what - I've even hired her to babysit London once/week to give me a little break! Check out your local gym + see what they offer for childcare ... if you're a Boston mama - you can check out my gym here!
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!
Lately, I've been struggling with social media...particularly my own. I want to share our world and all of the amazing, fun memories that we make, but I also want to keep it authentic. Too often, I think we can get swept up in being selective of what we show ... highlighting all of the good and never wanting to share the tougher moments. It prompted me to post a photo to my Instagram of a particular tough day for Lo, but also for me as a mother. I almost felt a sort of release when I shared it, and I was so overwhelmed (in a good way) with all of the positive feedback and reinforcement. If you didn't see the photo (above), it was a selfie I took at the doctors office. I was still in my pajamas wearing no make up, my hair tied up in a ponytail, and Lo was asleep on my chest. I didn't post it for sympathy, but rather to show a truer version of what our everyday life looks like outside of those "pretty little squares" you see on Instagram.
The truth is, motherhood is freaking HARD and most of the time, I'm just trying to keep it together. Basically, being a mom is messy, chaotic, and certainly far from glamorous. I typically go about my day with no shower, food on my face and wiping boogers with the bottom of my t-shirt. How's that for glamour? On the one day a week (if I'm lucky) that I actually do my hair, you better believe I'm going to snap a photo - but that's not a true representation of my life day in and day out. This picture, definitely is. So if you're ever feeling (as I do), "how does that mom look like she has it all together?" ... the truth is SHE DOESN'T and chances are she's feeling just as tired, worn out, and messy as you do!
With all of the above being said (motherhood is hard, exhausting, etc...) it's important that we take care of ourselves! Personally, I haven't mastered the whole "balance" thing, BUT I am definitely aware of what a little r+r can do for me. Here are five ways I like to relax ...
1. Chamomile tea + a book. Hearing the word "tea" just immediately relaxes me. I love me some tea with honey and getting lost in a great book
2. Bubble Bath. Pick a night to do this once a week. I choose Fridays because it's the perfect way to unwind after a long week and I add a glass of red for the full effect :)
3. Adult coloring book. My friend gifted me with one along with some colored pencils, and it's such a nice relaxing way to wind down. It's always enjoyable to do something mindless, after a long day of being "on"
4. Schedule a babysitter to come once a week for a few hours, every week. I'm still working on this. It would be really amazing to carve out this time each week to do WHATEVER you want. Nails, hair, shopping, or to even run errands without worrying about a potential melt down situation. Yes!
5. Write in a journal. For me, I find writing (or typing) very therapeutic. Blogging is my release and even though it's definitely hard work, I love being able to express myself.