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8.07.2018

The Beauty of Co-Sleeping

Last night, Charlie was wired before bedtime (not unusual). We did our nightly routine of jammies, vitamin, teeth-brushing, a sippy cup of water, and three books. Chuck and I took our turn kissing him on the forehead and bidding him “sweet dreams.” However, several minutes after we had left the room, I could still hear Charlie whimpering and crying in his room.

I asked him what was wrong, knowing the answer. What kid likes to be left alone by Mom and Dad in the dark? So I laid down next to him in his snuggly twin-sized bed. As we lay, noses just inches apart, he told me about his day, and the games he played with his cousin Lucie that evening at the playground. He threw his little arm around my neck and commanded me, “Hey, come here. Get closer.” And who was I to deny him?


I have always been a diva when it comes to sleep. Whereas most people need 7-8 hours per night to function, I’ve always been more in the 8-9 hour range. In my teens, I could literally sleep until 4 PM. (Obviously, my 30-year old self cannot even fathom this. Think of all I could get accomplished in that time now!) So, as most expecting parents are apt to do, I conjured up in my brain the kind of strict, sleep-Nazi authoritarian Mom I would be. My children would sleep in their own beds, in their own rooms from a young age because Mommy needs her sleep. And also like many expecting parents, the reality of actual parenthood settled in and I was shocked to find that the whole co-sleeping thing is kind of glorious.

Charlie slept through the night in his own crib form the time he was 8 weeks old. Thank goodness too, because I don’t know how I would’ve managed going back to work when he was 10 weeks old, otherwise. He’s always been independent and a good sleeper. But right around the time he turned three, he started developing a fear of the dark. The first few times it became an issue, we tried persuading and encouraging him to go back to his own bed. But it didn’t last long. Not only was I too tired in the middle of the night to fight with him, but I also remembered just how scary nighttime can be as a little person and I hated the thought of leaving him alone and scared all by himself. I wanted him to experience the security and reassurance in knowing that he would always be protected if he chose to climb into Mommy and Daddy’s bed. So that’s where we’ve been for the past year. Sometimes he does well and sleeps like a log in his own big boy bed. And sometimes he wakes in the wee hours of the morning and quietly curls up between our feet.

Crosby is going on two and though he is also a really good sleeper, he wasn’t always that way. It took him over a year to begin sleeping through the night and his 18-month sleep regression was rough. Thankfully, his nursery doubles as our guest bedroom and there have been many a night when rather than opting to let him “cry it out” alone in his crib, I held him to my chest and lay with him as the warmth of my body slowly lulled him to sleep. Sometimes, all a little boy needs is the embrace of his Mama.



Now that I’m working full-time again, I treasure the nights when I get to snuggle these little boys of mine. During the week, I have a few hours with them to tackle dinner and bedtime and then our weekends are always jam-packed with my part-time job at the Farmers’ Market, studying for my professional exams, and swimming lessons. Sometimes we get caught up in all of the activity and it feels like I haven’t actually seen and spent time with them in ages. These are the times when I’m so thankful that Mama cuddles are the best cure for restless nights. These are the times when I’m reminded of just how fleeting time is and these precious little souls won’t want to sleep alongside their parents for much longer. These are the times that make me believe in the beauty of co-sleeping. 

7.30.2018

CHARLIE'S PROGRESS REPORT | Swim Lessons with Goldfish Swim School

This post brought to you by Goldfish Swim School.

It's been over six months since Charlie's "graduation" from his Mini 2-level swimming class with Mommy to his independent, big boy "Junior 1" level class. His hair was about 6 inches longer, he freaked out if the slightest bit of water got in his face, and he had the attention span of a...goldfish (pun intended).

Although I can't say his attention span has drastically changed by any means, there is definite progress to be shown from these last 6 months of swimming independently (with a teacher, but no parent in the water). Last week was Progress Report Week at Goldfish Swim School-Dayton, so I figured it was the perfect opportunity to share Charlie's progress and what he's learned!


Swimming skills aside, the thing I've most enjoyed watching is the bond between Charlie and his teacher, Mr. Chris (or as he refers to him as, Mr. Broccoli). Although every teacher Charlie's had has been terrific, I can tell the difference in Charlie's level of trust with Mr. Chris. He's really bonded with him, trusts him, and that level of trust is what makes him perform a little bit better each week. Mr. Chris has complimented Charlie on his positive attitude and enthusiasm and as his Mama, that's just about the best compliment he could receive. 



Although he's still hesitant and not fully confident in the water on his own, I can honestly say that his independence in the water has grown by leaps and bounds. When he started at the Junior 1 level, he still hadn't mastered his "fishy face" and was really uncomfortable going underwater. Six months later, he's doing "octopus floats", blowing bubbles, and holding his breath underwater like a champ!



He has yet to float on his back unassisted, but he went from only floating if his head was resting on his teacher, to now doing his "sea otter floats" with his teacher merely providing reassurance and support in case he gets scared. 



As for his actual swimming? He still looks more like he's thrashing in the water than swimming. But he's figured out how to put his "pulls" and "kicks" to practical use rather than just doing them while he sits along the pool wall. 



His strongest skill, however, is his ability to "crab walk" along the pool wall and climb out all by himself. He's mastered the "Hand hand, elbow elbow, tummy tummy, knee knee" method and can easily climb out. He's not a strong swimmer yet, but I feel so reassured knowing that if he ever fell into a pool or body of water, he could get himself out. 

Since January, he's grown to love donning his goggles in the pool and he gets genuinely excited about his lessons each week (which was not always the case). He had plenty of freak-outs in the beginning where his teachers spent half the lesson just trying to get him calm, tear-free and comfortable in the water. I am so proud of my little fish and the progress he's made. I love watching him strengthen his swimming skills and become just a little more independent each week.




7.20.2018

BLOGGER LOVE v.21

It is absolutely unreal to me that my last post sharing blogger love was back in October. Then again, life has been jam-packed these last few months and I simply haven't been spending as much time in blogger land as of late. That being said, even during the busy times when I'm not posting as much, I'm still trying to keep up with my favorite bloggers.

Here are some of my favorite posts from other bloggers in the last eight-ish months. Obviously, there's a lot of ground to cover in 8 months, so I've broken them down into three different categories. Enjoy!

BLOGGER LOVE: My favorite posts from the last 8 months




DEEP AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING

What I'll Never Forget about Life in the NICU by Nadine Rebecca

I love nearly everything Nadine writes and wish that I still lived in Philly so we could be Mom friends. But I especially loved this post she wrote giving a glimpse into what her life was like for the first weeks of her son's life in the NICU.

Owning my Truth: Why I Left the Mormon Church by itsAlyx

I love reading about other people's faith journeys because my own has been so all over the place and riddled with questions. I thought Alyx's post about why she left the Mormon church was so brave and commendable.

The Particular Fear of Someone Else's Car by Sarah Bessey

Sarah Bessey. Where do I even begin with Sarah Bessey? She could write a limerick about gas station bathrooms and find a way to make it beautiful. This post hit so close to home as a Mom. But especially as a Mom who got herself into some potentially dangerous situations as a young adult.

Our Stalemate by the florkens

This post broke my heart. It's a less common kind of grief, but Kate so beautifully puts words to a difficult situation in her marriage. I was floored by her honesty and vulnerability. Although I usually am floored by most of her posts because she's such a talented writer.

PRACTICAL POSTS AND TUTORIALS

Ultimate Guide for the Best Christmas Markets in Europe by Helene in Between

On the very top of my travel bucket lists are the Christmas markets in Germany and Austria. So obviously, I bookmarked this post to save for later!

A Student Loan Forgiveness Program Isn't a Good Strategy by Making Sense of Cents

It feels so silly to admit this, but this post actually played a part in my desire to pursue a career in finance. I've worked in nonprofits and government jobs since I graduated college and I always assumed that I would utilize the Public Loan Forgiveness Program to help me pay off my loans. This post made so much sense to me and I realized that it just didn't make sense for me to hold out for this program to bail me out, rather than just putting on my big girl panties and paying my debt off as quickly as possible.

Practically Radical Vol. 1: Foster Care Support and Practically Radical v.2: Supporting City Schools by Riedys Breaking Rules

Chelsea and I cheered together my freshman year of college and her husband, Nate, and I were fellow Poli Sci nerds together at Eastern. The Riedys are such a great couple and their blog is totally one to follow. They're constantly striving toward self-betterment and making a positive impact in their community and in the world. They started this series to share practical ways that people can give back to their own community and it's so darn good!

The Best Age for a Trip to Disney World by Our Darling Adventure

This is something I've thought a lot about because I cannot wait until we get to take the boys to Disney World. This was a guest post by a Disney travel agent and it was chock full of tips for traveling to Disney with kids of all ages!

LIGHT AND FUN

15 Favorite IKEA Purchases by North Carolina Charm

I mean, who doesn't love IKEA?! And I especially loved this post because it gave me ideas of little IKEA hacks that I could use in our own house.

DIY Home Projects: Updates on How They've Held Up by Whimsical September

Another house post. What can I say? I love seeing how people decorate their homes!

Let's Be Mermaids: L + P's 3rd Birthday Party by Fueling Mamahood

I met Lindsey when we were both contributors to the Dayton Moms Blog. We've both left DMB since then, but I love keeping up with her adorable family. The birthday party that she threw for her twin girls at Goldfish Swim School-Dayton was beyond cute and was what inspired me to start planning Crosby's birthday there in September! (Also, you should go check out Lindsey's Instagram. She is seriously killing it on Insta!)

> > >

What bloggers have you been loving lately?

7.16.2018

STITCH FIX | Rounds 6 + 7

It's hard to imagine how I ever blogged without the wonder that is Instagram. Whenever I'm at a loss for blog topics, I just turn to my Instagram stories and survey all of my adoring blog followers (all three of them) for inspiration. I've been tossing around a few ideas in my head of things I wanted to write about (with the 30 minutes I have free every week. Seriously). When I asked what people wanted to see on this blog, the overwhelming answer was- my most recent Stitch Fix shipments!

And honestly, I can't blame them. What is it about seeing people trying on clothes in their home that is so darn interesting? Stitch Fix posts are some of my favorites to read from other bloggers.

When I found out I got my new, full-time job back in May, I knew I was going to seriously need to upgrade my business/professional wardrobe. I had been a SAHM for a year and a half and all my jobs prior to that had been super flexible in terms of dress code. So basically, I had nothing. My wardrobe is still lacking and I wear the same outfits on rotation every 1-2 weeks, but thanks to Stitch Fix, I'm slowly adding more and more quality pieces to my closet. When I requested my fixes in May and June, I specifically requested that I wanted work-appropriate pieces, but preferably ones that still had a little boho flair so I could remain true to my personal style.



My May Fix


First up, my May fix! I told my stylist that I wanted professional pieces, but I was also thinking ahead to my friend Laura's wedding and requested a cute dress I could wear for the occasion. This is what they sent:

RENEE C
Linscott Crew Neck Top



I liked this top (and looking back on it, I'm actually questioning my decision in returning it), but this was the fix in which I figured out that I'm most definitely a size S and not a M, because it was just too baggy on me.
Verdict: Return

THML
Eyrie Embroidery Detail Top



And in keeping with the theme of blouses that I basically drowned in, this one was see-through to boot!
Verdict: Return

STREET LEVEL
Elvie Woven Clutch
&
NINE BRITTON
Becky Tie Back Detail Dress



Guys, I love this dress. I am so drawn to fun prints like this and there's no doubt in my mind that it would have been an adorable choice for my friend's wedding. That being said, with its spaghetti straps and open back, this wasn't one that I felt was very versatile and I was afraid I wouldn't get much use out of it outside of the wedding. So sadly, I said goodbye. Parting with the clutch was not nearly as difficult. I'm just not a clutch kind of girl.
Verdict: Return (x2)

NINE BRITTON
Elsie Embroidery Detail Knit Dress



Finally, a winner! I love the stripes, I love the embroidery, it's so dang comfy and did I mention it has pockets?! Score! Although it's a bit more casual than I was hoping for, I did end up wearing this one to Laura's wedding and I got a really cute pair of red flats on sale at Payless to match that I wear to work regularly!
Verdit: Keep!



My June Fix


In June, I got a new stylist and I'm actually so happy about the change because she did a wonderful job! She nailed my style and I was so happy with the pieces she picked out for me.

RENEE C
Jory Split Neck Blouse
&
ERICA TAYLOR
Karen Straight Leg Pants



First off, I fell in love with his blouse the minute I saw it. I love the colors, I love the print, it fits well and it's just so me! I knew this one would be a keeper from the get-go. My stylist warned me that the Erica Taylor pants were a "splurge" item and since I'm a cheapskate when it comes to buying clothes, I wasn't planning to keep them initially. Although my smudgy mirror selfie does them no justice, I love these slacks! They fit me like a glove, are so comfortable and are super figure-flattering. Since I was already planning to invest in a few pairs of dress pants, I felt I could justify the $80 price tag.
Verdict: Keep (x2!)


ABSOLUTELY
Camdem Drape Cardigan



I was so on the fence about this cardigan. I loved it in theory, but I like my cardigans to be pretty fitted. This one was just a little too awkwardly baggy in the armpits, so I returned it in the end. I just couldn't justify the purchase when the fit was never going to be quite right.
Verdict: Return

H&C COLLECTION
Latonia Crochet Detail Top
&
LOVEAPPELLA
Deanne Tile Printed Maxi Skirt



I adore the crochet detail on this top, but again, I just can't do a see-through blouse. As for the maxi skirt, I liked the print and I loved that my stylist was giving me the boho pieces I so desired, but I don't really wear maxi skirts in my everyday life.
Verdict: Return (x2)

My seventh fix was the first one in which I seriously considered keeping the entire fix. Fun fact: If you decide to buy all five pieces in your fix, Stitch Fix will give you a 25% discount on your entire purchase. Sometimes it's actually more cost-effective to buy the whole dang box! 

My next fix is scheduled for this Friday and I can't wait. I'm not the kind of person who does well with surprises so the instant that shipping confirmation hits my email, I immediately go over to the checkout link on the Stitch Fix website to see what I can expect to see in my mailbox. It's totally cheating, but I can't help myself!

For those of you who are curious about Stitch Fix but may be reluctant to commit, I also want to say this- I did take a long recess in between my fixes. Most of the pieces they send are admittedly more than I would prefer to spend on clothing. However, since I'm a busy mom of two working a full-time and part-time job, and studying for a big professional exam, I legitimately don't have the time to go shopping at a brick-and-mortar store. So for me, the convenience factor of having someone do my shopping for me and having clothing sent right to my door to try on in the comfort of my home is totally worth the investment.

If you're interested in trying Stitch Fix out for yourself, you can use my referral link. This post isn't sponsored in any way, but I will get a credit toward my upcoming fixes if you decide to use my link.

Stay tuned for my report on my July fix. And next time, I will try my darnedest to actually clean my mirror before my selfies ;)
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