May 24, 2019
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Whatever Lola Wants

I love this picture from our beach trip at the beginning of this month! I feel like I need to get her the next size up in that shirt, it’s so true for her and it always makes people laugh when they see her in it…

-Love that ruffled romper Lola’s wearing in the photo above. It’s the perfect summer outfit for getting her a little dressed up!

-In anticipation of starting potty training soon I got this toy they have at our doctor’s office (she is mesmerized by it when there) and we’ll give it to her when we want her to stay on the potty longer. That and this glitter wand are in my toolkit for that event…

THESE. SUNNIES. NOW. PLEASE. Also, these are the ones she’s wearing in the pic above. I already have them in two colors, they are just too cute!

-Sweetest little matching set.

-By the way, we took this travel stroller on our recent trips with us and I loved it. It folds up so small and is so easy to open that it may end up replacing our other stroller for most of our trips around town too—it’s that good.

-Really want to get this book for some summer outdoor ideas with a toddler.

-The perfect summer staple to pair with high-waisted shorty-shorts!

-Adore the print and cutout on this swimsuit.

-Um, yeah, I may need to get this before summer is over for some outdoor fun!

I still need to do a beach recap post, we had such a fun time in Rosemary Beach, FL and I want to make sure I get those photos together before too much time goes by. Maybe I need one of those companies that makes little books for you off your Instagram or phone photo albums automatically…is that what the smart busy Mom does nowadays? 🙂

xo. Laura

May 23, 2019
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Our Weekend Trip to Indianapolis!

While Todd has certainly seen (more than) his fair share of cool cities as a touring musician, we haven’t gotten the chance to explore many cities as a family together since Lola’s been born. Usually we travel to cities we’ve been to many times to see family and friends but when Indiana Tourism asked if we wanted to partner with them to come and explore Indianapolis, it sounded too fun to pass up (FYI here’s a useful tool if you’re planning a trip to Indy soon)! We actually have friends that live there that we hadn’t seen in forever, so that also seemed like a great excuse to visit with them a bit while we were there. We were actually just coming back from a beach trip a few days before leaving for our Indy weekend and I thought I could probably shake the sand out of the bags and throw in some new underwear, but I saw that the weather was going to be in the 50’s and low 60’s so I had to make a few changes to our wardrobes to coincide with the new weather report…

Packing up the car!

Our drive up to Indy went pretty well despite hitting some Friday rush hour traffic but we made it in time to grab a quick dinner near our hotel (and pet some pretty horses!) and settle into our room at the beautiful Conrad Indianapolis hotel before putting Lola down for the night. The hotel was able to provide us with a pack and play already set up which was also super helpful for traveling with a kiddo. We had a really sweet cheese/cookie/wine gift waiting for us at the hotel when we arrived and you can see that Lola was very excited about digging into that platter!! The Conrad is such a beautiful hotel and I love that they also highlight different works of art throughout the space and have art inspired by fellow Pittsburgher Andy Warhol in the main lobby area. The Conrad was also in the heart of the city so there were lots of places nearby to walk to for anything we needed. The hotel also has a beautiful indoor pool with a huge skylight that we swam in the last night we were there and it was so nice to be able to take Lola down to the pool and just unwind for a bit before bed.

On Saturday morning we got up and went to brunch at Petite Chou in the Broad Ripple area of town and even though we did so many fun things on our trip, this brunch was one of my favorites. I love brunch and all things French so to be able to eat brunch with my family and feel like I was back in Paris was a big win for me. Even though it was a little chilly that morning, we decided to sit outside since the patio was so special and they had heaters out there so we felt perfectly comfortable while we ate. Of course, keeping a busy barely 2-year-old in her highchair is always a challenge so we had a backpack full of cards and books and crayons at each meal and ended up using pretty much every item to keep her entertained! That’s for sure a hard part about eating out with toddlers but I want her to get used to sitting in a chair for a whole meal out so I think we just need to do it more and more until she gets used to it. She’s such a good eater at home, so that’s never a problem there, but she’s so distracted to be out and about she just wants to run around and explore and make new friends rather than eat anything…she actually did eat a lot of the French Toast I ordered (I love when people put butter and sugar on top like they did) and Todd got the Broken Yolk option which was really good too. And what’s a brunch at a Parisian cafe without a latte in hand, am I right??

Anyways, after our delicious trip down our Parisian memory lane, we headed out to the Indianapolis Zoo to take Lola on her first zoo trip which Todd and I were super excited about. I asked her which animal she wanted to see on the ride to the zoo and she said “air-pop” (which means “airplane”)—such a classic toddler response, haha! Lola loves birds so we were so happy that we got to see the Just Look Up fly over of a team of macaws since they are so colorful and huge. It was so fun to walk around the park, see the dolphin show in the aquarium, and show her real versions of all the animals we talk about constantly. I was happy to see how much the zoo promotes visitors getting involved in saving endangered species and helping to rid the oceans of deadly plastics as well (that was a big campaign over near the aquarium exhibits). We had watched a Daniel Tiger episode earlier that day with a lizard in it and she had asked to watch the same specific episode twice in a row (which she’s never done before) so she was so excited to see real (and giant!) lizards at the zoo later that day in the Desert Dome. The zoo also has a butterfly garden as well next to the zoo at the White River Garden (and butterfly gardens are always magical in my opinion) and you can get into the garden with your zoo admission price.

Who is more wild, Lola or the animals?!

After the zoo, we took Lola back to the hotel to take a late nap and I just soaked in all the hotel cable (we don’t have it at home anymore so it’s a treat when out now) and was so happy to just chill out and watch Bridesmaids on TV (best movie ever, right?) and have a few peaceful hours to relax. Isn’t that what all Moms live for?!

Once Lola woke up we all got ready to meet our friends Aaron and Lindsey for dinner at Hedgerow Bistro and since they also have a 2-year-old and a baby we made it an early dinner so the kids wouldn’t be too tired during the meal and we’d have a fighting chance at finishing all our food. Hedgerow is such a pretty place, the staff was so friendly, and our food was delicious as well—I got the Mole Braised Short Ribs and they were unbelievably good so I only shared one bite with Todd and I knew that their warm cookie desert would be a total hit with Lola and I was right (add a scoop of ice cream to yours—you won’t regret it)! Todd ordered some of the Gulf Shrimp Hushpuppies and the Crispy Fish Tacos and they were unbelievably good as well so I definitely kept sneaking in a few bites in when he was talking. I was also laughing because every time someone came back from the bathroom they mentioned how amazing the bathroom candles were and that you “just had to go in there” to smell them. They were right though, they did smell pretty good!! Even if you are constantly trying to pass kids crayons and keep them in their seats it was still so special to see old friends and have our kids meet each other. Lola and Ruby were a bit unsure of each other at dinner but they were the sweetest little set of best friends at the end of the night, running up and down the hotel hallway shrieking with delight that they had a friend that loved to run as much as they do—it was so cute!!

The next day we packed up our room and checked out of the hotel before heading out to brunch before our last activity of the trip. We tried to go to a more trendy brunch spot but with it being Mother’s Day the place was already packed early in the morning and since we had a hungry toddler we went to a place nearby with a shorter wait. For breakfast I tend to like either cuter spots or diner atmospheres and Yolk is more on the diner side of things. I got more of a traditional “some of everything” breakfast platter so I could share with Lola but for my own treat I got a potato pancake side and I was so happy to eat those since I don’t see them on menus very often! If you’ve every had a good potato pancake with applesauce and sour cream, then you know why I love them! It felt nice to be out and about on Mother’s Day morning and see all the other moms coming in with their kids (some little kids and some grownup “kids”) sometimes holding flowers or presents. It was heartwarming for me to watch and I felt so grateful to be with my Baby on that morning too.

After brunch, we went to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum which was also Lola’s first museum visit (a lot of firsts on this trip!). I was wondering what things would be there that a 2-year-old would be into, and while there is a lot of awesome stuff for older kids I was so happy to see that they have a whole wing devoted to the “5-and-under” crowd with water tables, musical instruments, climbing areas, and lots of fun ball activities. She could have definitely spent hours in there for sure! They had amazing dinosaur exhibits and a train area that just made her whole face light up (she loves trains) as well as a Paw Patrol wing with lots of slides, play kitchens, and ball games that were also perfect for her age. We were just about to call it a day after seeing so much cool stuff when we realized there was a restored carrousel on the top floor, and well, we just couldn’t resist giving her a ride! I tend to get dizzy easily so Todd took Lola and I was the designated picture-taking and wave-each-time-they-come-around parent and while she was rather stoic her first few times around, she started smiling and really enjoying it by the end. It was so cute to see her and Todd doing such a sweet thing together—it felt a little surreal to be honest.

Once we got into major toddler-meltdown-phase we decided it was time to head back home and let Lola take a nap in the car and she slept for almost 2 hours in the car (which is a long car nap for her) and happily watch Daniel Tiger for the rest of the ride (rather than needing a new activity every 10 minutes) so I’m counting that as my Mother’s Day present from her for this year. I’ll take it!!

Traveling with small children is not easy and sometimes I feel like I’d rather stay home than go through all the hassle that can come with being away from our routine, but I’m so glad that we decided to go on this trip and we made so many special memories that I’ll treasure for many years to come (you can plan your next trip to Indiana here!). Thanks for riding along on our little trip to Indy!

xo. Laura

*This post is sponsored by Indiana Tourism; but, as always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for helping support this blog and our family!

May 9, 2019
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Happy Birthday To Us!

We officially have a 2 year old!! It’s been a whirlwind birthday in between two trips out of town so I still have a ton of packing up to do for the next trip in two days but I wanted to share a few snaps from the special day we got to share with my Mom and Dad who were still in town from going to the beach with us last week. I haven’t been able to be with them on my birthday in a while so that felt super special to get to do. Since Lola and I share a birthday my Mom and I both wished each other a “happy birthing day” and we did a pancake brunch just for Lola and a late night pizza just for me with a cake for both of us in between. This girl loves her silly faces and thankfully Pops and Nana love to jump right in! So cute. We had a few friends over to see my parents while they were still in town that day so we did the whole cake thing with them but I think next year I’ll finally do the whole “real” party thing for Lola and I’m positive she’ll be super into it by then. Every day with that Baby is an adventure and I did cry a little the night before her birthday as I put her to sleep. The days are long but the years are short you guys, treasure all the little moments you can…

xo. Laura

P.S. Her little red outfit is June and January BTW, it’s so cute!

April 24, 2019
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Whatever Lola Wants…

Man, what a teenage toddler, amiright? I did her hair like that to keep it out of her face while we did something messy but it just looked like a mini Gwen Stefani style from the 90’s so I kept it in all day because I loved it so much…

-Got this amazing invention after learning about it on a sleep podcast and I can’t wait to try it on vacation to see if it helps her sleep better and gives us the chance to still be awake in the room after she goes to bed as needed—genius!

-We’ve been using this toddler alarm clock lately to try and keep her quit in her crib in the morning for longer and it’s a little hard to tell right now but I think she’s starting to understand and she really likes to see the bunny go to sleep when she does. She may be a bit young for a ready-to-wake type clock but I know some babies totally get it this young and if not we’ll just keep trying it until it eventually clicks!

-Ordered these slip on shoes this week—it can be so hard to wrestle toddler feet into shoes so slip-ons can be very useful when when they fit right! I bought the biggest size of these this week and they juuuust fit so I had to return them as she’ll probably grow out of them in the next two weeks. SO CUTE THOUGH!

-I love a baby in a jean jacket so I decided to try this for summer—how long do you think I can keep it white though?? I’m going to try!!

-Love this little 70’s looking romper!

-I’ve noticed that it’s good to have an “other” to blame things on (like saying that “the bunny says it’s not time to get up yet” on her toddler clock) so I bought this cute timer to use for time outs or for how long her bath time should be etc. and I think it helps give her a marker to wait for rather than an seemingly arbitrary word from me. I will say that the ring on this timer is pretty loud though so I stuffed a rag into the back of it and I don’t put it right next to her or she will jump!

-GAHH! This swimsuit and rashguard!

Heading out on a beach trip this next week and I can’t wait to soak up some sun and dig in the sand with Lola—she LOVES being outside so I think she’ll be in heaven on the beach!

xo. Laura
P.S. that dress is June and January above and the sunnies are Oui Fresh!

April 22, 2019
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Doing Easter The “Right” Way This Year!

So it’s been a while since we did Easter Sunday the “right” way…for me, Easter has always been a holiday with a big spiritual significance, but in addition to that it’s always been a big family day. Growing up we would go to my Grandparents house for a huge Easter brunch with lots of family stopping by and even when I went to college and beyond I always set up a big brunch with all my other friends who were far away from their families too. Since we moved to Nashville though Easter kind of turned into a loner holiday for me where I would be lucky if Todd was home for it and not touring and I just didn’t have other friends that were around for the holiday without their families nearby too so we kind of kept spending it by ourselves which made me kind of sad. I remember one year Todd was touring and they had a day off on Easter and went to someone’s house to have a big meal together (and even had an egg hunt) and I just about cried on the phone with him as I could hear all the fun in the background and I was sitting in the house alone. It just felt so wrong.

So anyways, this year I was so happy that a few of our non-related family (a.k.a. friends) were in town and could come hang out on one of the prettiest Easter Sundays I can remember and do a little egg hunt with us in our backyard after church and drink mimosas and eat candy out of our kid’s baskets—it was lovely. Of course it’s always extra work on a holiday weekend to clean and cook and host but it’s worth it to just be with people that mean a lot to you and it was Lola’s first egg hunt so I was pumped to get to do that with her too! She would have probably been fine stopping at the first egg to just eat the candy inside, but she eventually got the hang of looking for more in the yard…

I always want to eat kielbasa sausage and plain (pastel colored!) M&Ms on Easter since that was my main jam at the kid’s table way back when and I’ve never had kielbasa sausage anywhere but my Grandma’s house so it tastes like home to me once a year. Hope you were with people that love you this past Easter and I’m still trying to soak in all the renewed life and hope that the holiday brings to me…

xo. Laura