Monday, April 29, 2013

things we love: ashley's ark and a giveaway!

it's no secret that the kids dress better then me - i just can't help myself when i stumble across an amazing item for the tiny people in my life and i seriously have no self control when i find a new hand made shop to love on. with spring just around the corner stella has been living in twirls skirts so i was over the moon excited when we found ashley's instagram shop, ashley's ark.

ashley is a mama of two who loves to sew and has had some really great success with her skirt and dress business. she offers adorable prints with tons of add on options all at a very affordable price. whether you want one fabric tier or two, a pocket, or a dress - ashley leaves those decisions up to you with easy to chose from fabric swatches and always keeping her shoppers updated through her instagram, twitter, and facebook. ashley also has a real eye for fun fabrics - with choices like chevron, hipster bikes, whales, flamingos, circus print, and more you real could never get tired of ordering more skirts for your little lady. 

i seriously just can not with this skirt that ashley sent stella! she has lived in it since it arrived in our mailbox and we have fun playing with different tank and tee options to go with it. so far this simple grey tank is our go to. the skirt has a simple but comfy design that leaves lots of room for play and sillyness. stella's favorite part? the way it twirls and makes her feel like a princess but i especially love it washability and the little details like the zig-zag stitch on the hem.
we were so thrilled with this skirt that we have teamed up with ashley's ark on a giveaway for you guys! you can win a custom skirt, designed by you, by entering below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Friday, April 26, 2013

things my kids say v.1

i know i have recordered several times when my kids have said weird things but i am going to officially start paying better attention and letting you in on it too, because my kids say weird things...like the time rowan told stella that your intelligence was measured by whether or not you knew how to make a rain boot. with a plastic bag and painted rubber, of course.

the other day rowan hitched a ride home from a sleep over, with my uncle (who happens to be named tim also) who was heading home through that way. this is a conversation that took place:

rowan: uncle tim i want to have kids in a while when i am 8 or 9.
tim: are you going to get married?
rowan: some people dont get married.
tim: how many are you going to have? 13 ?
rowan: no uncle tim thats silly, i am going to have 6.
tim: thats an aweful lot to carry.
rowan: oh! i guess i could get married then, so my husband can carry 3 and
i could carry 3.

i am glad she has it all figured out at such an early age. insert side eye emoji.

rowan: mommy, how does someone become queen?
me: blank stare
rowan: because i would really like to become queen.
me: oh yea?
rowan: well, because when i am queen, instead of rollerskating lessons tomorrow they would be sccotering lessons. scooters off done the street.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

pbs kids, it all adds up!

this last weekend, our family was invited out for a fun day at the pacific science center, to hear what pbs kids has been up to lately. it was an opportunity to learn about some of the new apps, shows, etc that pbs had recently released or has coming up soon. we got to hear speakers talk about their local community involvement and i was specifically surprised to hear some statistics about a tacoma area school and what pbs was doing to make that situation better for hundreds of families.

each table at the event was equipped with laptops and ipads ready for exploring the new pbs apps and website features - even robin was all smiles as we navigated a fun app where we handed a monkey a certain number of bananas and one with bright stickers that we could place to our hearts content. stella particularly loved a shape tracing game and rowan messed around with a little bit of everything to the point it was almost impossible to pull her away when it was time to leave.

one thing that pbs focused on was parent involvement as your child's first teacher. they showcased apps and parts of the website that hold mom and dad responsible for checking out the site with their kids and then helping them in guided learning activities, some based on their favorite characters - like counting around the house, using everyday items around your house or out and about as counting opportunities e.g. figuring out how many people will be sitting down for dinner and then counting out how many plates, forks, etc you will need.

when i got home and had a better chance to explore pbs.org with the kids i found a lot of really awesome and fun things! for starters i was thrilled about the pbs parents page - full of tools, life + parenting tips, recipes, crafts, and even full instructions on how to build your kids a cardboard kitchen!

the pbs event had a little something for everyone! i was there to learn more about how i could spread the word about pbs and their current work, tim was there to eat delicious lunch catered by mccormick & schmick's, and rowan and stella loved bouncing around from activity to activity in the "childcare" area before joining us at the tables and really digging into the apps and games. a little later the cat and the hat even showed up! rowan was a giggly mess and requested multiple photos with him and while stella was enthralled by his presence she wouldn't go anywhere near him.

when the event was wrapping up we took advantage of our free entry into the science center. mandy from harper's happenings and her family were there as well as my favorite person amanda (pretty little life) and her two kiddos, so we had fun exploring one end of the museum, specifically the butterfly house with them, before our kiddos were fried from a long day and needed naps badly. at one point in the butterfly house rowan had two butterflies land on her bow - it was hilarious, she kept trying to see them and had a whole crowd gathering around her. better her than me, those big butterflies freak me out, i mean they are the size of tiny birds and trying to land on your face? no thanks!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

fifty-two lists, week sixteen

sadly i have to admit that i barely read anymore. i mean sure i read blogs, and articles about kim kardashian's butt, the newspaper, and sometimes closed captions when robin is sleeping next to me but it has been a long time since i really got lost in a good book. i know, sad right?

i felt kind of silly writing out titles like the hunger games or even twilight but the truth is, personally i found those series enthralling. to get so wrapped up in a book, to start to picture yourself a part of it, living it while you read is such an amazing feeling. these books did that for me - tim might even argue that during my twilight obsession i even mildly believed i was a vampire...

if you ask me what my all time favorite book is, that's easy, it's perks of being a wallflower. i feel like i loved this book long before people began to pick up on its existence. the book that brought me my best friend when it was randomly discovered in his room once when we were still awkwardly hanging out. how did he know about this book?

i have gotten sucked into terrible books like go ask alice or helter skelter, not horribly written, but books that make you feel bad and at the same time invigorated with knowledge of things you never explored before. once i read a book about a stipper in minnesota, i probably wouldn't have read on past the first few pages had they not immediately brought up a tater tot hot dish and it amuses me that people are always poking fun at minnesotans and their casseroles.

i order a lot of books on amazon about parenting but can't ever get past the first few chapters, maybe i'm that good, that i just know all of that stuff already (but probably not). i also have a major obsession with children's books. i am guilty of judging a book by its cover when it comes to these, there is just something about whimsical characters and gorgeous illustrations that gets me every time. goodwill can just go ahead and take all my monies for their wonderful vintage and popular title selection. sometimes you can even find my face buried in a good tori spelling memoir, i mean who doesnt want to hear about her sventeen bottles of shampoo all have to face the same direction in the shower?

i want to read kelle hamptons book, and the blogess's, and someday i hope mandy writes one because she writes like i hear myself in my head and i am sure i would ugly cry all the way to the last page. i want to read one of bethany's books and i am suppose to be reading dave ramsey's book... I have the no-cry sleep solution, the portable pediatrician, and the wonder weeks books all in my amazon cart.

so, i leave you with my list - nothing super fancy but hopefully at least one book you haven't read before but now are thinking about. my reading may be limited to books i can finish in one breath at bedtime but i try to live vicariously through my avid reader friends. what is your favorite book? or one you are currently reading?

fifty-two lists is a awesome link up created by moorea of moorea-seal.com. you should join in or at the very least check out her lists and everyone who has linked up.


things we love: uncommongoods.com + the portachair harness

when we switched robin to a convertible car seat at just two months i was super apprehensive about what that meant for us when we wanted to eat out, shop at target, visit a friends house for dinner that wasn't equipped with baby gear, etc etc. i'll be honest, it was super rough right at first - arguing about who was going to bounce him on their knee while they ate or cuddle him through a nap in the middle of lunch.

i was so excited when www.uncommongoods.com approached me about reviewing the portachair harness, one of my favorite items in the zero-three gift idea category, i was over the moon - how did they know that this was the exact perfect thing that i needed in my life right now! this thing can go anywhere! yep, i even used it at home depot the other day so that robin could take advantage of the seat while his sisters drove me nuts pulling everything off the shelves. whether we're at home and need an extra seat for a guest or out to eat as a family, i don't worry anymore about where robin will sit. one of my favorite things about it, is how it rolls up nicely and can be slipped right into my diaper bag as we are running out the door. also, with robin rounding the corner to being six months old, he is working hard on learning to sit up. i don't love the bumbo and honestly robin just flails and slides out of it. so, when robin needs a change of scenery during the day, sometimes i will just slip him in here and he loves just being able to sit up and look around comfortably.
"A portable baby seat for your little bundle, this ingenious harness invented by new mom Carren Rieger securely straps to adult chairs to instantly accommodate children five months old through their toddler years. Designed with a five-point safety harness and fully adjustable straps, this streamlined device makes feeding on-the-go safe and simple. Great for travel, restaurant dining, or just visiting grandparents and friends, Porta Chair is the perfect travel accessory for new parents.

The Porta Chair is machine washable, lightweight and AZO dye, phthalate and formaldehyde-free. A former strategy consultant, Rieger designed the Porta Chair Harness after moving to Australia in 2006. Challenged by the demands of traveling with young children, Rieger dreamed up this portable solution to the traditional highchair, crediting her "on-the-go babies" for its creation. Supports up to 35 lbs. Made in China."

uncommon good is easily becoming one of my favorite places to shop for fun gifts for people, especially the kids! with some big holidays (psst, moms and dads!) coming up in the next month or two, there are some really awesome ideas to choose from - check out these handy mother's and father's day collections they have put together for you.

have you ever been in a similar situation? what did you do with your little one before they were big enough to sit in a restaurant provided high chair? or sit in a cart?


Monday, April 22, 2013

things we love : minted and a giveaway!

stand out in a crowd!

spring, in blog land, means a surge in conferences, meet-ups, events, parties, and even networking at the playground. when your surrounded by a sea of awesome writers, bloggers, small shop owners - your first impression, your business card, has to stand out and be remembered. all of this was on my mind when i rebranded my blog last fall i began the hunt for a new business card. did i want to design my own? or go with a pre made? would it mirror my blog header or speak more of me as a person? what paper would i go with? either way, i needed a w o w factor.
i was so excited when the opportunity came up to work with minted.com. we had previously ordered our christmas cards with them and was wow-ed all the way to the mailbox as i sent off our quality, eye catching cards. i knew working with their business cards would be no exception. with over two-hundred and thirty designs and multiple "create your own" options i knew i could confidently select a card that would be unique and amazing and say so much about my style at first glance. the styles and choices they offer are so fun! i found myself gravitating towards the mommy "calling cards" multiple times before reminding myself i was there to pick out blog cards. what a awesome concept though, i can't even tell you how many times i have been trying to navigate the crazy halls at preschool and the mom of this weeks best friend is trying to grab my number or email and we are scrambling for a tiny scrap of paper. there are even daddy options and little reminder cards to hand out when you set a playdate.
i went with a triple thick, sweet bees card for myself. it was so fun to design - with custom options i chose to add my email, twitter/instagram handle, and most importantly my blog url. i went back and forth on doing something more reflective of my blog design but in the end just chose what screamed "me"! i can guarantee my blog look will change again and i would like a card that will grow with it and not have to be replaced often. the few i have already handed out have received so many compliments. right away the triple thickness make a statement and the simple yet eye catching design leads the viewer right to the important important information. i am so so pleased!

"make a great first impression with business cards printed on our thickest paper, so luxuriously thick that it is unbendable and featuring a creamy cotton texture." -minted
the site was so easy to navigate - you can minimize your results by checking certain design features you are looking for (square, triple thick, lower end pricing, with a photo, etc etc), once you have done that minted has an easy to use online tool that helps you upload and edit your photos, chose your color scheme, place your important text and information, then get zipped through checkout with extra once-overs to check your work and your order is on its way super fast. have a problem or question while you work? minted has an awesome live chat option where you can get the information you need before moving on. with a always growing team of talented designers, there is always new and fresh options to chose from. need something more specific or custom? they are waiting for your email and ideas! all in all, minted's customer service is above and beyond.

keep in touch with minted on facebook, twitter, and pinterest!

because i am so in love with how my new cards turned out, i have teamed up with minted for a giveaway! a lucky reader will receive a $100 credit to spend at minted.com - what will you chose?

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Friday, April 19, 2013

robin's montessori room in progress

this post has adhd written all over it, but it was always my goal to give robin a room that he would pick out for himself. in the beginning i tried to avoid "baby-ing"it and made it into a room he could grow into. well, i have spent the last, almost six months now, getting to know this little dude and my perspective on the room he needs versus the one that looks good has changed.

i have always been interested in the concept of the floor bed, i had extensively researched it with stella but was never really able to make the plunge because of our living and sleeping arrangements when she was a baby. i can also admit that it has taken me awhile to get to a place where i feel really good just shedding all of the extra crap in our house, stuff that weighs down on my mind. 

i am not sold on the big picture of montessori - i am all for practical play for fun not for necessity, so we mix in a little of attachment parenting here, waldorf there, etc etc. all these parenting and learning environments have a little something awesome to offer so we'll just pick and choose as we go and hope we get something right along the way. robin is such a happy baby who is content self entertaining for long stretches of time. he puts himself to sleep and will usually sing to himself in the morning until someone goes in and gets him up for the day. he is purposeful with his hands and prefers certain toys, blankets, books, etc and can roll as a mode of getting from one place to another. all of this led me to the thinking that a montessori set up room would be the perfect environment for him.

now, i don't claim to be any sort of expert on this style so i am just taking away from it my interpretation and along with the advice of good friends, created our version of a montessori room: we took out his crib leaving just the mattress on the floor, left out a few simple and safe toys, and hung a mirror. i ordered a couple of montessori suggested mobiles and am on the hunt for a soft rug to put under his bed for comfort when he rolls off (which he has yet to do). we chose to hesitantly place the mirror/play area in conjunction with his sleep area but so far it has worked out. i was worried it would distract him from sleep but it has done the opposite. i'll admit that naps were rough at first while he got to know his new sleeping arrangements but he now happily puts himself to sleep again.

now, this is his room in progress - the very beginning stages of a transformation we have in mind. i literally pulled out every last thing i had just ordered and decorated with, sold it off, and am starting off fresh. tim is building robin a version of this amazing bed we saw on ici ou la blog by bonnesoeurs. we are going with a full bed for something he can not only grow into but as he starts to roll more and crawl, he has a larger surface before he finds the floor. this weekend i am going to start the grueling process of pulling trim, priming the dark dark blue walls for white paint, painting, priming + painting the trim white (it is tbd if we will just replace it), and putting the room back together. every dollar that i made selling his furniture and decor is going back into the room, which will be easily done because i am keeping things so minimal. i am also adding a chalkboard wall to the two short walls around his closet - something i wanted to do originally but hesitated on and instantly regretted. stay tuned for a fun little twist to this idea! when he gets a little older i want to hunt down a fun mid century dresser to paint but i want wait till he is walking and can manage around its corners easier.

i will keep you updated as the reno moves along and will be posting a how-to on the bed we are creating, because i was so bummed there wasn't one when i found the idea! i am struggling to not stress out about being able to find the rug and baskets and shelving i picture for a reasonable price or even at all, so let's hope i make it out on the other side with all my hair in tack!

do you use a floor bed? i would love to hear about it and how it is going for you!

www.howwemontessori.com has been a great resource to all of the questions that came up while i was putting my ideas to action.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

mama memoirs: playing with food

breastfeeding has to easily be one of the hardest jobs - constant availability, worry, production, performance ups and downs, comfort levels, and etc etc etc. a position you hold for a year or two and then spend ten missing...

until the other day i sat firmly on the food is for fun until one, not starting solids till later, etc etc camp. when we were in minnesota i decided that we were at a good point to start exploring foods, not eating them, just seeing what they are all about. robin has been pretty interested in the concept of eating for weeks now - mimicking our mouths, diving for food, and happily sitting up straight in his highchair during our meal times. so, robin got to suck on a pickle or a hard biscuit or a carrot without actually ingesting any of it. i really wish i had gotten the pickle on video! to say he loved it is an understatement. when tim would pull it away robin would dive for it, grabbing tim's hands and forcing the pickle back into his mouth - it was so funny!

another side to this story is my struggle with breastfeeding lately. i know a huge issue with breastfeeding women is always worrying about your supply, a lot of time feeling like you just aren't making enough but really it is just your body evening out to the demand so you feel less full then you are. but, i knew there was a real problem when robin would suck and suck at the end of a session, with no swallowing. i would let this go on for a bit hoping to stimulate another let down but there wouldn't be one, so i would pull him off and he would cry, obviously still hungry. this was so painful for me to watch, instantly feeling like a failure. pumping was the same thing, i was lucky to get a ounce which was a huge change from our early nursing days. i have tried fenugreek but robin was very allergic and would vomit a lot, all day long. brewers yeast didn't really have much of an impact, same with sweet potatoes and oatmeal. i've tried some tinctures and other drops but those are very pricey and at the amount they recommend to take, i just can't with that. then, the other day i tried power pumping every hour for ten minutes and just fed robin bottles of that + my frozen supply, that spiked it for about twenty-four hours then we were back where we started.

with stella i pumped and pumped and pumped because i was so afraid of supply issues after a tumultuous nursing relationship with my ten and a half pound rowan. i would pump after every feeding for about five months and would always get about eight ounces total. this time around ain't nobody got time for that - i am busy busy and lucky if i have enough energy at night to pump one or two times a week. i have almost zero supply saved up.

so i have been having a major emotional battle with myself about formula - wondering if i need to start...

i am not for now, because despite those few minutes of fussy diving back for my boob after a feeding, robin is totally content and happy and having tons of good messy diapers. then the other day tim pointed out how close we were to starting solids and i was reminded of our journeys with the girls. they all started at around four months, all for different reasons - it was the recommendation back then, formula just wasn't enough any more, etc etc and i realized that i was holding onto ideals and pressure from the outside world that it was affecting my own motherly instincts.

so, robin is five months and nine-teen days old and he started solids the other morning. i squeezed just a tiny bit of a happy tots pouch into a bowl and gave him his first bite. want to know what? he loved it. like opening his mouth, sticking out his tongue and squealing for more, loved it. nothing came back out, he mimicked chewing the mushy contents and swallowed like a pro ready for more. this kid loves food.

so, for now we wait on any formula notions and see what a meal or two of solids does in terms of supplementing with the "full" feeling he is lacking after a feeding. he still nurses about six times a day, getting around 5-6oz a feeding so we are by no means replacing any breast milk, just complimenting it.

i was all for baby led solids (or weaning but i don't like that word here) but when we skipped ahead to solids a little early i decided we would plum pouch it for awhile till robin mastered his solids skills and then re-evaluate what our next move would be. i got a baby breeza and am super excited to try a few of the recipes in their cook book - like sweet potato and mango? sign us up! also stalking some blw blog posts i learned about cutting avocado into tiny cubes and then tossing it in ground flax seed to give something a little easier to pinch and pick up.

i've been a mama for nine years now, i may not always be able to keep up this weeks parenting recommendation, but i have learned to trust my judgement and if that means taking cues from my two foot tall boss then that is what i do. happy eating babies!



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

fifty-two lists, week fifteen

i chose just this one to share. not because i don't pin, clip, hoard, and save tons of wordy inspirations, because i do. i am sharing just this because it is my favorite by far...

i learned this quote in church one day and it has resonated through my heart and head daily since. 

the internet is the thief of my joy constantly - when my wedding was said and done, pinterest had seventy seven different pins leaving me wishing i had done everything differently. when i notice a blog, who started when i started, lacks good content, but has readership through the roof, i wander stumble through my head wondering what i am lacking, what i am doing wrong, how my social media icons could be better. my sons room, that wasn't cheap to decorate, is now in renovation because i saw something i like better. the internet reminds me what i'm not, what i can't afford, what my house doesn't look like, what my kids don't dress like, about everything that could be different. i'll admit, sometimes, it blinds me from what i do have, which is...a lot. 

so, i take a deep breath and i look at my life. it isn't always perfect and it sure isn't always easy but it's the life we've made and i appreciate every breath and moment. money and style don't make a house a home, the people and memories and relationships and love do - so i hold on to that. because i have it all, i have more then it all.

what is your favorite quote?

fifty-two lists is a awesome link up created by moorea of moorea-seal.com. you should join in or at the very least check out her lists and everyone who has linked up.

Friday, April 12, 2013

things we love: truly sanctuary and a giveaway!

dressing a boy has been so much more fun then i thought it would be! thanks to fun shops out there like truly sanctuary, i get excited picking out fun clothes for this guy. 

created for their daughter truly louise, while trying to escape pastels and puppies, ron and beth of truly sanctuary have come up with some of the most original and hip prints for kiddos (finally for mom and dad too!). even catching the attention of celebrities, truly sanctuary was voted one of the top kiddo clothing etsy shops by babble.

i am such a sucker for anything handmade and truly sanctuary has done an amazing job of setting themselves apart by creating fun and creative clothing with little people in mind.

i couldn't believe my eyes when robin's bill murray onesie and stella's "don't hate" tee showed up in the mail. the colors pop and are eye catching and the material is so soft that each piece makes such a statement! i have even washed stella's several times now and it is still as bright as ever! this shop has been super fun to work with from start to finish  and i can't to to order more shirts from them.

it is so so hard to choose a favorite with adorable options like the ole' dirty bastard tee, or the love your bike onesie, or the don't touch my beard tee for adults. i can't even stand the awesome.
truly santurary want to give one of my readers the shirt of their choice - that means you can pick one out for yourself or for the little person in your life, you decide!

disclaimer: i was compensated these truly sanctuary tees in exchange for my review. all text and opinions are my own as i would only share with you a comany i stand behind and love.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 11, 2013

apple trackpad vs. mouse


this is a weird review and totally out of place - but when we bought our first mac a year ago i was totally stumped when i was put on the spot, "trackpad or mouse?" we went back and forth and even changed our minds last minute before leaving the store but in the end we went with the track pad and haven't looked back. i don't have a ton of experience using a magic mouse but i can offer to you what i love about our magic trackpad.

wrist strain in non-existent

you can swipe back and forth through web pages and windows

mimics iphone user features like pinch, zoom, rotate and more

with the current os, track pad is much more fitting with available gesture commands

pinpoint accuracy

large swipe area

etc etc etc

a lot of reviews i read said that while the track pad trumps all, the mouse is good to have on standby. a lot of people preferred it for photo and movie editing and while probably not as extensively as these people, i have done both and haven't felt handicapped capability wise, while editing.

which one do you use for you imac?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

fifty-two lists, week fourteen.

rambling engage...

i am a little late the game but i am so excited about the week i am jumping into, as this exact topic has been heavy on my heart and mind lately. i have been all about de-cluttering my thoughts, emotions, house, and goals lately. i am always all over the place making it hard to stay on pace to the finish.

if my all over the place isn't evident on here then let me tell you about my journey through college...
i enrolled because i wanted to be a ultrasound technician, more specifically an obstetrics and gynecological sonographer. then i had a change of heart when i couldn't imagine being the person in the room, trying not to cry, having to keep a straight face, when bad news was immanent. i was still ultrasound focused but started to do the math on how difficult it was going to be for me to manage the entry requirements and course load it would bring. i started looking into radiology - it was a lot easier to get into this program and lets be honest the math intensive pre reqs for ultrasound would not go over well with me. i signed up for anatomy and physiology because this would be the last piece before i could apply to that department - what a joke, i was kidding myself when i thought i could manage this class. maybe if i was not a mother of three, one still a baby, and trying to plan a wedding while enrolled. i barely scraped by grade wise and for the program i would have had to get one hundred percent. so, tim and i did the math again and i got stuck in a lull of trying to decide what to do next. fast forward to the spring and i was pregnant with robin. having such an amazing natural journey with my pregnancy and birth with him i suddenly was feeling a strong call to be a doula and lactation educator. this had nothing to do with anything i just studied but we were already so deep into student loans and credits that tim and i agreed i should just wrap up an associates transfer degree so i would at least have that mark on my resume. are you still with me?

my dream job list is equally scattered, some are real goals in the works, or things that are part of our "later" plan. like a u-pick farm, a dream job of my husbands that i have hijacked. some are jobs i have in the works currently - an etsy shop has been created and is awaiting hand-made clothing for little people, the details are still being ironed out. forms are being filled out so that i can start birth and postpartum skills training. a lot is happening, a lot.

about high school age i decided my life long dream was to just be a homemaker, i know, women wincing everywhere. while this has been my most fulfilling job to date, i have been feeling a tug that i was meant to do a little more. it could be the debt talking, in fact it is, i am growing tired of just getting by, of just barely being able to make the "extra" stuff happen for us just because.

i still want to be a lactation consultant, i am still working towards that, slowly, but i have settled more on just being part of a community support system for all things tiny people related. my lists holds some big dreams, that sure i would love to check off, but will have to be on hold till my tiny people are bigger.

knowing me this list will probably be different in five years but still a lot the same. i always thought i wanted to be a preschool teacher, then a mom, then a birth/parenting educator - aren't those all the same thing? i am ok with it changing - life changes, we don't stay the same, or at least we shouldn't and our goals have to adjust to fit. in the mean time i am just moving forward, exploring my goals, trying to accept that i deserve to do what i want not what i should do.

what are you dream jobs? 

fifty-two lists is a awesome link up created by moorea of moorea-seal.com. you should join in or at the very least check out her lists and everyone who has linked up.

four kids, five flights, happy parents and how we did it!

i hate to be cliche with this post, but i mean...

we flew to the midwest with four kids, nine suitcases, three carseats, on five flights between there and back and i lived to blog about it, so i must.

i have to totally brag - my kids, all four, were near perfect on every flight and every layover. to take advantage of an insane deal on five tickets to minnesota we ended up with three flights + one plane switch on the way there and two flights + a four hour layover on the way back. i can't even describe the look on peoples faces as we boarded the plane with our crew, i am sure they thought they were in for it! by the end of the flight? we were getting compliments left and right on how amazed they were with the kids behavior.

they even made new friends on the layovers when they would be extra sweet, courteous, and well behaved. people were handing over their treats like their life depended on it and i was scratching my head wondering...who are these kids?

the last thirty minutes of coming and going were the only rough times - rowan's legs got cramps and zoë got a bad headache from the pressure change on the way there and on the way home everyone was just fried from the long trip and long day of traveling.

arrive extra early, we're always running late so we just planned on being super early to the airports and we had time to adjust to the slowness that is our children. i swear you say go faster and they go slower. i also just realized that a lot of big airports (at least the few we were at) have play areas similar to the mall, where the kids could work their wiggles out before boarding. curbside check-in was awesome at sea-tac with no lines we got our passes and bags checked in matter of minutes.

in their bags, i packed leap pads and iPods with extra games. a new coloring or sticker book for each kid and a pack of roll up crayola crayons. i hit up trader joe's just before and stocked up on nuts and fruit leathers to stow away and everyone had one extra set of batteries. there was gum, books, and a light jacket for unexpected weather on layovers or a chilly plane.

carseats, first and foremost - check your carseat for the words AIRCRAFT APPROVED on a sticker somewhere on your child's seat. this is super important because it would suck to plan on keeping your little one in their seat and then being turned down at the gate. we have a britax marathon 70 and we had no problems. we chose to just bring stella's mostly for her, but we lucked out on three of our total of five flights, there were open seats so robin rode in it and stella just sat on a seat. for the one we brought on, we just snapped all of the buckles and used them as a handle. it was also great for our four hour layover, we buckled stella in, tipped it back and she instantly fell asleep for a nap.

ears, they all struggled a little with this but we tried our best to combat it with gum and yawning. when robin was awake i would just nurse him - the sucking helps adjust his ears naturally and other times he was asleep even before take off and we didn't even worry about it.

safety, i'm a worry wort so i wrote tim's and my name and phone number on a sheet of paper and tucked it in a un-obvious pocket of their bags. i went over with them where it was and told them when they should pull it out and who to show it too if needed, i took extra time with stella on this because, well obviously. i had them wear bright shirts so that i could easily spot them and i put zoë in charge of number two watch over stella in case i ever had to look away for a minute.

diapers and people, of course robin had a poo-splosion during our very first take off. tim and i got really good at minimal damage tray table changes. people around us were always willing to help too! one gal even helped me hold up a blanket so everyone wouldn't have to watch or smell what was going on. speaking of the people, don't assume people suck - every flight there was a handful of awesome people who were always offering to help us. while we usually didn't accept because we didn't want to impose, a couple of times it was nice to have even one more set of hands for something. whether it be the pilots wife flying standby who offered to help rowan walk the leg cramps out or the lady who helped me buckle while mid nursing session with robin, it was all so greatly welcomed and appreciated and god bless the lady who listened to rowan read her, her entire cupcake cook book between reno and phoenix.

seating and baggage, this isn't the case with all airlines, but we flew southwest where you choose your seats when you board. checking in you can do one of two things, you can either check in right at twenty-four hours for a good boarding spot or you can ask for family priority boarding when you get to the gate and at the very least get to go in between the first and second group. we always picked seats in the very back - this way if the kids went nuts, minimal people would suffer and we would be close to the bathrooms. speaking of southwest, they are two bags fly free. with six of us traveling for eight days the baggage was astronomical. could you imagine if we would have had to pay to check eleven bags (two were car seats)?

layovers, on our long layover we found a quiet empty gate and took up residence. we plugged in dvd players to charge and so the kids could watch a movie. stella got bucked into her carseat and we tipped it up against a wall and she instantly fell asleep. tim and i took turns using the bathroom with them, hunting down cheap meals, and bouncing robin. i was ok with letting the kids be nuts climbing over through and under the seats, this was going to be their last chance for the next four hours to really stretch their legs and gets some energy out.

lessons learned, next time after i pack the kids carry on/activity filled backpacks, i will have them wear them around the house. they were all a little heavy and there was a lot of whining between check points and while boarding.

as far as carseats - next time we will plan on gate checking robin's seat in case there are open seats for him on our flight. while it was great that he could ride in stella's, that left her to think she could be naughty when it came to staying put with her seatbelt on.

we should have planned better meal wise, when we hit arizona there weren't any affordable food options so we got stuck paying a lot for junk. by time we got to minnesota i was seriously craving something healthy after a day of eating snacks.

it was such a great experience flying with these kiddos! we won't even think twice before scheduling another trip with them after how great they did. not that i was worried, you just never know what could happen at forty thousand feet!
what are your flying tips? right before we left my friend summer posted a great list of tips from their recent trip to hawaii!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

so far...



weeks twenty one + twenty two

 looking like daddy in the house he grew up in, in the minnesota sun.

Monday, April 8, 2013

month five

month five has been a lot like month four, but with a million new fun things going on! since i am a few days late with this post and we are already well into april, my brain is exploding a little bit, thinking about the fact that robin turns s i x months old at the end of this month. i can't even believe it!

we just got back from a week long trip in minnesota to see where tim grew up, meet a lot of his family, and get in some much needed time with papa and nonnie. robin LOVED minnesota - he was so happy there, all smiles and giggles and was barely set down because papa wanted to hold him all the time. 

while we were there robin mastered rolling over! this made me giggle a little because it reminded me of how zoë mastered sitting up on a family trip like this too. he can do both ways but is better at back to stomach because he forgets to put his arm up when going from stomach to back and only gets it when he randomly throws different limbs to the side.

he sees a toy he wants and he grabs it and is even starting to have favorites like his wubbanub monkey paci, which he doesn't even suck on the paci part. we are also full onto into some pretty impressive gym-nurstics and he has figured out he can reach my mouth now when he is eating, also a trade-mark move of a sister. he laughs all the time, totally unprovoked and loves other babies, like really loves to talk to them.

this week we started letting him suck on a pickle here and a hard biscuit there, not actually letting him ingest anything, but explore some tastes to get him ready for baby led weaning/solids next month. he is more then ready for solids as he can grab pieces and pull them to his mouth and is always very interested in our food, mimicking our chewing and diving for food in our hands.

if he is on his back, his toes are ALWAYS in his hands. i am sure a tooth is near, i think i can see it and the drool has tripled lately, making for many many shirt changes a day. bib suggestions?

we are waking up a couple of nights a week to eat really quick and then he goes right back down - i feel pretty fortunate because i have heard some horror stories about the four month wake-ful period and we don't seem to have it too bad. i think we have his skin issues mostly under control - he didn't love the cold minnesota weather, but overall his skin is soft and rash free.

i can't believe this boy is almost a half of a year old! in so many ways i am excited for the future, to see him turn into a little boy, to discover his personality but knowing he will be my last baby and feeling time move so fast, i want to cherish every last second of him as a baby.

happy five months rob!




Saturday, April 6, 2013

we're back!

i never wanted to officially announce that we were leaving for eight days to minnesota, because well, creepers. but we did and we even survived five flights with four kids. while i may need a vacation from my vacation, i can't wait to get back to blogging and tell you all about our trip and the vintage tractors we brought home with us.

see you monday!

Monday, April 1, 2013

let's help the babies! a big group giveaway!

i told you i had a huge giveaway in the works! i am so excited to offer this raffle to you guys as a way to bring in great donations for our march of dimes team, blogger for babies, but to also show you my great appreciation for all your help with this awesome cause.

our team goal is set high this year but i have no fear that we will blow past it in no time. my husband, kids, and i have come to absolutely love doing this walk each year. as a mother this cause particularly touches my heart as i watch my babies who were born full term, grow up strong and healthy. unfortunately not everyone can say that.

the money raised by the march of dimes and its partners funds life-saving research, programs, education and advocacy. here are just a few numbers so you can understand how much things cost and where your donations can go!

$250 is the cost of keeping a baby alive on a ventilator for one day.

$1,500 is the cost of one dose of surfactant to help a premature baby breathe.

$2,500 is the cost of an incubator for a sick baby for one day.

$77,000 is the average hospital charge for a premature baby.

$240 could provide educational videos and brochures for low-income pregnant women living in rural areas.

$1,730 could support continuing education for 72 health professionals in the prevention of preterm labor.

$3,800 funds a program to help 180 pregnant women quit smoking.

“The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.”

now that you have a better of idea of how your donation goes to work, please check out these awesome prize packages below then see how you can win one of the three! 

these are some of my most favorite brands and shops ever and i am so excited to team up with them for this giveaway. feel free to follow the links and check out all their shops!

entering this raffle is simple! every person who donates, for every five dollar donation made, equals one entry. 

donate more then five dollars? then you get more entires! e g: $20 = four entires to win any one of the three prize packs.

here is how you donate! visit this link: http://www.marchforbabies.org/melissarohr or the button on the sidebar and follow the prompts. i will be keeping track of each entry via a spreadsheet.

this raffle will run until the day the walk ends, so that is tons of time to get your donation in! don't want to be included in the giveaway? that is fine, just shoot me an email at whileitrainsblog@gmail.com

thanks again guys for all of your support!