Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pure Michigan Tradition

August in Northern Michigan is the perfect bookend to summer.  The tradition of gathering at the lake each summer with our extended family was made even more special this summer as Thomas was introduced to the bunch.
Of the many things we enjoy about Northern Michigan, there is a beach close to our family's home that has been the highlight of family memories for decades. I have been taking a picture of James Robert in the same spot every year since he was born; I was so sentimental about taking both boys there for the first year of pictures with two! 

To get a toddler and a baby to look at the camera was challenging, but boy will I treasure these pictures as the first in the series of both of my babies.

As soon as I snapped about 10 photos of the two of them, James Robert bounded down the beach to run in the water and throw rocks. I sat nursing Thomas and took did my best to soak in the memories.

P.S. It's so fun to look back at the other pictures in this series over on our family blog, here, here and  here

Friday, August 19, 2016

Snapshot Vol. 2

We've been enjoying our annual trip to Northern Michigan with our extended family this week. There are twenty of us (eight kids) and three dogs all in tow!  This year, James Robert has been enthralled with the lake and spent hours playing and splashing with his cousins.  It's really a sweet to see another generation enjoy this special place. Tommy is the youngest cousin and getting so much love from all of the bigger kids.

Reading: Lately, I've been reading baby books, most notably Colic Solved as we try to help Tommy feel better.

Listening: I've been listening to In the Garden of Beasts on Audible when I wake up to nurse Tommy; it's non-fiction and very compelling.

Eating:  We've been on a sweet potato kick.  This sweet potato hummus is better than any store bought we've tried.  And I have been loving these sweet potato breakfast bowls as a very satisfying start to the day that is healthy and dairy/grain free.

Playing: These water balloons are such a hit; the kids couldn't get enough of them this week!

Coveting: I am amazed at so many baby items that have changed over the last 3 years.  That or my taste has changed dramatically.  I'm not going to replace all my old stuff, but if I could, I would buy the Baby Bjorn seat (so much better looking and practical since it folds) and I have been hearing such wonderful things about the DockaTot that I would love to try that too.

Watching: I'm SO excited to move back to the US so I get all of the TV shows I want to watch this fall.  But in the meantime, thank goodness for Netflix.  I finally watched Out of Africa (such a classic) and it was beautiful. I can see why it has been so well loved.

Loving: Instagram Stories are so fun; I feel like it's bringing such a candid and real aspect to that platform and I can't get enough.  Also, I'm loving this wave spray; it smells fantastic!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Bunny To Love

Do you remember the first stuffed animal your child was drawn to?  James Robert has two: his angel dear lovie and a stuffed duck that he picked out around 6 months old.  Those two have been his trusty side kicks even as other stuffed animals have made it in the mix.  It’s been so endearing to watch! 

Much to my surprise and delight, Thomas recently showed his first interest in any toy and it is the little stuffed bunny that I picked out for him while in Paris earlier this year.  You never know if a child will react to a toy the way you hope.  So when Thomas has been responding with coos and smiles to this bunny every time I show it to him, I am thrilled.  I can't wait to see how he will grow with it. 

Trousselier makes beautiful children’s toys that are available mostly in Europe. It would be a great baby gift to give and get, except that I can’t find it state side… Maybe it’s the next Sophie?  Something about the French and their baby toys— they just seem to be favorites!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Favorites: Breastfeeding

I was so inspired last week by all the images and stories in my social media feed about World Breastfeeding Week.  I was able to breastfeed James Robert for 14 months; it took a lot of blood sweat and tears but I was so glad to have persevered!

I am hoping that I will be able to nurse Thomas for the same about of time as it was a very special experience despite the difficulties.  It has been easier to get the hang of nursing the second time around (like riding a bike!) but with different challenges.  I don't have the ability to be at home for all of his feedings.  With the need to be out and about with a toddler, I have been learning some ways to ease into nursing in public.

These are some of the things that have helped support my breastfeeding efforts most in the past 2 months:

Buttons: I've been adding a few things to my wardrobe with buttons in the front for easy access.  I think I lived in a nursing tank + cardigan with James Robert, but wanted to add some non-nursing things into the mix this time.  I am obsessed with this romper (below) because it's super comfortable and buttons in the front all the way to the navel.
sling is from Hope Carried

Nursing Cover: For getting used to breastfeeding in public, I have liked the Udder Cover's brand because it has a opening at the top that allows you to look down and see your baby.  As you get the hang of things and don't need to finagle as much, I have been liking a more drapey nursing cover like this one from These Hidden Gems.  There are so many covers on the market, but what makes these special is supporting a wonderful small business that gives back to women.  I adore the nautical navy stripe and that it also doubles as a car seat cover!
cover c/o These Hidden Gems

Updated nursing tank: It's worth investing in a few staple pieces that you'll get miles of use out of, such as this classic white tank from Boob design.  I like that the straps are more substantial than many nursing tanks and that the subtle design allows for discrete feeding without showing a ton of your chest.  This tank has been really great to nurse in while in public.

Water bottle: I've never been as thirsty in my life as I am while nursing and I crave cold water.  I have been absolutely loving this one.  It is a lower price point than s'well but absolutely effective at keeping the drink cold throughout the day.

Nursing-friendly PJ's: There is something very satisfying about a pair of pyjamas that feel pretty rather than merely pedestrian.  Especially postpartum, when you spend a lot of time in your PJ's!  I added these to my collection and love it!

Audible: I found that if I scroll through my phone when I get up in the middle of the night to nurse, I wake up too much and have trouble getting back to sleep.  Mat had the genius idea of listening to a book; it's hands free and keeps me awake without making it hard to go back to sleep.

P.S. These cookies are still a favorites for supporting my milk supply!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Home Inspiration

We are in the throws of long distance (and international) home hunting which is both deliriously frustrating and exciting.  The Seattle market is crazy!  And because I won't be traveling out there with the boys until October, I very well may be moving into a house that I've never actually seen (thank goodness I trust Mat's eye).

So while it's nerve wracking, I'm also very excited to have a home again that I can make my own.  I have loved our little rental in Toronto, but I am day dreaming about having a space that I can put a stamp on (like our old house Charlotte).

Consequently, my pinterest board has been filling up again with interior inspiration.These beauties are the latest to catch my eye.



And one of my very favorite instagram feeds to follow is Christie at Wesandco; she has such a gorgeous sense of style.  Her home is not only beautiful but livable-- she's the mama to four boys!  

Friday, August 5, 2016

Friday Favorites: Made in Canada

One of the benefits of having lived in so many different cities and countries is having the opportunity to discover local or regional brands that I didn't know about before.  I've found so many new and lovable brands since moving to Canada!
For my US friends, these are all available in the US too, either online or have stores popping up!

Some of my favorites are:

Petite Pehr is a Canadian brand started by two Moms that is also available in the states, but is ubiquitous here in children's shops.  They make a variety of adorable wares such as these fabric bins and wonderful crib sheets that we have and love.  But my favorite are their swaddle blankets.  The fabric is light and breathable, comparable to Aden and Anais, but they are more oversized and the patterns are wonderful.

Mini Mioche is a Toronto children's line that boasts modern baby and children's clothing in unisex patterns and colors that are eco-friendly and organic.  The fabric is so soft and wears nicely (even with a very active and messy toddler).  They do the best elevated basics. Our favorites are the harem pants and this little gown. Right now they are only brick and mortar in TO, but available in the US online!

Jewels and Aces is another Canadian favorite that I discovered is local to Toronto.  I'm smitten with all of the jewelry.  They are effortless, subtle pieces that are perfect for day-to-day. I squealed with delight when I saw the hand written note and beautiful paper; it just made me fall in love with this little shop even more.

Kit and Ace opened a store down the street from me and I have yet to walk by without wanting to meander in and spend some quality time.  The brand just gets me.  The clothes have the comfort and movement of athletic apparel but with street style.  The tees are all blended with cashmere and I promise they will be the most comfortable tee you've ever worn (I'm loving this one for being so flowy and nursing friendly)  And don't even get me started on how well merchandised the store is! They are starting to pop up everywhere, but they got their start in Canada!

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Morale Boost

One of the surest ways to happily entertain a toddler boy is a trip to the marina to look at boats.  That was James Robert's requested activity on his day off of school this week.  

This was one of the best mornings out with both of the boys I've had so far.  It is hard to get us all out the door and keep them happy in tandem, but I'm working on the assumption that we'll all get better at it the more we practice.  

Getting into a new groove is definitely a work in progress!  But blue sunny skies, puffy summer clouds and a smile like this did wonders for the soul.  I think I needed this morale boost as much as they did. 

It is the type of deliciously ordinary day that feels extraordinary in the context of all of the other things going on. 
If you don't regularly visit Aspiring Kennedy, I highly recommend adding it to your perusal list. I immediately connected with Lauren's sentiment in her recent post about blogging.  Sometimes I miss the days before blogging became so commercial; I fell in love with this platform as a way to connect and catch a glimpse into peoples lives that felt genuine.  
And I'll continue to post as such; sharing tid bits and pretty pictures about normal life that isn't sponsored or part of a series or written with SEO in mind, but perhaps just the morale boost that we all need.  Finding a bit of blue sky and savoring it for the joy it brings your children.  Or the smile that you'll remember long after the baby teeth are gone.  If those things don't deserve a post, then what does?

P.S. Thanks for hanging in there with me as a get back in the swing of posting regularly.  xx


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