love. twu love

Tuesday, February 2

Telling my husband that he's a good dad is the number one compliment that you could possibly give the guy. The top of the top. The creme de la creme. Best. Compliment. Ever. From the second our kids came into this world he proudly and tenderly fell into the life of fatherhood, looking at his new role in the same way that he looked at our babies for the first time: as if it was an actual miracle. Doing this child-rearing thing together has been a study in patience and late nights spent reading parenting books with our phone flashlights. It's also been tag teaming, and we'll-discuss-this-laters/not-in-front-of-the-kids, and heated discussions about the raising of these tiny people with their mighty spirits that we both so passionately want to do right by. And it's actually because of those discussions that I know we're doing alright. Because we both so deeply care and so deeply want to do what's best. It's nice having an equal partner to shoulder that responsibility with and heave it up the giant mountain of toddler-hood. So so nice.

For Valentine's Day this year, I knew that getting him something that would remind him of his favorite people and his favorite job would be the perfect gift. A few weeks ago, I asked him to pick out his favorite pictures of us and send them to me. When he did, I uploaded them to Shutterfly immediately and put together what is prooooobably my best V-day gift to date. Completely one-upped him. Good luck with my gift pal.

To start with, I knew that his VERY OWN World's Greatest Dad mug, would basically be the equivalent of a grand gesture "I love you." I know! The guy's easy to please.
The mug did not disappoint. He could NOT have loved it more. I believe the exact words he used were "awesome" and "so awesome" and "aw man" and also "this is the coolest." I mean, classic World's Greatest Dad mug ... sort of a rite of passage. I ordered this one, which I loved because it was completely customizable. Slapped one of his favorite pictures of him and the kids at the Grand Canyon on it and called it a day. He's so proud of it, it kills me.
With the rest of the pictures, I wanted to do something really big, so I decided to plan a wall collage. I've mentioned before that I'm HORRIBLE at getting our photos to print, and so this was such an ideal way to get his favorites finally into frames and onto the wall.
For the photo Tyson chose of a glorious morning on the beach together, I chose to print it in the Simple Memory Border Art Print, and customized it with a tiny quote just for us. It's so subtle, you barely notice that it's there, unless you're us and know it's there. Which is probably what I love about it the most.
Shutterfly had so many customizable options; made my job easy to arrange and rearrange the photos into exactly the right print and frame pairings. I also loved that I had the option to add to my gallery wall with art and photos from their Art Library, just to shake things up. I HAD to cut myself off on this order, but next time, I'm totally getting this adorable Baby Hedgehog Print for the kids' room. Or, you know ALL of their baby animal prints.
The quality on the print itself was shockinglllyyy amazing. I mean four out of the seven prints were blown up from iphone photos, and I was sort of nervous about it, but you wouldn't even know. The color and clarity was completely pristine. I was over-the-moon thrilled with how everything turned out. And side bonus for me, the framing felt super light, so I could hang my photos without using nails and I wasn't stressed about anything falling at all.
This time, I chose to order their Black and White Bokeh Framed Art Print, and love that it pairs so well with this gallery wall, but would also work well with the other art I have in my home, should I ever get the itch to rearrange.
This photo of Tyson holding Isla the night she was born will kill me until the end of time. It's his very favorite in the whole world, so I wanted it to be perfect. I chose to print it on a Framed Canvas Print and just loved the results. It came in a box frame, which I thought totally moderized the canvas, and also added some diversity to the gallery. When he took it out of the box, his whole face lit up.
Of course, I wanted the photo from when Everett and Isla first met to be one of the largest photos on the wall, so I chose to print it with one of their customizable Photo Gallery Prints and put it in a contemporary frame.
And same went for this one, the last photo I took of my belly before Isla arrived (I'm sensing a theme here, ha!). I was so thrilled with the results. Tyson saw this and immediately requested a third child.
NOT the reaction I was searching for. ;)
And now Tyson has his very own wall of memories that he hand picked himself, to enjoy on his own and also bring up in conversation whenever possible. "You should see these pictures that Syd just ordered, c'mere let me show you." haha! I'm so happy. And I think there's juuuuust enough room to hang my Wife of The Year Award. Happy V-Day my love.
If you'd like, you can see the framing options I ordered here:  
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Right now, you can save up to 50% on everything Valentine's Day over at Shutterfly. Sale ends February 3, with just enough wiggle room to get your goods delivered on time. Cheers and happy V-Day!
This post is sponsored by Shutterfly. Awaken your space with your vision. Shop Shutterfly Home Decor for personalized home accents that are uniquely you.

sleep training, etcetera, and so forth

Monday, February 1

First of all, thank you. It's been making me feel allllll sorts of normal to have received a surge of emails about sleep training since I mentioned it in my post yesterday. This has to be some sort of sick admission about myself, but hearing that you're out there, "exhausted" and "at your wit's end" too has been making me feel all the solidarity warm fuzzy feels. Sending you warm hugs and pounds of chocolate from here. YOU CAN DO IT!

To answer your questions, the method that we used with Isla is from the book, The Sleepeasy Solution - a quick, easy read that feels like it was written by a friend - and it's basically been my bible. I would recommend ordering it immediately. I sleep-trained Everett when he was 9 months-old no sweat, so you would think I would have already known what I was doing. But he was bottle fed for most of his first year and beyond, so I had no idea how to even begin with a breastfed baby, let alone a much older breastfed baby. And speaking about it now, a month and a half out from our sleep-training week, breastfed sleep-training really is a whole other ballgame.

For starters I should just like to say that it actually did go really really well. We saw immediate results on the second night, which was incredibly encouraging. But with Isla, it's also been a more extended period of learning than it was for Everett. Which I think is pretty normal for a breastfed child. For example, our experience with a bottle-fed child, was that he was sleeping through the night for 12 hours straight, no tears at all, on the FOURTH night. I mean, what IS that?? Straight up miracle. With a breast-fed baby, it took about two weeks for me to lay her down and leave the room with absolutely zero tears. Before the two week mark, she'd still cry for about 1-3 minutes immediately after laying her down. But now, it's SUCH smooth sailing, and the best feeling in the world to cuddle her and nurse her and then lay her down and know that she'll drift right off to sleep on her own. 

Everett's sleep-training week was when his beloved Wink first really came into the picture. After that week, Wink was his person. So we decided to do the same for Isla and introduced her to an equally fluffy BlaBla, whom we re-named Winnie. Because we were really feelin' the "W" theme haha. The results have been adorably similar, and it's so fun to peek into her room at night and see her softly breathing, sprawled all over her new friend.  

I would say the largest hurdle for us has been night-weaning. I found the logic behind the training method in the book to be completely sound and it certainly retrained Isla's habit of treating me like a human pacifier 5 times a night (hallelujah!). However, I remember going to a doctor's appointment a few weeks after Isla was born, and the doctor informed me that breastfed babies will always wake up in the middle of the night to feed, until they are completely weaned. Doesn't matter how old they are. That's just how it is, he said. It surprised me at the time, and I don't know if other breastfeeding moms can vouch for this, but I've definitely found this to be true. Most certainly BEFORE we sleep trained, but even still after. The difference though, between the non-sleep-trained waking and the sleep-trained waking is 100% life changing. Still breast-fed Isla, will now fall asleep around 7, and sleep without a peep until 4:30. She'll nurse. And then roll over and go right back to sleep until 7:30 or 8, and on a great day, even 9. And that works for me! At first, I tried to go 100% with the book and completely night wean her, but after many nights of her continuous waking at that hour, I couldn't NOT feed her you know? Going with her natural flow, has made our nights smooth and peaceful and I'm still experiencing a great amount of euphoria over my newly freed-up evening hours.

So anyway. That's been our experience! I'd highly recommend the method to anyone who feels they are in need. I feel like a next-level new person now. Like, Julie Andrews running through the hills next level. Go motherhood! Go sleep! Rah! Rah! Rah! 

my 27th birthday, which was actually a month ago, but who's keeping track

Sunday, January 31

Oh hi! Greetings from a Sunday morning. I know it is rare to be blogging on a non-bloggy day such as Sunday, but I say, when the mood strikes and the morning light hits the computer desk just right, it's better pounce while the gettin' is good. I'm here today to document an absolutely brilliant birthday weekend. Two weeks before I knew this birthday weekend was going to happen, I decided to sleep train sweet, tiny, 17-month-old Isla, whose bald head allows her to easily pass as a 7-month-old that has learned to run prematurely.  It's very fun taking her anywhere. Isla is still breastfeeding. And my goal in sleep training her was not to give that up, but to try out an exercise in self-care. Our routine before sleep training had me tied to the house every evening, on call every hour, with boobs ready to rock should she wake up and need to be nursed back to sleep; still nursing 3 times a night on a good night and 5-6 times a night on a bad one. So. As a birthday gift to myself, I decided to sleep train her, and it was the best choice ever ever EVER. I can't even tell you! I like, might actually be able to blog again now! That is, when I'm not busy reading, napping, catching up on Hulu, taking long uninterrupted showers, watching the Bachelor at my sister's house, and dating my husband. I'm so much NICER now, I have to say.
So back to this brilliant birthday weekend. I turned 27, and the stars aligned and my family came together for an unusually hyped up birthday celebration. My sisters came up for the weekend and bought my movie tickets and dinner, my dad got us a hotel for the night and my mom had chocolate covered strawberries delivered to our room the next morning and bought us breakfast at THE BEST little nook of a place downtown. That night in the hotel, I was telling my sister that I had no idea what was going on and why in the world birthday #27 would negate such a magical celebration out of nowhere. She said it was her theory that they had all finally realized how much a birthday so close to Christmas had sucked and had finally decided to make up for it. And I have to say it did the trick. It totally made up for all those birthdays that my friends could never come to because they were celebrating New Years Eve with their own families. It's hard when you're turning 12 and your life is tragic.

Anyway, shall we?
 Here we are post dinner and movie/post laughing our butts off the entire night.
I went to bed at 3am that night and felt like napping for a year the next day.
 The next morning, we brought our little sunshines to the hotel with us to hang for the day.
 And the aforementioned chocolate covered strawberries before they were demolished by young and old alike...
When it came time to eat, we were idiots and waltzed right into the most popular breakfast place in town on a Saturday morning without a reservation. So we wandered the rainy streets for a bit and killed an hour in a little bookstore.
 It was an hour well spent, we were actually rather glad for it.
 Goldy's was DIVINE. Cozy, friendly and warm with comfort food coming out their ears.
I'm typically a sweet over savory person when it comes to breakfast. But this time I could not resist their savory side. BEST BACON OF MY LIIIIIIIFE.
 After breakfast, we found an alley that served us well for a group shot. Yes, that's a trash bag. Yes, we used a dumpster instead of selfie stick. Because we're WINNERS. Totally.
 Oh yes, and then we went to Lush, just for SNIFFS and giggles. *BA DUM TSSSS*

sleds away!

Wednesday, December 30

First, let us begin with these very important pictures of this chub master in her enhanced state, wearing what Everett likes to call, her blueberry suit. Very reminiscent of A Christmas Story, which is exactly how we like to keep things around here. 

Isla's emotional journey into the day, began first with curiosity, then acceptance, and then full on master of both suit and snow.

 And that was that.

The day was very pretty and very cold and filled to the brim with hot chocolate and family members who took work off to go sledding on the Monday after Christmas, because it was the right thing to do.

 Tyson took Isla on her maiden voyage down the hill.

 And of course they had a mild wipe.

 But then on the second try, they loaded up and sailed smooth as glass straight to the bottom.

 And that is the exact moment when Isla realized that sledding is totally. awesome.

Here we have Isla's less than enthused brother, who is delightfully opposite of her in every way. Everett spent the first portion of the afternoon, contentedly watching the rest of us sled from inside the car. And then after much convincing, much layering, and a few stuffings of those hot hands things in various places, he came out ... so that he could stand next to the fire.

 He's told me that he's "very disappointed" in what snow has to offer.

 So while he warmed himself, we took our mini snow ball down a few more times. 

 I mean it was 20 degrees for pete's sakes, and Isla was all over it like, whatever dude.
Happy little soul.

Gripping the hot hands, sledding in style; a portrait of Everett slowly becoming less disappointed haha

 After a little nudging and encouragement from his cousins, Everett decided to take the plunge. We trudged up 1/4 of the hill and thoroughly enjoyed the ride down. 

 He said that he still doesn't want to go sledding ever again though.

 Tyson thought it would be wildly fun for the two of us to take a turn together and share a tube down the hill. So we did. This is a screen shot from the video that was taken and it does not do the crash justice. Booking my chiropractic appointment tomorrow.

It's really fun living here. Taking the day and caravaning out to the back roads to find the perfect hill. The fire, the piles of snow, the thermoses full of hot chocolate, the family, the sledding, and then after it's all done, peeling off your soggy layers, pressing your hands against the vents in the car and unthawing.

A giant thank you to Vaseline intensive care for saving our buns this time of year. Especially mine. Having small children requires that my gloves are off during a majority of our winter activities, buttoning this, or re-zipping that, and they can get pretty wind-whipped and chapped by the end of the day. My hands soak this stuff up and then actually stay hydrated.
The classics always seem to be the best in the biz, don't they?

This post was sponsored by Vaseline, a company we've used and loved for years.
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