A few Friday Favorites

Last weekend we were on a camping trip for all of three days and it has taken me a full five days (and counting) to recover from it. I don’t know how it’s possible, but whenever we have a super busy and fun weekend, it takes me the entire next week to tackle my ignored to-do list. And now it’s Friday and I’ve barely put a dent in it! Sigh.

Of course it doesn’t help that we’re in nap chaos over here. More on that later, though. Suffice it to say that bedtime has gotten a whole heck-of-a-lot better (YAY!!!) but naptime is gone. GONE.

Let’s change the subject to a more positive one and get to Friday Favorites, because I’m linking up with Amanda today!

Some of my favorite things this week!

PNW scenery will forever be one of my favorite things.

Friday Favorites:

+ I love when Anthro has additional sales on their sales so I’ll definitely be buying some things during their ‘30% off of sale items’ event happening right now. I bought this dress the other weekend and it’s one of my new favs for a summer date night. One thing I won’t be buying… these. WHY ARE THESE BACK IN STYLE?! I can only assume it’s because there are women who never wore them originally and consider them ‘vintage’ whereas I consider them ‘junior high mistakes.’ Just watch, I’ll probably be wearing them again in two years. It takes me about that long to get into anything trendy. Moving on.

+ I swear that baby gear now is so much more awesome than it was when Clara was born (a whole three years ago). Or, most likely, I now know so much more about gear because I’m surrounded by moms who talk about this sort of thing! Anyways, we just bought the Lotus Travel Crib and I am really sad I didn’t have it three years ago. I’m hoping we get some travel use out of it over the summer! If you travel a lot, check it out. It is light, easy to assemble, and the zipper makes it super easy to comfort a fussy baby at night without awkwardly bending over the crib.

+ I recently started following @TheHomeEdit on Instagram and ohmygosh my whole world has changed. I’m not an organized person (when it comes to my house), but now I want to be. I don’t know what it is about their pictures and Instastories, but whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it well because I want to go to The Container Store and buy all of the things and label them all of the ways. Guys, seriously, the other day I organized my refrigerator. Tim was in shock when I told him and I think he likes this new version of me.

+ This new season of OITNB – have you finished it yet? I fondly remember just a few short years ago when I was able to binge watch an entire season in ONE DAY. It happened, truly. Now it’s taking me weeks and weeks and I think I’m only on episode 5. Sigh. Don’t tell me how it ends, but is the whole season good? I love it so far!

OK, that’s all for now. I’m about 30 minutes past my bedtime so it’s time to sign off and leave the rest of my favorites for a different post! (Although, as I type this I’m hiding in my room to avoid a kiddo who is up and wandering the house because said child-who-shall-remain-nameless decided to skip her second nap today and is completely confused about what is going on in life. Maybe it’s best to stay hiding out in here…)

TGIF! What are your plans for the long weekend?!

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We went camping with toddlers! And survived!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that we went camping this past weekend.

It was our first time camping since our honeymoon (where we spent 2-3 nights camping in the Serengeti), and obviously our first time ever camping with toddlers.

Our first experience camping with our toddler & baby was a success!

I tried s’mores with Reeses for the first time and my life will never be the same.

Oh what an adventure it was. Meaning, packing was horrible but once we got there it was absolutely wonderful.

I know nothing about camping. Nada. I had no idea what to bring or how many clothing layers we would need or what would make me comfortable or basically anything at all.

Food? What do vegetarians eat when they’re camping?! No clue.

Luckily, we went with 5 other families who are camping pros, so they covered all of the main stuff. And, it turns out everyone in the PNW camps regularly, so I was able to easily borrow all of our gear from a friend. (I’m telling you, we are surrounded by a fantastic community here and we keep finding all of our needs met!)

Still, packing the morning of our departure was stressful and I vowed (yet again) to start packing for trips the night before. Crazy idea, I know.

Our first experience camping with our toddler & baby was a success!

Marshmallows were her favorite part of camping. That, and the swings we hung at the campsite.

This past Friday we drove about 1.5 hours up north towards Bellingham, WA to Larrabee State Park for our camping adventure. We arrived, found the group camp site (highly recommended!), and the rest was a blur.

Fond memories of our first family camping trip include:

  • S’mores. So many s’mores.
  • Watching our babies crawl around in the dirt and love every second of it.
  • Playing on the beach. Our friends brought a paddleboard and Clara went out on it… I was so proud of her for being brave!
  • Eating delicious food. It turns out that even vegetarian can eat well while camping!
  • Good conversations around the campfire.
  • Hiking to Fragrance Lake (carrying a very-heavy Isabelle on my back).
  • Waking up at 5am with a wide awake Isabelle. Unfortunately no one else was up that early and I don’t know how to make a fire nor coffee. It was the two longest hours of my life. I was cold and caffeine-deprived and hungry and alone with a baby who wanted to happily roll around in dirt. Sigh. Every time I heard another baby cry from inside a tent I was hopeful that another parent would come wandering out to join me, but nope, all of those babies went right back to sleep. Lucky other parents! But really, it was really peaceful in an uncomfortable sort of way.
  • Seeing our toddlers read to each other and swing in the hammock and run around outside all day long. It is really fun to watch kiddos thrive outdoors. My girls love being outside and to watch them in their element is a treat.

Our first experience camping with our toddler & baby was a success!

I should mention that the group we camped with was comprised of 12 adults, 8 kids (a 5 year old, almost-4 year old, almost-3 year old, almost-2 year old, 18 month old, two barely-1 year olds, an almost-1 year old, plus one baby on the way). And two dogs. Basically, it was toddler/baby mayhem. I’m surprised any of us got any sleep – but we did! Well, kind of. The first night I was freezing (I didn’t borrow the right sleeping back for the cooler temps), so I only fell asleep after hours and hours of tossing around. But the second night a friend gave me his sleeping bag and I slept super-well! Lesson learned. Our kids all slept pretty well, too! Clara even slept in until almost 9am, when I finally woke her up. I think the fresh air definitely agrees with them, and honestly I was so worried that Isabelle would be screaming all night and that wasn’t the case at all.

Our first experience camping with our toddler & baby was a success!

Camping was one of those experiences that I truly did not think would be worth it. In fact, whenever someone mentioned camping with babies I was like “WHY?!” It seemed like a surefire way to torture yourself. But now I know why people go – it is awesome.

Granted, I think the best way to camp with really young kids is to go with other families, because otherwise it would truly be a ton of work. For instance, I was able to relax a tiny bit while some parents cooked and other parents watched multiple kiddos. I can imagine if it were just Tim and I camping it would have been a ton of cooking, cleaning, setting up, and watching the kids… with barely a moment to just sit down. I appreciate that I truly felt like I could breathe during this camping trip.

Our first experience camping with our toddler & baby was a success!

I’m going to write another post about more lessons learned and tips on how to camp with little ones, but I’m happy to report that this was one adventure that exceeded my expectations! I already can’t wait for our next camping trip.

Now I’m off to research tents and sleeping bags so we’ll be better prepared next time…

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Adventuring with Kids: Portland!

Portland is quickly becoming one of our favorite places to travel with our kiddos. We love it because:

  1. It’s driving distance from Seattle.
  2. The food is amazing.
  3. There are many places to explore within a short drive – beaches, waterfalls, wine country, hiking… and my favorite book store.
  4. Some of our best friends live there!

I will say that the drive down there was brutal because Isabelle doesn’t exactly love being confined to a carseat for five (thank you, traffic) hours. We did make a lengthy stop at the Mount St Helen’s Visitor Center to enjoy some short walks nearby but other than that it was a lot of driving and a lot of listening to a baby screaming and as Isabelle screamed Clara yelled “ISABELLE, STOP SCREAMING” so it’s a wonder Tim and I have any sanity left at all.

Maybe we don’t. But that’s neither here nor there.

Things to do in Portland (with or without little ones!)

Here are some recommendations of things to do in Portland (with or without little ones):

  • Order (A LOT OF) donuts and chai from Pip’s.
  • Enjoy brunch at Screen Door but get there early so you don’t need to wait for hours with an impatient toddler.
  • Go berry picking on Sauvie Island.
  • Visit the playground at Washington Park. (And also stop at the nearby rose garden if they’re in season!)
  • Walk the trails at Hoyt Arboretum, especially if you have little ones who love meandering.
  • See Multnomah Falls for a great photo opportunity, if you don’t mind a short drive.
  • Take more pictures at Cannon Beach, if you don’t mind a drive in the opposite direction.
  • Eat Indian food at Bollywood Theater. This is our favorite Indian food ever.
  • Save room for Salt & Straw ice cream which is right next to Bollywood Theater.

Basically, be prepared to eat a lot and enjoy plenty of fresh air and enjoy amazing scenery. Is that Portland’s tourism motto? It should be.

The next time we go I really want to visit the Willamette Valley to drink some wine. Also, I want to spend all of my money at the gorgeous boutiques that I keep finding.

Portland is definitely a city we’ll be happy to go back to over and over again!

What’s your favorite city to visit for a weekend?

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Currently | June 2017

I hope everyone had a wonderful Father’s Day weekend! Tim wanted a nice, normal weekend with some sleep, so yesterday I took the girls to church and let him sleep in a bit. I felt like supermom getting both girls ready and out the door and to church on time! Usually if I go to church without Tim I only take one girls, and having two with me was a bit of a challenge.

As I was getting both girls out of their carseats I was a bit frazzled. We were running 5 minutes behind, per usual, and I was parked on the street where another car was waiting for me to finish closing the doors so they could drive by. I had Isabelle on my hip and was hurriedly lifting Clara out of her seat when the waiting car rolled their windows down and yelled “Take your time! We aren’t in a rush!” and then as I finished closing the car doors and waved in a thank you for waiting gesture, the two young men yelled, “You’re doing great! Your girls are adorable!”

Isn’t that sweet? It was a nice reminder to me that my efforts are being noticed, I am seen, and that we  need to be kind to one another – always.

Currently | June 2017

Currently I’m…

// Working on: Getting my house decorated the way I want it. This is going to be a never-ending process, I swear! Because we’ve always rented, I’ve never spent much time, energy, or money on getting furniture that fits a certain place. But, since it looks like we may be renting for a while, I want to focus on getting this house to look a way I’m satisfied with. Easier said than done, right?!. Why is this stuff so expensive?!

// Eating: Every morning I’ve been eating egg & cheddar breakfast sandwiches. It only takes a few minutes to make and it has a good amount of protein and carbs!

// Drinking: Will I ever get tired of drinking La Croix? Doubtful.

// Reading: It isn’t exactly light summer reading, but I’m currently reading White Trash.

// Wanting: More sleep. These girls o’ mine are trying to kill us. Isabelle was awake from 2-5am last night. WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK? This is not a normal thing so I assume she’s teething or something but I’m just OVER IT. And Clara wakes up a time or two per night to try to sleep in our bed or go potty. The whole thing is just nonsense and might be a bit more tolerable if the kids weren’t staying up until 10pm. Sigh.

// Listening to: All of the podcasts. Please let me know any recommendations you have!

// Planning: We’re going camping this weekend! It will be our first time camping with kids and only my second time camping since our honeymoon (in Tanzania)!

// Loving: The fact that my girls are starting to play better together. But only for about 5 seconds before one of them grabs the other’s hair and all heck breaks loose. But the important thing is, they are playing independently for a bit of time and I have some space to breathe! I’m also loving Portland, where we spent time with friends a week or so ago!

// Feeling: Relieved that I’m not breastfeeding anymore! I really do think I have more energy now, although my hormones are a bit out of control.

// Watching: At this very second I have Real Housewives of Potomac on in the background. Both girls are napping at the same time – praise Jesus, Hallelujah! (Isabelle is now dropping her morning nap whether she wants to or not so I can get both girls to sleep during the afternoons.) However, I really want to start watching the new season of OITNB. Every time I try to start it, someone wakes up! I’m about 3 minutes into the first episode. Eye roll.

// Looking forward to: Camping this weekend and general summer adventuring!

Do you have any fun plans this week?!

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Thoughts + tips on weaning from breastfeeding

All of a sudden I’m done breastfeeding. I can hardly believe it! I nursed Clara for 18 months (the last 6 months of that time was just at night and in the morning) and I thought I would go that long with Isabelle before weaning from breastfeeding.

However, nursing literally drained me in every way possible and my plans changed. (As they often always do in motherhood.) What can I say, my youngest was sucking the energy straight out of me! Around her birthday I decided to stop nursing her during the day, and then a few weeks ago (at 13 months) I decided to be done completely.

(And my boobs immediately deflated – wah wah. RIP, breastfeeding boobs, I miss you already.)

I’m no expert on weaning, but I have done it twice and one time definitely worked better than the other. Meaning that weaning Isabelle hasn’t seemed to traumatize anyone whereas weaning Clara was awful for all parties involved.

My tips on successfully weaning a baby from breastfeeding!

Here are my recommendations to successfully wean from breastfeeding:

+ Night wean first. I waited a while to night wean both girls, but it happened before a year for each of them (which is late, I know!). I’m not sure, but it seems like it would be harder to night wean if you already weaned during the day. I imagine that if I had cut out nursing during the day but still breastfed at night, my baby would have woken up more at in the early morning hours to eat and catch up on missed meals.

+ Get on a schedule. If you aren’t nursing on a schedule (if you’re nursing ‘on demand’), now is the time to try to form a routine. A routine helps because it allows you to predict when your baby is going to be expecting to nurse and you can easily decide which of those feedings will be bottles or breast. Clara nursed on-demand and I thought it was REALLY hard to wean her because she constantly wanted a 5 second ‘snack’ and would freak out if I deprived her of such breastfeeding goodness. I think if you cut out ‘snacking’ on demand, that’s a good first step, and I wish I would have done that with Clara.

+ Cut out one feeding every few days. Once you’re on a feeding schedule, it becomes much easier to cut out one breastfeeding session to replace with a bottle feed instead. And then when your baby seems used to that, you can cut out another one! (Honestly, I didn’t do this approach either time, but I think it would have worked pretty easily and it’s the approach our pediatrician recommended! With both of my girls I cut out all daytime breastfeeding sessions at once, but that was really hard on Clara. Isabelle, however, had a much easier time since she was only breastfeeding once or twice per day anyways – not including the morning and night feeds. Plus, I was out of town around Isabelle’s first birthday so Tim bottlefed her for a few days and she did great! We never went back to the breast after that.)

+ Snuggle while bottle feeding. Some babies still like to get their snuggles on, so if you can, offer skin-to-skin or at least some quality snuggling time with bottle feeding. Sometimes Isabelle seems like she’s in the mood to cuddle, but other times she crawls away from me and drinks her bottle by herself. Either way, I think it’s important to recognize that breastfeeding is a source of comfort for babies and it’s possible to remove the feeding element but still (hopefully) provide some comfort.

+ Make sure you’re still offering plenty of liquids. The girls’ pediatrician recommends babies drink whole milk until they’re three years old, so that’s what we stick to in terms of milk. We also offer as much water as Isabelle wants throughout the day, and we give her bottles of milk when I would normally have breastfed, which is after she wakes up in the morning and from both naps, and before she goes to bed at night.

+ Banish any ‘mom guilt’ thoughts. I actually thought I’d feel more guilty about not breastfeeding anymore, because I know there are still health benefits for Isabelle, but I just don’t have those guilty thoughts. None at all. My body helped create and grow and nourish two lives for a combined total of four years of continuous pregnancy/breastfeeding/sometimes both, and it is ready for a break. Neither of my girls needed formula, which means that I produced a lot of breastmilk over the 2.5 combined years I breastfed them. My body felt done – totally done – and I look back with fond memories but a sense of relief that the breastfeeding (and probably pregnancy) phase of my life is OVER. Once you decide you’re ready to begin weaning from breastfeeding, no matter how long you did it, you should feel confident and good about your decision!

To celebrate the end of my breastfeeding journey I’m working out more (because I honestly have more energy!) I bought some cute bras from ThirdLove (because even though my breasts are smaller, they look cute in these bras and are super comfy!), and am wearing alllll of the not-nursing-friendly summer tops and dresses I can find!

Cheers to the end of a chapter! If I missed any obvious tips, please let me know in the comments so I can edit the list!

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