A Visit with the Big Guy

12.23.2014
We visited the big guy this past weekend, and I'm calling it a success! Violet didn't want to sit on his lap, but thankfully he was more than accommodating with a roomy bench that had plenty of room for mom. She was too cute - so starstruck that she forgot what she wanted to ask him for! Luckily that's what mamas are for, right?




Lucy was quite suspicious of this strange furry man, but didn't cry when Kev plopped her on his lap :)
Maybe next year we'll be able to get a picture of the two of them together!


And just because she left on the pretty bow that I put in her hair for more than a minute (probably due to the cookie in her hand), here are a couple of pictures from just before we left:


Our Christmas New Year Cards

12.22.2014
Based on my Facebook news feed, I'm not the only one who missed the Christmas card boat this year (I hope!) We scored a great deal on professional photography last year ($45 for a 45 minute session plus all of the digital files) but our photographers couldn't make it due to snow. Luckily, we were already dressed and managed to snap some iPhone pictures to use for last year's cards. This year we tried again and this time got rained out. :/

Luckily we were able to reschedule, but not in time to get Christmas cards out. Rather than scrapping the cards entirely, we decided to go with New Year cards this year! I love how they turned out:



I just love Violet's pouty face! She SO wasn't into the idea of posed photos, but did better on the more candid shots. A big thank you to our awesome photographers, The Susquehanna Photographic, for the great deal and for working with our grouchy little person and crazy family! And to Minted for the beautiful cards - we always love working with them!

Here are a few more favorite photos:












Handmade Love

12.11.2014
Isn't this the cutest little shop? I found it on Etsy and fell in love with just about everything. You can see more right here. xo, Lauren

Reminiscing...

12.04.2014

Tonight I found myself reading back through past posts, reminiscing about Christmases past and dreaming of those yet to come. It's hard to describe what it's like to see your child's eyes light up at the first snow of the season, or how you can almost physically see their little hearts skip a beat at the mention of Santa. I'm so thankful for my girls and how much joy they've brought into our lives. I'm reminded of this during the holidays most of all - everything just seems more magical, fresh, new again. Here are a few of my absolute favorite photos from years past (really I wanted to post about a hundred more!)

Lucy's first snow:



A visit with the big guy:


A very merry Christmas:





'Tis the season:


Can't. wait.

Choosing our Christmas Cards

12.03.2014
We're getting our photos taken for our Christmas cards this weekend and I'm so excited! We tried for it last year after I got a great deal on professional photography ($45 for a 45 minute session!), but we got snowed out and ended up taking our own selfie photos with our iPhones. Luckily they still turned out great, but I'm very excited to have photos taken of our family where we can both be in the shot without our arm extended lol. I've been browsing Minted's selection of Christmas cards, and I think I've narrowed it down to the top contenders...

1. I love these super simple foil-pressed cards - they really make the photos the focus, and that simple gold-dipped edge is just perfection:


2. Love this year-in-review style card as well. It'd be such a cute way to share some updates with family and friends without writing the full-on Christmas letter:

3. Maybe it's the baby and the toy car, but I think these cards are completely adorable:


4. These gold foil cards are pretty amazing as well - I love the calligraphy and the clean, simple look:


5. Another option I'm considering this year is the ornament card. I love the idea of our friends and family being able to hang it on their tree and use it from year to year as a decoration if they so choose, rather than tossing it in the trash after one season:


Which do you think we should choose? And keep your fingers crossed for us that we don't get snowed out again!

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Little Travelers

12.02.2014

My kids have family in both Germany and Australia, and we very much love to learn about the world around us. Here are some of my favorite gifts to inspire your little ones to learn about faraway places and distant lands...

U.S. Map Puzzle: Land of Nod
Statue of Liberty Nanoblock: Alex & Alexa
Scratch-off Map: Amazon
Scratch-off Globe: Urban Outfitters
Sydney Opera House Nanoblock: Alex & Alexa
Pop-up Book London: Alex & Alexa
World Chalkboard Map: Dirtsa Studio on Etsy
Maps Book: Amazon
This is the World Book: Amazon
Paris Play Set: Anthropologie
London Guard Maileg Mouse: My Sweet Muffin
London Bus: Anthropologie

P.S. Don't forget to enter the big holiday giveaway - over $1100 in prizes to one lucky reader!
P.P.S. More gift guides right here

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Little Movers

12.01.2014

Boys and girls alike, everyone loves gifts with a little action. Here are some of my favorite finds for little movers...

Wooden Riding Toy: Amazon
Wooden Marble Run: Amazon
Street Tape: Amazon
Wooden Pirate Ship: Amazon
Boxed Wooden Airplane Set: Amazon
Handmade Wooden Car: Ooh, Look - It's a Rabbit! on Etsy
Unpainted Train Cars: Amazon
Wooden Push Cart: Pottery Barn Kids
Slinky: Amazon
Wooden Sailboats: Poketo
Pinky Hi-Bounce Balls: Amazon
Wooden Cars: Candylab Toys
Wooden Railroad Set: Amazon




I also love these road play mats and these handmade custom neighborhood mats. And did you know that if you use Amazon, using Amazon Smile will allow you to donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice - even local ones! It makes me feel a little bit better about all of the online shopping that I do! Because let's face it, getting out and shopping with two tiny people in tow during the holidays is a recipe for disaster! xo, Lauren

(And no, this post wasn't sponsored by Amazon or Amazon Smile, I just love the idea!)

P.S. Last years' Little Movers Gift Guide
P.P.S. Don't forget to enter the 2014 Holiday Giveaway - over $1100 in prizes to one lucky reader, including an Ergo360!

Holiday Giveaway 2014

11.28.2014
I'm super excited to say that I've rounded up some of my all-time favorite baby items and partnered with some of my favorite shops to create a fantastic giveaway! One of you will win EVERYTHING on this list - over $1100 in prizes. You can enter via the Rafflecopter below.

Merry Christmas! xo, Lauren




The giveaway includes the following fabulous prizes:

1. A crib sheet and crib skirt of your choice from Rikshaw Design
2. A $200 credit to Rosenberry Rooms (I picked out this sweet little Petit Collage owl mobile and this adorable play tent!)
3. A set of swaddling blankets of your choice from Aden & Anais
4. A Four Position 360 carrier from Ergobaby
5. A handmade bib of your choice from Whitney Deal
6. A handmade knit hat of your choice from Maggie & Gray
7. A $200 credit to Minted (I picked out this adorable birth announcement!)
8. This set of three handmade organic knotted headbands from luckypalmtree
9. A hand-knit pretzel rattle from Estella
10. A changing pad cover from New Mom Designs
11. Dream layette in pebble gray from Little Auggie
12. A $50 credit to Leetle Chicken Shop (I picked out this onesie and these booties - so cute!)
13. A large handmade doll of your choice from Blabla.
14. Your choice of a Skwish toy or baby beads toy from Manhattan Toy
15. A handmade personalized wooden teething toy from Little Sapling Toys

So sorry to all of you international people, this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Lots of ways to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A big thank you to our giveaway sponsors! Show them some love:

Minted: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Pinterest . Blog
Aden + Anais: Website . Facebook . Twitter . InstagramBlog
Rikshaw Design: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Pinterest . Instagram . Blog

Rosenberry Rooms: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Pinterest . Instagram . Blog
Ergobaby: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Pinterest . Blog
Whitney Deal: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Pinterest . Instagram . Blog
Maggie & Gray: Website
luckypalmtree: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Pinterest . Instagram
Estella: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Pinterest . Instagram . Blog
New Mom Designs: Website . Facebook . Instagram . Blog
Little Auggie: Website . Facebook . Pinterest . Instagram
Leetle Chicken Shop: Website . Facebook . Pinterest . Instagram
Blabla: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Pinterest . Blog
Manhattan Toy: Website . Facebook . Twitter . Pinterest . Instagram . Blog
Little Sapling Toys: Website . Facebook . Pinterest . Instagram

Giving Thanks

11.27.2014
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for...

My family, who fill my days with purpose, love, laughter, and joy.



My parents, who are one of my greatest supports - who unfailingly give of themselves - their time, love, and energy to help me in any way that they can.

My sister, who understands me better than almost anyone and loves my children like her own.


My college roommate and close friend, who agreed to watch my girls when I went back to work part-time and who pours out buckets of love, care, and attention on them each and every day. I am amazed daily at the wonderful and unselfish gift that she has given me.

My husband, who is a wonderful partner and an amazing father. Who supports me in my work and in my decisions. Who is trustworthy, thoughtful, and honest. Who is the love of my life.

And for the relationship that my girls have. There is nothing like the love of two sisters, and these two pour out their love for one another in such a way that you can almost feel it radiating out from their little hearts and souls.


I hope you all have a wonderful and joy-filled Thanksgiving, surrounded by all of the people you love most in the world! xo, Lauren

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Little Reader

11.26.2014


One of my favorite things to buy for the girls is books - you can never have too many! Here are a few on our list:

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett 
Once Upon an Alphabet: Oliver Jeffers
Foxy Bookshelf: Cardboard Friends on Etsy
A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
Brownstone Bookcase: Land of Nod
Peter Pan: J.M. Barrie
Big Wolf & Little Wolf: Nadine Brun-Cosme

P.S. I still love the books in my 2012 and 2013 Holiday Gift Guides for Little Readers! You can check them out here and here.

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Play Kitchen

11.25.2014



My girls absolutely love to play chef, so I always buy a few new things for their little play kitchen every Christmas. Here are my favorite picks this year:

Apron: Fawn Shoppe
Wooden Petits Fours: Le Toy Van
Wooden Cake Set: Plan Toys
Wooden Shopping Cart: Pottery Barn Kids
Pie Slice: Bug Bites Play Food on Etsy
Wooden Pots & Pans: Hape
Wooden Orange: HABA
Wool Apple and Pear: Darling Clementine
Coffee Maker: Pottery Barn Kids
Wooden Toaster: Plan Toys
Wooden Play Kitchen: Sprout
Felt Baguettes: Mummy Made It Me on Etsy

P.S. You can find my play kitchen picks from last year right here!

Le Toy Van on Zulily!

11.24.2014

I'm so excited - one of my absolute favorite toy companies, Le Toy Van, is on Zulily at the moment! That London bus just kills me! You can check out all of the goodies here. xo, Lauren

Wooden Ice Lollies
London Bus
Wooden Ice Cream Sundae
Petite Cake Set

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Get Cozy


It's that time again! Time to kick off our annual holiday gift guides. I've been loving all of the warm and cozy fabrics and textures that I've been seeing just about everywhere this year. And with how Fall has been going, it looks like we may be in for another polar vortex! Needless to say, anything cozy and cuddly is going to be a hit with the littles. Here are some of my favorite soft, warm, and cozy gift ideas for your littles:

Bear Sleeping Bag: RH Baby & Child
Knit Bus in Mint: Oeuf NYC 
Faux Sheepskin Throw: Pottery Barn
Bear Hat: Zara Kids
Sherpa Mittens: Gap Kids
Bunny Slippers: Zara Kids
Knit Bunny Rattle: Anne-Claire Petit
A-Frame Tent: RH Baby & Child
Bunny Ears Hat: Anthropologie 
Lambswool Hippo: Tiny Warbler
Bear Slippers: Gap Kids
Knitted Jacket: Mini Boden

Kitchen is "Finished"!!!

11.21.2014
Soooo you guys! My kitchen is officially "finished"!!! (I put that in quotes because it's really not finished but it's finished enough for now). After seriously neglecting this space in order to paint cabinets, liquid nail up some wood planks to my wall, install a farmhouse sink that my good friend Jess Craig picked up for me in good ol' Arizona, throw on some butcher block counters a la IKEA, and add a fabulous new faucet from National Builder Supply, I am DONE. It was totally worth it - I love cooking in this room now (and yes, I even enjoy washing dishes, friends.) You can check out the full post (with more photos and babble about the changes I would make in my dream world) over on Apartment Therapy, and find all of the sources below...





Sources:
Schoolhouse Pendants: c/o National Builder Supply
Upper Cabinet Paint: Behr Ultra Pure White
Lower Cabinet Paint: Behr Smokey Slate
Rug: Urban Outfitters
Faucet: c/o National Builder Supply
Marble Pastry Slab: West Elm
Farmhouse Sink: IKEA (all the way from IKEA Tempe - thanks Jess!)
Calendar: Terrain
Mint Wire Basket: Dunnes Stores
Butcher Block Counters: IKEA
Cabinet Knobs: c/o National Builder Supply
Drawer Pulls: c/o National Builder Supply
Vegetable Scrub Brush: Terrain
Recipe Tin: Anthropologie
Chalkboard Planter: West Elm
Copper Wire Basket: Terrain
White Metal Tray: Target
White Enamel Pot: West Elm
Cutting Board: Mignon Kitchen
Black & White Floral Print: Debbie Carlos

 

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