meet ben.

The past two weeks have passed in an absolute blur with this new little one at home. Each day has been full of newborn and extra toddler snuggles. Benjamin Lewis arrived on March 1st weighing in at 9 pounds 2 ounces (though he’s already up to 10). His birth story is beautiful and I want to get it all down in writing before the details start drifting away from me (they already are!), but today I’m just checking in with the news that’s he’s here, he’s here!

Charlie is handling things pretty well with just some minor jealousy that mainly involves handing out sweet hugs like candy and trying out every item of Ben’s baby gear.

Ben is more alert and sweeter by the day. We love him despite his evening witching hour and his habit of waking up the moment we set him down. Today is the beginning of what I’m considering phase four of maternity leave (phase one: waiting. Phase two: arrival of Ben with my parents here. Phase three: Mike’s paternity leave. Phase four: just me and Ben) We’re sending Charlie in to daycare until summer break, so I can get to know and love on this little mush. I’m not quite ready to have a 15 month old and a two week old all to myself just yet. We’ll get there though. I’m holding the little man as I type this. He’s snoring away, one arm flung above his head and I’m thinking about joining him in a little mid afternoon nap before the big one gets home and demands dinner.

a Wednesday wonder: to tidy or not to tidy?

Charlie’s napping right now, so I just did my quick five minute sweep of the house to straighten things up. He’s become quite the little destroyer, pulling plastics off shelves and toys out of baskets as fast as I put them back. Which has had me thinking: Should I just leave everything until after bedtime when I do another sweep of the house, setting things back to rights? Or do I keep cleaning up a little bit throughout the day to keep my own sanity and to bring him the never ending joy of emptying his baskets?

We have so far limited Charlie’s toys to one basket of wood blocks, one of other toys, and one of books. Call us crazy, but ideally we’ll not ever have much more than this – just transitioning toys out and in as he gets older and as other babies come along. I could see us getting one larger basket to hold the miscellaneous toys, and having multiple others tucked away under his bed to pull out when he wants to play with them. But right now, he’s the definition of a free range baby, finding more interest in non-toys throughout the house in the form of plastic lids, rubber spatulas and the occasional shoe. Of course, he also has a shelf of books on the bookshelf, but he hasn’t found that yet 😂.

So it’s not much, but in a small house, things get messy fast. I love a tidy home (who doesn’t), but my little destroyer loves the thrill of getting everything out. So, what do you think, reader? Tidy throughout the day, or leave it all to the end?

This reminds me of this article I read the other day on Food52 about the apparently controversial practice of cleaning the kitchen as you go, or leaving it all to the end! What are you? I’m a clean as I go! Which maybe answers this whole Wednesday wondering. 😂 It must just be in my nature.

charlie crawls.

I posted a couple weeks ago that Charlie had started scooting around the house like a little zombie. This last week though, at 6 month plus a week or two, he’s up on his knees and crawling for real! He’s into everything now; pulling things off the shelves, hunting for cords, trying to eat Wendy’s bone. 2b3efb20-c8ab-47da-bbcb-ff291d412271

I looked away for two minutes this weekend, and he had crawled over to Wendy’s food and dumped her whole water bowl all over the living room and himself. Naughty boy! He’s started to pull up to stand on us and here and there around the house too. This boy is going to be walking before we know it!! Here’s a little video 🙂

 

 

thrift store toys and cleaning them for your baby.

a530214e-2fac-4f8b-ad62-7ae4f0115dbf

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.

7a47caa7-0841-4732-b777-d4612aa9bb18

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?

 

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!

fd658dd4-0662-4607-94d6-818636914bac

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!

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.

the most beautiful beach day.

Is anyone getting tired of hearing about the beach? I really hope not. Each trip just feels so distinct that I have to capture it! The ocean, the air, Charlie, and our experience changes every time.

57e0ea08-1dec-46df-a83b-04347317d7aa.jpg

A8E5D3FD-7098-4503-866F-2A975E21A479

This Saturday the water was crystal clear and calm. The sun shone high and bright. Charlie had just woken up from a nap so he was happy to go into the water and splash.

Processed with VSCO with s1 presetProcessed with VSCO with s1 presetProcessed with VSCO with s1 preset

After a while, Mike dug him out his own personal swimming pool which he loved. He splashed, tried to eat sand, and sat looking out at the ocean.

38B8879B-4B19-4B5B-94F7-BB969048504A

I just keep thinking that life can’t get any better and then it suddenly does. And then Monday rolls around (insert crying face). But I’m counting my lucky stars for such special weekends with these two loves.

our favorite baby books at 6 months.

We’ve been reading to Charlie since nearly day 1. But with a 6 month old, it’s still more about what we like to read to Charlie rather than what Charlie’s really into. It’s not like he can specifically ask for one book over another yet. He definitely loves books already though, so I think it’s good to start young! We try to choose books that he seems interested in with fun, repetitive text and big bold illustrations. These are 8 books that we love to read to Charlie. He’s to the page ripping stage, so we mostly stick to board books although we do love regular picture books and just keep a little tighter hold on the book.

Funny enough, Mike usually does the reading. I read to kids all day (librarian life!), so I love having him do it. I think it’s good dada-Charlie bonding time. It’s their thing. We don’t have a strict routine yet. We’re not quite to the point of bedtime stories every night, but we usually get a couple in each night at some point and lots on the weekend.

  1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear : An Eric Carle favorite. I read this book with my Kindergarten classes at school and know it by heart! I love the bouncy rhythm of the words and the repetition is so fun for the kids to catch on to. The illustrations are big and bold and really catch the baby’s attention.
  2. No Matter What : This book was a sweet little shower gift that I hadn’t read before. It is Mike’s absolute favorite. He’ll choose it over any other. All about loving your little person no matter what. I love that “large”can be either mama or dada. So many books focus on the mom, so it’s nice to have one that could be dad too.
  3. Pete the Cat: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star : If you haven’t read any of the Pete the Cat books, go now and read one! They’re such cute stories. I especially love that we can sing this book to Charlie.
  4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar : Another Eric Carle favorite. A hungry caterpillar eats his way through life, spins a cocoon and comes out a beautiful butterfly.  It’s a sweet way to teach the days of the week and different foods.
  5. One Fish, Two Fish : One of Mike’s other favorites to read and a Dr. Seuss classic. I actually wouldn’t normally recommend it as a baby book because it is long, but Charlie is so into it. I think it’s because the words are so silly and fun to listen to.
  6. Night Night, Florida : A sweet little rhyming bedtime story with favorite Florida spots. We like reading this one before bed with it’s quiet tone and dark illustrations.
  7. Bunny Roo, I Love You : This one is one of my favorites. The illustrations are so sweet and I love it’s reassuring message to my little guy.
  8. Mighty, Mighty Construction Site : Another one that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend for babies because of the length, but the illustrations are just so big and beautiful. I love reading it and Charlie is just captivated by it.

What are your favorite baby books? There are so many good ones!

charlie sits.

And just like that Charlie has figured out the fine art of sitting. It makes me laugh to see him sitting up like such a little human. I’m so used to seeing him laying on his back or laying on his tummy with his little head popped up. He’s still a little wobbly, so believe-you-me my hand is right there juuuuuust out of sight, ready to catch him if (and when) he topples over.

Tonight I sat with him between my legs after dinner. He had a whole pile of toys in his lap, and he proceeded to dig through the mess to get to his pacifier and put it right in his mouth. Basically an adult! No hysterics about toes tonight though. But hey, there’s always tomorrow!