Thank you to Mama & Little for partnering with me on this post. Use the promo code ATHOMEINLOVE to get 15% off your order.
One of the hardest parts of moving is finding new favorites all over again. But it's also one of the most fun parts! I lived in Seattle for ten years and Ben grew up there, so we had our routines down. Favorite restaurants, coffee shops, walking routes, etc. We didn't try new places often enough, because it was too easy to go somewhere familiar that we knew we liked. So it's been kind of fun to start over fresh here, and have an excuse to try lots of new places in the name of research. :) Parenthood is kind of the same. We had our go-to date nights, a comfortable rhythm, and a familiar routine before Ian. Now, we're having to re-figure it all out with a baby. Some days, that's tough and I miss our old routines. But actually, it's kind of nice to do something different. Routines can easily turn into ruts, so I think it's healthy to shake things up every now and again.
One area where I've definitely had to find new favorites post-baby is jewelry. Ian is at a stage where he grabs everrrryyyything and puts it in his mouth, so dangly earrings and delicate necklaces are a no. A friend told me about teething jewelry, and I found Mama & Little. Necklaces that are actually meant for babies to put in their mouths?! And they're actually cute? Win-win, yes please.
I'm doing a giveaway with them on Instagram today, so head over there and enter if you're interested!
I also found a new hair stylist and chopped off about a foot of hair (!!!!). It was right after this post, if you wanna see a before for comparison. I also got some caramel balayage for spring/summer because it was about time for a change--it had been over a year since I did anything to my hair! If you're in the Spokane area and a new hair girl, look up Emily Krause at Tease Salon. Tell her I referred you, and we'll both get a little discount. ;)
I'm also starting to build a list of favorite restaurants and things to do around here. Would you be interested if I post that? I recognize that Spokane is a relatively small city and not exactly a tourist destination, so it's probably not relevant to the majority of you. But I'd be happy to share.
Don't forget to enter my giveaway with Mama & Little on Instagram, or use the promo code ATHOMEINLOVE for 15% off your order! Ian looooves their necklaces (especially the Alexa one, which is my favorite as well). If you have a teething babe, I bet he/she will love them too.
Ready for another loooong post? I thought I'd write something about my thoughts as a new mom, and the words just kept a coming...so consider yourself warned. Motherhood is a topic that I think anyone can chime in on, whether you just found out you're pregnant, are a first-time mom, or have five kids...whether you're looking back at your own childhood, dreaming about your future, or can't believe that your babies are now grown. I haven't experienced all those stages yet, but from talking to different moms, it's pretty clear that no matter where you're at, you have struggles and joys...days you feel like you're rocking it, closely followed by days when you feel like a total failure...moments when you want to soak in all the snuggles, and moments when you need some space to yourself. I know I've felt all of the above in the short period of time that I've been a mom.
When I was pregnant, a lot of people shared their experiences and advice with me, on a full spectrum ranging from "children are such a blessing and give meaning to your life" to "children ruin your life--do everything you enjoy now because this is your last chance for 18 years." Ok, maybe I'm slightly exaggerating there...but I do feel like we heard so many different things. And that makes sense, because every parent is different, every kid is different, and every day is different. Catch me on a good day, and I may say something different than on a rough one. It's only normal.
Even though I realize that, I soooo easily get caught up in comparison and self-doubt. I think all parents do, but perhaps especially first-time moms. We all want to do "the best" for our kid, but there are so many decisions to make and it's so subjective what "the best" really is, anyways. The amount of (often contradictory) information is overwhelming, and there's always someone who disagrees with what you're doing:
- home birth or hospital
- epidural or all natural
- vaccines or not
- circumcision or not
- cosleeping or crib
- breastfeeding or formula
- cloth diapers or disposable
- stay-at-home mom or working mom
- stylish baby clothes or inexpensive basics
- homemade baby food or storebought
- strict nap times or flexible sleep schedule
- homeschool or public school
...to name a few, off the top of my head. It's exhausting!
And no matter how hard you try to do it "right," someone is bound to say something that makes you feel criticized or judged. It might come from a stranger, a friend, a fellow mom, a family member, or your spouse. Maybe all of the above. :) I can almost guarantee that at some point, you will get offended or annoyed about something. Parenting is so close to the heart, it's easy to be extra sensitive. BUT I'm trying to remember that everyone means well! Those comments usually come from the best of intentions and a genuine desire to be helpful.
With that in mind, I'm trying to be open to different opinions, without taking any of them too personally. After all, motherhood is a tribe, and we need one another. None of us has the answer key. We're all just figuring it out as we go. But it's so much better to figure things out with other moms by your side, rather than trying to do it "right" all by yourself.
So my #1 piece of advice for other new parents? Find some fellow moms (and dads!) that you can chat with, vent to, and ask for advice. As for the rest of the debates? As long as your baby is fed and loved, don't worry too much...do whatever works for you. That's my take, anyways!
Becoming a parent is a tough transition. It's a HUGE shift in identity, priorities, and day to day life. And it's impossible to be perfect, because everyone's idea of "perfect" is different anyways. So don't hold yourself to that standard! Cut yourself some slack. And when it comes to all those heated debates...let's cut each other some slack too. We're all in this together.
P.S. I'd love to hear...what advice would you give to new moms & dads?
Thanks to Tenth & Pine for sending over the cute outfits that Ian is wearing in these photos. I love their selection of stylish, gender-neutral baby clothes.
I've been meaning to write this post ever since we got back from our Washington-Texas road trip. We went out to lunch with some friends and they asked us how we planned all our destinations and specific activities, restaurants, and hotels. My answer ("Instagram!") was met with confused head tilts, which made me realize that most people still think of Instagram mostly as a way to keep up with their real-life friends. Which, of course, it is. But Instagram is also an awesome tool for researching and planning vacations--or even weekend plans in your own city! I've been using it a lot since we moved to Spokane to scope out places to go/see/explore. It's like a big crowd-sourced gallery of real-time, seasonally appropriate ideas!
The first place I start is the "Places" tab on Instagram, which pulls up photos from users that have geotagged their photos with that location. You can search for broad places ("Spokane, WA") or specific locations ("Rockwood Bakery"). A broad search is worth doing to see if it yields any ideas, but be warned: you'll probably also find a lot of irrelevant stuff like people's dogs, workouts, and car selfies.
For that reason, I usually try to start with a list of a few top-rated restaurants, coffee shops, and things to do, which I get from TripAdvisor and people's recommendations. Then I search for those specific places under the "Places" tab. What I like about this is you can see recent photos from real people. This is especially helpful if you want to do something that varies by the season. You can see, for example: are the cherry blossoms in bloom yet? how big is the waterfall this time of year? is there still snow on the ground? etc. When you click on the most recent photos, you can see the timestamp when they were posted, which helps determine if it's worth going. We did this when we were considering going to Palouse Falls a few weekends ago. When we saw that the waterfall was really big and beautiful that day, it convinced us to take the detour!
Looking at recent photos also helps me narrow down restaurants, because I can see if the food looks good, if the restaurant is cute inside, and whether it looks fancy or casual (and baby-friendly). Instagram also has a little map above the photos, so I can quickly see if the location is near whatever else we have planned for the day.
In addition, looking at real people's photos can help you figure out what to wear: is this a legit hike where I need running shoes, or are people wearing sandals? was it raining there as of an hour ago? are people dressed up, or can I wear jeans? You get the picture. I could see this being helpful for researching other things too, like if you're starting a new job and you want to see how the other employees dress, you could look at the "Places" tab for their corporate headquarters to get an idea of the overall vibe.
I also take a look at the "Top Posts" from each location. These are usually from local photographers, bloggers, and influencers, who often have similar taste to me. I'll click on their profile and see if there's anything else they posted from the area that looks interesting. This can often help me get more unique ideas that aren't listed on TripAdvisor.
One last thing about the "Places" tab: there's a feature at the top called "Near Current Location." If you click that, it'll show you some popular locations near you, which can be a good place to start if you haven't done any prior planning. When we were in Flagstaff, that's how we found Lockett Meadow (the birch forest we hiked through)...it was especially popular at that time because all the trees were changing color. That feature is also helpful for finding a place to eat when you're on the road!
Other ideas: you can check hashtags for the destination you're planning to visit, follow tourism accounts, and find locals with similar taste. You can even reach out to those locals for recommendations if you feel comfortable doing so. And of course, you can always post on your own account asking your followers/friends for ideas.
I'll leave you with a couple more photos from our recent day trip to Palouse Falls. If you live in Washington, it's definitely worth a little road trip!
Have you used social media to plan a trip? Give a try next time!
How have you guys been? Last week was super lame for me. I barely got out of the house and yet I still managed to get sick, on Friday of all days. Boo! Worst of all, Ian got the same bug and the poor guy threw up for the first time in his life and had a fever of 101.9. It was so sad to see him feeling miserable, especially since he's normally such a happy kid. But this week, we're all feeling muuuuch better, it's officially spring, the weather is getting nice, and my sister is home for spring break. So things are looking up! YAY. I am ready for flowers and farmer's markets and barbecuing and long walks.
Speaking of which...since the weather has warmed up, I've quickly realized something that I miss about our last neighborhood: it was SO walkable. We were within minutes to the beach, the library, multiple parks, coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants, hair salons, etc...I got spoiled. My parents' neighborhood is nice, but it's basically just a residential suburb blocked in by major streets (that don't have very accessible crosswalks). I don't think I fully appreciated how nice it was to have almost everything we needed within walking distance. So far, that's what I miss the most about our old life (besides the people, of course).
In other news...Ian turns 9 months old tomorrow!!! I've been kicking myself for neglecting to write down regular monthly updates or journal entries to him. I haven't even kept track of his milestones very well...and he's my first baby! But oh well. I was reminded that Ian doesn't care whether he has a super detailed baby journal, or whether I've lost all my pregnancy weight, or whether I make dinner and keep the house clean, or whether he's dressed in a cute outfit or not. Those are pressures that I put on myself. He just wants me to play with him and interact with him.
So on that note, I won't spend too much longer writing this post...I've got better things to do. :) But first, I wanted to jot down some quick milestones and memories for posterity! Since I've been utterly failing at Ian's baby journal, maybe these blog posts can serve as a reference for us to look back on...
At 9 months, Ian:
- weighs ~17.5 lbs
- can sit on his own
- is doing a fast army crawl
- says "hey" and waves...and we *think* he also says "iyuvyou" as one word, although that could be his parents' wishful thinking ;)
- has two teeth
- loves hoodie strings, dad's guitar, cards being shuffled, foot rubs, tickles, and chewing on anything/everything
- hates getting into his carseat, having his face and hands wiped, and getting his temperature taken
- has eaten banana, sweet potato, avocado, broccoli, peas, apples, pears, carrots, and a tiny bit of raspberry sorbet
- is cuddly, giggly and super sweet to be around
And...that's pretty much my life lately! What have you been up to?