Life

Spring 2017: A 90-Second Update.

March 29, 2017

Spring update - 2017 

Backyard play

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 Oh, this old thing? Just a quick blog update because I know you’re DYING to know exactly how we spend every second of our day. All of your burning questions about our closets, our bookshelves, our pantry? Answered below. What other better way could you possibly spend the next 90 seconds?

BUT. There is actually a little coupon thingy for our loyal-est fans below, so ready-set-GO. 

Reading:

Violet and Miles: All of our DK Touch and Feel Books (Violet’s current favorites), King Jack and the Dragon (Miles’ current favorite), and I Am a Bunny (Mom’s favorite to read out loud). 

Emily: Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways and Shauna Neiquist’s Present Over Perfect (on my Kindle app).

Cooking: Lots of quick pasta combinations, different vegetables and hummus, and different toppngs on toasted English muffins or Naan bread as Mark is traveling every week for work and my patience for cooking elaborate meals for me and two littles is nil. I’ve been trying to put a lot of care into our weekend meals to make up for all of the lost family meal-time and I love this frittata chart for help putting together a yummy breakfast.

Enjoying:

Emily: Naptime! My coffee. Watching my little herbs and flower pots flourish. I also love watching Miles and Violet learn to communicate and play. 

Miles has discovered the magic of play-dough and will play with it alone and quietly for loooooonnnngggg periods. Violet loves to bang her toy hammer violently on the toy piano. Both are pretty fascinated by Mom’s ability to blow really  “biiiiiigggggg” bubbles (as Miles says) and our yard is currently like a bubble bottle graveyard. 

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Wearing:

Emily: AE jeans (or my favorite Calvin Klein pair, snagged from Costco! These are similar.) and a comfy tee from Target or Gap most days. I’m working on organizing a semi-capsule closet for the summer for myself and the kids.

Miles: We’ve begun the overalls rotation of 2017. Last year, we rotated two pairs basically all summer. It was the easiest system for dressing a busy toddler. This spring, I’m rotating a khaki pair, a jean pair, and a long pair sort of like these. I loved Primary’s long tees for kids this winter and just ordered short ones for the warm weather. Then it’s just mix-and-match all summer long! 

(TIP: Primary is giving a free pair of pajamas to a few of my friends whose order totals $50 or up (the free shipping limit!). I’ll pass along the gift to the first 10 people who send their email to emilymamccord at [geemail] dot com (and I’ll benefit too, so thanks in advance!). 

Violet: Dresses from Hannah Andersson, leggings from Primary, all of the cute Carter’s onesies. I realized that the unfair advantage that we give boys begins young, as I keep trying to put Violet in cute dresses that trip her up as she crawls instead of a simple leggings/onesie outfit. Fortunately, I have an opinionated 11.5 month old and she lets me know in no uncertain terms when she hates her dress/headband/stupid skirt.

Watching: 

Emily: Gilmore Girls. I’m binging every evening while I work out, work on scrapbooks, whatever. I miss sharing time and tea and our shows with Mark, but I’m making the most of my solo evenings!

Miles: Curious George, on repeat. There are two specific episodes that he prefers and we watch these over and over and over during his allotted 30 minutes of evening screen time. (Should he have any screen time? Probably not. Does this seem like a reasonable compromise? Yes.)

Violet: Mama’s karaoke skills and her brother’s tricks. (No screen time for babies around here until 2. Or 30. Or something.)

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Children playing piano.

Wishing: 

Emily: That our pool would hurry up and open!

Violet: That she could run after Miles. Soon enough, girly!

Miles: That Mom wasn’t SO BORING and would let him eat ice cream for dinner every night. Sorry, kid. 

 

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Life

A Word for 2017.

January 6, 2017

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Happy New Year!

January is one of my favorite months of the year – the prospect of the new year holds so much promise and hope and excitement. One tradition that I’ve kept over the past several years is that of picking a word early in the year and reflecting on it as the year moves on.

In 2013, my word was SAVOR. (There are no posts to link to about this, but here’s a somewhat related post about savoring moments.)

In 2015, my word was CREATE.

In 2016, it was FLOURISH.

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It’s been so fun to set goals and a vision for a year around a chose theme and then to look back over the years through the lens of that particular word.

For 2017, my word is STORY.

Part of this is my exhaustion with our sound-bite, tweet-infested, 10-second availability-infused world. We are meant for deeper, richer, longer stories and I want my year to be about the long game, both in stories I consume and tell.

With littles (mostly, a toddler!) this becomes especially apparent. Sometimes the thing that buys me five minutes of peace or my toddler 2 minutes of attention isn’t what’s best for our hearts and homes over the long haul. As a mom, I want to focus on the big picture and do the hard work that writes a bigger story of contentment and peace and simplicity and togetherness rather than just jumping from distraction to distraction and immediate solution to immediate solution.

We’re in our home for the forseeable future, which is eternally longer than we’ve ever been in any home together. We’re generally settled, but I want to focus on truly building the story of our home and our family this year, building the traditions, the rituals, and the memories that will carry us far beyond 2017.

For as long as I can remember, my aspirations and education and career have pivoted on words. And social media, driven by words and images, has been a fun source of inspiration and creativity for me. But at some point last year, it began to feel a little endless, a little cyclical, and little hopeless. I felt, as Cal Newport puts is so succinctly, like I was trying to run “a one-person media operation”, the exact end-game of which was fuzzy at best. I need, I’ve realized, to be creating stories, not just sound-bites, to survive and thrive, and I need some time and space to create and build those stories, time and space that requires stepping away from the onslaught of every other story the internet has to tell.

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I especially want to dedicate time this year to telling our family stories through albums – my children’s baby books, our family albums, the memories Mark and I have of advenures before babies, and a few other projects that I haven’t prioritized – and more regular journaling.

Finally, the word STORY serves as a reminder for me to incoporate more stories and story-time into my children’s play (as opposed to just more books and isolated words and vocabulary). Stories are a crucial part of a young child’s development and intentionally incoporating it into our playtime and conversation is one of my goals for 2017.

Do you pick a word for your year? What is yours? I’d love to know!

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Life

Making the most of every day: 5 strategies.

July 13, 2016

I considered entitling this blog post “Why I don’t write emails and nurse my baby at the same time,” but apparently Google doesn’t like blog titles of such length and depth. I digress.

Getting anything done while living with small children – even ONE small child – is no joke. Laundry, dishes, basic cleaning, opening the mail, watching a movie – these things that used to happen with almost no thought, now require the strategy energies of a moon-launch to successfully execute, whether you are a mom or a dad of just one tiny two-week old baby or several children under 5.

When Miles was very young, we were barely moved into our apartment in College station, and Mark was in the trenches of the first (pretty terrible) semester of business school, I remember just staring at our piles of possessions completely paralyzed. How was I supposed to turn the chaos into the cozy 810-square-foot-Pinterest-modeled apartment of my dreams while continuing to work my part-time remote job with a baby that required a feeding session every two hours?

But you know what? It got better. Life has a funny way of doing that – more demands on your time come in the by the front door and you think that your sanity is leaving by the back door, but it’s not. Eventually, I figured out what was, and most importantly, was not important for that hour or that day or that week.

So here are my “get it done” hacks. They are not a road-map to 100 extra hours in a week or the answer to why you are not yet successful and happy in your dream job of Instagramming white sandy beaches. They are simply tools that I’ve found useful in stewarding my time and that work for now. I don’t rely them all of the time – but when I do, I’m more well-rested, more productive, more pleasant, and more present.

Whether you are a mom who stays with her baby all day, or a mom who works away from her kids 40 hours a week, or a mom who is at home most of the time and responsible for the laundry while maintaining a career in the cracks of time from your laptop in the dining room – I hope these help you. And give you just a few more hours in your day. Or at least a chance to finish that project and have a few minutes left for a cup of coffee.

Do not do things while your children are asleep that you can do while they are awake.

This is common wisdom passed around leisurely to young mothers at baby showers. But here’s the secret to really leveraging this rule. You can do more things while your children are awake than you think you can.

Laundry? Dishes? Making beds? Opening the mail? Avoid doing these things while your children nap. Instead, talk and sing and play with your children in the room where these things need to be done while you’re doing them.

Will the laundry take longer? Most assuredly. My 2-year-old “helped” me while I cleaned the floors the other day and it took at least twice as long. But it will still get done and then when your baby is asleep you can do something more exciting than the laundry. Like reading a magazine uninterrupted.

Added bonus: your children will not grow up thinking that magical fairies do the laundry and the dishes while they sleep. (And if you are frustrated by this idea or have no idea how to encourage your children to play alongside of you rather than depend on you for 100% of their entertainment, read this book. In fact, read it anyway.)

Have a clearly defined list of things to do while the child or children are asleep.

This way, when that squirmy four-month-old that is in the middle of dropping a nap and won’t sleep at the expected time for all of the efforts you can pour forth and you finally get her down, then you know exactly what to do next to make the 12 minutes of sleep-time productive.

Otherwise, you will spend her 12-minute nap figuring out what to do and will be frustrated because you make any progress on anything but Facebook Awareness when you hear her precious cry at Minute 13.

It doesn’t matter what this list says. If it’s yoga, then get your 12 minutes of yoga in. If it’s editing for a client, then bill 12 minutes of editing. BUT DO SOMETHING that will keep you from falling over the Cliff of Time Despair.

Know and cage black holes.

This is slightly different than the generally accepted mantra: “We are all wasting all of the time with social media” (true as that may be). I have my time black holes and you have yours. Whether the black hole consists of magazines or Instagram or Netflix or counting the clouds that sail by: we all have them. I’m sure even Sheryl Sandberg has something on which she wastes time. The way to leverage this? Know what those things are. Then limit them by determining when you will waste time.

For instance: social media, namely, Instagram, is so addicting to me. I love it. Not always necessarily a good use of time. But when I’m nursing and only have one hand free and can’t really move around very effectively and am generally being left alone by my toddler – I scroll Instagram. When I’m not nursing? I try to leave it alone. See? It’s self-limiting. Wins all around – I get my mental zone-out break, my baby is fed, and I don’t feel as if I wasted precious time by falling down the interwebs.

Have a clear sense of what can be done when.

This is related to all of the other suggestions and this looks different for everyone. Some women can type entire books while they nurse. I can do….basically nothing that requires two hands while nursing. And I’m not very good at typing anything other than a two-line email with one hand. So extensive typing or editing or really at all anything requiring two hands doesn’t happen while I nurse. But my children have both loved our Ergo. So sometimes when they are awake and just want to be close to Mama, I *can* do things like cleaning or laundry or typing while I wear them. But some children hate their Ergos but love their playpens.

If I try to type an email longer than two sentences while I’m nursing, I get frustrated and normally my baby gets frustrated and the email generally doesn’t get finished anyway. So I quit trying to write emails longer than two lines while nursing.

Just know what you need to do and then figure out the best time and situation for doing that. Then, when babies don’t nap and the weather changes and someone needs to be held during their nap instead of sleeping in their crib – you have a backup option and can still be productive at something.

Give yourself grace to be productive in different ways.

Pregnancy and caring for newborns has been a huge reality check (at least for me), in part because being productive suddenly means something very different than it used to mean. During pregnancy, you are growing a human. So even thoughI was exhausted and nauseous and flaky and couldn’t remember why I walked from one end of the house to the other, I was still being massively productive. This took me forever to really accept, but once I did, I became a much less stressed-out human being.

Nursing has been such a soul-check for me. I want to be up and moving and doing things, even if those things don’t necessarily accomplish much, because I feel better if there’s movement and energy being expended. But when I’m nursing my babies, I have to sit for hours. And do seemingly nothing. Sometimes my babies even know when I’m looking at the screen of my phone and get annoyed, so I’m really not doing anything. Except that I am keeping a human alive. So that’s pretty important.

Spending time with my baby and simply cooing back at her is, in fact, quite productive. I’m helping her to become a little human. We don’t always have to be *doing* something remarkable together – sometimes my kids need me to just be present with them. Reminding myself of this helps keep me from being frustrated at the slow moments and helps me appreciate and savor those times more.

This book was also completely life-altering for me. It gave me a new perspective on time and focus and presence with my kids and convicted me enough to really sit down and think about what kind of parent I want to be and how to make that happen.

What are your secret weapons for getting things done with little people?

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Friday Links | Life | Uncategorized

Weekend Reading List // 6.

March 18, 2016

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What does your weekend hold? We have family in town for a wedding – lots of pour-over coffee and eating and talking happening over here! When my sisters come to town, Miles is in Heaven, acts like I don’t exist (“Oh hey, Mom. Too cool for you now.”) and conveniently forgets everything he knows (“Naptime? What’s that?”).

My grand photo backup plan is slowly happening. Every time one set is backed up, I feel such major relief. Why did I wait so long to do this? Have a massive photo catch-up project? Ronnie has some good tips. (via Life Captured)

My goodness, I love her style. (via Azzari Jarrett)

I used to work in a heavily male-dominated work environment. I never cried at work, at least not in the office. But here’s why one writers thinks more tears should happen at the office (via The Atlantic)

Reading this and gleaning so much.

Do you have work/life balance guilt? Read this breath of fresh air. (via Clementine Daily)

These makeup tips have changed my daily game. (via Cupcakes and Cashmere)

We are deep in the throes of picky eating. I think Miles will love these though! (via Smitten Kitchen)

Have you ever made your own yogurt?? (via Food52)

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Friday Links | Life | Uncategorized

Weekend Reading List // 3.

February 26, 2016

WEEKEND READING LIST_3

Are you a creator or consumer? (via Storyline Blog)

Great advice – don’t organize more. (via Psychology Today)

Do you use any of these blogging tools? (via Rising Tide Society)

Oh my goodness, I love reading about this challenge. Could you could every single meal from scratch for a month? (Confession: At this particular juncture in life…I’m not sure I could – unless the rotisserie from the deli country counts??) (via Epicurious)

I am working to organize our massive photo collection (s?). Tips, anyone? Eventually, I’ll try to write up a post detailing this torturous process, but until then, check this great list of tips out. (via Tested.com)

I am collecting gorgeous, whimsical wrapping paper so that I can do this to all of our drawers and shelves. Nesting overkill? Probably. (via In My Own Style)

Happy weekending!

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Life | Travel | Uncategorized

Adventures in Mexico (with a toddler): Cancun.

February 16, 2016

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During the last week of January, we finally made our family trip out of the country happen. Mark and I had both wanted to travel with Miles internationally while he was still in the “only child” category. We were also long overdue for a family vacation.

While we originally had more adventurous plans in store, we settled on Cancun and the Riviera Maya – the combination of reasonable costs, ease of planning, and the short plane flight was too tempting.

We picked our dates and booked flights. (Note for next time: Although we were constrained by our dates and needed to book when we did, we realized later into the trip that prices fall in the Riviera Maya fall pretty dramatically around the 1st week and 2nd weeks of February.)

We aren’t really “resort” people and get antsy after a few days in one place, so we wanted to stay in a few places and explore a bit rather than committing to one location for our entire trip. After a lot of “research” (Hi, Trip-Advisor), I was able to find quite a few family-friendly small hotels or bed-and-breakfasts available, even during such a busy travel time.

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Our stay in Cancun sandwiched the rest of the trip – we knew that we didn’t want to spend a lot of time in such a big tourist destination, but we also didn’t want to push ourselves to travel a lot in one day with a toddler. So we booked our first and last nights close to the airport and had about a day on each end to explore Cancun itself.

On the first afternoon, we drove our rental to our first stop – Bed and Breakfast Cancun. I was a little nervous because it was the most inexpensive of our lodging choices (and I felt responsible since I had picked allllll of our lodging!), but our time there was phenomenal. From the second we walked in the door, we felt right at home. The owners, a Canadian/Mexican couple, were warm, informative, and fun. They also were terribly sweet to Miles (even though I found out they didn’t normally allow children, whoops!).   Veronica, the hostess, cooked us delicious omelets both mornings of our stay and even kindly let me use her washer and dryer.

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Our room was immensely comfortable and impeccably clean. Once we settled our things, we drove out to the hotel strip (about 25 minutes away), to find the beach. We bought Miles some toys for the sand, relaxed on a little strip of sand that we discovered, and then headed to Mocambo’s for dinner. Our first dinner in Mexico was so memorable and delicious. Miles couldn’t get enough of the ocean and hung over the balcony railing staring at the water for the entirety of the meal. (One of the perks of toddler schedules, we’ve found, is that we tend to arrive at restaurants early enough to get prime seats ahead of any crowds.)

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The next morning, we headed to the Puerto Juarez pier for our ferry to Isla Mujeres.

I’m jumping ahead a bit, but I wanted to note one other great thing about the Cancun portion of our trip. When we came back through Cancun, we had a little more time to kill. We ate lunch outside at El Fish Fritanga and escaped the heat by visiting the stores inside Plaza Kukulcan for a bit, but after a little of Googling, I was so excited to find this list of public access beaches (here’s another helpful one that I found later as well). We only had time to explore Delfines Beach and we weren’t really prepared to swim that day but the thrill of finding some unhindered access was exciting, nonetheless.

Miles was getting a little tired of the vacation routine and loved just playing on a regular playground – but while he did that, we got to soak up such an amazing view! I wish we had discovered the fantastic public access earlier. If we ever return, we’ll definitely make it a point to visit Delfines Beach with our bathing suits.

Next stop, Isla Mujeres!

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Life

My Word for 2016.

January 3, 2016

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Happy 2016! The turning of the year makes me positively giddy – the possibilities of a new year, a fresh slate, an empty calendar all stretching as far as the heart can hold.

Over the last few years, I’ve picked words for my year. 2013’s word was SAVOR. I even scribbled a bucket list to go along with it. Last year’s word was CREATE. I had lots of optimistic aspirations that Miles and job-searching and move-planning and first-trimester-second-pregnancy sent crashing, but somehow the word still helped to define my year.

I shook off the post-partum-what-is-this-parenting-thing fog and started to figure out how to create time to craft and cook and read again. We created so many wonderful memories as a family of three. Even in the perpetually temporary throes of grad school, we forged a priceless community of friends. WE ARE HAVING BABY #2. I made progress creating memory-preserving projects and figured out systems to help me stay on track in the future.

So what about next year? Next year I want to FLOURISH. Last year found me still in the throes of baby survival-mode. Mark’s school and work demands meant that there were a lot of long days of solo parenting. Days and weeks of toddler-parenting boot-camp and and the juggle of our work and school schedules and a lot of travel apart and big decisions about our future all added up to a year that felt like perpetually holding my breath.

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It was good rich year, but it involved a lot of just surviving. And I’m tired of surviving. One definition of flourish that I love is “to grow luxuriantly”. In 2016, I’m determined to do just that. No more holding my breath, no more waiting for the next break from the pressure. 2016 will be a year of flourishing, of enjoying, of embracing whatever is in store.

A new city, a new job for one of us, and a new little family member all hold the promise of so much – I want to relish every gift that the coming year holds.

Are you choosing a word for 2016? I’d love to know!

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Life

Home Tour: Apartment Baby Nursery

June 2, 2015

Nursery Room Tour | The Orange Slate

Stuffed Elephant | The Orange Slate

I’ve mentioned before that we live in an apartment. It’s not small enough to qualify for some kind of T.I.N.Y. prize (like this one). It is, however, under 900 square feet – small enough to mean that every room serves at least three purposes.

So when I say “nursery”, I’m really referring less to an entire room and more to a dedicated half of a room. When Miles was tiny, he slept in a cradle in our room. At around 6 months, he migrated into his crib and about a month later finally started actually sleeping in his own room (now dubbed “the nursery”, which also doubles as “the guest room”).

When we first moved into our apartment (when Miles was 3 weeks old), I knew the he would be in our room for a while, so I didn’t stress too much about having The World’s Most Gorgeous Baby Nest perfected.

But even before Miles was born, I approached the choices I made for our baby furniture and nursery set-up much the way I approach other choices: I prioritized the major needs/wants and let the rest take its course without agonizing over it too much. Here are the priorities that guided our nursery design (beyond safety, of course):

  • Reasonable investment. Mark and I aren’t trying to reinvent the art of raising a human. Our baby needs to be safe and comfortable in aesthetically pleasant surroundings, but he’s going to spend less time with all of the baby supplies we buy him than I spent in my college dorm room. Dropping thousands of dollars on the finest baby furniture and decor in the universe is just not my thing. (I don’t mean this critically. This is a choice thing. If you like to spend money on baby furniture, that’s completely within your rights.)
  • Space-friendly. Our apartment is very small. Doors are narrow and we move pieces around a lot to accommodate changing needs, guests, my early-morning decorating whims, finals week study sessions, etc. Baby furniture needed to take up as little space as possible and pieces needed to serve various functions.
  • Aesthestically minimalist. The more visual clutter I can eliminate, the better. Small and slender was the name of the game for picking furniture. For colors, I love LIGHT, whites, and light neutrals. Our apartment carpeting and paint colors (not our choice!) are neutrals just on the darker side of cream, so I’m constantly trying to brighten up our space. No heavy dark woods for us, at least not now.

Nursery Tour | The Orange Slate1

That’s it. Those were the three guidelines. Our nursery layout is so very simple and I love it. Our crib is light and small. I obsessively use baskets for storage and have baskets of all sizes in all of our rooms. Storing Miles’ toys in one basket and his bath-time/diaper gear in another underneath the crib was an easy way to hide clutter while efficiently using space and also keeping it within easy reach.

His clothes, towels, and sheets are kept in one small dresser across the room. When he outgrows a size, I remove the pieces and store all of those clothes elsewhere so that he’s actually using all of the pieces in the dresser.

The baby furniture also includes a rocker and a cool mid-century table that we’ve collected. The beautiful hand-lettered canvas and engraved metal piece were gifts. I picked up the wooden letter at Hobby Lobby (although I’ve linked to a similar one below).

Lindsay Letters baby print | The Orange Slate

Sources for pieces are as follows:

If you have questions about our setup or about living with a young baby in a small space, let’s chat in the comments!

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Life

My Search for The Perfect Summer Sandals.

April 23, 2015

Summer Sandals | The Orange Slate

Summer Sandals 2 | The Orange Slate

It has been the longest week – good in so many ways, but lots of early mornings and full full days. I’m also trying a new schedule/day structure with Miles to see if I can make our days a little less frantic and more peaceful and organized and it seems to be working well for him, for which I’m so grateful, but it leaves me feeling a little breathless at the end of the day.

Especially for work at home mamas, bur really for all mamas, do you find that your schedule and your juggling strategy change as your baby grows? (This feels like such an obvious question now that I’m writing it.) But seriously, do you have something that you *know* works and that sort of acts like the goal-post for structure or do you continue to flex? And when do you hit a wall and say “Ok, let’s change some things about how this day flows?” Anyway. That’s where we are.

Miles is suddenly much more active and needs a lot of intentional engagement and I am so excited that we are moving into a stage where he is discovering so much. BUT. My old (infant days) system of “I will answer all 300 emails while Miles plays quietly in his gym next to me and maybe falls asleep” is no longer functional. When Miles is up, I (or the babysitter, or Mark) needs to be focusing on Miles. And so I’m having to really think through our days and weeks carefully in advance to make sure that all of our time is organized and allocated and that Miles is getting what he needs and that Mark and I are fulfilling our work/school commitments.

I am also in the middle of a closet overhaul/packing for some summer adventures. I am not normally prone to a lot of style blogging. BUT. Summer is coming quickly and my shoe wardrobe desperately needs a little makeover. This girl needs some new sandals. Not flip-flops. SANDALS.

I love the leather gladiator styles (I’m so original, right?) and as I scrolled, I noticed that my picks were almost all falling in line with the natural leather color. I want to be able to wear this shoe comfortably all summer, but I want something dressy enough so that I can wear it without feeling like I’m dressing down – skirts, dresses, church, dinner out. You know. (So demanding. I want my sandals to do ALLLLL the work.)

I have all but given up heels for this moment in time (carrying a baby in a front-pack while wearing heels is possible, but risky, take it from someone who has tried.), so flats or nearly-flat is optimal.

So here is a run-down of the sandals I like. Which is your favorite? Cast your vote! I would love your opinions.

Summer Sandals

1. Tommy Hilfiger Ladonna. / 2. Tommy Hilfiger Leona Gladiator Sandal / 3. Steve Madden Comma / 4.Guess Rehon  / 5. Aersoles Back Atcha

I’m leaning towards a t-strap, but I really like the structured look of #3. And I like that #4 and #5 have the tiniest bit of a heel (although I would probably try to find #5 in a different color – maybe navy?).

How are you refreshing your summer closet?

P.S. I use occasional affiliate links on this site to support my work. There are a few affiliate links in this post. Thank you for reading!

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Life

Lullabies That Aren’t – 14 Songs to Update Baby’s Playlist.

April 16, 2015

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Baby Songs | The Orange Slate

Singing is such a special part of a baby’s life and development and bonding. Those early songs imprint us in a deep way that nothing else ever does, don’t you think? I can still remember the songs that my parents sang to me at a very early age.

For Miles, days involve a lot of singing and music. During the day, we sing and listen to lots of traditional lullabies and baby-playtime songs like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “This Little Light of Mine,” “The Muffin Man,” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands!” (I also sing him The Alphabet Song every day because I was a (double) English major and am a little obsessed with early literacy.)

But then there are the not-so-traditional songs that aren’t really written for babies, but somehow belong to a mother or daddy and their young baby. (I grew up listening to Dedicated to the One I Love by Linda Ronstadt, an entire album of well-known rock hits interpreted as  lullabies).

Some lyrics just take on a whole new, beautiful meaning once you have a baby. Others are so soothing or sweet that they are like lullabies in disguise. I asked a couple of people with wide-ranging playlists to suggest some songs for this post.

Here’s 14 that we gathered:

Do you agree? What are your favorites? (Also, if you’re searching for a special baby gift, this playlist would make a fantastic surprise!)

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