Inspirado: Office

Some rooms I search endlessly for inspiration and design ideas. I usually go back and forth and change my mind a hundred times. Other rooms I know exactly what I want to do with zero hesitation.

The office is one of the few rooms that I knew exactly what I wanted to do from the moment we moved in. And yet, I haven’t touched it since we got here. We use our office…a lot. My husband runs his business out of there and I get so overwhelmed with the thought of organizing everything.

Now that the rest of the house is somewhat in order, I really have no excuse to put it off anymore. Since Brian does use the office the most, I want to cater to him a little more than the rest of us. He could care less what it looks like, he just wants it to be functional. Which I totally get….BUT I need it to look nice too. It is literally the first room of our house you see when you walk in thanks to it’s location across from the entry way.

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Here is a pic of the office right after we moved in. Sadly it still looks a lot like this. It has acted as a catch-all for a long time. The first act of business is to remove anything that doesn’t really NEED to be in the room. We have had the treadmill in here for a little over a year and it never got used….like ever. So it has since been moved to the living room to try to motivate us to use it more. It also housed the dog kennel for a long time so it needs to move elsewhere too. The other issue is a lack of surface space. Everything gets piled onto the desk because it is the only place to set things down and then it turns into a big ‘ol pile of stress. We also need seating for other people for meetings or when I’m in there helping Brian.  Here are some visuals so you can see what direction I’m heading in.

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Right now are we are working with only one desk, but we both agree that this t-shape configuration is the ultimate set-up. I would love to each have our own workspace and a place for the kids to work on homework or crafts. This will happen someday….someday.

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Love this dark gray. It is masculine, but something I can totally live with too. There is so much clutter and paperwork floating around the office so I definitely like a nice neutral backdrop.

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I like the idea of filing cabinets doing double duty as both necessary storage AND holding up the desk. I also really like the way they are finished to fit in with the décor.

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Lastly, I would love a small command center. We need a place to sort the mail and keep it from ending up on the office desk in a big pile. Our calendar gets a lot of use. Brian goes out of town for work fairly often so I need it to keep track of when he’s going to be gone. I use it to plan dinners for the week. And I absolutely need it to write down doctor appointments and things like that because my brain just cannot be trusted.

Office To-Do List:

  • paint the paneling (obviously)
  • hang shelves
  • organize the office closet (it’s full and I don’t even know what’s in it!)
  • better utilize the storage we have
  • build/buy a multi-person desk (need to get rid of the current desk first to make room)
  • make a command center (calendar, mail box, cork board, etc.)
  • new light fixture

I probably won’t get to all of this stuff right away, but I will getting started on some of it. (Which will be a huge improvement from blatantly ignoring it all!) Paint is first on my list. I can’t believe I’ve gone this whole time without painting it yet!

 

Road Trip Through Colorado (Pt. 2)

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After spending a weekend in Colorado Springs for a family reunion, we headed to Black Canyon of the Gunnison. On the way we stopped and stretched our legs and had a mini picnic lunch with a beautiful view….and of course Hollis found some dirt to play in so she was stoked.

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So many beautiful places to pull over and stretch your legs and take pics. I can’t wait to hike some of these places when the kids are a little bigger.

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The next morning we woke up nice and early to drive the Million Dollar Highway. I’m so glad we went early because there was very little traffic which made the super steep drop-offs and winding road, slightly less terrifying. I’m glad I wasn’t driving because there was so much beautiful scenery to look at. I kept pointing things out to Brian while he was driving…luckily he ignored me and kept his eyes on the road. Fortunately there are many places to pull off and whip your camera out.

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File_000(2)The cutest town, Ouray is tucked away in the mountains. We drove through it because the kiddos were asleep, but we would have loved to get out and explore it. It looked like a fun town to stay in, so hopefully next time we can do that.

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Not a bad view to take in while nursing this little guy.

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We drove through Durango and then to Farmington, NM where we got a glimpse of Shiprock before heading to Four Corners.

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We got just close enough to Shiprock to take a few pics.

We were looking forward to the Four Corners Monument, but it was a little disappointing. It was super hot and there was zero shade to escape the afternoon sun. The only thing to do there is stand in line and have your picture taken on the monument. The people in line were friendly and took turns taking the pic of the people in line in front of them so it went fairly quickly. There are also little vendors selling souvenirs. The prices were reasonable, but each vendor pretty much sold the same things. We let Hollis pick out a necklace and bracelet and we picked out a bear carved out of stone for Bo. The biggest disappointment was that there was NO FOOD/DRINKS. There was one food truck there, but it was not open at 1:30pm while we were there.

File_002We kept moving towards Mesa Verde National Park. We had another impromptu picnic there and checked out the Cliff Palaces.  We would love to do the tour some day, but the kids were just too small to do it this time. There was more white-nuckle driving as we drove higher up and then down the mountain. We left just in time before it started to storm.

File_003IMG_1176 File_005At this point, the kids were getting really used to hotel life. We found that after a long day of driving we all did better with picking up dinner somewhere and eating it in our hotel room. The kids were able to wind down before bedtime and pretty much stay on their usual schedule. So while our night life was pretty low-key and boring, it definitely made for calmer, happier kids the next day.

IMG_1185File_008On our way back home, we stumbled upon my new favorite spot. We had spent most of the day driving already with no real opportunities to get out of the car and recharge. So when Bowen woke up hungry and Hollis started to get restless, we decided we better find somewhere to stop asap. Of course when you really need to stop, there is nowhere to stop. After searching for a place to pull off and feed the baby, with no real options, we decided to get off the highway and trek down a dirt road and see where it took us.

We ended up at a campground tucked away deep in the trees. Seriously, if you wanted to commit a crime and hideout somewhere, this is the place to disappear. We continued down this narrow dirt road, passed people horseback riding, and passed what we thought was a little stream to our right. We thought it would be a great spot for Hollis to get out and do her thing aka dig in the dirt. When we actually got closer to the spot, it opened up to this beautiful fishing spot.

IMG_1201These pictures really don’t show how secluded this little gem was. The whole spot was hiding behind a wall of trees. I was so happy to relax on a blanket and feed the baby while Hollis got to collect rocks in the water with dad.

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We had the place all to ourselves for a while. A friendly older couple showed up to fish and said this is their favorite fishing spot because it is so hidden and quiet. They were really sweet and let Hollis watch them catch a fish (which only took them less than five minutes to catch). We didn’t stay long after that because we didn’t want our little hooligans to scare away any fish for the nice couple.

The rest of our trip home was pretty uneventful. Just lots of driving. Lots and lots of driving. We broke up the driving with one more stay at a hotel so that we only had about 3 hours on our last leg home. Part of me really wanted to just keep driving and not stop, and if it was just Brian and I, that’s probably what we would have done. I’m glad we stopped and rested. The kids definitely appreciated it and it made life a lot easier when we did get home and transitioned back into our normal routine. I needed that rest just to unload everything out of the car and catch up the laundry!

I’m so glad we survived (and enjoyed) our first vacation as a family of four. Colorado was so beautiful and had so much to offer. I can’t wait to go back again!

 

 

 

 

 

Road Trip Through Colorado (pt. 1)

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When you farm, taking vacations can be a little tricky. There is a small window to work with after wheat harvest and we do our best to take advantage of it. Brian’s family had a family reunion in Colorado Springs planned on a weekend in July and we decided to plan our little family vacation around it.

We headed to Colorado Springs on a Thursday. It’s about a six hour drive for us and we took our time getting there. We stopped whenever we felt like it and even took a long break to have dinner in Pueblo with a former colleague of Brian’s. We arrived at our hotel right a little after the kids usual bedtime…and you could tell they were done and ready for bed.

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Our road trip snack of choice was this yellow watermelon we picked up at  a farmer’s market.
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After getting to the hotel and turning the bathroom into a bottle washing station, I was so very ready for a ‘mom drink’.

Friday morning we woke up early for breakfast and to meet up with Brian’s family before heading to the North Pole  with everyone. I had never been before, but when I realized it was a retro Christmas theme park tucked away in the mountains, I was 100% on board! We thought Hollis, who is 2, would love all of the kitchy little kid rides, but she rode a whopping 1 and 1/2 (she skipped out early on one) rides. She loved driving the cars and hanging out with her cousins. Next time we go, I have no doubt she will love the rides and seeing Santa.

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After about four hours there, our kiddos were starting to meltdown and were ready for naptime. So Brian and I decided to drive through Garden of the Gods while they got a good nap in the car. We were a little bummed we couldn’t get out and explore because they were sleeping, but it started raining anyway so it worked out really well to just drive through it. When we reached the end, we snagged a great parking spot and were able to take turns getting out and taking pics. The next time we go I really want to get out and do some of the trails.

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We finished the day at the arcade and having dinner outdoors with the whole family. Saturday morning we woke up and headed to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. We thought by getting there early, we could beat some of the crowd. Apparently everyone else there thought the same thing. Even with the crowds, we were able to see everything we wanted to. The giraffes were by far our favorite exhibit. You can get right up to them and feed them and pet them. Giraffes are Hollis’ favorite animal so she was especially excited to get up close and see them.

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Zoo ‘tude.

 

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She was a little surprised at just how close the giraffes would get.

 

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After the zoo we were wiped out and headed back to the hotel to rest up before we met up with Brian’s family for BBQ and Bunco. I was a Bunco newbie, but I have to say I loved it and got really into it. I could have played it all night if I didn’t have little babes to put to bed. This was our last night with family and everyone woke up early and parted ways the next morning. Instead of heading home, we headed toward Black Canyon Nation Park…..but I will finish that up on another post!

 

 

 

Shared Room Update

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Writing this post after a good nights sleep. A night of sleep without a toddler foot in my ribs. A night of sleep without a tiny arm landing on my face. A night of sleep where I got to lay comfortably in any position my little heart desired. No numb arms, no body parts hanging off the bed, no rolling over and silently praying I don’t wake someone up.

The reason for this awesome nights sleep?!

The kids’ room is finally done and they are both sleeping…wait for it….IN THEIR OWN BEDS!! (high fives self!)

I decided before Bowen was even born that the kids would share a room for a while. How long? I don’t know yet, but right now they are both doing really good sharing and seem to enjoy having the other one near by. I enjoy having all of the diapers and little clothes and toys (and messes) all in one room. I also really like getting to keep our guest room for now. It’s nice to have a room clean and ready for guest at any given time.

I posted earlier about the ceiling in the kids’ room needing to be addressed. We thought long and hard (two years) about what we could cover it with. There were a surprising amount of options out there. We wanted something cheap, easy to apply, and of course, I wanted something that looked cool and fit in with our farmhouse. I loved the way rustic wood covered ceilings looked but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Also this house is old, like a hundred years old, so the walls and floors and ceilings are not even close to being perfectly square. I knew that cutting pieces of wood to fit would be a nightmare and I wanted something easy to work with.

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So….I ended up using faux wood peel and stick vinyl. The price was right and the look was right. We started with just a few to experiment and see how it looked and if it would even work. Right away, we loved how it looked and we also quickly realized that the sticky backside of the tiles were not enough to fight gravity and stay on the ceiling. We tried different adhesives, but ultimately the only thing that really kept the tiles up was a nail gun and brad nails. Is this a project I would recommend for everyone? No. So I won’t be doing a tutorial on it right now. Only time will tell if it was worth it or not. Since our ceiling was covered in paper (i.e. no texture), and in horrible shape, we felt we really didn’t have anything to lose with trying this. I will say that the tiles themselves were really easy to work with. (I’m already trying to think of other projects I can use them on) They were light and easy to score and cut to size. We love how it turned out and are crossing our fingers that it holds up well for a long time.

Here is what the room looked like before…

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I ended up painting that gray wall to match the other three walls. With the ceiling being significantly darker, I wanted to lighten up the rest of the room as much as possible. We also switched out Hollis’ queen size bed for a trundle/daybed that my parents gave us. It gives the kids so much more room for play space and the trundle rolls out an pops up to match up with the other mattress to make a king size bed. It’s really versatile and Hollis loves it. shared kids room update // thegoldbrickroad.com IMG_0903

I also added some simple, black and white artwork. (More on that soon.) And I ended up painting the curtain rods from gold to black to brink out the black pom-pom trim on the curtains.  shared kids room update // thegoldbrickroad.com shared kids room update // thegoldbrickroad.com

I also switched out the gray shelves and gold brackets. I tried to tie in the rustic “wood” ceiling with some rustic wood shelves and painted the brackets black. It was fun to add some special things for Bowen like daddy’s red tractors,  a sailboat Brian and I bought years ago that’s followed us from house to house, and of course, his outfit he wore home from the hospital.  shared kids room update // thegoldbrickroad.com

I needed another shelf for the room, but I wanted something that wasn’t too matchy-matchy with the other shelves. I immediately thought of this green one I found in the attic a while back. I loved the shade of green and that it was already rustic looking. The corbels on the shelf don’t match (one’s a closed circle and one is open) and there are like 20 holes in the front of it where I assume people have drove nails through it to hang since I couldn’t find any other trace of hanging hardware. I love all the quirky-ness of it and I love that it an be used in the house again. shared kids room update // thegoldbrickroad.com

I added two large D-rings on the back to hang it. I love these things! shared kids room update // thegoldbrickroad.com  It’s perfect for Hollis’ special little things too and adds some nice color to the room.  shared kids room update // thegoldbrickroad.com shared kids room update // thegoldbrickroad.com

 

So that’s it for now. I really like how it turned out. It fits in more with the modern farmhouse look I’ve been going with lately.  I think I can officially cross this room off my to-do list…at least for a while!

Mom Style: Vacation Looks

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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.

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  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)

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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.

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  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

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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…

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  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!