Please Excuse My Silence...

I know it has been quite some time since I posted, and I'd like to ask you to please excuse my silence. I'd like to think I have some good reasons for it, but I guess you can decide that for yourself. My two big excuses reasons for the quiet on the blog are...

1. I started a moms blog with a friend here in Burlington called BurlingtonVT Moms Blog.  This has been such a fun project, but a TON of work to get it up off the ground and running! Shannon and I have loved the experience and the opportunities it is opening up to meet and connect with other mommas in the Burlington area.

2. We are pregnant! The Lord has graciously blessed us with baby #2 due May 9, 2012. We just recently found out that we are having another girl; Maggie Grace. We cannot wait to meet this little one!

These two things have kept me quite busy and distracted. My first trimester was pretty rough with feeling very tired and the nausea. Now that I am in the second trimester things are much better, which I am so grateful for!


Goodbye Summertime

It's about that time. The days are getting shorter, the temperatures are cooling, and the days of summer are slipping away. I've never been someone that loves summer. I think that comes from growing up in Florida, where summers equal sweltering temperatures and perpetually dripping in sweat when you are outdoors for any length of time.
But after moving to cooler climates, I have grown quite fond of summer. It truly is a season that you want to soak in as you mentally prepare for the long months of winter ahead. This summer in Burlington has been wonderful and full of many lovely memories. Here are my top five favorite moments of summer:

1. Thursday nights at Summervale- good music, food, and wide open spaces for Nora to roam and play
2. Our many family bike rides along the Island Line bike path
3. Our visit to Stowe when my parents were here. The gondola ride up Mt. Mansfield was breathtaking!
4. Our trip to Waterbury where we canoed and our hike up to the falls
5. Our countless trips to Battery Park, the beaches, and the waterfront soaking in the beauty of Burlington

As much as I love fall, I will miss you sweet summer. Until next year...


My Favorite Toddler Items

So now that Nora is in the throws of toddlerhood, I feel like I am in the midst of a huge learning curve again (just when I started to feel like I had it all figured out, or at least a handle on things!). I'm going to share a few items that I have found super helpful or love to have around, and I would love to hear from any of you toddler moms out there your must have items.

*Foogo stainless steel straw cup- I found this cup when I was looking for a transition from the bottle. Nora took to the straw really well, so this cup cup was a smooth transition for her. I also love that it is stainless steel so it keeps drinks nice and cold for long periods of time.
Image from Amazon.com

*Kidco Peapod- This is another wonderful invention that can take the place of a pack 'n' play. It is super light weight, folds up into a nice round disc, and can easily fit into a suitcase for traveling. It can be used with an infant and up past toddlerhood. Seriously, get one.
Image from Kidco.com
*Mega Bloks- This is a great toy item for toddlers. Nora loves to put these together, stack them, and take them apart. These can entertain her for quite a long time, so mommy loves them :)
Image from Amazon.com
*Board books- Nora has all kinds of books, but I particularly like the board books. She is in the stage where she wants to constantly be flipping pages, and is not always very gentle, so the board books are great for captain destructo.
We really like books by Sandra Boynton like "Barnyard Dance", "The Goodnight Book", and "Moo, Ba, La La La". I think I've read each of these at least 50 times.
Image from Amazon.com
*Larabars- This is my go to snack for Nora that she can easily eat on her own. They are organic bars with 3 or 4 ingredients and can be found at any grocery store. I love them because you can actually understand the ingredients list and I know she is getting a healthy snack.
Image from Amazon.com
*Puzzles- Nora loves to figure these out, but what she really loves is taking them apart. We have several of the Melissa and Doug wood puzzles as well as some foam puzzles.
Here is a list of some other toys that I have found to be quite entertaining for Nora:
*pots and pans
*any type of ball
*baby dolls
*wood blocks
*containers for stacking
*paper and crayons or colored pencils

And of course there are all those household items that are far more entertaining than most of her toys like shoes, clothes, a broom, empty boxes, the dishwasher, climbing on furniture, etc. And if all else fails, I just turn on some music :)


My Favorite Baby Items

So it has been awhile since we've had a newborn in this house, but we hope to have another one someday and I would love to have a written record of baby products that I loved so I can remember when the times comes. I also hope this list will be a blessing to soon-to-be or new mommas out there. I know everyone has a different opinion of things that are necessary or helpful for their baby, so remember these are just my personal thoughts and experiences.

*Night gowns- These were wonderful for those late night diaper changes where the last thing you want to be doing is fiddling with snaps, zippers, etc. Carters and Gerber both sell some that are reasonably priced.
Image from Carters.com

*Kimono onesies- This style onesie is great because you don't have to pull it over baby's head, which Nora was not a big fan of. I had a few of these and will definitely be getting more if there is a baby no. 2
Image from Target.com

*Swaddle- Now I've heard that not every baby likes this, but Nora LOVED to be swaddled. We got some of the Aden and Anais swaddle blankets at a baby shower (which I loved but will show up elsewhere on the list) but Nora was able to break out of swaddles made with these fairly quickly as she grew in size and strength. That's when I turned to the SwaddleMe. These things are amazing! I was able to use these with Nora until she was about 5 months old, and I could always count on it to soothe Nora when she was fussy and put her to sleep. I used the Kiddopatumus brand and the Summer Infant brand, and both were great. 
Image from Target.com
*Sound Machine- We used our sound machine up until a few months ago, and I found it very helpful in getting Nora to sleep through the night. The machine we used had several different sound options which was nice, since a few of the sounds were kind of weird. We usually stuck with the soothing rain and thunder option :)
This is the sound machine we used from  Dex Sound. Image from Target.com

*Blankie- This is something that she really didn't notice for the first 6 months of her life, but I began putting in her crib from infancy so that she would get used to it and see it as a sleep que. She is now extremely attached to her blankie and loves to cuddle with it as she falls asleep. The blanket below is similar to one I received at a baby shower that was handmade. This is by far the best deal that I've found for a pre-made version. The reason I love this blanket is the size and feel. It is really easy for Nora to carry around and it is super soft to the touch.
Prince Lionheart Silkie Blanket- $10 at Amazon.com

*Pacifier- I know this can be controversial for some, but I loved the paci. I will let you know how much I love it when I get through taking it away from my daughter next month (we decided we would do this at 18 months), but for now I'm sticking to my love :)

*Blanket- For summer time, you can't beat the Aden and Anais blankets made of lightweight muslin. For winter, I had a fleece blanket that I received at a shower that worked well.
Image from Target.com

Baby Items
*Swing- Nora loved the swing, and I loved it because I had a place to put her down when my arms needed a break. She was never really into the bouncy seat, so this was a life saver for me. We had the Fisher Price Cradle and Swing pictured below.
Image from Amazon.com

*Play mat- This was nice for tummy time and as Nora was learning to roll over. I don't know if I would say this is a necessary item and I would say a blanket and some toys would suffice, but it was nice to have the toys hanging overhead for her to look at and grab.
Image from Amazon.com
*Bumbo- Nora loved her bumbo and it was nice to use when she couldn't sit on her own yet. It also helped her continue to develop her neck muscles. Again, not really necessary but nice to have.
Image from Amazon.com
*Exersaucer/Johnny Jump up- We had these two items separately, but next time I think we will go with one like the one pictured below. I'm all about simplicity and I love when you can get multiple uses out of an item.
Image from Amazon.com
*Baby carrier- You can see my post on carriers here. My thoughts are still the same, and I would definitely say this is one item I would not go without. I would take a carrier over all these other products as I found it the most effective at soothing Nora and yet still letting me have my hands free.

*Stroller- I have several strollers, but I love my In-Step Safari Jogging Stroller. It is a great value for the money and is wonderful on city streets and bumpy sidewalks. The downside is that it doesn't fold up very compactly.
Image from www.walmart.com

*Nursing cover- I had a difficult time with nursing, but when I did nurse, I loved having a nursing cover. Next time around I think I will make one so that I can add a little bit of extra fabric so it covers a bit more. 
Hooter Hider at http://www.bebeaulait.com
*MotherLove Nipple Cream- This stuff was awesome. It was definitely helpful those first few weeks when nursing was rather painful.
Image from www.motherlove.com

*Tommy Tippee Bottles- These were newer bottles when Nora was first born but I got them because I liked that they were easy for Nora to grip. I see them a lot more now as they have grown in popularity.
Image from Target.com
*Ella's Kitchen Food Pouches- These were great for when I first started Nora on solid foods. She loved the taste and I loved the variety of nutrients and fruits and veggies she was getting and the fact that everything was organic.
Image from Target.com
*Teether- These were great to have as Nora began teething. I love the all wood maple teething rings that can be purchased from many different places. We got ours from a local shop but you can find them on Amazon or from some stores on Etsy. 

Nora also loved the Razbaby teether. This one was great because it was a paci that she could put in her mouth and continuously chew on. We were also able to put this one in the freezer to cool it down for soothing her gums.

As for toys, I don't include any on this list, because honestly, all baby really needs is you. Whatever you have on hand I'm sure will be fine, as long as you are near to hold them, rock them, kiss them, and snuggle with them.
This is not a comprehensive list, but I hope it is helpful to some of you out there. Tomorrow I will do a post on my favorite toddler items.



One of the things that we asked you all to be praying for was a job for Robin. Well God definitely answered that prayer when he provided a job with boloco. It is a burrito fast casual restaurant that started in Boston. They now have stores in MA, VT, NH and they just opened up in the DC market. Check them out at http://boloco.com/

Robin is the manager of the store on Church St., which is an awesome location as it is in the heart of everything downtown. He loves this job as it has allowed him more freedom to implement ideas and run the store more like a business owner than a manager. Boloco is a great company who cares about their employees and both Robin and I are so grateful that he has a job that he truly enjoys!

Play Time

One of our family's new favorite activities is walking over to Battery Park and letting Nora run loose on their playground. She is at the age now where she is really starting to enjoy it and can't seem to get enough of the slide and swings, although her favorite pastime is still playing in the mulch.

This park is about two blocks away from our house and hosts a lot of concerts and events throughout the summer, so it has been a great spot for us to spend time with new friends. Plus, you can't beat the views!

So here are some recent pictures of Nora playing and enjoying the park.

She has now conquered these stairs by herself.

Being a ham for mommy.

I love this little face.

Although it looks like she has to pee here, this is really just her being excited about getting ready to go down the slide.

She loves this teeter totter, but it's not quite as fun unless daddy is sitting on the other end.

Loving the swing.


Nora's Room Makeover

Before we began renting this townhouse, there were two college aged guys living here. Needless to say, they weren't the cleanliest of the bunch, and somehow Nora's room was the dirtiest. I gave it a good cleaning, but there were so many dirt marks and hole marks in the walls that I knew I needed to do some filling in and painting. It took me a couple months to get around to it but I finally did and love how it turned out!
I turned to Pinterest for some decorating ideas (If you don't already, you can follow me on Pinterest by clicking the Follow Me tab on the right side of my blog) and got to work on actually doing some of the crafts and ideas that I've pinned on my Decorating Inspiration board. Three days later and I'm finally done! Check it out...

So this is the view as you look into the room. 

I found this fabric at Ikea awhile back and fell in love with it. I made these curtains and plan on covering the pillow on the chair above with this same fabric.

That is the name plate that I made before Nora was born. Below is the shadow box that I put together with Nora's footprints from the hospital, wristband, baby hat, and a swatch of her hospital blanket.

This was another idea from Pinterest. I got the wooden plaques from Michaels for $1.50 and the frames from the dollar store. I then spray painted them all this bright green color to match the curtains. I modge podged the pictures onto the wood plaques and filled the frames with free printables I found through Pinterest.

This was also another adapted Pinterest idea. The wire I got from Ikea and the cute ladybug and bumble bee were printables I found online.

It hangs over the crib and turned out even cuter than I was anticipating! I want to get another wire to hang future Nora artwork :)

I got these to rugs on clearance at Lowes and they fit perfectly with the decor!

I love decorating and making this place feel like a home!