Happy Birthday, London!

 
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Our sweet girl is THREE in just a few days and we have been so busy getting ready for this move that it came ridiculously fast. I can't seem to wrap my head around it. HOW is our little 6 pound, 12 ounce little sweetie already this BIG amazing girl?! The time has literally gone by at lightening speed and I just want it to slow down.

London is truly a dream come true in every way and she's blossomed so much this past year. She's incredibly bright, witty, sweet, courageous, and BEAUTIFUL. People tell us all the time what a leader she is and how "no one will ever push her around" and it makes my heart so happy. We are trying our best to raise a world-changer; a champion for God, for what's good and right, and maybe for those who don't have a voice. I'm enamored with her in every way and there aren't enough words to describe my love; it's just overwhelming. She truly is my best friend and I'm so excited to see what this next year has in store...and how she will embrace her new role in just a few weeks! 

Happy Birthday, sweetheart! Maybe one day you'll see this and just know how OBSESSED I am with you...I love you BEYOND! 

xx, Ashley (Mommy)

All photography was done by Kivalo Photography

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A Letter To My First born...

 
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My darling girl,

Where to even begin. 

It's taken me awhile to start this letter because every time I try, I get so emotional! I hope one day you read this, and you can feel my heart. Right now you're sleeping...and I've got the monitor next to me like I always do so I can peek at you periodically because I just love watching my little angel sleep.

You are my first born. The "chapter one" in my motherhood story and what a beautiful story it's been thus far. You completely changed my world that night three years ago and nothing will ever compare to the feeling I had pulling you up to my chest, all 6 pounds 12 ounces of you, holding you for the first time with tears welling up in my eyes. In that moment time stood still and it was just "us" ... Mommy, Daddy, and London Grace. I had absolutely no idea what was in store, but I'll never forget how overwhelmed I was with love and how instantly I felt so honored to call you "ours."

If only I'd known then how fleeting every moment after that would be. How quickly you'd go from that 6-pound bundle to my sweet, independent, bold, beautiful, and sometimes sassy baby girl soon heading off to preschool. You've grown so fast and while I feel so incredibly lucky to watch every part of that, it hurts my heart a bit. The truth is, I already miss "us." I've had days (a lot of them) where I find myself in tears...almost mourning the time spent where it's just Mommy + Lolo. Because whether we're adventuring to the beach, having a Starbucks date or just taking a walk to the playground - we always have the BEST time together. That doesn't mean it's always been easy. You are my first born after all, and with that has come a lot of trial and error. I've probably done too much worrying, stressed a little too much, and shed too many tears about things that don't matter much in the end. I have days where I feel worn down and like I am failing in so many areas as a mom, but your beautiful, loving soul always brings me back down to Earth. Your infectious personality and smile reminds me that while I'm far from perfect, I must be doing something right. Thank you for that. 

Soon, daily life for us will look a little bit different. It won't be just the three of us, and you will have to share mommy more. I want you to know that God knew I needed you first. That's the thing about God...He always gives us exactly what we need and He's the ultimate gift-giver. YOU are His ultimate gift to us and everything I ever imagined. This transition may seem a bit scary and overwhelming for both of us, but it gives me so much joy when I envision the ways our family is going to grow in even more love and happiness. I can picture you as a brave big girl ... eager to show and teach your little sister everything along the journey of life. She is the luckiest to have you. 

No matter how much our world changes, you will forever be my first child; the one who taught me the truest meaning of unconditional love, pride, happiness, and even heartache too. I love you from the depths of my soul...forever and ever, my sweet girl. 

With all my heart,

Mummy

Bumpdate: 30 Weeks...

 
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I can't even believe I'm 30 weeks now! Ahh!! It just doesn't seem real! I know these next weeks are going to FLY and before we know it we'll be adjusting to life with two babies. I'm feeling anxious and excited. We are also moving in a month so that's taking a lot of thought + planning as well. I'm really looking forward to getting settled in our new space and "nesting" a bit before baby comes. When I was 9 months pregnant with Lo we moved and I really enjoyed the process - to decorate and paint, etc. 

Physically, I'm feeling pretty good. I feel like my sciatic pain has subsided - since I've basically cut out any workouts other than going for walks! I still ice here and there as well. On days when I do walk, I notice that I still have SO much pressure and by the end of the day it's a little harder to move around. I miss running and feeling like I'm not going to pee my pants! Ha! I'm excited to get back to normal, but am trying to be present and cherish this beautiful time. I know I will miss this bump and feeling the little kicks! The cravings are still REAL. Just give me ALL the junk food and ALL the ice cream! I try to keep them at bay but sometimes - cravings win out ;) 

Chris planned a baby moon for me last week - and it was SO nice to relax together, away from the craziness. My parents watched Lo so we could steal away for a few days..and while we missed her SO much, it was important to us to have that time. We went to Lido Key in Florida and it was absolutely beautiful! Our resort was right on the beach and the room had a balcony; every morning began with breakfast overlooking the ocean and ended with a gorgeous sunset. It's amazing how just being near the ocean can make you instantly slow down, relax, and be still. I am so thankful to have such an amazing husband who took time out of his busy schedule to plan such a sweet getaway. Just love him! I'm going to share more pics and details from our babymoon, but here is one with baby bump on full display :) 

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Hope you all have a great week! 

xx,

Ashley 

How to do Disney with a toddler...

 

Where to stay...

We went to Disney with a total of six adults and 3 children, so we were all about renting a house. We went through the Windsor Hills Resort in Kissimmee, located only 10 minutes from the Magic Kingdom parking lot. We LOVED it. For those who want to stay at a monorail-friendly Disney hotel, I've stayed at the Contemporary Resort five separate times and it's fabulous. Very kid-friendly and I recommend trying to book a "character" dinner at Chef Mickey's if you want a great meal and more importantly, if you want you kid(s) to meet Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, Goofy and Pluto without having to wait in line :) 

Helpful Tips...

1. Schedule character "meet and greets" ahead of time (see above). Pay the extra money and BOOK IN ADVANCE for a character dinner or breakfast. The characters will come to your table while you eat ... it's definitely worth the money. If you book the character meet and greets at the park ahead of time using your Fast Passes, you should be all set too! 

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2. Invest in a good, "easy to use" stroller. We used the BABYZEN YOYO+ and it was amazing! It's so easy to unfold and fold (you can do it with one hand) and also fits in the airplane's overhead bin. It comes with a shoulder strap so you can carry it just like a purse, and weighs just 15 lbs. I also love that while it's super compact, it has a great storage area underneath. Oh, and did I mention it comes with a rain cover?! It's basically the perfect travel stroller, and you can check it out here

3. Schedule in nap time. We wanted to make sure that Lolo still got her naps so we purposely didn't schedule anything from 12-2:30pm. Actually, we rented a house just a few miles from Disney, so we would leave the park and do lunch/nap at the house. It worked out really well for a few reasons...1. We never had to deal with any toddler meltdowns because she got her normal rest time, and 2. We skipped the hottest part of the day! She did fall asleep one day in her stroller before we could make it to the car so we just walked around with her for an hour or so, and she was fine :) 

4. Bring a backpack as your diaper bag. Trust me on this one, you need all hands on deck not to mention a million snacks, sunscreen, water, your phone, wallet, etc., so you'll need lots of compartments! We love our Skip Hop Chelsea bag, and Skip Hop also makes a pretty awesome backpack for under $60! I also love this one from CoolBell too because it's super functional and has an insulated front pocket to keep a bottle or snacks cool! 

5. Plan Fast Passes in advance. Have a plan of which rides you want to hit and do your fast passes online in advance so you don't have to waste time trying to figure it out at the park.  We made the mistake of waiting to figure out the fast passes once we got to the park and by the time we did, a lot of the rides we wanted to hit were booked up and the wait was insane. The second and third days we planned the night before and it was MUCH smoother. 

6. Bring snacks/lots of fluids. One thing I appreciate, is that Disney allows you to bring your own snacks AND water into the park. (Also, if you pay the extra for preferred parking, they'll give you cold bottles of water before you park the car, which is nice to know!) I brought lots of options for Lo in separate snack bags like grapes, goldfish, harvest snap peas, yogurt bites, apple sauce pouches, and raisins. 

7. Utilize the Baby Care Center. If you need a break from the heat, a sink, microwave, or a clean place to change your baby the Baby Care Center is a great resource! You can also find snacks, diapers, sunscreen, rockers and more! (There are locations in all 4 theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios)

 

General Park -Touring Tips + a few of Lo's favorite rides/shows...

If you're planning a 3-day Disney trip, I recommend two full days at Magic Kingdom and one at the Animal Kingdom. If you've got 4 days, go with 2 full MK, 1 day at AK, and 1 day at Hollywood Studios. If you're going for a toddler-based trip, I'd choose Hollywood Studios because they have SO many amazing rides and shows for kids (Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, Toy Story, etc.) We didn't get a chance to go, but definitely will on our next trip! 

Magic Kingdom: It's a Small World, Peter Pan, Under the Sea; Country Bear Jamboree, Swiss Family Robinson Tree House, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise; There are also shows running every few hours or so on the stage in front of the castle. We caught one in the afternoon which included Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and the Frozen characters! 

Animal Kingdom: Kilimanjaro Safari, Festival of the Lion King, The Boneyard, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail (walking trail)

Epcot: Meet + Greet with Anna and Elsa, Finding Nemo, Spaceship Earth (it's dark so could be scary for some kids, but Lo loved it), Frozen (it was broken when we were there, but I'm assuming it would have been a fave ;) 

                    Walking trails at Animal Kingdom 

                    Walking trails at Animal Kingdom 

  Elephants on the Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom

  Elephants on the Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom

xx, Ashley

Pregnancy Update: 12 Weeks...

 
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First of all...I'm SO happy that the news of baby Markwood #2 is now public! It's so difficult to keep it all in when you just want to tell anyone that will listen because you're so excited :) Also...when you're feeling like absolute crap, it's also nice for people to know so you can be yourself and act how you truly feel! We only have one more week before I enter my 2nd trimester - so I thought I would do a little pregnancy update for you all! I'll just start by saying that my first trimester this time around has gone by at record pace! With a 2.5 year old, there's no rest for the weary and she keeps me SO busy that the days seem to be flying by! 

I had a pretty smooth first trimester, relatively speaking. Starting at week 5 I was hit with crazy fatigue! I felt like SUCH a slug! I just wanted to curl up in a ball on the couch all day and let's be honest, sometimes I did! Thankfully, Lo is so good at playing on her own, always has been, so she would play with stickers, puzzles, books, etc while I would lay on the couch most afternoons. Of course, we threw in the occasional Disney movie which was a real lifesaver. (Disney - bless your heart). The fatigue was pretty intense until around week 10! I mean, I'm still more tired than usual BUT happy to say that I have much more energy than I did during those first few weeks. Thank God!

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The nausea, sadly, is still present. Again, not as intense as it was weeks 5-9, but it's still lingering! I'm SO ready for it to be completely gone. I'm definitely counting my blessings that I never actually threw up, which I do know a lot of women deal with and I can't imagine! With London, I felt like all I could eat were english muffins, peanut butter and ginger ale but the nausea was completely gone by week 10; with baby #2, I can stomach a lot more but I just feel like I need to eat every hour! The time between eating there's this weird underlying nausea. It's so bizarre but that's the best way I can explain it!

Let's talk about cravings. I want ALL the greasy food. I'm telling you, this pregnancy is already SO different than London's, because I didn't really have many cravings with her. This time around, I literally want to eat burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, and drink milk shakes all the time. The struggle is real! I am thankfully also craving fruit like oranges and pineapple. I'll be at the grocery store walking through the produce section and just HAVE to open the cut-up fruit right then and there. It's so funny, but cravings are definitely REAL! 

I'll be doing more "bump" updates as we go! I am so excited to share this pregnancy with you all considering my blog wasn't even in existence when pregnant with Lolo! Thank you for all of the kind messages and notes of congratulations - we are so overwhelmed by all the love and support! We appreciate it so much! 

xoxo,

Ashley 

Kokadjo, Maine Getaway...

A few weeks ago we snuck away to spend time at my parents camp in Kokadjo, Maine. It's such a peaceful setting and since there isn't any cell service where we are, we have no choice but to unplug and just enjoy each other's company :) As soon as we start the drive, it's like I instantly relax and take a breath. I love going through each sleepy town on our way there, sometimes stopping at our favorite spot in Monson, Spring Creek BBQ. Passing through Greenville my anticipation begins to mount as I know it's not long until we are to our destination. "Camp" (which is more like a house now since my parents have expanded it and added electricity, running water, etc) instantly makes me want to change into sweats, put on a trucker hat and "rough it" without a care in the world. We love to pile into the back of my dad's pick up and ride around to see if we can spot a moose. Of course, we're guaranteed to see lots of wildlife, but catching a moose is the real treat :) My sweet mother always has LOTS of candy and treats waiting, plus everything needed to make s'mores (which we always do). This time, we brought the Sound of Music by London's request so we could have a movie night. So fun! Now that she's getting older, she loves to explore all that nature has to offer - and there's  A LOT up there! My parents also had a swing built for her with the best view of the lake and the mountains. She's the luckiest girl in the world - so spoiled! 

I took a few photos and wanted to share them with you all! Thanks for stopping by! 

xx, Ashley 

Fall Date Night Outfit Ideas...

 
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My Outfit: Poncho: BP (Under $40!)| Leggings: BP | Booties: BP (Under $90 + so comfy!)

One thing I love about Fall and the cooler weather is NOT BEING SWEATY. Just kidding. I mean, I DO love that - but I also love LAYERING. It's so fun to dress up an outfit with items like cropped jackets, cardigans, tall boots, etc. 

My husband got this poncho for me last year and I love it! It's perfect for Fall when you don't quite yet need a jacket! The best part ... it's under $40 and perfect to layer over a long sleeve (here is one under $20!) tucked in! The booties I'm wearing from BP were $99, and they've been marked down $10 since I purchased them last month! They are super comfortable but I would go a half size up (or full size if you like to wear thicker socks)! I'm normally a size 8, and I ordered an 8.5M, and they were perfect! 

Below I've linked more items that would be perfect for any Fall date, casual and dressy! Check them out and read my captions :)

Thank you for stopping by!

xx, Ashley 

Fun In The Sun...

 

We had so much fun on our vacation that I have the serious blues! We were away from home for almost 2 weeks - and just had such a wonderful time. The weather has been beautiful here - last week we had a few 80 degree days and today is going to be 85! I'll take all the warmth we can get before Fall/Winter kicks into high gear! Even though chilly weather is just around the corner, this swim cover-up is inexpensive enough to buy now for your winter vacation or even next summer's beach trips! It's just $17, and I love it so much. When London saw me wearing it she said "Mumma, you're getting married!" Too cute! 

I hope you all have a great Tuesday! Thanks for stopping by! 

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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 

Our Weekend...

 

My Outfit: Dress: Tobi (Under $100 and SO comfortable!)| Sandals: Nine West, similar here

London's Outfit: Top: Gap, similar here | Shorts: Gap, similar here | Sandals: Target (Cat & Jacket)

We had Chris home with us for a full weekend so we took advantage and did more "touristy" things in our city! 

Saturday morning we were out of the house early to catch the train to the North End. London constantly asks to go on the bus, train, trolley, airplane, tractor, and any other form of transportation you can think of - so we just had to do at least one of those! (Trolley is next!) We went to the Public Market for coffee + breakfast. Outside they've got loads of fresh produce but inside is where it's really at ;) ...You can find a few of my favorite places in one spot - Union Square Donuts, George Howell coffee, Levend Bagels, and sooo much more! I feel like George Howell coffee is liquid gold ... it gave me energy for the WHOLE day haha! Maybe it's a mental thing, but seriously, you have to try it. 

There's a beautiful green space that separates the Faneuil Hall area and the North End called Rose Kennedy Greenway. So adorable. There are rose gardens, fountains, usually food trucks, and always really fun events going on! We didn't plan on walking from the North End all the way to the Prudential Center, but we did! We went through the Public Garden to show London the little duck statues in honor of "Make Way For Ducklings," one of her favorite books! She loved it!

I'm so happy to have Chris home for a few weeks - it makes SUCH a difference! Sunday we took the bus to Cambridge and strolled around Harvard Square! I didn't take many photos (I try to be "phone-free" on Sundays) but we had so much fun. You can see photos from our morning adventure below. 

Instagram Round-Up...

Happy Monday! 

I thought I'd share my recent Instagram looks all in one place today! It's easier for you to shop and also, you don't need to be signed up for LiketoKnowit! I've provided the outfit details for each look below the photo! I hope you all have a great Monday! We're heading to Maine to pamper my Mom for her birthday (which is next week!) 

Happy shopping! Thanks for stopping by!

Outfit details: Top: L.A. Hearts, similar here ($18!) and here | Shorts: Free People, similar here | Hat: Gap, similar here and here

 

Outfit Details: Swimsuit: RoseGal (only $16!) and also love this one from J.Crew!

 

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Outfit details: Dress: H&M, similar here and love this one! | Sandals: Gap, similar here and here

 

Outfit details: Dress: Shein | Denim jacket: Abercrombie & Fitch (old), similar here | Hat: Gap, similar here | Sandals: Gap, similar here (under $60!) and here

My Outfit: Swimsuit: J.Crew (old), similar here and here | Shorts: Forever21 | Sandals: Nine West, similar here | Sunglasses: Target (dollar bin hehe!) similar red frames here for $12!

Lo's swimsuit: Target (Cat & Jack)

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Outfit details (Left): Dress: Shein ($18!)| Shoes: Nike, similar here and here | Bag: Skip Hop | Hat: BP | Sunglasses: RayBan

Outfit details (Right): Dress: Shein | Heels: Target (under $30!) | Purse: Kate Spade (33% off!), similar here (under $40!) | Sunglasses: RayBan

 

xx, Ashley 

Monthly Motherhood Update: 22 Months...

 

Favorite Food: Popsicles which London calls "possibles," watermelon, corn, salmon, haddock, and all kinds of fruit but particularly pineapple at the moment :) 

Favorite Things To Do: Go to the playground, sing, dance, EAT (she's always asking for treats!), and go to the farm (Drumlin Farm). She is kinda like her mama in the sense that she likes to stay busy! She gets a little bored just playing around the house so she is always asking to go to the playground or "go for a ride" which I think means to go somewhere in the car :) I love keeping us on the go by planning fun activities and little day trips. 

Most Aww-Worthy Moment: She sings some of the lyrics to the Hillsong United song "What A Beautiful Name" and it melts our hearts. If you haven't heard it you can listen to it here and then imagine a little girl singing it back to you...it's the sweetest :)

Most Exciting Thing She Did: She's eating exclusively with her spoon and/or fork, so that's fun! Makes meal times less messy and I think it's all part of the whole "independent toddler" thing! She likes to do everything herself nowadays!

Fun Things We Did This Month: The three of us enjoyed a Mother's Day staycation at the Colonnade in downtown Boston, which was so much fun! I did a full post on that here, so you can check it out :) We also took London to the zoo last week and she's STILL talking about it. She loves listing all of the animals she saw...her favorites being the "big ostrich" and the hippo! My sister is due with her first child in July, so my mother and I threw her a "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" baby shower! We had SO much fun planning it and then watching it all come together! I shared lots of photos from the day in a post here. We also purchased a membership to Drumlin Farm - which is just 15(ish) minutes from our house and super fun. They've got tractor rides, a huge garden with a farm stand, sheep, goats, cows, horses, chickens, pigs, and more! It's a really great place to visit or go for a picnic! It was a really busy and FULL month - as I feel all of the warmer summer(ish) months are, and I can't believe the next time I write this Lo will be 2!

Biggest Thing I've Learned: The past few weeks have been difficult as we are dealing with a death in the family. I guess the biggest thing both myself and my husband have learned this month is that children will keep you grounded and bring you back to earth! London is so young that she has no idea what is going on of course, so she's just as rambunctious as ever...which has been super helpful. She's kept us laughing and has been the most perfect distraction during a difficult time. We are even more thankful for her and the joy that she brings to our lives now more than ever!

xx, Ashley 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: My Sister's Baby Shower...

 

When I found out my sister Lindsey was pregnant with her first child, I was over the moon and couldn't help but begin to dream about throwing her a shower! She has always gone above and beyond for me and I wanted to do the same for her. Thankfully, the other lovely hostess, our mother, helped me bring the vision to life!

The shower took place at my sister's house and was centered around the age-old nursery rhyme "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Since the gender of the baby has not been revealed, we decided that "twinkle twinkle little star, how we wonder what you are" would coincide perfectly! The inspiration actually came from this Olive and Star invitation that I saw on Etsy, which we then ended up using as Lindsey's shower invites! We chose to stick to cream and gold as the general color scheme. Lindsey has designed the nursery to include some mint green, so we did incorporate that color just a bit throughout. 

The flower of choice was baby's breath. To me, it always give a simple, yet elegant feel to a space and we ordered a generous amount (15 bunches) to put in mason jars all over the house. A beverage station was set-up with vintage glass dispensers where we served strawberry lemonade, plain lemonade and water infused with lemons and limes. Guests munched on cheese + crackers, vegetables, crostini bread with french onion dip, and fruit while they mingled. There were cards custom designed by Mint Arrow Designs for guests to leave their love and well wishes for Baby M. Lindsey and Derek (my brother-in-law) both thought this was a really special touch and they loved reading them at the end of the day. 

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My mother and I came up with a custom dessert menu along with the help of Maine baker, Sue Warren (Sweets by Sue) Fun fact: Sue also worked with me for London's first birthday ("Splish Splash" theme) and you can see what she created here! We wanted her beautiful desserts to be the focal point of my sister's large dining room table. The chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting (mama-to-be's favorite) and custom "twinkle twinkle" topper served as the centerpiece while the other desserts (macarons, cake pops, sugar cookies, rice crispy treats, and cupcakes) were scattered around. We also bought a table easel from Michael's so we could showcase a framed print that tied in the whole theme. Each guest went home with gorgeous and yummy Lavender soy candles from The Favor Design Studio, which were a huge hit!

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Overall we had such a fantastic day! Everything came together beautifully and most importantly, Lindsey felt showered with love! I am so thankful to have worked with some incredible vendors and wanted to share their shops below, as well as more photos from the day. Take a peak :)

Floral: Whole Foods

Desserts: Sweets by Sue

Invitations: Olive and Star

Party Favors: The Favor Design Studio

Wish Cards: Mint Arrow Designs

Personalized Napkins: With Love and Ink

xx, Ashley

Mother's Day Gift Guide...

 

Mother's Day is upon us and it's always been such a beautiful holiday because I think my mom is basically superwoman. I've been on the search for the perfect gift to give, and here are some of my favorites :) 

xx, Ashley

Monthly Mommy Update: 21 Months...

 

Favorite Food: Watermelon, corn, "salad" (loves lettuce), tomatoes, greek olives. I also discovered at our Easter dinner that she loves brussel sprouts! I had never given them to her because I just assumed she wouldn't like them! Jokes on me I guess! P.S. I'm so excited for warmer weather because we have been using the grill lately and just eating lots of fruit! It's amazing!

Favorite Thing To Do: Go on the swing at the playground. This is new development because she never used to love the swing...all of a sudden she stays on for about 30 minutes. The difficult part is, she doesn't like giving other kids a turn...she thinks it's her swing (oops...toddler problems). She also LOVES her new water table that a friend gave us! I bought some cute water toys at Target and she loves to splash around with them! Here's one I found for under $35!

Most Aww-Worthy Moment: Watching her chase down eggs during the Easter egg hunt was pretty amazing for me. She was SO competitive and was frantically trying to gather as many as she could. Being that my husband and I are sports people ... you can understand why this would be an "aww-worthy" moment for us (LOL!) I love to watch her competitive little spirit come out!

Most Exciting Thing She Did: Goodness...what's NOT exciting these days. The fact that she says something new nearly every day is pretty freaking exciting. The other day, I asked, "honey, are your shoes too big?" to which she replied..."no, they're great!" Oh my heart. I about fell over. I LOVE having conversations with her and I know this is only the beginning but I never want to forget these little feelings or moments with her! I try to jot it all down in her little baby book...so we can reflect later :)

Fun Things We Did This Month: London and I hosted a little Easter party for her friends, which was super fun. We made cupcakes, did crafts, had an egg hunt, and watched some Frozen of course :) I loved watching Lo look for Easter eggs ... she was SO excited. We celebrated Easter day by going to church and doing a nice dinner with my in-laws! (You can see photos from our day, here) We took a visit to my parents house for a long weekend and had a really fun time. Lo loves to ride on the four-wheeler around the farm and visit the chickens! I can't wait for strawberry season and consistent warm sunny days ... then we'll REALLY never want to leave Grammy and Grampy's!

Biggest Thing I've Learned: I've noticed that Lo is more independent lately. She wants to try to put her shoes on, read books by herself, and feed herself EVERYTHING, etc. It's a tough adjustment for me as a mom because I'm so used to doing things FOR and WITH her (which I love to do!) and now, all of a sudden, she wants me to give her space. Wahhhh! I'm thankful that she can play solo and entertain herself...but when I sit on the floor and she tells me "mumma gonna sit on the couch" a.k.a. away from her ... it stings a little bit! I have been letting her have extra t.v. time just so I can sneak cuddles and be close to her, is that bad? I just feel like she's growing up so fast and I want to hold as many moments as I can...motherhood can be a real B sometimes. Actually, not motherhood...TIME; time can be a real B.

xx,  Ashley 

Polka Dots...

 

My Outfit: Swimsuit: Asos (LOVE this one too!) Shorts: Free People (similar styles here and here) | Tote: Asos, only $23 (love this one too!) | Sunglasses: Ralph Lauren (similar style here) | Sandals: Vince Camuto, similar style here

Lolo's Swimsuit: Target

I loved rocking this swimsuit on our family vacation! I love the vintage feel that it has and the delicate ruffles on the shoulder...not to mention the low scoop back! When I found a matching polka dot swimmy for Lo I just had to get it! 

I'm sharing some more polka dot pieces below, because there's something so sweet and feminine about them! Happy shopping and thanks for stopping by! 

xx, Ashley

Easter...

 
Photo taken by my friend, Hailey (Isn't it adorable) 

Photo taken by my friend, Hailey (Isn't it adorable) 

My Outfit: Dress: Victoria Beckham for Target (only $35!) | Shoes: Steve Madden | Purse: Aldo, similar styles here and here


We had the most amazing Easter Sunday! To start, it was 85 degrees ... which always makes for a good day, but we also had such a fun time hosting family and playing outside with our girl. She was so excited to tear apart her Easter basket first thing in the morning and was most excited about her new children's bible and bubbles! Of course, I had to let her steal a Reese's peanut butter cup right away because, well, EASTER! We filled some eggs with yogurt bites and goldfish for a little egg hunt as well, which she loved! For dinner I made a pot roast in the crockpot with carrots and onions (you can find the recipe I used here) and for sides we had brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, apple cheddar biscuits, and deviled eggs! Dessert was a double-decker chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, which I added green food coloring too as "grass" so I could top the cake with mini cadbury eggs! Lolo thought it was pretty cute ;) Funny story ...  I tried to get a head start on dessert the night before so I baked the cake and then realized that I hadn't put the eggs in! #EasterFail

What did you guys make for dinner? We typically do ham, but broke away from that this year and it was pretty nice to stick a roast in the crockpot and forget about it for 10 hours! May have to make that a new tradition :) I wanted to share some photos from our day ... and also my dress which is only $35 from Target. It's from the new Victoria Beckham line ... she has designed so many cute pieces! I also loved this orange one-shoulder shift dress too, but ended up going with the pink because it matched London a little bit better :) I think it would make a great wedding guest dress too! You can shop it above but make sure to check out the photos from our day, below! 

xx,  Ashley