sundays.

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i love sundays.  they start out incredibly hectic and chaotic over here, as we try to get everyone dressed and fed and out the door for early morning church. despite our best efforts each week, getting there on time is such a novelty. (face palm.)

and then church. i think church is always a good idea. although with a new baby, i will admit i struggle getting anything out of it. i spent pretty much the entire three¬†hours of church yesterday nursing conrad in the mother’s lounge while he slept. he’s been teething hard lately so his sleeping pattern is off and he’s up most nights fussier than usual because he’s uncomfortable. ¬†while i don’t mind the extra snuggles and cuddles, it’s rough to watch him so unsettled and even harder when he only wants me 24/7 and doesn’t want to be¬†put down or held by someone else. ¬†i know it’s a short phase and we’re almost through it, but it’s an awful one for sure. and when he’s having a three¬†hour epic nap at a place like church, i’m like “why aren’t we home so i can be napping too!?”¬†(oh man i just read that paragraph back….do i sound super lazy and whiny right now?)

now that eleanor is old enough for sunday school (she is in the sunbeam class at church), i love hearing all about what she learned on our way home. ¬†today, she learned about courage, and hearing her share her interpretations of the songs and lessons she is learning, it always brings everything back to square one. ¬†THIS is why i’m going to church with a teething baby and spending the entire three¬†hour block of time in either the hallway or mother’s lounge while getting absolutely nothing spiritual or uplifting out of it myself…. i go to set an example for my little ones,¬†and because they are getting everything out of it that they should be. and it just helps soften the blow of “hallway church” when i hear all about having courage from my four year old on the way home.

anyway, once we get home, our sunday afternoons tend to be really easy going and laid back over here. ¬†that’s not to say our kids are more easy going and laid back on sunday afternoons (lol. it’s like the opposite sometimes i swear), but we try to¬†eat a good¬†meal together at home, facetime with our families and focus on each other. josh and i snapped a couple of photos yesterday afternoon of a few moments together…
sunday8435^^^reading to the bigger kids while conrad turned the pages for us. more like tried to destroy the pages, but you know. sounds better. ;)^^^

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^^^putting the chalk board wall to good use this weekend where eleanor and samson can earn a star for helping do¬†a chore or by being extra kind. five stars equals a scoop of ice cream because yep, i’m not above bribing my children. ¬†don’t judge me until you’re a parent. and if you are a parent and haven’t ever bribed your child, HOW?! but also, WOW! i prefer to just call it a reward, not a bribe. because i reward myself with treats like scoops of ice cream when i do something big or hard or challenging. anyway. the chalk board wall and this star system. it works for us like you wouldn’t believe!^^^

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^^^and ever since our day on balboa island, we’ve been obsessed with frozen bananas. we make our own plain ones by sticking popsicle sticks into peeled bananas and then freezing them for a few hours. they are tasty!^^^

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^^^we went on our first bike ride with conrad on saturday which was so much fun! it’s always a big deal when one of our little ones is officially old enough to join our biking family. we took a few pictures on the bikes so i’ll share them soon! (by the way, nutcase is making baby sized helmets now that come in xxs size. we found one on amazon and it fits great!)^^^

sunday95675 sunday85656^^^and his solids game is going strong! yesterday he ate little bits of chicken, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pita, a ton of broccoli and a bit of steak right off our plates! those new teeth are coming in handy!^^^

have a wonderful monday, friends!

a day out with the littles and what’s in my diaper bag!

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there are a lot of areas in this whole motherhood thing where i feel like i’m still learning and figuring it out as i go along. sometimes i am totally completely 100% faking it and just crossing my fingers i’m not botching it all up too terribly. ¬†but one¬†area where¬†i feel like i’ve got a bit of a grasp on it all is the¬†“getting out and exploring and going and making the most of a day out in new york with my kids.” that was a long sentence. can that area count for anything?

when we first moved back to new york city from DC, i remember it took me a couple of months to get the courage to go on the subway alone with eleanor and samson. let alone head to a different part of the city¬†with the two by myself! ¬†it was intimidating. and overwhelming. and i felt like i always needed to be somewhat close to home, incase of an emergency or an accident or¬†what if i ran out of diapers?! but, i eventually learned that all of new york city can feel like home. you can take care of and deal with an accident on the go, and running out of diapers? that’s what the drug store on every other corner is for. ;)¬† i started to¬†learn where the cleanest public bathrooms were located, where the best spots to sit and nurse could be found, where every blessed elevator is hidden¬†in the subways¬†and how to just GO, and explore, and have the best possible time doing so with my kids all the day long.

so now there are days where the littles¬†and i pack up the stroller with a bag of snacks and¬†supplies and while we don’t have any concrete plans¬†exactly, we head out for the day together and don’t arrive home until dinnertime (or sometimes¬†not until bedtime in¬†the summer months!). ¬†this is all thanks to having kids who love being out, who have only ever known this urban lifestyle, and who nap really well in the stroller and on the go. ¬†this is also thanks to living in a place where there are endless playgrounds and parks to explore. where hopping into a museum or shop to steal a few moments of air conditioning is acceptable, and if you run out of supplies midday, there’s a drug store or corner deli within a block of you. ¬†this is all thanks to a city where every day, even in the same neighborhood, it can feel a little bit different, because this city is¬†one of a kind. and just rolling with the punches as we go along, is how we do. :)

one of my most asked questions these days revolves a bit around this and what advice i have for getting the most out of a day in the city together, when it’s just me out numbered by my littles.

i’d love to share the tips and tricks i have found most helpful for myself, below!

1. FIND YOUR PREFERRED WAY OF GETTING AROUND
we’ve used a double stroller in the city for several years now, but have recently started using a more compact¬†stroller with a ride board as eleanor and samson are walking more. ¬†sometimes we’ll walk miles and miles in one afternoon, and their legs are still so little, that the double stroller is still pretty handy. ¬†when i’m out with just the smaller¬†stroller, i always try to bring some sort of baby carrier with me as well (i store it in the basket under the stroller). this way, if everyone is exhausted at a certain point in the day, i can baby wear conrad while eleanor and samson take turns using the seat and ride board.

2. A BACKPACK FOR A DIAPER BAG IS THE WAY TO GO
i wish i would have figured this one out sooner. ¬†i’ve been using a few different light weight backpacks this past year as diaper bags. i¬†think a backpack¬†helps to evenly distribute the weight of what i’m carrying, and my shoulders and body appreciate it more than you know at the end of the day. i also love how it frees up my arms and hands to focus on my three little ones. i can also keep it with me on my back while i’m running around the playground with my kids, so i don’t have to worry about anything important being stolen that’s sitting off the side on a nearby bench with my stroller (because that has unfortunately happened to me before.)

my latest backpack you see in this post i just got from sole society. (it’s actually on sale right for a steal if you’re in the market.) i absolutely love it. (here is one in black and brown i also think is functional and pretty.)

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3. PACK LIGHT ¬†(AND MY DIAPER BAG ESSENTIALS BELOW)…
you don’t need to take everything with you! right before conrad was born, i was in such a great diaper bag groove. i hardly took anything with me because we were practically out of the diaper stage and eleanor and samson didn’t require as many items while we were out. ¬†i have to pack a bit more than i’d like right now since conrad is still so new, but i only bring out what i know i’ll use during my day.

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my everyday diaper bag (or backpack!) essentials look something like this photo above.  sometimes we add swim stuff for the splash pad and different toys or snacks, but it always looks something like this.

i pack an extra¬†onesie for conrad and i still always carry an extra t-shirt of some sort for samson (he knows how to make a mean mess! another reason why i carry a bleach pen, too. ha!) these teethers have been great toys for conrad. i can strap one onto his stroller buckle which keeps him content and his gums happy as we go along.¬†and i bring some kind of swaddle¬†blanket¬†with us still for naps and cuddling while nursing or what have you. we’re always using it. the only items i really pack for myself these days are my sunglasses, my¬†wallet, my¬†lipstick¬†(i don’t ever leave home without it. ha!), and my¬†iPhone. i’ve been carrying one of¬†the micro mats¬†we designed¬†with let’s playground because it rolls up really small and is the perfect size for a diaper changing mat! these indestructible books are genius (my friend nicole recently introduced them to me) and they are light and small enough to roll up and carry around all day..and i can’t rip them even when i try. conrad loves them!¬†i always pack plenty of diapers and wipes, too. ¬†my friend amber recently introduced me to these amazing reusable¬†sip’n soft tops for any baby food pouches and i don’t know how i didn’t know about these with my first two babies! third time is a charm i guess! we also carry plenty of other snacks for the older two like almonds¬†and water in a bottle.¬†stickers¬†are a life saver when the kids are needing something to¬†keep them busy on the subway or in line someplace. and¬†band-aids,¬†hand sanitizer,¬†sunscreen, and my trusty old friend the¬†bleach pen¬†are always in my bag as well. ¬†also, not pictured but carry cash! cause some how in this city so much is “cash only” and i’m always the idiot who never carries any. and also not pictured but the portable potette has sort of saved our potty training world this year. (i put it in the carrier under my stroller.)

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4. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES
just do.¬†flats, sandals, whatever works for you. ps. here’s a post on all of my favorite comfortable walking shoes for the city. and i’m wearing these sneakers in this post.

5. KEEP YOUR SCHEDULE FLEXIBLE, AND ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES
you got this! don’t ever let¬†anyone tell you otherwise! and happy adventure-ing with your beautiful little crew.

do you have any other tips for other mama’s (and myself!) on getting the most out of a day out and about? what are your diaper bag essentials?

life lately, with a whole lotta photos!

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eleanor and i went on a mommy-daughter date a little while back to alice’s tea cup where we met little girlfriends and friends for some proper breakfast and tea. ¬†i have had an obsession with that place since freshman year of college and it’s crazy taking my little girl there now! eleanor brought along her little watermelon purse so we could be “matching” which i almost died over. ¬†cause the matchy-matchy stage is completely over with her. ¬†she’s not into the stuff i’m into. ¬†i let her pick out her own clothes now because if i buy her something on my own it’s likely she’ll never wear it and it’s not worth the battle.¬†¬†can’t believe this begins at age four!

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four of the cutest little girls you ever did see.  add some fairy wings and ample amounts of fairy dust (glitter) sprinkled on their heads and they are set for life! (never mind the fact that there was fairy dust STILL on our scalp 2 shampoos later!)

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i shared this photo on my instagram, and after scrolling through¬†and reading your¬†comments, i realized you are so right. the kiddos do look like little minis of each of us. ¬†it’s kind of fun to see that happen on occasion!

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one of the prettiest views in midtown and a family selfie with shake shack! conrad enjoyed his first bites of our favorite stuff the other evening and he loved it which made me proud because you know how we do.

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taylor swift with friends last week in new jersey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how many exclamation points is too many?! i am STILL freaking out about it. i bought a shirt with her face on it, keep replaying all the videos on my phone from the show, and have looked up the rest of her tour dates trying to find a way to plan a trip somewhere to see it again because it was incredible. my friend said it’s t-swifts world and we’re all just living in it. ain’t that the truth. one of my favorite parts of her concert were her little pep talks between songs. she’s a good one and i have no shame. i love you, tay.

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in our shirts! also, lizzie, i’ll forever love you for getting those tickets!!!!!!!!

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conrad celebrated one of his tiny friend’s birthdays in central park with a pool party. ;) he enjoyed his first homemade popsicle and taste of watermelon, too. with all the teething that’s going on at this house right now, i think he loved both. ¬†ps. i hate teething.

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tire swing fun with friends one morning at the playground!

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and some playground fun on a different day when papa joined us! by the way, eleanor has been requesting braids a lot lately and i’m just super proud of that little braid right there. braiding hair on someone else is so much harder to figure out for me since i’m used to braiding my own hair and not other peoples. i’m glad she’s into letting me practice though cause it’s so much fun. ¬†THIS is why i have a daughter. ;)

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so after a bit of¬†googling and yelping, i found a snow cone place in new york! down in the east village! we made the trek with some friends a few days ago to handsome dan’s and¬†while i’m kinda bummed they don’t have any condensed milk to add to the top, they do add pop rock candy which is kind of crazy! it was the first time my kids had ever had it! samson’s face was epic when he started hearing the candy pop in his mouth! it was such a sweet moment of discovery, with his little hand propped up to his ear as he listened intently. made the long trip down and back so worth it.

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and i love this photo of conrad getting all the love from his older brother and sisters friends the other day! as the oldest in my own family, i’m always so curious what it’s like to have older siblings. ¬†birth order is fascinating to me.

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ok, so i don’t normally go to concerts and i know it’s weird to see two pop up in this post. i’m not normally this cool you guys! in fact i am so out of the current music scene and even pop culture, it’s a little bit sad. ¬†but, somehow, another concert! a few girlfriends and i¬†saw shania twain perform¬†which was kind of epic! there was this phase during the teen years where i was a big country music fan (mostly to annoy my dad when i really think about it) but some of my very first cd’s were shania. those songs are engrained in me forever and it felt so fun to relive that chapter a little bit.

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these incredible faces all fresh and clean from the bath! i’m such an obnoxious parent, but after they go to sleep at night sometimes i look through my phone at any pictures or videos from our day and it’s like i just wanna go play with them right away¬†again! it’s not always pure joy all day long, and especially this past week as conrad has been teething and wanting nothing but me to hold and¬†nurse him, but even then, this whole gig is the greatest thing ever and i could seriously pinch myself. i just love being their mother.

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getting to spend a¬†morning¬†with our dear old friend chanel! hello gorgeous is right, lady! also, impromptu exercise class with little friends during a picnic in sheep meadow! i don’t make this stuff up you guys, they just go for it all on their own!¬† :)

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having a moment on the slide (probably one of my favorite captures of her) and posin’ with my littlest while eleanor and samson played.

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josh got me tickets to see an american in paris for my birthday and we went a few weeks ago! there is so much dancing (christopher wheeldon you are so good) and i feel like i said “wow!” so many times out loud i¬†embarrassed myself. but that’s nothing new. we had incredible seats on the third row and i feel like it was a whole different experience for me to sit so close and really see every detail and emotion play out so vividly. ¬†i usually prefer sitting further back when there is a lot of dancing¬†because i like seeing the movement through the spacing, but i don’t know, now i think i prefer it up close. anyway… a little tangent there but yeah, i’m ready to see it again.

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and here are my people, on our way home from church last sunday. ¬†that blazer you see samson in is something i ordered for him way back when we found out we were expecting a boy and i just pulled it out of my little collection of things i’ve been holding onto.¬†i had completely forgotten about it and¬†i don’t even have room for this silly stuff i buy in bigger sizes than my kids are and can you even imagine if he’d outgrown it before i remembered? i don’t know if i recommend buying stuff for future years because i think it mostly just gives me a headache when it doesn’t fit in the right season or i forget about it during the months where it’d be getting the best use. anyway, much to josh’s delight, i think i’m going to stop doing that now.

that’s all for now! unless you wanna talk about snapchat because i am obsessed even though i’m not 17. ;)

eleanor + samson’s lemonade stand!

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last saturday, eleanor and samson experienced that rite of passage in childhood by seeing a lemonade stand through from start to finish! they made their own signs, hand picked each lemon at the grocery store, helped peel and put the lemons into the blender as well as oversee papa making the syrup before even beginning the process of selling it on the street!

by the time we made it out into the afternoon heat, they were more than excited! i found a little toy cash register earlier in the week as¬†we’ve been practicing our counting, adding and subtracting over the last few months. it was fun to watch them put those new found skills to the test when giving back change to their customers. ¬†they would hold up their signs shouting “lemonade! lemonade! who wants some lemonade!!!!” and then took turns pouring each cup and handling the register like pros!

the folks in our neighborhood on the upper west side are nothing short of the kindest crowd. they were beyond supportive, and with their help, we went through the entire batch of lemonade in less than an¬†hour! the whole experience was fun for all of us, and brought¬†back such fun memories from my own childhood when we’d sell everything from lemonade to garden vegetables on the street with our friends during the summer months.

a few more photos below….

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^^^we weren’t sure how many lemons our recipe called for (because¬†it was based off cups of lemon juice) so we definitely brought home twice as many as we needed. ha!^^^

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^^^josh oversaw the whole homemade lemonade part, and did such a good job! since he’s not drinking sugary stuff, i handled the more important job of “taster,” a role i took quite seriously. and i think it was delicious.^^^

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^^^ we hauled everything over in our bucket bike and used our let’s playground mat as the table cloth (genius for all those fun little spills!) also, cracks me up looking through these photos how many there are of mister samson stealing little sips! he drank like 4 cups you guys!¬†but promise he didn’t drink out of the customers’ cups! ;) ^^^

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^^^”lemonade! lemonade! who wants some lemonade!!!!”^^^

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^^^just look at the sweet little line forming! once again, these people in our neighborhood are the best. they made the entire afternoon the best experience for eleanor and samson. i just love new yorkers.^^^

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such a fun afternoon!  thanks once again to everyone who stopped by and helped make this afternoon so special for our kids! it means a lot as a mother to see such sweet interactions going on between my kids and people on the street. this afternoon felt like the epitome of summer in the city and also that joy of being a kid and learning how to do a big person thing! super proud of these kiddos!

an afternoon at south street seaport!

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the day before the 4th of july, we went down to south street seaport to get a good look at general lafayette’s 18th century ship which just sailed over all the way from france called the¬†hermione. it is apparently an exact replica of general lafayette‚Äôs 18th century ship used to fight in the american revolutionary war. they say¬†it’s the largest and most authentically built tall ship in the last 150 years.

we made the mistake of telling the kids about it and got¬†them super pumped to go aboard and explore, only to get there and find that the line to get on the ship was about a 3 hour wait. :( and waiting in the direct sunlight and heat with all three kids, and trying to keep to a better schedule, that just didn’t seem possible. ¬†i felt bad because samson really wanted to wait in the line! “but mama, the ship is right there! we go on?!” :( but we looked and talked about the beautiful ship from the dock before we caught the parade¬†and made up for it by grabbing popsicles after eating lunch together¬†at their¬†smorgasburg down there. i’m kind of still a little bit bummed we didn’t get to climb aboard the ship and explore, but i don’t think the kids¬†have given it much thought since…. fortunately!

a few photos!

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sometimes we pause to smother conrad in kisses. lol. poor kid always has someone in his face! and it might be hard to see, but the photo on the right of eleanor taking a rest sitting on the ride board during the parade just made me melt all over the place. she’s such a little lady these days and when i see¬†her freckles peaking through¬†i get so excited that she’ll be a freckle girl throughout¬†life! go genes!

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getting a little look in from the dock! how cool does that ship look?! we were impressed.

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don’t look too closely cause i’m always in need of a pedicure, but these sandals are sparkly and make me feel fancy! (they are sold out now,¬†from zara last spring, but similar here.)

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all of my family wanted pizza but i can never pass up a lobster roll. that’s the best thing about smorgasburg, all the booths with all the options so close together! also, this is a side note that has nothing to do with lobster rolls but has anyone ever had haagan daz pistachio ice cream? because i just had it for the first time last night and i’m still thinking about it.

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these faces he’s constantly making! such a fun kiddo.

happy monday everybody!

ps. my dress is sonnet james and hat is from madewell.¬†eleanor’s dress is from here¬†and samson’s shirt from here. ¬†both their shoes can be found on zappos (here and here.) we still love our donkey but have been using the bugaboo bee 3 with a ride board on the back since eleanor and samson are walking more and stroller-ing less so we aren’t needing a double stroller as often. and we used our 50mm portrait lens with our canon 6d for these photos. :)