Summer Bucket List

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This is our first summer with our little Charlotte and as a little family and I could not be more excited! She will be 6 months July 8th so I think she will be a super fun age to do some of these things with (and some of them I will admit are more for me to experience with her). We live in the Pacific Northwest but I think a lot of these will work for mostly anywhere. So here it is:

Blackberry Picking

Fishing

Go swimming (either a lake or river)

Trip to the coast (her first time seeing the Ocean)

Have a picnic

Attend an Outdoor movie or concert

Hike around Silver Falls State Park

Play at the Splash Pad

Ride the Carousel

Dallas Drive-in Theatre

4th of July Fireworks Show

First Road Trip

Finger Paint Outside

Feed the Ducks

Farmer’s Market

Lawn Seats at the Baseball Game

Logging Museum (Camp 18; this is the hubby’s contribution)

More Zoo Trips!

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What do you all have planned for the summer? Any suggestions I should add to my list?

P.S My husband has no idea what I have in store for him.

Love Always,

Sam

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Our Trip to the Oregon Zoo

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Yes I realize that my 3 month old will not remember a thing from this trip but I was still so excited to take Charlotte for her first (of many I’m sure) visit to the zoo. This was also a great way for me to practice keeping expectations realistic in order to avoid being disappointed (see previous post: Expectations Versus Reality).

Going into the trip I was pretty positive that she would sleep the majority of the time and I was okay with that; I was still excited to watch her react when she was awake and to take a bazilllion pictures. Well the pictures just didn’t happen, for a multitude of reasons, but believe me, I was ready! I totally looked like one of those crazy tourists with a big camera around me neck!  We went with some friends and their 3 children between the ages of 9 and 2, and we had our diaper bag strapped around the double stroller they had rented (I will never again go without our own stroller, I don’t know what we were thinking!), so it was hard to get things in and out of the bag without holding everyone up constantly. With little ones, being held up just isn’t an option! So not having access to the bag meant no quick snapshots (mmm…or do I mean selfies) with my phone or retrieving the adorable sunglasses from target that I forgot to put on her (see them on her here: Instagram because they really are adorable). Besides all of that it was super crowded and really hot for us here in the pacific northwest! My husband had her in the chest pack (she was snoozing away) and we just didn’t want to block all of the other little ones that actually wanted to see the animals to take pictures of our sleeping baby. So we ended up with very minimal pictures. That being said I had a blast!

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You guys not having my phone ALL day and not being obsessed with getting the perfect shot constantly meant that I was engaged in our day. I was able to make memories with my husband and our friends. Putting away my phone was pretty awesome! There was no “hold on I need to type the perfect Instagram caption” but instead I was present and didn’t miss a thing! I loved the day and I want to make more of an effort to do this more often so that I can fully enjoy my friends and family without interruptions.

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We do have annual passes (thank you to my wonderful parents!) so I’m not denying that next time if its less crowded and she’s awake I will probably take those bazillion pictures because I can’t help it! I’m totally a mommarazzi.

P.S. If you are ever in Portland the Oregon Zoo is absolutely fabulous! It is easy to walk with little one’s because it is not overly large but it has a ton of great exhibits including an entire area for animals found her locally (black bears, cougars, etc), a huge new elephant enclosure, and my personal favorite animal the polar bear!

Have You ever had an experience where you disconnected from social media and had a fabulous time? Share it with me below!

Love Always,

Sam

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DIY Card Booklet

After Charlotte’s 2 baby showers I knew I wanted to keep her cards from everyone but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with them. I knew I didn’t want them thrown into the bottom of a box like most other cards I keep (hello our wedding cards). I came up with this little idea so that I would be able to easily look through them and read all of her sweet messages from family and friends.

I started with 2 pieces of card stock and picked out the largest card to measure the size I needed to cut covers. (I wanted to make sure that none of the cards stuck out the sides.) With my paper cutter I cut both the front and back cover, so that they were slightly larger than the biggest card. I then cut a little rectangle, in the solid paper, so that I could write a little title. I also had to cut the rectangle smaller after I wrote out the title because I am terrible at centering anything! Glue your little title on the cover and now its time to put it together!

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Next I cut two pieces of ribbon (way longer than what was necessary…oops). I took a three-hole punch and lined up the cards to the bottom so that all the holes would easily line up.

Loop the ribbon through the back cover and then through each card individually. Attach the front cover and tie cute little bows in the ribbon. Make sure you don’t tie the loops so tight to where you can’t look through your cards. I also took a little bit of glue and dabbed it on the bows so that they would stay tied.

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And Ta-Da!! All done!

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Hope you guys enjoy and are able to do something with all those cards lying around! I’m planning on making one for her first year too, with all of her first holiday cards.

Love Always,

Sam

Charlotte’s 3 Month Update

My little girl is officially no longer a newborn! (Insert mom crying) These past three months have flown by and I cannot believe how much she has already changed and grown. Her hysterical little personality is starting to really surface and it is so fun to find out who she is as a little person. Oh man, though she most definitely got her momma’s sass, that is already evident. Keep me in your prayers for when I have a toddler.

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A few of Charlotte’s Favorite Things:

  • Screaming to hear her own voice while playing
  • Giggling at mommy’s silly faces
  • Bath time and floating in the bath
  • Kicking her legs like a future soccer star
  • Practicing her standing (and making mom and dad’s arms feel like they are going to fall off from constantly doing this)
  • Getting her belly tickled and fart kisses on her nakey belly
  • Eating her milk, duh
  • Staring at her daddy in awe and wonder (and confusion as to what his beard is)

 

This month has been a pretty awesome month, I have to admit. She slept through the night about half of the time, so needless to say that’s been amazing. Seriously who would have thought that 7 hours of sleep would feel like a vacation! She is an early riser, though, like 5 am early. I’ve learned that the better she naps during the day, the better she sleeps at night (that was a learning curve, let me tell you). She’s reaching up and trying to hold her bottle, and she has found her hands, ladies and gentlemen! Oh my goodness does that girl suck on her hands and fingers. She is a drooling machine because of it, too.

We’re excited for this next month because my birthday is in April! More importantly we are going to the zoo for the first time with her as my present and I’m beyond excited. (Fair warning if you follow me on instagram I will be blowing up my feed that day, April 23rd.) She is so close to rolling over so I will be on pins and needles  waiting for that happen! All the new things that this next will bring has me so excited.

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What are your favorite memories of your little ones as newborns? If you’re expecting your first, what early milestones are you the most excited for?

Love Always,

Sam

Expectations Versus Reality

Let’s talk about my Easter weekend for a second. You guys I had such high hopes, and I was so excited for everything that I had planned for the entire weekend. Reality then set in, including the Pacific Northwest living up to its rainy reputation.

Here is what I had planned:

  • Saturday morning I wanted to leave our apartment around 9 to make it to a (free) egg hunt at a local park
  • After the park we were going to get lunch at our favorite Mexican place (Charlotte could nap during this too)
  • After I wanted to head to a different park full of Cherry Blossoms to take some family photos (my sister-in-law was in town)
  • We would call it a day Saturday and head home to relax
  • Sunday I wanted to wake up and do Charlotte’s Easter basket, and take super adorable photos of her giggling and smiling while grabbing her new toys (totally unrealistic I now realize).
  • The rest of the day I just wanted to play and snuggle as a family
  • That evening my parents were coming into town and we were planning to go to their hotel and have Charlotte have her first time in a pool
  • And then end the day with a nice dinner

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So literally none of this went according to my “grand plan.”

First off Saturday morning it was POURING rain so out went the egg hunt. We thought about doing pictures with the Easter bunny at the mall but honestly it was expensive and I’m not super into the bunny photos. We  decided eventually to head out to the town where the egg hunt was to at least still get some yummy Mexican food. We drove around afterwards and tried to find something Easter-y to do but we were literally too late for everything we drove up to! Not going to lie I had a complete melt down, like it probably could have been considered a temper tantrum (not my proudest moment). I wanted to make all these memories for Charlotte’s first Easter and nothing was working the way that I wanted them to and my husband definitely heard about it.  The rain finally stopped so we did end up getting some cute photos at the park near our apartment, but it was freezing. By that point we went home and watched movies. I got over my melt down and we had a snuggle filled evening.

Now for Easter morning. Charlotte woke up cranky because that is what a 2 month old does sometimes. My husband took his sister to the airport at 4 am so he obviously came home and went back to sleep. My idea of a cute Easter morning was not happening. We ended up waiting and doing her basket when my parents arrived that afternoon, and she had no idea what was happening and the pictures just didn’t even happen because there was so much going on. On to the pool and Charlotte hated it (I think it was more that she was hungry), but she screamed the whole time! Luckily dinner went well, but this weekend taught me so much.

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Life does not go according to plan, especially when a child is involved. I need to learn to roll with the punches and to not get upset when my plan doesn’t work. Honestly this is much easier said than done for me. I am a “planner.” I always have all these expectations for “special occasions” and then I am almost always disappointed because life never works the way we want it to. My husband tries to remind me constantly that we have much more fun when we do things without my “grand plans,” but I just can’t help myself sometimes.

Hopefully I can work on it but I am positive that I will have at least a few more tantrums in my lifetime over plans going horribly wrong. But here’s to trying to limit the amount!

Do any of you have similar issues when your expectations don’t match the reality?

Love Always,

Sam

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This is my wonderful sister-in-law Katie.

A Rant from a New Mom

Alright fair warning that I’m going to use this post to vent a little (a lot) about some frustrations of being a new mom brought on by “veteran” moms. I say this out of love, but seriously give us a break and think about a few of these. 

Here is my list of things/comments that are so not helping me out. 

  • The constant flow of incoming advice (even when I didn’t ask for any) 
  • The telling of your worst horror stories about your children
  • Bragging to me relentlessly about how early your child hit a milestone that mine is taking longer to accomplish.
  • The need you feel to “parent” me on how to be a parent.
  • Asking me how my husband is doing as if you assume he must be struggling (this one actually seriously offends mine).
  • Telling me you think I’m doing something wrong
  • Questioning me about the pediatrician I chose so that I can gain your approval
  • Judging me as a parent based on the brands I choose to use. 

Here is my list of what I wish other moms would say or do for one another. This should be a sisterhood because let’s face it folks motherhood is hard! 

  • Feed me and tell me I’m pretty ( but seriously bringing food to a brand new momma and telling her she looks great is really all she needs in her life at that moment.)
  • Tell me that baby is absolutely beautiful (throwing in perfect doesn’t hurt either).
  • Tell me how great you think I’m doing and that I’m adapting to motherhood wonderfully.
  • When I’m upset that my beautiful baby isn’t hitting a milestone tell me a similar situation with your children.
  • Just be supportive and don’t judge me. (This is all I really ask)

In all honesty I am not trying to be mean but rather express my frustration as a young new mom. I love my fellow mommas and I’m so thrilled to be able to call myself my daughter’s mom, but it’s hard sometimes feeling constantly judged! Let’s make motherhood a club of supportive, happy women just trying to survive on kisses and caffeine. 
Love Always,

Sam 

   

My Favorite Small, Online Shops

I am most definitely an Instagram addict, and through this addiction I have found a lot of smaller shops that have great things that are either handmade or unique from the big chain stores. I’ve been lucky enough to work with a couple of these shops, some I’ve simply shopped, and a few I have been admiring but just haven’t bought anything…yet.

I know for where I live I don’t have a lot of great shopping near me (I would have to drive about an hour or further for decent shopping), so online shopping is what I prefer. I’m always on the lookout for new great online shops that are budget friendly but provide great quality and options. Enter Instagram and now I am finding great little boutiques daily. Here is a roundup of my favorites so far:

The Plush Boutique:

Little Miss Charlotte is currently a Brand Enthusiast for this cute little Etsy shop. This is a great shop for mommies of little girls. She has handmade bows, skirts, shorts, little tops, and little booties, plus a lot of the items you can buy to have matching pieces or in sets. Her prices are great too and incredibly reasonable, especially when compared to the prices of some of the larger shops with similar products. Here is Charlotte “modeling” some of her items:

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Perfectly Sparkled:

Another great little Etsy shop that has the most adorable (and hysterical) onesies and tees for both boys and girls. Charlotte was just announced to be a brand enthusiast for this great shop as well, and I am beyond excited because my wish list was seriously growing! Obviously by the name all the little girl stuff has tons of fun sparkle, but my favorite part about her items is the phrases she printed on her pieces. They’re unique from what you will find from the big name brand baby clothes providers, because let’s be honest the cliché, typical baby onesie gets a little tiresome after a while.

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Photo courtesy of Perfectly Sparkled

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Photo courtesy of Perfectly Sparkled

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Photo courtesy of Perfectly Sparkled

Pink Blush Boutique:

This one is fantastic because they offer both maternity and regular women’s items. If you look a few posts back you can read all about a particular from them that I love! I have worn it 8 months pregnant and more recently two months postpartum. They also have great wrap dresses in maxi length and knee length that are nursing friendly! I love this site for stylish pieces for us mommas! The prices are great and nothing is overly revealing, super short, or otherwise outside of this mom’s comfort zone. I honestly look through and “window” shop this site daily because my wish list is always growing and their site is just stinking pretty to look through!

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Truly Kustom:

First off these girls are the sweetest so shopping with them will be nothing but pleasant I promise! I have been dropping hints with my hubby for months now that I want one of their gold bar necklaces with my daughter’s name engraved for mother’s day (let’s see if he pulls through; chances are he has already forgot). I love how simply and sleek everything is, and I love that you can personalize the necklaces. These designs will go with everything in your closet and are perfect for those days you just have enough time to throw something on and head out the door. You will chic and effortless and no one will be the wiser that you were a frantic mess before leaving. Seriously though, check these ladies out; they are fabulous.

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Photo courtesy of Truly Kustom

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Photo courtesy of Truly Kustom

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Photo of Truly Kustom

 

Southern Bow Company:

This is another shop geared to us “girl moms” because she has some of the cutest bows in all shapes and sizes! From sparkles to felt to holiday themes there is something for every little girl. These bows are great too because the band is elastic, so they are super easy and quick to get on those little movers and shakers. Along with bows she also has adorable little moccasins in pretty much every color imaginable! This is another great Etsy shop ran by a fellow momma, and the prices are incredibly reasonable and fair.

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Photo courtesy of Southern Bow Company

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Photo courtesy of Southern Bow Company

Lend Me Your Kite:

She has the cutest and sweetest graphic tees! Let me just say that a catchy graphic tee is a momma’s best friend; you can style it a million different ways and you automatically look fashion-forward and effortless. My personal favorite of hers is the “Party like its naptime” shirt because hello, every mother can relate to this, am I right!? Another great one for those days you need a pick-me up besides just coffee is her “Your best is enough” tee. Make sure you check her out and show her some love!

Photo Courtesy of Lend Me Your Kite

Ella Bootique:

Another absolutely adorable little shop filled with cute little t-shirts and onesies for your little girls. Her stuff has some of the funniest phrases on them and they are so stinking cute. Plus she also has pretty cute one for us moms too, “mommin ain’t easy.” Who wouldn’t want that!?

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Photo courtesy of Ella Bootique

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Photo courtesy of Ella Bootique

Let’s support small business and our fellow mom’s by checking out and sharing these wonderful shops!

What are some of your favorite small online shops?

Love Always,

Sam

My Mother’s Promise to Charlotte

This post is in affiliation with Pampers Premium sponsored by Walmart. Although I was compensated for this material the opinions presented are entirely my own.

There are so many things I would promise myself while pregnant that I would do, but now that my little girl is a reality a lot of these have fallen out of reach due to the struggles of everyday life. I want to make sure that there is one promise (#motherspromise) that I stick to which is to always have active playtime with all of my little ones.

What do I mean by “active playtime?”

I want to put the phone down and be completely present

I don’t ever want to be too proud to climb all around the playground

I will do art projects with my children, even when I’m fearful of the mess

Baking will be something fun for all of us

I promise to Charlotte and my future little ones that they will have plenty of memories when they are old and grown of smiles and laughter with their momma (and daddy).

This is my Mother’s Promise.

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I created this “C” decoration for her wall in order to remind myself of this promise each and every day (see upcoming post on how I created it.). This will keep my mother’s promise front and center for those days when I’m feeling tired and lazy. Plus as an added bonus I happen to think it looks pretty cute in her room, especially since I’m still finishing up decorating it.

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Another way I plan to keep this promise to my daughter is by putting her in diapers which give her the comfort to play for longer due to an absorb away liner. Pampers Premium diapers allow for MUCH less blow-out diapers which means she can keep that smile on her face while playing. I have to admit too that my hard and tough logger husband has very sensitive skin (don’t tell him I spilled his secret) and so having Pampers Premium be hypoallergenic is a huge peace of mind for me (again another stress off the table so that I can just concentrate on playing with my little girl). When the diaper is full I can scoop her up before a tantrum due to the wetness indicator and then we can continue right along with the good times. Pick up Pampers Premium for your little one, in order to take one less stress off your mind and make your mother’s promise easier to keep, at your local Walmart or at Walmart.com.

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What’s your Mother’s Promise to your little one(s)?

Love Always,

Sam