May 20, 2017

becoming oily

i am fairly new to oils. i still have a lot to learn and research, but with the help of some of my friends, and a few oilies i'm following on instagram, i have a good little starter stash of oils going. a friend of mine made some young living blends for me: joy and stress. i also can't go anywhere without my lavender (i need a good 'sleepy' blend, you guys!) and peppermint essential oil (migraines and allergies). i've also heard a lot of good things about doterra's on guard touch and use it daily with the boys since littles are always coming home with something. swith my little stash growing, i decided it was time to get myself a cute little bag to carry them all around in. thanks to novatree, i found this company baggageandco on etsy and placed an order. i absolutely love it! the bag is padded, has an adorable lining, completely sewn in pockets for your oils, a metal zipper, and an awesome print on the outside. and it's the perfect size, too.

have you been bit by the oil bug? where are you at in your oiling journey?

May 15, 2017

date night in box

life with littles is busy and taxing. it can be hard to find time for yourself through out the day when you have any number of children that need tissue, food, toys, their butt wiped, bandaids (like, 20 of them because you just had to buy the cute ones and their owies need more cute bandaids), rocked to sleep, put back in their crib... and on and on-i'm sure you get the point. so when the kids are finally in bed and you finished all the things you didn't get to finish while doing all of the aforementioned, you and your spouse are wiped. and if that's the case, you usually can't even get out of the house for a date. there are lots of fun date night in suggestions on pinterest that you could do, or; you could be lazy (like me!) you could go for convenience and just have a pre-selected date night in a box mailed directly to your door with little to no preparation needed.

i know for us, we don't have many people who are available to watch the kids for us and honestly? we're pretty selfish people who want to have a date night every week. we would run out of people to watch the littles if we went on that schedule. so when i stumbled across date night in box (psssst! they have other 'night in' boxes!) i knew that this would be the perfect addition to our nightly routine one night each month. i subscribed and within a couple weeks i had my date night in box in my mailbox.

i wanted to surprise my husband with it, and because we are usually wiped at the end of the night, it took me a week and a half to actually bust it out. this is real life people. so last weekend we celebrated a special anniversary in carmel, ca and i thought that would be the perfect time to surprise my husband. 

once we got home and got the kids settled into bed, we got right into it. 

this date night in box was 'to the moon and back' theme with a certificate of registration for a date night in star, which listed the coordinates to find it. we also got a welcome book with instructions, a recipe, a cute story of love and more. 

also included in the box was cookie mix, star a moon cookie cutters, hot cocoa, & luminaries. we immediately read through the book, then started our cookies. we are vegetarians, so we couldn't make the recipe that was included, so while the cookie dough was chilling in the fridge, we decorated our luminaries with constellations and then laid in front of the fireplace with them flickering. once the dough was chilled, we cut out the star and moon shapes and put them in the oven. then we made our hot chocolate and looked at the stars with the star chart app that they suggested using. once the cookies were done, we continued looking at the stars while enjoying star (and moon) cookies of our own. 

let me tell you: it was pretty awesome to be able to turn the tv off (anyone binge watching a show right now?? anyone??) and have some quiet, quality time together without having to spend money, get dressed, and go out. we have another box coming to us this month and i am excited to spend another date night in with my love. 

how do you celebrate date nights? 

May 01, 2017

cloth diapering journey-plus tips and our wash routine (printables included!)

cloth diapering is a huge part of our life. we try as much as we can to be sustainable, and when i think about how much money we are saving and how much of a positive impact we are making on the planet with cloth diapering, i feel more and more secure about our decision to cloth diaper.

my journey in cloth diapering started five years ago when oliver was born. i wasn't fully committed at first because i didn't have much knowledge of it-and we had a ton of diapers to go through from the baby shower-but after a few months, i hopped on board and we used gdiapers and alvas exclusively. i even made diaper inserts for them! so when we found out we were pregnant with joseph, i went a little cloth diaper crazy and bought a ton of cloth diapers.

we started out with gdiapers again because they worked so well with oliver. but then i hated them. i could never get a good fit on joseph and he always peed right out the side of the diaper, no matter what. then we tried the econobum prefolds and covers and while they worked well, i didn't like how bulky they were. i finally decided that we needed to get alvas. i really loved the few i had with oliver, but because you need a full stash, it was too expensive at the time to attain that amount. this time i was able to get what we needed, plus some bamboo fitteds for overnight use with flip covers, since joseph was a heavy wetter. we started out with 15, but since then our stash has grown to 26, not including fitteds, swim diapers, one bum genius, and two other brands.

pocket diapers, specifically alvas, are our absolute favorite. they're incredibly easy to use, affordable, they don't take forever to dry (like AIO's) and come in very fun and cute prints. because they're affordable, it's really easy to get a good stash going, even if you're buying just a few at a time. if you know you plan to cloth diaper, i suggest stocking up over the course of your pregnancy so when baby comes you have a real good stash. and ask for them on your registry!

if you're a seasoned cloth diaperer, it's not hard to get back into the swing of things. but if you're new to cloth diapering, there will be some trial and error as well as figuring out the best routine for you. even with all of the information out there, it can get a bit overwhelming for newbie fluffers. i am no pro at cloth diapering, but i have found a routine (and some tips) that works for me that i would love to share with you guys.

  • get a good stash going. you can do that by purchasing all at once, buying throughout your pregnancy, or registering for them for your baby shower. don't be afraid of second-hand, either; it's an inexpensive way to add to a stash. a good stash is between 15-24 diapers, on the higher end with a newborn. that is with a wash schedule of every other to every two days, depending on baby's age.
  • if you're going to do cloth wipes as well, alva has some great bamboo ones that are so soft! we also use bumkins. you can use just water in a spray bottle or peri bottle (the kind they send home with you from the hospital) or you can make a wipe solution. there are lots of diy recipes on pinterest, but we love wee essentials on etsy.
  • if you have some cloth diapering friends, ask them what their fave cloth brands and types are and why. see what their routine is and compare to what you feel might work for you (ie: how many kids are in cloth, how often they wash, etc.). 
  • join your local cloth diapering group(s) on facebook. there are always great resources and info in there and even mama's who might let you try out their cloth to see if you like it. b/s/t groups are great, too-bonus if they're local!
  • figure out how you want to store your clean cloth, as well as the soiled cloth. we keep our cloth diapers on an ikea raskog cart in the boys' room, but plan to move them to a wall shelf soon, since the baby loves to pull everything out of the cart! the soiled ones we keep in a huge hanging wet bag, but some people use a pail with a liner. i prefer the wet bag for aesthetics, but would definitely use a pail and liner if we had a laundry room accessible from inside the house. 
  • invest in a diaper sprayer! you wont need one until baby starts solids, but my routine of taking the poopy diapers outside and hosing them off is becoming quite inconvenient. you'll need one for all of those sticky solid food poo's that don't just flop off into the toilet. you will need one, i promise. 
  • get cloth diaper safe diaper cream. coconut oil is what we use, but burt's bees multi-purpose ointment (not their diaper rash cream) is safe as well as these other brands
  • you will need cloth diaper safe laundry soap. we use tide original scent powder, but there are other brands out there that work just fine. you want to stay away from optical brighteners and fabric softeners. for a full list of detergents, go here
  • it is suggested to have a washing machine that will get your cloth diapers clean without you having to do (hardly) any prep work to achieve that. it should have a center post agitator, a large enough tub to accommodate your stash, and fill with a lot of water. 'he' machines are fine, as long as you can select how much water fills the tub. we had a washer with no agitator and 'sensed' the load size and gave 'just enough' water to wash our items. we had so much build-up and had to go out and buy an old washer and then strip the heck out of the diapers to get them where they needed to be. there is nothing worse than ammonia smell in diapers, as well as ammonia burns on your baby's sweet skin! 
  • figure out a wash routine. depending on how many diapers you have in your stash, you should be washing every other day, every two days, or every three days-but definitely do not go longer than three days before washing. we wash every other day, or every two days, depending on how much time we have and what's going on. we can go three days between washes, but i prefer not to, as we get down to the last few and i have to throw everything in the dryer to speed up the drying process. and the dryer is fine on occasion, but too much dryer use with pul can break it down sooner. hang dry is best, whether inside or out.  
  • have fun! we buy fun and nerdy prints that get us excited about cloth diapering. alva has tons of prints that are incredibly adorable. our favorites are these, these, and we already have this one!
those tips should help you get started in your very own cloth diapering journey. here are some tips with washing, prepping/stripping, and the general 'how to' cloth diaper. keep in mind that this is my routine and what works for my family. adjust how you see fit! these instructions can work for pocket diapers or prefolds and flats with diaper covers. if you use AIO's, there is no need to separate inserts, as the inserts are already sewn in. to see different type of cloth diapers, check out the humbled homemaker!

if you would like to print out these instructions and hang them up in your laundry room and cloth diapering station, feel free to save the image and print. i won't be a copyright nazi or anything, but i do ask that if you share these, to please credit me and tag me wherever possible. thank you!

if you plan to hang dry everything, or even just the covers, invest in a good drying rack and/or a clothesline. i'm saving up for an umbrella clothesline!

i gifted these printables to my sis-in-law with some cloth diapers from alva. they look great in frames in your laundry room and diapering stations. you can easily make your own using picmonkey! now, for some cute fluff spam. from alva, of course! (they're seriously my fave!!!)

if you have any tips yourself, or a routine that has worked for you, please share with us below! link your blog posts, forums, or simply just write it out. happy cloth diapering!

April 06, 2017

bibetts brand ambassador

we all know about my obsession with baby carriers; i won't try to hide it. i've gone through as many carriers as a well stocked lending library would have and could even have a nice lending library myself with what i currently own. three are traveling at the moment, one is in the process of being made (custom harry potter ring sling, of course), and another will be making it's way to me very soon. the one making it's way to me is a bibetts brand ring sling.

i first discovered bibetts when i was in the market for a ring sling when i was pregnant with joseph. i was looking for something classic, black, and affordable, but quality as well. my search brought me to etsy and i stumbled upon the shop bibetts. i chose a classic black ring sling with silver rings and was so excited when i received it; i couldn't wait for baby to come so i could do uppies with him in it. since he was born cesarean section, i had to wait two weeks to wear him (recovery time), but as soon as my midwife gave me the clear, up he went.

this sling was my absolute favorite to wear him in. the linen already had that broken in feeling, the size was comfortable, and of course you can't go wrong with black; it was my most used carrier! we even used it as a prop in a photo shoot for work to display the new effects pedals that came in (earthquaker devices dunes and terminal).

once baby was diagnosed with clubfoot and had his serial casting, then bnb wear, we weren't able to use the sling unless he was in free time without bnb.

since then, i have purchased two more carriers (lenny lamb SSC's) and have had her do three custom ring slings. i mean; she's great! so imagine my excitement when she was looking for a brand ambassador... YES PLEASE! i applied, not thinking i would get it because i'm not consistently active on the blog and don't have a ton of followers on instagram, but after a couple weeks i got an email that i was approved! baby joseph and i are very excited to represent bibetts.

i really have to say that, if you're looking for an affordable ring sling, please try hers out. aside from her brand ring slings, she offers other brands and carrier styles like lenny lamb and soul tai, in addition to accessories and water wraps/slings. head on over to bibetts and take a look at whats in stock. (if you click on that link and make a purchase, i earn reward points and so do YOU!).  you can even have her do a custom ring sling or a wrap conversion!

carrying my baby is such a special and necessary experience for me and baby; i'm glad bibetts is carrying us in this journey.

do you have a favorite carrier? are you as addicted to them as i am? share with me below!

*this blog post contains affiliate links. if you click on them and make a purchase, i will receive reward points and so will you. i will not receive any cash for any purchases made. thank you for your support!

April 03, 2017

learning to let go-a mama's journey

a few months ago my daughter decided to spend her junior year living with her dad. though the plan of her possibly living with him at some point was not new to me, the sudden announcement and assurance came as a shock. i was actually incredibly sad, hurt, confused and a little pissed off. i mean, she had told me in the middle of jamba juice while we were waiting for our smoothies, and so nonchalantly too; like she was telling me she was going to dye her hair pink. it went like this;

daughter: so, i was going to tell you and joey together, but since we're here right now... i decided i'm going to go live with my dad

me: *brooding-holding back tears* oh, really?

d: yeah. i want to spend my junior year out there.

me: i see

and then i didn't say anything for the rest of the day

see, it's been (practically) just the two of us since her dad left for the army thirteen years ago. she spent a few months with him before kindergarten, and her first grade year, but she has basically been with me her whole life, beside summer and holidays. while the thought of her someday living with him was in the back of my head as a possibility, i just always figured it would be her and i until she left for college. i've lived in the same town, all of her friends and family are here, this is what she knows, and she's just always been with me. so imagine my shock when in the middle of jamba juice she announces that she has decided to live with her dad. it just sounded so... final.

of course i have never discouraged her from living with him and support her fully, but i was just so confused as to why she would want to leave everything behind without even trial living with him during the summer, since she would be visiting him during the summer anyway. i also felt let down and abandoned, and that maybe i even let her down. so many things were going through my head, so many emotions i was experiencing; i could barely stomach the idea and conversation of her going.

then one night i was lying in bed thinking about her leaving for a school year, and about how the past 13 years its just been the two of us, and how her dad sacrifices daily for his kids, for his family, and how much he has missed with her, and i realized how selfish i was in not wanting her to go. she's old enough to make the decision to go live with him and because i feel completely secure in how his household is run, she should go! she should be able to spend the next year with him, and her siblings and step-mom. and he deserves it too. am i going to miss her? of course! am i going to be sad and incredibly jealous and still wish she were with me? duh. but i am no longer hurt, confused and pissed. i also don't feel let down and abandoned; i am actually very content. it's amazing what a mother's love for her daughter can accomplish and get through.

i'm also excited to turn her room into my sewing room-temporarily-while she is gone! (just kidding, bry!)

March 19, 2017

joseph andrew-the first year

i cannot believe that a year has already gone by and now my baby is one. to say this has been the hardest year of my life thus far is an understatement; but it has also been the most glorious, and for that i am so very content.

i have to say, it is difficult getting a baby to cooperate for monthly photos once they've become mobile! i found myself giving him random things to chew on so he would be distracted enough for me to snap a photo, as you can tell in the photo collage! it didn't always work out as planned, but the photos are precious nonetheless. i didn't really have a theme through out each month; i just sort of laid out what he was most interested in at the time, though month eight and nine are celebrating our trip to the wizarding world of harry potter and disneyland.

it's amazing how babies grow so much in the first year. i wish the first year lasted five years! but they don't and we have to truly cherish the moments we can with them before they grow up too much and leave us.

March 09, 2017

baby wearing adventure-mama and baby (and a little bit of daddy, too)

baby wearing has been an essential part of my every day life since baby has been in the world. i carried oliver a great deal when he was a baby because i was constantly at bry's school doing pta things and he never really cared much for the stroller. and though i was thankful that i had a way to carry oliver, it was more a of a necessity than it was a passion. with joseph, however, it started out as a necessity that turned into a passion.

because we bring baby with us to work (my husband and i work together, in his parent's guitar shop), it is important that we have a way to take care of baby while still being able to get work done and baby wearing provides that opportunity. my husband does almost all of the baby wearing for me when we're at work (he's such an amazing man!), and it's usually during baby's nap time-joseph eats some breakfast, then goes for uppies to nap and we're able to get right to work.

holding baby so close really made me appreciate the ability to wear him and seeing my husband share in that passion made it even more amazing. i mean, look at him! baby wearing dads are hot!

with that passion also came an obsession with different style carriers and all of the amazing patterns and colors out there to choose from. i started joining baby wearing groups on facebook and that's when the true obsession started because all of these amazing-and already broken in-carriers were at my fingertips for less than retail. i think my husband and i have owned twenty five (25!) carriers total and currently own ten, and i am in the process of making another ring sling (in honor of hagrid) and have just become accepted to be a brand ambassador (please note that this is an affiliate link. if you purchase from this link, i will receive credit for your purchase. thank you!) for bibetts baby carriers, so i have another ring sling on it's way to me. also-and don't tell my husband this-i am in the market for an onbuhimo, so you know... keep your eyes peeled for me, k thanks!

i carry a lot of pride in the carriers i own and because baby wearing means so much to me, i asked oliver's dad if he would like to do a photo shoot of baby and i in some of my carriers. i am so glad that he said yes! he captured some amazing photos.

you can follow oliver's dad richard on instagram or check out his site to purchase prints here.

carriers in this post: soul tai meh dai coal on grey, tula ukuleleinfantino sash meh dai birds, lenny lamb dragons in green & brown, tekhni wovens magikos eidos ring sling conversion (converted by bibetts), lenny lamb smoki full wrap conversion buckle carrier.

do you love to baby wear? what is your favorite carrier? share with me in the comments below!