Friday, October 21, 2016

Baby Wearing // My three favorite carriers

So baby wearing, it's a big deal these days right? I am a MAJOR fan and not just because it keeps your baby secure and close and all the hippy reasons (haha) but because it is actually just incredibly convenient, especially if its your second (third, fourth, etc) baby. I don't know how I'd go anywhere with a toddler and a little baby without some form of baby wrap/carrier... my back, arms and sanity are very thankful for mine.

 There are not only a ton of carrier types but also many different companies within each type of carrier. I wanted to share my favorite three in this post (since people ask me about mine a ton!). But for more info on each type, check out this baby carrier guide on Babycubby. It's chock full of info with pro's and cons and just all around super helpful.

Here's what I use:

Solly Baby
This wrap style carrier is one of my favorite, especially for those early tiny newborn days. It's lightweight and breathable but keeps baby secure tightly next to your chest. Once you get the hang of it, its really easy to put on and adjust. I adore my solly and highly recommend them over the other wraps like this on the market. They have so many gorgeous colors and prints too, I just want them allllll. I use my solly almost daily (at home, on the go, everywhere) and if anyone asks which baby products I use the most, a Solly is the highest thing on my list.
baby wearing
baby wearing

Linen Ring Sling
I didn't have a ring sling with Beck which I actually regretted later so this time around I did some research and decided on making one myself. It took me awhile to get used to this type and I'd definitely say there is a learning curve with getting baby in there right and feeling comfortable with it. I had to watch a tutorial video for "threading" it like 100 times before I understood it but now its super easy. I like that the slings are quick to put on and take off and feel really secure. I also like that you can use them when baby gets older/bigger (and even with toddlers). It's also nice to sometimes have a wrap that doesn't completely consume your outfit, which may be a vain thing to think about but sometimes the wrap style is too much/not flattering with certain things I have. I based my sling on the dimensions of Wild bird slings (and maybe Sakura too) and followed a tutorial on Pinterest using 100% european linen.
baby wearing
September 1st

Ergo baby
Last but not least, I use an ergo carrier. I like this for when I'll be moving around a ton (like hiking, etc) because its the most supportive, especially for the neck and head. It's also super quick and easy to put on so I keep it in my car for when I'm not carrying my wrap or sling. I also love that there is a head cover which protects from sun/rain/wind. I will say this isn't my favorite carrier for tiny newborn days but it is essential for later down the road and can be worn for years! I use the Adapt one right now but I have also had the original Ergo carrier and its great too. I didn't have a photo of me wearing this yet (oops!) but I'll edit later to include one.

And thats all I have as far as baby carriers! Like I said, I am a BIG fan of all of them and I don't think I can choose a favorite. They are all good in different ways. If you have any questions, leave a comment on my Instagram photo.

Be sure to check out the baby carrier guide on Babycubby that I posted up there. It's an amazing website--not just another baby store but a great resource for parents (they are parents, they get it). They carry some of my all time favorite baby brands and they also price match anywhere (even amazon) so you always get a great deal.

Friday, September 2, 2016

It's almost fall (...kind of)

September 1stSeptember 1st
(Sponsored by Zappos)

Oh hey, long time no see! I took a few months away from blogging to, you know... have a baby and adjust to life at home with two littles. I'm looking forward to coming back to this space and picking up where I left off. 

Funny story: Apparently when you're pregnant your feet can grow (among everything else that is growing!) but it didn't happen to me with Beck so I figured I was in the clear with Isla. Not so much! After I had her I went to put on my favorite pair of booties and it was like that scene in Cinderella where the sisters are trying to smash their feet into the glass slipper, my feet were absolutely not fitting into my booties any more. I was in a little bit of denial so I measured my feet and compared it to sizing online and discovered my feet grew an entire shoe size while pregnant. Kinda devastating!

Well, literally the next day Zappos reached out and asked if I wanted to work with them and Lucky Brand shoes for their fall collection. I laughed at how perfect the timing was, it was meant to be! I needed some flats and some boots to replace the ones I could no longer wear. I picked these strappy flats shown in the photos (I got them in tan too) and also a pair of these booties since fall is quickly approaching and it'll be rainy every day.

Lucky Brand has an amazing selection of shoes that are versatile and extremely well-made, and even more importantly, they have a high standard for being ethical in their factories (some are even made in the US). And because Zappos is the best, they were shipped overnight so I didn't have to wait long for shoes that finally fit!

Fall, I'm ready for you now!

p.s. Babies: the best accessory right?! :)

September 1st
September 1st

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Well Kept House: My Weekly Cleaning Schedule

Clean and green.

If you've been reading my blog for awhile my knack for cleaning should come as no surprise to you. I actually really really enjoy it, and even joke about taking up a side job as a house cleaner. I'm also type-a, organized (OCD) list maker so in order to keep up on keeping our house clean with a busy schedule and a messy 2 year old I have implemented a weekly cleaning schedule. Some people prefer to do the one day a week cleaning frenzy to do everything in one fell swoop but that didn't ever jive with me so this is what I've been doing for a couple years now and I love it. It keeps your home clean and tidy without feeling like you're spending 5 hours a day cleaning and it's easier to stay on top of general tidiness.

Here's what my weekly cleaning looks like, obviously its based on my home and you'd need to adjust it to your needs in your house (ie: vacuuming vs sweeping, etc)

Monday: Bathrooms (Everything: Scrub toilets, sinks, bathtub, countertops and floors)
Tuesday: Vacuum hall, bedrooms and furniture. And dust all rooms (including living room)
Wednesday: Mop entry, kitchen, living/dining and wipe all kitchen cabinets.
Thursday: All laundry (usually two loads of clothing, one of linens)
Friday: Deep clean or organize one area (the refrigerator, a closet, clean windows and mirrors in all rooms, etc) + catch up on any missed days.

And here are things I do daily to keep things tidy:
-Sweep living/dining and kitchen
-Dishes, countertops and table
-Wipe down sink and toilet in bathroom
-General tidy in all rooms (sometimes this requires vacuuming hall+rooms at least once more throughout the week)

I generally spend 30 minutes to an hour doing all of the above, which seems like so little time to trade for a clean and tidy house every day. Obviously this isn't rocket science and probably not any new information at all but I always find it helpful to see exactly what other people do to stay on top of it to get an idea for how to implement it myself. I promise this won't feel like you're cleaning 10 hours a day and never staying on top of it, it's SO easy to maintain the tidiness with a schedule like this.

A few other things that help me stay on top of tidying and cleaning:

-Using disposable disinfecting wipes for quick clean-ups. I don't use them for everything but definitely for a quick sweep through the bathroom during the week on the toilet and sink. And they also come in handy for the bajillion toddler messes like pasta that gets thrown on the ground or cleaning his highchair tray. We've been using these ones from Seventh Generation (plant-based and safe for kids!)

-Letting your kiddos join in on the cleaning fun. I always let Beck help with windows or mirrors, or wiping countertops (only if he wants to obviously, and he always does!). It keeps him occupied while I clean and he learns that cleaning can be fun. The only place I usually clean during a nap time is the bathroom since I'd rather him not "help" clean the toilet ;)

-Have less stuff, tidy less. This is just the tip of the iceberg for another post I've been working on but I can't do a cleaning post without talking about it for a second at least. The less things you have, the less you'll have to tidy up. If it takes 30 minutes to pick-up toys in your kids room, maybe they have too many toys. If laundry day requires 10 loads of laundry, maybe you have too many clothes (unless you have like 10 kids).
Green clean

Clean and green.
Clean and green.
Clean and green.

I'm a long time lover of Seventh Generation products and have been using their cleaning products since I started buying my own when we first got married 8 years ago. I'll be working with them for a few posts so they sent me a box of house cleaners and products (hello... my dream package! I was actually giddy) to use and share about. I've been especially loving the natural glass cleaner, tub+tile cleaner (a must in the bathroom!!!), the lavender dish soap (smells SO good), and the free and clear laundry soap.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Pregnancy #2: So different yet the same

Third trimester!
^ at 30 weeks and feeling like I'm going to pop already

One thing that has thrown me for a complete loop is how different this pregnancy has been compared to last time. Some great, some good, some bad. I'm not sure why I assumed it would be similar/easier but it's been quite different. I got bigger faster (and keep getting bigger...and bigger), my hip and pubic bone pain started earlier, boobs...huge, and I'm anemic this time so the fatigue has been crazy in the third trimester. Some things have been better though like no spotting (that was NOT fun last time) and no Irritable Uterus (basically contractions 24/7 that you have to get monitored to make sure it's not pre-term labor). I also just feel more confident and less fearful about everything my body is doing, and just all around more relaxed.

Even with the extra annoyances this time (more uncomfortable, more pain, feeling like a whale) it still blows my mind what my body is doing right now and I can't but help but have so much gratitude and be in constant awe that I get to experience it all again. This baby girl moves practically 24/7 and my hands are always on my stomach trying to figure out what limb I might be feeling and giving some friendly pokes back. Because 2nd baby or 10th, I don't think that mind-blown feeling of having a real, living and growing tiny human inside of you kicking around will ever wear off. I know in 2 years I'll look at her and think my body grew you, and you came out of me and now you're a toddler... what the heck??

I know this last stretch of time will fly by like crazy as we prepare for her so even though right now I'm not feeling so skinny, and I'm mega tired and I'll wind up with a couple more stretch marks I'm soaking in this dream-like time where the only thing this baby girl needs is my body. It's a crazy thing...

Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day: Eco Friendly Toy Round-up

Eco and Ethical Toys
Eco and Ethical Toys

Hello and happy Earth Day (and month)! We just got this Sleepy Wakey Bambi from Rose & Rex and as you can see, Beck is obsessed. He's been carrying it with him everywhere (even though I originally got it for baby sis!) and sleeping with it. Rose & Rex have an amazing selection of eco-friendly and ethically made toys for babies and kiddos so I thought I'd do a round-up of my favorites for Earth Day.

I'm a firm believer in buying less but better, even for kids stuff. I'll be sharing more of our journey of that philosophy soon but for now, here's some amazing toys that will be special and even passed down for years. I love the simplicity of them all and all of them would be perfect for both little guys or gals.

Eco Toy Round-up

1. Recycling Truck // 2. Origami Bath Boat // 3. Wooden Cab Car // 4. Sleepy Wakey Bambi // 5. Baby Mouse In Matchbox

Monday, April 11, 2016

Mother's Day Gifts // I ♥ Framebridge

So for months my mom has been pestering me about wanting more framed photos of us (read: mostly Beck) to hang up in their house. I've been putting it off and every time a holiday comes around I swear I'm going to do it but then procrastinate and end up doing something else for a gift. Sorry mom!

But this year I planned ahead... months ahead actually! I wanted to do framed photos for Mother's day but also set-up a time to take photos of her and Beck and have those framed too. So a couple months ago I told her I wanted to come up and take some fun pictures of her and Beck making cookies and hanging out "for a blog I'm working on" (which is true!). And they turned out even cuter than I could've imagined!

Framebridge // Mother's day gifting
^^^ So adorable right???

I picked some favorites from that day plus a couple other Beck favorites and sent them off to Framebridge to be framed and give her for Mother's day. They are all so pretty and I'm constantly wowed by the stunning job Framebridge does on custom framing. I know she is going to loooove them (and maybe I had a photo of flowers printed and framed for myself... its Mother's day for me too!)
You can also send in artwork or photos and have original pieces framed through Framebridge, as opposed to doing digital uploads. So I had Beck paint a special picture (of a T-rex of course) and sent that in for framing too. I was a little indecisive about the frame so I didn't get it back in time to photograph but it'll be here before Mother's day, which is what counts!

Framebridge // Mother's day gifting
Framebridge // Mother's day gifting
Framebridge // Mother's day gifting

If you use the code VANILLALACE15 you can get 15% off your first order (offer good until July 31). And be sure to order before April 22 to get your frames in time for mother's day!

Framebridge // Mother's day gifting
This post was created in partnership with Framebridge. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. I'm thankful to get to work with companies I love!

Monday, March 14, 2016

A little overwhelmed but a lot thankful.

The last couple weeks of February and into the first few days of March we're absolutely insane... x 1000. I feel like I'm just now coming up for air and able to breathe on my own... you know those kinds of weeks? Lord jesus, never again please...

Josh left on a trip to Israel for 10 days and I was already a little overwhelmed at the thought of being pregnant and tired and keeping up with a 2 year old with no breaks for 10 days, plus a little stressed out that Josh was hello... in the middle east. Shouldn't I be nervous about that? Then the first day he was gone Beck and I both got colds, not too bad except they were what I affectionately called The Cold From Hell and Beck got so sick and tired that he wouldn't eat or drink and the pediatrician told me that it had been too long since he drank and if I couldn't get him to drink something within the hour I needed to go to the ER. So. stressful. But Josh happened to get wifi and call us on facetime during that hour and talked Beck into drinking juice and water... seriously a miracle.
It was a week of exhaustion, mentally and physically. Then after a week I think my body was just so tired and depleted, my immune system tanked and my cold turned into a sinus infection. I'm not even joking when I say that the pain was leaps and bounds worse than any pain I had in labor. Sinus infections are no joke when you can't take pain killers or anything for sinus relief. But after 4 days of trying every natural remedy in the book (and mostly crying my way through the day) I got an antibiotic prescription on the way to get Josh from the airport... and thus concluded the most overwhelming and crazy difficult 10 days. We survived. And as hard as it was to take care of a lifeless 2 year old that wouldn't eat for 4 days (like actually literally nothing...) and then to be in severe pain myself and still keep up with him once he was well, I couldn't help but think how good we have it. We don't have chronic illnesses, my husband came home from his trip safe and healthy and it was really so miniscule compared to the battles that a lot of people face every day... I was not only thankful that those 10 days were over but thankful that isn't at all what our normal every day is like. We have it so good, even if life roughs us up a little from time to time.

Life lately...


Baby girl

We had a 20 week ultrasound at the beginning of the month and got to see this little baby dance around in my belly. It's locked away as one of my favorite memories--Beck laying down next to me, pointing up at the screen and talking about baby, all 3 of us in a trance looking at her hold her hands up by her face and cross her feet. And I got a bit teary when the tech told us we have a baby girl.

People had been asking me all along if I had preferences or feelings one way or the other (which I actually think is a funny question...) but to be honest I just didn't. I was basically expecting a boy because that's all I know and could picture so I was like GIRL? You mean I can buy all those cute baby clothes? Beck had been calling the baby a "sester" for weeks, intuitive little guy!

So so happy! Time is already flying by extra fast with this pregnancy and I know I'll regret it if I don't document it at least a little bit so bump photos will be happening... like it or not. I'm also unapologetically in love with being pregnant (which is probably extra annoying if you aren't), but there's a person in there... how crazy is that? SO thankful I get to do this again, extra aches and pains and all.