Friday, April 13, 2018

Oh don't worry -- I've just had this post sitting in my Drafts for ONE YEAR. ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ˜‚ See the Honey House up there?? I snapped these photos when Emmy was just a few weeks old with the hope to share this post immediately, but ahhhh well! Better late than never (my crazy life's motto. No shame there)!

Anyway, I'm thinking the same thing today as I was one year ago, which is that it'd be fun to chat about some bomb baby products that I got for Emmy before her arrival. And by "bomb" I mean baby products that I had already tried with Olivia and Claire and absolutely loved, and products that simultaneously fit into the "budget bombing" category -- the ones that at first sight you're like, Whaaaa?! Is that worst it?? It is expensive! Because you and I both know that category exists...


Friday, March 30, 2018
It's Friday! Time for another Q&A. ๐ŸŽ‰ I chatted with a mama friend out there via Instagram about our kids and screen time -- how to set up boundaries and how to encourage our kids to play. After struggling with balancing screen time for a while when Olivia was little - Claire was a newborn and I was still running Let's Playground (see here and here)- she and I had to dig deep and change our ways to be more balanced, and we did, so I was happy to share with this friend how we went about that + how we play now. Her Q and my answers are below! 

Pics via -- an afternoon this week in the playroom. Olivia was playing "Orphanage" -- those stuffed animals set up all over were her "sweet, sweet orphans!"; she was giving them rewards (felt balls that color-coordinated with their fur color and Shopkins) for being "such good kids". ๐Ÿ˜Š Emmy and Claire were in baby doll mode. ๐Ÿ‘ถ
Q: It seems like your kids are always playing! Can you tell me how you encourage play and limit screens?

A: Gosh it's tough to turn screens off, but honestly, I just turn them off. The girls have about 1-1.25 hours of screen time every day - it's always some kind of show during Emmy's nap - but that one round is it...


Thursday, March 29, 2018
Heaven is blooming ranunculus. If you don't believe me, just take a second to slowly scroll through the 101 photos below. Okay, they're aren't really 101, but it may feel like there are the first time you scroll through. ;) No apologizes, though: these flowers are incredible. I was sucked into their beauty this week and couldn't help but take photo after photo after photo. 

I love ranunculus - the flower in general and this bunch in particular. They have brightened up my home and brought me so much joy! The only other thing that wants to spill out of my heart is that I wish I could make 101 copies of them and deliver them to you, my friends. Flowers lift the soul. Maybe it's because flowers typically stretch up, symbolically drawing the heart to heaven. Maybe it's because they're literally soft, giving the mind a safe place to land. Either way, I wish I could bring them to your home, along with a hug and an "I love you." Heaven knows we're all struggling somehow. Which one of us can't use a little lift?  

You know...I think I will "deliver" these little gifts. This may be the sweetest or cheesiest idea I've ever had (you pick), but I'm going to text or email or message a number of these photos to friends in my life who need to know that I love them and/or that they're going to be okay. Want to join?? Right-click and save any of the images you want and send away. "Flowers for friends." They may be photos, but why not? ๐Ÿ’›

Scroll slowly -- you'll see that no two photos are the same. Each capture is just a little different than the next. Each one stole my flower-loving heart...


Tuesday, March 27, 2018
A friend here recently asked me, "Do you miss the East Coast?"

"Absolutely," I answered. "I'd go to Virginia this second if I had my own jet plane. It's March. The magnolias are coming."

And the dogwoods, spring-green baby leaves, and cherry blossoms. You hear about Fall on the East Coast, but Spring is that world's time to shine, if you ask me. There are so many different types of trees and they all bloom at different times -- the season seems to last forever. It's soul-filling, really, to live in the East during Spring. It's a delicious, bottomless feast for the eyes and mind after a long, hard fast.

Mmm I miss it.

Below are photos from our visit to the famed Cherry Blossom Festival in DC last year, plus my brain dump of memories from the day (it's how you roll when you blog an adventure an entire year later ๐Ÿ˜Š)...


Friday, March 23, 2018
One of my best friends is about to have her second baby. I am thrilled for her. I watched her become a mother for the first time during law school, and I wish I could describe the strength that surfaced from her already stalwart soul after welcoming her baby into the world. A mantle seemed to settle on her shoulders, gracing her with a literal presence of power. She had brought a human being into the world, her son, and she was going to sustain his life every single day. 

Women are powerful, and putting them into a position as influential and monumental as motherhood is almost dangerous -- step back, world, and watch the dragon soar! It goes without saying, though, that the work is unbelievably taxing. There is no way to describe a mother's sacrifices. You have to feel them for yourself. And once you feel them, especially for the first time, two things happen: after a while, you forget the growing pains of motherhood's sacrifice until your next baby's on the way, which is when you become very aware that you have to feel them again. That's why my giant-of-a-friend reached out a couple weeks ago with the question below. She's preparing to shoulder her daughter's new life, and forecasting all of that sacrifice and change can be scary. You know what you have to go through now...can you go through it again, and is there anything you can do differently to make the trek from the valley to the mountain, your new baby in your arms, any easier? 

Her unedited Q is below, followed by my unedited answers. The photos are of mon amie - my Emmy! 4-week-old, precious baby Emmy.
Q: I was wondering if I can get your insight on baby sleep, since it seems like you have had three babies that were pretty different sleepers. Sleep, or lack thereof, is what I'm most concerned about with this baby coming our way. My impression is that there is little even the most attentive mom can do to influence how baby sleeps, especially for the first few months. I feel like the sleeper you get is a matter of chance, but please enlighten me with your thoughts!

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