first mother’s day.

My heart is so full after the sweetest weekend with my two boys. I’m feeling spoiled!

Mike sent me off to have my nails done on Saturday while he snuck to the store with Charlie to pick up groceries for the most delicious Mother’s Day dinner. I’m fairly no frills when it comes to self-care, but getting pedicures is my guilty little pleasure. I only go if Mike sets it up for me for a special occasion or if my mom is in town. 🙂 The last time I got a pedicure, I was 42 weeks pregnant (natural induction attempt 548), so it was such a thoughtful treat. Saturday night we went out for ice cream on the beach with the happiest baby on earth. I had blueberry, Mike, salted caramel. We shared little bites with Charlie and he would’ve eaten the whole cup if we had let him! Rain fell all through the day on Sunday so after Facetimes with both of our moms, we headed to the Norton Museum of Art, our favorite rainy day outing. Charlie’s first visit! He wore his Eric Carle “I Love Mom” hungry caterpillar shirt and everyone commented on what a handsome, sweet boy we have which warmed my mama heart. The Norton is undergoing some major renovations, so open now are only a couple wings of their permanent art collections. The perfect size for a six month old art newbie, and a nice no-fuss outing for our little family. It was my one Mother’s Day request since it clearly was not panning out to be a beach day. Our dinner was amazing. We had an appetizer of shrimp with St. Elmo’s cocktail sauce. Mike made the steak on the cast iron skillet (rain!) and it was so so tender that I think it may be our new favorite way to make steak rather than the grill. Asparagus, smashed red potatoes, and mushrooms cooked in butter topped it all off. My mouth is still watering. And the best part? I didn’t lift a finger. Mike did it all while I played on the floor with our little man and drank my wine. 🙂 Best Mother’s Day ever. The first of what I hope will be many homemade Mother’s Day gifts. 🙂 I hope each and every mom was spoiled rotten on Sunday. You deserve it!

the friday post – vol. 11

Oops. It’s a Saturday post again, isn’t it? Oh well! I was enjoying my post work cocktails too much to muster up the energy to post last night. I made a blueberry simple syrup from Charlie’s leftover baby food and mixed that with torn basil, a wedge of lemon, vodka and soda water. It gave me new life. Happy Mother’s Day weekend you guys! Godmothers, Mothers, Grandmothers, etc. you all rock! Mikey (sweetest man alive, have I mentioned that?) made me an appointment to have my toes done today. I feel like a new woman! It’s been such a good weekend already.

Charlie is seriously on the move now. His scoot has turned into this little crawl with kind of a bum leg that kind of scoots along with him. He’s all over the house! We really have to keep our eye on him – especially because he has an endless fascination with electrical cords and all things Wendy (her food, her toys, her tail). Three weeks left of school! Next week is book fair so it’s going to be a little crazy in the library. The kids love book fair so so much though so it’ll be fun. I put up little string ball lights on the front porch this morning and am just tickled by them. They’re so festive. I tried to capture a picture but it just doesn’t do it justice. I’ll have to try again at dusk. Have an amazing Mother’s Day weekend all! I only wish I could be with my own mom this weekend for Mother’s Day. Then it would be complete. But a FaceTime will have to make do this year.

make time to go outside.

ac983487-c73f-497a-aa50-89acf3e740e3It’s been a hectic couple of weeks at our house. Last weekend was full of friends and extra happenings which carried over to this week. There are just phases like that, you know? Weekday grocery runs, broken glasses, morning work events, lizards in the kitchen, diaper issues. I won’t go into details, but phew it’s been a week!

We’ve always been lovers of walks. They’re so good for the soul. But the last couple weeks we’ve fallen out of our nightly walk habit. And because of it, I feel like we haven’t had time to really catch up with each other. I mentioned it to Mike earlier this week, and the last two nights we’ve made time to go outside. Just a little walk around the block to the water with Charlie in his stroller. There’s something about walking next to each other outside that takes conversation to the next level. We’re so much more likely to dig deep and talk things through for real rather than if we were sitting at home. It just gives me a little sigh of relief at the end of an extra busy day.

There are tons of studies that show spending time outdoors reduces stress, increases creativity, and causes a shift toward more positive moods. I know I feel so much more connected and relaxed after a daily constitutional around the block. So this is just a little reminder to make time for yourselves to go outside and run, bike, walk or just sit. You’ll feel better afterward! And guess what? If you have a baby – they’ll feel better too! Going outside can actually help them sleep longer and better at night.

thrift store toys and cleaning them for your baby.

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I like to take a browse through our local thrift stores once a month or so. I always have a little list of things I’m idly on the hunt for – a new chair for the dining room table, a small table to go next to our couch, some summer shorts for Charlie, a browse through the baskets and baby toys. Nothing urgent, but things that I’d like to find eventually, and would prefer not paying full price for.

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We have a giant thrift store right down the road from our house that is my absolute favorite. It’s the biggest thrift store I’ve been in, and their things are alway high quality. It’s not like you’re buying junk. You’re buying really nice things at a discounted price. And when I’m buying something that isn’t a necessity, then I love a good deal. I usually end up with a few things that weren’t on my list too and when you’re only paying a couple dollars, that’s okay.

1b56513f-e11a-419f-9d7e-ae57adef280dI was a little bit worried when I found these blocks though. For $1, the price was right, but I was a little bit concerned about buying a used toy for my baby. Were they germ-y, dusty, coated in who-knows-what? (Honestly, Charlie’s in daycare, so I think he gets germs and then some from there, but still) I did a little research, and I found that used toys are really easy to clean, even wood toys.

You just have to give them a good douse in hot, soapy water, dry them out, and ta-da – they’re ready to go directly in your baby’s mouth. It was a hot and sunny day when I washed his new blocks, so I stuck them outside in the sun for an hour to naturally de-sanitize. Another option is to add a little vinegar to your water instead of soap. This will kill the bacteria on your used toys. I bought a basket to put the blocks in, and I went ahead and rinsed that out in the soapy water and set it outside to dry too. Clean as a whistle! For a day at least. 🙂

728050b7-f2e8-41c0-8008-6a50bdbf3098A little elbow grease was worth it for a new-to-us $1 toy and the $2 basket to go with it. I may have to go back next week for the set of little Schleich dinosaurs I spotted for $2.

Are you a thrift store lover? I find some people are adamantly against them, and others love it! I just think it’s fun to browse around and give something old a new life for a few dollars. 🙂 I did also find a pair of striped and a pair of chambray shorts for Charlie from baby Gap and Boden. All for $1 each! What’s not to like?

 

an adaptable recipe for muesli.

567296ba-4125-465d-a075-19fdfdadb081I’m one of those people who wakes up in the morning and immediately needs something to eat. I’m the person to whom ‘brunch’ really means ‘second breakfast’ because I couldn’t possibly wait until 10am to eat for the first time. I’m married to a non-breakfast lover (other than hearty breakfast potatoes topped with an egg and the occasional french toast on weekend mornings), so I’m left to my own devices during the week. Cereal and oatmeal are all fine and good, but they’re a little uninspiring, right? And while oatmeal fills me up for the morning, it takes a little bit of time to make it when I’m in a rush in the morning. If I have cereal, on the other hand, I find myself snacking by 9am.0e77466b-90f4-48fc-9ce5-df53ec7ff3f4 Muesli is hearty, healthy, filling-me-up-for-the-long-haul goodness. If you haven’t had it before, muesli is very similar to granola, sans sweetener, oil and oven. Essentially, you just throw a bunch of oats, nuts, and dried fruits into a jar, mix it up and leave it on the counter to last for weeks. Did you hear me say that there’s no oven required? With the heat of summer coming our way, you just may find yourself reaching for this recipe as well. I mixed up a giant 12 cup batch in one of my gallon sized jars the other day that will probably last until the end of the school year. All ingredients are dried pantry goods, so there’s nothing that will go bad before then as long as I keep the lid screwed tight to keep staleness at bay. When you’re ready for your bowl of morning muesli, just scoop some out into a bowl, pour over your desired amount of milk, add a dollop of yogurt if you feel like it, and add any sweetener. I like a sprinkle of brown sugar best, but maple syrup or honey are yummy options too.

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Like I said in the title, this is easily adaptable. Don’t like nuts? Add more oats or seeds. Put whichever dried fruits you like best in. I’ll give my recipe for a gallon, but you can easily adjust up or (more likely) down.

Here’s What You’ll Need: 

  • 8 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups mixed nuts and seeds roughly chopped (I used pistachios, pecans, almonds and pepitas)
  • 2 cups dried fruits (I used cherries, cranberries, and blueberries)

Or the formula to remember is: 4 parts grain + one part nuts + one part dried fruits

Here’s What To Do: 

Are you ready? This is ridiculous…Mix it together, put it in a jar. That’s it! And when you’re ready to eat it, just scoop however much you’d like into a bowl, pour over a little milk, a scoop of yogurt and sprinkle some sweetener over. Mix and enjoy!

radiant after birth?

7390d87f-da9c-41b0-9c87-0bea8bf375efThis article made me chuckle last week. If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ll have heard about Kate Middleton stepping out just 7 hours after giving birth looking fit for the red carpet. It’s been quite the hit in the news lately, and moms are making hilarious comparisons of their own looks after births. I don’t know about you, but 7 hours after birth I think I was hobbling down the hallway, gingerly trying to sit down, figure out how to diaper and feed the baby all while consuming vast quantities of food myself.

All things considered, I felt great after birth. I bounced back fairly easily, didn’t need or want any painkillers that they offered me in the hospital. I was on such a baby high! But makeup was the last thing on my mind and I’m sure I looked like a nightmare. I really didn’t care, and we only have maybe two pictures of me in the hospital to prove it. We were  Thinking about Kate Middleton having to wear heels and makeup just a few hours after pushing an 8 and a half pound infant into the world. Gosh! The whole thing just makes me think about how different each of our forays into birth and motherhood are.

While I was pregnant, women loved telling me all about their birth experiences and I actually love to hear everyone’s stories. I would cluck in compassion about their emergency c-section, gasp at the appropriate moments when they told me about the moment they needed an epidural, and express surprise about the fact that they were induced and never even felt a contraction. Everyone has a different and beautiful story for bringing their baby into the world. For the most part, every story ended the same. “Having a new baby is just the best.” That’s how my story ends anyway. What about you? It’s hard, but so worth it, right?

the friday post – vol. 10

5eb46899-4e41-4a1a-8bf3-3ff09e3ea87dIt’s Friday! We’ve had our dear friends and their little girl in town this week so we’ve gone over to their Airbnb for dinner one night and had them over to our house for another. It’s kind of made the week fly by in a daze of Cuban food, extra glasses of wine and fancy macaroons from the Island. Whenever we have visitors I find myself getting little caught up in their vacation, forgetting that I actually have to work the next day. Oops!

a57e4196-e353-4a55-84ff-4b54d83533e1At school the kids at school are getting more defiant and restless, clearly ready for summer. It’s making days a little more difficult. Let’s be honest, I’m ready for summer too and it’s making me more difficult. But the good news is that there are only four weeks left of school, today is the last day of testing and I can officially be in serious countdown mode now. Our first ripe mango dropped the other day and it’s just the first sign of the seasons changing in Florida. Hot, sticky summer is on its way!

0867d0f1-8e00-461d-bc57-5c1b1e9dcd77Speaking of summer, Charlie is suddenly in need of a new sunhat. His little bucket hat is basically just balancing on top of his head (I swear it fit last week, and this week – it doesn’t!) I found an adorable free pattern with instructions for a baby sun bonnet the other day. I haven’t broken out the sewing machine in months and am feeling the itch for a good diy. I even have enough fabric at home already. I’ll let you guys know how (or if) it goes!

03d0a89e-4fee-4828-acea-3df7fe2e79c5I made these hilariously big banana muffins that I have been munching on for snacks all week. I’ve always used Betty Crocker’s recipe for my banana bread. It’s very forgiving, and I’ve never had it turn out badly. Anyone have a good quick bread recipe though? I love trying new ones. I’m on my last muffin, so I picked up ingredients for muesli at the store to make a big batch up for weekday breakfasts. I’ll share the recipe next week. 🙂

7e4cac0e-61b2-4f28-97d2-57a27c565cf3Our friends are in town for the weekend too, so we’ll be bopping around with them pretending like we’re tourists. Mikey also has a couple work events to go to (boo hiss!). It may be one of those weekends that just breezes right by and we’ll ask ourselves, “Monday, already, really??”

charlie scoots.

09420d6f-9c90-4076-b0a5-d7e1da2369faa7c22ab1-0774-429f-afe3-a79204583ddcI just had to document this silly little phase. Charlie started scooting around on his belly on Tuesday and it’s hilarious. He moves like a little fish! He pushes off with his right leg and pulls himself along with his arms. So funny. Mike told me that yesterday morning he was crawling around on his knees and up on his hands like a real crawler, but I haven’t seen it yet!

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And, of course, the first thing he went for? Wendy’s food and water bowl. I had to snap a couple pictures before firmly telling him “NO!” (which he laughed at) and redirecting him elsewhere. We’re going to have to keep a really close eye on this kid now. And we may have to start doing some more baby proofing around the house. We have tons of danger hot spots!

Click here to watch a video of our quick little scooter!

swimwear for a modest mama.

In a large box under my bed lives my mix and match collection of bikinis from the last ten or so years. I pull it out nearly every weekend to throw on a suit for the beach, but I’ve been having mixed feelings about them lately. I just feel so exposed! I will be forever amazed at the human body and the changes it goes through during pregnancy and after, but it’s not like it all goes right back to normal even once you’re back to your pre-baby weight. Speaking of – I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight (woot woot!), and I’m feeling really good about it, but I feel a little different in a bikini these days. I’m proud of my body and the way it looks, but I think it’s also ok to cover up a little bit more if that’s what feels right. I don’t know if I’m putting up my bikinis forever, but I’m loving the look and feel of one-pieces right now.

Well, the other day I came home from the store with a one-piece swimsuit. And Mikey was not a huge fan. “What’s wrong with your bikinis? You look so good!” Sweetest man alive. He’s always been amused with my modesty, or “mom-style” when it comes to clothes. (I have one dress that he calls my Mennonite dress, and he thinks my love of overalls is hilarious, which is fair.) But now my mom-style has carried over to the beach and it’s been a discussion lately. I’ve been hunting around for swimwear that maybe will strike a happier medium and I found a few that I love.

A basic one piece with a strappy back.

Hot pink number in a classic scoop style.

Romantic blue flowers with the sweetest scallop detail and a halter top.

My favorite of the bunch with real embroidery and adjustable straps.

Definitely a splurge item, but I love the shape and the slim back strap detail.

one small way to make getting ready for work with a baby easier.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetMornings can be so hard with a baby, amiright? Honestly, mornings were hard when I only had to get myself ready. Adding a squirmy little guy to the mix has not made it any easier. I’ve been back at work for nearly four months now, and I’ve collected a handful of tips to streamline our mornings. Am I still late to work some mornings? YES! Has it gotten a little easier? YES! Do I still go back to snuggle Charlie 10,000 times before actually leaving the house? Double Yes. This is such a small and silly little tip, but I’m telling you it has made such a big difference for me in the morning.

IMG_9883Are you ready? Here it is: On Sunday night, lay out all your baby’s outfits for the entire week! That’s it! Simple, but big. I get a lot of laundry done on the weekend, so on Sunday when I’m folding, I just set aside five outfits (complete with socks) on Charlie’s dresser. It makes it so much easier to get him dressed in the morning. That way, after I feed him I just have to grab a little stack and throw it on him and I’m done. No more digging through drawers, or coming up short on matching outfits.

Isn’t that such a great little thing? Try it! A bonus that is that it’s a serious visual for how close you are to the weekend. Three outfits on the dresser looks like nothing compared to five. Now, if I were really on top of things I’d lay all of my clothes out for the week too, but I’m definitely not there yet.