lifestyle

shiny and new: minnesota children’s museum grand reopening.

my sneak peek fun for the grand re-opening of the Minnesota Children’s Museum was brought to you in exchange for a complimentary museum membership. all opinions are my own.

if any of you who read here follow me on instagram (you really should if you aren’t already, i’m much more prolific there when i have small babies than i am here), you will have seen some posts about the excitement that is the re-opening of the minnesota children’s museum. i’ve been lucky enough to get some sneak peek action of the shiny and new museum that is now open after months of being closed for major renovations. i mean, my kids have been lucky too, but i have been especially jacked about all the fun stuff they’ve done.

living in st. paul, we’ve been lucky to have the children’s museum just a 10-minute drive away, which makes it perfect for a spontaneous rainy day activity. we’ve been members thanks to my mother-in-law for over a year now, and i can’t say enough good things about this place. so when i heard they were going to completely revamp and update, i was very excited. and when i was contacted to become a play advocate for the museum as they went through the process, i was over the moon.

one of the fun things we got to do was act as testers for a couple exhibits before the museum was open to sneak peek crowds and the general public. i grabbed a girlfriend and her three girls (she’s a supermom) and the seven of us headed over to the museum on a thursday morning to play!

we were so excited that we’d be getting to check out the sprouts exhibit, which is the area for kids three and under (although big siblings are welcome too), since all of our kids are within that age range. the improvements were amazing. they have water tables, a big jungle gym with activity centers, a baby area with cushy mats for crawling, and the best part: a rest area with a microwave, high chairs, and little tables for when kiddos need to stop for a snack or a feeding.

everything was challenging enough for the older girls, but there were things for the littlest ones to do as well. Amelia especially loved the water tables and the little touch/feel/organize activities in the jungle gym. we would have been able to spend the entire time in sprouts if us moms hadn’t wanted to see a few other areas.

one area we didn’t get to see (and couldn’t make it to any of the sneak peek sessions to see yet) is the backyard, the green space at the museum. they have activity areas that are made to look like abstract animal habitats, with lots of green areas, and even a workspace where kids can dig around and get their hands dirty outside. now, we live in minnesota, so we only get to enjoy this exhibit for part of the year, but i’m so excited that the outdoor area is so interactive. there are some days that just feel like museum days, even when it’s nice out, so to have the ability to get some fresh air and still do some play-learning is amazing.

part of the reason that these updates are so exciting for me is that the museum really took to heart the idea that play is the work of childhood. they have looked at the research and thought of ways to make their play less prescribed and more open-ended. kids these days get eight less hours of play per week than they did 5-7 years ago, so we need all the opportunity to let them play and be kids that we can. and if they can learn and grow while they’re doing it? even better.

if you’re interested in learning more, you can visit the museum’s website to read about “powerful play” and get a play activation kit that includes temporary tattoos, window clings, play tips and more. local friends, use the hashtag #playmoreMN to share your fun play with the rest of the community!

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still here, still squawking, still ridiculous.

i know that this blog has turned into a baby book substitute for my poor second-born child (i’m sorry william, i promise i will get you a real baby book like your sister has), and for that i…well, i don’t know what. do i apologize? i don’t think anyone was made that i went MIA. do i feel bad? kind of, but only for myself for not making my creative outlet more of a focus during this crazy time. i guess i feel like i miss the people who i interact with on this blog, and so maybe that’s it. maybe i just say that i’ve missed you all, whoever you are that come here to read my ridiculous squawking about the important and unimportant goings-on in my head.

i really like that this is a place that i can let my weird sense of dry humor show, and where i can update my faraway friends and loved ones, and where i can showcase my love of good old-fashioned home cooking and strong cocktails. and maybe write a heartfelt essay or two along the way that resonates with a few of you. this blog is not a blog like blogs have become over the past three years. and it won’t ever be that kind of a blog. even if or when i get my editorial calendar back on track, it will never be belong in the shiny, curated part of the internet with everyone else’s stylized (although maybe a little homogenous) stuff. and i hope that might be a tiny reason why people still read my blog…because it’s just me. and if you like me for me, what more could i ask for?

i have a recipe post lined up for next week, and somewhere, way down deep inside of me, there is some inspiration that’s starting to bubble up through the sleep deprivation that is part and parcel of being a working mom of two little ones. so while the baby book posts will still be a big part of how this blog is happening, you’ll start to see more of me sprinkled throughout this space. and i hope you’ll be here for all of it.

[that got weirdly deep, and i didn’t think it would. that’s what happens when you give me a beer and let me type without thinking for a few minutes….]

well let’s give a quick update into what’s happening in my life besides the whole child-rearing gig, shall we?

  • marriage is a whole different ballgame when there are two kids involved, but even through all the adjustments and general mayhem, i’m delighted to report that Mister Man and i are still very happily married. and what’s more, we will have been very happily married for five years as of june 1. in honor of this momentous occasion, we’ve decided to take a rather large, rather fun trip to the united kingdom in the fall, and it has been so much fun planning it out together! this will be our first trip to europe together, and my first time back since just after college, and i could not be more excited to take a trip, just my love and i, all the way across the pond. more on that as it comes together!
  • speaking of different ballgames…postpartum bodies are crazy. i won’t get into details, so as not to scare anyone off from having kids, but let’s just say that after baby number two, the snap back isn’t as snappy as it was with baby number one. i was in a big rut of eating ice cream every night, and dangerously close to the “eff it all” mentality, when i luckily was given the opportunity to do some nutrition and fitness coaching with katie over at belle fitness and nutrition. holy wow you guys. firstly, she is basically superwoman. she runs her own business, solo parents THREE children a lot of the time, and still has the best attitude around. secondly, she just gets how to help people fit good nutrition and fitness into their lives where they are. i don’t even have a gym membership, so she gave me some at home workouts, and they truly work (and i feel like i can make time for them, which is saying something). between her workouts and the nutrition program she works with, i’ve lost actual inches from my body in two months. i’m visibly slimming down, and it doesn’t feel like i’ve turned my life upside down to do it. because i wouldn’t have done it if it was too complicated. what i’m trying to say is, she’s amazing. if you’re in the market for a simple way to work good nutrition and fitness into your life, PLEASE check her out.
  • i’m drinking so much coffee these days you guys. like, i’m wondering when it qualifies as a problem. i’m walking a fine line between enjoying my daily coffee(s) and being fully dependent on them. i’m starting to justify the lattes at work by saying they are part of my daily protein intake, but we all know that it’s the espresso that i’m jonesing for. does anyone have experience in breaking a caffeine addiction while being sleep deprived that doesn’t involve actually giving up all caffeine? i’m not really going to do anything about it, but just in case i find myself getting worse…
  • i don’t know if any of you noticed that i have a second instagram now…in the absence of having the energy to write actual blog posts, i’ve been really into instagram and posting little micro-blog posts there. i’m also very into instagram stories. i mostly tell ridiculous stories about things my kids do to me, and every so often i can be pretty funny if you’re into that sort of thing. ANYWAY. if you read this blog, you’re cool and you already know that i’m halfway crunchy and into cooking from scratch, and natural cleaning products, and just generally being as much like laura ingalls as i can be. but my instagram is also a place where a lot of my irl contacts follow me, and i just find that the engagement for the crunchy stuff wasn’t there. i want people who like that sort of thing to be able to choose to see it and enjoy it if they want to. plus, i started posting a lot about essential oils, and i know that can trigger a lot of people because it’s gotten a bit crazy these days (and essential oil people can be a bit nutty if we’re being honest). so it all went into a separate account. all that being said, if you like that sort of thing (natural home and essential oil and simplified living), go ahead and follow me @withloveathome. also, a lot of people have asked so i’ll say it here: i’m not a big seller of essential oils, but i am a big fan of them, so if you ever have questions, or want me to order you some with my discount, or want to order them yourself, please don’t hesitate to ask.
  • i am an AUNTIE!!! our gorgeous niece, grace, arrived on april 21, and i am so excited to be an aunt i could just scream. it’s the weirdest feeling but there is something so cool about seeing your siblings have kids! Amelia is already obsessed with “baby grace”, and she and William are only six months apart, so i cannot wait to see how their relationship grows as they get older. i love my cousins so much, they are some of my best friends to this day, and i hope for the same for my kids.

thanks for being here and for giving me grace and for loving my silliness through it all. i love you all right back.

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coffee date.

happy “it’s finally getting to be seasonal hot drink weather” season! let me tell you all something, and you can hold me to this; i will never be sick of seasonally appropriate food and beverages. seasonal eating and drinking IS MY JAM. give me all the gin and tonics and rose in the summer, all the pumpkin spice and old fashioneds in the fall, and all the hot cocoa and red wine in the winter (we don’t have spring here really so i have no seasonally appropriate beverages for that one). i don’t get all the hating on the PSL man. just let people live their lives and drink it, and if you don’t like pumpkin things, then get something hazelnut or cinnamon flavored. or don’t. but stop hating on my seasonal drinks!

here’s to a post that’s not about my pregnancy, and instead about catching up with you on all things in the z household. coffee dates are the best. let’s always have them.

coffee date fall

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if we were on a coffee date, i’d obviously be sipping on a hot, lovely latte. probably a pumpkin spice latte with half the pumpkin spice (or vanilla if i’m feeling old-fashioned). like i said, i am pumped up about fall coming. not only is the weather getting cooler, which means i am far less swollen and puffy, but there is also more time for relaxing and getting stuff done around the house, which is perfect for me since i’m pretty obsessed with organizing right now.

fall candles

if we were on a coffee date, i’d be singing praises for the glory that is living near family. our babysitter recently left for a fabulous, open-ended trip around europe, which is awesome, but also left us with a couple months gap in childcare for one day a week. sounds easy to fill, but finding someone for one day a week is tough, then taking a maternity leave right after for four months? not happening. enter my aunt and my mom splitting the weeks to help us out. it’s amazing. my mother-in-law, who regularly takes care of amelia two days a week just told me that she would be happy to take amelia one day a week while i’m on leave to help me take a break. we are never in need of babysitters or people to help us out with our yard work or anything else we might need. i’d highly suggest that if you are ever able to, you live near your family if you get the chance. it’s pretty dang great.

if we were on a coffee date, we’d probably talk about the fact that i’m feeling like a terrible friend. on average, i’ve been responding to texts four days after i get them (which is ridiculous), i’ve been terrible about locking down friend dates, and just in general i’ve been a lump of a human being. i’d want to know that you feel like that sometimes too. because i can’t be the only one who does this from time to time. i mean, if you’re the type of friend who is amazing all the time, then you can tell me about what that’s like too, because i have no idea. and i’d want to learn from you. teach me your ways, or at least tell me that you understand me on some level. that would make me feel better.

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what’s on your mind lately? tell me what’s going on with you over whatever type of coffee date beverage you want. seasonal or not!

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coffee date.

it’s been a hot minute since i’ve had a coffee date with you people. i’ve been a bad friend. summer gets the best of me, what can i say? there’s so much to do that there’s almost too much to do, you know? so i end up not doing anything. is anyone else like that? or is it just terrible me?

so let’s get back into it again, shall we? because i need some coffee. i always need some coffee.

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if we were having coffee, i’d tell you how much i wish i could drink coffee all day long these days. because being pregnant, and not sleeping, and also running around because it’s summer does not make for a rested me. and unrested me wants a coffee IV drip. but pregnant me can’t have a coffee IV drip. so i nurse my morning coffee until noon.

pregnant coffee belly

if we were having coffee, i’d ask you to tell me about any trips you’re planning. you see, because of this whole procreation thing (gross) that Mister Man and i have going on right now, our travel plans are a little lacking. and i know, i know, you can still travel with little kids, and all that fun stuff, and i agree. but i know how i get after i have babies, and even though i wish i had the energy of this lady, i just don’t. so you need to tell me all about your travel plans, from the quickest weekend trip to the most amazing european adventure.

if we were having coffee, i’d probably be weird and ask you to look at my belly when the baby started doing its acrobatics. because you’d either think it was awesome or super creepy and both of those are fine reactions. but seriously, there is an alien inside my belly and i need to share it with people.

if we were having coffee, i’d ask how you were and i’d wait to hear the answer. because i’m trying this new thing where i listen better. a lot of people i know are going through a lot of hard things, and i’ve started to learn that if you just give it a minute, you can help lighten their burden by just listening to their stories. so just know that i’m here to listen to you if you happen to need it.

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let me know what you’d be chatting to me about at our coffee. i promise that i have the time to chat as long as you need. like, until our coffee gets cold. i’m used to cold coffee these days anyway.

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these days with baby zee.

happy friday before a long holiday weekend! aren’t these the best kinds of fridays? i really think they have to be. also, happy first day of july! did you hear me? JULY. what the actual.

i’m writing this in the car on the way to a cabin for the weekend. Amelia just upchucked a little (update: she upchucked twice within the first hour of the drive) so we made a nice little gas station pitstop and now she’s riding in a front-facing car seat for the first time ever. it was very unceremonious. 

and with that fun piece of info, please to enjoy my latest belly photo and fun, necessary facts about this pregnancy. have a fabulous 4th of july everyone! 


how far along: 24 weeks. (i’m on the every month update plan for now but will get more frequent after 32 weeks.)

i’m feeling: honestly pretty great.i have some round ligament pain (for those of you who are like, wtf is that, it basically means the muscles around your pelvis are stretching and it feels like you’ve been kicked in the crotch by someone for a while…every day), but still have great energy and i even golfed 9 holes walking last night!  

total weight gain: 14 pounds. like i said last update, i was at about 12 pounds gained at 24 weeks. so i’m not too far ahead of where i was last time anymore. i’ve definitely been feeling more full these days so that might have something to do with it. 

baby zee’s size: this week, baby is the size of an ear of corn. which is very appropriate for 4th of july weekend! 

this week: i had my 1-hour glucose test…and failed. it’s like the worst dejavu ever. i failed my 1-hour last time too and had to take the 3-hour test and i swear to you, it was more unpleasant than giving birth. so i’m a little salty about the whole thing. i’m pretty confident that i do not have gestational diabetes so it’s that much more annoying. 

maternity clothes: i broke down and grabbed a few dresses during a huge old navy sale and it was so worth it. i spent $75 on four dresses and found the holy grail of maternity dresses in the process. take note: old navy maternity is the best, bar none. 

sleep: still pretty okay. the round ligament pain gets worse when i’m laying down, so that’s no fun, but once i’m asleep, all is well. 

best moment this week: not my appointment…probably watching Amelia play with her baby doll and feeling really awesome about how she’s going to do with another sibling around the house. 

movement: slowly getting stronger and more frequent. baby zee seems to be a jumper or a boxer. lots of jabs this time around. 

food cravings: malts. why? it’s so weird. 

food aversions: i get full after about 8 bites of anything so that’s not cool.  

belly button in or out: it’s basically flat now. 

looking forward to: spending the weekend with the family at the cabin…we might try to get out once more before october but either way i want to enjoy this time together before we grow by a person. 

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