Mom Style: Vacation Looks

vacation attire

 

So as many of you know, I had a baby…4 1/2 MONTHS AGO. What?! How is that possible? With my first baby, I fully expected to snap back to my pre-pregnancy weight at this point. Breastfeed they said. The weight will fall off they said.

No. Just no. That did not happen.

For some reason I’m one of those lucky women who packs on the pounds while breastfeeding. The weight just sticks like glue no matter what I eat or how often I exercise. After I’m done, things seem to pretty much go back to normal with a little work. This second time around, I already anticipated this problem so it has been annoying, but much less traumatic than the first time around. I don’t plan on weaning baby boy until around 12 months, so in the meantime, I’m stuck dressing this body the best I can.

Most days I live in my stereotypical “mom gear”. Yoga pants and a t-shirt are pretty much my uniform if I’m not leaving the house. I try to step it up a little when I actually encounter people other than my children. Since we are going on vacation in a couple of weeks, I would like to find a weeks worth of things that are a break from my ho-hum, everyday look. We are heading to Colorado and will be stopping at a lot of parks and outdoor attractions, so I want to stay cool and comfortable. I am trying to buy pieces that are a little more forgiving and that I can wear now and when I eventually (hopefully) lose some weight.

vacation attire

  1. Poncho blouse. Fitted tees are no longer my friends right now. I’m all about flowy, breezy tops that keep me cool and still look pretty and put together.
  2. Kimono Romper. I must admit, I am super late to the romper/jumpsuit trend. I’ve never own one…well at least not since I was 10. I like that this is just one item to pack and still a complete outfit.
  3. Pink Crepe Pants. I love this pale pink for summer. And I love me an elastic band right now.
  4. Floral Wrap Dress. Midi and maxi dresses are just the best. Shorts aren’t always my favorite, especially post baby, so I reach for dresses a lot in the warm months.
  5. Gauzy Tunic. Tunics are great all year long. They look good with shorts, jeans, leggings, etc. I like this light, gauzy material for summer.
  6. Jumpsuit. Again, I’m new to the jumpsuit, but this one looks so comfy and effortless.
  7. Striped crop pant. These lightweight, cropped pants are so easy to wear. The drawstring waist doesn’t hurt either.
  8. Colorblock Maxi. I hope the maxi dress never goes out of style. I don’t know what I will do. I love throwing on an easy dress and being done.
  9. Crochet Trim Blouse. I don’t know how I lived so long without some good, flowy tops in my wardrobe. As easy as a t-shirt, but looks a lot more polished. Bonus points if it’s something I can nurse in easily!

Still have a few items to get, but this post has me excited to start packing.  Bring on vacation!

Road Trippin'(with a toddler)

road trip

We are embarking on a road trip in a few weeks and I am so excited! Brian and I LOVE road trips. When we were dating, he traveled a lot for work and I would tag along with him on trips whenever possible. You really get to know a person when you are trapped in a car with them for hours on end.:) We love driving so much we even road tripped on our honeymoon!

I love the flexibility of driving to our destination as opposed to flying. We can stop whenever we want to, or explore a different route, and take lots of pictures. I find it much more relaxing. Traveling with kids, however, has kind of changed everything. We have lost a little of the spontaneity from our trips. We have to schedule a few more stops and pack a lot more stuff, but I want our kids to love road trips as much as we do.

Hollis, who is 2 1/2, is quite familiar with long car rides. Since we moved out here to the farm, I try to visit my family back home in Kansas City about once a month (some months they visit us). The drive there is about 4 hours depending on traffic and how many times I have to stop. I have made the drive so often, that I have it down to a science. I can usually do it these days without any stops and our drive gets cut down to about 3 1/2 hours with traffic. Our road trip this summer is going to be about 8-10 hours of driving, so it will be a bit of an adjustment on our little ones. Here are some of my tips and tricks for making traveling easier with littles.

road trip.JPG

  1. DVD Player. I know, I know, t.v. will rot your brain.  I don’t want my kids to rely on electronics to keep them entertained all the time, but sometimes it is a life saver. My toddler will watch a movie (or most of one) and then fall asleep. Sleeping kids on a road trip is like the holy grail. At the very least it usually allows me a quiet hour or two on our trip.
  2. Backseat Organizer. We were gifted one of these, and it has been really handy. Ours hangs on the back of the passenger seat and keeps things within reach of the me and Hollis. I can keep toys, books, snacks, drinks, dvds, wipes, diapers, etc. up off the floor and off the seats. It also keeps dirty feet off the back of my seats!
  3. Water Coloring Books. My daughter looooves these books. I think we have all the ones Melissa and Doug make. She loves that she can ‘paint’ and I love that there is no mess. The paint brush holds water inside and only shows up as ‘paint’ when applied to the pages of the book. When the pages dry, they erase and she can start all over again. I like these for the car bc they are a lot easier to maneuver than coloring books and crayons. She doesn’t need a hard surface to use it on and if she drops her paint brush, it’s no big deal because it’s just water.
  4. Wipes. Obviously these are a must. Messes happen, especially when toddlers are involved. I swear the harder I try to keep the car clean, the more messes we end up having.  I like to keep one of these universal wipes in the front seat in the console and one in the back where Hollis can reach them. I feel like I’m constantly reaching for these; to clean hands after stopping at a park, after using a rest stop bathroom (they never seem to have soap!), wiping sticky hands after a snack….the list goes on and on.
  5.  Cooler Tote. It does not matter how long of a drive we are going on, my child will ask for a snack. Sometimes we don’t even make it out of our driveway without her requesting something. Stopping for food can really add up on a trip as well as slow you down. I pack things like, apple juice, milk, water, string cheese, sandwiches, apple slices, and grapes to snack on. I like to keep some paper plates and utensils handy too so that we can stop at a park or wherever and eat. They are also really nice to have for when you get to the hotel or wherever you are staying.
  6. Treats. Snacks can make or break a road trip for me. I like to pack a lot of healthy options to keep us from stopping at every fast food joint we pass. BUT I also like to bring along a few treats that we don’t normally get to snack on. Sometimes sugar is totally necessary when you’re trying to stay awake to drive or stay awake to make sure your significant other stays awake to drive. It also makes a good bribe for when you do have to take the little ones in somewhere and need them to behave. I try to stick with things that are individually wrapped and that don’t melt too easily onto little toddler fingers.
  7. & 8. Magnetic Boards. This house board and this farm board are in my Amazon cart right now. I like to grab a couple of new toys for Hollis when we go on a long trip. I also like to hide a few toys she loves for a couple of weeks before our trip and then bring them along so they feel somewhat new to her. I let her help me pick out these magnet boards so she has something to look forward to playing with in the car. I like that the pieces are moveable, but stick to the board so everything stays together and we’re less likely to lose things in the seat.

My biggest tip to road tripping with little ones is be flexible. We like to look ahead on our route and take note of places really want to stop at, places we don’t mind missing if the kids are asleep, and also places that would be good to stop at if the kids need an extra break. It’s important for them to get out every couple of hours to stretch their legs and run off some energy. We like to stop at parks, but rest stops and deserted shopping malls (when it’s super hot or raining out) work too. Anywhere that we can play a game of tag or run around a bit are good. The best part of taking a road trip is that the journey there is just as much part of the vacation as the destination is. You can make it as fun as you want!

 

Teething Essentials

teething

13450932_10100293262528465_4588418572177776565_n

My little man is four months old already. How the heck is that possible? I swear last month was February. We can’t possibly be nearing the end of June right now, can we?! I’ve learned a lot the last four months about my little guy. He is quite a bit fussier than his big sister. He does NOT like his carseat. He’s not crazy about the swing. He is chubby and pudgy in all the right places. He loves to be held…all the time. I call him my little hot tamale because he puts off an insane about of body heat. And like his sister, he laughs and smiles easily, which I love so much.

I try so hard not to compare my children to each other, or to any other children, but it is really, really hard. I love how different they are, but so much the same too! One thing that they both started at the same time is teething. They both started the teething process at 4 months. Just when we were getting into an awesome night time routine and sleeping almost through the night, BAM, teething rears its ugly head.

Here is what is worked for us so far…

teething

  1. Terry Teethers.  One thing both my babies loved was when I wet a wash cloth and freeze it for them to chew on. They much prefer soft over the plastic, freezer teethers especially in the early months of teething. I stumbled upon these terry cloth teethers that you freeze. I love that they are soft and so easy for baby to hold and are much cuter than wash cloths.
  2. Hyland Teething Tablets. I tried all the tablets and all the gels, and this is the only one that worked for us. I have a bottle upstairs, downstairs, and one in the diaper bag. These are a must.
  3.  Bandana Bibs. With teething comes drool…lots and lots of drool. I love these little bandana bibs. They are so soft so baby doesn’t mind wearing them all day. The prints are cute with pretty much any outfit and I’m not constantly having to change out wet shirts/onesies.
  4. Sophie.  Normally I would say, “$20 for a chew toy?! Pass!”, but Sophie is actually worth it. My mom bought one for Hollis and we have gotten other similar ones, but both of my kids gravitated to Sophie every time. It’s lightweight and easy to hold and get in the mouth even for my four month old.
  5. Mortimer Moose. We have a thing for Moose in our family so we received a couple of these as gifts over the years. It has lots of textures for baby to chew on. It has a good mix of hard things and soft things for their gums. I also like that you can hook it onto the carseat or stroller so baby doesn’t drop it on the floor.
  6. Teething Loop. Hollis loved this one for a long time. Super easy for baby to hold on to and lots of things to look at and nibble on. I was also able to loop it onto high chair and stroller straps to keep it off the ground.
  7. Teething Necklace.  I’m late to the party on this one. I wish I had one when Hollis was a babe. She loved to chew on my necklaces and I would have happily let her chew on this. I also love that it comes in all black and doesn’t scream, “I’m a teething necklace!”.

In addition, we also used an amber necklace for Hollis. I was very skeptical and didn’t get her one until she was one years old, but it honestly helped her and I wish I had gotten her one sooner. I don’t have one on Bo yet, but I plan to get him one when he is a little bigger. We still needed teething tablets some days, but the amber seemed to take the edge off and helped us use fewer tablets.

I’d love to hear what your teething go-to items are!

UGH…That Ceiling

Before we even moved into this house, I knew I was going to have to address the ceiling in Hollis’ room eventually. I’ve been dreading it, clearly, since we’ve lived here over 2 years and I haven’t touched it yet….

My only diy experience with ceilings, is painting them. I hate painting ceilings. A lot. However,  I wish all this ceiling needed was a fresh coat of paint, but it needs much, much more.

(Sorry for the dark pictures, but I had to turn the shadows on so you could see the cracks!)

IMG_3227IMG_3234

Our house is 100+ years old, so we are very used to cracks in the ceilings and walls from settling. And if this was drywall or plaster, I could just fill in those cracks with spackle and call it a day. BUT, this ceiling is covered in paper and the cracks have been taped up and papered over time and time again. I have no idea what is under the paper, and I’m too scared to find out!

We thought about drywalling and texturing the ceiling, but we would eventually end up with cracks in it too over time. I think our best option is to find something to cover the ceiling with. We have ceiling tiles in 3 rooms in the house, so that’s definitely an option. I’ve also been searching ideas on Pinterest for other ideas and found a ton of paneled and wood planked ceilings. I love the look so much!

 

DIY-Wood-Planked-Ceiling
Source

 

gr-master_thumb
Source

 

planked%20ceiling%20vertical
Source

 

reclaimed-wood-ceiling-1-600x900
Source

 

reclaimed-wood-ceiling.jpg
Source

 

I spent hours, HOURS, looking at these wood planked ceilings. There are so many and they are all so lovely. I think the rustic look will fit in so well in our old farmhouse. I’m hoping it will tie in with the wood trim and add some texture and warmth. And best of all, I don’t have to paint it!

 

 

 

Fave Outdoor Toys For Toddlers

My kid is OBSESSED with being outside. I love that she would rather be outside digging in the dirt than sitting in front of the t.v., BUT Mama can only play with rocks and sticks so long before I want to poke that stick straight into my eye. So I’m on a hunt for some new outdoor toys that we can play with this Summer. We have plans to buy or build a playground of some sort later on, but I want a few things the kids can play with now while they are little.

Favorite Outdoor Toys For Toddlers

outside toddler toys

 

  1. T-Ball Set My child loves hitting things so this is basically right up her alley . I love that it teaches her hand-eye coordination and helps develop fine motor skills. It also breaks down and hangs on the wall for easy storage.
  2. Garden Tools We have some cheap, plastic versions of these already. And they get used ALL the time. Hollis loves to dig around in the garden with them so much that I’m not sure they will last long enough for little brother to get to use them. I really like these nicer, heavier duty ones. Plus they look just like the ones I use!
  3.  Garden Table We are in the throws of the terrible twos…but my toddler is also in a phase where she wants to be doing whatever mommy is doing. Since my time outside is usually spent working on the garden, I think she would love having a gardening table of her own. Throw some dirt in there and she would be in heaven.
  4. Sidewalk Chalk Paint I spend a lot of time repeating the words, “STAY OUT OF MOMMY’S PAINT” while working on projects. It would be so great to head outside and just let my little monster go to town and paint up the sidewalk.
  5. Froggy Toss and Grip  Another good activity for practicing hand-eye coordination. Hollis can throw a ball pretty good, but she hasn’t quite mastered catching. She seems to think every game with a ball is dodgeball.  I think this would be great practice before trying a ball and glove and safe for her and her brother to play together when he is old enough.
  6. Splash Pad So we have a little, above ground pool, but it’s too deep for the little ones to do much other than sit in a floatie right now. I like the idea of playing in the sprinkler, but hate how muddy and grassy we get. I love that we (me, toddler, baby) can all sit on this and enjoy splashing around in the water together.

What are your little ones favorite outdoor toys and activities?

DIY: Rustic Farmhouse Shelves

IMG_3167

We’ve been living here on the farm for two years now. That’s so crazy to me. I love how peaceful and serene it is. I love having cows for neighbors. But the best thing about living on a farm is when we find cool, old stuff.

And by we, I mean my husband usually. He gets to work out in the fields and pastures and explore the old buildings on the farm. He brings all kinds of cool things home. His latest find was this piece of old wood siding. I told him I needed some wood for shelves I wanted to make in the bathroom and Voila! he brought this gem to me.

0423161614a.jpg

I immediately loved the hole in it and all the marks and roughness of it. I hosed down about a half-inch of dirt and grime off of it and then cut it to the size I needed. The board was 7″ deep which was perfect for my small shelves. I cut 2, 30″ long pieces from it.

IMG_3160.JPGAfter I had them cut, I got out the power sander and went to town. I wanted to keep all of the ruggedness, but take off the grime that I couldn’t wash off. I also wanted to smooth out anything that might snag something or give someone a splinter. Then I gave them 3 coats of a clear Minwax Polyacrylic stain in a satin finish.

I have had these box shelves in the bathroom above the toilet pretty much since we moved in. They were fine for a bit of decoration, but they felt small and insignificant. I really wanted to add something more substantial and have room to put out things like towels and wash cloths for guests.

IMG_3165I went with simple, black metal brackets. I love how rugged the edges are and that you can see all the knots and grooves in the wood. The clear stain really helped seal everything and show off the imperfections that we loved so much.

IMG_3167

 

The black hardware really added some nice contrast to the blue and white bathroom. I added some more black accessories to tie things together. I also spray painted the hooks on the towel rack black to match. I took down our brushed nickel hand towel ring and replaced it with one of the big, black metal hooks I found in one of the closets to add some more of the farmhouse feel.

IMG_3169

I like that the shelves are deep enough to set out towels for guests, but don’t protrude too far into the narrow bathroom. And all the black accents help tie in the shower curtain which kind of felt a little out-of-place before.

IMG_3175

So that’s it. I’m kind of obsessed with these guys. Can’t wait to see what Brian brings home from the farm next!

 

 

 

One Proud Mom

0507161009a

I’ve only had a few Mother’s Days of my own, but I swear with each one I get weepier and weepier. I think about my babies, I think about their birth, their milestones, their future graduation from med school…the future tropical, private island they will buy me in appreciation for all the dirty diapers I’ve changed and times I’ve been thrown up on….just kidding. A mom can dream though, right?

Right now Mother’s Day around here is just another day. A day full of diapers and laundry and fetching fruit snacks, but I look forward to the days of homemade cards and macaroni necklaces.  Every day as a mother of little ones, you deal with crying and the highs and lows of the day, searching for moments of quiet and trying not to focus on the dirty dishes piling up. But through all that work and feeling exhausted, you see those little faces and are filled with joy like no other. Celebrating mom’s is important, but celebrating the little ones that make you a mom is also important.

DSC04208-001
(photo credit: Lynnie Lou Photography)

 

This year I got to celebrate with my newest little one. We also got to celebrate his baptism.

Bowen Newborn PicsWe had a party before hand at our house. The weather was perfect and the company was good. Bowen is so lucky to have so many people who love and care about him. 0507161009a0507161007I can’t believe his baptism is already here and gone. He is growing so fast. He has been the best addition to our little family and I can’t picture life without him. I just love him so much.

And I better stop before the weeping starts up again…