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!

Beauty Hacks for New Moms

Becoming a mother has been the most amazing experience of my entire life. From the moment the doctor told me to open my eyes and take my son in the delivery room I fell head over heels in love with him.

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Calvin is pretty much an angel child but something I didn’t anticipate was being completely okay with putting ALL of his needs before my own. He’s just so darn cute that it’s way more fun to watch him sleep than go take a shower, or a nap.

I remember when Calvin was 2 weeks old I got out of the shower and heard him crying in his swing – like really crying. That was the first time I had heard him cry like that, where they still make those little gasping sounds while they calm down. It broke my heart and in that moment I swore off showers for the rest of my life.

Not really, but I seriously considered it for a second.

Taking care of yourself can go out the window pretty quickly as a new mom. Every baby is different and every woman approaches motherhood differently so it goes without saying that some moms don’t need these hacks – they’ve got it together. Pretty sure those moms are also imaginary.

But if you’re not imaginary and you’re very much real, here are five beauty must-haves I’ve discovered make life a little easier.

Makeup Removing Wipes

As a brand new mom my days and nights blurred together for a while so my nightly routine went out the window. Several brands market makeup removing wipes but I prefer Neutrogena. These wipes make it easy to clean your face before you hit the hay for a few hours or when you realize the next morning that you look like you were partying all night when in fact you were just trying to keep your little human being alive.

You’re doing great, by the way. Keep it up.

Tinted Moisturizer

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Of all the time-saving products out there I think tinted moisturizer is genius. Pregnancy did a number on my skin so if I’m meeting up with someone or going to church I still use my separate lotion and foundation but for an every day natural look, this works! The 2-in-1 product is every mother’s best friend.

 

Dry Shampoo

I didn’t think to use dry shampoo until Calvin was almost 3 months old! Let me save you the hassle – do it. Buy it, use it and love the fact that if you don’t manage to shower that day your hair won’t look like a bird’s nest. Unless that’s what you’re going for.

Mascara

Now that your face is clean, skin tone evened out, and your hair is on point it’s time to bust out those lashes! Your eye lashes might feel like the only asset you have left after having a baby. Recovering can be emotionally hard too, so feeling great about the way you look doesn’t always come easily. Mascara is a staple for me because I feel like as long as your hair isn’t insane, your lashes are defined and your baby is still alive — you’re doing pretty darn good for a new mom.

Essie Nail Polish

essieGorgeous nails are the icing on my beauty cake. I realized pretty soon after having Calvin that getting a predictable hour to myself wasn’t going to happen. So I’m crazy about Essie’s Gel Couture nail polish! In 30 minutes you can have fabulous nails that last for 2 weeks! So far I’ve stuck with a neutral color because it goes with whatever I end up wearing that day. If I actually get dressed.

Calvin is 4 months old now and I’m proud to say that most days I take a shower and seldom do I sit there and watch him sleep. He’s great at napping in his crib and I’m great at getting stuff done! Mostly.

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Anyways, if you’re a soon-to-be mom or just became one, CONGRATS!!!!!! it’s the best thing in the world! Get ready to love someone more than you ever thought you could.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself and don’t worry – it gets easier!

 

So that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!