October 30, 2018
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Happy Halloween!

In case you guys missed it, I wanted to show you the family Halloween costumes we did this year over on A Beautiful Mess! Todd was out on tour last year when we did our mermaid Mom + Baby look, so this was our first attempt at a family look so we did two because I couldn’t pick just one…I still can’t get enough of these pics of Lola as Baby Elton John and us as her Crocodile Rock companions—IT’S JUST TOOOOO MUCH! Those glasses really make it perfect. 

We also did a totally excellent Wayne’s World edition with a Wayne, Baby Garth, and Cassandra. I tell ya, it’s quite the challenge to do not one, but two costumes with a toddler where they have to wear glasses of some sort, but it was totally worth it!
Doesn’t she look just like him??

I love this little outtake photo of Lola in her EJ suit (it’s a recreation of this look). She’s looks like a little Halloween Disco Angel and it’s such a sweet little moment…

Not sure which one we will break out for tomorrow night and trick or treating! Looks like the weather will be good, so we’ll just see which costume she’s in the mood for. I got her a little pumpkin bucket so I think that’s actually going to be her favorite thing of the night—Happy Halloween!

xo. Laura

Photos by Amber Ulmer

October 22, 2018
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The Pumpkin Farm!

It has been a very long time since we had a healthy and happy baby around this house as we went through a terrible cold followed shortly after by a GI intestinal virus that lasted 14 days (!!). When we felt she’d been feeling better for a few days we were beyond thrilled this weekend to get out of the house as a family and go have some fall fun! We asked our pals the Larsons if they wanted to accompany us to a pumpkin farm just outside of town and so we all packed up and headed out to make the most of a beautiful fall day.

I haven’t been to a pumpkin patch/hay ride/corn maze kind of place in a long time so it was really fun to do that kind of thing again with Lola for her first time. I thought she’d be obsessed with the animals since she loves to see pictures of animals in books and try and make all their noises, and while she did like them, she was more interested in just running around and tossing small pumpkins lying on the ground as if it were a fall toddler edition of the Highland Games. We did buy one of the pumpkins though and I have plans to roast the seeds some night this week. Have you ever done that? It’s so good!I also wanted an excuse to get out so I could wear this coat! Is that weird?? That yellow color is SO dreamy and I’m glad I took a chance on it. It’s not a super thick coat compared to some furry ones I have, but the color is so pretty and it’s crazy soft so it’s worth it to me! Also, I always highly recommend just using a small classy backpack as your diaper bag when you don’t need a lot of items. I usually just throw my wallet and a lipstick in the front and then I don’t have to bring my purse as well if I don’t want to and the backpack straps help keep it on while you chase toddlers around too. And it’s a “dude friendly” look for when Todd carries it around as well.Piggies! I can’t see pigs in real life without thinking of the movie Babe. That’ll do Pig, that’ll do….

It’s so funny to me that I bought her that coat last Christmas but it still fits somehow. Almost all her coats from last year do, I guess coats are kind of meant to fit loosely? I think we’ll probably switch to one like this next year since I love the collarless look too. What little cuties! So fun to see them play together (and just wait until Lola can actually talk to her! I bet it will get even better then!). They both gave an A+ to the wagon ride. When I was pregnant Todd really wanted to get one of these but since we don’t have sidewalks in our neighborhood, I didn’t know if we would use it that much. Any other wagon-lovers out there?

Anyways, maybe next year we would try and go on a weekday since it was so busy on a weekend (I really wanted a hot dog but I didn’t want to wait in line for it sooo less people means faster snacks!). Even thought it was crowded, I’m so glad we decided to just go for it and make some fall memories with friends. Next time, we are totally hitting the snack bar though…I won’t make that mistake twice!

xo. Laura

October 10, 2018
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Whatever Lola Wants

As you can see, we’ve hit the baby top knot phase and I’m not one bit mad about it—it’s sooo cute! It’s more a practical choice since her bangs just sit right over her eyes all day now and she’s not thrilled with hair clips unless you put them in over and over and over until she gives up and leaves it in…the top knot keeps her vision clear and just plain makes me happy for some weird reason. Here’s a few other things I’m loving this week!

The cutest little high tops.

Bought this to create the perfect fall outfit (maybe with some tall knee socks as it gets a bit chillier?). Lola’s complexion looks so pretty with that shade and it’s making me more of a brown lover (I’m usually not at all besides leopard prints).

Speaking of brown, I don’t know if I would usually think that brown and lavender would be good together, but I love them in this piece. Also a good excuse to have something to match the lavender shoes I bought her 4 months ago that only now fit!

These furry toddler slippers are killing me. Do they come in a size for Mom too?

This little wooden farm toy set!

I like to do pjs made with organic cotton when I can since she spends so much time in them (it gets expensive to buy every clothing item organic!) and I just got these for the fall. We have been using this sleep sack lately, but since she’s not a hot sleeper I’ll probably get something thicker for her when the temperature really drops.

I check the mail every day for these to arrive—I can’t wait! I also got these for a darker boot option as well.

Love these toddler jeans!

It really is so hard not to go totally nuts and all in on winter coats, but I’m trying to keep my cool and only get something if it’s really amazing or super on sale. Somehow, some of her coats from last year still fit so we’ll see if that’s the case once the cool weather really hits! Babies in furry coats…seriously nothing better than that!

xo. Laura

October 4, 2018
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Have A “Simplify Your Life” Meeting!

This is one of those things that you either need in your current phase of life or you don’t, so if you saw this title and your heart just about stopped and your brain said “Gimme, gimme, gimme, I need, I need, I need…” then it may be something you need to think about as well! I work full-time, I’m in Mom role the hours that my daughter is awake on either side of that work day, a wife after baby bedtime takes place, and I also do various side jobs as well as opportunities present so I spend a good portion of my time after 8pm and during weekend naps working on those things as well—it’s a lot! Now, I’m sure there are people out there that have even more on their plate than I do (with even more kids as well!) but I’ll be the first to admit that it can feel really overwhelming at times and it’s hard to juggle it all. That being said, I decided Todd and I needed to have a “Simplify Your Life” meeting a few weeks ago and we wrote out every area of our life or daily routine that was stressful or felt complicated and tried to come up with ways to streamline or simplify each area. I’m sure that everyone’s life and needs are different but I thought that I’d share the general idea of even having a meeting like that and how helpful it can be and then share a few of our biggest tips with you in case they would work in your house as well:

Food: 
-We decided that since we want to make healthy meals most nights and don’t mind eating leftovers we would make 3 dinners a week that are doubled (or just a large recipe that we would normally get two meals out of) so we can have 3 nights off from cooking. Sometimes there is a little bit of work involved in getting leftovers heated, etc. but it’s a fraction of time it takes to make it from the beginning agan. Occasionally we don’t have quite as much as I thought for the second meal, but in that case I throw together a quick salad (baby kale, lemon and EVOO, avocado, red onion, salt and pepper) to help round it out a bit. You may be wondering why only 6 meals instead of 7? It’s because we almost always have a pizza night every week, so we just assume we’ll do that on the weekend or eat out somewhere else instead!

-We also decided to try doing some food prep for our weekday lunches. While I love the idea of your food being prepped for all meals at the beginning of the week, I hate the idea of spending my whole Sunday grocery shopping and cooking so making 10 salads in a jar (5 for me and 5 for Todd) sounded much more doable. Todd’s also done them Monday morning while Lola runs around and that’s another good option for us if we don’t feel like spending precious weekend hours on it. We’ve been going grocery shopping after church on Sunday to make these but when you are just getting items for these salads, it really doesn’t take long at all (and there’s usually something else you’ve been wanting to get while your there anyways). We are trying to make meals that have components that work for Lola too like pasta, quinoa, rice, beans, and veggies, so we can prepare extra for some of her lunches as well. Since we only make meals for the weekdays that means we run out of prepped lunch by Saturday, but usually weekend mode is more relaxed so you don’t mind making something or you may go out for brunch or something else anyways.

Laundry:
-This sounds like a simple change but I’m trying to invoke a new rule where you have to put away laundry that is clean within 24 hours of it being washed. We are really not good at this normally and so there are 4 to 5 loads of clean laundry sitting there in the baskets with no empty baskets in the rest of the house to catch the other dirty laundry and it just plain stresses me out to look at that huge pile…

Clean counter rule: 
-We have a kitchen counter that just receives the brunt of all the random piles of things in the house and it’s absolutely maddening to both of us. New rule is that everything on it has to go somewhere else (i.e. go where it belongs or be dealt with) before the end of each night. We aren’t perfect at this yet, but it has helped a lot!

-This also goes for my bathroom counter as well. It can get crazy in there pretty fast so I’m trying to put anything that’s out away while I brush my teeth and it’s so nice to walk into a clean counter in the bathroom (and kitchen!) each morning to start your day off a bit more organized.

Weekend Cleanup (On Thursday!):
-I love a clean house on the weekends. It’s hard for me to fully relax in a messy space, so I usually end up spending most of my Friday night cleaning, which is nice Saturday morning, but a bummer on any lazy-Friday-night-vibes. I’ve cleaned the house on Thursday night instead a few times and I think it really is the way to go. Yes, you do have some tidying from any Friday afternoon messes, but it’s such a small amount of time compared to the Thursday night session that it’s totally worth the extra weekend chill time. Of course, if I can ever master the art of cleaning up every item you use as you go, then there will be no need for a large scale cleanup except to vacuum/dust things, etc. Until then I think this works pretty well!

Alone Time:
-It’s so hard for all of us to find time to properly step back, totally by ourselves, and breathe throughout week (which is so necessary for an introvert Mom like me), so we also talked about when and how each of us can get that all-important time for ourselves. Sometimes life feels too complicated because you are saying yes to things you shouldn’t and need to be a little more selfish in certain areas to have a healthy balance of self-care. Maybe life feels rushed because you are rushed and you need that breathing space to reset the pace a bit. Todd sometimes goes disc golfing at the park near us while I hang with Lola first thing in the AM and I usually want some reading time while I soak in the tub at night or hang out on a lounger outside on the weekend. It’s too easy to skip those times but you can’t ignore important things like that forever and you’ll pay for it later on if you don’t. Really. Spend the effort to fit it in.

Couples Together Time:
-Wait, weren’t we just talking about alone time? Yes, but this is more couple’s time than family time since we are together the 3 of us a lot of the time that I’m not working and Lola is awake. I really do believe that our family unit will run best when the relationship between Todd and me is healthy and strong, and let me tell you, that’s not always an easy place to slide into with the cares of life and a small toddler as well—It takes work and effort and spending quality time with just us is another thing that can easily get lost if you don’t plan your life around it. Since Todd watches Lola during the day, he spends a lot of nights working in his home studio once I get off of work (we try and always eat dinner together though) so we decided to plan two nights a week that we reserve for hanging out or doing a date night etc. They can be moved to different nights if other scheduling things come up, so the day isn’t as important as just the fact that it happens. This is also a life simplifying thing to me because life feels very out of sync for me if I don’t feel connected to Todd and it’s hard to maintain that connection if every interaction you have throughout the week is about groceries or diapers. Have some time to laugh, relax, and remember that you are a team and you aren’t in this alone. If you aren’t married or dating, then just swap out the partner bit for your girl gang and that will do just fine too.

Anyways, you get the idea. I don’t know if these things would be the best fit for your life but I hope they at least get you thinking on what things you can do to help streamline your stressors or frustrating parts of the week. We’ll see how these play out in time but I’ve been happy with the results of a lot of these tweaks so far. Let me know if you have any big tips that have worked for you—I’d love to hear them!

xo. Laura

August 24, 2018
14 Comments

Whatever Lola Wants

I swear we just got done with Lola’s “one year” molars maaaaybe two weeks ago and I can already see her canine teeth coming up to take their spot in her mouth. I feel like everything gets blamed on teething (being cranky, not sleeping well) so I wonder what we’ll have to blame things on when all her teeth are finally in? Hmmmm…anyways, I can’t believe that some fall items are starting to creep into my shopping cart even though we’re still using our little blow up pool several times a week in the August heat, but, I guess I’ll have to deal with it and accept that winter is coming eventually right?

1. Ugh, I love this little sweater—those sleeves!

2. Should probably get a pair of these for fall. Lola loves to be outside more than anything and she’s not interested in letting a little (or a lot!) of rain stop her.

3. Got these and these for Lola this month since she’s grown out of all her pants over the summer. I looove the prints but I also love that they are organic cotton which I’m trying to buy more of for the things I know she’ll wear a lot.

4…and speaking of that, I’ve been trying to get back to buying only organic items for pajamas since she spends a lot of time in them, and buying packs like these are the most economical for the hotter months. I’ll probably go back to pjs with long sleeves in winter, but onesies are great for right now.

5. Our favorite new bath/pool toy! She usually gets rather agitated when I wash her hair, but tonight she didn’t even notice since she was so engrossed in the cups.

6. We taught Lola to drink from a regular cup this week for mealtimes and she’s doing so well! I got these cups since they are small, stainless steel, and have a silicone gripper sleeve that helps her hold it (especially when the cup is slippery with food). There are still a few spills, sometimes on purpose and sometimes not, but all in all she’s learning quickly and less sippy cup time is better for mouth/teeth development too.

7. Planning on having her wear this for a family photo soon! We haven’t really done an official one since our Christmas card so it’s time!

8. I want to get her a pair of these since she’s been trying to wear my faux glasses around the house lately! I think since they aren’t dark like sunglasses, she keeps them on longer and thinks they are funny for some reason—it’s pretty cute.

I swear that besides Christmas the thing I look forward too most in colder seasons are big furry coats and boots so we’ll see if that same thing holds true for Lola as well! xo. Laura