It’s been 3 months since Owen had his lip and tongue tie release procedure done by Dr. Tracy Tran and I wanted to give you an update. I couldn’t be more thrilled and grateful to have the procedure done! Owen was like a completely different baby after his release and I am incredibly grateful to have found Dr. Tran. (I have a Tongue Tie highlights if you want to see more of what we went though)
Getting tongue and lip ties assessed by the right person is something I have become incredibly passionate about and here is why
Bradley had the exact same gassy/fussiness/nursing issues that Owen did. I could tell from day ONE. I listened to him gulping in air as he nursed and I knew something was off. I have four babies to use as a comparison, but as a new mom with Bradley I had no idea. I didn’t find out that Bradley had a tongue tie until he was ten-years-old from his dentist. I went through months and months of sleeping/nursing frustrations with Bradley and never once was he checked for a tongue tie.
I feel like Dr. Tran needs her own post here because she went above and beyond to help both of my boys. I went through three doctors with Owen before I was referred to Dr. Tran. An ENT told me Owen didn’t have a tongue tie, but I knew better. Dr. Tran came right to my home with a mask and gloves on and assessed both Bradley and Owen. She sat with us for well over an hour and explained incredibly clearly both my boys tongue tie assessments and created a plan tailored to their needs.
Dr. Tran now provides telehealth consults of parents outside of California as well!
You can contact her here and book a 1-hour consult for $200. She will go through the entire assessment, show you how to take pictures of the lip and tongue, and will work to find a trusted provider in your area. The chance to have an experienced professional asses your child correctly is so Important
Here is why I think every baby should get checked for a tongue tie
Bradley’s wasn’t caught until he was 10. His tongue tie not only attributed to his nursing and sleeping as a baby, but also sleep apnoea, which has altered his face shape, breathing issues, and his pallet formation. Tongue ties are also related to ADHD and learning disables as they are older because the poor sleep that they get We have at least a full year’s worth of a mixture of denial work, tongue therapy, in addition to a tongue tie release that we are now working on. I felt horrible but I never knew! This is why I want moms to know how important an assessment is and how it isn’t too late to get it fixed because it affects so many things as they get older.
I’m so glad we caught it early with Owen. @drtracytran performed Owen’s release in our home and brought a team of experts with her (all in masks and gloves) that taught me all the recovery stretches and myofunctional therapy exercises I needed to do. Dr. Tran made FOUR additional house calls to follow up after the release to make sure the tie hadn’t reconnected (this can happen very easily if you aren’t adamant about the recovery stretching).
I can’t recommend Dr. Tran enough if you think your baby or child may have a tongue tie. You can find a lot more great information about tongue and lip ties on her instagram: @drtracytran and on her website: https://www.drtracytran.com/
I’ve been so excited to write this post, but I knew it would take a while to get it up. To say life has been crazy would be quite the understatement. We knew March-June of 2020 was going to be BIG and stressful (baby + cross country move…who does that), but sprinkle on a little global pandemic into the mix and I felt like a walking ticking time bomb during my one million quarantine walks.
WHAT A TIME TO BE PREGNANT!
Let me start by saying that the month leading up to Owens birth was one of the hardest months of my life mentally. It was weird because I was happy, but I was also so so so sad/anxious/stressed/you name it. It was hard for me to post on social. I think this might need to be a different post for a later time, but just know I was feeling ALL the feels. I’ve never been more scared to go have a baby than I was with Owen. The pandemic added this THICK layer on top of all the normal worries of “will my baby be healthy? Will this be a safe delivery?” I found myself also thinking “Will Garrett be able to be there for the birth?” “Will I be able to breathe in a mask while I’m giving birth?” It was a lot, let me tell you.
INDUCED VS. DILATING ON MY OWN…
For some reason my body doesn’t like to dilate on its own. I went into labor on my own with Bradley (my first) but I was a week past my due date. I was induced with Cash (Cash birth story here) and Eli (read Eli’s birth story here), and I was really hoping I would go into labor on my own the fourth time around. I tried everything (everything) but ultimately I was induced a few days after my due date. I think back on the days right before I had him and the days right after I had him and they are like black and white. Once he was here safely I felt like I could breathe. I was calm and in heaven.
ONE TIP FOR MY EXPECTING MOMMA FRIENDS!
I wrote down the whole birth process while I was still in the hospital. If I could give expecting mommas out there some advice it would be to write down your birth story while you are in the hospital! Life seems to stand still in the hospital. I knew the second I walked into my home with Owen it would be like stepping onto a moving treadmill and I would never take the time to write down his birth story. So here is what I wrote sitting in the hospital room just a few short hours after giving birth to our sweet Owen…
We left for the hospital at 8 am on Wed morning May 15th. Eli was in our bed when we woke up and I woke him up to say goodbye and he smiled and hugged me and said “I’m excited for the baby mom. Thanks for having a baby.”
The hospital was pretty empty. We made sure we had our masks on. Still crazy that we needed to wear them. They started me on pitocin around 10 am. When the nurse checked me I was dilated to a 3 (I was a 2 on Tuesday at my last appointment). I usually hate the IV part, but I was feeling really calm and relaxed and it all went so well. I guessed that the baby would come at 8pm, Garrett thought around 6pm. Either way I knew it would be a long day.
WHAT IT WAS LIKE IN THE HOSPITAL WITH JUST GARRETT
My mom and one of Garrett’s sisters have always been in the room with us for our other births and we loved the company, but it was actually really nice having just the 2 of us in the room. We didn’t watch TV really, we just talked and relaxed. It was so quiet. I know there were other moms in L&D but we really felt like we were the only ones and it felt really special.
I FELT A LITTLE MORE BRAVE THIS TIME AROUND
I started to feel contractions after about an hour. Honestly, they didn’t hurt as bad as I had remembered them hurting with Eli. Usually I want to get pitocin and then my epidural right away so that I don’t have to feel a contraction, but this time I knew it would take a while, so I decided to wait a bit on the epidural. I felt a few strong contractions about 12 minutes apart for a while. They were strong but I could mostly still talk through them. It feels like a really intense and condensed period cramp, my stomach tightens up. Garrett would check my chart monitoring my contractions and I was having lots of little ones that I wasn’t even really feeling. Around 1 my nurse checked me and I had dilated to a 4. She kept upping my pitocin to really get my body going. At about 2 I was really starting to feel them and it was harder to talk through a contraction. My nurse came into the room and said that she thought I should go ahead and get the epidural because the anesthesiologist might be needed in a C section for the next hour. I am so glad she pushed for that! The anesthesiologist rushed in and it turns out he had 30 minutes to give me my epidural before he was needed in the emergency C section. If I hadn’t have had it then there is a good chance I would have had Owen before I could get an epidural! My worst nightmare!
They made Garrett leave the room for the epidural. He has been in the room all the other times so it was kind of a bummer he had to leave. I know there are lots of complications that could happen when getting an epidural. Bradley’s took about 45 minutes and was stressful and I was praying for it to go smoothly! The anesthesiologist was quick and precise and it went so well. I just squeezed my hands into fists and breathed in through my nose and out my mouth and counted slowly backwards from 20. The epidural went in easily and they laid me on my back so that the epidural went evenly through both sides of my body. I started to feel my legs get warm and tingly and I knew the epidural was working! Yay! They put in my catheter and called Garrett back into the room.
After my epidural I was feeling really good. My nurse checked me and I was dilated to a 4. I’ve never really been able to take a nap before giving birth (just uncomfortable in the bed and the IV poking into my arm), but I was able to sleep! I slept for about an hour and it was wonderful.
Around 4 the nurse came in and checked me again and I was dilated to a 7! I had shot up there fast! We relaxed for about another 30 minutes and then my nurse and one other nurse came in quickly and had me flip to the side because the baby’s heart rate was dropping. The baby was starting to descend and I went from an 8 to a 9 WHILE she was checking me! They called the doctor and Garrett and I looked at eachother like “Oh my gosh this is happening!!”
They had the room prepped for delivery within a few minutes. They scooted me down to where my bum was close to the edge of the bed. The Dr. came into the room. I thought she would be in a full hazmat suit, but she was in scrubs with a mask and a clear face shield. The funny thing is that I could see the reflection in her face shield, so I made sure not to look at it as I started to push or else I would see everything if I wasn’t careful! (ew. No thank you.)
I dilated to a 10 quickly and they put my legs up in the stirrups and had me start pushing at 4:40. My Dr. was so good. She told me the best way to push- to pull my legs up and contract my stomach like I’m doing a pushup, pushing my abs together. I couldn’t feel a single contraction and having that direction of exactly how to push. Usually they tell you to push like you are having a bowel movement, but that just ends up putting too much pressure too low. The ab contracting helps push the baby down.
HOW I GOT TO HELP WITH OWEN’S DELIVERY..
After about 10 minutes of pushing they told me one more push and the baby would be out! I was almost fully seated as I pushed pulling up my legs, so I could see the little head as she was pulling the baby out! The Dr. pulled the head and shoulders and arms out, then she asked me if I wanted to help pull the baby out! I did that with Eli and it was amazing (read Eli’s birth story here), and I asked my Dr. beforehand if I could pull the baby out. So I got to reach over and help pull the baby out of me! It was a BOY! I put him on a blanket on my chest and they wiped him down a bit and I had requested to do skin to skin contact right away. Garrett said “he looks like our boys!”
When they laid him on me he was crying and I was just overwhelmed with emotions and love. I never really cried with any of my other boys but I think there was something about it being just Garrett and I, and a fourth boy, and I just held him and got emotional. I was just so so grateful. He smelled delicious! He cried for a while on my chest and was making sucking sounds right away. After just a few minutes I tried nursing him and he latched on so well I couldn’t believe it! He has the strongest suck and most immediate out of all of my boys.
After finding out it was our fourth boy, our angel nurse looked at me and said “I’m the right nurse for you. I have four boys. Then I had a grandson, and another grandson, and then another grandson!” It was seriously a tender mercy. She told me how close her and her boys were, that they facetime every Sunday and that they pampered her for Mother’s Day. It really made me feel so good.
Holding Owen skin to skin for the first hour was amazing. I just felt so overwhelmed with love for him. It was the feeling that I was hoping to have and I’m so glad I got that special bond. He is so sooo cute. He looks just like our Barlow boys and I feel like I already know him. He is so awake and alert! He said awake from 4:50pm till about 1 am!
And that’s it! I do still want to write about our experience bringing him home and having the boys meet him there vs. them being able to come into the hospital. Again- I wrote all this down while we were still in the hospital and I’m so so happy I did. Those very first few days with Owen were such a treasure and I love being able to look back on this experience!
I mailed off our Christmas cards yesterday and it felt so good to get that checked off my list. I’m really feeling a pop of red this year (which is a little unusual for me) so I decided to run with it for our Christmas cards. I fell in love with this dress from my holiday dresses post (which is unfortunately sold out), and tailored the boys outfits around a red/black/grey/tartan theme. The best part for the boys outfits is that I literally laid down before my 26 minute nap one day and ordered them on my phone from my Target app. I narrowed it down to what was in stock in my local target, selected all my kids sizes and it was ready for my to drive up and pick up 2 hours later.
– SHOP THE POST –
I made our holiday cards this year with Minted. I’ve trusted them for multiple years with our cards and they offer such classy and chic designs on high quality paper. They just announced that they extended their Cyber Monday sale through today, so you can still get 25% off your holiday cars (with code: CM2019)and free shipping. There is still plenty of time to get your cards mailed out!
So our holiday card was extra special this year. Not only are we having a new baby, but we have another really big change happening that we have been keeping quiet over the last few months….
We are building a house!! I’m being totally honest…I never ever thought I would say those words. Living in California has kind of made me immune to that idea. But the other half of this announcement is that we aren’t building a house in California. We are building a house in Charlottesville, Virginia! If you can’t believe that, I am right there with you! I can’t believe it either!
I knew there was going to need to be a move..
For the past year or so I’ve known that Pasadena isn’t going to be our forever home. It breaks my heart a bit because we love it here. However there are just some factors to city living that make it a little tricky to raise a growing family. I had no idea where we would purchase our first home though. We always figured it would be somewhere in Southern California, so we’ve kept our eyes peeled (and Realtor.com apps open). We’ve driven to cities that we thought might be a good fit, but we never got that feeling like we were where our family was supposed to be.
A little over a year ago, Garrett started working with a firm in Charlottesville. He visited the firm last year and couldn’t stop talking about how amazing Charlottesville was. I just rolled my eyes and told him to keep dreaming. There was no way I was moving across the country.
For months and months I prayed about where our family needed to be, and one day I decided that I needed to see Charlottesville for myself. Garrett was already heading out there for work so I told him if we were really serious about finding the right place for our family that I needed to give Charlottesville a true chance. I treated the trip as if we were going to move there. I knew I would have one shot to take in the city and see if this was actually something worth considering.
While we were there we toured the elementary schools, met with a realtor, checked out the city, went to church, etc. And almost the whole trip there I walked around with a lump in my throat. I just kept thinking “the boys would love it here”. I felt it deep in my bones. Charlottesville is beautiful. It’s a really great mixture of land and trees with a cute city charm. There is a downtown area that we fell in love with and I love that there is a University in town. It’s close to DC, New York, South Carolina, DISNEY WORLD…so many new places we can explore.
The actual sign..
Our realtor showed us a newer development where they are building homes and we drove around some of the lots. We pulled up to a lot in a cul de sac situated in the same location that our current home is in our current cul de sac. I looked at the street sign, and the street name was the exact same street name as our current street name. I mean…I’ve been praying for a sign, but this couldn’t have been a clearer answer!
As we flew home I kept quietly wiping away tears. They were mostly happy tears but also freak out tears. How do we tell the boys? How do we tell our family? Are we crazy? But anytime I thought about not moving and staying in California, my mind went blank and I felt fear and panic well up in my chest. It was like I couldn’t see the kind of future I envision for my family here. And I could vividly picture what life would be like for my family in Charlottesville.
After a few more weeks of trying to process everything, we decided that Charlottesville is the right place for our new home. It still doesn’t feel real, and probably won’t for some time! I will have the baby here in California in May and sometime in July make the big move! So until then I have lots of planning and designing and I am so excited. I’ve been working on plans and colors and designs for the new house and I’m really excited for a place I can make 100% my own! I can’t wait to share this crazy process with you all!
Ahhh! I’m pregnant! I’ve been so happy and so excited and dying to share this news with all you girls with what feels like forever. It’s such a weird thing to try and live my life a certain way on social while hiding such big news! I’m so not used to that, and it’s felt weird not being able to be so open (especially on stories) with you!
I wanted to write a more candid post about this pregnancy filling you in on lots of details. There has been kind of a lot going on behind the scenes and so much to say with this pregnancy. So here it goes…
Was this pregnancy planned?
Yes! I always hoped that Eli wouldn’t be my last baby, and I knew we wanted more, but I was also very slow and mindful about when the right timing would be. We started having kids really early on, so I wasn’t in any rush with baby number four. Also..there is something really magical about Eli and I just wanted to soak up his littleness as much as possible! Things shift when a new baby comes along (in many great ways!) but that baby you once had is all of a sudden so much bigger than your new baby and I just wanted all the baby time with him. I also wanted to be at a slower paced place, not so many big projects, not so rushed. So we were very methodical and prayerful about the timing of this pregnancy and just so very grateful and happy that we have a new baby coming.
How far along? Due Date?
I am 14 weeks along, and due mid May. I’ve never had a spring baby and I’m just so excited to experience a baby in the spring! Also…to not be a hot sweaty mess at 9 months pregnant in August (*cough Bradley, *cough Eli).
Are you finding out the gender?
We are not finding out the gender. Crazy huh?! This one might need it’s own blog post sometime, but long story short – I feel really strongly that I want the focus of this pregnancy to be about the health of the baby and excitement for a new addition. I haven’t had great experiences finding out the gender of my babies in the past (or with comments from strangers around me…anyone remember this post?) so I feel really happy and content about not finding out. I’m going to be obsessed with this baby no matter what the gender!
<Eli is SO excited to be a big brother! When we told him we were having a baby he said “I need to be a strong big brother!” and dropped to the ground and started doing push-ups>
How have you been feeling?
This is a bit of a loaded subject. I’ve been feeling pretty dang good. I didn’t even notice that big of a drop in energy the first few weeks. I definitely relied on my 26 minute nap every single day, but I was already taking them 3-4x a week. I still had great energy in the mornings. I was exercising 5-6 times a week, runnings 3 days, strength training 2-3 days, and I was so grateful! Working out had become such a mentally healthy time for me. It was when I got the most inspiration and the most energy. I was in a groove and so happy I was able to keep it up while pregnant.
I have been getting nauseous at night. I got a little nauseous with Cash at night, and super nauseous with Eli. I had zero sickness at all with Bradley. When I get nauseous my mouth starts salivating a ton and it’s like my body pretends it’s going to throw up, but I never actually do. The extra saliva is so gross!
I only threw up once with Cash on the side of the road and that’s it. I don’t start getting nauseous now until closer to 10pm now (thank goodness) but it used to kick in around 5pm and I would just fling Costco pizzas at the boys, tell them all their homework was probably correct, and countdown the minutes to bedtime. I wore sea bands on my wrists that I thiiiink helped (maybe it was a placebo effect…don’t know don’t care). I did a dang good job of eating healthy all day until I started feeling sick and then I would have Garrett run to the taco truck around the corner to get me 5 more street tacos even though I had 3 of them for dinner. Then I would sit in my bed at 11 pm crying eating street tacos because I felt like stuffing food down me was the only way to make the nausea stop.
Which makes me feel like I need to write more about food…
I haven’t had too many cravings. The aftertaste of candy or sugar makes me so sick (but hasn’t stopped me from eating the boy’s Halloween candy). I made a special trip to the grocery store to buy 15 cent Top Ramen for lunch one day because it sounded amazing, and it was.
One time I saw this butter lettuce and tomato salad on someone’s insta stories and it made me salivate so much I had to go to Trader Joes and make my own every day for lunch for a week straight.
I’ve been strangely obsessed with eggs. I eat 2 fried eggs every morning and they are so good. I also have a bag of saltines on my nightstand. One of my favorite late night snacks is saltines with cream cheese spread on top and Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute sprinkled on top (most underrated TJ’s seasoning IMO…better than Everything But The Bagel). Try it!
I do also live and die for bubbly water. I’ve been pouring myself a glass of Perrier with ½ a squeezed lime every night and it really helps my nausea.
The not so great part…
This pregnancy was going so well and so wonderful, except a few weeks ago I had a little bit of a scare. I started bleeding a little bit and panicked because that hadn’t happened at all with any of my other pregnancies. I called my Dr. and she told me to lay down and let her know if there was more. I stood up after about an hour and there was a huge gush of blood (no other way to describe it! Sorry if this is TMI) My Dr. told me to rush to the ER right away. At the ER they checked on the baby and the baby was totally fine, but I had a good size subchorionic hemorrhage along my uterus wall. The size of it was a big concern with my Dr. She said if it got any bigger it could cause the placenta to detach, resulting in a miscarriage. So I was put on strict bed rest for 7-10 days. She also said after bedrest I wouldn’t be able to exercise until the end of my second trimester, and then only short walks.
It was a very scary time for all of us, but we prayed a ton and Garrett and I always felt like things were going to be okay. Throughout this whole pregnancy I’ve said that the baby’s heath is my #1 concern. Bed rest was not one single iota of fun. I would literally wake up in the morning, stand to brush my teeth, wash my face, use the restroom, and then lay back in bed….until bedtime. I was totally down to do anything to keep the baby safe…but I did start going a little stir crazy. One time I watched a spider crawl all the way up our ceiling and drop down onto the bed next to me. That was the most excitement I had in TEN days.
But I have a class act husband and the world’s greatest friends. So many people stepped in to help. Garrett was an absolute hero – making lunches, driving to school, piano, scouts, soccer, football, laundry, bedtime, EVERYTHING. Members of my church brought me dinner and my sweet friends watched my kids, cleaned my kitchen, gave my kids rides, etc. The boys were so kind and understanding. They always came home from school and made sure I was laying down with my feet propped.
I did get some really great quality time with Eli. When he was home with me he would bring me books to read to him. And let’s be honest, we also watched freaking Coco for 5 days in a row and it was amazing.
How is the baby now?
After my last Dr’s appointment we are feeling so much happier and confident! The hemorrhage has diminished in size, my uterus and the baby are bigger now and the placenta is really well attached. The Dr. was very happy about what she saw and said as long as I still take things easy, everything should be just fine.
So now I’m going up and down the stairs slowly and trying not to stand too long at a time. I have to be honest…I’m pretty bummed I can’t exercise like I was before. The thought of getting out of the groove for so long and having to get back into it in 6-7 months later is really hard for me to wrap my head around. But I can do it. It’s going to be a mind over matter thing and all I really want is a healthy baby. I’m finally feeling good and confident that this will be a great pregnancy and it finally felt like the right time to share it with you all!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your excitement and love! It’s been hard keeping this from you girls but now I’m excited to share more with you!!
HOW I PROMOTE A SPIRIT OF GIVING WITH MY KIDS DURING THE HOLIDAY
I asked Cash what he wanted most for Christmas last night as I was tucking him in bed. He said, “I just want for everyone to be happy and that we can all remember the true meaning of Christmas.” To which I responded, “I was thinking more along the lines of a toy…Santa really needs a final answer on this one”. I joke, I joke! I was blown away at such a candid and sincere response from a six year old.
As much as I love the presents and sweets and candy, I want to make sure my kids growing up remembering how they GAVE during the holidays more than what they GOT.
A few things we have been trying to incorporate in our various activities this month that have helped lead to more of a spirit of giving:
Ask them to name 3 things they are grateful for on the way to school.
I always love doing words of affirmation on the way to school, but lately we’ve been saying things we are thankful for and it feel so appropriate during the holiday season!
Let them pick out the gifts for their siblings.
It can be so tempting to grab sibling gifts for your kids while you’re trying to get all your shopping done, but it is so much more meaningful when Bradley is excited to give something to Cash that he picked out himself. Both my older boys wear a love ofAbercrombie Kids, so this is an easy gift choice for us because I know my boys will love it. Their clothing is so well made and lasts through wash after wash. This year I’m letting my older boys pick out something to give to each other from there. Around this time of year Abercrombie Kids has some killer sales on our favorite items like theirsuper soft jeans,long sleeve tees, andouterwear. I think it will be fun for them to see their sibling wearing something that they picked out!
Have them help you make something to give to someone.
Cash loves to help me cook. I’m not a baker, but I signed up to bring cookies to a holiday concert last week, so I forced myself to make a batch of homemade peanut butter cookies. (I make homemade cookies once a year, only at Christmas!) I had Cash help me measure the flower and scoop out the dough, and then I had him deliver the cookies at the event. He was so proud of those dang cookies! That probably means I should bake more often 😉
Simple acts of service.
I try to do one thing festive with the kids each day the month of December. This sounds overwhelming..but I keep it simple. We finish up homework early enough for a Christmas movie, make a paper countdown chain, read a Christmas story, etc. The other night we helped set up for our church Christmas party and that was one of my favorite things we have done so far! They got to see Garrett and I serving and they helped set up tables and chairs along with us. If you are donating toys for an organization, take your kids shopping with you and let them help! Bringing a meal to a friend? Let them help walk the food up to the door. Including them on acts of service that come along with this season makes for some of the best memories!
If you follow along my my insta stories you have most likely seen Eli running around in a Chelsea English premier league soccer uniform on. The kid is obsessed. Garrett fell in love with Chelsea soccer years ago and when we were in London last year we got to attend a Chelsea game and it was preeeetty much one of the highlights of his life.
We bought all the boys Chelsea jerseys there and Eli just absolutly fell in love with it. Not just the jersey..the team. He will get up early with Garrett and watch their 5am soccer games. He know all the cheers for soccer and insists on us singing the Chelsea theme song as his bedtime song every night.
So when Super Soccer Stars reached out to me to see if we were interested in having them host a Chelsea soccer birthday party we jumped at the chance! Super Soccer Stars is a soccer program located all over California, Texas, Chicago, Florida, etc that teach kids as young as 12 months soccer skills. They offer group classes, summer camps, and can host birthday parties! Also, they can cater the birthday to party to any theme you would like. They have done parties with themes such as superheroes, Peppa the Pig, and Tonka Trucks, etc. Frankly, we loved the idea of a Chelsea themed soccer party!
ELI’S SOCCER PARTY
Honestly, they were so easy to work with for Eli’s party. They arranged with the city to have the party at a park that was close and convenient for us. All we had to do was show up! When we got to the park, there were 3 Super Soccer Stars coaches there all in Chelsea blue uniforms. Also, they had obstacle courses and soccer goals all set up with balloons and banners all catered to a Chelsea soccer theme.
I think the thing that most impressed me with the coaches was how great they were with kids of all ages. We had 15 kids there between the ages of 2-10. Every child got a shirt based on their age. Also, they separated them into groups and ran drills and played games that worked with each age range. The coaches were very knowledgeable of the game and made it so fun for the kids and easy for them to understand. Eli felt so special!
They ran drills and played with the kids for a little over an hour. All the parents got to sit and chat on the sidelines. It was honestly the most hassle free party I have ever thrown. Every child left with a t-shirt, and they gave Eli a soccer kit with his own ball and water bottle.
Because Eli loves soccer so much at such a young age, I would love to get him signed up for classes with Super Soccer Stars. I really think he would love playing soccer regularly and I would love him to be coached by a soccer organization that really knows the game and can teach him skills according to his age.
Super Soccer Stars was generous enough to offer a $20 discount code for any of their classes or party options! Just use the code: ELIBDAY at checkout. Take a look at their locations to see if there is one near you!
What?? I can’t really wrap my head around this. Am I sad? yes. Am I excited? also yes. We have had such a fun carefree summer. The boys swam in our pool almost every single day and they played their fare share of Fortnight (…thank you for the introduction to this game Garrett…). They also started piano lessons and quizzed each other on math flash cards (mostly so they can sweet talk me into playing Fortnight afterward).
So back to school shopping is upon us. This can feel stressful and overwhelming…but it doesn’t need to be. I don’t know about you, but the number one clothing item that my kids blow through are jeans. I’ve tried lots of different styles of jeans, and there are a lot of jeans out there that wear holes in the knees lightning fast (not just because my boys play hard) and plenty that I bought and couldn’t get my boys to wear because they told me the jeans were too uncomfortable.
YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN OUR DRESSING ROOM..
So this year I took my boys into Abercrombie Kids and we tried on EVERY single pair of jeans they had (you think I’m kidding? I’m not. Our dressing room had 5 granola bar wrappers and the content of my entire purse all over the ground when we were finished…thank you Eli). It took over an hour but I FOUND THE JEANS. Like..THEE jeans. The shape, fit, and style of jean that worked well on both Bradley and Cash.
KIDS JEANS FOR ALL BODY TYPES
The thing about these two is that they are best friends and have completely different body types. Bradley is tall and lean and rocks skinny jeans. The problem is I try to pass his jeans on down to Cash, and Cash’s huskier build doesn’t work with super skinny jeans. I was thrilled when I found the ultimate kids jeans that fit both of my boys perfectly and felt like a comfy pair of sweatpants. This means I can pass Bradley’s jeans on to Cash and Cash’s jeans on to Eli!
They are made to move and bend and stretch right along with your kids! That means less holes in the knees and a longer wear. The jeans are soft like sweatpants but also thick and durable to last a nice long time.
Cash about died and went to heaven when he saw this Tiger flip sequin tee. He is constantly fiddling with things (pens, legos, paper…he always wants to be touching something and inspecting things), so the fact that he can change the color on the tigers face was the ultimate for him. I love that they made this sequin tee with a boy design!
If you tryout these kids jeans for your kiddos let me know what you think! I was so happy with the quality/fit of them, and this will keep me from spending more money on pairs of jeans that won’t last me very long!
School starts in just over one week! I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that their school starts in August. A big part of my wants the full month of August to still be summer!
Sometimes I think about the fact that I send off my kids to school 5 days a week for 6 hours a day to learn from others and it kind of freaks me out. While it is so good and so important, my mom heart is just full of worries. “Will they learn the right things?” “will they have confidence” “will they stick up for what they believe in?”. I know I can’t be with them every second of the day (because…lets face it. We would all go insane).
So what I’ve started doing is telling them a few phrases each morning or night and having them repeat it back to me. These words of affirmation boost their confidence. Also, I love that they hear me tell them these things first, and that they say them out loud to themselves. There is so much power in saying things out loud! My hope is that when they struggle and when I am not around, that phrases like, “I am brave”, “I am strong” will come to their mind.
In the summer we have been reciting these words of affirmation at night before bed. But once school starts I like to do it in the car on the way to school. It’s usually pretty chaotic in the morning trying to get out the door. So I try to combat a stressful morning by using these words of affirmation to mentally prep them for a day of school while we are driving.
SOME WORDS OF AFFIRMATION I LIKE TO SAY
I am smart
I am brave
I am kind
I am happy
I am obedient
I am considerate
I am a good listener
I am silly
I am handsome
I am loved
I am helpful
I am important
Usually, I make up what I say as I go depending on what they need in that moment. If Cash has been super grumpy that day I will have him say “I am happy” as one of his phrases. Also, if Eli looks me dead in the eye while he pours his glass of chocolate milk all over the kitchen floor, you better believe “I am obedient” will be one of his phrases. I say about 7-10 “I am” phrases, and I always end it with “When I grow up, I will do great things!”. Because ultimately, that is what I want for them. Furthermore, I want to give them all of the tools that I can to grow up and do GREAT things in this world!
BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING:
THE BEST PLACE TO GET KIDS BASICS ON SALE
Have you started your back to school shopping? I highly recommend checking out JCPenney for the basics. You can beat these V-neck tees on sale for $3! Almost every item we are wearing in this post is on sale, so I broke it down for you below so you can see which ones are on sale and stock up for your kiddos!
Order online. It’s so much easier than trying to wrestle them all in the store! JCPenney has some incredible steals on kids basics! The boys school only allows solid color tops and bottoms. So JCPenney was the perfect place to stock up on solids t-shirts and shorts for such a great price!
I always get them a pair of athletic shoes and I love that JCPenney carries Nike’s. Shopping JCPenney online was great because I narrowed down a few athletic shoes that I really loved, and then pulled up all the images and let them pick from those options.
THE BEST KIDS BASICS ON SALE NOW
Basic Kids V-Neck tee: They come in 10 colors and are all on sale! Bradley’s white tee is on sale for $3 right now!! I got them for $4 each and I thought that was a steal. Also, I’m going to stock up and you should grab some before the colors sell out! Good fit/quality and you can’t beat this price!
Garrett and I have a lot of fun together. Like…a lot. We have been lucky enough to be able to work together recently on a few fun projects (more on that later), and because of this we spend much more time together during the day than we have in the past. And we don’t even get sick of each other! It’s really fun being married to my best friend.
ONE REASON WHY HE IS PERFECT FOR ME:
You all know I like clothes. I love everything about them: the way they make you look, the way they make you feel, and I love being able to express my current mood or point of view in a look. The cool thing about Garrett is that he really enjoys clothes and styling too. He is really picky when it comes to fit and quality of his clothing (and I am in total support of that). He ordered a few items from Bonobos a few years ago and we were both so impressed with the quality of each item.
They make really well designed mens clothing, and Bonobos recently teamed up with TOMS (another one of his favorite brands…I think he had 4 or 5 pairs in his closet). The TOMS x Bonobos shoe line is really worth checking out. Great prints and fabric with the amazing comfort that comes with a pair of TOMS. We both love this pair of shoes he got (I kind of want the same pair in my size). I love when two good brands collaborate, and this line is fantastic if your boyfriend or husband is in the market for a good comfy pair of shoes.
2 OF GARRETT’S FAVORITE MEN’S BRANDS
Garrett’s favorite piece of clothing from Bonobos are their stretch chino pants. A few years ago he ordered multiple pairs of chinos in all different brands and was frustrated with the fit of all of them, except for the Bonobos ones. Since then he has only purchased Bonobos chinos. They hold up really well through washings and have a nice stretch to them, making them comfortable to wear all day long. They are also great because they are nice enough for him to wear with a tie and button up into the office, and then with a more casual top and a bomber jacket once he gets home for dinner with the family. (ps: did you know Bonobos also makes suits? A Bonobos suit is next on Garrett’s list)
We wanted to do something a little fun with today’s post, so we thought of 5 random questions to ask each other, and we are both submitting our answers below. We never looked at each others answers before I published this post, which makes it extra fun!
1. WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES WITH GARRETT/LEANNE?
L: There are lots of big grand memories with Garrett, like walking around London for our 10 year anniversary trip, but the one that first came to my mind was one of our recent dates where we just went to Urth cafe in Old Town Pasadena, ordered an herbal tea to share, and talked and laughed for an hour. We put our phones away and talked kids, business, dreams, and we were laughing our heads off. We both have similar senses of humor so when we are in sync we are freaking hilarious.
G: There are too many to count, so I’ll just name one that comes to mind. Our trip to London and Paris was amazing. While we were there, Leanne watched YouTube videos of Chelsea Football Club chants and asked questions about the best players so she would know what was going on and could enjoy the game. It was one of the first times she expressed interest in Chelsea and it was awesome.
2. WHAT SONG IS ALWAYS STUCK IN YOUR HEAD?
L: It’s usually a musical mash-up of Colors of the Wind and….you guessed it…Daddy Finger. I think I’ve seen 75% of Pocahontas once 20 years ago…no idea why it’s always in my head. And Daddy Finger is pretty much the soundtrack of our life right now.
G: I guess everyone knows this already, but at any given time I have a Little Baby Bum song in my head. Lately the one thru ten song. I’m trying my best to come up with a good song, but I rarely listen to music for pleasure anymore. I can’t even come up with a good answer.
3. WHAT IS ONE FUNNY THING GARRETT/LEANNE DOES THAT DRIVES YOU CRAZY?
L: I love that Garrett reads the Wall Street Journal everyday, but MAN that’s a lot of newspapers. I’m guilty of casually throwing piles of the papers away before he gets a chance to read them, but it drives me nuts to have so many newspapers in the house. Like…could he please throw away those 5 newspapers stacked up next to my 34 face lotion bottles in the bathroom please? That would be greeeat.
G: Leanne leaves everything everywhere because she’s too busy to put it away. But then, when she wants to clean, she wants everyone else to want to clean right then. It’s a lot of fun.
4. IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
L: Easy. To freeze time so that I can take a 1 hour nap everyday.
G: I never know how to answer this question because I think too deep. What are my options? Probably immortality? Maybe invisibility? Isn’t the point that your superpower is also a curse? Batman is my favorite superhero and he doesn’t have a superpower so maybe I just want to be a reclusive billionaire. I’m pretty sure Leanne is going to tell me this is way too long.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SHOW TO WATCH TOGETHER?
L: Other than Garrett scrolling through Netflix previews for an hour while I work on my phone? Haha! We recently started Arrested Development again together. It’s even funnier the second time around. We also love Seinfield, and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. We actually don’t sit together and watch shows very often. I would do it every night if we could, but we are both usually up late working at the dining room table together. Sitting on the couch in sweats watching a TV show is one of my favorite things!
G: Lately it’s been Arrested Development. We like Seinfeld, too. I think that we like older shows from TV’s glory days, like the Office, 30 Rock, etc.
SHOP THE POST:
in partnership with Bonobos. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
We ordered our Christmas cards this year from Minted, and I am so thrilled with them! They always have the prettiest card options and the quality of their cards is exceptional. This year I looked through all of their different holiday card options before we even shot our pictures for the card, to get an idea of the spacing we needed in the photo to fit the card. I love that Minted’s website allows you to filter all of the different holiday cards by photo orientation, number of photos you want on the card, Christmas, New Year, Religious, etc. I picked the orientation and Christmas card filters first, then loaded the picture I wanted to use into their system. This pulled up all the card options that would fit our image, and gave me a preview of what each card would look like with our image already in the card! It is such a brilliant system, and it really makes selecting our cards go so much faster.
I think my favorite part about using Minted for our holiday cards, is that they have a downloadable address spreadsheet to fill with all your addresses (I keep this on file all year and update it if we have friends/family that move). Then when I order my cards, I can easily upload this document to my order and it prints out all of our addresses on the envelopes! I always forget to order stamps for my cards and end up running to the post office for stamps at the last minute (which is the worst. I hate going to the post office!). So this year I ordered custom stamps from Minted too. I can’t believe what a breeze it was to get all my cards out this year! I opened our Minted box and had Cash help me put on all the stamps and lick the cards and I got them in the mail the SAME day we got the cards! That never happens. I swear Minted thinks of everything.
We shot our family pictures up in Big Bear this year, and I am so happy with how they turned out! I usually switch off between dressing in a formal look and casual each year, and since we were dressed more casual last year, I went with super formal this year. I just die over seeing my boys in their suits! My black dress is one of the prettiest and most intricate black dresses I have ever seen, and it makes for the perfect Christmas dress too. I wore it to church last Sunday and got so many compliments on it. I will be blowing up some of these to hang in our home for sure!
From our family to yours, we want to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving! We traveled up to Big Bear last weekend for a little getaway for Garrett’s birthday, and we had the best time! We stayed at a darling Bed and Breakfast right by the lake called The Alpenhorn. We haven’t stayed at a bed and breakfast before, and we absolutly loved it! Johann and Evelyn where the kindest couple who run the BnB, and they made us feel right at home. Since we brought the kids, we stayed in our own cozy cabin with a kitchen, plenty of beds, a jetted tub (which the boys loved), and a fireplace! We watched movies and fell asleep by the fire each night, and it was such a dream.
Every morning the owners made the most magnificent breakfast in the main house. I’m not kidding…it was one of the best breakfast meals I have ever had! Hand squeezed local oranges for orange juice, ancient grain homemade berry scones, herbed heirloom tomatoes, an omelette, and the best overnight oats I have ever had. We ate this every single morning! We started off our day with a full tummy and ready for hikes and exploring. All around Big Bear lake there are little hiking trails that you can pull off and hike up. Make sure to stop by any ski rental building and pick up a few days worth of parking passes (they are good for any of the hiking parking lots in the area). They are around $13 per day.
If you are on the hunt for something yummy for lunch, I recommend stopping at a tiny little “Hawaiian” lunch spot called Local. I got their Papaya Bowl, and Garrett and I split one of their rice bowls; it was divine! On main street in Big Bear they have the cutest ice cream shops, and we stopped at one for ice cream cones and candy apples one of the nights.
We even checked out the local Big Bear zoo they have there in the mountains. I was a little bit skeptical of it at first, but it was actually amazing and well worth a family visit! They had cougars, tons of black bears, a bald eagle, a snow owl, and tons of other animals that were local to the area. You can get really close to the animals too, and the boys loved it!
We have a lot to be thankful for this year. We are so excited to be moving into our new home shortly, and we have lots to do to prepare for that. I just want to make sure I take the time to really soak in this season and stop long enough to enjoy my blessings, enjoy my kids, and pause to really feel the spirit of this season. I hope you all have the best Thanksgiving! Thank you so much for following along!
I had to give a little credit to the man behind Elle Apparel today. Because for every blog post, photo shoot, Fashion Week, and instagram post is a man who is tackling the fort at home, giving his opinion on which shoes go better with an outfit, and helping me pick which photo to post. This guy is a huge reason why I have kept Elle Apparel running for the past 7 years, and I thought I would share a little bit about why it is so nice to have him as my support system. No matter what we choose to do for work or as a hobby, when you have a spouse who is supportive, and even excited about what you are pursuing, it makes such a difference!
1. He runs the legal side of Elle Apparel: Back when Elle Apparel was much more of a hobby while Garrett was in law school, he always encouraged me to sew and post and keep the ball rolling on it. He saw how much I loved it and what a creative outlet it was for me. When I decided to launch my own clothing line of skirts a few years ago, his legal knowledge really came into play. He opened my business account and organized my LLC. When I launched my online sewing course, he wrote up our Articles of Organization (I had no idea what those were, or that we needed them). Now that Elle Apparel is run as a business, he wrote the NDA agreement for me when I hired my first assistant, goes over all the business expenses and write-offs, and takes care of figuring out the quarterly taxes (he has his undergrad in Accounting). He reads over every one of my business contracts because he reads dozens of legal contracts each week and knows exactly what to look for and when there might be red flags. If there are changes or legal negotiations that need to be made, he makes them in a much more eloquent and legally binding way than I could. Before I hired my assistant, he edited all of my posts (he basically became a professional editor in law school). Little did we know all those years ago how crucial his legal skills would be for my business. He has been such an important player in the legal side of Elle Apparel, and my business is much stronger because of it.
2. He honestly enjoys fashion and clothing: I know not all men do, but I feel like I really lucked out in this category. Garrett has always spotted trends way in advance. I remember a few years ago he mentioned that he really wanted maroon framed glasses, and I thought he was crazy. About 7 months later, maroon framed glasses and other maroon accessories were popular. He has been wearing a bow tie and pocket squares every once in a while for years (back when he had to search high and low for good ones), and now they are everywhere. He also has a really good appreciation for women’s fashion. He has naturally good taste, and I am so glad I can ask him for his opinion on color combos, style, which shoes go with a dress, etc. He has an opinion, and it’s usually a very spot on opinion. When we were first married, I remember waiting for him while he perused through the men’s section of Nordstrom. He is very particular about his clothing, and I’ve mentioned this before on the blog; he finds exactly what he likes, and will be loyal to that brand/cut forever. He has been looking for a good pair of slacks for ages and has loved the cut and fit of these Bonobos pants from Nordstrom. He owns them in a dark grey as well (he’s wearing them in this post), and I’m hoping he picks up a pair in the olive shade they have as well. He still turns to Nordstrom for men’s fall fashion. They cary brands that are quality, well designed, and they fit his preppy classic style. Whenever I do a post featuring men’s fashion, he always picks out his look. I trust his taste completely. I love the look of this navy sweater over a chambray button-up he chose for this shoot.
3. He used to be my photographer: Did you know that?! He was my instagram husband long before an instagram husband was a thing. I taught him a few basics on how to use our SLR when I first bought it, and he got so good at it! He talks to my photographers sometimes during our shoot and they are always impressed that he know what ISO and f-stop are. He would make sure my top was laying right, that the bow on my skirt wasn’t crooked, shoot my good side (very important), and know just how much time we would have until the lighting was bad. This was back when I was so self conscious of people seeing me on the street taking pictures, so he had to talk me through all that as well! I would always make him stop shooting and pretend like we were just casually standing and talking if someone walked by. He would always say “who cares what they think! Don’t get intimidated because someone walks by!”…..which would embarrass me even more, but it really did help me gain confidence! Now I couldn’t care any less how many people are around when we are shooting. I’ve learned to just mentally tune them out. Ain’t no time to stress over things like that!
4. He never complains when I ask for help: Just yesterday night I sent him a frantic text at 6 PM that said, “Honey I am exhausted and I still need to write a post, can you take over with the kids the second you get home so I can get started on work before I pass out??!” And then when he walked in the door at 7 PM he belted “Hero of the day!! Boys, come bug me and leave mom alone!” I’m cracking up as I write this. If you follow us along on stories you can probably picture our boys cracking up and then attacking him as I book it up the stairs with my laptop under my arm. Honesty, I’ve asked that man to take a picture for me at the most stressful times, then to retake the picture, or to help with the kids after a long hard day at the office and he doesn’t complain. That’s probably why I take advantage of his services so often (*wink).