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

Advertisements

These are the days…

These are the days.

The days you should “cherish every moment”. The days that “are going to fly by”. The days that “you’ll look back on one day and miss”.  We’ve all been told by our moms, our friends, and that old lady at the grocery store that says “you’ve got your hands full!”.

This may be true. But these are also the hard days. The days that never seem to end. The days that turn into nights (you know – the time most people in the world are sleeping but you’re still awake with a baby). The days that you clean up the damage left by one tornado, only to turn around and find another devastation in the next room. These are the days that you notice at 3 pm that you’re still in your pajamas. Or you’re reaching for the dry shampoo for the third day in a row. These days you have every intention of doing “a load a day so you can keep up” with the laundry, but just remembered it’s been sitting in the wash since yesterday morning.  These days, dinner ranges from home made enchiladas on a good day, to cheese quesadillas and beans the next because cooking is hard.

These are also the days that we need to give ourselves grace.  We need to know that as long as your kids are fed, clean, and loved – they think you’re perfect.  They don’t mind cheese quesadillas for the 3rd day in a row for lunch or the occasional baby wipes bath. They don’t care if you put on a bra today, or if you’re rocking the mom bun – again.  In fact, my daughters newest request is “a big bun just like you!” Their innocent eyes don’t see those thoughts in your head comparing yourself to that “perfect Instagram mom”, or the guilt you are feeling for giving them noddles covered in powdered cheese. They see their perfect mom.  Their perfect mom sings that special song she made up, does the hot dog dance with them in her pajamas at 3pm, and let’s them stand at the counter to stir in the powdered cheese and cook together!

We don’t have to be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect homemaker, the perfect employee…

We should be their perfect mom,  a version of his perfect wife that this season of life allows, and the homemaker that makes us feel good! We may be that woman in the grocery store who thinks back on these long days and realizes they did fly by. For now, we must find joy in the little successes and know that its okay if you want to forget about those few moments when you felt crazy instead of cherishing them.

Photos by Alexandra Kayy Photography

Here’s to giving ourselves grace, and knowing that those pics on Instagram are a highlight reel (as are the photos above). I’m currently drinking cold coffee at 11am in pajamas.

xoxo

Whitney

Just Push Publish

I am a planner and can tend to be a perfectionist. I’ve found that the biggest thing that comes from this combo is procrastination! Between the list making, drafting, preparing, and making sure everything is going to be just right, there’s never time to get anything accomplished. 


As a mom, I’ve found perfection does not exist. I have to ignore the fact that my kitchen isn’t hardly ever clean, the laundry hampers are never empty, the dinner isn’t always ready on time (or made at all…thank goodness for takeout!), and we aren’t always going to look put together. I’ve also learned as a mom that life passes anyway. The days go on whether the house is cleaned or not. The girls grow one day older each night whether they get a bath or not. So I must do the things. Have a play date – even when it looks like a school bus of toddlers already destroyed your house, meet with a friend – even when you should be doing laundry instead, let them take the photo – even if you didn’t do your hair that day, and go after your goals – even when you feel like you need more time to prepare. I have realized I need to just jump in, not dip my toes and chicken out. Should I make a plan – yes. But should I use my fear of something not being perfect hold me back from making progress – definitely no! Baby steps are still steps forward. And that’s what I’m taking! 


So here’s to opening up, connecting with others, and just pushing publish. Our lives aren’t perfect, but it’s the perfect life for us! 

Xoxo

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)

IMG_5948

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!

IMG_6121

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

{Mama} Confessions

I’m slowly getting back into this blog, hopefully in a more regular routine! This morning has been awesome! The babe slept for 8.5 hours straight, has been totally happy and taken 2 good naps! It’s still before noon {well it was when I started this…then baby life happened} and I’m thinking back to all of the things I’ve done this morning that {I really hope} I’m not alone in! I thought it would make for a silly/quick post that will reach all those mama’s at home!

one. I confess I desperately needed a shower this morning and instead of doing so during Aubrey’s awesome 1.5 hour nap, I caught up on the bachelorette and ate breakfast. {don’t worry, I did shower…just played ‘rush while baby is playing outside the bathroom door’ after I fed her}

bachelorette ecard

{just replace WINE with COFFEE because a. I can’t stay up late enough to watch it live b. it was like 8am and c. even if I would drink wine that early, I have a child at home}

two. speaking of breakfast, the hubby and I decided to start Whole 30 after his sister’s wedding this weekend. I confess it is my mission to eat all of the sugar, carbs and dairy in this house before Monday! {maybe I’ll attempt a check in series to keep me accountable…clearly I need something!}

three. I’m in my sister in law’s wedding this weekend and never realized how much work it is to be a girl {now that I’m about to type this, I realize I’m a bit excessive}! BB {before baby} I confess I would spend days primping…manicure & pedicure, hair appointment, waxing, eyebrows threaded and worked on a tan for weeks! Ridiculous!  Now, it’s all about the essentials! Pick and chose which areas of grooming are totally necessary and get a spray tan {a months work of relaxing sunshine in a bottle}! the other catch, make all of those “essential” appointments in a 2 hour period when you have a babysitter!

four. I confess, I cleaned the bathroom with wipes this morning! I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a clever ecard about this… yup!

five. my cousin in law {totally a thing…even though I’ll just say cousin from now on} tagged me in this video on FB this week and I confess, I think I need to do this…maybe it will be apart of my sugar binge before Monday! 😉 #eatallthesugar


hope everyone has a great week! have you done any confession worthy things this week?

Introducing {Aubrey Brooke}

on February 17, 2015 at 4:25am, 6 pounds 15 ounces and 19 inches of joy changed our world forever!

we were so lucky to have this special time in the hospital captured by Alexandra Kayy Photography! she has already changed SO much and I will cherish these photos forever!

its been the most amazing, fulfilling and tiring 3 weeks, but I can’t wait to share her birth story and newborn photos!

{Aubrey’s hat is from Infanteenie Beenie on Etsy}