Filed In: Pregnancy & Baby

My Favorite Small Shops for Holiday Gifts

I am a huge fan of Etsy and love supporting women and moms who are running small businesses. So, if you’re looking for creative gift ideas, here are some of my favorite shops and products:

Dear Knot

She has the cutest macramé wall hangings. How cute would this snowflake wreath be for a little girl’s room? I ordered some of these keychains as gifts and love them. They’d make great stocking stuffers or secret Santa gifts, too. 15% off with code CYBER15

These macramé keychains are about $6 each with the discount code.

Rose Henges

Probably my favorite Etsy shop to date. I adore her style. I took advantage of her sale on Friday and got this C.S. Lewis quote + lion painting that has been on my wish list for a long time. I also love these gorgeous letter prints that are less than $3 if you print yourself! P.S. The entire shop is on sale today.

Rose Harrington

This is a lovely Catholic art shop. I like this print for the kitchen. I love this quote too: “The world doesn’t need what women have, it needs what women are.” 25% off with code SHOPSMALL2017

Vintage Cloud Shop

A mix of vintage clothes + homegoods as well as art with a nature, fauna, and desert vibe. Nathan bought me an amazing vintage skirt from here a couple years ago (he’s the best). Nichol has such great taste and I love her nature-filled art. These cool temporary tattoos would make great stocking stuffers.

Seams Like

This shop is my new obsession. Isn’t it amazing? Stuff sells out almost immediately, but if you have a vintage lover on your list, maybe you could snag her a cozy sweater or something. Follow Jolie on Instagram to find out when she’s adding more to the shop (usually every two weeks). I bought Henry some cute vintage sweaters for Christmas. 15% off with code THANKS

The Fox & She on Minted

I have a large print of this painting in our dining room and love it! Minted is a great place to find high-quality, affordable prints by artists.

Lily Jade

If you’re pregnant, I highly recommend putting one of these diaper bags on your baby list. This diaper bag doesn’t even look like a diaper bag, which is one reason I love it so much. I also like that it converts into a backpack so I can have both of my hands free.

I heart this diaper bag. I can even carry my laptop in it.

Pacific Loom

I have a weave from this shop and like how it adds texture to my gallery wall. It looks like she has added macramés now, too.

The rust + cream colored weave is from this shop!

Middle West Knitting Co

A family friend had Anna make us one of these pixie hats for Henry when he was born and it was my favorite baby hat. He looked like a little gnome. I also like Anna’s pom-pom charms. 20% off everything today

See what I mean? Little gnome? #love (more…)

Henry’s First Birthday

I know it’s cliché to say, but it does feel like I was pregnant with him just yesterday.

Henry was born on October 27, 2016 at 2:39 in the afternoon, four days after my estimated due date, and 37+ hours after my water had broken. People say labor hormones cause you to forget a lot of it, but I remember his birth so vividly. And despite the difficulties, and the complications I nearly died from, it was infinitely worth it. Feeling him breathing on my skin was a little slice of heaven on earth.

He has brought so much joy and laughter to my life and to our marriage. I feel incredibly thankful that God brought him into our family.

Henry devoured the red velvet cupcakes I made, but they weren’t my favorite and I’m not sure I’d make them again. (Plus the toxicity of food coloring freaks me out.)

I also made my favorite vegetarian lasagna and simple salad. Henry would eat sliced cherry tomatoes all day if I let him–so suffice it to say, he enjoyed the salad.

I intentionally keep gift giving really simple (for multiple reasons but mainly my sanity), but I did get Henry this adorable reindeer with glasses outfit from Gap (on sale + 40% off + I had a gift card = how I shop), these cute socks from Target, and a pretty book to begin practicing to count.

Henry loved all of the attention from family. He’s such a social little guy! I was telling Nathan the other day how much I enjoy Henry’s personality–his giggles, his earnests demands for more strawberries, the way he rests his head on my legs when he’s tired, his attempts to get strangers at Target to turn and smile at him, his “dance” moves, and his love of singing. (more…)

& The Rest of the Apartment: Photo Tour

Yesterday, I shared how we arranged our bedroom after having Henry, and now here’s the rest of the 660 square foot apartment we lived in.

First, the outside. It was my favorite during the fall.

I need to drive back over in a week or two for a dose of nostalgia and beautiful colors.

Buried in vines, just the way I like it.

Living Room

One of my favorite things about the apartment was the old character, especially the arched entryways (cut off on the side of this cellular photo ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). Our house now has similar arched entryways, too.

I have a mild obsession with arranging gallery walls. This one is more spread out and I’d probably do it differently now, but it felt like home. I got the abstract green circle print from this shop on Minted, the succulent was painted by my friend, and the print in the upper left corner is from Rose Henges.

You know how they say don’t cram all your furniture up against the wall? Well, I should have followed that advice with this poor chair, crammed into the corner. Sorry, chair.

See that picture on top of the bookshelf with that dancer’s blue dress? My friend, Amy, painted it in high school. Amazing, right?

This short shelf fit well in this space but not-so-much at our new house (it’s currently relaxing in our spare room).

Kitchen

These cabinets were so tall I could stand on top of them and still had about six inches before my head it the ceiling!

A tiny oven for a tiny kitchen.

My favorite dishes, hue green from Crate & Barrel. (Unlike other stuff at Crate & Barrel, they’re not that expensive.)

Dining Area

Many sweet memories of dinners shared around this table. (more…)

Having a Baby in a One-Bedroom Apartment: How We Did It

We lived in our apartment for just over two years and some of our dearest memories are in this space. I highly recommend Fair Oaks if you’re looking for an apartment in Minneapolis. Henry was about seven months old when we moved out.

I thought I’d document how we managed to have a baby in a one-bedroom apartment without getting overwhelmed by stuff. I am not a strict minimalism by any means, but I do like to be thoughtful about what I buy and keep in our home because clutter makes me feel stressed. I’m convinced that when I feel the urge to “organize” something, I really just need to get rid of stuff that we don’t use or find beautiful. (Yes, I adhere to the philosophy that you should only keep things that “you know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.“)

Before you get too surprised that we opted to stay in our one-bedroom apartment with our baby, let me tell you that having your baby in your room will probably happen no matter what for at least the first three months. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months, ideally the first year. But that said, your sleep matters, too. I don’t believe parents should ever feel bad for moving their baby into another room (or the living room or a hallway) if they can’t sleep with the baby in the room. Sleep deprivation makes you feel crazy.

Here’s Henry’s side of the room. I made a little gallery wall for him. The basket contains all of his toys (babies don’t need that many toys). And underneath the shelf-turned-dresser is everything we needed for diaper changes. I still change his diaper on the floor.

As you can visually observe, my main advice about raising a baby in a small space is to have only what you need–and you really don’t need that much. I do want Henry to have a fun childhood and I’m not against toys, but the things Henry gets the most excited about are boxes and paper and plastic cups. We bought a mini crib to save on space and I did buy a slightly more expensive Ubbi trash can and it was worth it.

“But…where are you going to put the baby?”

It was an honest question, even though the underlying question felt like, “Why aren’t you giving your baby a real nursery?”, and I got used to hearing it when I told people we were pregnant and we were not moving yet.

And having a baby in a small apartment was perfectly fine. I loved it actually. There were less rooms to clean and babies don’t need that much space. (more…)

7 QT: Podcasts, Sleep, and Sugar

It’s strangely humid here in Minneapolis but the trees are also beginning to change, so I’m caught between something I love (fall trees) and something I don’t love (humidity). C’est la vie. To be honest, there are so many posts I’ve been working on but I feel stuck at a weird place with all of them, so for the sake of posting something, here I am. Many of the bloggers I follow do seven quick takes on Fridays. It’s mostly a Catholic blogger thing, but today I’m going to follow suit.

So, seven things right now:

1

I discovered a new podcast that I love: Typology. If you’re into the Enneagram, check it out. I read the book The Road Back to You this summer and had a book club discussion with some friends about it. Fascinating stuff.

2

I’ve been getting more sleep. Now that Henry usually sleeps through the night (as long as I dream feed him before I go to bed), I can actually get full night’s rest. I’ve been going to bed between 9:15-10:15pm and I finally feel rested when I get up with Henry around 6:00am. It’s made me such a happier person. Good sleep habits are as good as kale.

3

Bye, bye sugar. At least for a little while. I’m taking a break from most refined grains and processed sugar this month. This is nothing compared to the likes of Whole30, but I wanted to reset my habits and cutting out sugar has been helping. I’ve noticed a huge difference in how I feel after breakfast, too. I used to start my day with cereal or granola, but since I’m taking a break from processed sugar, I’ve been having either:

a green smoothie (something like spinach, peaches, banana, chia seeds, sunflower seed butter, and almond milk)

a couple slices of whole grain toast with avocado and eggs on top

oatmeal with walnuts, chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, almond milk, cinnamon, and maybe sliced banana

If I’m in a hurry, I usually have a piece of toast with natural peanut butter and some berries.

4

Morning walks. This hasn’t happened every day, but I’m trying to get in the rhythm of going for a short walk with Henry after breakfast. Even though we live in the city, I find it most natural to connect with God in nature. I like letting my thoughts lead to prayer while I walk. (more…)

Tidbits of Summer Life

What do you think of the word “tidbits”? I am not a fan, yet there it is. In the title. But let’s move on before yet another post dies a slow death in my drafts section.

I’m beginning to realize that once I get a sense of how my days go with Henry, they change. The latest change goes by the name of crawling. And his middle name is pulling himself up on everything. So my days are largely spent moving around the house with him and telling him “No” when he tries to eat the cords of our floor lamps. Passionately does not begin to describe Henry’s love for electrical cords.

But despite the cord situation, this is such a fun season with Henry. Everyone told me 7-12 months was a sweet spot, and they’re right. I love watching his personality grow. He likes to clap his hands when he gets excited and it melts me. Life has gotten so much busier for me now that he moves around the house on his own, but I’m still able to squeeze in a little bit of writing time when he naps.

In no particular order, here are some things happening:

I started writing for The Twin Cities Moms Blog! I’m looking forward to writing regularly for them. You can read my first post, 10 Things To Do If You Had A Traumatic Birth Experience here. (more…)

My Guide to Iowa City

“I can’t believe how huge these spinach fields are,” my roommate from Chicago observed on our drive through Iowa.

“Spinach fields?” my other roommate, from Iowa, glanced back from the passengers seat and looked at her.

“Yeah, there’s so much spinach everywhere!” my Chicagoan roommate continued.

The two Iowans in the car erupted in laughter. She and I did not know why.

“It’s soybeans! Not spinach. Spinach doesn’t grow in fields like this!” they explained, breathless from laughing.

Soybeans are things most Iowans understand. And I love them for it. As someone who grew up in the suburbs of big cities (Minneapolis and Austin), my agricultural knowledge is limited to comments I’ve heard and a few facts from books. Many of the Iowans I met during college grew up on or near farms and learned about the land experientially and from relatives.

The beautiful mural outside of Dulcinea.

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Iowa City holds a dear place in my life. I arrived there when I was eighteen and left when I was twenty-five. It was the place where I found my love of words. The place where I struggled to integrate my creative passions–poetry and dance especially–with my faith. The place where I poured into others yet rarely knew how to let someone pour into me. The place where I floundered to know myself. Yet it was also the place where God always found me and brought me back to Himself. It was a place where I grew to depend on the Lord more than any earthly thing. I am grateful God brought me to Iowa City. I am grateful for the ballet classes and the writing workshops. The years as a writing tutor, a poetry editor, and a person learning how to be a friend. I am grateful for the years God gave me to work at church and pour into other women as a mentor and counselor.

A couple weekends ago, we drove down to Iowa City since it had been three years since I’ve visited. It’s both strange and grounding to return to a place after so much change has happened in my life: I’m married, have a son, own a house, and enjoy a calling as a stay-at-home mom who tries to write when my baby sleeps. (more…)

Springtime

Copied this template from The Fisk Files (I love Britt’s blog).

making: decisions about paint colors (we bought a house on Friday!). I’m usually fairly decisive but paint colors have me going to Home Depot again and again for more samples.

cooking: do roasted veggies count as cooking? Potatoes and carrots drizzled with olive oil, salt, fresh pepper, and dried herbs. Yum.

drinking: Decaf coffee on repeat. #nursing

reading: I was reading The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity but I’ve already renewed it three times from the library and had to return it today. I’ll finish it at some point, fingers crossed. It’s pretty woo woo but I love her premise that everyone is creative.

wanting: to be done moving! Boxes and a general sense of disorganization are my life right now.

looking: like I’ve lost a lot of hair. Postpartum hormones did me in and my hair is T to the hin. (more…)