Lindsay Gill: 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

DIY playroom artwork: Let them be little

I've had an incredible time being home with my two angels.  I'm anxious and excited about going back to work in the new year, but blessed that it will only be part time.  I do miss blogging. I feel like I have things to say and ideas to share!  As long as I don't take any time away from being with my kids and I can avoid plastering the internet with their photos, I think I'd like to start posting again.

Here is one of our projects we recently did.  I love this quote that I originally saw from Sarah Tucker and it really stuck with me.  "Let them be little."  Especially because Luke is a big boy, I find that I have to step back and remind myself that he is only two!  It's easy to get carried away since I want the best for him.  I want him to go to the best school, be the healthiest he can be, have the best times he can.  But many times, he just needs a safe place in our arms.  He needs us to listen.  He needs us to be there for him, even when he misbehaves.  I knew I wanted this quote to be part of our artwork in the playroom.

We purchased a nice canvas from Michael's, on sale for half off.  I really wanted to do bubble mix paint with soap and create art with the bubbles.  For whatever reason, it didn't work.  So Luke and I used our fingers and paper towels to create an abstract background.  I then wrote the quote in gold acrylic paint.  I'm happy with the result that shines in the sunlight!  And we had fun getting our fingers and clothes messy in the process!  Let them be little!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Maternity leave from the blogging world

I'm happy to report that I will be taking a maternity leave from blogging.  It might last a few months, or it might last indefinitely.

I did think that by changing the focus of my blog to DIY projects, recipes, and home improvement, I could keep my family more private.  I don't want my babies plastered all over the internet.

The truth is, I'm very much knee deep in the wedding rings to teething rings part of our life!  My days are filled with museum outings, Fall toddler crafts, and baby products.  I get excited to share all of that with my readers, but that is less exciting when I take out the personal elements, photos, and stories to keep my family safe.

There have also been occasions that Luke has said, "close that computer!" and "put down your phone!" and that is not the mom I want to be.

Blogging was perfect for me at the time that I started as it was a great outlet during nap time.  But with a baby girl on the way, I'm not going to have that down time.  And if I do, I want to spend it all being present in the moment.

I am going to leave up the posts as even I use them as reference.   I just looked up what to pack in my hospital bag on my own blog!  And I have shared my story of gestational diabetes with many people.

But stay tuned.  I am confident that I will always be creating, and hope to come back and share my art and projects someday!  Thank you for reading and following for all of this time!  Good-bye for now!

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Fall Toddler Play date

This gorgeous Fall weather inspired Luke and me to host a (small) Fall play date!  We put together a Fall craft, Fall snacks, and Fall story to fill our morning.  

First, we did our Fall craft.  We used Con-Tact paper that we found at Target (I wish all stores were open as early as Target!)  We cut out a pumpkin (and a basketball) out of black construction paper and stuck it to the sticky side of the paper.  We then used pieces of Orange Tissue Paper Sheets to decorate our shapes.  I cut the squares but in retrospect,  it might have been more fun to let the toddlers rip their own pieces.  

After all of that work, it was time to refuel.  We had Annie's Halloween Bunny Grahams, apples with caramel dip, and apple cider!

We didn't end up purchasing this book because the cover scared Luke...but it was our plan to read Spooky Pookie.  

What a fun Fall morning with friends!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Prepping toddler for a new sibling: 10 gifts for a big brother bag

We are 36 weeks pregnant and counting!  I didn't have a strong nesting instinct with Luke and I blamed that on having gestational diabetes and being so busy with my health and appointments.  But it appears that again, I don't have a strong nesting instinct!  I had a terrible commute home on Friday that took two hours due to heavy traffic and I had pretty strong Braxton Hicks contractions the whole way home.  That's when I realized we are not ready for her arrival!  We have the nursery ready and I'm very happy with it.  But we do not have the car seats installed, and we have no hospital bag packed.  I thought to myself, what have we been doing these past 9 months?  This should not be a surprise!

We own the car seat and stroller from Luke, they just both need a good cleaning and I'm working on that now.  I will get my list of things ready for the hospital bag...I can't pack it too soon because I need most of my things until then.  I should get the baby's bag ready, though.

As for Luke.  I started collecting some things that I hope will keep him busy and special during this time of change.  Our plan is for him to be with my parents while we are in the hospital.  Here's what I came up with, I'd love for you to share anything else you had luck in preparing your toddler for their new baby sibling!
Some of these links are affiliate links, thank you for your support!

Spot's Baby Sister : This has flaps and has quickly become one of Luke's favorites.

Big Brother Daniel: Daniel gets a new sister, too!

Bills Replica Youth Helmet and Jersey Set: This is probably too dangerous with an infant in the house, but a fun new toy to keep Luke busy.  No, we won't bring this to the hospital, though.

Sports pajamas: something special to wear overnight at Nana's house, and really comfy for this new Fall weather (the best!)

OK to Wake! Children's Alarm Clock and Nightlight: We haven't gotten this yet, but have had trouble with him thinking it is morning when it is not. 

Jellycat Bashful Lamb Soother Blankie for Luke to give to the baby as a gift

The Night Before the New Baby: Luke has been loving this series.  We have the preschool one and the birthday one, too.

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep: A New Way of Getting Children to Sleep: We have pre-ordered this, supposedly it makes children sleepy at bedtime!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Toddlers learn by playing and doing: a Koala Crate review

Disclosure: We received two Koala Crates in exchange for this review, but all opinions are my own.  The links included are referral links and will give us each $10 off of our crates, thank you!

On my days off with Luke, I try to keep us busy.  One of our outings is to visit the arts and crafts store and come up with a project together.  We get a lollipop at the door and stroll the isles, picking out materials for our newest creation.  It's not ideal as it usually ends up costing more than it should, can take a while, and sometimes Luke even loses interest before we start our project!

This is why I was excited to hear about Koala Crate through my friend Danielle.  With the belief that children learn by playing and doing, Koala Crate has made it easier and more convenient to build, explore, and create with preschool aged children.

The Koala Crate is for children ages 3-4, but they also offer three other crates for older children.  We had the opportunity to try out a Koala Crate for ourselves!  It was perfect timing because Luke was feeling under the weather.  I knew he needed to stay busy but stay somewhat low-key.

Here's a peek into the Music and Rhythm box we received.  I have always loved getting mail, I can imagine that receiving this box as a little one would be so exciting each time!  It is filled with such unique materials and is so visually appealing!

We started with the rhythm game.  We used the included "guiro & stick" and rhythm sheets to make patterns.  I was impressed that Luke could follow along and repeat tap and scrape patterns using the rhythm sheets!

I like that the "grownup assistant" manual comes with extra ideas for play.  This way, we can return to the same box and continue with the activity further at a later time.

Next, we made a singing trumpet!  We used the included trumpet tube, added stickers, used a tissue and rubber band, and were able to make a buzzing trumpet "toot toot" sound!

Lastly, we worked on our "dancing silk!"  This is when we moved into the kitchen to "dye" a white scarf with drink mix.  This is one activity I definitely wouldn't have come up with myself but that Luke really had fun with!  Once the scarf was dyed, he could move and dance around with it!  I think this was his first time feeling a silky texture.

Koala Crate has also partnered with Highlights and Luke's box included a Highlights "magazine."  He immediately said "read this to me, mommy" when he saw it, so I knew it was a good fit for him!

I love that the box includes materials that I would not have found myself.  They are divided up by what is needed for each activity, so we didn't have to buy a whole package of tissue paper, for example, for the one piece we needed!  Luke was fully engaged in each activity so I think they were perfectly on target for age appropriate ideas.   The activities were different enough so that he had renewed interest each time we moved onto a new activity.

Koala Crate has different subscription plans and all come with free shipping.  I think this is such a cost efficient and time efficient way to keep Luke learning and engaged, especially since the colder weather is around the corner and since my activity prep time will be more limited when the baby arrives.  Overall, I was completely satisfied with my first experience with Koala Crate!  I would love to hear about your Koala Crate experience!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pregnancy update: 34 weeks and Chicco’s NaturalFit Advanced Feeding & Soothing System #chicconaturalfit

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Chicco. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

Surprise! We're pregnant!  34 weeks today.  And yes, this is the first time I'm mentioning it on the blog!  For the privacy of our family, I have chosen to keep this a secret until now (from the blog world, anyway!)  Maybe you suspected this when I shared the baby girl nursery a ways back, it's a girl! 
This pregnancy has been very different than the first.  The chances of getting gestational diabetes again was very high, especially since I was on insulin last time.  They gave me an early glucose test that I passed, and then I passed the regular glucose test as well!  I started crying with happiness on the phone when the nurse gave me the results.  I just can't believe it.  In fact, I don't believe it, and have been doing my best to follow the gestational diabetes diet that was prescribed to me last round, just in case.  

I've been feeling good, and scared to feel this good.  It's been going by so much quicker than last time.  As I went down a tunnel slide at the playground and was greeted with Braxton Hicks contractions at the bottom of the slide, I thought, "this is something I was not doing last pregnancy!"

Since the pregnancy has been a world of a difference from the first, it's reasonable to suspect that our breastfeeding and bottle feeding experience will be different as well.  We had a rough start with breastfeeding as I was certainly over-pumping until we got into a routine.  We found that it was pure trial and error with bottle feeding with the types of nipples and bottles.  

That's why I was excited to hear about Chicco’s NaturalFit Advanced Feeding & Soothing System.  This is a new line for me and I wanted to share the details with you as well.  The best part about the system is that it is designed for the changing feeding styles of babies with three different nipple shapes for each feeding development stage.  This line is a must-try for us, especially since Chicco guarantees that you will be satisfied with this line of bottles, or you get a refund!

The bottle nipples are made from extra-soft silicone and the texture and shape allows the baby to easy transition back and forth between bottle and nipple.  This is crucial as I plan to continue working part-time and the baby will have to bottle feed for those two days.  It is a terrible feeling to leave for work and wonder if your newborn will be able to eat without you.  I also really like that Chicco comes with a pacifier in the same line, I think we confused Luke with one shape pacifier and another shape bottle nipple.  

Stage one "Newborn flow" bottles are wider for the newborn latch and proper neck positioning.  They come in 5 oz. and 8 oz. bottles and are anti-colic by reducing air ingestion.

Stage two "Adjustable Flow" bottles have a rounder based nipple and have adjustable flow as the baby's appetite increases.

Stage three "Fast Flow" bottles are ready for increased suction strength and have elongated nipples for a more efficient sucking pattern. 

I also like the easy-to-hold shape of the bottle and the sturdy feel to them.  They seem easy to clean, which is a huge plus, too.  And guess what? Influence Central is hosting a contest through which your readers can enter to win one of 18 tiered Chicco Prize Packs.  Be sure to enter below!  The contest opens on September 9, 2015 and closes September 30, 2015.  (*IC will randomly select 18 winners from all tiered program entries and will handle fulfillment of the winning prizes.)
o   Three Tier 1 Prize Packs valued at $439.98
o   Five Tier 2 prize packs valued at $189.98
o   Ten Tier 3 prize packs valued at $59.99

Chicco Natural Fit Contest!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Oh hey, Friday! #neverforget and a little of everything

September Farm is one of my favorites to follow.  It's been quite a while since I've linked up with her "oh hey, Friday" link-up!  So here goes...

1.  I'm taking these words from my post in 2013 because it has not changed and of course it's weighing heavily on my mind today.  "I'm sure you remember where you were 12 (now 14) years ago today.  I was in 8th grade, in Mrs. Haar's social studies classroom.  She got a phone call and ran out of the room.  Her daughter worked in NYC but was okay.  Many people were not okay.  Many people lost husbands, wives, children, moms, dads, siblings, and friends."  A few of my patients now have lung cancer from smoke inhalation from that day.  The effects from that day are with us everyday.  We lost a cousin in the towers that day and our family will never be the same.

via and painted using Waterlogue app
With all of the current world crises, I don't have anything monumental to suggest or a call to action, making me feel silly to even write a post today.  Like many, I feel overwhelmed, helpless, and scared.  I feel scared especially for my son, and all of the children of the world.  I do know that I have to be the best wife and mom that I can be, and blogging is that creative outlet that allows me a little time to just speak.  And my gosh, what a privilege it is to be able to do that!  So on a lighter note...

2.  Luke and I did a cool project this morning.  I find that toys we buy just don't keep him interested and that we have to come up with more "Montessori-like" activities.  "Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds" has been a great resource!  We used this idea today and bought some clothespins at Target, colored thenmwith markers, and then pinned them to some small cabinet shelves we had.  

3.  We're loving our new laundry hamper that is similar to this.  Our laundry is on our first floor now with ranch living so a laundry hamper with wheels seemed like the way to go!  

4.  A long story short, I think Luke is having growing pains and he's been waking up several times per night.  We seem to be at the tail end of this and he is sleeping better.  Do you have experience with growing pains?  A friend suggested essential oil massage, have you tried this?

5.  Weekend plans?  Luke has a birthday party tomorrow.  My friend is home for the weekend so I hope to get together with her!  I'd love to go for a walk, do some Fall cleaning...maybe make a delicious meal or two!  What is on your weekend agenda?

Monday, August 24, 2015

6 ways to prepare for back to school with Carter's #CountMeInCarters

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.”

Luke will be starting preschool this Fall and I've started to feel the back-to-school (or just-starting-school) itch!  There is a whole range of emotions that I feel towards his first day: nervous, excited, proud...

I try to focus on the things that I can control.  Here are some things that I am trying to focus on to prepare us for back to preschool:

1.  I can control that we are sending him to a wonderful environment.  I can control how I respond to my range of emotions.  I definitely don't want Luke to sense my anxiety.  I want him to feel confident, competent, and safe.

2.  I can try and adjust sleep and wake schedules.  The summer sun is the best but certainly has Luke going to bed later than an ideal time.  I think transitioning back to school schedule is going to be a slow process and take some effort and careful planning, but be worth it!

3.  Evaluate what Luke can do on his own.  I sometimes forget to ask Luke to help.  He actually loves getting his toothbrush ready, putting his clothes in the laundry, and putting his sneakers on.

4. Get all of the forms completed and returned.  There's no need to let that paperwork stack up.

5.  Use the weekend to prep for the week.  Laundry, grocery shopping, and cleaning.  This makes for an easier week.

6.  Back to school shopping at Carter's. I certainly do not want Luke's wardrobe to interfere with his education.  I've seen him trip on his pants at gymnastics, or get distracted by the tags on his clothes.  We've been late to morning play dates because we couldn't agree on something to wear.  I want him to be comfortable, classy, and like what he's wearing for the day.

I've had great luck at Carter's for everything from underwear to outerwear.  I can confidently say that they offer a wide selection of colorful and fresh clothing for both boys and girls with a variety of cute styles to satisfy our Fall fashion needs.

They offer clothing without tags, and clothing that Luke approves.  At the same time, they are affordable and we don't have to worry about every little stain during our fun filled days.  I also like that you can mix and match pieces to create easy and modern outfit sets.  Carter's now offers clothing up to size 8 and shoes up to 3 youth!

Here's what we found at our local Carter's!  You know it's been a successful shopping trip when both mommy and toddler leave happy!

New rain boots just in time for some puddle fun!  I think this top will be perfect for a Fall birthday party we are attending, too!
With potty training, the stretchy waistband is a must.
Luke is really into trucks right now.  I love that he can have fun with his fashion but still look classy.
I was surprised to learn that 4-5T underwear is not easy to find.  But Carter's has them!
Layering is essential for Fall! Toddlers are so active that they need to be prepared for the cold, but also prepared to get warm after running around and exploring!  This winter coat is lightweight and I think it will easily become a favorite.

Don't miss these upcoming sales and see below for an extra coupon!  Also be sure to follow Carter's on the social media links below to stay updated.

Count Me In Preschool Sale (Up to 50% Off): 8/5 - 8/31:
·       Doorbuster 2 or more: $6 leggings, long sleeve tees, boys terry pants & slogans (Entire Event)
·       Single Doorbuster: $8 fleece pants, $10 moto jegging, $12 boys hoodies (Ends 8/17)

Labor Day Weekend 50% off Entire Store or More: 9/1 – 9/7:
·       Doorbuster $12 5-pack bodysuit, $9 2 pack pants, $10 turn me around sets (9/3 -9/7 only)