4/29/17

summer bucket list


With warmer months (and a couple of highly anticipated vacations) around the corner, we are prepping for the sunnier days ahead by stocking up on swimsuits, sunnies, hats and of course, plenty of sunscreen. I don't ever want our fun in the sun to be limited by worries of sunburn, so we rely on Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 50 because it is formulated with oat to help lock in moisture and soothe babies' delicate skin, while zinc oxide provides broad spectrum coverage to protect their sweet skin from the sun. Not to mention it is also hypoallergenic, tear-free, non-greasy and proven to be as gentle as water. And most importantly, the kids love it! You can find it at WalMart.



We keep a beach bag hanging by our door in the summer months, ready to quickly head outside at any time. It's stocked with all of the essentials and even though we've dubbed it a "beach bag", it's really for any outdoor activities. We can head out the door to go for a walk, to run through the sprinkler or to chase down the ice cream truck and know that we have everything we need at our fingertips, especially safe and effective protection from the sun.


I'm so excited for sunny summer that I've already started a bucket list for how we would like to spend our summer days this year. It's filled with things like...

sipping lemonade on the front porch swing. walking to the park over and over. walking to the milk house for blue moon ice cream. dining al fresco under string lights on the back patio. watching fireworks on the fourth of july from the nearby country club. lounging in our backyard kiddie pool. watching the kids go crazy with sidewalk chalk. slipping away for a week-long vacation at a lake house. showing the kids how to fish. tons and tons of outside, drippy popsicles. working on our garden and landscaping our new home. visiting the zoo. water balloon fights. tent camping. plenty of backyard picnics. going to baseball games. weekly visits to farmer's market. set up a projector to watch movies in the backyard. catch fireflies. go to the drive-in movies. have plenty of s'mores. gaze at the stars. go hiking. backyard bonfires. and barbecues. go kayaking. go to the county fair. visit the splash pad. and the city pool. go strawberry picking. fly a kite..

We are going to need a lot of sunscreen this summer!




Disclosure: I partnered with Aveeno on this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

4/21/17

earth day


Our house is getting more and more bare as the days go on and we approach our moving day. The living room is almost completely empty, so it echoes. As you can imagine, the kids are LOVING that. Since the majority of their toys and books are already packed, it has been really sweet watching them use their little imaginations and come up with games to occupy their time. So, so many tea parties!

Today the kiddos are dressed in pieces I found on swap.com which is fitting because I am thrilled to be partnering with Swap for their Earth Day campaign! I've always been an avid secondhand shopper because I love a good deal, but also because it helps support our planet and keeps clothes out of our landfills. However, I struggle to find the time to hit up my favorite thrift and consignment stores with two babes in tow, so Swap is the perfect combination of convenience, price and selection for me. 

If you're interested, you can use code 25SPRING for 25% off your order through May 31st. 

Now we're off to the store to let the kids pick out some seeds to plant at the new house!


Disclosure: I partnered with Swap.com on this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

1/14/17

things, lately (er, not)

Well this is funny. Currently I'm laid up in bed, sick with a nasty head cold. Kids are in bed and Brian is out at a work function. I can't even tell you the last time I had a minute to myself like this and since I'm sick and don't feel like doing anything productive really, (ha!) I turned on Netflix and flipped open my laptop. I ended up here and sitting in my drafts is this post that I wrote up back in July and apparently never posted. Whoops. What's even funnier is that all of these things are still perfectly rad so I'm going to share them now... with some updated thoughts too. 


I haven't shared a post like this in forever, but lately I feel like I have stumbled into so many good things, one way or another. I can't help but share the goods! 

one. This Rebalancing Facial Cleanser from basq is like haaaalllleeeelluujjaaahhhh. For real, this stuff is magic. It is so creamy and smooth and gentle my skin just drinks it up. You know you've found the goods when you consistently worry that the company will stop making it. (Psssstttttt, basq never stop). That said, since writing this post I do have to add that I also regularly use Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser and it is THE BOMB DOT COM. Not to be confused with the Balm DotCom although that is equally as rad. Oh and also these are brilliant for lazy nights when washing your face is just too much work or you need a little refresher. Obsessed with them.

two. The Mosaico app and I became tight when VSCO decided to up and change everything. I use it for organizing, laying out and scheduling my Instagram posts. It's handy and simple and just what I was looking for. It was, I think, $5.99 which is more than I typically pay for apps, but has since proven itself worthy. 

three. Podcasts. I know, I know, nothing new here. I've been hooked since Serial. Lately it seems that many, many podcasts are upping their game. I find myself listening any chance I get... at work, always while driving, heck it even makes doing the dishes enjoyable (sort of). What are some of your favorites? I plan to compile a list of mine, but there are a ton so I'll make a new post for that. Promise!

four. Amazon Prime. Do I really need to explain further? I Prime everything.

five. Glossier. So yeah, I already mentioned a couple products above, but I love absolutely everything everything everything Glossier and everything that this company stands for. I swear, I am so not a makeup girl. It's just not my thing to be done up a lot. Enter Glossier. They emphasize enhancing ones natural beauty with simple, effective, quality products and I just could not love them more. This is a bit embarrassing, but I have literally used every single product that they sell. (Whoops). If I was forced to pick a few favorites, they would be the cleanser I mentioned above, Balm Dotcom in Rose, Priming Moisturizer, Boy Brow, Generation G in Like, and Stretch Concealer.

six. Peonies. Because I wrote this in July and everyone loves peonies in July and longs for them in January.

seven. Another thing I don't use a lot of is hair product. Other than a detangler that Lorelai and I both use, this is truly one of the only hair products I own. It's Living Proof's Night Cap Overnight Perfector from their Perfect hair Day line and let me tell you why I love it. I typically shower at night before bed because I wake up very early (seriously 4am) for work and I love the feeling of going to bed with wet hair. But let's get real, I'm also lazy and blowdrying my hair every wash is not for me. This product is like beauty sleep for your hair. It's brilliant!! I swear, a couple pumps of this good stuff and my wet, bed head looks flawless after a quick brush in the morning. This product was invented for me, I swear.

eight. I snagged this hand cream up at Target a while back because it met my must be a thick, non-greasy, cream requirement (i.e., not a vaseline or thin lotion). I know, I know, I'm picky. And also the packaging caught my eye. Loved it and bought it many times after that. Only recently I haven't been able to find it at my local Target anymore. Hope it comes back soon!

nine. I tried this affordable Whole Blends shampoo and conditioner and was very impressed with the quality for the price! I don't think I would use it every single wash for years straight, but as far as drugstore shampoos go, I've never found anything better.

ten. Books books books. Admittedly my reading habit has taken a back seat since kids because LIFE BE CRAZY you guys. But here a few great ones that I got my hands on last year: Loving My Actual Life, State of Wonder, The Girls.

Better late than never! Xxo
Chelsea

10/23/16

at home with framebridge

Hello friends! The seasons are rapidly changing here in the midwest and it is lovely beyond words. The leaves are suddenly glowing in vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange. They blow in the cool breeze and fall to the ground producing that oh-so-enticing crunch beneath our steps. With temps in the fifties almost every day, we have gathered our sweaters, stocking caps, scarves and boots for adventuring outside of the house. And inside we've stacked cozy knit blankets at every corner, strategically placed candles throughout each room and of course you can expect to find a pumpkin or two (or twelve) on every ledge, shelf and counter. It is F A L L. 

As we prepare our home for the cozy, autumn nights before us, beloved photographs and comforting artwork were at the top of our must have list. Admittedly I am not great at printing photos. As you can see from my Instagram there is no shortage of moments captured to go around, but while chasing after two kiddos, working full-time and keeping up with the household, taking the time to mindfully print photos and purchase frames always seems to fall by the wayside. Enter Framebridge.

With the help of the lovely folks at Framebridge, this process could not possibly be simpler. After downloading their app, I carefully chose a few favorites from my Instagram feed and then selected the frame and mat of my choice all right inside of the app. Boom. Done. The next thing I know these gorgeous frames showed up at my doorstep ready and waiting to be hung. And thanks to my sweet husband, I didn't even have to do that part. It doesn't get better than that, am I right?



This photo is a favorite of mine from a particularly dreamy afternoon in our backyard this summer. All of us just hanging around, doing nothing really, but for some reason that afternoon was a memorable one and this photo takes me right back there. I decided to hang it in our bedroom, right by our bed; one of the first things I see in the morning.





This one is just one of the many, many photos I have of my babies loving on each other. It was hard to pick just one; maybe a gallery wall is in my future? 



This was the first photo that I added to my cart, knowing right away that it had to be framed; her first trip to the ocean. This was taken on our last day at the beach in Mexico this summer, when swimsuits were no longer needed and she called the ocean her friend. Even when she wasn't in the water, she way she looked at it and got lost in the waves from afar is something I will never forget. I don't even need to see her face in this photo to know exactly how it looked in that moment, and I think that is one of the reasons that I love it so much. 




I was so impressed with our framed photos that I had big dreams for my favorite art print that I still had rolled up in a tube from months and months ago. I had always meant to get it professionally matted and framed, but it just never made the top of the list. I knew I had to send it to Framebridge. I logged into the app, input the measurements of my art, selected my frame and mat of choice and a few days later I received a prepaid mailer from Framebridge to send my art to them safely! Once they received it, they professionally framed it per my selection and sent it back to me. It is stunning, and happily residing in our living room. Much better than the tube it's been rolled in for months in our storage, don't you think?




Framebridge, you sooooo get me. I think our walls will soon be filled with many more memories worth savoring. If you're in need of some frames, you can use code ALOVELYBEAN15 for 15% off at Framebridge!

5/24/16

the last sink bath


Hi guys!! For this post I have teamed up with Aveeno Baby as part of their #TinyMoments campaign, which I am so thrilled about. As a working mother of two, it truly is the tiny moments that I cherish the most and I have always been an advocate for sharing them. Bath time is one of those moments for me because it forces me to slow down and just enjoy my babies. I have to bathe them no matter how many dishes or piles of laundry are waiting for me elsewhere. And also because is there anything sweeter than a sudsy baby splashing in bubbles and the glorious scent that comes after? I don't think so!


We love to use Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo for both babies and moisturize after with Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion. We love how gentle and nourishing the oat formula is for delicate baby skin.

This week Everett had his last bath in the bathroom sink. All. The. Tears. He has already grown so big and squishy that he no longer fits in the sink. As a mother there is no greater joy than seeing your babies grow and thrive, but oh how I wish that time would just pause for a bit so that I could soak it all in and relish every wet, slippery, sudsy ounce of him.


It's so easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our every day lives and take these moments for granted. So I am thankful for the opportunity to slow down and focus on the tiny, but special, little moments with my babies. Looking back years from now I know that I will be thankful I did. 

Share your #TinyMoments and tag @AveenoUS to show off your #AveenoBaby.

Treasure every moment, tiny and all, friends. Xxo
Chelsea


Disclosure: I partnered with Aveeno® on this post. All opinions are 100% my own.


4/8/16

everett's birth story

As if it were kismet, I went into labor naturally very early on the morning of my scheduled repeat cesarean. Everett was coming... and so was a blizzard. It was Monday, December 28th 2016.


I tossed and turned all night the night before, as I knew I would. 40 weeks pregnant tends to do that to a person, but my scheduled cesarean for 8am the next morning was contributing to my insomnia as well. At about 1am I started cramping, but chalked it up to nerves and tried to force myself back to sleep. By 2am I thought that I might get sick and again just thought that my nerves were just getting to me. It wasn't until nearly 3am that it dawned on me that these "cramps" were still coming and felt an awful lot like something familiar to me. Something my body was remembering from two years ago. These felt like contractions.

^^ my very last bump photos ^^

At this point I gave up on sleep altogether and made my way to the shower. I tried to time the contractions in my head, but easily lost track of my counting while visions of a sweet baby that I would meet in just a few hours flooded my head. By the time I got out of the shower my contractions were noticeably painful and I started my app to start timing them. Brian woke up shortly after and we watched the contractions log fill up pretty quickly... They were only about 7 minutes apart and pretty consistent. What?! Now my mind is spinning and I'm remembering all of the articles I read about how second babies tend to come much faster than your first. And while Lorelai's mind boggling 26 and a half hour labor (only to end with a c-section) gave me the time cushion that should give me some relief, the pain that I was feeling every 7... no, wait 6 minutes now, was not comforting.

Nearing 5am now and I knew that my mom would be arriving at our house around 6am to stay with Lorelai while we checked into the hospital, two hours before my scheduled surgery as instructed. I tried to get myself ready and finish packing last minute things for the hospital, all the while watching my contractions get closer and closer.

My mother arrived about 20 minutes early and thank goodness she did, because at this point I knew that we needed to go. I kissed my sweet girl goodbye and off we went. You could smell the snow in the air even though it had not yet arrived. I remember telling Brian that I could smell it as we drove up our street to the hospital only blocks away, baby squirming in my belly.

Unlike our last hospital check-in when my water leaked all over the lobby floor of the hospital, this one was a little less exciting. Except for the fact that I kept telling the woman checking us in that I was having rather painful contractions and she kept taking her sweet time getting us registered. (Really though, why are these people always so calm and act like nothing gigantic is about to happen to you?! possibly right in front of them!!)

We made it to our room and were hooked up to all of the monitors and my surgery prep began. This is a lot of NOT fun stuff like IVs and catheter's.... bleh. Not fun, not fun, not fun. After telling the nurse just a few times (!!!) that I was in labor she finally checked the monitor printout and said "Oh, yes! You certainly are." And then carried on like it was nothing. Oooooooookkkkkk.

Soon my mom arrived after dropping Lorelai off at daycare and the doctor came in to chat with us briefly before the surgery. We were all set.

Here we go.

They asked me to get up from my bed and walk to the operating room which I found rather strange given that I had a bag full of pee attached to my bladder and hanging by my leg, but whatever. We waddled our way in. And this is the part that I hate. First of all, Brian can’t come in the operating room with me yet at this point and has to wait outside, which I hate. And they have to give me my spinal block.

With Lorelai I had an epidural during my labor and I don’t recall them ever having to do anything else before my cesarean. Though I’m sure they did, it was nothing like this. I had to hunch over on the operating table and sit PERFECTLY still while the anesthesiologist administered my spinal. Keep in mind that I’m still having contractions, okay? Now, at first this wasn’t as bad as the epidural with Lorelai because I was in deep, DEEP labor at that point and sitting still was nearly impossible. But this time I could manage… until he couldn’t get it in correctly. Obviously this is extremely uncomfortable and before I know it my nerves are being poked at with a giant needle forcing my limbs jolt away from my body involuntarily and I let out screams that I didn’t even know were coming from me. The anesthesiologist had an extremely difficult time and after many, many failed attempts finally was successful. I know I’m making this sound just dreadful and it was, seriously. Obviously one hundred and ten thousand percent worth it and I would do it again and not as bad as labor, but still, holy cow… THE PAIN. Brian later told me that while waiting outside of the operating room to be let in, he could not only hear my screams, but saw blood rolling down my back every time the door swung open. I think I cried when he told me that.

Unfortunately from this ordeal, my anxiety was at an all time high. The meds were kicking in now and I couldn’t move the lower portion of my body. I was stuck, paralyzed from the waist down; my legs dead and driving me into the table under their weight. Now I’m not completely naiive, I knew that this was the ultimate goal for a c-section, trust me I don’t want to feel what’s going on while they do their thing. But my panic was getting the better of me after the unnerving experience of getting the spinal inserted. The first five minutes of the surgery were tough. I kept asking Brian to squeeze my hand as I closed my eyes and just waited for that familiar cry, trying to push away the drowning feeling in my chest.

And it came.

Oh boy, did it come.


Everett was born.



I peeked at him briefly before he was whisked away and Brian soon after him as he was examined, weighed and cleaned. 


At this point the anestiologist was able to give me anxiety meds that were not safe until the baby was out and for that I was grateful. But suddenly I’m alone on this table. My baby gone. My hand lying there suddenly empty. Do people talk about how hard this is? Man, this is SO HARD. The emotions, the pain, it is all staggering. I can’t feel my stomach, but I can feel the weight lifted of what was my 8 pounds and 1 ounce baby boy. Brian goes with the baby because that’s what you do as a parent and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I lay on the table for the next 45 minutes while they put me back together because that’s what you do as a parent. But these moments are hard. I thought that maybe it wouldn’t be hard this time because I knew exactly what to expect, but that’s just not true. For me, these moments are harder than the long recovery from surgery. You just birthed a baby, your very own child, that was literally inside of you for ten long months, but you are forced to wait to really even meet them after they are here. All they want is you and all you want is them.


When Brian told me he was a boy my heart exploded. Everett Milo. My headed flooded with memories of things we had said and done throughout my pregnancy, realizing that it was Everett in there all along. While we danced to The National in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin on that simmering hot night, it was Everett kicking to the music. While we chased Lorelai along the hiking trails that warm day in October, it was Everett bouncing along with us all. This realization never seizes to astound me.

Finally, surgery is done and my baby is in my arms!! JOY JOY JOY JOY JOY. I can’t believe how big he is! JOY JOY JOY JOY JOY JOY. He looks so much like Lorelai. ALL THE DAMN JOY.


Gosh, I love this boy.

BOY!

OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE A BOY.

What do I do with a boy?!?!??! (I seriously asked several nurses this question. As the older sibling of two younger sisters and the mother of a baby girl, you can see my hesitation).

My mother meets him and Brian stares at him wildly and we nurse. And he just nurses away.


Soon our family pours in and slowly everyone gets their taste of him. All of that newborn goodness that words cannot possibly describe.

It wasn’t all rainbows, don’t get me wrong. Because I was pretty darn sick from the anesthesia and spent a lot of the day throwing up. But thankfully the super strong drugs were in me from the surgery so it wasn’t too painful on my incision and eventually the side effects faded. We all dozed off and on, myself especially, exhausted from the surgery and the medications.

I remember looking out the window after a while and noticing the raging blizzard outside that began somewhere along the way. I cuddled my sweet little guy and we all just watched him as the snow continued to fall and fall and fall and fall (seriously, it was a huge snowstorm).

Early that evening Lorelai came. This is a moment that I can’t even think about or picture in my head or write in a blog post without crying big, wet, sloppy tears. She saw me and immediately wanted up in the bed. MY GIRL. I held her and I held him and she stared at him with wonder and love and adoration that I have never seen so purely before. She just loved him. One of the best moments of my life.


Soon after this she started to notice all of the IVs and tubes and needles I had on me and was pretty frightened. But that’s ok. We had our moment. Watching her go that night nearly broke me, but I knew she was happy to be visiting grandma & grandpa. My mom told me that as they walked down the hospital hall on their way to the elevator, hand in hand, Lorelai looked up at her and said “baby boy”. And it was the first of many times that she would say that.

^^ one day old, everett milo. this was the first photo that I was able to take of E myself. which might not seem like a big deal to most, but to me that is special. after watching visitors, nurses and family take photos of him, this was the first time that I got to capture how I felt about this tiny little new person in my life. ^^


^^ two days old, everett milo ^^


^^ all bundled in and ready to get discharged ^^


^^ home ^^

And isn’t the rest just history? My recovery was long and the nights were sleepless, but the LOVE. Oh man, we have the love.


1/16/16

our kids (plural)

two kiddos. it's been over two weeks since everett was born and it still feels odd to say kids, as in plural, KIDS. we have TWO CHILDREN. how did that happen?! okay, not how, but it amazes me how quickly everything evolves and changes. it seems like only months ago we became parents for the first time and now here we are, navigating the waters of toddlerhood and that newborn goodness all over again. it is thrilling and terrifying and exhausting and absolutely everything. watching lorelai with her baby brother brings me such joy. immeasurable joy. she kisses him, and checks on him, and asks for him right when she wakes up. she gives him his "binkie" and caresses his head while he drinks his "mama milk". she is so gentle around him and absolutely adores him. her face beams when she is around him. my heart is constantly growing and breaking and melting all at the same time.


i couldn't possibly be more in love.