Family

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!

*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. 

swim diapers

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

 

13 Common Themes in Every Happy Marriage

Hi all!

Coming from a divorced home, I know that marriage is hard.  Sometimes things just fall apart or don't work out.  But from the moment my now-husband proposed, I knew I wanted ours to be a forever thing.  So I started observing the people around me and studying their relationships.  I listened to their conversations, how they speak to each other, how they interact and how they react.  I took mental notes.  And I paid a lot of attention to my own relationship in the process.

Over time, I realized there are common themes in every unsuccessful marriage:  resentment, blame, indifference.  But there are commonalities in the successful ones, too.  And gradually, I came up with a list of things I think set happy couples apart:

1. ACKNOWLEDGMENT

This is so important!  We all need to feel seen and heard by the people we love.  And it's such an easy thing to give our partners.  Say hello when he comes home.  Look him in the eyes and smile.  Put down your phone and pay attention for a minute.  Some people think hatred is the worst thing; I think indifference is worse.

2. AFFECTION

It's obviously important to love your spouse.  But you also have to like them.  Even more important, let them know that you like them.  People like to feel liked!

Affection is easy in the beginning. You're infatuated and in love and can't get enough of that person.  But over time, our affection naturally dwindles.  The key is to find ways to hold on to it.  That's where this next theme comes into play ...

3. COMMUNICATION

Talk about the good things and the hard things.  Tell him what you need and what makes you happy.  Tell him why that thing he did last night was frustrating for you.  And then listen.  Listen to his needs and wants and frustrations.  Be open to his feedback and remember that it's okay to argue sometimes.  Talk it out until you find common ground!

4. Effort

There is no such thing as an effortless marriage.  Even happy couples have to work at it to make it last!  So make sure you're prioritizing your relationship and always do a little more than what's strictly necessarily.

5. FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness is a cornerstone of all successful relationships.  There will be times when your spouse lets you down.  Times when he says or does something that upsets you.  Don't hold on to that hurt and resentment.  Take the time to process what happened, then find a way to let it go. 

6. LAUGHTER

Happy couples laugh a lot.  They try to see the humor in what might otherwise be a frustrating situation.  The other day, my husband opened the cabinet and realized all the popcorn was gone.  At first, he was a little miffed and told me so.  I laughed and said, "well you drank all the beer!"  And then we both started laughing because guess what?  I don't drink beer!  Just like that, everything was back to normal!  Keep the little things light and save your serious arguments for the big things.

7. PASSION

Your spouse should be the one person that sets your soul on fire.  After ten years of friendship, dating, and now marriage, I still feel a little giddy every time I see my husband.  Part of it is our natural chemistry.  The other part is the huge effort we put towards keeping that passion alive (see theme #4 above)!

8. PERSPECTIVE

We are conditioned to believe the grass is always greener on the other side.  But every marriage, even happy ones, have little pitfalls and hard times.  Remember:  just because you have a bad day doesn't mean you have a bad marriage. 

9. PRAISE

Be genuine and generous with your praise.  Tell your spouse how much you appreciate him.  Recognize the things he does for you and your family.  See the things he does right instead of focusing on the things he does wrong. 

10. RESPECT

Happy couples respect each other.  When they do argue, they avoid blaming or name-calling.  There are times when I'll affectionately call my husband a "dumb-dumb" (he does the same to me) but it's only during lighthearted moments.  During arguments, name calling is 100% off limits.  At the end of the day, you have to respect your partner and your marriage.  Remember the golden rule and treat your spouse the way you want to be treated.

Along the same lines, pay attention to the conversations you have about your spouse.  Think about how your partner would feel if he was listening in.  Would he feel loved?  Respected?  If not, steer the conversation in a different direction.

11. Spontaneity

As the years go by, most couples fall into routines that rarely change.  That's just life!  But it's so important to keep things interesting in your marriage.  Pick a random spot on the map and take a road trip.  Make a candlelit dinner at home.  Leave a note in his lunchbox.  Try something a little outside of your comfort zone in the bedroom.  You might just have fun!

12. TOUCH

Make it a point to touch your spouse every single day.  It could be a hug or a kiss on the forehead or a hand massage.  It could be something more intimate.  Whatever you choose, remember that skin-to-skin contact is part of every healthy marriage.  Sometimes I don't notice how tense I feel until my husband hugs me.  Immediately, my shoulders relax and I let out a breath that I didn't even know I was holding.  That's the magic of touch.

13. UNDERSTANDING

There will be times when your husband says something hurtful or lashes out.  He's a human being just like you.  Instead of reacting or taking offense, remind him that you are on his side.  And once he's ready, talk about what's really going on.

I know this article is called 13 Common Themes in Every Happy Marriage.  But if you've made it this far, you deserve a bonus theme!  So here it is (drum roll please) ...

BONUS:  SHARED RESPONSIBILITY

Nothing spells disaster for a relationship like one partner taking on most (or all) of the responsibilities. When you're married, you're part of a team.  So pull your weight - and if your spouse is lagging behind, ask him politely to pick up the slack ;)

Even if you are already in a happy relationship, I hope this list helps you through the hard times.  I hope you remember to like (not just love) your spouse and to praise his efforts.  I hope you can forgive him when he inevitably does something wrong.  And I hope you find a way to push through with the knowledge that there will be good years and bad years and that it's all worth it in the end.

Wishing you all the happiness in the world,

Lace