Kid's Room Design Board: Eclectic Adventurer

9.30.2014

I've never been one for a super specific themed kid's room, but every kid loves going on adventures, right? I know Violet does! I whipped up this eclectic adventurer-themed room for Apartment Therapy - you can see the full post with sources right here. xo, Lauren

Fall Faves for Lucy

9.27.2014

I've been shopping for some new clothing for Lucy this weekend - she's so tall (off the charts!) for her age that most of Violet's old clothes don't fit her (sad face). Luckily there are some really great sales this weekend that I'm talking advantage of! I always like to have a pack of Boden's fab tights and LOVE their warm, cozy, comfy knit cardigans and dresses. I never shop there unless there is a sale (a little pricey for my budget), but they are seriously staple pieces for the girls' wardrobes that they wear constantly in the cold months. They have a 20% off everything sale going on right now, so I snapped some pieces up for Lucy.

As far as cute budget pieces I love Carters (25% off right now!), Old Navy (30% off right now!), and H&M Kids (Free Shipping!). Here are a few of my current faves:

Old Navy:
Heart Tunic Top
Stripey Tights
Fox Tights
Cozy Cord Dress

Carters:
Floral Jeggings
Corduroy Jeggings
Polka Dot Poplin Top

H&M Kids:
Skinny Fit Jeans
Floral Top

Now to work on Violet - I swear these kids need to stop growing! I miss the days when I could buy clothes for myself! xo, Lauren

Toys, Toys, Toys!

9.26.2014

I normally do a lot of my Christmas shopping on Zulily (one of my fave discount shopping sites) in October and November, because that's when they seem to have their best selection of toys, but we have a ton of birthdays coming up in the family and I've been hanging out on there a lot lately. Just wanted to pop in to send out a PSA that there is a lot of cute stuff on there right now, although you have to hunt a bit more than you do when it's closer to Christmas. Here are my current favorite toys:

Wooden Fruit Set
Jump Rope
Wooden Play Kitchen Set
Wooden Veggie Set
Paint-Your-Own-Train Set
Giant Wooden Xylophone
Chevron Ukelele
Striped Ukelele

xx, Lauren

Lovely Little Shop: See Design

9.22.2014
Loving all of the fun colors and patterns in one of my favorite new-to-me shops (and a new sponsor of A Lovely Lark - yippee!), See Design. And I may just have to buy this sweet little dress for myself! I can't decide between the red dot or navy stripe - which would you choose?

P.S. The kids' caftans are on sale right now for $15!!! 

Pretzels + Pom Poms

9.15.2014
Completely and utterly adoring these sweet little knit pretzel rattles and whimsical pom pom mobiles from Blabla Kids - one of each please! ::nom nom nom::

A Pretty Place to Work

9.10.2014

Now that I am working part-time, my desk is in an "office" type setting along with the rest of my team rather than in a huge classroom, and my space is pretty dismal at the moment. I'd really like to freshen things up but I don't want to spend a lot of money and I have to use the standard issue hideous monster of a desk, so I've been throwing around some ideas on a design board.

I thought one way to dress up the desk might be to cover it with some fun patterned gift wrap and place a piece of plexi glass on top. I'm also thinking a large but inexpensive piece artwork, like this "Be your-self" print would make a big impact on a budget. Maybe I could splurge on a few cute (but still reasonable) accessories and eventually add a few smaller pieces of art into the mix. A few other things I'm considering are a peg board, some small DIY projects like a cute mouse pad or some DIY artwork, and possibly painting the desk (not sure if that's allowed or if it would even work on a metal desk.)

And I'm still not sure what to do about a desk chair, because right now I have a wonky hand-me-down behemoth that a colleague gave me (if I didn't take it it was going to the dumpster). Not only is it totally fug, it's also way too big for me and is pretty uncomfortable, so I'm going to keep an eye out for an inexpensive alternative (suggestions welcome!)

Sources:
Gold Foil Dot Gift Wrap
Neon Nesting Boxes
Be your-self Print
Pink Stapler
DIY Mouse Pad
KVISSLE Letter Tray
Hustle Gold Foil Print
Heart Print (DIY?)
Mint Floral Gift Wrap
Abstract Artwork
Gold Table Lamp
Gold Notebook


Full-time Stay-at-Home Mom No More

9.09.2014




[With random gratuitous photos: Violet exploring at one of our state parks. Kev snapped this shot - isn't it amazing?!]

I went back to work last week after over a year of maternity leave, and I was feeling both excited and apprehensive about the transition. I've been requesting part-time hours for a couple of years now, and after a lot of back and forth, my administrators finally decided to give it to me, so that part has been really exciting. I'm now working two to three days a week instead of five, and I am really happy to be able to to hold onto a job that I love but also be with my babies more.



[Lucy is such a comedian these days]

We were also very lucky to have a dear friend (my college roommate) offer to watch the girls while I'm working. She has a two-year-old daughter and is always doing all kinds of fun and adventurous things with her. She's a great mom and a wonderful person and I am really excited that my kids will be spending time with her. Although we did check out a few traditional daycares, we were less than impressed by most (we're probably a little more critical with both of us being teachers), and while we did find one that we were impressed with it only offered full-time rates. Although I think Violet would have benefited from being around kids her own age and getting used to a "school" type of situation, I also know that she is a smart girl, makes friends easily, and will be doing some preschool activities both at home and at her babysitter, so I think she'll be just fine. I love that she and Lucy will be together during the day and that they will be in a loving, caring environment where they'll be getting a lot of attention. I can still do stay-at-home mom type things that I used to be jealous of, like taking my kids to story time at the library and playing outside with them in the daylight during the winter months.


[Violet finger painting at her babysitter's house]

On the flip side I honestly wasn't sure how I'd feel about being back at work. Would I still feel the incredible sense of guilt that I felt when I was working full-time? Would I like my new position? How were the girls going to react? Although there have been a few tears when I drop them off in the morning, miraculously I feel zero guilt and am actually insanely thrilled with the whole situation. Every day our sitter sends me pictures of the girls doing fun things and they always look like they're having a blast. I am LOVING my new position - I'm working with a team and it's really fun being a support to them rather than having to figure it all out on my own. I love everyone on my team, I love getting "dressed" in the morning, and I love interacting with adults again in a professional way. I feel a weird mixture of happiness to be with my girls and sadness that I'm not at work on my "days off", but I know that if I was working full-time I'd be seriously missing them and the guilt would be back full force. I think this is the absolute best solution for our family. 




[Exploring down by the river on another beautiful day]

If there's one thing I learned from being a parent it's that every kid is different and what works for one family may not work for another. I have friends who work full-time and would absolutely hate to be part-time or a stay-at-home parent. I have friends who stay-at-home but still send their child to daycare because they need the structure and social interaction. I have friends who stay at home and can't imagine leaving their kids with someone else during the day and other friends who also stay at home but wish they were working. I have friends who manage to work from home with their kids at home and other friends who work from home and send their kids to daycare because otherwise they'd never get a thing done. And you know what? I feel like I can empathize with every one of those situations. We're all just doing the best we can.

I'm happy that we may have finally found what works best for our family - a happy medium, and I am so SO thankful for the people who have allowed us to get here. To my administrators, coworkers, husband, babysitter, and parents (who have already picked up the kids on a day that both Kev and I had meetings) - thank you, thank you, thank YOU! This is life changing stuff, you guys. LIFE CHANGING. 

So bear with me while we adjust to yet another transition - I haven't quite figured out when my "blogging time" fits in with all of this yet. When it was just Violet Kevin dropped her off and picked her up at her sitter on his way to work and I had about an hour every day after work to focus on this space. Now that the tables are turned (I'm dropping off and picking up), I'm not quite sure how I'm going to keep up. So while the posts may be less frequent, I'll still be throwing stuff out into the blogosphere when I can, because I really do just love doing it. Thanks for sticking with me! 
xo, Lauren


5 Tips to Potty Train Your Toddler

9.07.2014


Our sweet little Lucy will be seventeen months old in a few short days, and the changes that have happened in the past few months are huge. She brushes her own teeth (and spits - hilarious!), climbs up into the high chair on her own, is a master communicator, and she has OPINIONS. She's super adventurous and very interested in doing everything that her big sister does, including using the potty.

[Case in point: scrambling eggs (burner off) and trying to literally follow in her sister's footsteps]


Back when we potty trained Violet, our babysitter pretty much did it for us, and I wrote about our experience here. Seventeen months feels SUPER early to me and I'm sooo not feeling ready for all of this, but the girl wants to use the potty and there's really no stopping her. We did start potty-training at about a year and a half with Violet (at the suggestion of her sitter - if it was up to me who knows how long we would have waited!), so even though it seems really early for Lucy to be using the potty, I guess we're really not too far off.

Because I had someone else at the helm with Violet, I just followed her lead and didn't have to really look up any information or stress about a specific "technique". I trusted our babysitter (at the time she had four children of her own - enough said!) and didn't really have an opinion about how I wanted potty training to go. This time around I was feeling a little bit uneasy (okay terrified) about handling the whole thing on my own.


So with a bit of experience under our belts, we're following Lucy's lead and jumping headfirst into our second potty training adventure. Here are five of our top tips:

1. Wait until your little one shows interest in potty training
Not that I'm saying that you should have a ten-year-old in diapers because he hasn't shown interest yet, but if at all possible, wait until your little one seems ready. Having your kid on board is half the battle. If they're not interested, feeling afraid, or generally feeling negative about using the potty, it's going to be an uphill battle. Every kid is different and while some may be ready at eighteen months, another may not be interested until he's two or three, and that's okay.

2. Don't be afraid to start young
If number one is happening, and your little one is showing interest in potty training, but you're thinking to yourself, "Noooo, they're too young!" I say go for it. Even if you're not doing serious down and dirty boot camp style potty training, getting familiar with the potty from the get-go can prevent your little one from fearing it at a later stage.



3. Get the right equipment
Do your research and find the right potty training gear for your family. We've tried a bunch of different things and for us our favorite items a smaller potty seat that is connected to your regular toilet seat like this one, and this step stool.



4. Keep it positive & fun
There will be accidents, but we've never treated them negatively. Just cleaned up the mess and moved on. (Which is way easier when you have mostly wood floors and not carpet by the way!) Of course, using Pull-Ups makes messes much less frequent, but make peace with the fact that a few puddles are most likely in your future. 


Now the successes? Those we celebrate! So far Lucy has sat on the potty about a dozen times and has peed once. Every time we tell her what a "big girl" she is and smile, clap, and just generally try to make it a really fun event.

5. Be patient and flexible
For most kids, potty training isn't going to happen in a few days, especially if they are on the younger side like Lucy. You have to be in it for the long haul and be flexible. If Lucy stops asking to go and isn't showing interest in the potty, while I'll still try to continue with what we're doing, I'm not going to force her to sit on the toilet.

I'm also not above rewards if your child is old enough to understand it. Sometime after Violet hit age two, she started to be a little anti-potty, so we did come up with a reward system for trying on the potty. It totally worked and eventually we eased away from it as she got used to the potty being a normal every day thing. While I think Lucy is a little young for that, if we run into similar issues as she gets older, I'll probably try the same thing.


Fall in Love

9.03.2014

I'm so excited to be working with Project Nursery, RH Baby & Child and a few of my other favorite bloggers to throw a pin party tonight! I hope that you'll join us to see all of my favorite pics to create a Fall-inspired nursery, including all of the the items in the idea board above. I was totally inspired by the warm, cozy textures and deep jewel tones that go hand-in-hand with Autumn. I so can't wait for pumpkins, apple cider, crunchy leaves, and cozy sweaters! 
xo, Lauren

Sources: 
Iron & Rope Mirror
Wooden Arrows
"You Are My Greatest Adventure" Gold Foil Print
Wingback Swivel Glider
DIY Brass Ceiling Fixture
Heart Pillow
Mark Rothko book (I would frame the jacket and use it as artwork!)
Striped Tent
Plush Fox
Vintage Dresser
Fox Nightlight
Vintage Rug
Sheepskin Rug
Chunky Braided Wool Rug
Haven Crib
Neon Pink Moccasins
Cloud Mobile
Moth Watercolor
Gold Dot Crib Sheets
Baby Fox Portrait
DIY Painted Leaf Artwork







 

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