I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging and social media recently, and more specifically, where my place is in the middle of it all. I have found myself yearning to further connect with other women and mothers and to learn from all of you. I want to share more of myself and my passions, and to encourage, inspire, and teach others in the things that I have learned and experienced through motherhood. I also want to help Holden pursue his passions and let this be a place that he can do that, alongside me.
2015 was a whirlwind year. After the birth of Gray, I felt as though I was in a fog, my creativity lost somewhere amongst the late night and early morning feedings. The brain power to focus and cultivate my passions was non existent. Where words once flowed freely, exiting out the tips of my fingers and onto my keyboard, my thoughts were suddenly silent. I didn’t worry though. I knew that one day, most likely when I started to get more sleep, the haze would clear and I would find my voice again.
The end of 2015 is when I started to find myself again and it truly all began with Holden’s request to put on a local event. From there, my creativity started slowly seeping back in…I just had to brush off the layer of dust or two. Today, my mind is bursting with ideas and my heart exploding with possibilities and excitement. It feels good to be in this space right now.
So what prompted this sudden burst of clarity? Well, over the holiday season, we did something we have never done and put together and hosted an event here in San Diego when Holden decided he wanted to put on a toy drive to give to kids in need. We loved getting to meet some of you in person and work with a large number of our favorite small businesses and brands to give back to our community.
I shared this event over on 100 Layer Cakelet at the end of last year, but I wanted to also share the images here. This event was so refreshing, motivating, and uplifting for both Holden and myself and I look forward to following our passions and doing even more this year.
^^^The entrance to Ollie & Me, the cutest baby boutique in town
^^^All of the goodies in the swag bags we gave away to our guests
^^^Sweet Treats by Hey There Cupcake. Seriously the best treats you will ever taste. People could not stop talking about these and they were gone in a matter of seconds. Glad I snagged one before the event started 😉
^^^Absolutely stunning florals by L&S Design Co.
^^^Crafting by Hello Maypole
^^^Hullabaloo Steve rocking out
^^^Photobooth fun by Box Booth Collective
^^^Photobooth backdrop by The Shift Creative
^^^Giveaways for all of the people that donated a toy at the event
^^^All of the donated toys!!!
Background on the event….
When Christmas decor starting popping up everywhere at the end of December, Holden could not stop talking about Christmas…specifically what he wanted for Christmas…about twenty times a day. I knew I needed to change the conversation because two months of hearing “I want” on daily basis was going to drive me crazy. We started discussing the true meaning of Christmas which led to Holden expressing interest in helping other children that weren’t as fortunate as he, specifically bringing them toys.
So together, with friends Kelli Murray and her daughter Rylee, we came up with the idea to host a holiday party and toy drive, which we called Holiplay Holiday, for parents and children to party, sing, dance, craft, and give back. We hoped that by inviting kids to our fun event, that we could encourage other children to get involved in giving back this holiday season.
Cheri from Ollie & Me (the cutest baby and children’s boutique you have ever stepped foot in) was kind enough to let us use her boutique for the event. Located on State Street in downtown Carlsbad, it was the perfect location for gathering a group of local moms and kiddos.
We collaborated with some amazing vendors, brands and businesses to create this wonderful event and when it was all said and done, we had hundreds of donated toys. The day before the event, we heard that the Salvation Army in San Diego had a shortage of toys, so we decided that was where we wanted to donate the toys from the event and we were able to donate two huge carloads of toys to the Salvation Army.
To encourage people to come out to the event and donate to our toy drive, we partnered with some amazing brands and businesses to giveaway some great products for both the children and mothers in attendance.
The first 25 guests to arrive at the event received a Petunia Pickle Bottom Shopping Tote stuffed with fun goodies from some of our favorite brands, including Steam Train, Dream Train from Chronicle Books, a reindeer from Build-A-Bear, a puzzle from BabyLit, sunglasses from Roshombo Baby, a pair of socks from Pals Socks, a hat from Grom Squad, skin products from Babyganics, and free lashes from Ciao Bella.
Throughout the event, we ran giveaways for those that donated a toy including
We had live music by Hullabaloo, a crafting station where moms and kids could make a snowman ornament by Hello Maypole, a photobooth by Mobile Photo Booth, and
We had live music by the ever so popular kids band, Hullabaloo Steve, for singing and dancing, ornament crafting by Hello Maypole taught by Jeadore Blogger, a photo booth by Mobile Photo Booth with a fun wintery backdrop created by The Shift Creative, and the Micro Truck parked out front to demo Micro Kickboard scooters for all of the little ones.
It was all very last minute and I couldn’t have been happier that it all came together so perfectly.
Products from this post: Baby Breeza One Step Baby Food Maker // Baby Bjorn High Chair // Baby Bjorn Soft Baby Bib // Baby Bjorn Baby Cup // Baby Bjorn Baby Plate Spoon and Fork //
When Holden was a baby, I didn’t make his baby food. Which seems so strange to me now.
Of course, initially I tried. For the first week of us introducing solids, I used the food processor we had received as a wedding gift (I think it was the first time I actually used it) to blend various fruits and vegetables and quickly found that Holden couldn’t stand the texture of my homemade foods. It might have had something to do with the fact that I forgot to actually steam the carrots before blending them that one time and was basically feeding him gravel, but let’s forget about that. Holden loved Earth’s Best jars and it was the easiest and most convenient thing for me.
A lot of my friends made all of their children’s baby food from scratch. They all had the Baby Brezza and raved about it. But if I’m being 100% honest with you, I did not understand why they had spent money on that machine. I kept telling my husband, “We have a steamer. We have a food processor. Why would we need a machine that just combined them? What a waste of money”. Well guys, now I know. Now I know. The Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker is amazing!
We are doing our best these days to not eat processed foods. We aim to make our meals revolve mainly around vegetables and fruits that we buy from local farms. So when it came time for Gray to start eating solids, I wanted to attempt making his food.
This time around, I went with the Baby Brezza and what a game changer. When Holden was a baby, making baby food seemed like such an undertaking and so complicated. I didn’t get how other moms could do it and be so nonchalant about it. Wide eyed and incredulous, I would ask “you make his food?!” And now that I own the Baby Brezza, I don’t understand how people can not make their own baby food. It’s so easy and simple.
When you have kids, it’s really all about the convenience factor. Do you know how long it takes to get out two different appliances, wait for one to finish (which means you have to keep checking on it) before you can use the other one, and then clean both of them (the cleaning of a food processor might just be my most dreaded task). No one has that sort of time…well not moms that are frantically trying to get food into their hungry babies mouth.
And the Baby Brezza actually purees the food into a that “normal” baby food texture that my child likes. Because it steams in the same container, you often don’t even need to add water after blending.
Gray is eating less purees now that he is 9 months, but we still offer them to him along with whole food since he seems to put most of his food on the floor or his face versus actually consuming it and purees are a good way to get food in him so he isn’t hungry. But before we retire our Baby Brezza, I wanted to share it with you because sometimes it takes the arrival of another child to realize what baby products you were missing with the first
P.S. Baby Brezza just came out with a new and improved version that has a lead-free glass bowl to minimize food contact with plastic and it is a larger bowl! You can check it out here.
The boys and I snuck out of the house early on this weekend morning so that we could surprise Mr.B with an extra hour (or two) of sleep. It was overcast, a thick layer of dreary gray hanging over our heads. Sometimes I like beach days better this way, bereft of the harsh sun beating down on our heads. The crispness of the salt air that enveloped us was almost tangible. The beach remained desolate outside of a few other early birds walking their dogs. Holden insisted on wearing his Max costume from the book, Where the Wild Things Are, something warm and cozy he said, despite the fact that we were going to the beach, and I didn’t mind. Watching a child’s imagination come alive, from the simple act of putting on a costume, is one of my favorite things about motherhood. Holden’s vivid and colorful thoughts were a stark contrast to the drab and bleak horizon that morning and I couldn’t help but document it.
^^^Always, always running.
^^^Do you see that smile?
^^^A few iphone shots…not nearly as magical…but I couldn’t help but include them.
I’ll eat you up I love you so
Before children, the end of daylight savings was an occasion to be celebrated. “Falling back” meant an extra hour of daytime that you could spend doing whatever you very well pleased. But as a parent, daylight savings means earlier mornings, thrown-off nap times, and later bedtimes.
Last week, Chronicle Books and Pottery Barn Kids sent us the most thoughtful Daylight Savings Survival Kit for both parents and children. Some beautiful books and stuffed characters for the boys and speciality coffee and Advil for the parents.
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and Steam Train, Dream Train are two favorite bedtime stories in our household. I don’t think my boys will ever tire of reading about construction vehicles or trains, and the gorgeous writing and illustrations make these enjoyable books to read as a parent. Holden was overjoyed to find the stuffed character from the book in the package and couldn’t wait to read the books to his new friend.
In the past with Holden, we just winged it. However, Gray’s internal clock seems to be more sensitive than Holden’s. By 6 PM, Gray lets us know that he is ready for bed and proceeds to fall asleep at 6:30 PM every night like clockwork. Holden, on the other hand, is like the Energizer Bunny…it doesn’t matter what time it is or how much or little sleep he got the night before, Holden has never gone to sleep (for bedtimes or naps) unless he forcibly made to do so. I’m pretty sure he would stay awake the entire night if we let him! This time around, we think a little preparation might be necessary for Gray who is not going to be happy with us messing with his bed time. So how are we going to survive the time change?
Plan – Instead of springing the time change on the boys all at once, we are going to start shifting their schedules at the beginning of this week, 15 minutes at a time, to help their bodies slowly adjust to the time change.
Keep the same routine – I’ll be extra diligent when the time change happens not to stray from our usual routine. Rather than looking at a clock, mealtimes, playtimes, outings, etc. are all cues to Holden and Grayson about what is happening next in their day. By sticking to our usual routine, it will help them anticipate the daily flow.
Earlier Bedtimes – Knowing that the boys are waking up earlier, I will be sure to put them down for naps and bed earlier than usual to compensate for the early wake time and (hopefully) avoid overtired kiddos.
Do you guys have any other tips or tricks for daylight savings? Do you plan ahead or just wing it?
The boys and I were asked by our friends Cassidy and Riley to share some Mom + Me Halloween costume ideas in collaboration with Pottery Barn Kids because really is there anything cuter than a coordinating family costume concept for Halloween?
I mean, as parents we obviously can’t participate in the trick-or-treating, so why not be one of the fun parents and dress up with your little one. After four years of coordinating costumes (super heroes, pumpkins, Curious George characters, Mickey Mouse and friends), I would consider us to be almost pros at family-coordinating Halloween costumes by now, but I think this year might just take the cake since it’s not only a kid concept, but something adults can totally get as well.
Mother of Dragons and Dragon Entourage…
So in all honesty, when Cassidy told me what she wanted me to be, my first thought was “oh cute” a mom and baby dragons. My mind did not immediately go to the Emmy-winning television show Game of Thrones (gasp! I know…let’s blame it on the sleepless nights or mommy brain or something like that). And then, I realized that I was Khaleesi with my own little entourage of dragons and I decided it was the coolest “mommy” costume for the moment because it’s relevant for the adults, but a concept kids love as well for an entirely different reason.
If you can’t tell from the images, Holden LOVES his dragon costume. Since this photoshoot Holden has basically lived in it, wearing it the grocery store, the playground, museums…everywhere….despite the heat wave we have been experiencing in Southern California. He even won a costume contest with it! And it’s not even Halloween yet.
Mother of Dragons Costume: A Little Bundle t-shirt (you can also find a bunch of options here) // Bel & Beau skirt
Toddler Dragon Costume // Baby Dragon Costume