Lovely Little Things

2.28.2013
I happened to pop over to Zulily today and I think I hit the jackpot! I've been coveting woven baskets for the nursery as well as Tadpoles organics for the new babe, and both are on sale! Not to mention some of my other favorites - Eric Carle books and Puj products. You can check it all out via my invite here.

xo, Lauren

Life Lately


Pregnancy is one crazy ride. I was feeling great in the second trimester, and suddenly when I hit the third trimester the energy disappeared and my hormones went crazy. I was feeling so incredibly down and blue. It helped a little to know that it was a pregnancy thing, but I was at the point where I just couldn't stand feeling so blah any more. I was depressed about every ridiculous little thing and just wanted this pregnancy to be over. Thank goodness my body is finally starting to even out again and I'm feeling a little more 'normal' (or at least as normal as you can feel with a person doing flips inside of you!) I've even felt like taking some belly pictures, so you may be subjected to a few these final six weeks.

And for you other pregnant ladies out there, Old Navy currently has some of my favorite maternity tanks. They're super comfy, come in a bunch of cute colors and patterns, and can be dressed up or down. I seriously want to wear them all of the time.

In other news I feel like the nursery is really coming together now that I've gotten the fabrics:


I'm keeping all of the same furniture and probably the paint, but I wanted to freshen things up a bit with the accessories. The dhurrie rug is from West Elm - on the site it says it's "earth red" but it's really closer to raspberry pink in my book, which I love. I also got these Anthro pillowcases and am planning to sew them together to recover the window seat cushion. Serena & Lily just had a kids' bedding sale and I picked up these pretty patterned crib sheets at a bargain, and the faux sheepskin is one we've had for a long time now from IKEA. I'm so excited to finish up the space!

And last but not least I've been getting some questions about Violet's toddler bed. We went with the SUNDVIK from IKEA - great price and looove the look. Violet loves that it is small (like her) :) and has sides so she feels nice and secure. We didn't have the best experience in purchasing it (I won't get into all of that. Let's just say words were exchanged.), but I'm really happy with it in the end.



We made a few other small changes in Violet's room, so I'll probably do a full update on it soon. I just need to find time to snap a few 'real' photos (AKA not on my phone). And the best news of all is that Violet still isn't 100% but seems to be feeling much better today so fingers crossed for a speedy recovery - thank heavens for modern medicine!

xo, Lauren

Sick Day

2.27.2013

My poor little girl is sick. Is there anything sadder? She has an ear infection, fever, and GI issues. Yesterday she said to me, "Mommy - my ear not wortin'!" (working) I felt so bad that I couldn't fix it for her. We gave her some medicine for her ear ache and she kept asking for more. When I told her she couldn't have more she said, "But I still cyin' (crying) Mommy!" It's so hard to explain to a two-year-old that medicine won't work instantly and may not make her hurt go completely away.

And getting food into her? Nearly impossible. Yesterday I just kept putting things in front of her and trying to get her to eat something - anything. She had a half a bagel for breakfast, a handful of peanut butter crackers for lunch, a bite of a banana, and some pickles for dinner. She wouldn't even eat pancakes - I never thought I'd see the day! Here's hoping the antibiotics kick in soon. xo, Lauren

Gifts for Newborns

2.26.2013
I have had a couple of emails/comments lately asking what are the best gifts to buy for new babies. Here are a few of my personal favorites:


1. Burt's Bees Baby Products - I can't say enough about Burt's Bees baby products. Natural, safe for baby, and oh so good. And you can never have too much baby shampoo - that stuff is always useful!

2. Dove Soap for Sensitive Skin - The best most gentle thing for your baby's skin. When we had issues with Violet's allergies and a full-body rash as a result, this is what her pediatrician recommended. What a life saver! We even used it in her hair for a while.

3. A cute pair of booties - What new mom wouldn't swoon over these sweet little crochet booties from Blabla?

4. Live Clean Baby Non-Petroleum Jelly - Love me some petroleum jelly, but if you're looking for something a little less petroleum and a little more natural, this is the way to go.

5. Personalized toy - This sweet little pull toy from Paloma's Nest would make a lovely heirloom toy for any little one (and his mama) to treasure.

6. Moby Wrap - For newborns, this is definitely a must-have. Keeps them close and swaddled with mama and lets her have her hands free to make a sandwich or wrangle a toddler :)

7. Puj Tub - Takes up virtually zero space, lets you bathe your babe in the sink with ease, and looks nice too. (plus it's mold and mildew resistant!)

8. Cute Bibs - From newborn drool to messy toddlers, bibs are one of the most hard-working items you can give a mama. And I figure if your baby is going to have one on so often, you might as well get a few cute ones!

9. Diapers + Wipes - Unless your friend is going the cloth diaper route, this is another thing you can't have too much of with a newborn. My favorite brand is Pampers Sensitive - it's the only brand we found that Violet's sensitive (and allergy prone) skin could handle as a baby.

10. A soft friend - These handmade animals from Tiny Warbler on Etsy are some of my favs.

11. A Baby Book - To record all of those milestones. I love this one by Bebis.

12. A+D Ointment - Another product I wouldn't live without. This was another life saver with Violet's skin issues. I'll never use another diaper rash product.

13. Sleep Gowns - Make midnight diaper changes a breeze. These striped numbers from Tadpoles are pretty adorable.

14. A Rattle - Can't go wrong with a classic toy! Love this little birdy.

15. A Book - Violet loved the classics Pat the Bunny and Goodnight Moon.

16. Teething Toy - V was definitely obsessed with Sophie the Giraffe. She squeaks! You can chew on her! She has neat spots! A hit in our house for sure.

17. Soft Blankets - For swaddling and keeping baby warm - you can never have too many blankets!

So what about you? What are your favorite newborn gifts to give? I'd love some new ideas! 
xo, Lauren

Belly + Baby

2.25.2013

So I finally got around to taking a belly shot this weekend. It only took me 33 weeks and 2 days :) And of course now I'm at the point where not much fits and I feel a bit like a whale. But I'm glad I did it nonetheless. I was working on a few things in Violet's room and glanced in her mirror and thought, no time like the present! So here you are - me and Baby L with 7 weeks to go.

I also made a few tiny purchases for our new little lady. Of course we'll be using a lot of Violet's old clothing, but I wanted her to have a few special things of her own. Here are two of my favorites:


Both from Zara (love their clothing!) Those tiny embroidered flowers make me swoon. I can't imagine how I'll feel when my tiny little fresh baby is wearing them! I still oddly feel so unprepared for this new little one. Like I can't quite wrap my head around it. I still need a diaper bag and some new bottles and a few other odds and ends. Seven more weeks...

xo, Lauren

P.S. To see more random photos from our life you can follow me on Instagram here.

Lovely Little Threads

2.22.2013
Just bought a few adorable things for Violet's summer wardrobe over on HauteLook. Check out the American Apparel sale - tons of cute pieces!

A Lovely Little Party: Ruby's Rainbow Birthday

2.21.2013
a-lovely-lark-ruby's-rainbow-birthday My friend Danielle recently shared these photos of her daughter Ruby's rainbow birthday party with me - isn't it adorable?! That cake is seriously to die for, and it looks like they had such a blast. You can check out more of the talented Danielle over here on Pinterest. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos with us Danielle! xo, Lauren

Handmade Love

2.20.2013



Love these handmade wood veneer cake toppers from Madeline Trait! There are so many pretty ones in her shop that I seriously had trouble choosing which ones to feature today. xo, Lauren

Imagination

My child has one great imagination. Especially at bedtime :) Last night the conversation went something like this:

V: Daddy, there a giant unduh my bed!
D: Daddy will get him for you.
V: You a giant Daddy?
D: Yep.
V: You bigguh than giant unduh my bed?
D: Yep.
V: Otay, night night Daddy!

Violet Says Vol. 4

2.19.2013

Conversation between Kevin and Violet at bedtime last night:

V: Daddy, I scarwed - bad duys in my woom!
K: You'll be okay sweetie - Mommy and Daddy will protect you.
V: You kill dem?
K: Yep
V: With yuhwuh sword?
K: Uh huh.
V: Otay! Night night sweedie Daddy!

Love her.

Indecisive




framed bonnet, metallic print, cloud mobile, floral pillow, mongolian lamb pillow, linen pillow, ribbon border pillow, affirmation banner, rabbit lamp, narwhal, abstract print, mother and child print, cloud pillows, rug, jenny lind crib, patterned crib sheet, floral arrangement, deer print, cradle

So I'm still being indecisive on the baby's new nursery. I think it's pregnancy hormones or something? With Violet's nursery I found those curtains and bam - the design was easy from there. With this new one nothing (or maybe everything?) seems to really catch my eye. I think the other problem is that I don't have as much time to sit around and think about the nursery, what with a two-year-old running around and all.  xo, Lauren

If We Were Having a Boy...

2.15.2013

Before I found out that I was having a girl, I was saving up ideas for a boys' nursery redesign as well. Here are a few things that I would've wanted to use if baby number two were a boy:

Clockwise from top left: paint by number artwork, twig wall hook, bear print, rug, circulation chest, cloud pillow, bear pull toy, crocheted owl, porcupine print, marquis letter, crib sheets

Happy Friday everyone! xo, Lauren

Happy Love Day

2.14.2013

I forgot to take a photo of Violet's Valentines before we handed them out, so here's the digital version with a Photoshopped lollipop :) Oh well! She also had a lot of fun painting some pictures, which we then cut into hearts. We attached the hearts, photos, and lollipops to some blank cards and voila! Fun Valentines. Probably not the most creative ever, but the cutest (at least in this mama's opinion) nonetheless ;)



Tonight we're taking our little sweetheart out on the town for dinner and maybe her first time bowling? Who knows where the wind will blow us! What are you doing to celebrate tonight? Happy Valentine's Day! xo, Lauren

Brights + Neutrals

2.13.2013

I'm really loving bright pops of color paired with soft neutrals. Check out the sources over on my latest ideabook at Houzz.com. xo, Lauren

On Mom Guilt

2.12.2013
Late last night as Kevin and I were getting ready for bed, I asked him a question:

Do you feel like a good parent?

Which of course he asked me to elaborate on.

You see, I have this guilty feeling that plagues me most of the time no matter what choices I make as a mother, and I want to know - is it normal? It can be about the smallest things. For example last night I read Violet her usual four or five bedtime stories, told her Daddy was going to come up, and turned to walk out of the room. As I was walking toward the door she called to me...I kept walking. I knew in my head that it was for the best. If I had turned back around as she wanted, bedtime would have been prolonged, it would have gotten late, and she would have gotten tired and cranky. Rationally, in my head I knew this was all true, but I felt like a bad mother. I felt like I should have gone back, cuddled her, soaked up her sweet little two-year-old goodness. Given her a few more minutes of my time.

I felt guilty. But the really really scary part is that I would have felt guilty going back to her too. I would have felt like I was making her less independent, giving in to her every whim, not teaching her that she can't always get what she wants, making her overly tired for tomorrow. How can I have so much emotion and internal conflict over such small decision as whether or not to leave the room at bed time? And what am I going to do as she gets older and the decisions only get harder?

To answer my question, Kevin said that he is generally pretty certain in his head what the right choices are (at least on small things like bedtime), but that he does, like me, often want to do something else - to go back and cuddle her and give her what she wants. What he said he doesn't feel is guilt. He's confident in his decisions for the most part and so he doesn't feel anything that he would equate with guilt in regard to them. So my question to you is - is the guilt it a mom thing? Is it just a me thing? Does anyone else feel guilty on a regular basis about seemingly insignificant daily parenting decisions? I know it's completely irrational, but I'm not sure how to fix it. I fear that it may just be who I am.

One thing that helps a little is that I tell myself that she is loved, she is cared for, she is safe. She has the big things that are really important, and these little decisions aren't going to matter in the long run. Kevin told me that I can't screw it up, but sometimes I worry that maybe he isn't right. It's such a big responsibility - raising a child.

But of course I wouldn't give it up for the world - mom guilt and all.

Handmade Love

2.11.2013


Kind of a little obsessed with these gorgeous handmade diaper bags from Ikabags on Etsy.

Nurseries, Babies, and More

Just a few snapshots from our weekend...


Got a chance to work on the nursery a little bit this weekend. I hung the DIY artwork that I made above the glider, strung some pretty wild asters garland from BHLDN, and am working on a garland of felted wool balls as well. I'm still going to use the crocheted flower garland that my grandmother made for Violet's nursery too, so this nursery is going to be fully festooned! You can also see a couple of the furry friends that are going to make themselves at home in the room too.

In other news we got a chance to babysit my nephew and baby niece this weekend and Violet was in love. She enjoyed holding and kissing the baby, feeding her, and burping her. Hope she's as helpful with her own baby sister!

Kevin pretty much finished installing the wood floors in our bedroom (pics to come!), so this may be the last weekend for makeshift naps on our mattress downstairs for Violet. She lined up all of her baby dolls and fell asleep in doll heaven :) And last but not least here are a few random pics from elsewhere around the house:


New little lovelies like a pretty new book and a bouquet of billy balls make me smile. And in Violet's room her new suitcases from the Land of Nod are already getting some heavy use - they're filled to the brim with dolls, blocks, and other various tiny ephemera. Hope you had a good weekend! If you want to see more photos from our every day, you can following me on Instagram @alovelylark

xo, Lauren

Nursery Update {Update}

2.08.2013

I've been re-thinking my plan for the nursery a little bit to save some money. I'm hoping to DIY a few more things and re-use things that we already own. We already have the Sharon Montrose print and pretty hand-printed pillow from Skinny Laminx, I made the 'for like ever' birch veneer artwork,  and am hoping to DIY a banner similar to the one above, the soft-sculpture butterfly, and perhaps make a crib sheet out of the Taza Cynthia fabric in yellow. I may also make a couple of cute little toadstools similar to these. The only things I don't think I can make myself are the wooden bear (which I already purchased - he's just as adorable in person) and crochet pillow (although I'd love to learn to crochet!), but I may search Etsy for a while until I find a similar pillow with cheaper shipping.

Even though we aren't buying any new furniture or window treatments, I just couldn't bring myself to spend a lot of our hard-earned money on prettying up the space. I really want to save as much as possible so that I can stay home with my two  little girls for a while. I'm pretty excited about the updates though! Happy Friday! xo, Lauren

The Homies

2.07.2013

Honestly not sure if I'm allowed to participate seeing as how I write for Apartment Therapy, but I just noticed I'm nominated for The Homies in the Best Family & Kids Blog category. (Thanks to whoever nominated me!) If you like A Lovely Lark and wouldn't mind sending a vote my way I'd so appreciate it! xo, Lauren

Violet Says Vol. 3

2.05.2013

Violet-isms from recent times:

1. As he was watching the news, Kevin said in response to a comment made by the reporter, "That isn't true!" to which Violet looked at him very seriously and replied, "Yes is true Daddy!"

2. While Kevin was putting Violet to bed she wanted to name the seven dwarfs from Snow White. They went through the list, "Dopey, Sneezy, Bashful, Happy, Doc, Grumpy, and Sleepy...and Violet added, "and Poo-pah!"

3. As Kev was leaving Violet's room after putting her to bed tonight he said, "Night night sweetie!" and got in reply, "Goo'night sweedie!"

4. Our mail comes through a slot in the door. Violet saw some mail sticking in the slot the other day and ran over and said, "May-yull!!! Oh my GAWSH!"

5. We were Skyping with Violet's Opa and "Nam" (Grandmom) who are in Florida for the winter, and Violet suddenly pulled up my shirt, pointed, and said, "My baby sista in thayuh - Mommy's belly gettin' bidduh and bidduh and BIDDUH!!!"

6. Violet's been doing really well with going to bed without crying for the past week or two, but one night we did have some tears. When I went up to put her back to bed she said to me, "Mommy - my baby sista be heeyuh soon - I be verwy quiet. No wate her up!"

Oh how I love this little girl. xo, Lauren

P.S. The winner of the Dolce Dreams giveaway is KristinainAustin - please email me at ALovelyLark at gmail dot com to claim your prize. Thank you to everyone who entered! xo, Lauren

Last Chance to Enter to Win

2.04.2013
Last chance to enter to win $50 shop credit at Dolce Dreams! Enter here.

Baby Essentials

I'm in the third trimester now, and I've started to put a lot of thought into preparing for this new little one. Even though Violet is only two-and-a-half, it's amazing how quickly you forget about what things are needed/helpful in caring for an infant. When we were pregnant the first time around, we had no clue what to register for. Our registry was largely based on the recommendations of our friends and family who had already had babies. Based on our experience with Violet, here are a few things that would be a must on my registry if I did it all over again:

1. A Video Monitor: A lot of people wouldn't call this an essential, but if you can swing it I would say definitely get one. With Violet we only used the traditional sound monitor, but if I could do it again I would have chosen a video monitor for sure. After we moved her into her nursery at around three months, I so missed being able to watch her while she was sleeping. Those sweet sleep smiles are so precious and the time is so short! For the new baby I am thrilled that we received the Summer Infant Baby Touch Plus video monitor as a Christmas gift from my family. (Thanks Mom, Dad, Nikki, and Dan!) We've been using it with Violet for a couple of months now and I absolutely love it. The best part is that you can buy an additional video camera and switch back and forth between the two!

2. A Bouncer: This is the only way I was able to get a shower or eat when Violet was an infant. As long as she could see me she was generally fine, so I'd put the bouncer in the bathroom or kitchen with me so that she could hang out as I was showering or preparing a hot meal. If I was just eating something simple like a sandwich the Ergo carrier was a lifesaver as well, but I didn't trust myself with her in it around a hot stove or oven. If I was registering today I'd choose something simple like this Maclaren bouncer. Violet was never into the toys or vibrating features anyway of our ugly primary colored bouncer anyway.

3. A Nice Diaper Bag: I know some moms manage to get away with a large purse, but for us a separate diaper bag is a must. I prefer to be over prepared rather than under, so I like something I can stuff full of baby clothing, food, and diapers. We went with a cheap one the first time around and it disintegrated pretty quickly. I think for us it would be worth it to buy something better quality that would last the long haul. In my dream world I'd buy this one by Storksak. Since that's completely out of our budget, I might try out one of Skip Hop's bags - they're all adorable and fairly gender neutral.

4. Carrier: Violet was a baby that wanted to be held constantly, so I soon found myself researching baby carriers. By far the best reviews I heard were for the Ergo carrier and Moby Wrap. We used the Moby Wrap a lot with Violet, but it was a little warm for the summer, so I'm really excited to try the Ergo Carrier with baby number two!



1. Nursing Pillow: I literally took this with me everywhere. Violet was a very squirmy baby to nurse and she really seemed to settle when she was snuggled on the Boppy. Plus it was a lifesaver for my arms when she got bigger and heavier. And I still love my organic cover.

2. A Cozy Place to Sleep: We had a pack n play for Violet, but with the new baby I'd like something smaller and more portable. I didn't really end up using the pack n play much because it was so stationary and bulky, and it took up so much space in our house! This Moses basket would be perfect - it's gorgeous, comfortable for the baby, and portable.

3. Soft Blankets: We used a ton of soft blankets when Violet was an infant - I don't think you can have too many! I love these organic cotton blankets in adorable patterns and colors by Little Hip Squeaks on Etsy.

4. A Set of Bottles: Whether you're breastfeeding or bottle feeding, a few nice bottles are a must. You never know when you may want someone else to feed the baby so you get a little break. I am a little obsessed with these glass bottles from Lifefactory - they're safe for baby and come in gorgeous colors!


1. Pacifier: We found this to be absolutely essential for Violet to soothe herself and helped to keep her from forming the habit of sucking her thumb. I love this natural and adorable orthodontic version from Hevea.

2. A Space-Saving Bathtub: We don't have a lot of space to store a giant infant bathtub in our home, so something space-saving is a must. We tried out the Puj tub with Violet, and while we loved it she only fit in it for a few months. I'd like to give this cute collapsible tub from Boon a try this time around (I've been told it can be used up to 18 months)

3. A Good Pump: While I wanted to have milk stored for Violet in case I needed to get away for a little while or (heaven forbid) in case of an emergency, I didn't want to spend my entire life hooked to a breast pump. The Medela Pump in Style was a nice compact, and most importantly, powerful pump that did the trick in no time flat. (and did you know that with the new Affordable Care Act many insurance companies will be covering the cost of breastfeeding supplies?!)

4. An Adjustable High Chair: We went from a traditional high chair to a booster seat with Violet, but to save the additional item I'd probably go with the Stokke Tripp Trapp if I did it all over again. It's a little pricey, but well made, versatile, and would look lovely in our dining room.

So there you have it. Of course every baby and every family's needs are different, so my list may not match yours, but these are the things I would definitely love to have for a new baby. What would be on your list? I'd love to get some new ideas! xo Lauren

DIY Play Kitchen: Washi Tape Burner

2.01.2013
DIY-Play-Kitchen-Washi-Tape-Burner

Easy Peasy! Happy Friday - xo, Lauren

On Sleep


I thought maybe we had done it - turned some sort of corner, something had clicked. Four nights in a row my little girl went to sleep without a sound and slept through the night. Four blissful, glorious nights. Until tonight. But at least it's progress, and I hope we'll keep moving in the right direction. There are two big things that I think have helped:

 

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