Motherhood

Moon & Stars Birthday Party

You guys!

We have a three-year-old and an *almost* one-year-old! Don’t even get me started - I’m a complete mess over here! I just love our little family so much! And I know these are some of the best years we’ll ever have together … even with all the tears and tantrums, ha!

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Even though the girls were born in different months (May + June), I wanted to host a joint birthday party. I just thought it would be more fun! Plus it’s cheaper and easier. I’m not sure if we’ll do their parties together in the future but this year it felt right.

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The thing I loved about this party was how simple it was. I purchased most of the supplies off Amazon: moon + stars balloons, white plates with gold polka dots, pink napkins and fun party hats. I’ll post the links below if you’re interested! The straws were leftover from last year’s Rain or Shine birthday party and we grabbed cups + spoons at the grocery store; hung balloons from the ceiling + tossed the extras on the floor for the kids to play with; and lined the table with black poster paper (a cheaper alternative if you’re into the super trendy black kraft paper look!). It was all really easy!

I planned to print 4x4 pictures and tape them to the wall on the right but I never actually got around to it - and I’m still a little disappointed over it. It would have added a really personal touch + Lu would have loved it. Maybe next year!

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For the menu, my first thought was pancakes or pizza. Doesn’t a pancake party sound like fun?! Until you think about the syrup part and then … not so much haha. Ultimately we settled on turkey subs + fruit. Honestly, I do the same thing every year. I’ve said it before but I just really like when parents offer healthy options at birthday parties :)

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Exxxxcept for the cake :)

Bare cakes are kind of a birthday tradition at our house at this point. They’re just timeless! And tying in the rainbow sprinkles with the sparkly gold stars felt extra fun + sweet … especially since Lu added the sprinkles herself!

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I always love planning parties - even super simple ones like this one - but my FAVORITE part of the day had nothing to do with the decorations. It was just the day in general … we’re still new to Italy so I was worried no one would come to the party. But so many people showed up to celebrate! And I could just see how happy it made Lu. I loved watching the girls splash in the inflatable pool and open presents they weren’t expecting to get … and the way Luna’s face lit up when we all sang “happy birthday”. It was just a really fun day! And I think it’s going to be a really fun year, too :)

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Happy happy happy birthday to our little babes - we love you to the moon & stars!

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With love,

Lace

P.S. I wish I had more photos from the actual party but I didn’t take a single one! The two of Lu blowing out her candles were taken by a sweet friend so I’m just grateful for the ones we do have :)

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6 Tips for When You're Feeling Overwhelmed

It makes me laugh writing this post because I get overwhelmed all. the. time. Some days I’m at a breaking point and it’s not even lunchtime yet!

As a stay-at-home mom, somebody always needs something from me. I’m changing diapers, picking up toys, making meals, doing the zillionth load of laundry, giving baths and wiping tears, scrubbing spit-up out of the carpet … I’m also trying to run a blog, be a good wife, and find time to eat something/wash my hair every now and then. And that’s just the everyday stuff on my list!

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I’m not sharing this post because I never feel overwhelmed. I’m sharing it because there are things that help on those *really* hard days - and sometimes I’m just too stressed out in the moment to remember them. I’m hoping it will help me to write them down - and maybe it’ll help you, too :) Here goes:

Give yourself a Time Out

Even adults need to regroup sometimes. Take a minute to clear your head and put things into perspective. Ask yourself: Is it really THAT big of a deal? Will it matter in a year, or next month, or even tomorrow? Is it worth giving up my sanity/happiness over? If not, then try to let it go.

(I had to remember this recently when Luna poured milk allllllll over the coffee table. She was trying to make chocolate milk by herself and my brain was just like “noooooo!” Then I realized that a) it was an accident, b) she’s becoming more independent which is a GOOD thing and c) it really wasn’t that big of a deal. So instead of freaking out like a crazy person I gave her a high five … and a wet paper towel to clean up the mess!)

Cut your To Do List in half

Realistically, it’s not all getting done today anyway. Focus on tasks that are really urgent/important and leave the rest until tomorrow. Or cross things off altogether. Am I ever going to shampoo all the carpets in my house? Probably not, which is why it isn’t on my list anymore :)

Do a quick clean

Take 10 minutes to straighten your house, wash dishes, and toss in a load of laundry. *Everyone* functions better in a clean space.

Focus on things you can control

There are some things you just can’t change no matter how much you try. Take them out of the equation … then focus your efforts on the things you can control. You’ll feel a lot less helpless and a lot more confident in your own ability to get things done.

Ask for help

I’m convinced that 95% of the times I’ve felt overwhelmed could have been avoided by asking for help. Trust me, I *know* it’s hard. But you’re not an island - you can’t do everything on your own all the time. So accept help when it’s offered and ask for it when you need to!

Learn to say “No”

If you really don’t have the time or energy, give yourself permission to say “no”. In the end, you don’t actually have to do all the things. Just the ones that really matter.

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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.

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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!!!!!

Rain or Shine Themed Birthday Party

Hey mommas,

Luna is officially TWO!!  I still can't believe it.  It's SO true what they say ... the days pass slow but the years go by sooooo fast.  And the toddler years are this crazy mix of wondrous and terrible.  One second Luna is wrapping her legs around me and giggling madly and the next she's having a meltdown over a fallen block tower.  Which is exactly why I wanted to throw a Rain or Shine themed party this year - it sums up life with a toddler so well!

When planning Lu's birthday party, I had a simple color palette in mind:  sunny yellow, sky blue, and a fluffy shade of white.  Then I tied in dark blue and a pretty shade of pink for accent colors.

Once I figured out the color scheme, I started working on the invitations.  They were actually really fun to make!  I used a free app called Adobe Spark and it was incredibly user-friendly.  It only took me an hour or two to create a design that I really loved:

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Next came the decorations:

Our party decor included a sky blue banner, a DIY ombre raindrop backdrop, and fluffy white balloon clouds.  I also found a giant gold number 2 balloon for only a few dollars at Hobby Lobby - a perfect addition to the backdrop!

We covered the table in a white linen tablecloth and added some more fun elements from Hobby Lobby:  sunny yellow forks peeking out from cloud-blue napkins, layered blue plates, fun snack cups, and paper straws in blue and yellow.

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As for the accents - the little white clouds, the two-tone suns, the raindrops - those were all done BY HAND!  It would have been soooo much easier if I had one of those crafting machines that does the work for you ... but I don't.  Instead, I used a sharpie to draw cloud/sun/raindrop templates, traced them on card stock paper, and then cut each piece out individually.  Then I used a hot glue gun to glue the pieces onto straws, cups, and strings for the backdrop.  It was kind of nuts!  But also really fun!  Were the decorations perfect?  Not even close.  But I don't think Luna minded and I was really happy with how it turned out :)

For refreshments, we served fluffy white popcorn, cups of diced fruit (apples, strawberries, and halo oranges on top), and fresh iced orange juice.  We also ordered catering from Subway.  As a parent, I always appreciate when there are healthy options for Luna so I wanted to do the same for her party!  Well, mostly .... we still had cake and ice cream!

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Tiered cakes are my absolute favorite - especially bare cakes.  They look really put together, plus they're easy to make at home.  This was actually my second time baking a bare tiered cake - I also made one for Luna's unicorn-themed birthday party last year!

I did consider baking a cake with rainbow layers this year ... it would have been PERFECT with the Rain or Shine theme, right?!  But that would have taken a lot of effort and extra time that I didn't have.  And since I was using pink as an accent color, it was just easier to make a boxed strawberry cake and call it a day. 

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Lastly, we topped the cake with a little handmade banner (two paper straws, decorative string, and little hand-cut triangles spelling out Luna's name).  It was just one more way to celebrate our sweet girl's big day.   Two years down and a lifetime to go ... and rain or shine, I wouldn't change a single second of our time together.

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With love,

Lace

Maternity Style Picks for Summer

Hey mommas!

Can we talk about maternity style for a minute?  Up until recently, my "style" has pretty much been a tee shirt and leggings every day.  Literally.  Not even maternity leggings and tees!  Just the plain old clothes that I wore before my pregnancy.  But around month seven, I started feeling pretty uncomfortable.  My bump just seems sooo much bigger than last time around!

At first it was hard justifying spending even $100 on a maternity wardrobe.  I mean, you only get to wear the clothes for a few months and then what?!  But it was worth a little splurge when I woke up one day and realized NONE of my clothes fit! 

All I wanted were a few pieces that were comfortable, affordable, and flattering.  I found (most) of them at Motherhood Maternity but I'm also a fan of the selections at Gap and Old Navy

The great thing about most maternity lines is that you can order your normal size (minus the shoes!).  So if you normally wear a Small, just order all your maternity clothes in size Small :)

SOFT TEES & TANKS

For everyday comfort, I love these basic tees from Motherhood Maternity.  They're ultra soft and extra flattering :)

OVERALLS

Overalls are back in style and I'm loving every minute of it!  These Side Panel Destructed Maternity Shortalls (far left) are perfect for summer.  Plus the straps are adjustable so they grow with your bump!

BATHING SUITS

Unless you're hitting the beach every day, you probably won't need more than one maternity swimsuit.  Such a bummer because these are both SO cute in person.  Just hurry if you like the Off-the-Shoulder one (left) - it's almost sold out!

PRETTY TOPS

Okay, I didn't actually order any of these because (like I mentioned) I basically live my entire life in tees.  BUT they're at the top of my list if I do decide to step up my style game in the next few weeks:

DRESSES

Want to look amazing without all the hassle of coordinating?  Try one of these pretty options:

P.S. The bodycon dress (far left) only has one rating online and it's not very positive.  But pretttty sure the person just ordered the wrong size.  I'm 5'6" and normally 115 - 120 pounds and the maternity size Small fits great!

LEGGINGS

There's always room for leggings in my wardrobe - even in the summer heat :)

COMFORTABLE SHOES

A cute pair of sneakers in a neutral color pairs well with (almost) anything.  Just consider sizing up by a half or even full size - many pregnant women notice a change in shoe size somewhere around the third trimester. 

Stay comfortable mommas!

With love,

Lace