william: nine months old.

let’s just not even talk about how sad it is that i can’t get these written in a timely manner. it’s just going to embarrass all of us. at least the photo was taken relatively close to the right time….

here is what mister William was like between eight and nine months:

my little baby is walking like a maniac. he started officially walking the day after he turned eight months old, and never slowed down after that. he loves being able to run after his sister, and he loves to get into tight spots where he has to squeeze through. it’s actually really funny to watch him meander his way through his newfound freedom of mobility.

william really started to get teeth this month. it was…less than fun for all of us. sleep got pretty dicey for a while. like, the kids (both of them) weren’t falling asleep until 9:30, and both Mister Man and i were losing our minds. no down time will do that to a person. or married parents of two. yikes.

he also has started to eat like a toddler. he eats more than his sister on a regular basis. he is totally done with purees now, and only will eat what we eat. it’s awesome because of how easy it is, we just cut everything we’re having into tiny pieces, and he gums them and swallows them. he likes steak and chicken and eggs and rice and veggies and fruit and pretty much everything you can think of. we are trying to keep him off dairy for a bit longer, and also are being careful with how much sugar he gets, because we don’t want to mess up his gut and risk eczema developing like it did with amelia (although i feel like that’s really a low chance, i don’t want to be too careful).

[this was during a meal where i realized how expensive feeding these two little monsters is going to be…they devoured their own meals at panera in about ten minutes!]

we have been having so much fun with his little personality. he is learning how to do “so big” and “peekaboo” and is babbling a ton! whenever i think about him starting to talk, it makes me giggle a little, because i have a feeling that, much like his sister, he won’t ever stop and then our house will be forever noisy. but it’s the best kind of noise!

little william: i’m sorry that sometimes your stuff come a little later than your sister’s. i wish i could be better at staying on top of things for your memories. but just know that we could never forget how sweet you are. your first year has been such a joy for all of us.

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my top 5 tips for healthy babies.

it’s easy to get caught up in all the superficial parts of parenting, isn’t it? people fight about feeding and sleeping and carrying and babysitting and all sorts of other made up issues (mommy wars, you can take all the seats). it can be exhausting, especially when all you want is a little friendly advice, emphasis on the friendly, but you’re getting a side of judgement with everything.

i don’t have all the answers, but i know if there is one thing that all parents can agree on in this world where there is so much to disagree on, it has to be that we all want our babies to be as healthy as possible. find me a parent who says otherwise, and i’ll show you a liar. we might all get there differently, but the goal is the same. so today i thought i’d share my top five tips for healthy babies that have been wonderful for us with both kids.

1. regular well-baby visits. this should be a no-brainer, but i’ll say it anyway. take your kids to the doctor regularly. it’s so much easier to stay on schedule than it is to catch up, and sometimes all it takes to make yourself feel better is asking the doctor about that nagging thing you aren’t sure about (is it normal for my kid to not sleep EVER? answer: yes). plus, the better your relationship is with your child’s health care provider, the better you can work together to make sure your child’s health is the best it can be. my kids love their doctor, and because we see her on time and exactly when we should, i know that she is as up to date on my kids health as she can be, and can help me make sure they are where they need to be for all facets of their health.
2. infant probiotics. one thing that many of you may not know is that my daughter has fairly severe eczema. after lots of reading and research and trial and error, and way too many tears (hers and mine), we are pretty sure that the cause of hers was a gut microbiome imbalance. it came on later than most baby eczema does, and was closely related to her starting eat more food. we have tried many different treatments for her, and i’m happy to report that it’s mostly under control, but during this process, we found that some things had more of an impact than others. one of the simplest, yet most impactful treatment was giving her a daily probiotic.
i wish that we had known about this when she was an infant. because it turns out, babies are born with a sterile gut and depend on their moms to pass on b. infantis, a beneficial bacteria, during the birthing process. it’s this initial setup of good gut bacteria that helps fight off potentially bad bacteria as they grow – and this bad bacteria is linked to eczema, allergies, asthma, diabetes and obesity (go figure). the last 100 years have seen a dramatic change in the baby’s gut microbiome and today, 97% of babies no longer receive b. infantis at birth. an it’s not the moms fault, it’s a generational issue that’s attributed to the unintentional consequences of antibiotic use, C-section deliveries and less breastfeeding during the first six months of life. in a survey of moms done by evivo probiotics, they found that while most moms know there’s a connection between breast milk and their baby’s gut, 96% don’t know that 15% of breast milk nutrients are wasted if b. infantis isn’t present (and most likely its not).
ever since our struggles with amelia’s immune system, i’ve been determined to be more thoughtful about gut health. amelia has been taking a daily probiotic for a while now, and it has helped immensely with her eczema. with william, we’re using evivo probiotics, a probiotic naturally intended for the infant gut, and formulated to work with breast milk to promote development of healthy bacteria. evivo is the only probiotic that is clinically proven to restore a baby’s gut microbiome to its original, natural state, transform special carbohydrates found in breast milk to promote the growth of b. infantis, and defend from bad bacteria linked to eczema, allergies, diabetes and obesity. if you’re wondering at all how probiotics can help with infant gut health, visit the evivo site here, and i’m more than happy to share more details about our decision to use probiotics for our babies!

3. lots of cuddles. i mean, twist my arm why don’t you? i’m sure you have seen all the articles out about a study that was recently done that says that holding your baby is actual vital for their health and development. skin to skin contact and frequent holding of babies helps them eat better, decreases their crying, and helps them deal with pain better. it even carries over as they grow up, with the effects of holding babies often showing up in iq levels and social skills 20 years later. so, like you needed an excuse to cuddle that sweet babe even more, but there you go. don’t worry about spoiling them, you’re doing them tons of good!
4. healthy cleaning products. you guys know how i feel about cleaning products. we’re never going to be perfect, but i think we can agree that the more chemicals we can keep out of our kids bodies, the better. like, i’m never going to be able to get Mister Man to give up his scrubbing bubbles (although he did just clean his bathroom using only vinegar and water and essential oil, because he grudgingly said, “i guess we’re doing the natural thing now…”), but i can do my best to decrease the chemicals in my home.
chemicals can mess with your hormones, and your cells, and your immune system, even as adults, so imagine the effect they can have on a child! our parents and grandparents didn’t have nearly as many chemicals around and available to them when they were growing up and raising kids, so it’s something that unfortunately we have to be a lot more thoughtful about.
in case you have no idea where to start, i will be sharing my recipes for natural cleaning supples as i get to them, so here is one for homemade glass cleaner if you missed it. i also share recipes on my natural home instagram page, so give that a look if you’re interested!
5. taking care of yourself. yes. this is SO important. if you can’t take care of yourself and keep yourself healthy, then it’s going to be a heck of a lot harder to keep your little one healthy. as they say on the pre-flight video, put on your own oxygen tank before assisting others. the same concept applies to parenting healthy children. make your health a priority so that you can make your child’s health a priority.
i have talked about self-care for new moms on here before, so go ahead and take a look at that post for some ideas. some quick ideas are: taking a bath or a long shower, lighting a favorite candle or diffusing your favorite scent in the evening, watching a dumb show to give your brain a rest, reading a book if you need some mental stimulation, sitting down to drink a cup of coffee while the tv watches your kids for a half hour. whatever it is that brings you rest and rejuvenation, make time for it. you and your kids will be healthier for it.
what are some ways you keep yourself and/or your family healthy (kids or no kids!)?
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homemade glass cleaner recipe.

hey party people! let’s get crazy today and talk homemade cleaning solutions, shall we?

turns out, a lot of you are very into the idea of natural cleaners. whether it’s because you want to decrease the chemicals in your home, because you prefer to buy cruelty-free products, or even that you just want to save money, there are so many good reasons to start making your own cleaners at home.

my mom has been making homemade cleaning solutions for a really long time, so you’d think that i would do that too. well, let me tell you, it’s taken me until pretty recently to get on board. i used to like the idea of making homemade cleaners, but it just felt like it would take so much time and energy to do, so i decided it wasn’t for me. and then i made my first homemade glass cleaner, and was DUMBFOUNDED that it had taken me so long.

homemade cleaning solutions have so few ingredients, and you probably already have them all in your house already. and i’m not exaggerating when i say that making them takes less time than a run to target.

this glass cleaner is so great because it actually gets the scum off of your windows. the first time i used it on my windows, i could actually see it taking off the residue left behind by the windex that i’ve always used. my windows and mirrors are so clean and i love it! it brings me so much irrational joy!

homemade glass cleaner recipe

  • 1 1/2 C. water (distilled or filtered is best)
  • 1/4 C. white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. rubbing alcohol
  • 10-15 drops citrus essential oils (i used 12 lemon, 3 tangerine)

add all ingredients to a glass or heavy duty plastic spray bottle. shake to combine before using. spray on windows and wipe with a microfiber cloth, paper towel or newspaper. slap a cute label on it if you’re feeling fancy and store in a dark, cool place.

i have recipes for wood floor cleaner, toilet cleaner, and all-purpose cleaner that i’ll be posting over the next few weeks months (i’m nothing if not self-aware). if any of you try making any of these recipes, please let me know in the comments or send me a quick instagram message, i’ll be so interested to hear what you think! also, i know not everyone is familiar with essential oils, so if anyone is curious about anything to do with essential oils and how i have been using them for cleaning and around the house, or if you’re curious about the type of oils i use, please reach out, i love talking about it!

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william: eight months old.

he’s walking. my eight month old is walking. that’s it. that’s the update. don’t have anything else to talk about, and don’t have the time to talk about it because i’m too busy running around after my WALKING EIGHT MONTH OLD because apparently our house is not at all babyproofed. the end.

here is what mister William was like between seven and eight months:

William still loves food. he will eat literally anything you set in front of him, and has started to refuse his purees. so our challenge is now to find solid foods that he can gum. the silver lining of him loving everything is that his typical meal can be steamed peas and carrots, ground turkey, squished beans, applesauce or pears, and every so often we can trick him into eating some rice or oat cereal. we can’t wait for him to start eating eggs and dairy so that he can participate more fully in our meals. boy will that make life about a million times easier!

you know what is really easy already? William, just as a human baby. this boy is seriously just an easygoing guy. he can stay up past his naptime or bedtime if we need him to, and while he has the occasional fussy moment when he’s cutting a tooth or is super tired or hungry, he is almost never out of sorts. people make comments all the time how freely he gives smiles to strangers, and how genuinely happy he is. and we are very thankful that this is how he is, because we needed him as our second child to be this way.

little buddy also loves very deeply. he is obsessed with his dad and sister (i think he loves me too, but he gets bored with me easily). he is in deep love with my parents dog bella, and really dogs in general. anytime he sees a dog walking toward him, he flaps his arms and starts yelling. it’s pretty great to watch. his big thing lately is looking at you and tilting his head all coyly, and making you fall in love with him as well.

so yea, i already touched on the walking thing up there. and while TECHNICALLY, he didn’t officially walk until the day after he turned eight months old, i’m counting it. so i’m too tired to really talk any more about this, because i spend a lot of time running around after two “toddlers” now. sidenote: can an eight month old be a toddler? is a toddler defined by walking, or just by being older than a year? enlighten me.

[this is what he does anytime he gets in his car seat. but dude, i don’t even drive that fast!]

little william: your personality is bursting at the seams these days, and it’s so fun to see you grow into your own little person. time is moving way too fast for me, you are losing more of your baby-ness each day and growing up before my eyes. it’s exciting to watch, but also moving faster than i can handle! i know that with your sweetness, you’ll always stay my baby boy (even though dad is your favorite). thanks for still snuggling with me when you know i need a fix.

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coffee date.

i have been missing this space more and more the longer i’ve been away from it. it’s not that i need this space for any tangible reason – i don’t make money from it, aside from the occasional product freebie – but i feel like it’s one of the only ways that i can channel and share my creative energy in a way that fits my life right now. not to mention all of you wonderful people i know because of this blog. i can’t tell you the amount of times i’m talking to someone in real life, and i reference something that my friend did, only to have to explain that i haven’t actually met said friend in person, i just know them from blogging. and yet some of my internet friends know me better than most people. we text and we comment and we share our day to day lives, and i know if i needed anything, i’d be able to ask any one of them for help. 

i’ve been feeling a little sappy about friendship and stuff lately, so in honor of friends both here and on the internet, i’m doing a long absent virtual coffee date.

if we were having coffee (or tea, you do you) i’d be drinking an americano with sugar free vanilla and a splash of cream. It’s like the caffeine kick of a latte but not as heavy. and also way cheaper. i may be drinking one right now…

i’d start out by asking about your fun summer stuff. any trips planned? do you have way too many weddings? are you able to just chill out? we have a couple cabin trips on the books, and i just got back from a girls weekend in colorado, which was nothing short of miraculous. we have a couple weddings, a record low for us. my brother-in-law is marrying the sweetest girl, i’ve known her since she was in middle school so we have lots of fun events planned for that. both kids are in the wedding (oh my gosh it’s going to be cute), Mister Man is co-best man and i am singing at the ceremony – eep! I can’t wait!

i’m obviously going to talk to you about my tiny little venture of love i started this spring, everything with love co. if you haven’t heard, i started an etsy shop making essential oil diffuser bracelets, keychains and baby accessories. i haven’t had a minute to update the shop or my instagram, but i’ve been selling them to friends, family and people in the community, and just loving it. if you don’t know what a diffuser bracelet is, it’s basically a bracelet that you apply a few drops of essential oil to so you can smell it and benefit from the scent throughout your day. i make leather and faux suede bracelets, and i’ve also branched out into keychains, stroller&crib charms, and pacifier clips. i wear my bracelet every day, and it’s been such a great thing to have in my “more stressful than normal” work environment. it would mean the world to me if you visited the shop or sent me a note if you’d be interested in learning more!

speaking of essential oils, i’ve been on a natural cleaning kick like whoa lately. i’ve been switching out as many cleaning products as i can with homemade versions. my glass cleaner works like a charm, as does my wood floor cleaner. i use the young living thieves cleaner for all purpose cleaning, and although i can’t get Mister Man to give up his scrubbing bubbles for cleaning the shower, i won’t be buying any commercial cleaners anytime soon. i do have a question for all of you. so i have recipes for all these natural cleaners that i use…would you want to see posts on those recipes? i know that not everyone is into the so-called “crunchy” life, but i don’t think you have to be crunchy to want safer, more natural cleaning products, so if there’s interest i’d love to share! i know lots of you love my soup recipes, so maybe you’d love my cleaning recipes too? let me know!

do you ever just sit back and wonder how life can possibly pass by so quickly, and also drag by like it’s not even moving? i’ve started to realize this more and more as our lives fill up with the activities and minutiae that come with being the mom of two growing children. Amelia is starting preschool in the fall, and i must be in denial, because 1) i have no idea when the first day of school is (literally, i have no idea), and 2) i haven’t given any thought to how our schedule will change once that starts, or what she’ll wear (she’s almost grown out of 90% of her clothes), or even entirely how to prep her for this change. basically what i’m saying is that i thought i had a million years before i had to spend time thinking about this stuff, but it turns out i have about a month to do it all. it’s a pretty good analogy for how i live my life. and it maybe explains why i never send out birthday cards…my intentions are good, my execution is so, so bad. also: HOW DO I HAVE A CHILD WHO WILL BE THREE AND GOING TO PRESCHOOL THIS CANNOT BE MY REAL LIFE.

[one day old. this is how old my baby is, and how old she shall always be in my mind.]

thanks for having coffee with me on this muggy, gloomy (at least where i am) friday. i hope you have the best friday ever, and enough coffee to keep you buzzing from the caffeine, but not so much to give you the shakes. i love you and i smooch you.

love, me.

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