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

August 22, 2018
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What To Do When You’re An Introvert And A Mom

I am an introvert. However, I’m one of those sneaky ones that has the capabilities of being an extrovert when the situation calls for it—a gathering for work, hosting a party, meeting a new person where it’s very important that I make a personable impression— so not everyone is aware how much of an introvert I really am if they’ve mostly seen me in those situations. It’s not that I’m being fake in the instances above, it just that it’s taking every once of “people strength” I have to make it until that moment when I can be alone again and just be quiet and recharge from all that energy that it took to be personable for more than .3 seconds. When I was a kid, I would have friends over to play but my older sister would end up entertaining them because I was up in my room reading while my playmates wandered around downstairs. When my now sister-in-law Sarah met me in person for the first time after only interacting with me online for a year or so, she just kept saying she was surprised at how “quiet” I actually was in person. Even though I know that’s probably true it still surprises me to hear that from other people for some reason. And girls, any of you other naturally quiet or keep-to-yourself-in-public kind of personalities know that most of the time you will be typecast as a “bitch” by most people if you don’t immediately smile and offer every stranger you see a glass of homemade sweet tea, am I right?? Anyways, I digress, but this is my normal world as an introvert.

Then I had a baby! And guess what?

I’m still an introvert.

Want to know the cruelest thing you can do a person that tries their absolute hardest to not make eye contact or engage in conversations with strangers in public? Give them a baby. Send them out everywhere they go with a cute baby because who wants to talk to or about a cute baby?? Everyone. Literally everyone now wants to talk to you. I always prayed Lola would fall asleep when I took her out in her stroller partially because that makes shopping easier but mostly because I could put the cover over her stroller and no one could see how beautiful and cute she was and then I didn’t have to tell the lady behind me in line at Starbucks everything about her from her birth weight to her middle name.

And now that she’s an adorable toddler not only do I have the cutest baby on the planet, but I have one that loves to wave at everyone and walk right up to people allowing the conversations to start before I can even get over to where she is. People, who are not within talking distance of us, will frequently shout their assessments of how adorable she is, yell questions about her, or just bellow out how much she looks just like her Daddy (which she does). My beautiful baby is a riptide of social interactions and no life jacket can save me now…

All that to say, I don’t think there’s much I can do about the new “in public” part of my Motherhood. Babies are a magnet so if you don’t want to interact with strangers, you should probably just stay home. There are however, some observations I’ve made about my introvert Motherhood here at home:

1. I’m not the “fun” parent—before you say “Aww, no! Of course you’re just as fun as Todd, don’t even say that” it’s OK. I promise. I’ve given up feeling bad that I’m not as fun as Todd is because Todd IS very fun! He’s naturally over-the-top silly, carefree, and makes a game out of everything. He’s great! He’s being himself. I know that I have my silly/fun/carefree moments with Lola too, but I don’t have to keep them coming one after the other just to try and keep up with Dad. Let him do his thing and I’ll do “fun Mom” in my own way.

2. I make space for (some) silence—I know all the baby experts go on and on about how babies should hear a billion words a day to help their brains grow and you should narrate everything you do throughout the day to them and while I tried to do that, I just couldn’t keep up. It felt so unnatural to speak constantly, whether that’s to a tiny baby or a full grown adult, that I felt like I could never meet whatever goal they had set for me. Reading books aloud was good (grown-up books too, not just kid books) since that helped take the pressure off me a bit to think of interesting conversation topics. Who worries about running out of things to talk to their baby about? Me. And I want to talk to Lola and explain things to her, tell her what we are doing and teach her things as play, but also, sometimes we just go on a walk and say nothing—just listening to some pretty music or what birds are singing—and that’s ok with me. Or I’ll sit nearby and read while she plays with lots of smiles, kisses, and glances thrown in throughout—but it’s mostly rather quiet. Just both of us doing our own thing while having the pleasure of doing it together. Besides, maybe she’s an introvert as well and needs that quiet time for herself to recharge too.

3. I’m “Morning Mommy” for a bit each day—I know it’s not true for every extrovert, but I’ll just say that the biggest extroverts I’ve known over the years were all morning people. I’ve had some of them literally leaping into my room in the morning singing some loud and cheerful song like a dopy lunatic and I’ve wanted to punch them in the face. I need some time to wake up in the morning before I’m ready for songs and games but Lola is one of those babies that wakes up at 100% percent and is ready to go so doesn’t quite need that time for herself. I know some Moms will wake up before the kids get up to have that time to themselves, but lately Lola’s been a 6:15ish morning girl and I just can’t fathom getting up before her for any reason that trumps a few more minutes of sleep. Anyways, I’m a bit more subdued each morning until my coffee cup is getting low and at times I’ve felt bad about that (shouldn’t I be singing and opening her curtains in the morning with Disney songbirds to hold back the panels?) but you know what? It’s fine. I try not to be grumpy and I figure if I can at least be sleepy and slow, but sweet, then I think we’ll both be able to greet the day happily.

4. It’s ok to keep social interactions short—Sometimes I feel bad pulling her away from a stranger that’s talking to her or going the opposite direction from someone that I’m pretty sure will want to gush all over her, but it’s really not something I need to worry much about. There will always be more people for her to meet around the corner and we don’t have to so the Seinfeld stop-and-chat with every person we pass by. Usually when you are out with a toddler you are on a mission anyways so it’s ok to be more focused and throw smiles and toddler waves as you go past people in a flash so they’ll say, “I think that was a really cute baby, but they went by too fast to be sure…”

Anyways, these are a few of the things that I think about in connection to Motherhood and my introvert status. If you’ve had any of the same experiences, leave an anonymous comment below after you recharge from your last social interaction, or, just give a silent nod of solidarity from the comfort of your own personal space and I’ll feel that too…

INTROVERTS UNITE! (Quietly and separately of course)

xo. Laura

P.S. If you neeeeed that shirt, you can get it here. Also, here’s a similar skirt, and I loove those boots (especially after I painted some gold stars on them).

P.P.S. All the above aside, if you do ever see me out and want to say hello, please do! I promise I’m nice (usually!) and not as cranky as I sound—ha!

July 30, 2018
8 Comments

Summer Beach Day!

Who is that teenager above that we took to the beach!? What a big girl! We visited my Pittsburgh family last weekend for a rare summer time visit (usually we are there in winter for Christmas) and while we had a classic Pittsburgh weather pattern of at least some rain everyday, we still got in some fun activities before (and during!) the showers. We took Lola to Lake Erie so that she could have some beach time and it was pretty clear rather quickly that she was having the time of her life! The sand, the waves, the seagulls, the endless supply of crackers and fruit my Mom brought—happy girl!! Lola’s sweet suit is so adorable! I just wish I had known that the darker colored lake sand would get intertwined with the suit fabric and create small spots all over her suit that make it look perpetually dirty—anyone know how to get that out?? It’s probably good that I didn’t see this suit before the trip or I don’t think I could have stopped myself—and it has a matching cap? Too cute.

Aaaaand you guys I know have seen me a ton in those heart sunnies this summer. I actually tried to order the tan/nude color to take with me on the trip before I left but I didn’t quite get the order in in time so they were waiting for me when I got back—oh well! Definitely my piece of the summer. That’s my brother Joel in the pink trunks (I love that he reps pink—his blogger wife has taught him well). It’s ok, you can say it, we look nothing alike and we know it! People have thought my sister and I were twins at certain ages, but no one has every thought Joel was related to me—ha!! Aren’t those high-waisted striped bottoms so cute on Aunt Sarah? (similar here) They also had matching sunnies as well to catapult them into the cuteness hall of fame.We ordered this beach tent for the trip and it was totally worth it! It pops up in a snap and closes again quickly (although you may want to rinse the sand out and dry before storing for the off season). We played cards in it for a while while we had some lighter pop up showers on the beach while everyone else scurried for the tree line or their cars and at one point we had 5 adults and one toddler in it (although we were sitting very close together, but, hey, we’re family!).

I also took this coverup tee for the swim sessions (super comfy! I’ll wear it around the house for sure too). I ordered this palm one but if felt a little too fancy for the lake so I left it at home but I’ve been wearing it around our pool at home and as a flowy kimono to go out in.

I will say that the flights getting to Pittsburgh were a bit tough since 14 months is such a rough age to fly with. She just wanted to be down and walking and didn’t understand why she couldn’t at times and she’s not at the age where she will watch videos with headphones (especially on a small phone screen). We let her stand on the floor between our legs when we could and tried to get her to transfer things from the seat pockets (which worked for a bit) but she was basically only happy if she was eating so we tried to feed her one puff at a time for 90 minutes to keep her from screaming and flailing—fun!! I’ve heard good suggestions since then about giving kids that age post-it notes to stick on everything or putting small snacks in those milti-window pill boxes so it takes them forever to eat all them…totally trying that next time! All in all, still better than driving 18 hours with a toddler that hates her carseat for sure!

It’s always so good to see my family and soak in their love and watch them love on Lola now too. We have a family vacation planned with everyone in my immediate family in October in Ashville, NC so I can’t wait to do that with the whole gang this time!

xo. Laura