Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hispter Woodland Nursery and First Birthday Inspiration.

It's time. It's time to start planning our last first birthday party. I'm obviously a mix of emotions. These last nine months have been the fastest nine months of all time and yes, I'm aware that all moms say these sorts of things, but of all the boys' first years, this one has flown by the fastest. Undoubtedly I can think of three reasons why and they rhyme with Shmarter, Shmaclane and Shmollins.
It was my husband's idea to go big or go home this time around and if you know my husband, when he says something of this magnitude, you run with it. You don't waste a minute planning and you certainly, above all things, do not ask any questions.
That being said, I've begun drawing inspiration from Collins' half-finished nursery to celebrate his first year. On top of everything else, my goal is to have his nursery 100% completed by his birthday. Along with losing twelve pounds, refurbishing our master bathroom and potty training my almost-three-year old. Because why not?
The inspiration for his party began with the vision board I created for his nursery. The theme of his nursery is "Hipster Woodsy" which basically allowed me to hang a white ceramic deer head in there with gold-dipped antlers. It's quite a change from Carter's preppy nursery, Maclane's vibrant nursery and the big brother's shared nautical space. Since a large part of the d├ęcor came from Land of Nod over the years, I returned there to finish the space as well as draw inspiration for his birthday.
The theme of his party will be along the same lines. A little more woodsy, a little more camp themed.
Nursery Board
bedding, bear hook, pendant light, nightstand, accent pillow, basket and campfire c/o Land of Nod.
deer head, arrow wall decal and personalized bear print c/o Etsy
shag flokati rug c/o Rugs USA
Thankfully, all that's left to do in the space is apply the arrow decals to the wall behind the changing table, spray paint the bear hooks white, change out the curtains to a pair of hand-painted drop cloth curtains and find a similar nightstand at a lower price point. Oh and refill the beans in the sad excuse for a cable knit pouf that's in there. Then and only then can I safely say that I've decorated my final nursery. Totally manageable, no?
Party Board   

teepee, bear pillow, plaid sheeting c/o Land of Nod
adventure printable c/o Etsy
all other images c/o bing image search

Oh, did I mention that we'll be throwing a joint first birthday party with my niece? She's the closest my boys will ever get to having a sister and since the baby bond between Collins and Talia is already quite strong, we figured what better way than to celebrate them..together? So picture that vision board above with some special girly touches thrown in. I love me a good party, despite hemming and hawing over the stress of planning it and the burnt fingertips from DIY projects gone awry.

But you know how it goes- last little baby, last first birthday... may as well go out with a bang! Looks like I've got my work cut out for me in the coming weeks...

We've done a Carnival-themed first birthday, a Where The Wild Things Are party and soon enough, a Woodsy Camping Bash. Tell me, what was a favorite theme of a first birthday (or any  birthday party, really) that you threw?
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Monday, January 5, 2015

"I'm Too Busy... For You."

"I'm too busy," he says, as he walks around my kitchen with his toy drill, screwing imaginary screws into place every so many inches. "I'm too busy right now to do that for you," and it both stings and makes me laugh in only the way that having your two year old say that to you with a straight face and mean it can. 

I want to tell you that I had asked him to pick his sippy cup up from the floor or put away the Legos he was playing with just two minutes prior but the reality is that I summoned him over to my seat at the table for a good morning kiss. 

I sit back as I try to recall having ever said that to my children. "I'm too busy right now" which when you cut it down to the bone is really saying, "I'm too busy for you" and it's then that I realize I've said it more times than I care to admit. What was I so busy doing? 

Writing to meet a deadline? Folding laundry? Putting the groceries away. Prepping dinner. Mindlessly scrolling Instagram. (I wish I was kidding about that last one). All things that could have easily waited one, two, ten or twenty minutes. 

Sometimes I'm an asshole. 

I'm tired of making excuses. I'm tired of "allowing myself grace" and blaming that feeling of being pulled too tight in too many directions on "a season of life." For me, doing so is an excuse. A scapegoat. It's allowing me to behave in a way that is beginning to rub off on my highly impressionable children, in a manner that I'm not particularly fond of. 

Yes my children need to learn patience. They need to wait their turn. They are expected to listen to what I ask of them but not at the expense of my busyness. Not because I'm "too busy" in the moment to get on the floor and play trucks. To watch my oldest build the same damn Lego truck he's built the same the way every day for the last week. To sit with my middle baby and listen, and I mean really, really listen, to that same story about the goat and the llama and the pirate ship that he tells so passionately.

Of course there will still be days when I'll hide in the bathroom for fifteen minutes while I rot their little minds with television just so I can have some time alone when no one is touching me or needing me or breathing in my general vicinity and I won't feel bad about it at all because I'm human and anyone who's anyone knows it's suffocating to be "on" 24/7.  

But the reality is that one day they aren't going to ask me to play with them. To seek them when they hide. To listen to their stories and sing silly songs and draw goofy faces on the Magna Doodle and that day is going to suck really, really hard. When that day comes I want to be able to say, even through stingy tears and that scratchy throat feeling, "It's okay. I'm okay. I've seeked, and I've played and I've listened long and good enough." 

Because that's all I can hope to be for my boys. Good enough not sometimes but most times and in the moments when I'm not, when deadlines linger and I'm literally drowning in laundry, to be conscious of those moments so that I can make a better effort to be present for them. To remember what it feels like to be needed in that way and know that I won't always be needed in the same capacity. 

To get up and walk away from my busyness and focus on what really matters, what really needs me. And I'll give you a little hint. It isn't deadlines and emails and stupid laundry (which, let's be honest, only ever makes it, rumpled, from the dryer to the basket). 

It's these three goobers and I kinda want to be there for them so that when they don't need me anymore (despite how sad of a thought that may be) I won't feel like an asshole. I'll feel like a mother who tried her best and that's good enough for me. 

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Monday, December 29, 2014

An All-In-One High Chair with Modern Flair, the Joovy HiLo

It's uncanny how much stuff seems to accumulate in your house when you have a baby. When I was pregnant with my first, Pinterest was nonexistent as were the highly detail-oriented "Must-Have's For Baby" that nearly every mommy blog on the planet boasts of. I fell victim to registering via the nondescript booklets provided for you in the welcome bags of big box baby stores and in doing so, ended up with products that were neither tried nor tested let alone reviewed honestly by my peers. 

Much of what I registered for with my first baby, such as our cushy, fabric covered high chair, was only good up until a certain age before it became yet another cast off in our garage or as my husband likes to call it "where baby crap goes to die." Did I mention that it was FABRIC? I was such a rookie, as if I didn't have enough laundry to do already. 

It's mind blowing how much of that stuff then appears to multiply right before your eyes when you go on to have three babies in four years, laundry included. Before I knew it we became the proud owners of two convertible car seats, an infant carrier, a high back booster seat and three, yes three, of those booster/infant feeding seats for the kitchen. Why? Because when my oldest outgrew the high chair, he needed a booster. When his younger brother became the proud owner of the hand me down high chair and saw his older brother's new level of culinary freedom, he too insisted he sit in a booster as well. 

Sure they're called "Space Saver" seats because they can be attached to pre-existing chairs but I find that title a bit misleading as we were suddenly down two kitchen chairs. Although the space-saver seats were space-saver-ish, I couldn't push the existing kitchen chairs into the table while they were attached which meant those two chairs stuck out a good twelve inches from the table causing our already cramped kitchen even less room to move about. 

Not so much space-saving any more, eh!

While I no longer missed the daily shuffle of moving a stand-alone high chair around my kitchen, I certainly wasn't a fan of the new developments. I found myself longing for the ease of the high chair days but I wanted a chair that could grow with my child. A chair that wouldn't need replacing in just a few short months. A chair that kept them confined as a baby but grew with them into a booster seat that also had amenities such as a safety harness and removable tray. 

And thus was born the Joovy HiLo, an answer to my convertible baby and child product prayers. One baby product that accommodates baby from six months to six years. That features all of the bells and whistles I longed for in both a high chair and booster seat, but in one. single. seat. Talk about transition-friendly. 

Let's quickly review why this high chair has become one of my favorite all-time baby products: 

Kids and babies are messy. MY boys are the messiest. Whether it's meal time, play time or even bath time, the size of the messes they make can only be compared to letting, say, the Tazmanian Devil loose in a china shop after a romp through a muddy field. 

There are two things I love most about this high chair. One is that it transitions with my youngest baby from first foods to finger foods and pretty much all the way up until he could make his own food and two is that I could take this entire chair out on my deck and hose it down when need be. 

Just like that, two of my biggest meal time conundrums solved. 

This high chair wins mega bonus points for the added 5-pt safety harness as well as the removable tray insert that is also dishwasher safe. Even though my 2 year old isn't the biggest fan of  being tethered to a seat during meal times, it's imperative that his sticky hands stay where I can see them, as opposed to leaving their mark on my walls and furniture. 

The Joovy HiLo fits perfectly in the corner of my kitchen and as needed, glides easily along my wood floors. Finally, not only can we eat dinners at the table as a family but we can invite friends and family over to dine as well, without having to play musical chairs. When my 8 month old isn't occupying it, I easily convert it to the booster option for my wiggly, messy 2 year old. 

Now, I know what you're thinking. With a $399.99 price point, it's a rather extravagant piece of baby equipment, especially for it being "just a high chair" (although I don't necessarily agree with that last statement). I do believe that it is on-par with other similar luxury products such as the Stokke Tripp Trapp ($299), bloom Fresco ($550) as well as the Boon Flair ($229) and thus, priced accordingly. I also believe it is worth the money because not only are you paying for two seats in one but you're paying for a quality that will last through multiple children and even multiple generations of children. 

While this is not a seat I would have picked up voluntarily for my third and final baby, it's most definitely a product I would have strongly considered as a first-time mother and one I will undoubtedly recommend, especially for it's convertible nature, modern appearance and ease of cleaning.  

This post is brought to you by Joovy. 
All opinions expressed are my own. 
I received product for free in exchange for my review- 
no additional compensation was received. 

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