Family

Traveling with a Toddler & a Baby

Ahhh, vacation.

Relaxing, right?! And so easy! Or it *used* to be. Not anymore - now we’re parents of a crazy toddler and an active baby. And while there are a million reasons I love being a mom (bear hugs, bedtime kisses, the wild way they laugh when I tickle them jusssst right), vacations are slowly becoming one of my least favorite things. (Bear with me here, it gets better LOL).

I think it’s because in my head it sounds like so much fun! Let’s take the kids somewhere new! Show them the world! Explore together! But in reality it’s a *little* different. I won’t even go into details because if you’re a parent, you know. Ha!

But also - I do think vacations are (or CAN BE) fun with littles. Looking back at our last few trips, there are a lot of things Kris and I could have done differently. Things that would have made them a LOT more fun for everyone. Which is why I’m sitting here making this list - because in the future I’d really love to enjoy our family vacations instead of dreading them!

Here’s a what I recommend when vacationing with a toddler and a baby:

  1. Plan ahead. Have a general idea of where you’re going (and when) so you’re not trying to figure it out last minute. And don’t cram your schedule - one morning and one afternoon activity is plenty!

  2. Schedule kid-friendly activities. There will be plenty of time for eating brunch + visiting wineries when the kids are older. Or even next weekend when you’re not on a family vacation! For now, focus on spaces where toddlers can run/explore without breaking anything :)

  3. Minimize morning chaos. Pack the diaper bag, set out clothes + make ready-to-go breakfasts the night before.

  4. Stick to regular meal/sleep times and carry snacks. It’s easy to lose track of time so set reminders on your phone … tired + hungry = cranky every. single. time. (True for kids AND adults lol).

  5. Pay for convenience. If you’re going to a beach, get the umbrella/chairs that are already set up. Or take the private tour instead of the group tour! One less thing to worry about or carry can go a long way.

  6. Slow down a little. Give them a chance to crawl around or climb a tree or check out things at their pace. Watch them explore - most of this stuff is new to them and you don’t want to miss out on the things that light up their world while you’re rushing off to the next big thing.

That’s it - six simple things that actually make a huge difference. Jump out of bed in the morning, get excited, and get THEM excited.

Hope you guys have the BEST vacation!

With love,

Lace

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Paint Therapy with Luna

Life’s been a little messy lately …

Too many tantrums and tears. Not enough sleep. And a house that’s impossible to keep clean no matter how hard I try (and I really do try!).

I feel like I’m constantly fussing at Luna. I worry that I’m not giving Stella enough attention. And I’m pretty sure Kris thinks we’re all crazy when he comes home and both kids are crying. (Whyyyyy do they always have meltdowns at the exact same time?!)

All my plants are dying and I’m like, I get it. I’m floundering over here, too.

It’s soooo easy to get bogged down with things. But recently I started thinking, maybe it really isn’t. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe all those little things (the everlasting pile of laundry, the dishwasher that needs to be unloaded, the toys scattered all across the floor, the poor dead plants) aren’t all that bad. They’re just proof of life. Proof that our home is filled with good food and (mostly) happy kids and a whollllle lot of love.

Maybe it’s a mess sometimes, and frustrating, and overwhelming.

But maybe there’s magic in the messes, too.

***

Speaking of messes:

I started a new project with Luna the other day! I tossed a drop cloth on the floor and gathered up my paint supplies … canvas, brushes, and all our favorite colored pants.

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Then we got to work.

We sat side-by-side, her smearing the paint with her little hands, me scraping and blending with whatever tools I could find. For the first time in weeks, I felt myself relaxing. It was like coming up for air after being underwater too long. And it felt really, really good.

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It’s been a few days and I’ve seen a shift in Luna’s moods, too. Less tantrums, more hugs. And a lot less tears (from both of us). Sometimes she’ll stop painting, kiss me on the lips, and say Thank you SO much mommy. And you guys, it’s the best. I’ve missed my happy big kid and it feels sooo good to have her back.

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As for the painting, it’s a lot like my life: a work in progress.

Sometimes I love it, sometimes it’s crazy.

But if it looks a little off today, it’s okay. We can always add new colors and layers tomorrow. We have the power to change what we’ve done, to forget all about our mistakes and move on.

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And that’s what I really love about painting with Lu … if we mess up, it’s okay. It doesn’t have to look perfect, not even close. And if we get it all wrong today, there’s always tomorrow to make it right.

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With love,

Lace

P.S. Want to make this project at home? Here are a few tips:

First, buy a BIG canvas … it’s more fun! And a drop cloth because toddlers are soooo messy. We used acrylic paints but I actually recommend washable paints for little hands.

If you really want a beautiful, cohesive piece to hang on your wall, pick out the paints yourself. I chose a handful of colors that Luna loves AND compliment each other. White is the perfect base color because it goes well with most things and blends easily. If your toddler wants to use colors that don’t compliment each other, that’s totally okay - just use a different canvas for those colors :)

Also, you may want to stick to 2-3 paints per session. Mixing 5 or 6 colors at the same time will almost always create brown. So grab the white paint and then let your toddler choose the other 2 or 3 colors … she’ll get to make the decisions and you’ll get a beautiful piece of artwork!

Last but not least - have fun!!!!!

A Weekend at Wrightsville Beach

Hey friends!

We got back from Wilmington a few days ago and I'm still a little tired!  Does anyone else ever feel that way?  Like you go on vacation to rest but then you come back even MORE tired than you were before?  How does that happen?!

Still - we had a pretty great trip! 

It was our first time in Wilmington and I LOVED it there.  It's kind of your quintessential east coast beach town ... salty ocean air, laid back people, and more seafood than you could possibly eat in one weekend.

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We arrived late Friday night and checked into our Air BNB room.  Have you guys stayed in an Air BNB before?  It's kind of amazing!  Our house was really big and really nice - and so was the owner!  If you're ever in Wilmington and need a place to stay, I definitely recommend his place.  He'll give you the scoop on all the best places to go and he even makes fresh-baked cookies every night, yum!

Before we left, I did a last minute packing job and completely forgot Luna's swim suit.  I should have checked my Beach Essentials for Older Babies checklist (but I didn't) ... total Mom Fail moment!  Luckily, I brought extra sunscreen and a beach tent to protect her sensitive baby skin.  Unluckily, my husband ignored my sunscreen recommendation for himself and burnt to a crisp! 

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It's not surprising since most of our weekend was spent at the beach.  As soon as we arrived, Luna ran to the water and plopped right down.  And she didn't leave that spot for hours!  It made me wish we lived a little closer so she could go to the beach more often!

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If you're planning a trip to Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, I do have one other recommendation ... steer clear of the pier if you can.  It was BEAUTIFUL but also a litttttle annoying because the lifeguards kept blowing their whistles at people swimming too close!

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Every now and then, I reapplied Luna's sunscreen and after a while I brought her into the shade for a nap.  Now that I think of it, I probably should have taken one, too!  Maybe then I wouldn't be so tired now, ha!

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Did I mention that a group of our friends was in town?!  It was great having them around ... although I won't be sad AT ALL when they all start having kids.  My mom friends can probably relate - once you have littles, you're on a totally different schedule from the rest of the world.  But it was still fun to have girlfriends around to hang out with :)

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We had so much fun that we're actually heading back to the beach next weekend, too!  And I'm going to ATTEMPT to get a few more pictures with me in them (mom problems, right?).  For now, here are two of my favorite pictures from last weekend's trip with Kris and Luna :)

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What are your favorite beaches to visit?!  Have you ever been to Wrightsville Beach?  Tell me all about it in the comments!

With love,

Lace & Lu

The Great Debate Over Baby #2

Hey mommas,

The other day someone asked me a BIG question:

When are you going to have another baby? 

It made me laugh because around our house we've been asking ourselves the same thing! 

If it was up to my husband, we'd already be trying.  And these days, I'm right there with him!  We survived the first year of parenthood and have this bright, beautiful, happy toddler to show for it.  Luna is almost 15 months and it's the BEST age.  She's fun and playful and so willing to help out and I honestly can't get enough of her.  And that makes me want to have more kids right this second!

But I also have a lot of fears.  I remember the struggles from that first year so wellAnd while I might be overthinking things, having another baby is a big decision.  You know?

That's where our great debate comes into play.  Or ... I guess it's just MY great debate.  Because let's be honest, Kris knows what he wants and he's just waiting for me to make up my mind.  So what's really going on in my head right now?  For starters ...

I'm nervous about the pregnancy part.

Oh man, pregnancy was rough for me the first time around.  I lost nearly ten pounds and burst capillaries in my face from throwing up so much - and that was just the beginning!  There's also delivery and recovery to get through.  And this time around, I'll have to do it all while caring for an active toddler.  How do other moms do it?!?!

And then there's the newborn stage.

I love love love being a mom.  But those first few months are just plain hard.  You're tired and emotional and overwhelmed from all the changes.  Your marriage goes into crisis mode from the stress and sex is off the table.  And then there's breastfeeding.  It was so much harder than I expected!  Hopefully it'll all be easier next time around but I'm still a little anxious about it.

It'll be a big change for our firstborn.

I know, I know.  Other people have multiple children all the time and their firstborns somehow get through it.  But I'm so sensitive to Luna's feelings!  I never want her to feel unloved or pushed aside.  And right now, it's easy to be patient with her.  But what about when baby #2 comes along?  Will I still be able to keep it together when she's having a bad day?

But we want a big family.

And that means at some point Luna will have to go through that transition into big sisterhood.  And actually, it might not be so bad!  She's so caring and snuggly and I can imagine her being a little helper.  In the short term, it might be rough but I think we'll all be that much happier in the long run.

And we're not getting any younger.

Plenty of people have babies into their late thirties and forties - that's totally fine!  But as you get older, there are additional medical considerations that come into play.  And I'm a natural worrier - I'd rather keep things as uncomplicated as possible.  And that means the sooner the better when it comes to having more kids.

THERE'S A CATCH.

And that's my husband's job.  He does a lot of traveling - sometimes for long periods of time - and it makes planning a little bit harder.  Would I rather deal with morning sickness alone or risk going into labor alone?  Or would we rather put off baby #2 altogether for longer than either of us anticipated?  It's a tough decision and one that we'll have to make sooner rather than later. 

Final verdict:

I still have a few reservations but it miiiiiight be time to seriously consider baby #2.  I'll make sure to keep you posted :)

With love,

Lace

P.S. What are your thoughts on having more kids?  Do you have a timeline in mind?  What are your fears about it?   And if you already have more than one child, how do you manage it?!?!  Let me know in the comments below!

UPDATE: You guys! It’s August 2019 and I wanted to give a quick update to this blog post. It’s always felt like the chapter to a book that’s never been finished - especially now that we’re thinking about baby no. 3!!! - so here’s what happened:

After a LOT of conversations we decided to try for baby no. 2 right before my husband deployed . We could have tried in September but I really was worried about morning sickness. I felt like … if I got pregnant in October, I’d have time to say goodbye and adjust to life without him before I started getting really sick. It was a HUGE risk - we basically had one chance and if I didn’t get pregnant, we wouldn’t be able to try again for another six months.

I realize now how lucky we were - I found out 7 days into his deployment that we were expecting and everything fell right into place. Morning sickness wasn’t *quite* as bad the second time around. I made sure to eat every two hours, took medicine, and drove Luna to the movie theater for popcorn and slushees every other day. I was tired - SO tired - but also felt incredibly lucky. Lucky that I had the chance to spend those six months alone with my big kid before everything changed. Kris came home in March and Stella was born in June (you can read her full birth story here!!) - and even that went better than I ever could have imagined!

I guess what I’m saying is that … after all the worrying and debating and back and forth … it all worked out. And I know things don’t always go exactly according to plan. But just this once, it really, really did. And if you’re debating about baby number two (or THREE!!!) I hope it all works out just right for you, too, mama.

*Photography Credit*

The image(s) featured in this post were captured by Pineland Photography.

Beach Essentials for Older Babies

Hey mommas,

Are you ready to hit the beach this summer?!  We are!  Especially now that Luna is toddling around.  I'm already imagining her squealing as she runs from the waves and tossing sand in the air ... probably right on top of me!

I don't want anything to ruin our summer fun ... like accidentally forgetting something we really need.  That's where this list comes in handy.  You already know the everyday things to pack (diapers, wipes, bottles) but here are 8 extra beach essentials for older babies:

A CUTE SWIMSUIT

Here are two reasons for your baby to suit up this summer:  First, it helps protect baby's sensitive skin from the harsh summer sun.  Second, babies in bathing suits are just really cute. 

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I've been known to take Luna into the water in a regular diaper ... and it always ends with little bits of gel all over the place!  That's why I use swim diapers now.  They're specially designed to go in the water and you'll be thankful you have them when it's time to leave!

A BEACH TENT

A classic umbrella is great but a beach tent offers even more shade.  It's a good "home base" where your baby can enjoy a snack, take a nap, or have a few minutes of quiet play time.

SUNSCREEN

Most doctors don't recommend sunscreen for babies under 6 months.  After that, your little one should be wearing it on a daily basis - and especially at the beach!  To make things easy, skip the lotion and go straight for the spray.  Just be sure to cover your little one's eyes and reapply every 30 minutes or so!

A MINI FAN

Your sweet babe will probably get cranky from the heat at some point.  A battery-operated mini fan will help cool her down ... and you, too!

SAND TOYS

Pick up a small pail and shovel before heading to the beach.  Even if your little one isn't building castles yet, she'll probably have fun banging on the pail and throwing sand inside!

A TOWEL

Bring an extra towel just for baby.  Use it to dry her off, cover her shoulders while she plays, and bundle her up when it's nap time!

A WOVEN TOTE

Mommas, this one is for you.  Because if you have to lug your baby's things around anyway, you might as well look good doing it!

Swimsuit | Swim Diapers | Beach Tent | Mini Fan | Sunscreen | Sand Toys | Beach Towel | Tote | Swim Trunks

Who else is heading to the beach with your babes this summer?  Do you pack anything special that I haven't thought of? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

Happy Beaching!

Lace