the perfect anytime stationery (and a giveaway!)

Rainy Day Colors-1 Rainy Day Colors-2 Rainy Day Colors-3 Rainy Day Colors-4 Rainy Day Colors-6 Rainy Day Colors-7 Rainy Day Colors-8 Rainy Day Colors-11 Rainy Day Colors-12 Rainy Day Colors-14 Rainy Day Colors-15 Rainy Day Colors-16 Rainy Day Colors-17Look. I’m not a crafty mom. To the mommas who can make magic from glitter and glue: I applaud your talent and efforts.

Me? I’m good at other things. I’m good at turning paper towel rolls into race car tunnels. I’m good at tickling. I’m good at making stuffed animals talk. We all have our things.

However. For the sake of toddler-dom and preschool starting in the fall, I am trying to be better at occasionally whipping out crayons and markers and letting Everett go to town doodling and sticker-ing his brains out. We do “art projects” maybe once a week.

Needless to say, anything that makes art time easy is a win in my book. I love these adorable DIY stationery sets because they kill three birds with one stone:

*Art project
*Snail mail
*Support a creative small business

I mean, what else could you ask for in a $10 purchase?

We had a few extra printstagrams lying around, some pretty tape, and bada-bing bada-boom, A WHOLE ART DAY WAS HAD.

It was…..dare I say….fun? Everett is still getting the hang of arts and crafts (no doubt, he has been stunted by my laziness), so it’s a good thing art is subjective. He drew “purple snow” and “circles” and asked me to draw a flower. We practiced his letters. And then I busted out the dinosaur stickers (Mom of the year!).

Everett might not be the best artist, but he is a PRO sticker applier. He is very particular about sticker placement and has been known to apply a sticker, peel that same sticker up, and then reapply it in a more optimal place.

“Dat’s bedder,” he tells me matter-of-factly.

We made cards for Daddy and Grandma and Papa and Mimi and a few of his tiny friends. We said “I love you” and “Thanks for being my friend.” I love blank stationery because you can use it for anything. These cards would be perfect for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, friendship, thank you’s, whatever. If I had pretty handwriting (I don’t), I might have stolen a few to decorate myself. I love that the cards are big and blank—there is plenty of room to draw and sticker and paint and whatever else the crafty kids are doing these days.

Trust me when I say: if we can do it, YOU CAN TOO.

Today, Rainy Day Colors is giving away one white set and one kraft set. That’s a total of eight DIY stationery cards! You could do MULTIPLE art projects and be a hero! Enter below for your chance to win!

No time for giveaways? Use promo code kids15 for 15% off your order! THAT IS A STEAL. Happy crafting!

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the second baby.

For Carson.

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I’m sitting in bed while you lay next to me, blowing bubbles and giggling at yourself. Occasionally I stop typing to make a funny face at you, and you laugh hysterically. You think I am hilarious, and it does wonders for my confidence these days.

You’re supposed to be napping.

Your brother is with the babysitter, and this is one of two pockets of time I get with you each week, just the two of us. I think you know when he’s not home, and like to protest naps just so you can get more attention from me. You’re pretty smart.

You’re six months old now, and only weigh 12 pounds. Maybe you’re up to 13? I could carry you all day long, it feels like carrying a pillow. Your tiny body fits on my hip, in the crook of my arm, against my chest, in my lap. No matter where I put you, you fit, like an enchanted puzzle piece. I spent my whole pregnancy worrying about how I was going to make room for you. Our life with one kid felt full and busy and consumed, and I wasn’t sure where or how you were going to fit into that space.

And I can’t explain how you fit now.

You just do.

You are the typical second baby. You go with the flow, you watch everyone else, you wait your turn. You have spent so much time in that rockaRoo, just sitting and watching and waiting your turn. A few times a week, I carry you in from the garage in your carseat, plop you down on the kitchen floor, still strapped in, and make lunch for your brother. You just sit there quietly in your carseat, watching me wash raspberries, chewing on your teething keys like you have all the time in the world. You are almost always fed second, changed second, bathed second. Patience is your virtue.

You’re drinking from a bottle now (hallelujah!) and experimenting with solids. I am trying hard to fatten you up, but you remain small and sweet and everyone who meets you says, “He’s so tiny!”

You are tiny. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Time moves faster with the second baby, so you can stay as small as you want, okay?

You love baths. When you hear the faucet turn on, you start kicking your legs wildly and smiling at me with those big blue eyes. You know what’s coming. As soon as I place your squirmy little body in the bathtub, your face lights up like a Christmas tree. You kick and kick and kick some more, almost as if you’re trying to swim. You love the whole process: the soap, the warm water, the cozy towel, the lavender lotion massage. And to think, I was only bathing you twice a month for a while. I’m trying to be better about that now since I know you love it so much.

I’m trying to do a lot of things better, actually. I’m trying not to be so frustrated when you don’t nap at the same time as your brother. I’m trying to find ways for us all to survive the witching hour without completely losing our minds. I’m trying to close my laptop more often when I can tell you need attention.

I’m trying to make you feel special, to make you feel known. I’m trying to find space in my day to give you all of me, even if it’s just for a few minutes. I really am trying my best, and I hope it’s enough for you, sweet boy.

At the end of the day, I want you to know this:

You are loved. You are wanted.
You belong here, with us, and there is more than enough room for you.

 

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for the love of applesauce.

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(This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tree Top.)

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At his 2-year well visit, I confronted our pediatrician with The Concern.

“Hey doc? My kid eats….nothing. He is on a steady diet of granola bars and goldfish crackers. We have tried bribing, we have tried introducing one new thing a day, we have tried dipping sauces, we have tried adding vegetables to baked goods (50% success rate). Short of starving the child, I don’t know what else to do. HELP.”

The doctor smiled at me, and rattled off a bunch of mumbo jumbo like,

“As long as he’s getting a few foods from each food group each week, he’ll be fine.”
“As long as he’s gaining weight and growing, it’s normal for them to be picky at this age.”
“It’s your job to give him food, it’s his job to eat it.”

I sighed in relief and went back to letting Everett eat granola bars for dinner, against my better judgment.

I know this is a phase. It has to be. I assume my kid won’t go to college eating wheat thins and raspberries for lunch. I assume at some point in his childhood, he will eat a hot dog. I assume one day in elementary school, he will take a bite of a PB&J and not gag.

But today is not that day. And that’s okay.

While I get frustrated at the long list of foods that Everett will not eat (hot dogs! chicken nuggets! mac n cheese! pasta! every other normal thing that toddlers eat!), at least there’s a decent list of foods he will eat (granola bars! yogurt! cheese! crackers of any kind! fruit! smoothies!).

It is difficult to feed a child who changes his mind constantly. One day Everett loves grilled cheese; the next day he can’t stand it. He ate waffles every single day for a month, then didn’t touch them for a year. It makes no sense.

HOWEVER. The one food I can always count on is applesauce. Everett has loved those applesauce pouches since he was practically a baby, and it is the ONE food item he will say yes to, 100% of the time. When he’s sick? Pouch it. Sad? Pouch it. Having a hard day? Pouch it. Give that kid an applesauce pouch, and he is good. to. go.

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His all-time favorite? Tree Top applesauce.

We love Tree Top because they use real fruit. Their squeezable pouches are perfect for snacking on the go, and I love that they don’t make a mess.

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Tree Top is teaming up with KidsGardening.org to help change the world by growing the next generation—one child, one school, and one community at a time. For every purchase of Tree Top Apple Sauce Pouches, they’ll donate $1 to KidsGardening.org to help fund community garden projects across the country. Bravo.

Today, Tree Top is giving away an adorable gardening pack, which includes: a Red Tubrug pail, Kids gardening gloves, Watering can, Soft touch hand tool set, Favorite Five Sprouting seeds, and, of course, Tree Top Apple Sauce Pouches. Enter below for your chance to win!

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tree Top. As always, thanks for supporting the sponsors who contribute to my coffee + babysitting fund. 

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the nursing-friendly spring capsule wardrobe.

My household has been sick for 100 years. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, more like two weeks.

It started as a cough, turned into a sneeze, and before you knew it, everyone had fevers/double ear infections/colds/bronchiolitis/laryngitis/sinus infections. I don’t even know.

Don’t worry, I totally sanitized the whole house. Anyone up for a playdate?

We are never home this much. I usually have daily activities planned with the kids Monday-Friday so when I found myself home for days on end, my inner Monica Geller squealed in delight.

I CAN CLEAN! All! The! Things!

There is nothing better than a freshly organized bathroom drawer, AMIRIGHT?

In other words, it was the perfect time to create a capsule wardrobe! What’s a capsule wardrobe, you ask? You can read all about it here from the original source.

Basically, the idea of the capsule wardrobe appealed to me for three reasons:

1. Half the items in my closet do not fit well (friendly reminder – I just had a baby).
2. Half the items in my closet are not conducive to nursing.
3. I only get dressed in real clothes, like, twice a week.

I’m a big believer in making up your own rules, so here are the rules I set for my capsule wardrobe:

1. Clothes must fit my current body.
2. Clothes must work for breastfeeding.

That’s it. How did I do this? I pulled every single item out of my closet, threw everything on the bed, and only put back the seasonal items that worked for my two rules. I ended up with 45 items, which is more than the recommended 37, but Carson still throws up on me like once a day so it seemed fair to include a few extra tops.

Right away I noticed something alarming: I have a lot of clothes. Which is ironic, considering how many times I stand in front of my closet whining, I have noooooothing to wear! I actually do a great job of rotating my clothes seasonally (usually twice a year, once for fall/winter and once for spring/summer), but I don’t do a great job at paring down my wardrobe to fit my current size and lifestyle. And when you’ve spent a total of 18 months over the past 4 years carrying 2 babies in your belly and a current total of 18 months (and counting) nursing said babies, “size” and “lifestyle” are worth taking into consideration. I spent all of 2014 gaining weight during my pregnancy with Carson, and now I’m in the process of losing that weight, but my chest is 3x bigger than it normally is, which leads to a lot of whining in front of the closet.

Enough of that.

I took all of my teeny tiny itty bitty clothes and threw them in a storage bag so they would stop taunting me and adding to my indecisiveness/discontentedness. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Without further ado, here is my (mostly) nursing friendly spring capsule wardrobe, created to dress me from April 1-May 31st! A lot of the items are old(er), but I tried to include relevant or current links when applicable on a few of the recently purchased/gifted items.

Capsule - Shirtsbasic white button down (Target) / grey open cardigan (Anthropologie) / fringe open cardigan (Stitch Fix) / cream open shoulder blouse (old, from Nordstrom Rack) / basic black tee (old, from Banana Republic) / deletta slouchy tee (old, from Anthropologie) / floral blouse (thredUP) / denim vest (last summer from H&M) / floral button down blouse (free from local clothing swap)

Capsule - dress + bottoms

green shirtdress (H&M) / black & white abstract dress with buttons (from Nordstrom Rack) / striped t-shirt dress (bought last summer from Target) / denim shorts (Gap) / black scalloped shorts (ASOS) / denim roll-up shorts (Anthropologie) / hi-rise jegging (American Eagle) / abstract romper (bought in store from Target, like yesterday) / hi-rise jegging (American Eagle)

Capsule

maxi skirt (Anthropologie) / soft grey maxi dress (thredUP) / floral maxi skirt (Nordstrom Rack) / slouchy tee (Nordstrom Rack) / brown maxi skirt (The Limited) / california tee (Nordstrom Rack) / tissue coral v-neck tee (J.Crew, from thredUP) / striped tank (J.Crew) / coral racerback tank (Madewell, from thredUP)

capsule 2

Madre tee (Riley & Co) / pink racerback tank (Nordstrom Rack) / love tee (free at local clothing swap) / grey essential rib tank (Gap) / black & white striped tee (Nordstrom Rack) / sequin tank (J.Crew via thredUP) / white button down tank (Hi-line via thredUP) / light grey sweater (thredUP) / blue & white striped tank (Stitch Fix)

Capsule - ShoesToms (via Zulily) / black sandal heels (Modcloth) / striped flats (Target) / ankle sandals (old, from Target) / jellyfish t-bar flats (ASOS, similar) / Toms sandals (via Zulily) / Franco Sarto wedges (old, Nordstrom Rack) / Sam & Libby flip-flops (Target, similar) / Anne Klein wedges (old, Nordstrom Rack)

And now? NOW my closet looks like THIS:

capsule wardrobe-1

Ahhhhh! Isn’t it beautiful? Isn’t it simple? Isn’t it so easy to get dressed now?

A few things….

-I did not count loungewear/pajamas/workout clothes, which actually account for 80% of my wardrobe (embarrassing). I am hoping that this capsule wardrobe will encourage me to wear “real” clothes more often.

-In non-postpartum life, I wear Paige denim, not American Eagle. I had Carson in October and needed jeans stat, but couldn’t justify buying nice jeans to get me through the in-between phase. AE was having a huge sale, the jeans were $30 a pop, and hey! The high-rise + stretch combination is super forgiving on a postpartum body and made shopping in a store full of teenagers totally worth it.

-I love my Madre tee, but it runs crazy small. I ordered an XL, and it fits perfectly loose on me (I am usually an XS-S). If you ever order one, order up up up!

-My capsule wardrobe was SO inspiring, that Brett has asked me to make him one, too. I am totally up to the challenge, and let’s just call this his father’s day present, yes?

Have you ever tried a capsule wardrobe? How’d it go?

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a short rant about nursing bras.

Hey dad, I’m about to talk about boobs. Don’t read this one, okay?

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I try not to complain a lot (somewhere, my husband is snort laughing.) But I need to get something off my chest. Pun intended.

WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH THE UGLY NURSING BRAS?

This is certainly a first world problem, but there is a serious lack in the retail market and someone, somewhere, should immediately whip up a prototype and audition for Shark Tank because THIS IS A MILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS IDEA.

Look. I’m not a fancy girl. By any means. I don’t wear fancy bras when I’m not nursing (somewhere, my husband is nodding sadly.)

But apparently, the Nursing Bra Designers of the world have decided that breastfeeding is synonymous with being Amish. And I am not Amish. And I would like to find a good nursing bra that does not come up to my collar bone. Is that too much to ask?

Look. I don’t need a fancy nursing bra. And I certainly don’t need a sexy nursing bra.

I just need…..a normal, somewhat pretty, makes-me-feel-good-about-myself-and-a-tiny-bit-feminine nursing bra.

Is this too much to ask?

Two weeks ago I searched high and low via the Internet for a racerback nursing bra. It’s 80 degrees outside and I own a lot of racerback tank tops. My search yielded two results: nursing sports bras and nursing sleeping bras. Huh? When I searched for “regular” racerback bras, my search yielded 72,841 results.

Victoria’s Secret alone carries 237 types of racerback bras. WHAT.

Hey Victoria’s Secret, can we talk for a sec? How is it even humanly possible that a store plastered with posters of boobs does NOT sell nursing bras? Am I crazy for thinking this is crazy? I don’t even shop at your store all that often but I imagine you probably have a pretty loyal fan base. In fact, I’d be willing to bet large sums of money that you have a lot of loyal customers who, at some point in their life, will nurse babies. I’m super curious—where do you send them when that happens? What do you say to them?

“Oh, sorry momma. Our bras are for non-nursing boobs only. You can take your nursing boobs across the mall to the frumpy maternity store. Good luck!”

Huh? Hey Victoria’s Secret, can I let you in on a secret? One of the prime times to buy new bras is when you’re nursing. Most new mommas like to treat themselves to a few things after giving birth, like fancy yoga pants, a pretty nightgown, and, lo and behold—new nursing bras.

Do you need me to simplify this even more? We NEED new bras. Our BOOBS are BIGGER. We MUST go bra shopping. Why in the world are you excluding us?

I know you guys are all about the sex appeal. Your offer a plethora of “lace” and “push-up” and “cutout” and “fishnet” and “cheeky” options, guaranteed to bring heat to the bedroom. Is that what this is about? Is this about sex? Maintaining your sexy vibe?

I’m assuming you already know this, but do you know what sex can sometimes lead to?

BABIES.

And do you know how those babies sometimes eat?

FROM BOOBS.

And do you know what those boobs need?

AN EFFING GOOD NURSING BRA.

So really, VS, help a sister out. You have 237 racerback bras on your website, and I just want, like, ONE racerback nursing bra. You guys are supposed to be bra experts, so maybe you could put your money where your mouth is and make a nursing bra that doesn’t suck.

Is that too much to ask?

In the meantime, I’ll be spending my hard-earned money over at Nordstrom, because even though their in-store nursing bra selection is pitiful, they at least acknowledge the simple fact that my boobs are currently being used for more than just sex and filling out tank tops.

***

p.s. my favorite everyday nursing bra (slightly Amish, but SO COMFY) / my favorite sleep nursing bra / my new non-nursing racerback bra that I make work by undoing the front clasp.

p.s.s. FYI – Nordstrom will convert any bra into a nursing bra for $16. Not exactly chump change, but if you bought new bras while you were pregnant to accommodate your new, larger bust, that might be a good option!

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