This summer I’ve fallen in love with street art. I think it started when two blogging friends and I hit up some of our favorite murals in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Lisa from This Beautiful Day, Jenni from A Well Crafted Party and I caught up (and goofed off) in front of some of the city’s most dramatic street art. Just about every chance I’ve gotten since then, I’ve made detours and special trips to visit Portland murals—and have been bringing my kids along, too. One of my favorite trips was a mini mural crawl in North Portland that both kids joined me for.
This mural crawl for kids was one of the most fun family activities I’ve done recently, partly because it was even more enjoyable for me than it was for the girls. (Pretty sure I’m not alone in planning 99% of our family activities around what the under-5 set wants to do—but not this time!) That said, Peeper and Kiwi really got into the kid-friendly mural crawl in North Portland. (See the photos for proof!)
Part of the fun was the novelty of the family activity: We’d never done something quite like this. Peeper loved directing me and Kiwi so she could take a photo. (She has a good eye, doesn’t she?) Plus, the girls were fascinated by street art. Their wide eyes seemed to say, “Wait, you mean artists can paint giant pictures outside? I thought you said we couldn’t paint on walls!”
Uh-oh, I might live to regret this Portland, Oregon mural crawl. Oh well, it was worth it!
Nearly every mother I know has a hustle. Or three. Or more. There’s something about motherhood these days that practically none of us is “just” a stay-at-home-mom or career mom or a mom period. We’re also entrepreneurs, bloggers, creatives, homeschoolers and so much more—not to mention being a partner, friend, sister, daughter and a whole list of other awesome roles. Enter: clothes for moms that do all the things.
It may sound silly, but my daily style impacts my ability to be so many things at once. (Anyone else think of Hermione and Ron’s interaction in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix? Ron said, “One person can’t feel all that at once, they’d explode.” Hermione replies, “Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have.” AMEN HERMIONE!) When I need to be ready to get the girls ready, jump on a conference call, bust out a blog post, plan the week’s meals and have the mental energy left to have a conversation with my husband that goes beyond Daredevil plot points, I need an outfit that works for me.
So when I partnered with Athleta to write a blog post about their new fall collections, I couldn’t stop thinking about how Athleta’s lines are just that: clothes for moms who do all the things.
I received an Athleta gift certificate in exchange for writing this post. As always, all opinions and content on this blog are entirely my own.Read more →
When Eric’s parents were visiting Oregon this summer, we took a camping trip at Milo McIver State Park. It was the girls’ first camping trip of the year, and I wanted to help make it special. (Yes, I know the very fact of spending all day outside and roasting marshmallows make camping special without any extras. But still.) I pulled inspiration from one of our favorite books, Lulu & Pip, and made camping dolls for the girls.
The camping dolls were an instant hit. The dolls went with us everywhere, from a hike to the camp chairs beside the fire. They got dirty. They got chewed on. They earned their title of camping dolls.
And my hope was realized: The camping dolls helped make our camping trip unforgettable.
Just a few weeks ago, I weaned Kiwi. Although I had a goal to wean her by her second birthday, I thought it’d never happen: She asked for milk all day, every day. Yet bit by bit, we decreased the amount she breastfed. Finally, there came a day when she didn’t nurse at all. And then there was another no-milk day. And just like that, weaning was complete.
Pretty much. (More on that below!)
It’s no secret around here that I’ve both struggled with breastfeeding and loved it. I nursed Peeper until she was 15 months old, and Kiwi until she was almost 2. But even though we’d semi-accidentally become an extended breastfeeding family, I was ready to wean.
Yes, I was ready to wean, but I wish someone had clued me in to some details about weaning I’d never heard—or read—about.
Not too long ago, I went to a blogger and media event on the rooftop bar of Portland’s Altabira. Every single person I met—every. dang. one!—asked me what my Instagram handle was. And every time I had to reply I *cough, cough* didn’t use Instagram. (GASP!) Later that night, I signed up, which is to say I’m an Instagram noob. (Say hi over here on Instagram!) I knew I had to up my hashtag game—so I had to figure out a way to organize those #s. My first system sucked (as you can see below). Then I worked out a way to organize hashtags with a bullet journal.
On the morning of Kiwi’s 2nd birthday, our brand-new two-year-old woke up and wanted to snuggle in Mom and Dad’s bed. Minutes later, Big Sister Peeper woke up and joined us. Not to be left out, our dog Finn hopped up onto the bed, too. So the first thing we did on Kiwi’s 2nd birthday was snuggle in a big family pile. I can’t think of a better way to start any day, but especially the birthday of our youngest.
Mornings are understandably hectic, thanks to two working parents trying to get ready for their jobs, two kids who would rather goof off or read books than eat breakfast or get dressed, and one dog who takes his sweet time doing his business on our walks. But on Kiwi’s 2nd birthday, we let the usual morning hubbub take a backseat. Spending a few minutes together as a family, undistracted, didn’t come with a ribbon or fancy wrapping paper. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful gift.
“Vacations are so relaxing and easy!”—said no parent of young kids. Ever. We recently spent four days in Newport, Oregon, which was lovely but not restful in the least. On top of all the prepping and packing and passing back of 18 varieties of snacks on the drive to the central Oregon coast, neither kid sleeps that well away from home. Somehow, though, despite feeling a bit run down on vacation, my creativity remained intact, and I am now obsessed with the parenting hack I pulled off to make my kids sleep on vacation.
Like on most vacations we take, I couldn’t make my kids sleep on the first night. Although I had brought noise machines and loveys and special blankets, we didn’t have the blackout curtains we rely on at home. Once morning dawned, with both kids wide awake, I knew I had to try something different.
My protests of “it’s too early” didn’t cut it.
Peeper opened the blinds and begged to differ. “Look mama, it’s sunny!” She said. “It’s not too early!” So we spent the early-early morning semi-conscious on the couch, praising the geniuses who invented Saturday morning cartoons.
Then on my way to the drive-through coffee shop (OMG CAFFEINE THANK YOU), I stopped at the dollar store down the street. I’m not sure where the idea came from, but I dropped $2 on aluminum tin foil and pulled off one of my best parenting hacks yet—which not only helped make my kids sleep on vacation but also stopped me from swearing off family vacations entirely. (Win!)