Let Them Be Little

The other night Calvin wasn’t wanting to cuddle before bedtime like usual. He was happy and very much awake. He kept pointing to the door and I was too tired to force bedtime so I let him get down. I brought him into my room, settled him onto the bed with Cars 3 on my phone and I laid down to get a little rest.

After about 10 minutes Calvin put down his movie and took the next 30 seconds to slowly pull a blanket over me. He’s so small and the blanket was so big it took him several one-handed pulls but once he was satisfied he patted my back and went back to his movie.

I teared up a little then and I get teary-eyed now just thinking about such a tender moment shared with my little guy. He is so sweet and loving and I never want to forget how he thought to look out for his mama like that.

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IMG-4158Like most moms, I lose my patience from time to time, and I worry that those moments of weakness will be what my child remembers. I worry that he’ll remember the days that I’m tired and accidentally fall asleep on the couch. I worry that he’ll remember the days that I spend more time doing dishes and cleaning than playing with him.

However, I hope he remembers the days that I cover him in kisses. I hope he remembers the days that we spend at the park just playing and running around. I hope he remembers the tender moments we’ve spent together as I rock him to sleep. And most of all, I hope he remembers how much I love him.

I hope he remembers that he changed my life in a million wonderful ways.

IMG-4167IMG-4166More than anything, I hope I forget all those times I lost my patience and that my memories of Calvin’s childhood will be the ones when we played, laughed, hugged, and discovered new things together. I hope my memories are filled with the first time he held my hand to walk down the street, the first time I rode a bike with him on the back, the first time he gave me a kiss, and the first time we played hide and seek together.

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Being a mother is definitely challenging. It’s so hard. Sometimes it seems impossible to figure out the best way to raise a tiny person who is always changing! But it’s also an incredibly beautiful journey full of tender moments that make your heart melt.

I hope I remember them all ❤

 

 

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Minimalism + a Toddler: Where to Start

If you’ve ever felt like it’s impossible to keep your home clean and you’re wondering why you have so much stuff — this is for you. And honestly it’s for everyone but especially for those with little ones at home!

Right before we moved to Hoboken we watched “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” on Netflix and I realized this was the answer I had been looking for.

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Watch it! If you only have 10 min check out this TED Talk featuring Maura Malloy for a quick rundown on living simply.

Most of what I’ve watched and read on minimalism is created by singles, married couples without children, or by one couple with children in grade school. Which left me empty-handed in my search for how to live a minimalist lifestyle with a toddler at home.

So here’s how we’re doing it!

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WHERE WE STARTED: Clothes. A big inspiration for me has been Jennifer L. Scott who lived in Paris as a foreign exchange student and wrote a book about what she learned from the family she lived with about always looking your best with a small, high-quality wardrobe. We got rid of any clothes we hadn’t worn in the past year, anything with holes, and anything that we didn’t fit into anymore. We’ve gone through our clothes a few times over the past two years and gotten more serious about getting rid of things each time. Eventually we decided to develop capsule wardrobes so that’s what we’re in the process of putting together right now – even for Calvin.

Having a capsule wardrobe for your kids means they can get themselves dressed and no matter what they put on – it’ll coordinate! It means less decision confusion – that feeling you get when you’re staring into your closet and think you have nothing to wear – because all of your clothes will go together and you’ll love each piece you have.

It also means less laundry! Wahoo!

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Calvin’s tops go in the second drawer and his bottoms and pajamas go in the third drawer. That’s it!  He wears 75% of his clothes every week and I don’t feel like I’m wasting space with those clothes kids never wear. The right basket is his laundry hamper so it’s super convenient when I’m changing him.

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RULE OF THUMB FOR TODDLERS: Designate a space for toys. Toys can take over your home if you let them, which is why I’m SO glad we’re working towards minimalism while Calvin is still young. We don’t keep any toys in the living room — all of Calvin’s toys stay in his room and have a place to go. We bring them out to the living room to play sometimes but they always go back before naptime/bedtime.

For the most part, we’ve been trying to limit his toy collection to the two white bins at the bottom of his bookcase and his books to the shelf above it. We went through his toys before Christmas and I set aside anything that was either no longer age appropriate or items he didn’t play with as often. We were in a really good place…and then we had Christmas! We had a wonderful holiday and enjoyed our time with family but I had to go back to the drawing board to figure out if and where to keep everything.

It happens more often than I’d like but it’s always good to assess where you’re at on a journey and look for ways to improve along the way.

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We gifted the kitchen + play food to Calvin this year for Christmas and he absolutely loves it! It’s been a great new addition that’s added value to his imagination play and I love seeing him cook and be more interested in helping me in our kitchen.

His closet is currently housing a shallow bin of Duplos, two puzzles, his grey/white teepee, this IKEA rug for driving his cars on and a puppet that Mr. Layland couldn’t live without named Pedro – he’s teaching Calvin Spanish 🙂 Right now this works for us but I’m considering a roll-out bin that will fit under his crib for those toys.

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THE BEST PART: Having less to keep up with! Even when Calvin pulls out ALL of his books and toys from his bins (like he did last week) it takes less than 5 minutes to clean it all up. It’s helping him really use the toys he has and helping us both have less stress in our lives. So far it’s working really well and he’s a fantastic picker-upper!

THE HARDEST PART: Gifts. You control what you bring into your home but you can’t always control what others give you. We’re doing our best to ask for things our entire family can enjoy, things we need, or experience-based gifts. Despite a few bumps in the road I think it’s going pretty well so far!

So that’s where we’re at in this journey towards minimalism with a toddler!

If there is something specific you’re curious about please leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to fit it into a future post! I’d also love any ideas you’ve tried and love!

The Classic Birthday Date

I woke up yesterday morning with Mr.Layland by my side, a new job, and a ton of excitement. “I’m turning 25 today! Wahoo!” Part of me thinks that’s really old…and then there’s another part of me that knows it’s really not.

Most birthdays are like any other but turning 25 is a bit of a milestone so I starting thinking of what I’ve accomplished so far…

I graduated college.
I served a mission.
I got married.
I just started a job that I love.
I’m currently writing for a magazine.
I started a blog that I love writing for!

Thinking about where I’m at was a really good “check in” exercise. Try it!

I made a skirt this weekend and decided what better day to wear it than my birthday?!

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This is my $3 skirt. I made it out of curtains. Seriously, no joke. I followed this tutorial for the gathering of the skirt and then made my own waistband and added in a zipper. I was really pleased with how it turned out. It’s really light so it’s perfect for Arizona.

Day 2 at my new job was a little crazy but really enjoyable. The office is in the same location where Mr.Layland works so we drove together and he opened the office door for me and kissed me goodbye ❤

I could really get used to this!

On Monday I started working as the Administrative Assistant at I-ology. When I walked in on my first day there was a bowl full of treats on my desk! I can already tell I’m going to love working here. The current assistant is training me this week so we went to run errands together  in the afternoon and I got to pick out my own birthday treat.

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Sorry for the lame picture, I didn’t want to ask someone to take my picture and become the new office dork. Don’t you love the neon pink writing?! Pretty sure I turned 5 not 25.

At the end of the day I met up with Mr. Layland downstairs and we headed off to try a new place for dinner. It’s called Fired Pie. Once upon a time it was a place called Pellini where they served noodles in a tortilla. For obvious reasons they didn’t last long.

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The crust was thin, the toppings were delicious and that guy sure knew how to drizzle on the right amount of sauce! We had the Hawaiian BBQ and the Chicken Alfredo. Both were good but the BBQ was my favorite because it reminded me of CPK pizza.

I didn’t take pictures during dinner because I’m trying to better about “being there” during dates. Mr. Layland took me to lunch on Monday as a “Happy First Day at Work” celebration but also to tell me that he was offered a new job! It was the best early birthday present ever!

We stopped in at Barnes & Noble because it’s one of my favorite places 🙂 and that’s when my BROTHER called me! It was so nice to just talk and catch up for a little. I got to tell him about my new job and about the offer that Mr. Layland got and it felt so good to realize how nicely things are panning out.

And right when you think things couldn’t get better…

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There were balloons when I got home! The whole family was there and we had (another) ice cream cake. Mr.Layland wanted to get me a nail light you use with gel nail polish but the mother I nannied for got me one as a going away present. Oops! I guess I’m really predictable this year.

Some of you might be anticipating an epic “Mr. Layland Date” but you’ll just have to wait. When the sun sets it’s still a thousand degrees outside so we’re going to save it for when it cools off a bit. He got me a voucher for horseback riding!!!! I can’t wait!

I got to do everything I ever wanted to on my 25th birthday ❤

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!