gift guide for toddlers.

simplegiftguidefortoddlers

Something he wants: scooter, clock puzzle, latches board, mega blocks

Something he needs: lunchbox, alphabet flashcards, jammies, water bottle

Something he wears: deer sweater, sherpa vest, skinny jeans, TOMS for Target, winter hat

Something he reads: Good Night Lightning, I Can Do It Myself, Potty, How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends?

p.s. Have you guys heard of Little List? It’s the easiest way to make wishlists for your kiddos—check it out! 

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adaptable.

Everett-14

Everett is two years old and has already lived in three houses. That’s….weird.

Each time we moved, I had a minor anxiety attack about how our move would affect Everett. I was worried we would disrupt his routine, his sense of normalcy, his safe place. Will he be confused? Will he have a hard time adjusting? Will he be sad? 

And every single time we moved, the answer was no. Everett marched right into his new bedroom, marked by the boxes with toys carefully packed inside, and started playing as if nothing had happened.

As soon as he figured out where the toys and snacks were kept, he was home.

When I was pregnant with Carson, I spent a lot of time worrying about how Everett was going to react to his new big brother role. I worried he would be jealous of a new baby, and become needy or whiny. I worried that his wonderful sense of independence would be replaced with a sudden desire for attention. I worried about his attitude, his sense of security, his identity as my former “baby”.

And then we came home from the birth center with Carson in tow and it was as if he had been there all along. Everett gave a general nod in his direction, said “hi baby bruhder!” and continued playing with his hot wheels like it was no big deal. He was unfazed. Unchanged. Not disrupted in the slightest.

His interest has been slowly growing. He loves to turn on Carson’s swing, and insists on sitting on the bathroom counter when I give Carson a bath. Anytime Carson cries (which is kind of a lot), Everett responds with a quick, “Baby bruhder, it’s okay!!!”

I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I keep waiting for it to hit him, this huge life event that just took place while he was sleeping one Saturday morning in October. I keep waiting for a tantrum, a fit, a dramatic scene of some sort. I keep waiting for my two year-old to acknowledge the bigness of this, the drastic nature of what has just happened to our family—we grew by an entire person.

And….nothing. There is nothing. There is just Everett and his hot wheels and his Cheerios and his new balance bike that I found on Craigslist a couple weeks ago. Cruising right along enjoying life just like he always has.

As if there were always four of us. As if this house we’ve lived in for a few months was always our home.

I will continue to worry about Everett for the rest of my life. Of this, I am sure. I will worry about him when he heads off to preschool and when he drives a car for the first time. I will worry about him when he falls in love and gives his heart to someone else. I know at some point, change will affect him differently than it does today.

But in the meantime, I am going to just sit in awe of this boy of mine, the most adaptable kid on the planet, and continue to watch him take on change like it ain’t no thing.

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you are my wild – carson’s nursery tour.

Carson's Nursery-1 Carson's Nursery-3 Carson's Nursery-4 Carson's Nursery-21Carson's Nursery-6 Carson's Nursery-7 Carson's Nursery-9 Carson's Nursery-10 Carson-12 Carson's Nursery-8Carson's Nursery-23Carson's Nursery-11 Carson's Nursery-12 Carson's Nursery-15 Carson's Nursery-22Carson's Nursery-16 Carson's Nursery-17 Carson's Nursery-18 Carson's Nursery-24

Last year I fell in love with the You Are My Wild photography project, and decided it would be a perfect theme for Carson’s nursery. Brett and I had an ongoing joke throughout my pregnancy that Carson was going to be our “wild child” because Everett has always been pretty cautious and mild-mannered. I mean, I’m not wishing for a wild child by any means, but the nursery turned out pretty cute, right?

Also: it’s a little bit ironic that the messiest person in our house has the cleanest room. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

Crib + Rocker: Buy Buy Baby
Side table + feather decals: Target
Corner ladder: Overstock
Rhino print: Naptime Diaries
RockaROO baby swing: 4moms
Safari animal watercolors: Caravan Shoppe
Tree art: Instathis
Zebra “Be You” print: Patti Murphy Boutique
Dreamcatcher clay feather mobile: DIY (used this tutorial)
Gold wild banner: My Charming Colors
Giraffe lamp base: World Market

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newborn faves.

NewbornFavorites

1. The 4moms rockaROO – Alternative titles for this product include “Where Carson Naps” and “Where Carson Hangs Out While I Take A Shower” and “How We Keep Carson Safe While Everett Is Jumping Off The Couch”. This is my #1 newborn must-have item the second time around. We never had a swing for Everett and honestly, I have no idea how we survived. Carson spends hours a day in this thing. Basically, any time I cannot hold him/wear him, he’s in the rockaROO. It’s amazing. After I put Everett down for a nap every afternoon, I nurse Carson, swaddle him, and stick him in there so I can eat my turkey sandwich in peace. Most days he naps like that for 1.5-2 hours. The best part about the rockaROO? It’s small and nice to look at, basically the opposite of all other baby swings.

2. Swaddleme Wraps – When expecting moms ask me what to register for, this is my first recommendation. Swaddleme wraps have saved our sleep, our sanity, and most importantly: our marriage. I cannot recommend them enough. Buy multiples in every size and thank me later.

3. Favorite Footed Jammies – When it comes to newborn jams, I love the ones that zip up (SO much better than dealing with buttons in the middle of the night!). Gap jammies last forever, hold up great in the wash, and are supa soft. Let’s be real though—I’ll probably buy anything that says “yay!” on it.

4. Puj tub – When Carson came home, he weighed a little over 5 pounds. That is teeny tiny, and almost impossible to bathe without the help of the puj tub. It fits perfectly in our small bathroom sink, and Carson loves the feeling of the water running over him. We also have the 4moms infant tub and plan to use that one when Carson outgrows the puj.

5. Ubbi Diaper Pail – You guys. It sounds gross but I am having a serious love affair with this diaper pail. The Ubbi was the most wanted item on my baby wishlist (thanks, Mom!) and I cannot say enough good things about it. It holds SO MANY DIAPERS. It’s sleek and modern looking, doesn’t smell, and you can use ANY bag inside. It’s expensive, but totally worth the investment when you consider how much you use a diaper pail. We are still years away from being a diaper-free house so it made sense to get the best of the best. And really: this is the best of the best diaper pails, in my humble opinion.

6. Natural White Noise Machine – Long story short—my mom bought us this sound machine for Everett and we all slowly became obsessed with it. I knew I wanted another one for Carson’s room and thankfully received one at my baby sprinkle (thanks, Lauren!). This thing is the real deal. No whale sounds, no heartbeats, no ocean waves or creepy frog noises. Just straight up, vacuum-like, put-you-to-sleep, white noise. Cue: angels singing during naptime. Worth every penny and then some.

7. Aden + Anais Muslin Burpy Bibs – My kids are major spitter-uppers. Like, after every feeding, they spit up half of what they just ate. It’s gross. There is spit-up everywhere: on me, on my clothes, on them, on their clothes, on the bed, on the couch, on the floor, in the swing. Needless to say, we have burp cloths all over the house. Five in every room at all times. One under Carson’s head at all times. I wash about 30 of them a week, over and over again. These burpy bibs are the best ones I have found. They are super absorbent, super thick, last through multiple spit-up attacks, and wash VERY well. They also have snaps so you can use them as bibs (brilliant!). I have two of these and will definitely be ordering some more.

8. The Joovy Boob Bottle – I saved a lot of stuff from Everett, but somehow all of our bottles went missing. When Carson was four days old, we took him to the baby store (before my panic attack at the drive-thru) and picked up one of these bottles. I hadn’t done any research and couldn’t remember what kind of bottles we used for Everett, so I ended up asking the store manager for advice. He’s helped up multiple times with various purchases and I trust his opinion so when he recommended the Joovy bottle (“It’s the next best thing to a boob!”), I was sold. Sure enough, the first time we gave Carson a bottle (at four weeks), he took it just fine. When it comes to things like bottles and pacifiers, I really don’t have a strong preference, so long as my kid takes it. The Joovy bottle is 100% Carson approved, if that means anything to you.

Any other newborn faves I should know about?

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panic at the drive-thru.

After Everett was born, I distinctly remember spending a lot of time on my couch.

He was my first baby, after all. That’s what you do with first babies. You breastfeed all day long and binge watch Netflix and eat a ton of Cheetos. Right?

Right.

After Carson was born, I enjoyed two whole days of peace and quiet in the hospital, and then it was business as usual. Playdates, errands, laundry, dishes, Starbucks drive-thru, repeat. I hopped right into life with two kids, as remnants of my old life swirled down the shower drain, along with a quarter of my hair.

It was almost as if I had something to prove the second time around. I’ve done this before! He’s my second! This isn’t my first rodeo! I totally know what I’m doing…..kind of!

Needless to say, after being cooped up in a teeny tiny hospital room for a whole weekend, I was ready to hit the town when we got home. When Carson was four days old, I decided it was time for our first official family outing. I had a whole plan in mind: a short road trip to our favorite baby store to peruse double strollers, followed by lunch at the nearby mall next to their outdoor playground. It was perfect! We’d knock something off our to-do list, feed ourselves, and let Everett run off some energy. What could possibly go wrong?!

(I think we all know where this is headed.)

Everything.

Everything could go wrong.

First things first: it took us 2.5 hours to leave the house. I wish I was kidding, but that is not an exaggeration. Carson started fussing in his carseat as soon as we walked in the store, so I quickly took him out to hold him/bounce him/shush him. No big deal, just walking around this giant baby store with my five-pound, four day-old baby. Nothing to see here! Everyone was staring at me, as if they were half impressed that I had dressed myself, and half horrified that I was out in public with a baby that small.

Meanwhile, Everett was running around the store from toy to toy, wanting All The Things. I ended up nursing Carson in the mother’s room for a few minutes just to get him to calm down. 45 minutes later, we checked out with a bottle, two pacifiers, and a box of breastmilk storage bags. AKA: all things I could have gotten at Target. We did not look at a single double stroller.

The mall parking lot was a total zoo, so we decided to go to In-N-Out instead. On our way there, Carson started crying in the backseat and I immediately regretted our decision. We were driving a tiny rental car because my car was in the shop and it suddenly felt like a clown car with all of us strapped inside.

“Do you think we should just go home?” I asked Brett.

We were almost there, and Everett was already asking for a grilled cheese. I bit my lip.

Carson’s cries were getting louder as we pulled into the drive-thru. I started to panic in that motherly instinct sort of way when you need to breastfeed your baby and you can’t get to them. I saw a car pull up behind us and my heart started beating faster.

Carson was officially screaming, and we were trapped in the drive-thru.

“Grilled cheese?? Grilled cheese, daddy?”

“Welcome to In-N-Out! What can I get for you today?”

“Babe….what do you want to eat?”

Everyone was talking. Carson was screaming. My head was on the verge of exploding. I felt claustrophobic, like the walls of the clown car were caving in. I was hot, and sweating, and could barely breathe. I could not hear anything over Carson screaming. There was a line of cars behind us in the drive-thru and all I wanted was for Brett to throw the car in reverse and get the hell out of there.

I burst into tears.

“I need to get to Carson! I cannot listen to him scream for another second!”

Brett looked at me, helpless. Confused. Concerned.

“What do you want me to do?!” he asked.

“Nothing!” I screamed. It was official. I had lost my mind. I grabbed my nursing cover from the diaper bag, threw open the tiny door, stepped out of the car into the middle of the drive-thru with tears streaming down my face, and proceeded to extract my five-pound baby from the backseat. I carried him through the drive-thru in front of the parade of cars and curious onlookers—choking back sobs—to a nearby picnic bench where I could feed my baby in peace.

It was 102 degrees outside, but I didn’t care. I needed space. I needed to breathe. I needed to get out of the itty bitty rental car with the screaming newborn and the whining toddler and the husband trying to order burgers. It was Too Much.

I ate my cheeseburger in silence on the drive home.

“Are you okay?” Brett asked.

“Yeah,” I answered honestly, “I just want to go home.”

As soon as we pulled into the garage, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. I promptly changed out of my adorable and flattering maxi skirt and got back into my favorite black sweatpants. I threw my hair in a messy bun and grabbed my five-pound, four day-old baby from the carseat.

We curled up together on the couch with Netflix and a bag of Cheetos, right where we belonged.

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