Spread a Little Happiness

Friday, October 13, 2017

I take a lot of pictures of baby Kenzie, and more often than not, about 80% of the pictures that I take end up on some form of social media or another. It makes me happy. I love looking through my Instagram and blog posts at a collection of some of her most special moments.

I'm sure not everyone has interest in seeing only pictures of my baby for the rest of forever (hey, I posted an obligatory pumpkin picture from the farmers market the other day without the baby in it) but I also know that it makes some people's day to see our sweet girls chubby cheeks as they're scrolling through their social medias. I get a handful of messages from people every single time I post a photo of her with some kind of happy face or "awhhh" and I get it, because it's the same reaction I have every time someone else posts a photo of their own sweet babes as well.

Posting baby photos is one of the easiest ways that I know to spread a little joy around to others, but there are about a billion other super easy ways out there.

Here's a few you could try...

Don't have a (human) baby? Share some photos of your fur babies! There are few things I love as much as seeing pictures of cute kids, but seeing pictures of cute animals is definitely one of them.

Send some happy mail. When was the last time you hand wrote a letter to someone you care about? It doesn't have to be anything extravagant, but a little note or small gift can go a long way in making someone's day, or week, or year. You just never know.

Recommend your favorite book to someone. I love when I recommend something to someone and it impacts them in some way. When I read a great book I want everyone else to read it as well and (hopefully) they'll love it as much as I do.

Leave a comment on someones work. I love getting comments on my Instagram or blog or anywhere! Even if it's just someone popping in to say hello, it kind of validates for me that there are actual people out there and that they're reading my words. Give someone else that same great feeling.

*Speaking of, head on over to Erica's blog tomorrow where I'll be featured in her Saturday Sit-down series. Feel free to say hello!

Pay for someones coffee. Bonus points if it's a mom with a small child in tow ;) Every couple of months I try to pay it forward by buying coffee for the person behind me at Starbucks. It's such an easy and fulfilling way to spread a little happiness.

Call your mom. Just to remind her that you're thankful for her and thinking about everything she's done for you.

If someone loves something you have (and it isn't your most special possession) give it to them. Daniels grandmother will literally give you the shirt off your back if you tell her that you like it. She once emptied out her purse in front of me to give it to me. I couldn't believe it. Stuff is just stuff and if my stuff can make someone as happy as it makes me, or more so, than that's a pretty awesome.

Volunteer or donate. At the end of every season I always go through my stuff to make a keep, throw away, and donate pile. It doesn't take me long and most of my stuff is in good condition, just not getting as much use as it could be, so we take it to goodwill for donation. It's not something that takes a lot of time, or inconveniences us in any way, and it's kind of fun to think that you could be giving someone their future favorite outfit.

Send flowers. I LOVE getting fresh flowers. I don't care if they're from my mom, or my husband, or my grandma. If someone send me flowers it literally can make my whole day. If you can't send someone flowers, head to Trader Joe's and pick some up (for cheap!) and hand deliver them to someone you know. I can guarantee they will be so surprised and thankful for a friend like you.

Spreading happiness is so easy, especially when you've got it flowing in your own life. It's so important to pass it along to others. What are some easy ways you help spread happiness?

Sorry, I'm too Busy.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Sorry, I'm too busy." How often do you say this in some form or another? I've become more aware recently that in today's world we are so quick to glorify being busy. If you're one of those people who is just insanely busy doing all of the things you absolutely love in life, than I'm not talking about you, keep doing your thing. I'm talking about the people like many of the patients that come into the doctors office that I work in. The ones that when I go to reschedule them usually offer up some kind of, "ugh, my week is just so packed" like they're complaining, but also like they're showing some sort of badge of honor by being so busy that they cant possibly fit in time to take care of themselves.

People are busy with work, and with school, with side hustles and with relationships kept together by the thin string that is technology. In our house we are so guilty of doing exactly what I'm talking about. Just yesterday someone asked me if I would be attending an event that another family member was hosting, not a party or anything, but just a walk to support a good cause. And when I told Daniel about it (before I even told him the date) he said, "were probably too busy to fit that in" and that's exactly what I was thinking before he beat me to it.

The truth is though, we're not too busy. Do I have things that take up my time? Absolutely. I have a baby who needs constant attention, I have a job, I have a husband and I have my family. I take photographs in my spare time and I try to keep my apartment clean, I also read and I write. But aside from spending time with the people that I love, the rest of this list is so fluid. They're so much less important in the grand scheme of things and rather than glorifying the fact that I'm so busy with this and that, I feel the need now more than ever to prioritize and make time for the things that actually matter.

I just started the book Present Over Perfect and although I don't consider myself a religious person (and she writes from her perspective of someone who sought God) it's been eye opening for me so far.

I don't want to be the kind of person who when invited somewhere, automatically announces that I'm too busy like it's something to be proud of. When I look back later at my life I want it to be filled with memories of making the most out of my time by spending it with the people I love the most, doing the things that I love the most. I want to be completely present for the things that may not seem important in the moment, but actually may be some of the most important of all.

Simplify your life, stop glorifying being busy and stop making excuses for the time when you don't have anything planned. Soak up all the special moments and be present for those times that will mean the most to you when you think back on your life one day.

I Confess Sesh

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

I confess that...

++ It's been entirely too long since I've written one of these posts. Sometimes it's therapeutic to just get all the random thoughts out there, and this type of post is always an easy and fun way to do it.

*kid having the most miserable time at the pumpkin patch*

++ I haven't done any kind of weekly photo update on the baby because picmonkey changed their settings and it's now required that you pay to have access to the photo collage option and I don't want to.

++ I haven't read a whole book straight through since before Kenz was born.

++ I just bought Present Over Perfect and I'm hoping that reading it will get me back into wanting to read just because.

++ I always want to try new recipes, but I get bored halfway through cooking them if there are too many steps. This happened to me over the weekend when I decided to make butternut squash soup. Even though it turned out great, I probably wouldn't make it again.

++ I just spent entirely too much money on a couple of Madewell shirts, but one of my favorite bloggers always looks SO good in them and she has me sold.

++ I never imagined really being married and having a baby by my 25th birthday, but here we (almost) are.

++ Some days I want to put three times the amount of work into my blog and some days I want to say goodbye to it forever.

++ I've started some very early Christmas shopping (mostly by accident) and I'm so excited for the holiday season to get here.

++ I went to the grocery store this weekend completely on my own and it felt like a mini-getaway #newmomproblems.

++ I want to do a family costume for Daniel, Kenzie and I for Halloween this year but I cannot decide on one. Any ideas?

++ I go back and forth every day between wanting to keep my dark hair and wanting to go back to blonde. I'll probably never settle on one over the other.

++ We're in my favorite month of the year for all kinds of reasons, but since it doesn't seem to want to drop below 90 here in LA I am having the hardest time celebrating the beginning of Fall.

++ I am totally content with where I am in my season of life right now and I wouldn't change it for the world.

25 Hopes for my 25th Year

Monday, October 09, 2017

You know how everyone says you can't share your birthday wishes when you blow out the candles on your cake? Well, I'm turning 25 at the end of this week and instead of sharing my wishes with you all I've decided to share my hopes. Becomes obviously in this instance we can all agree that there's a big enough difference between hopes and wishes and that they'll all still come true even if I tell you guys, right? ;)

1// I hope that for just a teeny tiny second time would slow down so I don't feel like bawling my eyes out every time I think about how fast it's all going.

2// I hope that I'll say yes more often than no to experiencing new things.

3// I hope that I'll continue to get to know myself a little better.

4// I hope I'll know when to walk away from something or someone who isn't good for me.

5// I hope I'll find more time to practice new skills, and that I'll be noticeably better at them when I look back next year.

6// I hope I'll start to collect pieces for a more "grown-up" wardrobe (ha ha, not likely).

7// I hope that I'll make more of an effort to be present in special moments as they're happening.

8// I hope that I'll learn the difference between thing things I want and the things I need.

9// I hope to simplify my space.

10// I hope that I'll always make an effort to make sure my people know I'm there for them and thinking about them.

11// I hope that I'll stay the kind of person who always chooses dessert over dinner. Or who chooses both.

12// I hope that the world will become a better place.

13// I hope that I'll remember that making the world a better place starts with me.

14// I hope to strive for grace not perfection.

15// I hope to continue writing and growing my blog.

16// I hope to grow my cooking skills.

17// I hope to read my way through more of the books on my must-read list than I've had time for lately.

18// I hope that Target stops coming out with all the new stuff that I NEED ;) **see hope #8

19// I hope that I'll continue to make friends in person and through the blog world.

20// I hope I'll continue to be the kind of mother I've always imagined I would be.

21// I hope that I'll find some more outdoor activities that I enjoy doing so I can get outside a little more.

22// I hope that we'll be able to take Kenz on her first tip to Disneyland.

23// I hope to find small but impactful ways to help others.

24// I hope to learn plenty of new things.

25// I hope to make this my best year yet. 

Things You Should Always Make Time For

Friday, October 06, 2017

Taking a trip to the library. There are a few things that can instantly put me in a good mood and one of those things is taking a trip to the library. I love the quiet, I love the book smell (anyone else?) and I love finding a book that can take me to anywhere I want to be.

Spending some time alone. I am one of those people who likes being alone in my house, but not out in public. I want to be one of those people is content to going to see a movie on her own, or to eat lunch out by herself but now that I've got a little one i'll probably have a life long partner for stuff like that ;) However you like to spend a little you time, you should absolutely make time for it. Alone time always helps me to reset and makes me that much more grateful for the time I spend with others.

Spending time without technology. When was the last time you went a full day without checking your email, or watching tv or sending a text message? Sometimes I find Daniel and I lying next to each other at the end of the day with both of our phone out when we could be talking to each other. Start small if you have time, try taking an hour to yourself without checking your phone. Add a little more time each day until you can go a full day without it.

Cleaning up your space. I'm the first to admit it, I don't love cleaning. I do however, love the feeling of a clean space. During the week when we are especially busy I try to clean up at least one thing each morning that way even if I get nothing else done the rest of the day I still feel like I accomplished something.

Trying new things. Count me in for trying all of the new foods, music, movies, etc. I am the first person to say yes to trying new things. I don't have a lot of fear when it comes to experiencing something at least once (I've even been skydiving and although I wouldn't do it again, I'm glad to say that I gave it a try). You may find your new favorite thing and that is so important.

Listening to others. True life: My husband and I do not agree on a lot of things going on in our world today. We see things from completely different perspectives and we have to try that much harder to make it a point to listen to one another as opposed to just fighting over our opinions. We learn a lot about each other when we make the conscious decision to listen first and that is so important for our relationship.

What do you make time for?

It's Okay to be Scared, It's Not Okay to Stop Living.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Like everyone else, I woke up Monday morning to the news of the horrific act that had occurred at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. This tragic event quite literally hit me closer to home because we are roughly a four hour drive away from the city and I watched as friend after friend used the "check-in" option on Facebook to let loved ones know that they were safe throughout the morning.

It is the scariest thing, especially as a new parent, to know that there are things happening like this in our country every day. Things that I have no power over, and things that I know I absolutely cannot control. Of course I know that there are things that I can try to do (and believe me, I'm trying) to prevent events like this from taking place in the future. But I can't guarantee that any of my family is safe when we leave the house and that has to be the worst feeling in the world.

When I was younger my parents took me to do everything. We went to movies and concerts, festivals and amusement parks, and we did so without fear that someone may have such issue with their world that they might choose to take it out on innocent people who are trying to live their best lives.

Now, as I raise my own tiny human, I am caught between wanting to shelter her from all of the bad things about life and wanting her to experience all of the very best things. I understand of course that I can't protect her from everything. I can't be with her 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and there will most likely be times that she may be hurt when I'm not around. And I guess as a mom it's just something you choose to accept because the times that you are together are so worth that small fear of being apart.

I think one of the best things we can do after a situation like Route 91 is to try that much harder to live a meaningful life.

Despite the fear, despite the uncertainty, it is so important to live a life that later we can look back on and be proud of. One where we chose to take the chances, decide to search out experiences, one where we truly live. Many people lost their lives because of one persons incredibly selfish act, and I think that to honor those people we must live every day to the absolute fullest.

So today, make the most of the time you have with your people. Love every single one of them with all of your heart. It's okay to be scared, but it's not okay to stop living, so live your best life today.

More or Less October

Friday, September 29, 2017

More... twenty-five, Less... twenty-four (welcome to my birthday month, friends!)

More... thrillers, Less... beach reads.

More... pumpkins, Less... sunflowers.

More... sweatshirts, Less... crop tops.

More... PS(chai tea)L, Less... regular chai tea (if you haven't tried one of the pumpkin spice chai's yet, you need to run as fast as you can to Starbucks to get one because they are SO good).

More... Halloween movies, Less... binge watching (haha yeah, right).

More... setting goals for the end of the year.

More... sharing my favorite season with Kensington.

More... farmers market and pumpkin patch trips.

Less... hot days spent inside with the air conditioning on.

Less... waiting for things to happen.

Less... letting time pass me by.

What are you hoping for more or less of this month? 

Make Time for Your People

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

I've never considered myself the most social person, much more comfortable in my own home, I was  usually the girl who chose a night in instead of time out with my friends. That's one of the reasons I've come to love the blogging world as much as I have. In person I am an introvert through and through, but I've got online friends across the country that I've connected with in ways that I've never connected with others.

The crazy thing about it is that these relationships, which are so important and special, are also so easy to maintain in today's day and age. It takes me all of two minutes to pop over to a friends blog, catch up on their life real quick and leave a little note behind. Something that reminds them that they too have these relationships, that someone is there.

I started thinking the other day about how easy it is for me to do the same things for the people who are close to me (in distance and in heart). Ever since Kensington was born, I've had friends reach out from all over. Whether we've spoken recently or not, I've had people who just wanted to check in, or meet for coffee, or stop by to see the baby. When I spend time with my close friends we never truly do anything grand, we just sit in each others space as a reminder that we're here for one another. We catch up, and we enjoy each others time and it's easy and it's more than I could ever ask for. I know that because I'm willing to put in some effort towards the relationships in my life I will always have someone there should I ever need it. I've got more than my handful of people that I could call on to help me, or to just be there for me and I want to make it more of a point to nurture those relationships that I do have. There's no excuse to let them fall to the wayside out of laziness or simply because I don't always have enough hours in the day.

As we quickly approach my favorite time of the year, the time when I'm reminded on a daily basis of how thankful I am for everything and everyone in my life, I'm making more of an effort to step out of my comfort zone ever so slightly to make more time for the people who mean the most to me. Maybe this means going to a party that I'd normally skip, maybe its spending a few extra hours on a date night with my husband instead of rushing home to the baby, or maybe it's just texting a friend I haven't checked in with recently to tell her she's on my mind.

These are the important things. The people we choose to surround ourselves with, they matter the most. So grow your relationships, nurture your tribe and never decide that it's too late to take the extra minute to reach out to the ones you care about.

Surprises of Motherhood

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Whether I'm having a good mom day or a not so good mom day, I feel like I am constantly on a learning curve when it comes to everything motherhood.

I've always known that I wanted to be a mom, ever since I can remember. Before Kensington was even a tangible thought I knew that one day I'd have a baby and be completely content in being responsible for a tiny, perfect life. But no matter how much you try to prepare yourself, motherhood of course comes with a few surprises.

Like the fact that despite being more tired, physically and emotionally, than I ever thought I could be, I have also never felt stronger. It's a weird feeling knowing that someone is relying on you so completely, and regardless of the exhaustion, something inside you reminds you that you have a little person who needs you and only you. That strength comes from deep within and it is powerful and it is wonderful. And although it is something that I always knew I had, I never knew that being a mom is what would bring it out of me.

I have also never felt more like I have a purpose. I've always had jobs and hobbies and things that I've enjoyed doing. But one surprising thing that motherhood has done for me is truly given me that feeling of, "ah, this is what I'm meant to do with my life". I'm meant to love our sweet tiny baby with every piece of myself. I'm supposed to teach her to be kind, smart, and accepting of others. And I'll continue to have jobs and things that are just for me, but I will always feel most like I am doing what I'm meant to do when I'm doing things for her.

I'm surprised (okay, not really surprised) by the fact that I am literally afraid of everything now that I'm a mom. I'm terrified of the impending giant earthquake that I see in stories on our LA news channels. I'm scared of every hiccup, cough and sneeze that Kensington has, especially if for some reason they don't sound the same as other sounds she's made before. I'm nervous when she sleeps, and when she's in her carseat. I'm a MESS here people! A happy, nervous mess of a new mom.

I've never been more tired, or strong, or content, or scared, or happy in my entire life. Every day motherhood surprises me and every day I feel more like this is where I've always been meant to be.

Let's Have Coffee

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

If we were having coffee I'd probably order a pumpkin spice latte because tis the season my friends.

I'd make sure it was the biggest one they have because I'm in this stage of life where I feel like I am tired all the time lately. Kensington sleeps pretty well at night but during the day (when we could both use a nap) she fights it, hard. I think if I could just get two straight days of sleep I'd be feeling a whole lot more like myself ;)

If we were having coffee I'd tell you that it's been difficult for me to come up with anything positive to write lately because I've been feeling so hard for all of the people affected by the recent storms. I couldn't imagine the uncertainty and the fear that many people have had to deal with in regards to everything important in their lives lately, and my heart goes out to everyone affected.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you that I'm watching Friends for what may be the 100th time and I don't think I'll ever get sick of it. I'd also tell you that I saw a commercial for This is Us yesterday but it didn't have a Fall air date on it. I'd ask you if you've seen This is Us and if not I'd tell you that you just have to watch it.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you that I haven't had time to finish more than one book since Kensington was born and I'm desperately looking for a good book that can keep my attention despite the many baby distractions.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you that Target is doing just about everything it can (not that it needed it) to make me an even more loyal customer, and it's working. I like the new clothing items they recently released. I like their new $5 wine and I'm pretty positive I'm going to like the new hearth and hand collection that Chip and Joanna Gaines are releasing in November. Love you forever, Target.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you that Kensington is a little over 4 months old and it is the most fun age she's been for me so far. She is so responsive, so alert and it hardly takes anything to make her face light up in the biggest smile. I have the hardest time being away from her for even a few hours!

If we were having coffee I'd invite you to share your most favorite thing about Fall with me, and then I'd tell you mine.

Happy middle of the week friends, grab a cup of coffee and tell me what's going on with you!

Kensington Grace (Weeks 15 & 16)

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

1// Sitting outside in your Nana's arms. You still aren't sure if you like the outside, and its been 105 degrees so I don't blame you. I'm hoping for more outside time when the weather starts to cool. 

2// My favorite kind of mornings. A good cup of coffee, a good book, and a babe. 

3// Your Harry Potter onesie from Universal is one of your most worn outfits because you just look so cute in it, and clearly it makes you happy. 

4// Your smiles are so cute, so genuine and just a tiny bit crooked. We hardly have to work to get your face to light up like that and it just makes us the happiest ever. 

5// I'm never going to be over you in big headband bows, they're just so cute. 

6// This was after you woke up in the morning, I talked softly to you and you just put yourself back to bed again. 

7// There is a whole series of photos of you in this white ruffle butt outfit but your teeny tiny toes were just too cute not to share. 

8// Cheesin hard in your jumperoo. 

9// We took you on an early morning walk and it was cold. I bundled you up and put on your June & January beanie (the same one that we put you in at the hospital) and it was almost too small. I can't believe how much has changed in such a short time, but I love your silly faces the most. 

At four months: 

You: Desperately want to sit up on your own, have to put everything in your mouth, stare at our plates when we eat (and are probably ready for some actual food soon!), still love being sang to and danced with, smile so big and make squeaky almost-laugh sounds.

Me: Obsessed with your chubby cheeks (and arms and legs), finding time to take on a few new projects, trying to remember that it's okay to take some time for myself every once in awhile, and getting so excited for Fall so I can share all of my most favorite things with my girl.

Happy four months, little one, they've been my favorite yet.

More or Less September

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

More...pumpkin spice Less...peach green tea lemonade.

More... cooler days Less... 105 degree days (that was the temp. this weekend and it was killing my early start to Fall vibe).

More... baby personality showing every single day Less... down time with a mostly sleepy baby.

More... books Less... Netflix.

More... cooking at home (I got a Groupon for Home Chef and it has been awesome!) Less... eating out.

More... getting rid of clothes I don't need (and clothes that Kenz can't fit into anymore).

More... making opportunities happen for me Less... waiting for them to happen to me.

More... taking walks.

More... date nights.

Less... pool days.

Less... money spent on things we don't need.

Less... time spent looking on my phone.

What are you hoping for more or less of this month? 

5 Pinterest Recipes I've Tried and Loved

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

It can be hit or miss with Pinterest recipes sometimes but I am always looking for new ones to try. Usually the first time I make something new I try to do it exactly how I found it in the original recipe. Then, if I plan on making it again I will tweak it a little bit for our taste preferences. So here is my list of 5 of my favorite (husband approved) Pinterest recipes for you to try.

Crockpot Zuppa Toscana from Homemade Hooplah - If you like the Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden then you have to try this copycat recipe from Homemade Hooplah. I think it tastes even better than the one in the restaurant. I made a crockpot full of this and then froze it in individual baggies. It was so easy to make and heated up so well every time. I can't wait to make more!

One Pot Cajun Alfredo Pasta from No. 2 Pencil - She used chicken and sausage in her recipe but when we made this we had salmon on hand and decided to substitute for that instead. The sauce was delicious. It came together so easily and tasted great. The cajun seasoning was such a good addition to the alfredo that I would have never thought of.

Baked Spinach, Artichoke, and Crab Dip from Pinch Me I'm Eating - This artichoke dip was so good. I loved that she added crab to it. It had so much substance which I loved. If we make this again I will add some kind of acid (probably lemon) to it to give it a little kick. Also, there are a lot of steps in making this, but it can be cut down by a few if you know a little bit about cooking so read through the recipe first.

Hawaiian Shrimp Truck Special from Half Baked Harvest - I have (and will continue) to make this shrimp over and over again. It is so good, so garlicky and the perfect amount spicy. I love love love this and serve it with rice and pineapple and you've got yourself a delicious tropical meal.

Seattle-Style Smoked Salmon Chowder from Little Spice Jar - My favorite meal on this list, and for good reason. This chowder is SO good. With smoked salmon, and capers and cream this chowder is so hearty and comforting and something that I will probably make all fall/winter long. And, it heats up so well as leftovers so even better. If you only make one item from this list, make this one.

What recipes have you tried and loved on Pinterest?

Champagne For Me, Please.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The other day as I was scrolling through Instagram I saw a girl post a couple photos from being out at lunch with a girlfriend. 

The caption said something like, "me: orders a salad and cappuccino, her: oysters and champagne, please."

From what I could tell it wasn't a special occasion, they didn't seem to be celebrating anything. Just two friends catching up over lunch in the middle of the week. But the more that I thought about it, the more I realized that one of those girls was celebrating.

She decided to make something as mundane as a Tuesday into a tiny celebration of her own. She ordered champagne (something I would usually think to reserve for special occasions) because why shouldn't she? Something as small as what she ordered for lunch probably made her day a thousand times better, and it took no work on her part except for making the decision to do so.

I want to be better at making the small, mundane things into a celebration. I want to say yes to trying things, to being a part of things, and to ordering oysters and champagne on a normal Tuesday (or Monday) afternoon. I think we are all in charge of our own happiness and it's simply a matter of making the decision to go after it.

Does this mean that I think we should all quit our jobs and spend our life day drinking because that's what makes us happy? Probably not. But I don't see anything wrong with toasting to a weekday, or making a seemingly average day exceptional.

Next time I'm out to lunch just catching up with a friend, it may be champagne for me, please. Because, why not?

Five on Friday

Friday, August 25, 2017

Happy Friday, friends! Today I am linking up for a Five on Friday post to share some of my favorite things of the week with you. Are you all as ready for the weekend as I am? 

1. Usborne Books - If you caught yesterday's post, then you would have seen the announcement that I've decided to join Usborne Books as a consultant! Now, I'm looking for book lovers who are ready to throw some online book parties! Check out the post, and comment or email me if you have any questions at all.

2. Hydro Flask - The other day I received a $20 note from Nordstrom and I'm thinking about using it to get one of these Hydro Flask water bottles. Have you used one before? Which do you like best?

3. Lost Bros Trading Co. - Lost Bros is a small company that makes theme park and seasonal related t-shirts and I picked up this "Sanderson" jersey t-shirt (that says witches on the front, because Hocus Pocus is my favorite!) and I got Daniel one that says "Jack and Sally's Pumpkin Patch" because Nightmare Before Christmas is his favorite! Needless to say, we are excited for all things Fall.

4. I have my first booked photoshoot this weekend for a sweet three-year-old's birthday photos! We are going to a small park in the are and I'm hoping to get some really great shots of her. Any suggestions for photoshoots with toddlers?

5. Shutterfly. I know Shutterfly is by no means a new company to the Blogger world, but I just have to shoutout to them because they have made collecting photos of Kenzie so easy! Seriously, I order all my prints (4x4 and 4x6 are free except for a small shipping charge) from my phone, they arrive in a few days and I get them right into a photo album. There is hardly any work involved on my part except picking out which photos I want printed and I love that!

What are you sharing for this Five on Friday? I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Putting Myself Out There: Usborne Books & More

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Last week I was contacted by Erin about helping her host an online Usborne Books party. I had seen Usborne floating around social media a little bit, but I didn't know much about it. As it turns out, Usborne is a children's book publishing company that creates high-quality, educational, and interactive books for children from babies-teenagers.

I had never thrown any kind of online event before, and I was a little skeptical, but Erin assured me that it would be so easy and that my only job would be to invite people, and of course to come to my own party!

She was so right. At 7pm on Tuesday (after maybe 3-4 days of sending out invites and the occasional message on Facebook) I held my first online party and it was so much fun. Erin handled everything for me and was there to support me and my party 100 percent. I enjoyed myself so much! And after learning even more about the Usborne products, I decided to join the Usborne team myself and become a consultant for them as well!

This was a big step for me, as it was something that required me stepping a little bit out of my comfort zone. But it is absolutely something that I am so excited about starting. I will now be doing the same thing that Erin did for me! I will be reaching out, and hopefully helping people host their own online book parties. The best part about the party was that it was at absolutely NO COST to me (and would not be for you!) and I will be receiving credits towards free books for Kensington.

I am always looking for books to build her library. I've been reading to her since day one and I believe that reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do for them.

So what now?

Now, I am looking for someone to help me host my launch party! In other words, I am looking for someone that wants to have their own completely online party to help share these awesome books with their friends and families, and of course to earn books for their own family! This requires such minimal work on your part, and I bet you will fall in love with the company just like I did!

If you are interested in learning more, or want to help me kickstart this new adventure please send me an email, I would absolutely LOVE to have you! The holidays will be here before we know it (is it too early to start saying that?) and now is the perfect time to share a product like Usborne with your friends as gift options for their littles!

Happy Thursday, friends!

Babies Don't Keep

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow 
for children grow up, as I've learned with great sorrow.
 So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep.
 I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep. 

This morning I reorganized Kenzie's dresser because she's officially fitting into her 0-3 month clothes (update: since I wrote this post she is now in 3-6 month clothing. NO, you're cry). I tucked away all of her preemie outfits that we had to buy when she didn't fit into any of her newborn clothes in her first week, and I packed up all of her newborn clothes that we can't quite squeeze her into anymore.

It took just about everything in me not to cry while I folded all her teeny tiny onesies and put them into a bin in her closet. I had every intention of finishing up her clothes, then tackling the pile of dishes in the sink and folding the overflowing basket of laundry that we seem to be unable to keep up with lately. But when I finished putting everything away, I just had to stop and hold her.

At the time, she was tired and fussy and couldn't find a comfortable position. But I held her in close and took advantage of this time when she needed me, and me alone.

There will always be more dishes in the sink, and another time to take care of them. There will most definitely always be laundry and whether I do it today, or wait for another day, the truth is it doesn't really matter.

What does matter is that our babies won't be small forever. They will never be as little as they are right now and so when I'm faced with an overly full list of chores (that seems to grow everyday) or the chance to rock my baby, there's no question which I'm going to choose.

Babies don't keep, so stop what you're doing and go love on yours.

Swing Forward

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Last year around this time I saw this quote on Chelsea's blog and it has stayed with me as one of my most favorite quotes about August of all time.

Ready for an unpopular opinion? I am never sad to see Summer go. And I know this makes some of you very frustrated.

Just this weekend I saw an Instagram post where someone said she might lose it if she saw one more post about Fall while it's still August.

While I haven't started celebrating all things Fall just yet, I know I'm just a few short weeks away from fully embracing it. This morning I bought my first Fall themed t-shirt and I just may wear it all through the month of September and definitely through October. I got this one from Lost Bros Trading Co. because who hasn't wanted to be a Sanderson sister at some point or another?

I love everything about Fall. The occasional rainy day (because really, that's all that we get here in California in the Fall), football, crockpot recipes, flannel, and pumpkin everything. I am so ready to swing forward into cooler weather, and boots and beanies.

This year is even more special than the rest because I get to see everything that I love about Fall through the eyes of my baby. There isn't anything that I can think that sounds more fun than making a big deal out of all of my favorite Fall things because it will be our first time experiencing them together.

Last August around this time I was lounging away in Mexico until I took that fateful pregnancy test in a resort bathroom and my world got flipped upside down. Now, I have this perfect little life in my hands that I can't wait to share everything with.

My favorite time of year is right around the corner and I'm not just ready to swing forward, I'm ready to fly.

Which camp are you in?

Stand Up, Speak Out

Thursday, August 17, 2017

I've never been one to "stir the pot" so to speak.

I've generally been the type of person to avoid any and all confrontation, because I simply don't enjoy it. I sat through last years political ups and downs and kept to myself. I watched as arguments ensued on social media, people passionately posting their opinions, whether or not it was the "popular" one (was there even a popular opinion in the election? maybe not)

And still I kept to myself. Looking back, I think that it partially had to do with the fact that I wasn't paying close enough attention. Our government was turning into a public spectacle, a joke, and if our own politicians didn't want to take it seriously, than why should I?

I did my part, I voted, and I waited along with everyone else while I held my breath and watched them announce Donald Trump as our new President. And I cried for myself, and for our country, and for the baby that I would be bringing into the world in just a few short months.

It won't be that bad. I told myself over and over again. And yet, I've watched as the problems have continued to escalate and still, for the most part, I've stayed silent.

But I can't stay silent anymore. 

I am in absolute outrage (as I've found myself thinking more than once in the past months) over the last week.

I am horrified and saddened by the recent events in Charlottesville and I am disgraced with the press conference held by Donald Trump this week where he openly supported the actions of the white supremacy groups that injured and caused the deaths of more than one person during the rallies.

I don't want to live in a world where I have to look at my daughter and teach her that hate is wrong, while watching the President of the United States justify hateful actions. 

I have heard over and over this week, "if you ignore it you support it" and I can't ignore it any longer.

I will stand up against the hate in every way that I can because years later when my daughter is in history class learning about this time, I want to be able to look at her and tell her that I was on the side of good. The side that fought against the ugly, and the bad, and the evil. I want to be the type of person now that she can be proud of later.

It doesn't take a grand gesture. It could be as simple as getting your opinion out there in a blog post (which is also incredibly therapeutic). It could be sticking up for someone when you see an injustice occurring, or it could be just disagreeing with someone you're having a conversation with if you think what they're saying is wrong.

If you're not outraged than you're not paying attention.

And if you are, you're doing something right.

Stand up, speak out.

Kensington Grace (Weeks 13 & 14)

Monday, August 14, 2017

1// The coolest baby on the stroller circuit. We got you these sunglasses at the Janie and Jack Outlet (for $5) and because you haven't realized you can take them off on your own, you wear them around wherever we go. 

2// The worlds most perfect crooked smile, a picture I snapped while you were trying to talk to me about something clearly very important. 

3// Babies in bonnets melt my heart. You could take it or leave it. 

4// I bought you a magic sleepsuit to help transition you out of your regular swaddles. The jury is still out on whether or not the magic is going to work for you, although clearly this picture says yes. 

5// My bright eyed beautiful girl. You are incredibly difficult to take pictures with but do better when I'm taking pictures of you. 

6// Clearly questioning how you fell asleep with me holding you and woke up in your dock a tot. 

7// You are putting EVERYTHING in your mouth and drooling like crazy lately. Could there be a tooth coming on?

8// One of your favorite things to do is to sit in front of the mirror and look at yourself. I love that little smile. 

9// I call this your bumblebee look. We packed this outfit as one of your options for coming home from the hospital. Who would have thought that it wouldn't fit you until three and a half months later? Silly mom and dad. 

Should You Breastfeed Your Baby?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Let's take a quick survey.

Question 1: Do you want to breastfeed your baby? Yes? Great! I think you should do it.

Question 2: Are you having problems breastfeeding your baby? Yes? No worries, ask for help or look into other options.

Question 3: Do you have no interest in breastfeeding what so ever? Yes? No problem! There are other ways to feed your child.

And there you go, my opinions on breastfeeding. End of blog post.

Just kidding.

But in all actuality, my breastfeeding journey has gone a little something like this so far. I've known from the start that I wanted to exclusively breastfeed. For one, it's free so yay to that.

When I was in the hospital right after having Kensington I was visited by a lactation consultant who was 10/10 one of the least helpful people I think I've ever met. Maybe I didn't ask the right questions, maybe she was in a hurry, all I know is I felt like I was pretty much on my own to figure out how to feed my baby and that was going to have to be that.

Let me tell you ladies, it was hard. Like, really hard. Kenzie had some issues latching for a little while to the point that she was getting milk but she was also (TMI warning) making my nipples bleed. I was almost at my breaking point so many times and I just felt like crying. I knew she was feeding but I was in so much pain that I thought about throwing in the towel early on.

Daniel being the wonderful, perfect husband that he is went to the store and bought me every product he could find that might help. Nipple covers for her to latch onto, creams, gel pads to help heal, etc. Once we got past the initial soreness, then came the next struggle, production.

I wanted to be able to produce enough that I could feed her and get some in the freezer for later down the road once I started back at work. I knew I was asking for a lot, and so I started using the breast pump every chance I could to keep my production up. I felt like nothing was working (I even drank alcohol-free beer because brewers yeast is supposed to help) and I did the best I could to just continue feeding her as needed and pumping when I could.

Finally we hit a groove. And then I got mastitis. If you've never heard of this, it's an incredibly painful breast infection caused by clogged milk ducts. I'll just tell you, it hurts. And it gave me a nice 102 degree fever which made holding the baby up to my chest for any period of time so incredibly uncomfortable. So we did the only thing that made sense for us at the time, we introduced formula.

I started giving her a couple of formula bottles a day and breastfeeding the rest of the time (or pumping and bottle feeding) we were lucky to have a baby that would take any bottle although now she sometimes fights it if I've been breastfeeding more often.

I found myself feeling bad at first for choosing to give her formula when I know how beneficial breastmilk can be for her, but then I thought, what the heck?! I'm feeding my baby and I'm doing what's best for all of us. End of story. Her doctor has been so impressed with her health since she was born, she is getting more then enough to eat between the formula and myself, and I am probably breastfeeding 3-5 times a day around my work and sleep schedule.

And for us, it works. Your breastfeeding journey may look completely different then mine, or you may decide to skip the whole thing altogether. And that's okay. The important thing is that you're feeding your child, in whatever form that may come for you.

So, my thoughts on breastfeeding are as stated in the beginning of this semi-rant. If you want to, awesome. If you can't, no problem. Do what is best for YOU and your family and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

My Most Used Infant Items

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

As first time parents we have inevitably purchased things that we have absolutely loved having for Kensington and things that we thought we would love and didn't use, or totally hated. 

It's all trial and error, especially in these first few months, but one of the things that really influenced my registry and my purchases before the baby got here was reading about other people's experiences with some of the more popular items.

We're three months into this parenting thing now and I'd like to think we've got a pretty good handle on the things that have, and haven't, worked for us so far. 

What works today might not work tomorrow and we're on a constant learning curve, but I thought I'd share a few of the things we would definitely buy again for our next child, and some things that we wouldn't. 


DockATot - We used this for a means of co-sleeping in the first couple of weeks rather then using a bassinet outside of our bed. I love the DockATot because it's small enough to go anywhere with us (and it has) and it was so easy to transition her in the dock from our bed into her own crib. I'm just sad that she's getting too long for it at just three months and I wish that the Deluxe size could be used for a bit longer at the price we paid for it. 

Swaddleme Original Swaddles - I bought a TON of swaddle blankets (all different brands) for Kenz before she arrived. I used them for approximately two weeks or so before I switched to these Swaddleme velcro swaddles. These were 1000 more convenient and cheaper than pretty much all other swaddle options out there.

Infantino Pond Pals Play Mat - Kensington spends at least an hour on her play mat throughout the day. With all the colors and shapes she constantly has stuff to look at and she has the best time. I suggest buying the deluxe option with the music!

The First Years Newborn to Toddler Tub - In my opinion this is the perfect choice for an infant bathtub (and we tested a few). This can fit in a double sink or bathtub, has a mesh hammock for newborns to be laid down into but can also be removed to double as a toddler tub. Plus it's only $12, win.

Owlet Baby Monitor - I mean it when I say that if I had 1000 kids I would one of these every single time. No, I am not being sponsored by Owlet to tell you this, but this product has given me so much peace of mind every single night since Kenzie was born and I am seriously obsessed with the way this works. The only downfall I see is the price, BUT they do offer a monthly payment plan (which we used) and it was so easy and worth every cent.

Baby Briefcase - We received this as a baby shower gift and it has been awesome. Such an easy way to keep track of all of Kenzie's most important documents, I'd definitely recommend buying.

Vtech Audio Monitor - Between this and our Owlet I never have to worry about leaving Kenzie in her crib to sleep. The sound on this thing is amazing.


4moms Bounceroo - I was really disappointed in this product. At almost $100 dollars I expected more than just a vibrating seat. We could have easily purchased the same thing for $25 dollars from another company.

Puj Tub - I have mixed feelings about this baby tub. My biggest complaint is that Kenzie was so small in the beginning and trying to keep her upright and still clean all of her was difficult and really could only be done if there were two of us to help.

Ergo Baby Carrier - We have NOT mastered the art of the Ergo baby carrier. I don't think I could put it on if I tried. I'm also very small and it just seems so heavy and big when I try to use it. I very much prefer our Solly Baby Wrap over the Ergo.

Homedics Sound Machine - We may get more use out of this as she gets older but for now the fan in her room on the sleep setting has been the perfect amount of white noise.

Wipe Warmer - I love the idea of this and am seriously considering using it to hold face wipes for me, but we had to stop using it for the baby wipes because every time, without fail, Kenzie would pee on her changing table if the wipe was warm. Don't ask me what thats about, its just the way it worked.

Let me know what you think of this list! Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts on these products? What were some of your favorites in the early baby months? 

Making the Most of the (End) of Your Summer

Friday, August 04, 2017

I am not, and have never been, a huge fan of Summer. Honestly we could just skip the whole thing and I'd be perfectly content.

I'm sure this partially has to do with the fact that California doesn't experience Winter in the same way that other states do, so when I say I'm alright with skipping Summer that pretty much just leaves us with slightly less warm days and a little rain here and there. And that I could go for year around.

Every time that August hits I've really reached my peak of Summer time enjoyment and I am so ready to ring in all the Fall things that lead us into the end of the year aka the best time to be alive.

So, since we're heading on our way out of Summer (at least in my eyes) I thought I'd share some things that you can do to make the most out of what's left of yours.

Make s'mores. Make them in your kitchen if you don't have access to a bonfire. Or, buy all the supplies for s'mores and eat them all individually.

Go to a drive-in. Does your city still show movies at the drive-in? Ours doesn't exactly, but we do have movies in the park and it's kind of the same thing. Bring a blanket and hit the dollar store for all of your favorite movie snacks.

Take a road trip. With your friends, with your significant other, with your kids, it doesn't matter. Just get out there and see something new.

Volunteer. Tons of people volunteer during the holiday's because everyone wants to help out during that special time of year (and that's great) but volunteers are in high demand around this time of year, so ask around and see where your help is needed.

Garden. Or just buy a cute little window plant for your bedroom.

Spend a day at the beach (or pool or just on your porch) reading a book. The library is just full of great options.

Try a new flavor tea. I recommend the pineapple black tea from Starbucks. Yum.

Paint your nails bright colors. Save the darker colors for October or November.

Buy all of the bikini's while you can get them on sale. Put them away unworn until next year so you'll have fun swimsuit options that you forgot about.

Go wine tasting or check out a new brewery. There's not much higher on my list of things I love then ice cold rosé on a hot summer night.

Start planning a trip for next Summer. Save up and make it happen.

How will you make the most of the end of your Summer?

More or Less August

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

More... tea Less... coffee (but only for a little while longer) Have you tried the Pineapple black tea from Starbucks yet? Yum!

More... baby achievements (that's what Daniel calls it when Kenzie does something new) Less... sleeping baby.

More... husband time Less... Daniel being away for training.

More... summer fruit Less... processed foods.

More... pool time (if I can convince the baby) Less... staying inside.

More... eating at home (I just got my first Hello Fresh box to try!) Less... take out for one.

More... preparing myself for the wonder that is Fall. It will be here before we know it!

More... working on Kenzie's baby book.

More... patience at work for the things out of my control.

More... reading (something I've totally been slacking on but need to get back to).

Less... procrastination.

Less... spending money for no reason.

Less... making excuses.

What's on your more and less list this month? 

My Life Is...

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

My life is... waiting for calls and texts from a husband (often) sent away for his job.

My life is... watching the same shows on Netflix over and over again. Not because there isn't anything better out there to watch, but just because I really love the ones I've already seen. Friends reruns, I'm talking to you. 

My life is... finally finishing my coffee after re-heating it three times before noon.

My life is... long walks around Target when I don't need to buy anything but just want to feel happy. inside.

My life is... extra snuggles at night from a baby who doesn't like to take naps during the day.

My life is... waiting for summer to end so it can finally be Fall and I can wear all the layers.

My life is... spending entirely too much money on baby clothes that I know Kenzie will probably only wear once or twice ever.

My life is... sitting in LA traffic for two hours to get to a place that should be 25 minutes away.

My life is... getting to read lots of books before they come out because my parents have a really cool job.

My life is... late night snacking because I either (a) didn't find time for an actual dinner after work or (b) needed to satisfy my sweet tooth before I went to bed.

Tell me some things that make up your life.  

Kensington Grace (Weeks 11 &12)

Monday, July 31, 2017

1// All the heart eyes for your first swim suit with the ice cream cones on it. 

2// Sleepy smiles right when you wake up are the worlds greatest, ever. 

3// I asked you to smile for your day and you were more than happy to do so. 

4// No to pool days. No to sunshine. No, no, no. Summer is just not your thing. 

5// In LOVE with you in yellow and bows and lace. Just give me all the girly things. 

6// Solly baby wraps make our walks to the mailbox 1000 times more convenient. Also, they work pretty great for baby and mom dance parties. 

7// Couldn't tell if you were whistling or blowing kisses, or both. But your lips are in the most perfect round shape. 

8// You're strong enough to sit up on my lap to look at the pictures in your books and you absolutely love it. 

9// The play mat is still your happy place. You could lay on it and talk to the fish and turtle attachments. 

At three months: 

You: Smile big whenever anyone talks to you, love being danced around and sang to (the happy day playlist on Spotify is your fave), still skeptical about getting kisses, love making bubbles with your mouth, just started holding your rattle (and licking it like an ice cream cone).

Me: Trying to slow time down and realizing how quickly this growing up stuff goes by, cherishing all of the sweet sweet baby cuddles, getting better at getting things done quietly while you're napping, becoming a pro at getting out of the house more quickly and with less unnecessary stuff.

You are our whole world, darling girl!

Surviving "Single" Parenting and a Target Giveaway!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Last weekend Daniel left for his summer training for the National Guard. Originally when he signed his contract with the guard after active duty I was told that he would be gone one weekend a month, and two weeks out of the summer. But alas, one weekend a month turned into one long weekend a month (aka usually Thursday-Sunday) and two weeks in the summer turned into four.

So here we are with two and a half weeks left of his training and I've already learned a few things along the way about how to survive "single" parenting.

During our first week alone my parents had to leave for a business trip and my mom is usually the one to watch Kenz when I'm at work in the afternoons. I had a babysitter lined up, which of course fell through because why not? Have you ever heard of Murphy's Law?

Anyway, I searched high and low for a sitter, ended up having to take two days off of work and finally found someone to watch her for one afternoon.

TIP #1: Always have a back up for your back up. I was so grateful to find someone to watch her for at least one of the days during that week but when I think about it I should have been better prepared. What if my normal sitter (aka my mom) gets sick last minute? Start searching early for people you would trust enough to stay with your baby, even if you don't necessarily plan to use a sitter right away.

This totally goes along with the first tip, but creating a community has been a huge help for me while I've been alone so far. I know that even on the days I have work, I can bring Kenzie in for a visit and she will be surrounded by a billion people who want to hold her and spend time with her. These are the same people that I know I could call for any reason to come help me if I needed anything at all. If you don't have family close, and work isn't the most kid-friendly of places, start looking for local moms groups and start building that community.

TIP #2: Stock up on the necessities ahead of time. One big thing that Daniel did that helped me so much before he left was that he went out and got me all of the essential things I would definitely need in a month but didn't necessarily think about. He bought trash bags, baby formula, coffee, dish soap, and of course all of my favorite snacks. When I needed something last minute it helped knowing that I probably already had it at home because we planned ahead as much as we could.

TIP #3: Prioritize. Start learning the difference between the things you need to do and the things you want to do. For example, I need to make sure that our bills get paid at the beginning of the month. I want to have all of our laundry cleaned, folded, and put away at all times. Sometimes somethings got to give and it helps to know what is really necessary and what you may need to put to the side for a bit. I'm always willing to push the laundry to another day for the greater good ;)

TIP #4: Don't be afraid to ask for some time to yourself. Because I spend half my day at work, I generally want to spend the other half with my kid. But when I've had a long day and she's overly tired and we've both just had enough of it all sometimes it's completely necessary and ok to ask for just a couple minutes of time to yourself. You don't want to feel grumpy, trying to soothe a grumpy baby, I'm telling you it just isn't a good situation for anyone. Just take those few minutes to reset and you'll feel 1000 times better.

TIP #5: Document! Make every moment a big deal. One of the hardest parts about having your significant other away when you have a little one is knowing how much they're missing out on. I try to make everything that Kenzie does a big deal that way she continues to do it and I can take tons of pictures that I'll be able to show Daniel once he finally gets home. I hate the thought of him missing out on anything at all, and especially in a training like the one he's in where we have no means of communicating, it is more important then ever for me to write down special moments or take a ton of pictures of things while they're happening so I can recall them and fill him in on every detail later.

And now for some fun! Because Thursday's are almost Friday so I think that's a pretty great reason to celebrate.

I have teamed up with some amazing bloggers to bring you a giveaway in celebration of Coffee With Summer's 3rd Blogiversary! We're giving away a $200 Target gift card! Everyone can use an extra $200 to Target!

To enter, complete as many tasks as you can in the Rafflecopter form. Enter fairly. All entries will be verified before a winner is chosen. US only. No giveaway accounts allowed - they're automatically disqualified. Again, enter honestly and have FUN!

This giveaway is not sponsored by Target and it runs from 7/27 - 8/3. The winner will be chosen and announced by 8/4.

Good luck, and happy Target shopping!

Weekend Highs and Lows

Monday, July 24, 2017


High: Went to Jiffy Lube to get my oil changed and found a Groupon for $49 dollars (instead of the normal $75) for the kind of oil my car needed. Yay for small adult victories.

Low: (dramatic story time) Literally one of the worst things to EVER happen to me in my life happened on Friday morning. I had just put the baby in the car before we were going to get the oil changed and I had to put something in the trunk. Suddenly I felt something hit my shoulder and it kind of tickled like maybe my hair was brushing my neck and I went to kind of push it back. But it wasn't my hair. It was in fact a GIANT (like half dollar sized, not exaggerating) spider that fell from somewhere above me. It was what actual nightmares are made of and I watched it fly through the air when I hit it and it landed on the floor and disappeared. So now I can never park in my garage again and I'm also my fear of spiders increased by 1000 percent so I'm pretty sure I'll never get over it.


High: Stranger Things trailer released and it is SO GOOD. Is it October yet?

Low: Nothing really. I spent most of the day watching Disney movies on ABC Family Freeform (still think the name change was stupid) and then my sister brought me Chick-fil-a for dinner so, win-win.


High: Booking my first two paid photo shoots for Kensington Grace Photography! Yay! And snapping this adorable picture of baby K.

Low: Getting absolutely nothing done because that sweet-faced baby refused to go down for a nap without being held all day long. By 6:00 she was so exhausted she practically put herself to bed for the night and by that point I was pretty exhausted myself.

What were the highs and lows of your weekend?

Five Things Making Me Happy Today

Friday, July 21, 2017

1. Days off in the middle of the week. Daniel has been away for some military training and the babysitter I had lined up for Kensington while I was at work fell through. I had no other choice but to take a couple of days off to be home with the baby and it was so nice. We took naps, went to the pool and I was able to get so much done around the house in between play time. I wish every week looked like this one!

2. Babies in bathing suits. Yesterday I took Kenzie to the pool for the first time, and she HATED it. She didn't mind being under the umbrella where the sun couldn't touch her but she second I dipped her tiny toes into the pool water it was over for her. We bought her this Cat and Jack swimsuit from Target and she looked as cute as could be. 

3. The Fall talk has begun. Have you heard it floating around? I don't know what was up with this week but everywhere I looked I saw a different tweet about getting ready for Fall and I love it. I've never been a huge fan of Summer and even more so now with the baby I can't wait until it's cool enough for us to go spend some time in the park or taking walks. 

4. The response to my photography page has been amazing. I mentioned earlier in the week that I recently decided to finally launch my photography page, Kensington Grace Photography, and I'm so glad that I did. I've already booked two photoshoots in the upcoming weeks. Go check it out and let me know what you think, I'd love some feedback!

5. People who go out of their way to help you. As I said above, this week the babysitter that I had lined up for Kenzie had to cancel on me. My mom, who usually watches her, is away on a business trip in Seattle and Daniel is in training. I called everyone in the family that I could think of but I couldn't find anyone with the free time/ability to watch her for an afternoon. Finally, I went to another resource, a friends mom, and she was more than willing to help me. She even moved around something that she had going on in the afternoon so she could be here as long as we needed her.

On top of that, my office was incredibly understanding about me not being able to make it in for two days. My mom always says it takes a village to raise a child, and I'm feeling so grateful that my village is made up of the best people.

I'm linking up today for Five on Friday! What's making you happy today? 

A Well Rested Babe and One Happy Mama

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I started back to work a couple of weeks ago and I swear there is one question that I get asked every single day, "are you sleeping at all?" This is usually followed by some giggles, as if we're all in on some private parent joke and they know that theres NO WAY I could possibly be getting any sleep with a new baby in the house.

Now, I'm not sure if I'm putting out some vibe that tricks people into thinking I'm not getting enough sleep, or maybe it has something to do with the fact that since Kensington sleeps so well at night she is bright-eyed during the day (leaving me little to no time to get ready before work) but people seem genuinely surprised when I tell them that by two months she was generally sleeping around 7-9 hours straight through the night.

I'd like to attribute this to a little bit of being blessed by the sleep gods, and being lucky to have a baby who is naturally a content little sleeper no matter where she's at, but there are also a few things that we routinely do that I think have helped keep her down at night. I would like to start out by saying that we did not read any books about baby sleep schedules (I tried one and it read like a school textbook and put ME to sleep just trying to get through it) and we are first time parents so we are by no means pros at this. This is what worked for us, but ultimately you may need to try different things to find out what works best for you and your little ones.

Supplement formula before bedtime. In the first few weeks after Kenzie was born I was exclusively breastfeeding. However, I was having difficulty keeping my supply up and shortly after having her I ended up getting a breast infection that was giving me a 102 degree fever. The fever made nursing almost impossible and I made the decision to buy some formula to supplement her feedings until I recovered. To my surprise, she started feeding less often because she was much more full from the formula than she was from my breastmilk. If I had known this would have been the case I would have been giving her a small amount of formula from the very beginning. Today we pretty much give her an equal amount of breastmilk and formula throughout the day but we ALWAYS end the night with a formula bottle. Even if she has only two-three ounces before bed it generally keeps her full enough to sleep up to 9 hours if she's really tired.

Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle! I cannot stress enough how much a swaddle has helped us keep this baby sleeping restfully through the night. When she gets too tired her little arms and legs just flail all over the place and if she isn't swaddled she ends up smacking herself straight in the face and waking herself up. Before she was born we bought all kinds of swaddle blankets and actually the cheapest ones we found seemed to be the most effective. We LOVE these Swaddleme Original Swaddles and they're only $20 for a pack of three. These are the best ones we've found because they velcro and it's so easy to get her in and out of them when she's asleep or awake.

Co-sleep only as long as your baby really needs it. We co-slept for the first 5 weeks or so. Part of it was due to the fact that we were brand new first time parents and we were unsure about ourselves. Another part of it was that because of my labor complications I couldn't safely carry her through the house (for fear that I may pass out) and having her next to me for night time feedings was a much easier solution. And of course, we could hardly bear the thought of her not being in our sight at every second of every day in those first few weeks. We purchased a dockatot and kept it between us on the bed during the night. When she started sleeping for longer stretches, we decided to move her dockatot into her crib and we haven't looked back since. Her room is incredibly quiet and peaceful and we keep a light fan running in there for some white noise for her. We are also sleeping so much better now that we have our bed back.

Take your baby out. We've been taking her out and about since she was a week and a half old. I know this isn't necessarily the popular opinion to do so, but at this point she can sleep anywhere. In fact, she loves taking a good nap in a noisy restaurant or on a trip around Target. She doesn't mind the lights or the sounds and she's pretty content to sleep anywhere we go.

Don't be tricked by the cuteness. When Kenzie has a really long stretch of sleep, she wakes up in the happiest mood ever. The second we put her on her changing table she is all giggles and big smiles for mom and dad. The problem is that sometimes this happy baby decides to make her appearance at around 3:00 in the morning if she went to bed too early, or didn't get enough to eat before we put her down. It can be so tempting to keep her up to play with her when she's in such a good mood, but it can also really mess up whatever semblance of a sleep "schedule" you may be working on for your baby. Keep the lights off, change and feed your baby if they need it, and then soothe them back to sleep so you both will wake up feeling completely rested and ready to play come morning time.

Try all the things. Find out what works best for you, it may be completely different than what works best for us, or someone else you know. Experiment a little because the worst thing that could happen is that you end up tired in the morning because something didn't work out during the night and you can try something new the next night.

How does your baby sleep at night? What tricks do you use to make sure you're all waking up well-rested and happy?