Beach Day Must Haves: Toddler Edition...

 
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Happy Tuesday! 

London and I spent the morning at the beach yesterday, and it was just gorgeous. I'm trying to take advantage of any nice day to be outside, exploring with her because I know in a few months it'll be a little more challenging to get out and about. Lo makes everything more fun, but beach days are my FAVORITE with her. She loves to be in the water...doesn't matter how cold it is (it's absolutely FREEZING by the way), loves to explore the rocks and tide-pools, and loves to get sand in just about every single place on her body! Ha! 

 I wanted to put together a little "must have" list for parents with kiddos that are planning their first beach day of the year! Like a real rookie, I tried to lug my beach tent, two chairs, our lunch and two bags all while carrying Lo...and it was almost a disaster. Yesterday, I packed pretty minimally and it was SO much better. We were planning to spend just 2-3 hours ... so I didn't bring a tent like I normally would if we were spending the day. I will say, next time we do a FULL beach day - I'll have a beach wagon or cart to help lighten the load!

Here are some things I think you should def have...

1. Beach wagon/cart. THIS IS A MUST HAVE. I have been researching some on Amazon and plan to get one before our next full day. I've seen people with them in action and it looks like they make life a lot easier! The "all-terrain wagon" you see below seems to be pretty popular. I think I'll probably end up getting this one - I think it'll work great for all of our gear (and maybe Lolo too ;)

2. Umbrella or Pop-up Tent: Absolutely need this with kiddos - if you're planning to be at the beach more than a few hours! It's nice to get some reprieve from the sun - and good for them to take a rest if needed in the shade! We have this pop-up tent from L.L. Bean that we love. It literally sets up and breaks down in just a few minutes! It's so easy. I think for shorter beach trips (2-3 hours) an umbrella is totally fine, and I've got my eye on this one

3. Chairs; Not like you'll sit in them all that much - BUT it's nice to have the option ;) I have these from Target, but if you're feeling fancy, get the chairs with cupholders (this one is cute) and pour yourself a wine cooler (or two...one for me ;) 

4. The Proper Swimsuit: I'm usually chasing after Lo, carrying her at some point, and in and out of the water, so I prefer something comfortable (still cute), but that won't leave weird tan lines also! Last summer I bought a few one-pieces from J.Crew (shop it here) and I'm sure that's what I'll be rocking once baby number two comes. If you're looking for a bikini that's cute but also practical, this one is great and it's under $17! I would size up for sure! 

5. Sunscreen you can count on: I've tried a bunch of different sunscreens, but the one I feel works the best is Babyganics SPF 50 (under $10). Lo has never gotten a sunburn while using this...and it's super easy to apply as a spray lotion. We love it!

5. Beach-Friendly Tote: We love our mesh tote because it's super easy to clean/get the sand off from and it's big enough to fit our towels and lunch bag! I also love this straw bag because of the cute rope straps - that look super nautical. It seems like it would hold a lot too - love it. 

6. Toys: Hit up the dollar store for some cheap toys perfect for the beach! Definitely a bucket and a shovel (this one is $2.99). If your toddler wants to build a sand castle, this set has everything you need and it's under $10! Lo is really into kites right now - and they're perfect for a windy beach day! 

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7. Round Towel: I prefer a big round beach towel to a sheet or quilt at the beach. They're easy to brush the sand off and still spacious enough to sit yourself and toddler on. Here are a few cute ones...

xx,

Ashley 

Budget-Friendly Fall Boots...

Living in New England has so many perks and one of those is being able to enjoy all four seasons! Fall is one of my favorites. I love the coziness of it all; hot cocoa, crockpot meals, pumpkin everything, apple spiced candles, and the FASHION. Accessorizing with scarves, layering with jackets, and cuffing your jeans to go with your perfect Fall boots :) Today, I'm sharing some boots/ankle booties! Every single pair of boots I'm sharing are under $100! (Happy dance!)

I hope you enjoy ... thanks for stopping by! 

xx, Ashley 

This Is Two...

 

I've been meaning to give you guys an update on Lolo - but LIFE happened, or better yet the Nordstrom Sale happened...and that threw me for a loop! After doing lots of monthly updates on London - I cannot believe I'm finally typing her 2-year update! Eeek! Exciting and SURREAL that we have entered the "terrific two's" :) 

I'll just start by saying that two is FUN. Challenging of course, but isn't every stage in its own way? I have days when I'm exhausted, mentally because it's so NON-STOP but I will say, the number of amazing days totally outnumber the days when I feel drained. We have so much fun exploring and discovering together and I'm cherishing this time when it's just the two of us because I know one day it will come to an end (no, I'm not pregnant...just thinking ahead!)

So, let's talk about London currently, two years and (almost) 2 months old... 

Favorite Food: SNACKS. Kidding (kind of). Let me explain...Lo has always been a great eater, and she still is; loves salmon, haddock, salad (what 2 year old likes salad?), asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli, all fruit, etc. She just requests snacks from the moment she wakes up (literally, when I go in to get her in the morning she says "I need a snack") to the time she goes to bed. This kid will ask for a snack AS I'm putting her in her crib for the night. I swear, I feed her ;) But man, it's exhausting. I don't want to give her food ALL the time and also don't want it to effect how she's eating at meal times so I have to distract and re-direct many times throughout the day. When we do have snacks - our favorites are: grapes, graham crackers, apple sauce, gold fish, raisins, yogurt, and pretzel thins. Any other snack ideas I can add to the mix? 

Favorite Things To Do: Being outside is totally her jam! She loves to push her baby doll down the sidewalk in the play stroller and take her bucket to collect leaves or sticks. Lolo also loves to EAT and get a "treat." Ice cream, popsicles, and frozen yogurt sticks are some of our "go-to's" :) ...It is summer after all! Lately she's been into her basketball hoop - which obviously makes us very excited! 

Favorite Toys: She loves to play with her kitchen and "cook dinner" for us. She also got crafts like colored popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, and finger paints for her birthday so she loves all of that too! The pom-poms are a great way to learn colors - we do a game where we separate them by colors and she's super into it. Another toy she really enjoys is her shopping cart! She likes to pretend that she's doing groceries like mommy...also goes really well with the kitchen :) 

Most Exciting Thing She's Doing: I've been showing her the letter "L" for a week now, and she finally identified it two days ago! I am super excited. I also tried an "A" to which she replied "house" and a "T" which she confidently said was a "cross" ... I mean, she's not wrong! :) She has mastered her colors so I'm moving on to letters ... just a few at a time! 

Biggest Challenges: There are a lot of things to navigate when you enter the two's. The tantrums get a bit more intense, their emotions are so erratic, and they have LOTS of opinions. Thank goodness, I am able to reason with London (to an extent) and her tantrums don't last longer than a minute or so, but they're still exhausting. I'm trying my best to remain patient.

What I've Learned / What I'm Learning: I think consistency has been something that I've always tried to maintain - which is super difficult at times, especially when you ARE tired and just want to let something go - don't. I think the reason why Lo can be talked off a ledge (a.k.a. we avoid a tantrum) is because I'm consistent with my expectations of her. I also try to think a few steps ahead. If she's tired or hungry, I won't put her in situations that may set her off. 

Really, it's different from day to day so I'm learning as I go! I don't know if it will get even more intense the older she gets...it might -but I KNOW it will keep getting better because watching her learn and discover is the best thing ever! 

I hope you enjoyed! Thanks for stopping by!

xx, Ashley 

 

 

10 Mom Truths...

 

Who knows "Cat and Nat?" They're an amazing mommy duo - and if you don't know them, you need too, STAT! They do a little special called "Mom Truth Fridays" so it inspired me to write out my own list of truths because it's always more fun to laugh at yourself than cry - which I'm sure a lot of us could do on some occasions, #amiright? Needless to say, I hope you chuckle at a few of these and maybe even relate to some of them too! Let me know your faves below! :) 

 

1. When another mom, say at the playground, tries to "mom date" me ... I feel like just saying "I'm taken." I'm already balancing three mom-friend relationships and that's enough for me! (P.S. They're my actual friends now, not just my "mom friends" ...but you get what I'm saying!)

2. When London throws herself on the ground because I put peanut butter on her toast instead of butter I have to try REALLY hard not to laugh out loud. I cannot handle the absurdity of these meltdowns. Here's another one: I wouldn't let her stick her hands in the toilet bowl and swirl the water around. I know, I'm such a bad mom. 

3. I LOVE SCREEN TIME. There, I said it! Can't we both just sit in one spot and zone out for 20(ish) minutes? What is so wrong with that? I even got the 'ok' from my pediatrician so THERE to any of you judge-y moms reading this and thinking badly of me! ;)  

4. Coffee is LIFE. There were many times in my life when I spoke the words "I will never drink coffee regularly" ... BLASPHEMY! WHAT in the WORLD was I thinking? Oh - that's right...I was making crazy statements like that pre-baby, as you do! What I MEANT to say was "I will definitely drink coffee every day, sometimes two and three times a day, when I have a kid." Boom!

5. You wanna know another thing I said pre-Lolo? "I will never have a schedule. I'm gonna take my baby everywhere with me - they'll just sleep when they're tired!" Fast Forward to present day....I'm a schedule F-R-E-A-K. My life revolves around my 2-year old's nap time and bed time and I'm not even upset about it. This may not work for some people (which is totally cool), but knowing that I get 2+ solid hours of "me" time every day is enough to make me want to stick to this schedule like flies on .... you catch my drift. 

6. Nope. No way. I've never farted in front of my husband and blamed it on my daughter! (I have) Did he call me on it? He sure did. Sad to say I was only a little bit embarrassed. And here lies my dignity. 

7. I would rather pick London's nose for her and wipe it on my own shirtsleeve, then let her walk around being THAT kid with the booger hanging out and visible to the public. 

8. No matter how much time I spend with Lo (which is all day every day because, STAY AT HOME MOM) I never ACTUALLY feel like it's enough. Translation: Mom guilt always, forever, and no matter what. 

9. I'm not above a good bribe. Target almost always = a scone from Starbucks, grocery shopping = a cookie from the bakery and potty training will = M&M's. (Sorry, not sorry)

10. Here's a final "mom truth" for you...When I say "I'm tired" to a mom that has multiple kids and she looks at me like I have three heads and says "wait until you have two" I want to give major eye roll. I GET IT...I have one kid. Yes, my kid sleeps through the night but does that mean that I am not allowed to be tired? I am dealing with 2-year-old tantrums, nights when my baby is up sick all night, a husband who travels a lot and works long hours, etc. I'm sure when I have another I'll be a whole new level of tired than I am now - but THIS is my reality today...so let me just be + say I'm tired too, ok? Phew. I'm glad that's out :) 

Ok ... what are some of your "truths?!" I need to laugh some more today ... leave them below!

xx, Ashley