A Lifestyle Blog

A Lifestyle Blog

Spring and Summer Checklist

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I'm always a little wary of making a bucket list or something similar for a season, year, what have you, since I always seem to accomplish zip, but since we're still relatively new to Houston I want to encourage our little family to keep exploring the area and find some new things to do as well as things that will keep up with Olivia's ever growing abilities and attention span. I'd also like to get out of the house more during the week - Mama gets a little cabin crazy.

1. Go to the aquarium

We haven't visited the Houston aquarium yet (we are big fans of the zoo) and indoor activities are wise for Houston summers, so I anticipate we'll be there with our noses pressed up against glass like the cool kids we are.

2. Take Olivia to swim lessons

We did swim lessons last summer when she was about 6 months old and I'd like to start up again. I think a Y membership is in the works for us - she can swim and I can use the gym while she hangs out at the free childcare center...win, win folks.

Last year. If I ever, I mean ever consider bangs again, someone use bodily force to stop me if necessary. Mean it.

3. Get our backyard set up

I have dreams of a lounge area with a dining table, grill, and fire pit where we can relax after a rousing game of corn hole. It's going to take some time (and let's be real, some $) to make it happen so I'll be picking away at it.

4. Roast marshmallows and make s'mores

This is a summer duh and see above.

5.  Take Olivia hiking

This will be a Maine activity for one of our visits. Our family lives about an hour from Bar Harbor and there are some beautiful walking/hiking trails there that look out on the ocean. I'm not a huge nature lover, but I love this (and the fact that we always stop for second breakfast at Jordan's on the way home).

6. Take some real family photos

Our recent attempts at family photos are not so hot - so we'll take some with our fave photographer while we're in Maine this summer. 

The last remotely decent photo of Ryan and I together....last May. I think decent is a stretch too - we're both sweating so much we want to die. It either pours or is sweltering at graduations, right? That's some kind of rule I think. Anyway, we're due for an update.

7. Start working on this

8. Make date night a weekly event

We need this. Bad. We've had a lot of company lately who've been wonderful about watching Olivia while we go on dates and I can't go back to dateless Ryan and Megan. I don't like them. We need a little romance and summer nights were made for that.

9. Spend time at the lake

Another Maine activity. I can almost taste the lobster and see myself losing at cribbage. Those are the days.

10. Find some better balance. I'm struggling with not staying up until 11 or 12 working on Willow Crowns and it's a little much for me. I'm hoping to restructure some of our days to allow me to get some more work done and enjoy the time I'm spending with Olivia more. Moms who work from home with little ones, I'll take all the advice you've got. Throw it at me.

Managing the Crazy

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I'm talking about my crazy here. There are days when the house is in desperate need of a deep clean, the orders are piling up, and my charge is a teething, whiny, clingy delight. You all have those right? Please tell me you have those days....

In any event, I also have days where I get stuff done. I wake up feeling like I can tackle just about anything, I do, and Olivia cooperates. So it balances out. Yesterday was a super mom day and so far today I feel like I can juuust about manage to make coffee. And that's it. You see, balance.

My view as I write:

A typical morning routine of caffeine, many many kisses for her baby, and there will be an interpretive dance performance shortly, one she's well prepared for since Dad's socks make excellent leg warmers.

I like to pretend these mornings are relaxing but they aren't really. I'm usually sitting there making a mental list of all the things that should probably get done that day and it gets overwhelming sometimes. So we come to my point, how to manage the crazy. I don't pretend to be an expert in stress management but I do think that being a parent has helped me have a higher threshold for stress - maybe because you get used to it or you develop strategies for coping with it? I'm an anxious person by nature so I like to think I've spent the past 20 years learning to deal and am still working on it. I find that (decaf) coffee helps (duh) and lots of deep breaths. Sometimes we take coffee breaks together:

One of these days I'll get two super mom days in a row and then watch out...it's going to get real. Until then though, I'll attempt to snuggle the child who absolutely needs to get in my lap right now or she'll die and then slides down the second bum meets lap (this happened 5 times while writing this post).

I'll be back with something cheerier tomorrow (promise)!

(Easter) Weekend Photos

Monday, April 21, 2014

Let me see if I can pull myself out of my Cadbury coma long enough to recap our weekend for you all...no small feat.

I felt like this was the first holiday that Olivia was old enough to really enjoy and get into. She was barely 1 at Christmas and a little overwhelmed but she really got into Easter, and really, what's not to love?

We had bunny shaped cinnamon rolls for breakfast....I unrolled the pre-packaged ones and made them into ear shapes. Don't ever tell me I'm not Martha. 

Then we went to show her  what the Easter Bunny had left her in the playroom and it was a big hit. 

I put a few Easter books, some hair clips, a new purse, and some other odds and ends in her basket but the biggest hit was the individual packages of tissues that looked like Crayola crayons. Go figure.

Can I just say, freshly slept on hair is not a good look for me?

We also did a teeny tiny egg hunt - only 5 eggs because how long do I really expect my 1 year old to pay attention, and she egged it up! We put little bunny shaped marshmallows in them and she was beside herself to discover the "mammoommwwooos"

We wrangled her into the sweetest little watercolor print dress, snapped some super spontaneous family photos (cough cough, yeah right) and bustled off for second breakfast, aka brunch which turned out to be not so toddler friendly but we made it work. Mimosas and animal crackers - everyone won.

Then it was naps for all and some water table craziness. She's recently learned to say "whoa!" and that was the word of choice for her water table activities. 

By the time dinner rolled around we knew that our teething beauty wasn't going to deal with a restaurant, so we brought in Five Guys...because what says Easter better than cheeseburgers? Nothing, that's what.

It was so nice to have my grandparents here for the holiday and I'm a little blue since they left this morning. Olivia's going to miss having a full staff at her beck and call and I'll be missing tea time with my grandmother, but I think we'll both survive. 

I hope you all had a marvelous Easter and have a great Monday!

Loving Lately

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy Friday, friends!

Thanks for all your kind comments on the ole blog and Instagram yesterday. Hearing about your sassy kids and your own perceived parenting shortcomings (you're all seriously rockstars) made me feel less like the frontrunner for worst parent of the year and more like a normal mom, doing what I can. So thanks for that, you're all amazing!

Here's the rundown of what I'm loving this week:

1. Family in town

My grandparents are in town this weekend for Easter and that means we've had all four of my grandparents in the past three weeks...how lucky are we? 

2. Tea Time

Having my grandmother here means sitting down for tea. Sitting down for tea always means good chats and it's a vestige of my childhood I'll always remember fondly. I used to have my own tiny porcelain tea set at her house and she'd make me tea with a little bit of sugar and milk and I'd sit down with loads of her costume jewelry on and pretend I was a grown up lady having tea with her. Olivia sat down for tea with us yesterday and while it's a little different than when I was young, it's still just as special.

3. Pink Starbucks

I know this is totally trivial, but the pink coffee cups at Starbucks are making me seriously happy lately. When they match my manicure it's even better.

4. New WC goodies

This topknot that's landing in the shop on Monday with the rest of the Summer line gets me so excited for warm summer days with sweet tea and fresh fruit.

5. Olivia's reckless abandon and zest for life

I honestly think she sees every moment of the day as potential for something exciting and runs towards it at top speed (often tripping on her own shoes and falling face first) and her love for these Easter eggs knows no bounds.

Hope you all have an amazing weekend and I'll see you Monday!

Realities of Motherhood

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's only Thursday morning and I'm wiped out for the week. Ryan's worked late every night this week, I have a toddler who's boycotting naps, and a house that won't stay clean (oh poor Megan, cry us a river). I was looking back at photos of Olivia as a newborn and I've either slipped into a fatigue induced state of delusion or forgotten how things really were, but I seem to remember the newborn age being so easy.
24 hours old...poor little love...labor wasn't exactly easy on her face, this was actually a huge improvement from right when she was born.

Maybe part of it was that Ryan was in school full time so he was home a lot to help or that we were crammed into an 800 sq ft Boston apartment that took 10 minutes to clean, but it was just easier. The nights weren't uninterrupted but we napped and made up for it during the day while we snuggled or went for strolls. 

Now she runs and runs and runs and tantrums when it's too cold to go outside. She throws food all over the floor at every. single. meal. She turns our house upside down and dumps full cups of milk on the ottoman, just to make sure gravity is still working. She sticks her hands in toilets and eats chalk and howls when you tell her no. Don't get me wrong, she's so sweet and so fun but those days when Ryan's gone from 7-7 seem long

"let me find every item in the house and throw it on the floor...I'll start in the kitchen since I just saw you cleaning in here"

Which brings me to my point - the realities of motherhood. My first "oh" kind of moment was when Olivia was two months old and pooped straight up to her neck the moment we walked into Nordstrom and there weren't enough wipes in my diaper bag (or the world) to clean it up. Those moments get more frequent (and probably funnier) as time goes on and I've realized this about motherhood (they're all kind of obvious, but humor me here):

1. It's messy
2. It's exhausting
3. It smells
4. It makes you want to be better
5. It makes you worry you aren't good enough
6. It's 24/7
7. It smells
8. It tests your patience
9. It tests your endurance
10. It's a learn as you go job

Oh yes and it's fabulous. There are days that I feel tired to my very core and wonder what I'll do if she goes one more napless day and of course I come here to whine to all of you, but it's truly the best, most rewarding, and amazing thing I think I'll ever do. Her little lips puckering up when you ask for a kiss make it all worth it, especially when she hits the "cancel" button on the debit machine at Trader Joe's for the fourth time in a row. 

So behind the whining and endless cups of Starbucks, is a mom who's so grateful to be one. I think the best way to sum up how I feel most days is exactly how I felt the day Olivia was born. Exhausted (despite having a ridiculously easy delivery -that's another story)and fulfilled. Does this say it all?

So there's my Thursday ramble for ya'll, assuming you all made it this far in my novella of a post. I hope you're all enjoying your week, and guess what? Tomorrow's Friday!

Summer Staples

With the weather getting warmer every week, I'm looking forward to Summer more than ever! In Texas we won't have much of a Spring, I'm told, it just goes straight to the 80's and keeps on rising. I never loved the heat before but I've embraced it in the past few years and now it's my favorite time of year. The days are long, the nights are warm, and it seems fun is just around every corner. So here are some of my favorite Summer staples for Liv and me to get your Summer inspiration going!

Don't laugh, because I'm completely serious. Houston is land 'o humidity which makes it land 'o wrinkled clothes the second you sit down in your car. Therefore, I starch the you know what out of all our clothes so we aren't wrinkled messes all the time. I secretly love to iron (I say secretly because I don't go around advertising it...Ryan needs to keep his ironing skills sharp from time to time) and there's something about crisp, starched clothes that really just gets my OCD going.

I swear there's no better kids clothing item for the summer. They're cool, easy to put on, just one piece, and stinking cute. I love this one from Target (can't seem to find it online)- they have so many that are so affordable so you can stock up on one for each day of the week. 

Panama Hat.
This is my top staple. I love to throw my unwashed mom hair under these and call it a day. As a bonus, it keeps my Casper pale face from getting sunburned on those 110 degree Houston days. Please see exhibits A and B for proof of much I love them. This one is from Old Navy and it goes with everything. 

Neutrogena sunscreen and sunless tanning spray are favorites for the past 10 years. I'm incredibly pale (as mentioned) so I require lots of SPF and fake tan. I love both of these because of the aerosol feature that allows you to spray from every angle for really good coverage and they both seem to play nice with my skin aka no breakouts.

Makeup stuffs: Urban Decay's All Nighter is some serious makeup holding business. It will keep your makeup from budging, regardless of temperatures, humidity, or dips in the pool. Use waterproof mascara plus this and you can wear your makeup underwater if that's your thing. Also, I'm a fan of a bright lip for Summer and L'Oreal (favorite drugstore brand of all time) has a huge range of great brights.

As I've said a hundred times, it gets really hot here (I know, you get it) and keeping Olivia hydrated is a big focus when we're outside. I got this water bottle at Target and since Olivia loves anything she can open and close and anything with a straw, this will be a home run with her.

Acrylic cups make my list because we'll be spending tons of time by the pool and glass + pool = no bueno. I got a set of 4 of these stemless wine glasses at Target (shocker) for $10 and we use them constantly, with water and iced tea, not just wine.

Finally, good flip flops. I love my Old Navy flip flops as much as the next person (2 for $5, what?!) but I also like something a smidgen dressier (like there's such a thing as a dressy flip flop?) and I got these Coach flippies at TJ Maxx. I like the bow and think it's super cute and since I love to wear black the color was a no brainer.

There's some obvious stuff I didn't put on here (sunglasses, lip balm) but you get the gist. I just can't wait for a summer like this:

Easter Fun and Remembering

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

With Easter less than a week away I really need to get it together and finish our Easter prep. Our company left yesterday and we have more arriving on Thursday so I'll be cleaning house like its my job, freshening up flowers, and trying to remember to make a brunch reservation. I do have Olivia's Easter basket done...I started picking things up as I saw them a few weeks ago and it kind of filled up from there. I have a tendency to go overboard when baskets are involved. Exhibit A, last Easter:

God I just love that bald, cone headed baby. I felt less bad about the Easter basket being so ridiculous since we gave it to her on Easter morning after a horrible night at Boston Children's Hospital and I felt like my little almost four month old needed a treat.

Speaking of last year, you all probably know that it's the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing today. We were living a mile from the marathon finish line on April 15th last year and it was absolutely devastating. We were also a mile from where it all ended and spent a scary 24 hours in lockdown with the rest of the city. Our hearts and thoughts go out to all the victims and their families today and we're so proud to have called the amazing city of Boston our home for four years.