Thursday, August 6, 2020

Our Coronavirus Bathroom DIY

Hi everyone! Here with a fun post today. I super impulsively suggested (and then made Matt dive into) a bathroom renovation DIY over the last month. What I thought would be SUPER simple, well...wasn't exactly that in the end, but we still made a pretty drastic improvement with not a huge investment. We were forced to keep the vanity because when we first moved into our house, we replaced all of the crazy, mismatched flooring with hardwoods throughout, but didn't remove the bathroom vanity to place flooring underneath it. If we were to have removed the vanity now, that would have meant having to lay hardwood underneath it this many years later, and it just so happened that the flooring that we had selected 5 years ago has since been discontinued. SO. The original vanity had to stay. What I didn't know before I signed us up for this project was that the vanity was a totally custom size, which meant we couldn't simply order a new vanity top online. The biggest chunk of money went into the granite that we picked from a scrap pile left over from someone else's kitchen reno, which we then had sized and edged to fit our bathroom. Otherwise, it was fairly smooth sailing. We did everything else ourselves (really, it was mostly Matt), and even the wallpaper wasn't that big of a deal when all was said and done, though that's the part that we were dreading most. The toilet leaked a few times and the sink gave us a week worth of trouble that required Matt's dad to come in for reinforcement, but I'm happy to report that it's all in working order now. So here it is, the final product!

First, some before pictures. This space went pretty much untouched from the time we moved in. We used to call this the men's locker room because it reminded us of exactly that.

And here, the beautiful afters! Sources are all below if you have questions on where anything is from.


Hardware: cabinet pulls and hinges

Have you taken on any coronavirus projects while cooped inside? Would love to hear about anything you've DIY'ed in the last few months! No more reno for us until we're ready to tackle the very last project in our house: the guest bathroom upstairs. We'll save that beast for another year.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

June Amazon Favorites

Hi! It's getting harder and harder to make time to get anything on the blog these days, but I really wanted to round up my favorite Amazon finds from June because THERE WERE SO MANY GOOD ONES. Several of these I received as birthday gifts, others I gifted myself since I'm 3-on-1 for 12 hours a day and, well, online shopping is my friend. The perfect little summer line up, if I do say so myself.

1. Lacoste Hat: I've been wearing this almost daily on my walks with the kids. It's a men's hat but fits and flatters my head so much better than a women's hat, and I love it.

2. Sunglasses: I've had the same old Ray Bans for 10 years, but find myself reaching for these even more. They're so fun for summer and are cheap enough to toss into a diaper bag and not have to worry about losing or breaking them.

3. T Shirt Dress: The easiest, comfiest, semi-put together summer outfit.

4. Cover Up: This is gorgeous. We have a pool, and am almost always in a swimsuit with this over top these days.

5.Coin Necklace: The most beautiful necklace that pairs with nearly anything. I love the chunkier chain and the coin pendant--really I just love it all.

6. Salt Spray: I love this salt spray to give my hair some texture and volume.

7. Lotion: Smells like heaven. The perfect lotion for summertime skin.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Our Family "Porchraits"

Hi friends! Here to share some of our family "porchraits" that we had taken a few weeks back--a way to document our growing family while still maintaining social distancing. I love that these were taken at our home, where the boys feel happiest and most comfortable, and where we've spent a pretty continuous (and not always easy) 4 months together. These will serve as pretty nice covers to their quarantine scrapbooks, a way to look back at this sh*tshow of a year and to remember all the uncertainty and chaos. A piece of history, right?

With cases exploding again, stay safe, stay home. We're (still) all in this together.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Funny Kid Quotes: Oskar and August Edition

I was updating some baby books today and ended up reminiscing by pulling out one of our favorite things to flip through: this "My Quotable Kid" book in which we've written all of the funny things the boys have said over the years. I thought I'd share some favorites, below. Some of them really make me laugh out loud just thinking about them. Side note: highly recommend this as a gift for any toddlers in your lives.

Matt: Oskar, I love reading to you so much.
Oskar: Turn the page, weirdo.

August: They were talking about my eye while I was sleeping.
Matt: Behind your back?
August: No, my eye.

Matt: We're so lucky to have your mama.
Oskar: I know.
Matt: She's so beautiful.
Oskar: You're right, she is.
Matt: And she's always nice.
Oskar: She always is.
Matt: And she never yells.
Oskar: Yeah, she does yell.

August: Eeney meeney miney mo / Catch a tiger by the toe / If he hollers than you catch him.

After smashing my toe and breaking my toenail, I cried out in pain. Oskar came to the rescue to comfort me and told me, "It's OK mama, now you can put your toenail in your baby book."

August, in reference to toys he left outside: Oh great. Now they're all thunderstormed.

Oskar (as he picks a red card in candy land): "DAN. Oh. Sorry." (thinking he swore)

Nana took Oskar to the store, where a mom lost her patience with her daughter and yelled at her. Oskar turned to Nana and said, "She's probably a step-mother."

August: Can we play...can we play Super...Super Super Mario Party. How did I remember that?! I have such a bad memory, like Mummo (their grandma)!

Oskar: Do I have to work when I grow up?
Matt: Yes, because you need money.
Oskar: Why?
Matt: For food.
Oskar: I am going to make my workers give me candy.

Oskar, going downstairs: Be brave, be brave, be brave...HEY COME DOWN HERE, I CAN'T BE BRAVE.


August: Pick on your own smell (instead of size).

Oskar, while looking at a gold cross he got for his baptism: "Look mama! It's the Jesus logo."

August: In the Steelers game, do the Steelers kiss?

August, half asleep on the couch: "...can you....put...olives in my hand?"

Oskar: Dada, what are you reading about?
Matt: It's abougt a golfer.
Oskar: What happened to him?
Matt: Nothing, he just grew up near Pittsburgh and got famous.
Oskar: Did he die?
Matt: Well, yeah...but...
Oskar: I knew that would happen to him.

I hope these brightened your Monday like they did mine. Have a great week, my friends, and always pick on your own smell.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

A Letter to Oskar on his 6th Birthday

Today, you’re six whole years.  Still up at 6am every day, still so incredibly full of life. You spend every second talking, analyzing, planning, sucking up every last bit of your days. This year held the most growth and change of any prior years combined for you (except for probably the first) and it’s hard to wrap it all up into a few short paragraphs. You're just such a big kid now, and I'm both proud and a little sad that you're growing up so fast.

You started the year in a preparatory Kindergarten classroom, getting you ready for Kindergarten at our public school this coming fall. Oh, how you’ve thrived and learned, with your best friends alongside of you. I’ll always remember you with your Solar System backpack on your back and sheets of homework that you loved doing stuffed inside. I know all parents say this, but you, Oskar, are the smartest 6-year-old I’ve ever known. You read and write so beautifully and are so incredibly inquisitive, wanting to understand every part of the world around you. You’ve poured through chapter books these last few months, gobbling up the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, “I Survived” and Pok√©mon series. You’re a perfectionist and are unbelievably particular, leaving not a darn thing unnoticed.  You LOVE to learn and don’t give up until you get it, even if that means tears of frustration along the way. For so long we debated whether to send you to Kindergarten at age 5 or to give you the extra year, and now, reflecting back, there’s not a doubt in my mind that we did the best thing for you. You’re SO unbelievably ready to be a leader and a helper to others this coming school year, which is exactly where you thrive the most.

You’re still a sensitive soul and feel things so deeply. Your feelings get hurt easily but you’re also very much an empath—it hurts you to see others hurting too. You love so big, closer and more attached to mama as ever, needing hugged and cuddled throughout the day, wanting to fall asleep holding my hand.

This year really narrowed the 21 month age gap between you and August, mostly because August adores you and emulates everything you do. You’re his hero. You’re always side by side, either swimming in the pool, watching a show together, playing Nintendo, or playing some imaginary game. You're such a LEGO master, building sets for you or your brother almost obsessively, putting together hundreds of pieces meant for ages 8 and up without even blinking an eye. Or then, of course, you’re fighting, which happens a lot, too. Lately you two "jinx" each other non-stop, or race while taunting that "first is the worst and second is the best", not really knowing whether you want to win or not, driving me absolutely insane. The constant bear-cub wrestling is slowing (though certainly not gone), replaced by games between two boys that are slowly growing up. You love Star Wars and Pokemon and have filled your room with LEGO ships that you’ve built or cards that you’ve collected and memorized. You also have the sweetest group of best buds from school that you’ve grown up with, and it makes me so sad that you’ll be going to different elementary schools next year. I know you’re so sad about it too, nervous for a year ahead without those familiar faces or inside jokes to help you with such a big transition. Thank goodness for our sweet neighbors who will be getting on the school bus with you, some of your very best friends that have become family. 

You were excelling at both karate and in a swimming class this year—your need to move satisfied perfectly by both. You also played a season of t-ball, nervous as ever to try something unfamiliar that might not come to you right away. You got into a groove a few games later, and watching you play in your oversized shirt and eye black made you look so grown up. Between school and your activities, you had lots of structured, predictable time built into your days, which is really what you needed. The Type A in both you and me. So when COVID-19 came and our worlds stopped as we knew them, I really worried about how to handle your idle days. You’ve never done well being bored. What I’ve learned, however, is that pushing you into that uncomfortable space of having to figure out what to do has done wonders for you, and you’ve adapted so much better than I thought you would. 

Which brings me to the biggest change this year. Your baby sister, born just days before the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, a double whammy of how your life would turn upside down. I’ll never forget your face meeting her at the hospital. You were so in love. You’re always holding her, cooing at her, giggling with excitement when you make her smile. You help me with everything—getting diapers when I need them or watching her while I take a shower. Most recently I let you feed her a bottle of pumped milk and I thought your heart was going to explode with happiness. Watching you love her is exactly what I had dreamed. This is only the beginning of something really special between you two, I just know it. 

We’ve been home since March 7th together, quarantined and trying to stay safe and healthy from the COVID-19 pandemic. Somehow, we’re surviving together. You’ve finished hundreds of pages academic workbooks, but we've also learned so much together. We take daily walks, you on your bike, zooming around and trying out new tricks for me to score. In a lot of ways, this quarantine has certainly been difficult, but it’s not often—if ever— that you’re given the gift of time. This is the most I’ve ever been able to spend with you and I’m fairly certain I’ll look back in another 6 years, thankful for this moment, a freeze frame of your childhood that for once, didn’t go too darn fast.

Happy happy birthday my beautiful six-year-old big kid. Your biggest birthday wish was for a hover board but concluded that it was probably way too much money and never asked for it again. I can’t wait to see your face when you unwrap it today. Always be confident in yourself and stay the sweet and gentle boy that you are. Sensitivity and vulnerability are your biggest strengths, so don’t ever let the world harden you. I’ll hold your hand forever if you’ll let me.



Thursday, May 21, 2020

0-3 Month Baby Favorites

Hi friends! I only have my littlest baby to take care of today and feel like THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER, so I wanted to share our most-loved baby gear for 0-3 months while I'm hanging with her. Three kids in, I've narrowed our must-have baby items to not that many at all. Here's what we've gotten the most use out of these last few months with baby Maren.

1. Baby Bjorn Mini: This thing has seen some serious miles logged in quarantine and is hands down the BEST way to wear a newborn. It’s so secure, comfortable, never slips, and baby loves it.

2. Mobile: Maren’s obsession. This mobile clips to strollers, car seats, activity mats, or anywhere else you may want to put it. This introduces baby to high contrast, black and white and color graphics for early visual and multisensory development.

3. Baby Bjorn Chair: We got this 6 years ago when Oskar was born, and its been worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY. Our babies have loved sitting supported and upright in this chair from just a few weeks on, most often up on our kitchen counter (always supervised) while we’re cooking, or next to the dining room table when we’re eating. The best part about the chair is that it really does grow with your child. Oskar and August used it all the way through toddlerhood without the harness as a chair to sit in while watching TV, or to take along to watch fireworks, parades, etc.

4. Pacifier Straps: Instead of washing off a pacifier 100 times a day, I present to you these pretty little straps that keep pacifiers off of the floor. These are long time favorites in our house.

5. Activity Gym: The only place that Maren lets me put her down—the love for her activity gym started at just a few days old. Encourages eye tracking and, eventually, grabbing and grasping. This is also where we practice tummy time.

6. SNOO: I’ve talked A LOT about this bassinet on Instagram. It’s given us infinitely more sleep than we ever got with the boys—3-4 hour stretches on her first night home from the hospital, and 10:00pm-8am sleeps now at 2 months. It’s truly magic but definitely carries a price tag. Happiest Baby holds a few sales throughout the year (I’ve seen up to 40% off on Black Friday) and with a product that holds its resale value and gets instantly sold on Buy/Sell/Trade sites upon posting, we figured we’d end up paying just a few hundred dollars out of pocket once we sell ours to the next family. One thousand percent worth that amount for my sleep, which really equals my sanity.

7. Zutano Booties: I swear I reach for these every single day. These are the only socks/booties that stay on feet that are constantly kicking around. 

8. Ollie Swaddle: Our most loved swaddle and the only one you’ll ever need.

9. Boppy: I’m sure you all know the Boppy. What you may not realize you should also invest in are waterproof covers. These have been a lifesaver this go-around with a baby that spits up super easily. Make sure you first put the waterproof cover and THEN the normal cover on. The more you wash the pillow itself, the quicker it wears down and falls apart, and the waterproof cover is perfect for protecting it.  

The more kids we've had the more minimal we've gotten, and these staples have proved their worth time and again. If you're planning a registry or recently welcomed a baby, I know the amount of stuff out there can be SUPER overwhelming. Start here for the first few months, and I promise there isn't much else you need. After all, its a lot of sleep, eat, snuggle, poop, and repeat, and with diapers and boobs, you'll get pretty far.

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