Monday, 25 August 2014

Baby Shower Gift Idea - Mama's Medicine Cabinet



I hosted a baby shower for a dear friend over the weekend, and here's what I put together as her gift - Mama's Medicine Cabinet. I went and got a cute basket and then filled it with the above items we used often while Seb was a baby still use all. of. the. time. I know she'll use each of these items. Plus she can take the basket, toss in some diapers, wipes, a folding change pad, and voilĂ  - instant diaper changing station for another floor in her house.

Idea cred: I wish I could take credit for this awesome idea, but I totally stole it from someone else. I read about it last year via the Rookie Moms, and couldn't wait to make it for someone who I know would really appreciate this type of gift.

If you're not into the DIY version, someone has already done the work for you selling a complete package called Mommy's Medicine Cabinet.

And if you're looking for a great card to go with it, here's my current fav.


xo
J

Related -
The Master List of What to Buy for Baby
4 Apps for New or Newish Moms
What's on my Parenting Bookshelf
Post-Partum Recovery Essentials

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Help! Our Toddler Won't Sleep Anymore

Normally I try to offer tips on this blog of things that I've found useful or helpful when it comes to motherhood, but now I need your help.  Over the past month or so, S has really struggled with falling asleep on his own and waking up at night. Our bedtime routine hasn't changed at all, and he goes to bed around 7:30 - 7:45 by the time we're done with snack, stories, cuddles etc. He used to whine for a few minutes when we left the room, and then fell asleep and, more often than not, sleep until 6:30am.

I don't know if it's "just a phase" (he's not quite 2 and a half) or if it's because our daily routine over the summer has been all over the place. He still has a nap every afternoon, and that's pretty consistent, but the daily activities have been out of routine. It's been a combination of travel days, visiting family days, days with swimming lessons, daycare days, or just playing at home days.

Now he protests falling asleep on his own, and he is determined. He still sleeps in a crib and hasn't yet figured out how to climb out, but he will stand in his crib and jump for hours. Sometimes he cries, sometimes he just whines, last night we were watching on the video monitor, and I swear he fell asleep for 45 minutes standing up. He knows as soon as he lies down, his body will push him to sleep so he fights it. But he will do this jumping thing for hours. By 10 or 11pm, after trying to calm and reassure him a few times, Rob and I decide it's time for everyone to go to sleep so one of us will go sit with him until he falls asleep (which does not take long at all) and sneak out of his room. Then he will wake once, twice or even three times in the night with the same routine. He doesn't need us to cuddle him or pick him up; he just wants us to sit in a chair and watch him sleep.

Arg!!! Has anyone else experienced this? Please please please tell me we're not alone. Was it a phase? Did it end? Did you do anything to help your toddler learn how to fall asleep on their own again? I know he can do it. He's done it so many times before.

I know he's not ready to drop his nap, because there were a few days were he didn't nap at all and it did not make his nights one bit easier.

Starting yesterday, the daycare routine for all weekdays is back in action. So hopefully that will help a bit. We've tried a nightlight, and that seemed to make the night-waking worse. Yesterday I bought him a gloworm that has lullaby music and a little light but he doesn't seem too interested in it yet. We've also started trying to use our favourite white noise sleep app again to see if that helps. I think he likes the music box setting, but we wonder if it's doing more harm than good if we're playing it all night long.

So, there you have it. Please fill the comments section with your ideas, tips, cocktail recipes to help Rob and I get through this. Or just let me know even if you don't have any magic cure, that your toddler also went through some sleep regression. Misery loves company ;)

xo
Jenn

PS - I had grand plans for what my 100th blog post would be, but this is it. It's a bit ironic right?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Our Trip to NYC According to my iPhone

To celebrate our fifth anniversary, Rob and I headed sans toddler to NYC. Last year we spent one night away from Seb together, so going to across the boarder for 3 nights was a big deal. After we got to New York, we headed right to a Holography Studio that Rob wanted to see. Then I really wanted to see the latest trend in street art by Kelsey Montague - What Lifts You. The idea is to combine the #whatliftsyou with a statement of positivity via Instagram. It's around for the next few months if you can check it out.

 


Our second day was busy! The first thing we did in the morning was visit the public 9/11 Memorial. I had seen pictures of this memorial before, but it was much more stunning than either of us expected. The memorial is so large and beautiful, and the 2 waterfalls are breathtaking. We then did the Circle Line Boat tour of the Hudson River. After that, we had a Food Tour booked. If you're ever in NYC, you have to add one of these food tours to your schedule. I had done the tour of Greenwhich Village 4 years ago with my mom, so this time Rob and I did the food tour of the Chelsea Market and High Line. While I ate my cupcake and chocolate milk faster than I took a picture of them, I can assure you they looked and tasted as good as they do in the stock pic below. In the evening, we went to the Top of the Rock for a panoramic view of the city from the top of the Rockefeller Centre. Afterwards we lounged on the couches and had drinks on the terrace bar just at the base of the Rockefeller Centre.






On our last full day, we spent the morning walking around the American Museum of Natural History. Then we grabbed some street meat and walked through Central Park. We were rewarded on the other side of the park with a visit to the Sprinkles Cupcake ATMmmmmm.  That night we saw Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams (who will forever be Jen Lindley to me) in Cabaret. Cabaret is currently being performed in Studio 54 which is pretty cool.



And where was Sebastian? Having the time of his life with Gran and Grandpa...

xo
Jenn

Monday, 11 August 2014

Non-Cheesy Anniversary Gift Ideas for the First Five Years

Rob and I celebrated our 5th anniversary last week. When it was our first anniversary, I told him I'd like to try and stick with the traditional or modern themes for our gift ideas. It's been fun trying to find something for each theme that suits his personality. I don't know about you, but I've actually found that googling "_____ anniversary gift ideas" isn't always particularly helpful. Rob doesn't need, or want, a leather beer cooler par exemple. So, here are a few ideas for the first five years that we've gone with, or that I just think are great.

First Anniversary: Paper or Clocks



Him
*I got Rob this LED clock from Crate & Barrel, but it's so bright, it's now being used as both Seb's clock and nightlight.
*Any unique book would be a great idea as well. Rob loves DEVO and vintage computers so I also found a couple of books I knew he'd enjoy. (We Are Devo, Core Memory)

Her
*I think this print from Pottery Barn is beautiful, but I'm a sucker for any type of vintage French decor.
*The true way to my heart is books. Any books. Big, small, fiction, non-fiction. I love them all. A hardcover book of work from my favourite artist was a great choice. Friends of ours also did this, where you have your initials folded into a book and it's beautiful.




Second Anniversary: Cotton or China





Him
*Lululemon Core Hoodie. Rob owns 2 of these; one in black and the other in dark grey, and he loves them.


Her
*This is a good opportunity to pick up a couple of the china pieces that you maybe didn't get at your wedding or shower.







Third Anniversary: Leather, Crystal/Glass



Him
*Does he need a new wallet or new belt? I'm a fan of Roots leather products. It's quite soft, and I find it stands up to daily use quite well. Rob actually thinks most men's wallets are too big, so he prefers the simpler Roots Card Case.


Her 
*Sticking with Roots, I bought their Olivia Bag ages ago and seriously love it. It's super roomy, and I've even used it as a diaper-bag when I didn't want to carry around the massive 'look!therearediapersinsideme' diaper bag.
*For our 3rd anniversary, Rob bought me a beautiful embossed leather journal. Here's a similar one from Anthro.




Fourth Anniversary: Linen/Silk, Fruit/Flowers, Appliances



Him
*Edible Arrangement. This was maybe just as much for me as it was for him, but it killed 2 birds with one stone. Fruit that looked like flowers! Plus, put melted chocolate on anything, and we're in heaven. Umm...maybe that didn't come out right  ;)
*And, given most anniversaries happen in the spring and summer, I think guys would probably appreciate a new linen shirt.

Her
*Flowers are an obvious choice, but you can get creative by picking up a few items with flowers on them. (Like this apron and Homegrown Monogram Mug both from Anthropologie).
*For a soft and silky splurge, Anthro has a beautiful silk kimono.





Fifth Anniversary: Wood and Silverware

 Him
*An eco-friendly shaving kit in wood cigar box. This was a birthday or Christmas gift for Rob years ago, and he uses it exclusively now. I've also gifted it to my brother-in-law who also loved it. Plus their Cedarwood Guinness soap smells amazing!
*Father and son hammer set. This is what I gifted Rob last week. He told me he wouldn't be opposed to a father/son t-shirt set, but since I was looking for wood items, this is what he got for now. While I may regret buying a hammer for a two-year-old...

Her
*World Map Cutting Board. Normally I'm not too excited by gifts that make me spend more time in the kitchen, but I'd been eying this cutting board before, so it was a nice surprise :)



So, there you go. A few more ideas next time you're hunting for anniversary gift ideas. Do you have any to add?

xo
Jenn

PS - Want the bestest anniversary card ever? Check this out....


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Lush Recycling Incentive Means a Free Face Mask for You!



Last week I took advantage of Lush's recycling program for the first time. I brought in 5 empty pots (either black or clear, I asked and their metal pots aren't part of the program) and walked out with a free face mask of my choice! I don't shop at Lush regularly, but I do love their products as a treat, especially their Big Shampoo. Rob works pretty close to a Lush, so I sometimes get Lush goodies when he needs a last-minute gift idea :)

It's similar to MAC Cosmetic's Back to M.A.C. program where you trade in 6 empty MAC containers for a new lipstick of your choice.

I've never tried their Lush face masks before, so I picked Catastrophe Cosmetic. It's full of blueberries, chamomile, rose absolute, and calamine powder, and the guy working told me it's perfect for days you've had some extra sun.


Plus, if you notice, it comes in a little black pot, so I'm already 1 pot closer to my next free face mask! Rob laughs at me because it takes me so long to collect 5 Lush pots or 6 MAC containers that I've actually moved empty cosmetic containers from one house to another. #whateverittakes

xo
Jenn

Monday, 4 August 2014

Instagram vs. Real Life

I recently saw this hilarious post online - What I Instagrammed vs. What was Really Happening, or My Entire Life is a Lie. The blogger, Olivia, pokes fun at herself, and the rest of us, because we tend to use social media to present the very best possible image of ourselves. So Olivia shared some of her Instagram photos along with 2 descriptions for each: what it looks like she's doing, and what she's actually doing/thinking.

The Rookie Moms thought a mom-version of this would be a really fun idea, and I couldn't agree more. Here's my version of Instagram vs. Real Life.

1. THE CHRISTMAS TREE SHOT


What it looks like he's doing:
Ah, Christmas morning! The Christmas glow and spirit is upon my son. Our Christmas tree is so beautiful that he looks up in wonder as he admires an ornament. Look how well-behaved he is by the tree.

What he is actually doing:
Probably about to rip off the one valuable ornament I forgot to put above his little reach. It's a shot of the back of his head because he was wicked sick the day I took this picture and has snot all over his nose. Nonetheless, I thought I had a nanosecond to try and recreate this picture from Pinterest (as long as I added the right filter). Also, he was in his pyjamas because he wasn't feeling well, and it wasn't taken on Christmas morning.

2. THE CREATIVE FOOD SHOT


What it looks like I'm doing:
I'm clearly one of those awesome Pinterest moms because I made the toast look like a bear. My son giggled when he saw the cute bear and ate this up with glee while drinking organic milk.

What is actually happening:
Despite loving toast, peanut butter, bananas, and blueberries, my son wanted nothing to do with this snack and couldn't have cared less that it looked like a bear. I don't remember what he ate instead. Probably goldfish crackers.

3. THE INDEPENDENT PLAY SHOT


What it looks like he's doing:
My son loves to sit and read his books by himself. He is clearly gifted. I don't want to get in his way, so I'll just sit in the chair and read my own book while he continues to teach himself new language skills. We spent the whole morning like this, just reading our books in the quiet.

What we're actually doing:
Seb does love to sit and read and stack his books, but once that pile tips over, it's game over. I think I read about 2 paragraphs of my book before that happened. Also, I'm trying to take this picture in secret because the second he sees the phone, he'll just want to look at pictures and videos of himself.

4. THE FARMERS' MARKET SHOT


What it looks like I'm doing:
Fresh fruit! I'm picking up some yummy local raspberries like I do every single week, because I always have time to go to the farmers' market. We have kale smoothies for breakfast daily and only eat local foods and healthy snacks in our house.

What we're actually doing:
Seb had been sick (again), so I put him in the stroller and headed to the farmers' market to get out of the house for a bit. I also needed to snap a few farmers' market pics for a post I was writing over at the Ruralist that we didn't even end up needing. I bought the raspberries only because I felt guilty about taking a picture of them and not actually buying anything.


5. THE POST-PREGNANCY SHOT


What it looks like I'm doing:
Having a night out with friends at Skyzone. Jumping on a trampoline like it's no one's business.

What I'm actually doing:
Realizing that since giving birth, I can't jump on a trampoline without peeing a little bit.


6. THE BABY'S FIRST CHRISTMAS SHOT

What it looks like he's doing:
We're setting up the Christmas tree, and it's Seb's first Christmas so he's helping. He picks up the lights as if he's picking up a handful of magic and love, so I sneak in a quick photo of him to capture this special moment.

What we're actually doing:
This has been totally staged because, again, I wanted to try and recreate a photo I saw on Pinterest. We had to keep reminding Seb not to chew on the lights. My husband spent the whole time I was taking these pictures looking at me like I was crazy. 

7. THE HEALTHY EATING SHOT


What it looks like I'm doing:
I can totally eat these 8 little jube jubes because check out that massive healthy smoothie I'll be drinking as well. Cucumber, spinach, apple...all yummy things! I drink smoothies like this all the time and only have jube jubes as a special treat which is why I took a picture of them.

What I'm actually doing:
I ate waaaaay more than the 8 jube jubes in this picture. This smoothie was actually the beginning of a 7-day "real food only" challenge I was starting the following morning. I lasted about 2 days of the challenge before I caved and ate chocolate that was in the office at work.

8. THE STARBUCKS SHOT

What it looks like we're doing:
It's so easy to take my toddler to Starbucks for breakfast. He drinks his milk and eats his muffin while sitting calmly on the chair and watching the people and dogs go by. I slowly sip my non-fat latte with no sense of urgency whatsoever.

What we're actually doing:
My husband was away with the car, so I needed a stroller-friendly activity and wanted to kill a few extra minutes before we inevitably ended up at the park. Seb is eating my muffin because it's the only way he'll sit still on the chair. Moments after this picture was taken, the muffin was finished, and we were off to the park. I think that's where I finally got to drink my latte.


9. THE BIRTHDAY SHOT
What it looks like we're doing:
We're so crafty around here we can make our own birthday invitations on the chalkboard wall. We do this kind of thing every day. Right after we get back from toddler and me yoga. It's no big deal. Seb couldn't be happier to have a Spiderman party so, of course, it only took one shot to get him standing by the wall and smiling in his Spiderman shirt. Speaking of the t-shirt, can you see how happy he is wearing it? His new favourite shirt for sure.

What we're actually doing:
It took about 75 pictures to get one of Seb kind of looking at the camera while standing by the chalkboard wall. He hated being forced to put on a new Spiderman t-shirt and actually cried. It looks like he's smiling, but that's only because my husband is showing him one of his favourite Youtube videos on the iPad behind my head.

Want to follow more of the photos little white lies I post on Instagram? Find me @asplendidmessylife.

xo
Jenn

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