Help Plan our Anniversary Trip!

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Our anniversary is in a couple months, and we can’t really do what we did last year, but we still want to do something exciting! So, what I proposed was a tour of Minnesota’s beautiful north shore. But, we need some help deciding what to do and most importantly, where to stay. It’ll be 4 nights and 5 days in May AND oh, we’ll have a baby, so baby travel tips are welcome too.

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I made this super cool graphic to wrap my head about what is available to us up there because there’s so much to do and see.

So, go! What should we do Up North?

Start Again

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I’ve been just, really bad at blogging lately. It’s odd, because I have the time, and the ideas, but I lack motivation. It’s not totally a bad thing, because our nights after Alex goes to sleep are spent together down in the basement, either playing board games, video games or catching up on John Oliver. So it’s been kinda ok. But I miss my blog. I have a small cache of other like-minded blogs I love and read and think Gosh, I gotta get moving. I have stuff I want to say, mood boards I want to make, envy to stir.

But on the darker side of things, I have been suffering big time from depression and anxiety, more than I ever have in my life. It’s paralyzing at times. That takes a lot of energy, and the other energy is taken up by taking care of a baby. I was thinking this morning about why I love reading lifestyle and design blogs so much, and I wonder if it’s for the same reason I love Skyrim… It’s an escape from my own imperfect life. I spend a lot of time making my house look cool, while my own appearance has suffered. But this is the first time in my life where I actually hate being depressed. I hate how much it curbs my enthusiasm and creativity. So, I’m gonna work on this blog, and in the meantime, I have a list of “Spring Resolutions” (because while I love New Year’s, isn’t the brand new promise of SPRING even more rejuvenating??)

resolutions
  • Make Lists!
  • Cook dinner more!
  • Start a garden!
  • Organize the pantry!
  • Write Blogs!
  • Keep a journal!
  • Spend less time on Social Media!
  • Start running again!
  • …Or at least take more walks!

 

(Photos are my wedding bouquet, shot by Matt Lien)

Life with Alex

02110226-3Somehow, improbably, I got more blogging done in the first month of Alex’s life than the subsequent three. It’s become so easy to keep my camera on the dining table so as to have it ready at a moment’s notice, but it seems to mean that I never actually bring it back the 20 feet to my office to load onto my computer.

So, that means that it takes forever to import, wade through the hundreds and hundreds of photos to pick out some good ones, then edit them, export them, and post ’em up on here.

In truth I suppose that it’s a thousand times easier to take a few good photos, immediately transfer them to my phone, and edit and post them on instagram. I can sleep soundly at night knowing my child’s life is at least being broadcast in some way (that’s sarcasm. I’ll never sleep soundly with Trump in office, ha ha ha ha ha.)02110226-802110226-10So anyway, here’s a photo dump from February (most of it anyway) and then I’ll get back to bloggin’ more, because I’m actually thinking of #content all the time. I just never get the motivation to put it all out there.02110226-1202110226-1902110226-2102110226-2202110226-23A few weeks back now, we had alarmingly unseasonably warm weather. 60 degrees (!!!), which I’ll admit it was nice to not have to put socks or a jacket on for a week, but also, come on, that shit is not normal and I can’t tolerate it or anyone who says they prefer it to natural winter weather. UGH. Alan has been taking Alex on walks around a nearby lake for some dad-son time. 02110226-2702110226-3602110226-3902110226-4102110226-6102110226-6202110226-4502110226-49He’s FINALLY playing with everything. His little gym, this activity chair, his bouncy swing,  toys, all of it. It’s been such a relief  to just plop him on the floor or his little chair  and finish my coffee. 02110226-70I don’t post his weekly photos on here, but I thought this was a charming outtake. Alan is a good sport with helping me on these “shoots”, because I take it sooooo seriously. 02110226-4402110226-7302110226-74

Smart Home

smarthome-2I do love the new year. Even though it usually means the end of Christmas — and I LOVE Christmas — it’s a chance for a fresh start. Once we finally (and this year it took longer than usual) put away all the decorations, the house feels open and clean. I’ve been spending a LOT of time in our living room since Alexander was born (we got a FireStick on our TV in the living room which means I basically live on the couch). Anyway. I look around this room all day everyday and I have to say, I’m really in love with it. Alan and I have spent a lot of time making this room hip and modern, with touches of Minneapolis & North Woods flavor. smarthome-14Decorating a home is an evolving process, trying to balance tastes (which can change) and trends (which can definitely change). Recently I’ve really begun to lean in to the house’s natural Mid-Century Modern trappings, which meant embracing gold and darker wood. I’ve spent a lot of years pining after the ultra-modern Swedish look — minimalist, light natural pine, lots of black and white — but we’ve gone in a decidedly more Danish-Modern direction, which is totally cool too.smarthome-15 smarthome-8 smarthome-10 smarthome-1-2 smarthome-17

So, anyway, I’m today offering a little mood board inspired by my own home. mcm

LampClock, Chair, Bowl, PlanterRackFrame

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Couch, Birch, TurntableCandlesticks, Coasters, Throwmcm3

Bowie, Calendar, PaddleRadio (similar), Sideboard, FramePillowBasket

3 Months Out: Our Favorite Products

alex-1Alex is now 3 months! Which most parents will agree is when you’re officially “over the hump.” And yesterday we retired Alex’s beloved little bear suit, which he’s spent roughly 50% of his time on this earth in. It made me think about some of the other products we’ve used the last few months that were truly indispensable. Hopefully this will help some new parents and soon-to-be parents (I mean, technically we’re new parents too).

A few notes off the bat: I might go more in depth in another blog post about sleep, but I found This Article to be like a magic key. Since discovering that we had been missing crucial windows and keeping poor Alex awake way too long at certain times, he’s generally happier, and more predictable, and easier to handle. Happy baby equals happy parents.

I would super recommend getting an extra dock for your car seat (I assume most car seats have a dock), if you’re a two-car family. Our car seat came with a base and we decided to shell out for a second. It’s great because while I’m driving him around in my car during the week, we typically will all go in Alan’s car on the weekend. You don’t need a dock, but it’s super handy to just click-in-click-out.

We use a cloth diapering service, which is awesome because a.) we’re not (totally) contributing to the super wasteful diaper industry. We still keep disposables around because sometimes they’re easier for out-and-about changes, and sometimes we run out of cloths for the week. b.) They make it super easy by delivering fresh diapers every week and taking our dirty ones away, and we barely have to think about it and c.) we don’t have to clean poopy diapers. If you’re interested in cloth diapers (which is hard to get the hang of, I’ll grant you), I wholly recommend a service. After the initial costs, it’s about the same as buying disposables from week-to-week. If you’re in the Twin Cities, we use Do Good Diapers.

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Bear Suit — Since it’s generally not recommended to put babies in a car seat in a snow suit, we leaned heavily on this bear suit. Often it would make him so cozy that I could transfer him from car seat to crib and he would snooze for hours in this. It was snug enough that he wouldn’t jolt himself awake by flailing his arms. Plus, it’s super cute!

Halo Sleep Sack — You’re not supposed to have any loose items in the crib during the whole first year! While we do sometimes skirt this rule (like if he fell asleep while being walked around and we didn’t want to risk waking him back up, so we threw a blanket on him), we almost always have him sleep in a sleep sack, day and night. I would recommend keeping two on hand, like you would an extra pair of jammies or a crib sheet in case there is a middle of the night accident.

Baby Bjorn Bouncer — I would say when Alex isn’t sleeping, 90% of the time he’s in his bouncer. This thing is so good for when I need to use the bathroom, or fix myself a snack, or even longer haul like making dinner. He’s finally at an age too where he’s figured out how to bounce himself. We actually have the Baby Bjorn Bouncer Mini, which I regret, because it’s only rated until 6 months, whereas the regular bouncer is rated for up to 3 years. If I had to do it again I would go straight for the one pictured.

Zutano Booties — Before Alex was born I bought a bunch of baby socks. Super long ones that don’t come off, but they’re a pain in the ass to put on and take off for diaper changes and such. These booties stay on and are super easy. 100% must have.

White Noise — Like the sleep sack, we have white noise on for every sleep. We’ll even get creative and use the hood fan over the stove to help him drift off, or the fan in the bathroom. And I have an app on my phone for it. The white noise is ever present in our house. I like this little machine because it’s super portable, is rechargeable, and clips right to his crib.

Video Monitor — I don’t know how parents coped in the era before video monitors. It’s so helpful to be able to see him, like if he makes a noise, I can see if he is truly awake or if he settled back down on his own. I don’t have to rush into his room at every little peep. It also makes me a little less anxious about having a blanket on him during naps because if it somehow covers his face I’ll know about it (this has never happened). products2

JJ Cole Car Seat Cover— This, in conjunction with the bear suit, eliminates any need for a down suit in the winter (even though I have one, and it ended up being mostly a waste of money so far). This is a nice cheap item that has allowed me to even take long walks in the cold and Alex doesn’t mind at all. The only downside is that sometimes in a warm car, he can get too toasty. Sometimes if he’s been crying in the back, I’ve simply pulled off the car seat cover and he tends to calm down.

UPPABaby Vista Stroller — I LOVE this stroller. Alan and I spent a long time trying to find the best one to buy, and ultimately landed on this one because it felt stylish and sophisticated, while also being super adaptable — it can hold up to three kids through various configurations. As it happens, 3 kids is kind of what we’re aiming for so it’s awesome to know that we’ve got our stroller all picked out for life now. (There’s a new model this year which is way cooler and now I’m annoyed because that hand-stitched leather is hot). Alex has slept in the bassinet every night since he was born. We’re about to move him to a bigger one because he got too long, but it definitely worked for that amount of time.

Flameless Pillar Candles — This was a surprise. We happened to have a few of these just stored away, and we brought them with to the hospital to create a cozy environment when giving birth. They now serve as night lights around our house. They’re especially great for middle-of-the-night feedings. The particular ones we have turn on by giving them a little shake. I can’t remember what kind they are specifically!

Fine Little Day Blankie — My love of this textile is well documented. This is just a cute blanket that has been used at the doctor or in the stroller,  just to name a few instances. Having a few blankets scattered around is actually the most recommended (by me).

Zipper Suits — I don’t get the purpose of baby suits with snaps. My god… The snaps. They’re terribly cumbersome. I don’t like to fuss with separates too much (i.e. a onesie and pants). Little zipper suits are cute and easy. Maybe unsurprisingly, this little grey number from Old Navy is my favorite one. If I had thought about it sooner, I would’ve just bought 10 of them and he’d be set.

Solly Baby Wrap — It took us a while to get the hang of this one – and I’m still struggling to find consistency with it daily – but I will carry Alex in this at least once a day. The product promises “two fewer hours of crying”. Not sure about that, but it has allowed me a chance at a solid morning routine. After he wakes up, gets changed and fed, I will wear him around the house while I make breakfast, and like clockwork, he’s almost always asleep by the time my oatmeal is ready. While it cools down a little, I use the opportunity to transfer him to the crib for his first nap of the day. It’s solid. products3

Boon Drying Rack — I remember seeing one of those lists like “Here Are Some Baby Products You Don’t Really Need” and a baby bottle drying rack was on there. Now that I have one though I’m like WHY? This is just a great easy thing to have for all the pump parts and bottles to sit on. It doesn’t make sense to store that stuff away because it’s almost always needed.

OxiClean — I’ve never used this infamous product until it was recommended to get poop stains out. And it does! I would just make sure you watch the proportions you use, because a lot of stuff gets starchy.

Crib Mobile — I’m using one that was passed to my by my old Art Director at vita.mn. I didn’t realize how much value it would have. I can see on the video monitor, after Alex will wake from a nap, he spends a few good minutes just mesmerized by the little bears hovering around. It’s also a great thing to leave him with some mornings while I’m getting dressed and ready for the day.

Keekaroo Peanut Changing Pad — I miss a little bit the opportunity to have cute changing pad covers, but I also can’t imagine how much washing that creates. The peanut changing pad is great because to clean it I just wipe it down. One downside is that it gets kinda chilly and we have ours right by the window. But no major drama has ensued as a result.

Burt’s Bees Burp Cloths — We have about 15 of these strategically places in different areas of the house. Alex spits up A LOT.

Starbucks — Because what is life without creature comforts? Within the hour of arriving home from the hospital with a day old baby I sent Alan out for coffees… And every day after that for 3 weeks. And what would I do without the Starbucks Drive Thru when I need an excuse to drive Alex around to get him to nap? And better yet, they’re going to hire 10,000 Refugees? Couldn’t ask for more.

 

Whew!

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