Taco Bout Fun…

…Blake turned ONE!

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This weekend we hosted a party to celebrate Blake’s first year and what a fun time it was! Of course I cannot believe my baby is already one and growing and learning so much everyday! At her well baby appointment today she was 29.5″ tall and 19 pounds! She’s crawling like crazy, pulling herself up on everything and everything, walking with the assistance of a toy or chair and even taking some steps on her own…which usually ends in her falling to us! I’ve been introducing milk for a couple of weeks and still trying to figure out how the process of weaning from breastfeeding will go. She loves to eat – especially if it’s cake and is starting to have a more regular sleep schedule and only waking up once in the night – YAY!

We had a fiesta in her honor and I had such a fun time planning it! I’m pretty sure I started a Pinterest board when she was 3 months old, haha!

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I tried to prep as much as possible beforehand, but it always seems chaotic the day of no matter what! We hired a Taco Man and that was the BEST IDEA EVER! Not having to worry about feeding such a large group of people took so much stress away from me! I just put out some appetizers – chips with salsa, guacamole and queso dip and drinks – water, margaritas, and beer. Oh, and of course desserts – which had the approval of all of the toddlers! To serve a large group, I made a big batch of margaritas! I was trying to follow a recipe but couldn’t find frozen limeade concentrate anywere – so per usual, I improvised! I made 3 servings throughout the party! (I wish I had taken the time to make my lime salt! It would have been the perfect addition!)

1 bottle of Simply Limeade

1 cup Silver Tequila

1/2 cup Grand Marnier

salt and limes for garnishing

UNO balloons | cactus balloon | colorful wall curtain from Party City | flowers and vases from Pavillions – I put them together | cake plates are old from Home Goods but they always have them! I just add ribbon to coordinate with my parties

Although most of the party was out in the backyard, I set up the dessert table inside so I didn’t have to worry about the heat! It was a sunny 92 here in southern CA, so we set up a water table for the kiddos and kept the drinks cold for the adults! I made it super easy and ordered Blake’s smash cake, cupcakes and the “round churros” (snickerdoodles) from our neighborhood Pavillions. It’s the easiest thing to do an ice run and dessert pick up at the same time that day – thanks Dad! I ordered the dipped marshmallows and concha cake pops from a local mama and they did not disappoint! Cindy of Ms. V’s Poppin’ Bowtique was so easy to communicate with and delivered to us the cutest desserts for our display the day of the party! Thank goodness for Amazon – I ordered the majority of the decor throughout the month before the party! There was so many options for fiesta and cactus themed parties!

cactus banner | tissue garland

round party fans | chalkboard | chalk markers | cactus party light | mini pinata

I used my Cricut to cut the letters for the banners, cupcake toppers, and numbers for the photo banner as well as the tags for the favors. I used this inflatable cactus to hold the favors, but forgot to take a photo!

maracas | cymbals | pinata from Party City

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We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family in our life to celebrate these special moments! Our kids have the best little squad!

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A fiesta was such a fun theme to play with when planning Blake’s party! Did you have a big party for your kids? What was your theme…I love hearing your ideas!

xoxo

Whitney

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Miss Blake Annebelle

In the early days of this blog, I spent the majority of my time documenting my pregnancy with my first daughter, Aubrey.  Its like life was in hyper drive during the newborn stage and then we jumped into a home renovation and moved out of our house – all the while I fell off the blogging schedule. So much has happened in the last two and a half years including another baby! Our little Blake is ONE and I am just in disbelief. The days and nights may have sometimes felt like they’d never end but the weeks just flew by! Since so much was dedicated to Aubrey, I wanted to post a bit about Blake too!

We announced to our family on Christmas Eve 2015 that Aubrey would be a BIG SISTER (she was 10 months old)!

 

Being pregnant with a young baby was so much different than the first go around! With Aubrey, I worked at an office and spent most of my days sitting. This pregnancy required so much more energy that I didn’t have.  I was still getting up at night with Aubrey and rarely spent time just sitting.  It didn’t seem ideal at the time, but I was so grateful to be living at my mother in laws.  It was amazing to have an extra set of hands when dealing with that crazy little girl! I was grateful to have had a healthy pregnancy again, and a busy one! Aubrey turned ONE in February, we moved back into our newly renovated home in March, and spent the last weeks getting our house in order (as much as possible anyway – does this process ever end?!). I was due July 24, and three days later (just like her sissy) Blake was born on July 27, 2016 at 3:15PM. There has never been a more overwhelming yet joyful moment than when Aubrey (who was 17 months) came to meet her little sister the next morning!

 

In one year, our family has grown so much! Blake is the perfect addition to our lives and we couldn’t be more thankful for two healthy, smart, and beautiful girls!

Happy Birthday to our sweet, yet tough and determined little girl. We love you so so much!

| all of our photos were taken by Alex of Alexandra Kayy Photography |

I cannot wait to share all about her birthday celebrations!

xoxo

Whitney

Summer Essentials

Summer in So Cal brings longer days and so much sunshine! It used to mean spending weekends floating on a raft with a cocktail in hand, BBQing with friends and family every week, and staying up late to enjoy the warm summer nights. Fast forward a couple of years and adding 2 young kids to the mix, and our ideas of a summer day and night have changed a bit! We spend more time figuring out how to avoid the direct sun as we used to preparing cocktails and even though its still light out, our bedtime routine must stay consistent because tired kids are cranky kids!

Here’s a few things that are getting us through the summer!

Summer Essentials

pool float | after sun spray | kid’s sun hat | striped bag | water table | water shoes | tumbler |

Going to Grandma’s pool has been a favorite activity this summer! Pool time tip: wait until the afternoon! We’ve been going after nap time to help us get through those last couple of hours before dad gets home, and also to avoid that prime time sun! Even so, I love that the float we have has a shade and we also use UV protecting bucket hats for the girls.  They don’t always keep them on, but we try! Aubrey LOVES to get out and go to the side to jump to us! But the 100 degree heat gets any type of floor way hot! Having on these non slip water shoes makes it so easy to transition from concrete to pool without worrying about burnt toes! They’re great at the splash pad or in our own yard when playing with the water table too! Speaking of – the water table is a genius idea! Small enough for it not to be such an ordeal to set up, but fun enough to provide hours of entertainment! We keep ours under the patio by a drain because this just screams “splash in me!” and “scoop it up and dump it out!” to our toddler apparently. But we love it! So easy to add sand toys, cups, rubber ducks, paint brushes (to “paint” the concrete with water) and the girls both have so much fun.

The last few items make my life so much easier! That striped bag is from Initials, Inc and literally can hold EVERYTHING you could possibly need on a summer day! Changes of clothes, towels, snacks, diapers & wipes, camera…you name it! I had mine personalized with WM because I also am using it when I travel with my essential oils set up, but they have all sorts of fun graphics or fonts to make it a perfect summer bag – and personalization is FREE! Packing up, making sure kids stay safe from the sun and in the water, and fed can be exhausting for this mom and you know what I usually forget? All of those things for myself! A large stainless steel cup is perfect because it will stay cold for so long and I love to add some combo of citrus essential oils, so I avoid plastic.  The other savior this summer has been my Young Living after sun spray! I’ve unfortunately passed on my sensitive skin to my girls and even when taking precautions, the sun and chlorine are not so nice to us! I feel good using this spray on myself and the kids because its so clean and it brings a cool and refreshing relief whether we just feel hot or if the sun kissed us a little too hard! This is a brand new product this year and we are obsessed! (If you have no idea what I’m talking about with my citrus essential oils or Young Living, you can read up here or scroll around on my Instagram!)

Do you have any Summer Essentials that you can’t live without? I’d love for you to share!

Have a wonderful Summer!

Whitney

Camping With Kids

Summer is almost here and I’m so excited for the activities and trips that come with it! We have always loved to go camping, but once we had kids our scheduled trips were few and far between. We made it a priority to put some trips in the calendar this summer and I cannot wait to make memories together as a family. We recently switched our camping set up from a trailer to a motor home and we are also starting to camp again for the first time since our youngest could sleep in a rock n’ play. Both of which makes it totally different for us! We’ve been twice since our change up and I’m gonna share what is working (and what didn’t) for us with a few tips.

Think about your traveling set up. | Both girls were in rear facing car seats regularly in my car.  Luckily we have seat belts in the dinette seats so we were able to place their seats facing the correct way while traveling.  We did decide to rotate Aubrey’s seat to face forward since she’s over 2, and she LOVED that! It was so fun for her to watch out the window and be able to see us, especially since we were in a new surrounding! One thing I’ll have to figure out next time is something to put up in the middle of them if its sleeping time.  It was so cute that they could see each other and touch hands…until they fell asleep, and then one woke up and woke up the other! Maybe I’ll put a poster board between their seats next time, haha! May sound silly, but if it works it will be worth it to get two napping kids!

 

Bring toys they haven’t seen in a while | I try to rotate their toys and books at home so they feel like they’re getting something new every now and again and don’t always see the same activities.  When I was packing things for camping, I choose from the stuff I had put away.  Once we had a moment to “play” with the things I brought, Aubrey was so excited to see the toys that she hasn’t played with in a while! Something I was sure to keep consistent was her bed time pals. The blankets she always has in her bed as well as the stuffed animals she loves were sure to be with us!

(loved using my adorable bags from my friend Kelli, you can check out her page here)

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Stick to your bedtime routine as much as possible | sleep was my biggest concern. Our toddler has a pretty good routine down now so obviously I didn’t want to disturb it if at all possible.  We were already worried about the fact that she normally sleeps in a crib and we would be putting her on the converted dinette bed.  Things were different (my husband had to lay with her to fall asleep because she could just climb out, she got up extra early because the windows let in SO MUCH LIGHT at super early hours and her naps were a bit shorter) but I think the fact that we kept her routine the same helped keep it a smooth process.  Just like at home, we did baths (super quick wash off no playing camping baths of course) and read books before bedtime.  I also was sure to bring the essential oils I use for the girls and (since we had hookups) I was able to run the diffuser as well! Clearly she slept well, look at that bed head!

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Prepare for lots of outside time | we spend time outside at home, but I’m definitely not used to entertaining two – 2 and under kids all day mostly outdoors! Hats, sunscreen, bubbles (so many bubbles), and ways to go for lots of walks. I carried Blake, our 10 month old, in the carrier a lot and we also have a compact/cheap umbrella stroller we brought that was perfect for when Aubrey got tired of walking.

 

Tagging along with the outdoor idea, think of the eating arrangement | Blake normally sits in her highchair and Aubrey is usually in a booster seat at the table.  We brought Aubrey’s booster but it wasn’t really safe on the picnic bench. So it was difficult to get her to sit and eat. We finally figured out it worked on one of our folding chairs. We use the Mamas & Papas Snug Seat as a traveling high chair for Blake. Works great on the floor, or in the middle of a table.  We call her our centerpiece! (you can see ours with the tray off in the background of the photos below)

Prepare for snacks | somehow everything takes longer to prepare while camping! I felt like we were eating breakfast later and the process of getting dinner ready was almost too much to bear for Aubrey since she didn’t have much to do on her own while we were cooking. Hungry kids = cranky kids! A banana in the morning while waiting for breakfast or grapes or crackers or something while waiting for dinner  would have been a great idea!

 

What are your favorite tips or hacks for traveling with kids, camping or otherwise? I’d love to hear! Hope you have a fun summer with your littles!

Whitney

Favorites {battling the baby bug}

Favorites {battling the baby bug}
since Friday, Aubrey has been fighting her first cold…so so sad for my mama heart! she has been surprisingly happy but overall a little more tired and clingy. I’ve been trying to stay away from any medicines right off the bat and have found a few must haves to get her through these snotty days!
one. {humidifier} I’ve basically had this going in her room every time I put her in there to sleep. I definitely noticed a difference when we were out yesterday and she napped without it twice! I think it just overall helps with her congestion.
two. {essential oil diffuser} yup, I jumped on that train! I didn’t go all in, but I borrowed my sister’s diffuser to see what it was all about and I’m definitely going to invest in my own! she recommended the breathe and lavender oils and I really think they’re doing the trick!
three. {NoseFrida} definitely not Aubrey’s favorite item and maybe one of the grosser things I can add to the “things I do as a mom” list, but I swear this snotsucker is easily just as addictive as it is disgusting! the satisfaction that comes from clearing out that goop from her poor little nose is disturbing. it truly pulls out so much and helps her breathe so much better!
along with these few items, I’ve done a few other things to hopefully help.
four. we put a few magazines under one side of her crib to elevate it a bit to hopefully keep any fluid out of her ears!
five. {extra sleep} we are definitely not on any type of regimented schedule around here, but I have noticed she’s been wanting to sleep much more. some days more often and some days for longer periods of time, but its definitely taken a toll on her energy levels.
six. {mama time} just in case she wasn’t clingy enough, we’ve spent lots of time nursing, cuddling, standing in the steamy bathroom, and sleeping {well she is sleeping while I awkwardly try not to let my arms fall asleep}. I’m soaking in the extra squeezes and kisses but hope she get a little bit of independence back soon!
it has been so hard to see her not feeling well, but I’m also kind of glad to get our first germ session out of the way {I’ve been overly protective and worried about it since she was born!}.
do you have any tried and true products or tips to help heal a sick baby?

Newborn Favorites

now that Aubrey is past the newborn stage and we are finally getting into a groove, I wanted to share some of the things that we {mostly I} loved when she was a bitty {and still do}!

Newborn Favorites
nipple balm. it took me over a month to try this cream.  I had been using ‘boobease’, and lanolin in the beginning and they were no match for the not so good latch that Aubrey had. this stuff was a lifesaver!
maternity tank. I totally have a mom uniform, and these are apart of it! these Liz Lange tanks from Target are awesome! so soft, long and stretchy! perfect for nursing {I always like to pull the neck down instead of the whole shirt up}, can be worn on their own or under a sweater or button up.
leggings. also apart of the uniform! I’ve been wearing these Gap leggings throughout by pregnancy.  they’re super soft, don’t fall down and I just love them!
bassinet. up until last night, literally, Aubrey has slept in the Halo Bassinest.  I originally planned on using the rock n’ play for night time, but I was nervous about her preferring sleeping so cozy in there and on an incline. the bassinest has been great! I loved that I could roll over and see her right there, even reach over and touch her 100 times a night without getting up! #lazymomproblems one of the big things they advertise about this is the side that lowers so you can easily get out the baby from bed. I felt that it was a little awkward/difficult to push down, but I guess it helped out nonetheless! also, it has a wide base that sits on the floor. super stable, but for people with itty bitty bedrooms like me, it BARELY fit on the side of my bed!
nursing pillow. I have loved having the My Breast Friend pillow. I didn’t realize how much I took it for granted until I got a Boppy as a back up.  the MBF pillow latches on, so it doesn’t scoot away from your stomach when the baby is laying there and it is also ridiculous looking but awesome that I could walk around the house and it would just help support her enough that I didn’t have to put her full weight on my arms! again… #lazymomproblems I do wish it wasn’t so difficult to get the cover on and off and that the pillow itself could be washed, but its foam so you can’t. also, the pocket is super convenient…phone, nursing bra pads, etc.
rock n play. even though I didn’t use the rock n play for bedtime, in the early weeks Aubrey napped in this all the time with me out in the living room! now, we use it for her to play in while I’m in the kitchen, when we are eating dinner, when I’m doing laundry and want to move her around the house! basically anytime she is over being on the floor and I can’t hold her that moment, this will buy us some extra time! I’ve always wished it had an attaching bar so she could have toys overhead! then when I bought one for our friends for their baby shower, the one they registered for had it!! its a bit late now, but I wish they had sold it separately!
swaddle. after one of our prep classes at Kaiser where they talked about the Halo Sleepsack, I had it in my head that it was the only one we should use because it was ‘Kaiser approved’.  it ended up being great {even though I’ve tried other ones and am not so neurotic about it anymore}! she can still get her arms out sometimes, even when she was a few weeks she could, but I really like it!
water bottle. just like pregnancy, I am eating and drinking ALL. THE. TIME! a water bottle you love to carry around from room to room, or multiple to keep around the house, was essential. I noticed myself not having enough hands to carefully carry a cup, so a bottle has been perfect!
pacifier. even though Aubrey only used a pacifier correctly for like 2 weeks around 2.5 months, she still loves her Wubbanub pacifier! she chews on the side of it and cuddles geoffrey the giraffe all the time!
netflix. this is totally just for mom, but I’ve spent countless hours on the couch feeding, burping, and napping with the baby! I don’t think I could have made it through if I didn’t have 11 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy to get me to that 3 month mark!

I’m sure there are many more favorites, some being super obvious {what would I have done with out Scary Mommy and mom.me articles on Facebook at 1, 3 and 5 am}, but those are the ones that stood out in my forgetful mind! Aubrey is already approaching the 6 month mark and there are SO many new things about to happen and I’m so excited! eating, crawling, more interest in toys…anyone have any good recommendations for this stage? happy Monday friends!

Aubrey {4 months}

I know everyone says it, but for good reason…time is speeding by! just like that a third of her first year is gone and Aubrey is becoming not only the cutest little thing, but inquisitive, silly and expressive!

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{Alexandra Kayy Photography}

{4 months} June 17, 2015

measurements. 14 pounds, 10 ounces {53%ile}. 25 3/4 inches long {85%ile}. 17 inch head circumference {95%ile}!

wearing. at the beginning of this month she started wearing size 2 diapers.  I’ve been contemplating moving up to size 3 since she has so many blowouts, but haven’t committed to changing my Honest Co. order! Aubrey is still wearing 3-6 or 6 month clothes.  anything with footies has to be 6 months…apparently she is tall! she could finally wear her size 1 Freshly Picked Moccasins without them falling off!

sleeping. at night time, I definitely can’t complain about her sleeping routine.  Aubrey typically goes down for the night (in the Halo Bassinest in our room) around 10-10:30 and wakes up for the day between 6:30 & 7:30. sometimes I get lucky and she goes through the night, but most nights we get up once ranging in time from 2-4. daytime is another story.  she loves her 25-30 minute power naps! occasionally she will go 1-1.5 hours, but its definitely rare (unless she is being held!).  I try to put her in her crib most naps, but sometimes she ends up sleeping in her car seat if we are out and about or the rock n’ play. right before she turned 4 months I tried putting her in her crib at night for a couple nights but she was up every 2-3 hours.  I couldn’t hang – so we will try again soon!

talking. Aubrey looooves to talk and tell stories! we have regular conversations – exchanging high pitches squeals, sigs and oooh’s & aaaah’s.  her latest trick is sticking out her tongue! she sticks it out, blows bubbles, makes sucking noises with it out and spits – it is adorable and I cannot get enough {for now}!

moving. she is getting better at tummy time, doesn’t quite protest it like she did the last few months. she will pick up her head every once in a while, but mostly just likes to rub her face into the ground…crazy girl! on her back, she is lifting her legs and rolling to the side a lot! she loves kicking in the bath, at her toys above her on the playmat and when she gets excited while we hold her! she still LOVES to be held up over our shoulder, has always been her favorite!

playing. Aubrey loves her Kick n Play piano! I can usually set it up in my room and she will play long enough for me to take a shower and get ready! she likes her SkipHop play mat, Geoffrey {her giraffe WubbaNub}, O’Ball rattle, our “Sophie equivalent” – Fanny the Fawn, and reading books {especially ones with sound}! more often than not she wants us to be playing with her rather than independently, obvi!

eating. she is still exclusively breastfeeding.  I would definitely say this month has been by far the best for us both! I’ve been pumping occasionally to give her a bottle now and then, but I think its something I need to do more often…she doesn’t love it! but it is definitely a relief that I have that option if necessary!

teeth. no teeth yet…but they’ve got to be coming soon! we call her the drool monster, drool machine, or drooly baby and Daddy came up with the tune, “we built this city on drooooool” {instead of rock n’ roll}, haha. she puts all her toys in her mouth, my shoulder, our arms/fingers…basically anything! she gets crazy sometimes biting down and shakes her head. her Daddy and I call it “the shark attack!”

loves. being held, singing the ABC’s or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and chewing on everything! bathtime is getting more and more fun! she has always enjoyed it (I think), but now she is smiling and splashing all the time!

hates. the car seat! I’m not sure what to do.  unless she has already had some play time and she is ready for a nap, or just in an exceptionally good mood, she cries…sometimes screams! she is just getting tall enough that I can move the shoulder straps up, so maybe I will try that next month! she is also not a fan of not being able to stretch out {hence, the car seat}, the sun in her eyes, being left on her own in the mamaRoo {she wants me to spin the mobile and talk to her}, or being cradle held unless she is about to go to sleep!

fun stuff. this month Aubrey got to celebrate her aunties! my sister in law had her bridal shower at the beginning of May and my sister graduated from CSUN! she did great in our Solly Baby Wrap! just looked around and napped the whole time! we also got to go to her cousin’s first birthday party! it was a bit difficult with the longer drive to HB, but she did very well for the short time we were at the party, considering! I got to experience my first Mother’s Day! we went camping on the beach and had a wonderful time! so lucky to be this beautiful girl’s mama!

and because I can never chose just 1…or 5…here are Aubrey’s photos from her 4 month shoot!

{Alexandra Kayy Photography}