Tuesday, July 29, 2014

[Window Shopping] Squeezing in Summer

Just some window shopping as I watch the Bachelorette.  We are going to our In Laws beach house next month for a week and naturally I feel like I need some new threads to pack.  I mean, who likes going on vacation with wash worn and spit up stained clothes?

(the more peer pressure I get in the comments, the more likely my husband will understand this is a need!)

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

It appears I have a color palette in mind for the week!

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Monday, July 28, 2014


This weekend was spectacular.  No huge events, but filled with lots of fun things, and while I wish it wasn't over, it didn't seem to blink by either.  We had fun, were productive, and even fit in a road trip. 

On Friday, the girls and I started our day by all sleeping until 6:30.  Probably sad for the general population, but that's huge around these parts.  We had a playdate with our best little girlfriends (and baby boyfriend) catching butterflies, playing on the swings, and riding the backyard rollercoster that left Ashlynn all pink cheeked and passing out on the car ride home.  That night, we put the girls to bed and had Nany and Pop over to make sure the house didn't burn down while we actually went out on a date. 

It's truly pathetic, and I'll take the blame, but we haven't been out since Kenley was born. Between her not being a fan of a bottle, or people who aren't her mommy, and that we really don't have any family other than Nany and Pop close by to babysit without it being a production, we just haven't done it.  I'll post more about it in Kenley's monthly update later this week, but sleep training worked and my freedom increased amazingly.  Instead of doing a fancier BYO like we probably would, we decided to go to one of our favorite little hole in the wall Thai places.  We rarely get Thai or sushi since when we do go out (with the kids) since we make sure there is something Ashlynn will eat and obviously family friendly.  We couldn't remember the last time we had Thai and were craving it by the time Friday came.  We both licked our plates clean so I'll say it was a win.  No criers or wake ups while we were gone and it was a total success.  Looking forward to getting out more often and starting to look into other reliable sitters in our area.

On Saturday, we woke early ate breakfast and when Kenley went down for her nap I bounced solo to the grocery store.  Something else I rarely do.  It was a quick run, but glorious.  We packed up after she woke up and headed to NJ.  We met up with some of Pete's work friends from when he was just out of school and employed in North Jersey. We haven't seen them since a few weeks before I gave birth to Ashlynn and we got to see their new house and meet their little boy.  Ashlynn had a blast playing in their bounce house, slide, and baby pool.  We didn't pack her bathing suit, so she borrowed Will's and I must say, she rocked the board shorts and rash guard like a beast.  No doubt this child is mine. 

After chowing down on a spread that would put anyone in a food coma we headed back and we had minimal crying on the entire 4 hour commute (there and back).  Got the girls cleaned up and to bed pretty close to bed time and finally got to catch back up on Game of Thrones.  We are still on Season One, so we are trying hard to binge as much as we can. 

On Sunday, Kenley was up pretty early but consider she slept a ton in car I couldn't be too upset.  We had pancakes, vacuumed the house, cleaned the bathrooms, pulled weeds, did a circuit workout in the driveaway while Ashlynn played with glitter chalk and her water table, all before 10 am.  It was maybe the most product morning ever.  We showered and headed to Lowes after Kenley woke up and grabbed a few more things to fix around the house.  Kids had snack, kids took naps, husband worked out and cut the grass, and then we headed to our local outdoor mall and just browsed a couple shops before getting dinner and then ice cream.  It was totally one of those days where we didn't anything huge, but we were so accomplished and the day didn't fly by.  

I wish we had one more day to spend playing together, but back to the grind we go.  It's okay, I'm looking forward to counting down to our beach trip next month.  Less than three weeks to go!
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Inspired by Blair's post on curb appeal earlier this evening, I realized I never shared our landscaping update from earlier this Spring.

Our house is 21 years old and we've been here a year and and half.  Almost everything in this house was original and we are slowly updating everything from the roof to appliances to the overgrown trees and shrubs.

Here is the house from the listing photo Fall 2012.

It's funny that I didn't even notice until we moved in that half of the house was covered by trees!  Probably because we had our showings and walk thrus in Nov/Dec after all the leaves were gone.

A shot from this past winter, pretty much what it looked like the whole season thanks to the Polar Vortex.  We also finally decided on painting the mango colored door white.  I know white isn't the first color people think of for a front door, but we love it!  Our shutters are a purply brown, so it was either buy new shutters or a long ladder so we could paint them all, and paint a traditional door, or pick a color that worked with what we got.  White.  Goes with everything.

This photo (above) was during the landscaping process before they mulched.  We still need to dig up all the random daffodil bulbs that circle nothing in the yard.  We will also re-seed again this Fall hoping to fill in some of the bare spots that are now hidden by crab grass and weeds.

And these shots were from about a month ago.  The random circle area where the giant bush used to be will also be seeded.  I'm excited that next year I can finally add some color with annuals, maybe do a project or two for our porch, and finally have grass that's worth going barefoot on.   Actually if I can my biggest excitement... shrubs for Christmas lights!

Aside from my "pretty" plans above, we still need to have some drainage put in our backyard (it's virtually a swamp from March-May), growing real grass back there, cleaning up our patio, and getting a new grill insert so we can actually cook out.  Yep, you guessed it, our little built in grill is also as old as everything else and if it does work (I can't even remember if it lit during inspection) it's no condition for food that's going in our mouths to be placed upon.  woof. 

Anyone else out there having major outdoor overhauls?

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rub a Dub Dub - Splashin' out of the Tub

To be honest, we haven't really been taking advantage of outdoor time this summer like I had planned.  Last summer when I was pregnant, I was thrilled Ashlynn was going to be more stable walker in summer 2014 and that Kenley would be in that blissful, sitting up but not quite mobile phase.  I was going to plant her on a blanket under the tree and go to town at the water table and running through the sprinkler with Ashlynn.  

Her mobility keeps us indoors, unless I can get that sweet spot of time where she'll be content contained in the stroller.  We finally have made the effort, put on the bathing suit (last year's), and did our two handed splash in.

We bought our Step 2 water table last year, I hope we continue to get use even more use out of it this year and definitely next when I have two pipsqueaks running around.  We have some Target sand toys and I decided to pull out our Boon bath toys to make splashin' around and cooling off a bit more fun.  We all love our ODD DUCKS.  Ashlynn loves the colors and patterns and that they came with names - Slim, Bob, Jane, and Squish.  And I love that they are PVC-free and don't hold any water so they won't grow that black mold that Kenley would inevitably try to suck out.  It makes them the perfect bath and water table toy since we all know water tables, even when wiped down before play, can be a bit gross and I don't really need that going in the baby's mouth -blech.   

And as the pictures depict, Ashlynn loves pouring water.  Her mini watering can and FLEET Stacking Boats are perfect for filling up buckets, giving the ducks a bath, or her toes.   The boats are designed with wide decks for scooping water and drain holes for making it rain.  She had such a blast playing outside with the water, as opposed to chalk and bouncy balls.  Once I figure out, how to keep Kenley happy (baby pool? sandbox? baby swing?) you'll find us out there daily! 


Thank you to BOON for allowing us to review the bath toys mentioned, all the floating, dunking, and washing fun was all our own.  The ODD DUCKS and FLEET Stacking Boats can be purchased at Amazon (ducks, boats) or BuyBuyBaby (ducks, boats).

this post contains affiliate links, thank you for your support

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Closet Clean Out Clearance!

Just a little shop my closet post.  I finally cleaned up the mountain of shoes Ashlynn created and played with for the last five months or so and scanned my inventory of clothing that's been hiding for the last two years.  So much of my clothes is "work" clothes that I know I won't wear again.   Most items are J.Crew, Anthropologie, or Ann Taylor and while not current season, are all in good condition unless otherwise noted.  All brands and sizes are noted and shipping is included in price.

Prices are low not because of poor condition, just because I'm trying to clear out wearable clothing to a closet where they might get some action and not a questionable used clothing bin.

Also, apologies for the color cast from some of the iPhone pics.

Sperry Metallic Gold 'Angelfish' Boat Shoe - Sz 6.5 (women's)
Worn once, no box.  Asking $30 + shipping (retail approx $85) SOLD

Anthropologie Porridge Cotton Sundress/Swim Cover Up (barely worn) - $10 SOLD

Robin Jordan halter dress 
Full Disclosure: purchased at Bloomingdales for >$300 for my college graduation (2006), only worn once.  
Size 2  - $20

LEFT: OC < 3 OC Royal Blue Satin Cocktail Dress, worn once sz 2 - $15
RIGHT: Angie Embroidered Flower Dress cotton sz 0 (runs small, fits lke xs, worn once) $15 

BCBG Max Azria Black Halter Cocktail dress, hi/lo hem, sequined detailing.  Used condition.  Sz 0P

Anthropologie Sparrow Striped Peplum Sweater, lace detail on back - Sz XS (barely worn) $10 SOLD

Banana Republic Slate V-Neck Sweater Sz XS - $10

The Limited Striped Pocket Cardigan 3/4 Sleeves Sz XS - $10

J.Crew Mint Open Weave Cardigan w/ Tortoise Buttons (barely worn) Sz XXS - $10

J.Crew Factory Store Jackie Cardigan (cotton) in peach pebble print sz XS - $10

Banana Republic Sweater Shell, chocolate brown - Sz XS

LEFT: J.Crew Eggplant Silk Ruffle Shell with Peony Detail sz 0 - $10 SOLD
CENTER: J.Crew Rust Ruffle Tank sz XXS - $8
RIGHT: Banana Republic Black l/s stretch top, knot detail at bust sz XS - $10

Ann Taylor Embellished Tee - Sz XSP (fits like a XS) $8

Gap Sexy Boot Maternity Jean - Sz 25Ankle
Barely worn $15 SOLD

TOP: Gap Maternity Supersoft L/S Tee, Hunter Green (barely worn) SZ XS - $8
BOTTOM: Gap Maternity Lightweight Striped Sweater (worn once!) SZ XS - $8 SOLD

Please email EHayes1183@gmail.com for any inquiries or to purchase the item.  US Residents only, willing to ship to Canada for extra shipping.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ashlynn 2.25

As much as I somewhat like being off the hook for taking monthly photos and trying to think of all the new things Ashlynn's done for her updates, I miss being able to track her growth and progress.  I was definitely going to do a two and half year update, but turns out I can't wait.

I would have thought things would have slowed down a bit now that she's two, but it turns out she just keeps chugging along.  I feel like I'm always mentally notating, "oh that's new!" or "she finally got the whole ABCs!"  Anyway, feel free to read my babble about my first born.

Physical Growth:
Not sure her height, and I guess that means we should get our own growth chart since she won't be back for a well visit until she is three.  We did have Kenley's weight checked last week, and Ashlynn hopped on the scale - 25lbs even.

Clothing sizes are all over.  Her 18-24 bathing suits fall off her shoulders and I still have tags on the 2T one I bought back in early spring.  Since she's potty trained and isn't wearing a swim diaper, her 12-18m suits from last summer fit perfect.  She's in 2T for tops and jammies, last year's 12-18m shorts, and 18-24m dresses seem to be just right.  Her size 5 flip flops are looking small and the rest of her shoes are size 6.  Her nikes are size 7, which I thought was huge when we bought them in the spring, but the sales girl insisted it was the right size.  They probably are a bit big, but they don't slip and at least they'll probably last us until the end of the year.

She's currently sprouting one of her two year molars, her bottom right. I've been wondering if that's been the source of the extra whininess, or just being two.  She doesn't seem phased when eating or brushing her teeth, so I don't think it hurts that bad.

She's finally able to jump with two feet.  When we started gymnastics class right at 2 years, she was still doing her funny two step hop, which she still does a lot, but within the last month she finally got the hang of bring both legs up together.

She can also do a forward roll herself and walks on the balance beam without needing to hold hands.  She's able to do bigger kid puzzles with cardboard pieces, but depending on the size needs help solving them.

Potty training - check!

I also think the potty training sparked the interest in dressing herself.  I usually give her options of clothing or still give her something without much protest, but she always wants to put them on herself.  Shoes included and like most toddlers, has a knack for always putting shoes on the wrong feet.

She finally mastered singing the ABCs, it was the one song she never got into repeating (unlike Itsy Bitsy, Twinkle Twinkle, etc), but one day just sang along with her toy and now it's one of her favorites.   She can almost count to 20, there are some misplaced 16s and just "teens" after 15 and before 20.

She loves to announce the traffic lights. "Red, STOP!" and "Green, LET IT GO!" and also any airplanes or flags she see's while we are driving.   She's using words like "and, or, both" correctly and can sequence events "first, then, next".

Favorite Foods:
Watermelon, corn on the cob, pineapple, and popsicles.  Basically summer foods that we haven't been enjoying since last year.  She's also started eating chicken more (not always) and definitely has a pickier streak.  She almost always has cereal for breakfast, with bananas or blueberries "inside", and even mastered slurping her milk.   Lunch is usually yogurt, peanut butter and jelly, or a quesadilla and snacks are always some fruit - banana bites a fav (banana slices topped with a dollop of peanut butter and a raisin), animal crackers or goldfish, "dip" (hummus), and a cheese stick.  Dinner is usually the last favored meal.  Sometimes she'll do great, others it's hit or miss.  I don't really stress about it and if she doesn't touch what I cooked I'll offer a yogurt, peanut butter, or some left over - never another meal.  Usually she's just not hungry.

Smoothies.  Big fan of smoothies.

This wouldn't be a proper "Two Year Old Toddler" update without notes on her attitude.  I still don't classify us in the world of "terrible twos", but we sure have our fair share of trying days.   Usually meltdowns occur when hungry or tired, or the occasional "no, we can't do XYZ".  She's pretty whiny and is really starting to test limits with doing something I've said no to, until she gets punished/disciplined, whatever you want to call it.

As for our method of punishment or discipline, we are still learning what works best, but I think I got it. Time outs are ineffective.  The number one thing she does to limit test is be rough with Penny.  She'll grab her collar, attempt to mount her like a horse - she's a 20lb Boston Terrier, or chase her with a toy that freaks her out... Penny is a scardy cat.  I started with no's and warnings, and then would put her in time out on the steps.  After a few times of this, as soon as I would warn her to stop chasing Penny, etc, she would shout "TIME OUT!" and run to the steps.  Not really effective when she wants to go.  So now I take things away.  The toy she is mocking the dog with or something else she likes and values.  I'll stick them on top of the fridge.  I've also done this with toys she doesn't treat properly, she loves to stand on everything which at this age, she knows better.

When she having a tantrum and crying or just worked up, I'll tell she's allowed to go cry in a certain area - on the step, on the chair, other room, wherever, and when she's done, she can come ask me in her words what it is that she wants.  This works a decent amount, unless she's tired, then she'll just be crying for no real reason.

We are lucky that she never really acts out in the common forms of hitting, kicking, throwing or biting.  There are times where she'll kick toys (laying on her back), I'll tell her that's not how we treat our things and I'll take it if she doesn't stop.  If she wants to kick (needs to work something out, frustration, etc) she can go in an open space and kick her legs there.

Lastly, the biggest adjustment we are experiencing, as expected, is Kenley's mobility.  She still LOVES her sister and now that Kenley crawls and pulls up, she thicks she is sturdy enough to tackle with hugs (she's not), but she always has hit the "mine" phase.  Except instead of saying "MINE!" she run in whatever direction Kenley is headed, collect everything she hold and cry "SISSY TAKE IT!".  I'll explain Kenley is a baby and she doesn't walk, so she can't take anything.  I'll explain she's a baby and learning and just want to learn by looking at and touching the toy and ask if Ashlynn can teach her about whatever it is Kenley shows interest in.

She also will seek attention if the baby is getting to much focus or I'm on the phone or trying to talk to another adult (playdate).

For the most part, she's a great sleeper.  In the last week, she's woken around midnight and slept in our bed - a first, usually our bed was "playtime" only for her.  I think it's her teeth that are waking her, but she refuses to lay back down in her crib, so maybe it's a chance it's a night terror, though she doesn't seem too upset.  She fights going to bed like she's 4.  Delays putting on jammies, will run around her room instead of reading or grab a book and get up and grab another as soon as we start reading.  She'll cry when we say it's time to lay down and then call me back about three times for either another visit to the potty, water (which I stopped allowing), to be tucked back in, or various other random requests.  Thankfully usually once she's out, she's out.  She's been waking earlier since potty training, but we are slowly getting back on track with her going back to her bed and waiting for the clock to turn yellow if she does get up to go potty.

All the other favorite things.  Ashlynn is absolultely loving the swimming pool and swimming this summer.  She's still not a true fish, but definitely is comfortable in the water and learning more - kicking feet, blowing bubbles, and jumping in.  She needs to work on keeping her mouth closed.   She loves gymnastics and still loves the playground even though we haven't gone as often since it's usually too hot.  She enjoys storytime more than ever, sings along with all the songs and will go get her stamp and sticker at the end by herself.

She loves treats. Cake pops, popsicles, and chocolate chips.  Thankfully she doesn't need chocolate chips for using the potty any more, but she does request a treat more night than not, which I can usually barter for her taking X amount more bites of her meal.

She actually really enjoys brushing her teeth.  She went through a phase hating it, but at some point I explained that we brush teeth to make the sparkle and keep them healthy, so now she'll brush and stare at them saying "farkle, farkle!" after she's done.  Proud of her work.  (which we normally help with)

She's really gotten into reading longer story books at bed time.  She loves our Giant Golden Book of Frozen, Richard Scarry, If You Give books, and Fancy Nancy. She likes music and we listen to the Let  It Go pandora station most days.  It's a combo of Disney movie songs and family friendly pop hits (Pink, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, etc).  She can identify almost all the Disney songs they play by what movie it's from and half of them she hasn't even seen! (Pocahontas, Lion King, Mulan).  And she geeks out when Frozen or Tangled songs are played and sings along with most of the words.

Art - she loves painting with a brush, but even more her hands.  We made hand print planters for Mother's Day and now she always want to paint her hand when we paint.  She likes chalk, but isn't the biggest fan of coloring with crayons.  She's hit or miss with play doh, usually only liking it if I add new things like pipe cleaners or something to making it interesting.

She's also finally getting into building with blocks and taking a bigger interest in puzzles.  Two toddler activities she was "meh" about until now.  Still loves dress up, pretend play, and her Fisher Price little people and dolls. She's usually a good helper when cleaning up the toys, especially if the catch is she can watch Mickey when the room is cleaned up (ie, the time I feed Kenley and shower).  She loves Disney Jr and will pretty much watch Mickey, Sofia, Doc, Jake, or Sheriff Callie without any complaints.  She'll occasionally bust out things she's seen, like the time she insisted on a paper straw and empty cup so she could have a "Toby milkshake" (Sheriff Callie).  Hopefully she's learning some of the social skill lessons too, ha.

I've covered a ton and I'm sure I could keep thinking of other, but that's a good update for now, I'm sure there will be a ton of new things at 2.5 years since she is starting preschool in September.  We visited last week and will be again today, getting familiar with the building and teachers so it's not such a freak out when she's dropped off for real.  I'm appreciative the staff allows these transitional visits especially since we were able to check out the school during an Alex's Lemonade event and will be seeing a magic show today.   If you actually read this far, thanks!

Any fun (or not so fun) things your young 2 year olds are doing??

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Monday, July 21, 2014

[Giveaway] Baby Aspen Boutique

I don't know about other mom's with babies in the summer time, but my girl (girls actually) always seem hot and sweaty.  I love adorable and sweet baby outfits, but between the spit up, a gazillion diaper changes, and sticky humidity we spend the major of our time in cotton onesies or rompers, or better yet, in nothing at all!  

Between Ashlynn potty training and living in elastic waist shorts and Kenley having the super power to turn her carseat into her own personal sauna, I try to dress them as cooly as I can.  Which is why I love little baby bloomers and diaper covers - easy and adorable.

When Baby Aspen asked if I'd like to host a giveaway for my readers, I jumped at the chance.  They have the cutest gifts for baby!  I have a baby shower to attend next month and I always like to include a non-registry item in my gift to make it more personal.  Baby Aspen has all those perfect gifts that guests will 'ohh and ahh' over just like these adorable Buzzin' Baby Bloomers and coordinating Butterfly Blanket.

The blanket is so cuddly soft and the bloomers are made a nice sturdy weight cotton, which is appreciated since it holds up well in the wash.  There are so many adorable options Babycakes, Beach Bums, and Dyno-mite.  I also love the cute bath robes, like this squeaky clean mouse and variety of socks (what is it about baby socks?). 

Thank you to Baby Apsen for sponsoring this giveaway, and cute baby tooshes everywhere!

If you'd like to win Buzzin' Bloomers and a Butterfly Blanket from Baby Aspen to spoil your baby or someone else, enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Friday, July 18, 2014

[Recipe Share] Pasta Pie

Earlier this week, I had some ground turkey to cook and didn't want my usual standby of meat sauce or Weelicious' Mexican Meatloaf.   So I flipped through the Weelicious cookbook, probably the only cookbook I've ever used more than one recipe in and keep on the counter, and found Italian Pasta Pie.  I adapted the recipe to fit what we had in the house, and aside from one cheat I wouldn't make the next time, it was really good!

It was a different, yet familiar dish for us and considering eggs and pasta are some of Ashlynn's staples she never refuses. 

Pasta Pie adapted from Weelicious 140 Fast, Fresh, and Easy Recipes

10 large eggs  (I used 7 hoping it'd be enough because 10 sounded ridic, definitely need more)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
2 cups cooked rotini
1/2lb ground turkey, browned 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, 2 tablespoons water and the salt until fluffy. Add the basil and cheese, stir to combine and set aside.
3. In a large oven-safe sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and veggies and sauté for 4 minutes, or until softened.
4. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
5. Stir in the pasta and turkey, and stir until combined.
6. Pour the eggs over the pasta mixture and sprinkle additional cheese on top.
7. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the bottom is set (do not stir).
8. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden on top and cooked through.
9. Slice the pie into wedges and serve.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Got my Fix!

Ok, I don't know what came over me, but I pulled the trigger a few weeks back and signed up for Stitch Fix.  I think it was some wine and the fact the Husband was out with friends and I was just bored on the internet.

I'm usually not into the "subscription service" type sites, I feel some are a rip off like I could pay less to pick up the same items myself or that I just won't like and use what is sent and therefore making the money spend not worth it.  Being a SAHM, I try to be as aware as I can of my discretionary spending since I don't really provide any discretionary income.

However, I love Rent the Runway and have used that service a few times and after reading more about Stitch Fix, I felt it was a bit of the same with being able to return your items.  I filled out my style profile and tried to really emphasize - YOUNG KIDS.  NURSING. WASHABLE MATERIALS.  CASUAL STYLE.  

Of course, I didn't use caps and was more wordy (surprise!) and polite.  But, the theme... don't send me anything fancy that I can't wear around my kids because it won't get worn.  And therefore, sent back.

Overall, I was really pleasantly surprised with my fix.  I only kept two items, but the style of the items were pretty on point - as well as the prices.

The first item was a Collective Concepts blouse.  The look I love, flowly blouse with a simple pattern.  I just wasn't crazy about the fit.  It hit at an awkward place and didn't seem long enough to me and the bracelet sleeves also seemed off.  I wasn't blown away by it, so I sent it back.  I figured it'd be a top I'd like, but never wear.

The second top was this Pomelo geo print blouse.  I loved the fit and length.  It was sheer, but they included a camisole to go with it.  I just kept the one I had on when trying.  There was a unique hardware detail around the collar and cuffs, and the sleeves were puckered at the shoulders.  If it were navy, a shade of blue, or a soft neutral color, I probably would have kept it.  Orange, red, and bright pink are colors I tend to stay away from.  I guess I'm just not that bold.

The third top was this dolman sleeve knit sweater (lightweight) by Market and Spruce.  When I pulled it out I was underwhelmed.  Just another grey sweater... I live in grey tops.  However, when I put it on, the fit and feel was just right.  It's soft, has a great shape, and like I said, fits my style.  I definitely see myself wearing this to playdates, storytime, errand runs etc.  It's easy and comfortable, but it's not workout wear.  I could wear it leggings and running shoes or skinnies and boots.  Versatile and effortless.  And it was the cheapest top included.

Then I got a skirt.  You probably know how I feel about skirts at this point.  I don't wear them.  I own three.  They are for showers, dressier work events (newsflash, I no longer work), and funerals. I thought I clarified in my profile that I wasn't interested in receiving skirts and dresses, but maybe they just wanted to show their range.  Either way, it was a really cute and also by Market and Spruce.  I loved the way they styled it in the brochure they sent with outfit ideas.  I didn't even try it on.  Never going to wear it. Super cute though for someone who does work and actually wears skirts to work, something I never did.

Last, I got bracelet.  I was open to the idea of receiving accessories - statement necklaces, scarves, what have you.  But never thought I's spend the money on something like that when my need is really in updating my wardrobe.  No joke, most of my clothes are from 2009-2011.

Back to the bracelet.  Super cute, Jill Michael beaded stretch bracelet.  Emerald beads with a gold plated bead. Not really something I was going to spend $28 on, but I really liked it.  It's the perfect bracelet to add to a little arm pretty without it looking like cheap jewelry.  It looks nice in person. So I kept it.

Since this was my first "Fix" my $20 styling fee was waived, so the bracelet basically became no doubt worth it.

It wasn't a complete home run, but over all I was happy with the items they sent (aside from the skirt).  I set my shipments to come every other month, so I'll be getting my next box in early September, perfect for updating my Fall wardrobe - last year I was super pregnant and the year before nursing a six month old, so I really could use new clothes!

Are you a Stitch Fix member?  Love it/Hate it?  
Interested in signing up, here is my referral link if so!
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Potty Progress Report

We are almost 4 weeks into potty training and at this point, we've dropped the word "training" and the diapers and pull-ups, too.

I am a little hesitant to write this post, one because I'm afraid it could jinx our accident free streak, but also because I always try to stay cognizant of that line of over sharing.  I truly never thought I'd post about potty training, but in the last few months I was always interested in reading others experiences and that's part of what I love most about blogging.  Connecting with a great group of supportive moms and sharing ideas, experiences, and stories.   At the same time, this is a story and experience I share with Ashlynn and I don't want to put all the details out on the internet for her to be embarrassed later on, because I'd probably die if roles were reversed.

You can read my "potty prep" post here.

Basically, here's what worked and what didn't.  I had planned to do a "modified 3-day method" meaning ditching diapers cold turkey, except I was going to use Pull-Ups at nap and bedtime since we still had issues with waking dry.  I'll quickly say the method I used evolved to sticking with what was working for us and changing what wasn't.

We spent the first day doing a lot of time on the potty.  "Trying" every hour or so.  This was less about forcing her to go, or catching the rare occurrence that it would happen at the time we were there, and more about keeping focus.  She had never gone on the potty prior to this attempt so it really did become the theme of the weekend.  By the second day, I switched to the "Let mommy know if you need to use the potty".  Of course, I still said this fairly frequently as a reminder to her to keep her cues in check, and even still three weeks later I'll occasionally ask if it's been a while and I feel like she may be getting to side tracked by something else.

The first day, the bucket of toys, books, miscellany was great.  I would read a potty book, or let her hold a princess wand.  By the third day, I realized she was spending too much time on the potty.  Not because she was truly trying to go, but because she wanted the novelty of a story or bathroom exclusive toy.  I also kept the little potty downstairs and insight, mainly so I could keep my eyes on Kenley without actually dragging her into the bathroom each non-productive visit.  At this time, all potties were kept in the bathroom and visiting the bathroom became solely for the task of going potty.  The potty is not a chair, we do not sit and play.  We try, if no success, we can try later and leave.  This definitely helped cut back on the trips and I think instilled a better understanding of her false alarms.

By Monday, we were still having problems.  No accidents and she definitely knew the cue of when she needed to go, but it was the fear of going.  I started getting scared that I was traumatizing her and we were headed down a path of a child who would give herself actual physical conditions, yet at this point I knew that diapers or potty it didn't matter, she knew when she needed to go and didn't want to in either.  I called the pediatrician in the morning to get advice and waited for a call back.  By nap, I hadn't heard from them and decided it was over.  We'd try again in a few months, I didn't want her having the stress.  She's only 26m and there was no need to be doing it other than she showed signs of readiness and it was a good time to take the opportunity.  I put everything away.  Everything.

She woke from her nap and insisted on the potty.  I tried to say, it's okay, we'll use diapers, no potty.  Nope.  Wasn't acceptable.  Relunctly, I pulled it out.  I don't think we had success until a bit later, which only frustrated me more that I indeed caused damage in the span for 4 days.  However that night, after daddy put her to bed.  I was called to her room and requested urgently to use the potty.  I let her and she went right away.  She woke a few hours later night, went again, no problem.  Morning, no problem.  The switch turned on.  I don't know if it was the reverse psychology of taking it away, or just that she needed to do it X number of times to get used to it and get over the fear, but ever since number one is a breeze.  The other job was still a bit of production, but the pediatrician didn't show any concern and she's slowly gotten the hang of that and it has gotten much easier now that we built experience.

I had used Pull Ups the first few nights, but after a solid week of waking dry and calling for me when she needs to go, we switched to undies full time.  It's still a learning curve, but she's survived a road trip out of state, multiple outings, pool time, etc.

For my experience, those first five days were some of the hardest days I've had a parent.  Am I doing what's best for my child?  Am I pushing something that doesn't need to be pushed?  Am I'm supportive enough?  I truly feel as if there was no way possible that I could have been a bigger cheerleader and master of patience without losing my temper.  It took a toll on me.  However, seeing her success now and how easy it seems in hindsight, it seems to have made those first few tough days worth it.

That said, I truly have no advice.  I am not a professional potty trainer and every child is unique.  I would support giving it some time to sink in, as in, don't quit the first day if there is some resistence.  Let them have a chance to figure it out, but if it's a battle and progress isn't made, no one is failure.  Just simply it's not time.  I also support the whole, letting accidents happen and not getting upset.  They'll learn pretty fast that they don't like it on their own and don't need the fear or guilt of disappointing their hero of making the mistake.  Ashlynn was also smart enough to refuse drinking water and milk when offered (all.the.time.), but couldn't resist smoothies and popsicles, so use those your advantage!

So yay!  We officially have a "Big Girl"!  Just don't tell her that cribs are for babies, I'm selfishly milking that one a bit longer.

Any tips or tricks that made the task easy for you?  Please share in the comments for readers looking to gain more information!
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