Thursday, September 29, 2016

Our Current Favorite Children's Books

We are in such a fun place right now with books- Henry is officially reading on his own and Charlie is loving it more than ever. If you've been following along for awhile you know what a big role reading plays in our lives (see our special hashtag on IG here), and the rotation of books on the boys' nightstands is always changing. Together we picked out these five books to share with you all- they're our current go-tos for bedtime and everything in between! I hope that you pick some up for any kiddos you have in your life, and enjoy the happiness to come.

1. The Pout-Pout Fish. This book brings the LAUGHS every time we read it. The first time we read it (the blub, blub, BLUB part- you'll know what I mean when you read it), they were dying from laughter. Each each time we've read it they laugh just as much. I love it. It's a cute book with smart writing, and a great addition to any home library.

2. Gaston. This is the best book ever and aside from it being one of the kids' long-running favorites, it's my most favorite kid's book too! The illustrations are phenomenal, the story is so enjoyable for kids and adults alike, and there's a totally sweet message too. If you get one book from this list, let this be it! And great news, there's a second book in the series coming out this February.

3. We love ALL Mo Willems books in this house, but recently The Pigeon Needs a Bath has taken front and center as the favorite. Another book that will have your kids laughing so hard, and you'll be right there too. I love books like this that appeal to all ages, and it's just a sweet, funny story that keeps little ones entertained from beginning to end.

4. Leonardo the Terrible Monster. This is another Mo Willems book but totally different than the Pigeon series. It's a cute story about choosing to be a good friend. And like all Willems books, the illustrations and story are equally fantastic.

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone- the illustrated edition. Henry and I are about to start this, and it will be our first chapter book that we'll read together! We're both so excited. I've had the book on hand for awhile, and the other day he spotted it and asked if we could start it. So fun, right? I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Happy reading! xo

ps. see my boots here (my most favorite ankle boots ever), and my dress here! It's so incredibly comfortable- and perfect for Fall. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Baby #3

Some of you may know that Hank and I have been going back and forth about having another baby for the longest time. You could ask me one week, and I might tell you "hmmm, maybe...but not now." Or another week it would be more of a no. That week would probably be characterized by the boys being crazy and me feeling like adding another child to the mix would be insane. But then we went to Switzerland and had 10 days all to ourselves...and had all the the time in the world to make a baby. Haha! Sooo, we ended up bringing home the best souvenir there is- a Swiss-made baby!

We are SO excited. We found out right after the 4th of July and I probably wasted a million tests taking them way too early. Switzerland had been the first time since having Charlie we just didn't prevent getting pregnant, so it was almost a little unbelievable to me that we actually came home with a baby. I had a sneaking suspicion though, so I kept buying those dang tests and taking them days before I should even be doing so, until one morning I saw the faaaaaiiintest line. I'm talking barely visible. I immediately brought it out to Hank and was like, DO YOU SEE THIS?! AM I CRAZY?! And he confirmed the faint line. I of course took two more (maybe three), and lo and behold, the line was definitely there! AHH!

So here I am, 15.5 weeks pregnant and due March 2017. We are definitely finding out the sex of the baby, and if you asked me today, I'd tell you I think we are having a third boy. Before I got pregnant I SO wanted a girl, and if we had a girl I would be over the moon, but once I actually became pregnant it was such a calming thought to know that whatever sex we are having, he or she is already growing and thriving! We're just excited to meet this little person that will be the most welcome addition to our family.

I'll be back soon to talk more about how this pregnancy has been different/the same from my previous two- I have so much to say about it. I'm just SO excited to finally share the news. I entertained the idea of not telling at all, and just showing up online with a baby one day (haha), but it's been hard for me to want to post anything without talking about it, so I'm really happy to be out with the news.

March (and this baby!) will be here before we know it! 


Board gifted by Letterfolk.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Weekend Links

I am SO excited that it's Fall. It's my most favorite time of the year and it's finally here! I feel like I should post only Fall-related links today, but I'll spare you...for now. Here we go--

Watch this, it's important.

How to pick the fastest line at the grocery store.

Did you watch the This Is Us premiere last week? If not, DO IT! I'm so excited about this show.

Wishlist: one of these scarves, these boots, and this sweater. I also really would love to try out a pair of these skinnies.

This school replaced detention with meditation.

And speaking of meditation, here's a 6-minute one for better sleep.

Wrap me up in all of these, please.

Love this: Don't Put Off Your Girls' Weekends.

Scientists discover children's cells living in mothers' brains. So interesting.

We all know a Brock Turner.

Well then: Anthony Bourdain Wants To See The Pumpkin Spice Trend ‘Drowned In Its Own Blood'.

A pretty painting. And some amazing prints.

West Elm is having a huge 20% everything sale. Here are my top three faves: one, two, and three.

I really enjoyed reading this post from my friend Jen! I love Canada.

I Used To Be A Human Being.

Anthropologie love- this dress, this sweater, and these pillows.

Have you ever worn this brand before? I recently picked up a dress on sale and really love it. The quality is great.

And finally, I am halfway through this book and LOVING it. I will share more when I finish it this weekend, but I can't recommend it enough!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Finding Your Village- #TogetherWeMother Series

This is part one in an ongoing series I'm taking part of- #TogetherWeMother. I'm joining up with ten other mothers to share our collective experiences on a monthly topic. I'm really excited to be a part of this, and I hope you'll check out all of the other posts too! I'll link them below.

When I was pregnant with Henry I remember hearing the phrase "it takes a village" and not really connecting with it. What do you mean a village? There I was stressing about how breastfeeding would work or how I would ever sleep again, or even just imagining giving birth to this child, that I couldn't imagine how anyone else would ever play a role in a raising my baby. It seemed complicated enough trying to figure out to even integrate our immediate family into the hospital room post-birth. So imagining a village? No. I knew I had my people- the women I'd grown up with over the years, my best friends from college, the ones I'd text in the middle of the night- "Are you up? 8 months pregnant is no joke- I can't sleep!" and they'd be right there across the line, offering up their own anecdotes, laughter, tears. Those were and still are my people, but unfortunately we were far away from each other, with just phones and the internet to keep us connected between visits. But as time went on, I realized the value in having that support right there in person, too.

I had moved to Prescott years earlier, thanks to meeting Hank, and had wonderful friends I met through him and teaching, but once I became pregnant for the first time I started to worry I didn't have any "Mom friends." We live in a small town so I worried even more it wouldn't be possible to find "my people," let alone my people who also happened to be first time expectant Moms. And that's not to say that you need to only be friends with those who share your same storyline, but I recognized then that I was missing that in my life, and there were times while pregnant I would feel sad knowing that I didn't have anyone right there who knew exactly what I was experiencing.

Time went on, and Henry was born. I didn't feel like anything was missing, because I had our friends and family surrounding us, but when Hank went back to work and I was home alone with Henry all day, sometimes I would think how nice it would be to have my people right there. So I kept putting myself out there. I would take Henry to storytime at the library, music class at a local church, walks downtown. I'm good on my own, and I wasn't actively seeking friendship, but I felt like the best thing to do was to stay open. And one day at the library, I spotted a tall blonde, with a little boy around Henry's age sitting in a stroller. She looked so sweet and when our mutual friend introduced us, I immediately knew we'd be friends.

Fast forward to five years later and that meeting in the library has turned into one of the most cherished friendships in my life! It's amazing how that happens- you meet one person and then meet another, and suddenly you have a little group. We were all new Moms, all figuring everything out together, and our daily walks and talks and playdates were exactly what I needed.

But trying to pinpoint a moment where I realized I needed this in-person, physical village? It's hard. I don't often think about it, but sometimes I'm hit so hard with the love I have for these women who have become such a big part my family's life. It's years of building relationships, sharing experiences, going through things together. It's having my second baby, and seeing their faces in my hospital room, or at our house days later. It's the meals dropped off, the texts to check in, the "get your butt out here and walk right now" when I got quiet and sad after having him. It's going through terrible life events- sick parents and death- and knowing you have these women to lean on. It's dropping your kids off in a pinch and never ever having the feeling that you owe them something- it's just what you do for each other. It's long walks talking about everything, our stroller wheels crunching over Fall leaves as we stroll around the square. It's weekend excursions and family dinners and after school playdates. It's texting each other saying "Today is the WORST day" and knowing it's safe to be vulnerable and real and let it out. It's the "me toos" and "been theres" and it's knowing that I have these women behind me, cheering me on, lifting me up, and doing the same for them.

Regardless of where you find it, having a team is important. It's so hard to be in a new place, trying to meet new people. It's tiring thinking about starting over with new friends, right? Believe me, I've been there. I'm no expert, but if I could impart anything I've learned from my own experience it would be to get out there! Sign up for everything. Mommy and me yoga, prenatal yoga, music class, Stroller Strides, anything related to your interests. I guarantee there are other parents there who also would love to meet like-minded new friends. But most of all, be yourself. Like attracts like, so if you want to connect with those who will best connect with you, there's nothing better than being exactly who you are. You'll find your people, I promise.


Be sure to check out the inspiring women also taking part in this project, and read their posts:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

3 Things to Do For Productivity (This Week!)

Working from home is no easy feat. I really love being able to do so, but like anything, it has its own unique set of challenges. One of the biggest hurdles for me in the very beginning was understanding that I needed to set aside specific times for work, just as I would if I was in an office.

Now as a couple years have gone by of 100% working full time from home, I've realized that the state of my "office," which includes my email inbox, directly correlates with my mood, motivation, and productivity. I wanted to share a few things that work for me, and always get me on a productive path --

1) Get your inboxes down to ZERO.

This sounds impossible, right? Or maybe not, if you're totally on top of it. I'm a highly organized person but STILL my inbox will grow out of control if I don't keep a sharp eye on it. I have realized that if I let it get it go, even for a few days, my attitude about work totally changes. I begin to feel overwhelmed almost immediately, which totally affects my productivity. Now I get my inbox to zero almost every single day. It takes work at first- it took me days to go through my three accounts- but once I properly filed, deleted, or replied to everything it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Now I try to attack my inbox each time I log on to work, and answer things daily in order of priority, but also DELETE and unsubscribe immediately. Get rid of the junk! Getting to zero first though is key- it's so freeing to have a fresh slate every day, or even every Monday morning if daily is too much.

2) Block out an hour of a time, at a time, for straight work. 

I schedule my days depending on what I have going on. Almost every morning I try to wake up before everyone else and bust out an hour of work. Because I work remotely and most of my colleagues work in the office, waking up early is a great substitute for staying up late. Things that are due still get to the person's inbox by the start of the work day, and I feel so much fresher in the early morning than the late evening. So I'll block out an hour, work, then get everyone up and ready. Most days I will take the boys to school then I'll come home and block out another hour and continue doing so throughout the day. And when I say "block out an hour" I mean truly block it out- I won't answer texts or look at social media- it's straight working until the timer goes off. I've experimented with different blocks of time for this, and I've found that an hour is the most productive for me personally. I can get so much done, and when the block is up I take a break- maybe I'll do my workout then, switch gears and write a blog post, whatever. But scheduling time out and making sure when I work I just work has helped make the most of my time at home.

3) Complete a Weekly Roundup each Friday.

I started doing this at Ergobaby, and still do, but now do it for all of my ongoing projects. I have a lot going on- Ergobaby, Daley PR stuff, and my own stuff, so it can be a lot. I don't like to say busy- I like to say full! So life is very full right now. ;) Haha. But every Friday I will make a three-part list for each "job" I have. Done (tasks completed that week), To-Do (tasks to be completed the next week), and On-Going Projects. This has been a game-changer for me because every week I remain accountable to myself for each project, campaign, etc I have going on. By also making a list of what is coming up big and small, I'm able to map out my time and also schedule blocks of time and calls for the next week. This is key. It's also nice to see all you've accomplished and it allows you to keep yourself in check. Note: I keep this list online- it lives in my notes- so I can copy and paste things from each section to the next.

And one more thing- I always, always have a fantastic agenda on hand. It's so important for me to be able to write things down on paper- off of the online calendar- and be able to physically see what's going on. It's really the only way for me to stay organized. If you don't already use a paper planner, try it for 2017! Some of my favorites: Kate Spade planners, Rifle Paper Co., and this simple brand (my HS and college go-to) is great too.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fall Things

It's here! Almost! One week away. Every single year I get the same feeling when Fall starts appearing- I'm almost overwhelmed with inspiration and lots of excited feelings. I hope that never ever goes away. I also always get very excited for Fall clothing, and tend to fill up online shopping baskets...even if I don't pull the trigger. Home stuff too. So here are some of my current favorite Fall things, in a ton of different categories.

This dress is insane. I just wish it were a little (a lot) cheaper. It's just beautiful!

So I've been into the cold shoulder thing for awhile but I'm not sure if I'll look back and be like- what was I thinking? Regardless, this dress is cute.

My favorite (affordable!) coat brand is at it again with so many cute coats and jackets! Which would you pick?

Anthropologie is killing it with the sweaters right here. Here are three I love: one, two, and three.

For the kitchen: this and this.

And how about this rug?!

I recently got this in Cinn-Ful and it's great. Next I want to try Pink Grapefruit.

Piper Wai stopped working as well as it once did, so I moved onto this via Sarah's recommendation and I'm liking it so far.

I recently found a new (to me) brand of sunglasses and I want them all.

Velvet everything, please!

My next pair of sneakers.

Everyone needs one of these for cooler weather. I'm kicking myself for not getting the oxblood color last year.

Tops I love: one, two, and three.

My holy grail of tinted moisturizer/foundation. It's amazing.

We just finished up our office renovation and now comes the fun part- putting everything together! I'll of course share more later but here's the desk we got (on sale!). I love it.

These are at the top of my wishlist.

And finally, the VERY best scarves. Do yourself a favor and snag one!


Thursday, September 8, 2016

The In-Between, Social Sharing, and Nasty Snapchats

This post title kinda reminds me of "the upside-down," and made me smile. Then feel creeped out. (Please tell me you've watched Stranger Things!) Anyway, I wanted to write a little bit about where I'm at recently with social media, because I've gotten some questions about why I've made my Snapchat private. In the big picture who really cares, but I explained AFTER I made my Snapchat private, so all of you who follow me over there didn't see what was behind it. It's private for now and my thoughts about this are always changing, but for now I'm just feeling like this is the right thing. So here's what's been going on- D I C K PICS (I feel like I need to space that out so I don't get website hits from that search term).  So nasty you guys. I remember before I got Snapchat, I was out to dinner with friends. One of the girls was showing us how Snapchat worked, and she posted a random video of our group with "girls' night!" as the caption. Within moments she had an inbox of weird guys sending strange, inappropriate photos. And I remember just being in disbelief that one, these weird guys followed her and two, people ACTUALLY send stuff like this.

Fast forward to my own Snapchat experience. I love it, because it shows such a real side of social media. I mean, I guess it can also be used in a curated way but for the most part I feel like people just share what they want, their weird personalities shine through, and it's overall just a fun little corner of the internet. I really loved it, right from the get-go (even though it honestly took me over a month to really "get" it). I liked how I didn't overthink it, I just shared and talked to the camera and felt like I was able to convey more of myself . But most of all I enjoyed having a way to connect with you guys on a different level and receive quick questions and snaps. As time went on my following grew there and then one day, I got a snap from a name I didn't recognize. It was a blacked out screen with the words "do you wanna chat?" in the text bar. I felt like this couldn't be anything good so I went to block them, but before I did so they sent another snap. I opened it and lo and behold, it was a disgusting picture of a dude holding his erect junk in a bright room. SO GROSS. Since then I would say I get random photos like that about 2-3x a month from different user names. It's equal parts really disgusting and oddly humorous. Like, what the heck is wrong with this person? The only reason I find it funny is that it'll be like 2pm and there that weirdo is, sitting at home sending out these kinds of photos to strangers. Get a life, sicko. There are just so many things wrong with it and it's just the craziest thing to me. And I've talked to other blogger friends and apparently, occasionally receiving this crap is the norm. Isn't that insane?

For me, the issue is actually not the inappropriate photos. It's thinking that the sick f*cks that send photos like that are watching videos of my family and me. That's the problem. I could easily just not receive snaps from strangers (there's a setting for that), but that's not the point- it's that these people are following me. And *I* created this problem, you know? It makes me take pause- I share there, post to IG, I created this space here because *I* enjoy sharing and writing and connecting....and by default that makes my kids a part of that too. But am I protecting them enough? I think about this balance of social sharing constantly. I ask myself all of the time- why am I putting this on the internet? If I'm being very honest there definitely was a time I enjoyed receiving comments and praise, I loved the feeling I would get when I knew something was well-received. And that's a big motivator for sharing right? We get to construct this glimpse into our lives and be seen as we wish, and then receive validation for that. That was also the time I was very into reading the opposite about myself! haha! But we're talking years ago. We've all been there in some form right? I think maybe that's hard or weird to admit but we're humans and at the root of it we want to be loved and accepted. But-- I'm 34 now. I look back with a big eye roll, a little cringing, and a huge dose of love for that girl. Of course we grow up and change, and now, all of that is just not where I'm at. I've been doing it for so long that in the beginning, I didn't think too much about it, but then as I matured and had kids, and they grew, it of course became a major issue. How much is too much? And that big question, WHY am I sharing? My love for connection with others does not ever outweigh my desire to keep my kids safe, of course. So that's why I made my Snapchat private. And it's not like that's some grand gesture because let's be real- we're talking almost 15+ years (!) of sharing online in some way for me- but making that account private was something I could do now, and feel good about it. No more gross photos, and more importantly, no more weirdos seeing more of an intimate glimpse into our lives. I'm very aware that god knows who is following me on Instagram but that's why I've always tried to be very mindful of what I share over there. As time has gone on I feel like I've shared less and less about the children and focus more about what we're doing as a family. But again- is that enough?

And I don't know, is this the end for me? No. But I'm just at this place where I've been thinking so much about the root of THIS. The whys, the reasons, lots of thoughts. It's so fun to connect with you guys and I LOVE you all, but as far as social media, I just have all of these feelings. I want to share my experience, our story, but I just have to continue to explore how I can do that while feeling like I'm protecting my kids and more so, protecting their own individual stories, which are certainly not mine to tell. And I do feel like I'm doing a good job on Instagram, I don't feel uncomfortable there sharing, but if I ever do, I simply won't share there publicly anymore either. But for now, I feel okay.

This was such a brain dump, but it's been on my mind so I had to share. There are SO MANY MORE important issues going on in the world, and I am aware what a privilege it is that today this is the major thing on my mind. I've regularly shared posts like this over the years, and it's always interesting for me to go back and see where I was at with it, at that particular point in time. The internet is always changing, social media is always changing, and of course, so are we. It's only natural that our thoughts and feelings about being a part of it would ebb and flow too, but even when I read back five, six years, it's all kind of the same. Me, questioning and wondering what the point is. Maybe it's a sign. ;) Anyway, I would love, love to know what you're thinking about this. Feel free to share below or over on IG!

Love you all, always.

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