Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts


sibling spacing + age gaps

As adding baby girl #3 into our family nears, I have been thinking a lot lately about the spacing between my girls and the family dynamic it creates. I thought in addition to posting about my own experiences with the age gaps in our family, it would be fun to ask a handful of my favorite Mamas to share theirs as well, including what they've found to be the biggest advantages and toughest challenges when it comes to how their little ones are spaced. 

I think a lot of what we've chosen to do personally has been influenced by how we grew up. Obviously, when it comes to pregnancy and having a family, there are a lot of factors beyond a person's control. But overall when I look at how we've spaced our girls, I can definitely see we were influenced by our own childhood. I grew up as an only child and while part of me enjoyed it, I really just longed for siblings. I wanted a sister so badly, a built in best friend who was always around to play with. Dustin was the middle child of three boys. When we got married, our hope was to have at least 2 kids, but deep down desired 4-6. With #3 on the way, we go back and forth if we'll have more or not after she arrives, that's still undecided and for now, I like it that way ;)

Olivia turns 3.5 this month, Penelope is 14 months (tomorrow) and Baby Girl #3 is due in early February, making her 17 months apart from Poppy and roughly 4 years apart from Olivia. I knew I wanted to space my first two out quite a bit, just to experience motherhood with one, to soak up every "first" and give her a taste of being an only child like I was. Our hope was to have our third closer to our second than our first two were, for something different and new and it ended up working out that way. Ultimately, no matter how you space out your babies or how big or small your family is, it's perfect for you and finding the positive in it is what matters. There is no right or wrong way to space your kids and certainly nothing wrong with only having one (or maybe none!). That being said, this post is just for fun to give you a look at others' experiences and hopefully find a family (or a few) similar to your own that you can gain some insight from.

The biggest advantages in our own family with the spacing between Olivia and Penelope (27 months apart) is that Olivia is so helpful and very independent. She was 2.5 when Poppy was born and potty trained shortly after, which made life 100x easier once she was out of diapers. Having her more than two years older than Poppy has allowed her to be independent in many areas (able to dress herself, make her own lunch, brush her teeth, pack her backpack, get buckled into her carseat without help, etc), and help me with everything I'm doing (even folding her own laundry and helping Poppy eat with a spoon and fork). They are still close enough in age that they enjoy similar toys and activities, read the same books and play together really well, which gives me more free moments to just sit back while they have fun together and stay engaged.

The biggest disadvantage I've experienced with their gap of 27 months is that as of this Fall, Olivia is in school and I am toting Poppy with to drop her off and pick her up, often having to wake Penelope from her morning naps to pick O up, one of the hardest things for me to do (never wake a sleeping baby, right?!). Also, being she's not fully walking yet, having to lift her in and out of her carseat and carry her up and down flights of stairs to drop Olivia off while 6+ months pregnant is tiring. 

Below are a few ideas of advantages and challenges that come with both smaller and larger age gaps, as well as insight from a handful of other mamas with more than one.

(Less than 2 Years): 

+ If you want a larger family, having them closer together allows you to finish having kids at a younger age

+ With a smaller gap, your children are going through similar stages all at the same time, so while you may have 2-3 in diapers (which undoubtedly presents its own challenges), they will also be potty training around the same time and all out of diapers within a small span of each other. Oh happy day.

+ They enjoy the same activities, books and toys because of their ages, which allows them to (hopefully) play really well together and keep each other entertained

+ They grow close to one another in friendship because they are always together, in similar stages and enjoying the same things

+ You can often reuse clothing, bedding, swings, baby gear, etc. without having to store it for years and then you can also get rid of all of it at the same time!

+ Children spaced closer together often create a very unified family. You have a sense of we are all in it together as you are going through the day to day routines, meeting similar needs and doing similar activities as a whole family. No one is being left out, the outings you plan allow all children to participate and siblings bond as they are all navigating similar tasks and learning similar skills.

(Less than 2 Years):

+ Lack of self sufficiency. This is probably the one I've thought most about when I think about the 17 month age gap between Poppy and her baby sister. I will still be helping Penelope dress herself, put shoes on, buckling her in a carseat, lifting her, etc. while also caring for a newborn.

+ During my first trimester this past summer, Penelope was only 8-10 months old, getting her first teeth and going through a developmental leap and sleep regression. It left me very exhausted, being nauseous and getting up at 3am to feed and comfort her. I never experienced that the first time around because Olivia was older when we got pregnant with Penelope, sleeping 12 hours a night without waking and already through 90% of her teething.

+ Exhaustion and lack of sleep -- especially for us Moms who are carrying, delivering, nursing and caring for multiple babies close in age one after another.

+ Being so close in age may mean you are less able to enjoy your babies as individuals or give them regular one on one time

+ You are more likely to need a second crib, second highchair, etc. if they are close enough in age that you haven't transitioned one out of something before the new baby arrives. Olivia was in a twin bed by the time Poppy was born, so we reused her crib but we will be getting a 2nd crib for our new baby because Poppy won't have transitioned out of hers until closer to 2 years.

+ You may just be entering the "terrible twos" and dealing with toddler tantrums, separation anxiety or misbehavior while taking care of a young baby who is still very dependent on you. 

(More than 2 Years): 

+ If your children are 2-3 years apart, you'll still remember how to care for a newborn while also having the confidence that comes with 2+ years of motherhood under your belt, knowing much more about how to handle each situation that comes up than you did with your first.

+ Your body is able to better recover from pregnancy and childbirth before getting pregnant again, nursing and being up all hours of the night

+ You're most likely more rested when you enter into the newborn phase, because your older child(ren) is/are no longer waking up in the night

+ Your first born (or older children) are more capable of waiting and practicing patience before having their needs met, understanding their baby sister or brother can't wait as easily when they need something

+ You'll have one on one time with your baby (or youngest children) while your older child is at preschool or evening activities

+ Your first born (or older children) are mature enough to enjoy the new baby, participate and help while also being able to enjoy time away from you without seeing it as a threat

(More than 2 Years):

+ Having children further apart most likely means they are in different stages and seasons. You may be toting your older child around to sports practices and spend the evenings helping them with homework while your younger child is interested in completely different things or unable to participate in what their older sibling is doing

+ Possible regression of your preschooler's skills (potty training, sleeping, etc) when a new baby comes into the picture because they see the baby getting attention in those areas and they desire it

+ Your preschooler or school-aged child can bring home illnesses from school or their extracurricular activities that they pass on to their younger siblings (this happened when Poppy was only 2 weeks old...Olivia caught a cold from her ECFE class and gave it to Penelope immediately; obviously it's going to happen at some point but it made the first few weeks with a newborn that much harder for me)

+ Having a gap of 4-5 years may present challenges when you are faced with caring for a newborn again -- nursing, sleep training, etc. -- things you haven't done in many years and possibly forgot a lot about or find to be difficult because it's been so long since you were in that stage

+ Depending on the gap, your children may be less likely to play together because their abilities, interests and toys are so different

Below are a few thoughts from Mamas I adore.

Erin / @helloerinv /
Children: Lex (4.5) & K (1.5)
Age Gap: 3 years apart

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
We based our spacing off of me. pregnancy is not a happy fun time for me. i gain a LOT of weight, and toss my cookies each and every day of the 40 weeks of pregnancy. mike and i needed to be ready to hop on that train again. i always knew i wanted a larger age gap- and we just kinda looked at each other when lex was 2 something and realized we were ready to hop back on the train. 

Advantages? What do you love most?
Lex is currently in her helpful stage of life. She wants to help with EVERYTHING, including her little sister. She wants to do things for her- get her water, teach her to talk, potty train her (she takes her diaper off and puts her on the toilet!). It's so sweet to see her want to be helpful and it makes her feel SO special and big. On the flip side- K has an awesome role model to look up to. 

Also, having a big age gap makes it almost impossible to compare the two kids. After three years my memory about milestones is a little hazy. I never, ever, ever want to compare the two girls- and this makes it even harder! They are each unique and different and I want to celebrate that instead of figuring out who was doing what when. I also love that well only have to pay one year of overlapping college education ;) 

Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
We had a ROUGH start to sisterhood over here. Three was a hard age for us in general and Lex didnt take to big sisterhood well. She refused to acknowledge her sister even existed. It took TEN months -- and now they have the cutest and best relationship. I think lex being older gave her a lot more awareness of the alone time and attention she was missing out on when her little sister came along. 

When it comes to a challenge, I’d say schedules! Lex dropped her nap a year ago and has all sorts of activities. But the trick is still to schedule her activities around k’s schedule. which is sometimes hard when activities start right in the middle of nap time. Even school pick up is tricky because of k’s nap schedule. 


Paige / @thelovedesignedlife /
Children: Adriano (5.5), Alessandra, (almost 3), Diego, (14 months)
Age Gaps: 2.5 years between Adriano and Alessandra; 21 months between Alessandra and Diego

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
My husband and I always knew we wanted two or three kids and that we wanted to have them relatively close together. Our first two babes were very intentionally spaced. When we first had Adriano, we both thought maybe we'd start trying for #2 around when he turned one. However when that time came, we were still recovering from the new baby-ness stage and decided neither of us were quite ready yet. We started trying when he was around 16 months. We didn't get pregnant right away which actually was kind of stressful. (Although I know so many families who have a MUCH harder time, so I'm not complaining!) Still, it made me realize a bit of what those families go through and how hard it can be. 

After about five months of trying, we had a successful pregnancy and that made them 2.5 years apart. During the time that we were trying I think part of what made it stressful for me was that I had this idea in my head that then needed to be 2 years apart. But when baby Alessandra arrived, it was actually perfect. Adriano was potty trained, and could more easily be distracted with things like the iPad, and was just generally more self-sufficient. Of course there were still trying times just generally juggling two. But I felt the transition from 1-2 babes was easier in a lot of ways than from 0-1.

When Alessandra was 11 months old, she had basically weaned herself from breastfeeding. I was sad because I was so close to making it to a year! (You can read my breastfeeding story with her here) I had one period after that and on my next cycle we got pregnant. Ooops! Again, we both knew we were open to the idea of a third, but we hadn't really planned it all that well AT ALL. haha. This made our third little babe 21 months younger than his sister.

Advantages? What do you love most? Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
For me the less than two year gap was a lot harder than the over two year gap. In so many ways, Alessandra was still my baby and I felt she was very much still needy of my time and affection. On top of that, I had a preschooler! To be perfectly honest, the first year of having three babes was probably the most challenging of my life and certainly of motherhood. However even though this moment of motherhood is quite challenging, I know in my heart this is how our family was meant to be. I also know it will get better because it already has! I am so happy our children are close in age and will get to experience a lot of the same things at around the same times in their lives. It is truly a blessing to have them spaced just the way they are!


Ashley / @_ashley_noel_ /
Children: Karis (almost 2.5) & Bexley (3.5 months)
Age Gap: 26 months

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
 I wish I could say we thought long and hard about this one. We didn't, not at all really! We were just ready for some more babies in our life!! And honestly, I think you can't rack your brain too hard about it! You can sit there and think about how old everyone will be and what month would be perfect to be pregnant, but honestly a family is a family no matter what the size, age, genders! Heck, my sister is ten years older then me and I love her just the same as I would if she was 10 months older then me!!! 

Advantages? What do you love most?
I know when they are just a tag but older the advantages will be their ability to play and have so much fun together!! I can NOT wait until they are able to play house and dress up and I just pray every night that they will be the best of friends!!

Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
Well, I have a TWO year old and a newborn. Need I say more?? And of course it's the two year old that tests mamas patience! 


Kacey / @kaceyjane_

Children: Avery (5), Emmie (3) & Will (8 weeks)

Age Gap: 26 month gap between Avery and Emmie; 3 year gap between Emmie and Will; 5 year gap between Avery and Will

What did you primarily base your spacing on?

We had always envisioned having all of our children about 2 years apart. It was important to me that they were close enough in age that they are in school together at the same time and could easily have close relationships due to the fact that they were close in age and experiences. Will is by no means way younger than his sisters, but he will be four years behind Emmie in school, and to me that's a much bigger gap than I thought we would have.  

The reason our sibling spacing did not go according to our original plan is because shortly after Emmie (our second) was born, my husband and I came to a really hard time in our marriage. We were in a place in which we had no friendship, intimacy, and found no enjoyment together or in our family life. I struggled to find joy as a wife and a mother and I was carefully maintaining a facade that everything was a-okay when it was not. We were both not talking about how evident it was that we needed help. There were many factors for this, and even though it was HARD, we decided to fight for something better and focus on our marriage above all else. After seven years of marriage, with Jesus and professional therapy, a whole lot of hard work and prayer and guidance, our marriage is an entirely new, healed, healthy and joyful gift in our life. We spent a year piecing it back together. And at the end of that year we decided it was time for another baby. Now we've got this family and home life that brings us so much joy. We've got this marriage that is an unspeakable blessing we hadn't actually experienced fully in the seven years before. I never realized how much healthy communication and trust and friendship between spouses affected parenting until this third time around. I thought I understood Grace, but it turns out He had more to give me and more to teach me in that regard. I think that will make me a better, more humble mother. 

I believe without a doubt that a healthy marriage and home life is the most important thing we will ever do for our kids no matter their ages or number. I can't imagine what would have happened had we decided to stick to our original schedule and throw another kid into the mess that was us. We are not perfect now, but I know with certainty that I can trust Him to bring us through ANYTHING. I didn't really believe that before. God had better plans for our family and I'm so thankful for the dark, painful road that he used to bring us where we are today. I am happier than I've ever been. I am able to find joy and thankfulness even on the hard mama days (wine and Netflix help). I look forward to the minute my husband gets home. These four humans God has given me and are my greatest treasures and Will being the baby of the family with a larger gap will always be a reminder of God's Grace.

Advantages? What do you love most?
The current advantages of having a 5 and 3 year old with a newborn is that he has three mamas! They are pretty helpful with the baby when they can actually help, but I've found their independence as a result of their ages is a huge differentiating factor this time around that has made baby #3 a lot easier than when we had our second.  They can dress themselves, use the bathroom, play independently or together, etc. Also, Avery is in kindergarten five days a week and Emmie is in day school for three of those days, so I have large chunks of time during the week to work from home, run errands, or just spend one on one time with the baby!  

I also love that the girls are old enough to understand how special it is to have a baby and that they will remember him like this. They absolutely adore him. They tell him stories and hold him and brag about him. I suspect if he could communicate he would tell us they also drive him crazy... I think sometimes this kid gets way more mothering than he signed up for. There's also something so sweet about the combinations of ages and genders we have in our family. I think two older sisters and a baby brother is absolutely darling!

Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
I think the biggest disadvantage is that the current newborn stage we are still in plus the fact that they are both in school, means the girls get A LOT less mom time. There are many hours spent nursing or tending to the baby while they are at home that used to be time spent outdoors with them or on the go. While we have by no means halted life and activities because of the baby, it naturally follows that a large portion of my attention is given to the baby and I find myself missing the girls. For example, night time is hard and while my husband does bedtime with the girls, I'm usually holding/nursing/comforting the baby because its his fussy period and I'm focused on getting him down for the night. I miss my night time cuddles with my girls!

So far the challenges have been few. The baby nurses and sleeps mostly now, but I anticipate difficulty when he gets older and his nap times are disrupted when we need to pick up sisters from school and things like that. I highly value nap time at home for my growing babies/ toddlers, but I know that I will have to be creative and flexible at times as he gets older since the age gap is much bigger with him than with the girls -- he's just simply in an entirely different stage than them and always will be! There are more seasoned mamas out there I look to for support on this! Aren't mom friends great?!


Makelle / @makelleahlin.and.thelostboys /
Children: Cooper (4) & Boone (20 months)
Age Gap: 29 months

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
So when I had Cooper (our first) he was totally unplanned. My husband and I were trying to finish up our schooling before the thought of kids ever crossed our mind, but someone had other plans for us. Cooper came into this world and it was quite the life changer! I took 6 months off school and then dove back into it. Jared and I had always discussed we wanted our children to be close in age; Jared wanted them to be less than two years or no more than two years apart. I was all for that gap pre-kids because I loved growing up with my siblings (we are all 1.5 years apart.) but as as time went one I still wasn't ready for a second child, Cooper just seemed so small and was my baby...a very hard baby at that!! And I had since began going back to school. Cooper had just turned three when we found out we were pregnant with our Boonie boy. The age Cooper was in during my pregnancy was awesome. He was old enough he could entertain himself but young enough he would still come take naps with me -- I was/am a huge pregnancy napper!

Advantages? What do you love most? Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
Once Boone was born Cooper (3 1/2) really didn't know what was going on. He just really paid no attention to the new baby, but continued to entertain himself with toys, books, playing in our fenced in backyard, getting into his own car seat etc. For sibling spacing purposes this rocked for ME! But I didn't feel that it was good for THEM! The bonding I was hoping to witness just wasn't happening. They were so spaced out that Cooper just ignored Boone and even as Boone got older the ignoring continued. 

I feel like the gap of friendship and wanting to do things together has just barely started to begin right now, but Boone is almost 2 now and Cooper 4. Now Cooper will come grab Boone by the hand and ask him to play, and Boone is old enough that they can share toys now. 

That being said, I decided I would like to space my next babies closer in age, but to my surprise I am already almost hitting that spacing gap again, but Boone still seems like a baby to me! I do like having a larger gap to allow your body to heal, to become (somewhat) emotionally stable, and to get your routines down...yes it really has taken us almost two years to get the routines down with having two kids and we are still learning. I still really wish for a smaller gap in age for sibling bonding purposes. I mean I am already home with the kids so a smaller gap in age wouldn't have caused any conflict anyway. 


Morgan / @laughinglatte /
Children: Annabelle (3) & Betty (1)
Age Gap: 2 years (almost to the day!) between them

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
I’m not sure why my husband and I decided that we wanted a two year gap, but we were definitely unified in that decision! It was probably because that is the gap that we both grew up with. 

Advantages? What do you love most?
What I love about this gap is that we were really able to get through some of the tough teething stages and set a solid routine for our first baby before the second arrived! We co-slept with Anabelle and she really loved it. But by the time Betty arrived, we were able to transition Anabelle into her own big girl room. We got through the nights of never knowing what that night’s sleep was going to be and had a solid routine in place. This helped ease the transition into two babies as well. 

I love the two year age gap because they are far enough apart to give us time to breathe and actually get some good rest, but close enough together that they can be best friends. I’d love to have them even closer together, but I do value my sanity and just can’t imagine being ready to give up a couple months to fatigue and nausea any sooner!

Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
We plan on having more -- and now would be the time to get pregnant to have that 2 year age gap again -- but I am spending some time in between nursing Betty and getting pregnant with baby #3 to work on some health factors. Each baby takes so much out of a woman's body, and my gut has sacrificed a bit. I think it’s important and crucial as a mom to recognize when to prioritize yourself. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer though! 


I hope this gave you a good look into the many factors that go into sibling spacing and a few tips for age gaps in your own family. I love stumbling upon blogs and reading about other moms' experiences and hope you enjoyed it as well!! XO


our week in pictures & friday favorites

We are already over a week into September and it's been nothing short of amazing. We've had temps that feel like Fall for the past two weeks and I even had to pull out my cozy sweaters when I've been outside with the girls cause of the chill in the air. We've been cooking and baking all our fall favorites and burning candles nonstop. I'm pretty sure our house has smelled like leaves + pumpkins for the past two weeks straight. Not that any of us are complaining ;)

This past week was a busy one with Olivia meeting her preschool teachers and starting dance and us finishing up our live edge shelving project in our kitchen. We took a trip to our local apple orchard on Monday as a family (a tradition we started last year, going every year on Labor Day) and have been spending almost every morning out on a walk or having a breakfast picnic with pumpkin muffins & egg soufflés at our local nature reserve, just a few minutes from our home. We have just a few days left before Olivia starts school so us girls have been getting out and about together as much as possible. And it's Poppy's birthday eve today so we are finding fun ways to celebrate her and the gift she is to our family!

One of the projects I was most excited for in our kitchen was our open shelving project. We had custom cabinetry put up in the main portion of our kitchen but I knew I wanted something a little different above the dishwasher, not just a single cabinet all by itself looking out of place, so we decided on a set of 3 floating shelves made from live edge lumber to compliment the rustic style of our home.

I am so so happy with how they turned out. I still have some decorating to do on the top and middle shelves but so far I'm loving them. They make the space feel so warm and really bring it all together. That wall sat empty for the past few weeks so now that they're up I feel like my kitchen is exactly how I envisioned it would be. We used these steel brackets to anchor them to the wall. You can get them in any length for your space and can select between lightweight, medium or heavy duty depending on how much you are planning to put on each shelf. If you're thinking of incorporating some open shelving into your kitchen, I highly recommend it!! They are so much fun to style for each new season and holiday and add function while still keeping the space feeling nice and open.

And to kick off the weekend, how about a few Friday Favorites?!

one || This pumpkin soufflé candle has been burning all day and night. It's the perfect fall fragrance without being too sweet. It fills the house quickly but isn't overpowering. Plus the jar and gold label is gorgeous.

two || I've shared before that we are all big Chipotle fans over here. I'm pretty sure I could eat Mexican food seven nights a week, especially when I'm pregnant. I craved it with both girls and later found out my mom craved it when she was pregnant with me; this pregnancy has been no different. Olivia requests it at least weekly and even Penelope loves it. Through the month of September, kids can eat free every Sunday at Chipotle with the purchase of an adult entree (burrito / bowl / salad / tacos), up to two kids. So Dustin and I get our meals and then both girls get a free kids meal. We usually pick up Chipotle during the week but after hearing about this promotion we switched to Sundays and will definitely be taking advantage of it again the next 3 weeks in a row like we did last Sunday.

three || I have always wanted to try making homemade applesauce but totally been intimidated. I grew up with memories of my grandpa always making it using apples from our backyard, I lived on it as a kid. It's such a comforting food for me and so nostalgic. We normally buy it freshly made from our local orchard but this year I was determined to make my own. I quickly discovered it is SO easy and so so delicious. I used this recipe & Olivia loved helping.

four || I recently came across this book and the cover immediately won me over. The illustrations inside are equally as beautiful and it's the perfect bedtime story for the girls.

five || Little by little I have begun collecting a few special pieces for baby. I feel like by Baby #3 I have become so selective with what I buy, especially since we have so much of what we need already and I've been waiting to find out what we're having so the items can really be personalized. But this mudcloth bamboo quilt is the coziest thing ever and perfectly gender neutral. The girls discovered it last week hiding in the baby's closet and had so much fun using it before nap time for reading, giving it a little big sister love and breaking it in.

six || I love a good World Market find and this white scalloped dish and these sculpted hand towels are two of my most recent purchases. I can't ever get enough of the green-yellow mossy color in my home, it's so natural and warm and perfect year round. I love the dish for in a bathroom to hold jewelry or a bar of soap or at your kitchen sink for dish brushes and sponges like we have it.

seven || In the hunt to find exactly what I wanted to style our shelves, I knew I wanted to incorporate a fun light that could be programmed on as it begins getting dark, especially that daylight ends much earlier here as Fall nears. I have seen so many fun mason jar solar lights but was looking for something that was battery operated so I didn't have to leave it outside to "charge" all day. I came across this glass cloche with LED string lights yesterday on sale and knew it would be perfect (pictured on our second shelf above, not on). It takes 3 AA batteries and can be set on a timer to stay on for 4 hours, shut off and then turn on 20 hours later automatically. I have ours set to run from 6-10pm each night and don't have to do a thing! I love the soft glow it gives and the ability to light up the shelves safely.

We are taking it easy this weekend celebrating our sweet Penelope as a family before her party next weekend with all our friends, and of course enjoying the weather!! Hope your weekend is the best! 


4 years

Today we celebrate four years of marriage. Most days I still can't believe we have two little girls to celebrate alongside us and a new baby on the way -- our children have by far been the best gifts of our marriage, continually bringing us so much laughter and joy.

We have so much to look forward to this month and I always love that it kicks off with such a special day. In September we celebrate our anniversary, both my parents' birthdays, Penelope turning one (hello, fastest year ever) and finding out the gender of Baby #3!

Olivia starts preschool, dance and swimming this month and the marriage group we lead with our best friends through our church kicks off. We also have our Fall family photos at the end of the month and of course, everything pumpkin + apples all month long. I couldn't help myself and already began some minor decorating around the house, starting with my favorite space -- our new kitchen!

I'll share a Fall bucket list here on the blog soon for those of you who love this time of year as much as we do; I always love reading what other moms with young families love doing this time of year. I am already dreaming of eating caramel apples and taking the girls to pick out pumpkins, making homemade applesauce and drinking cider. And finally calling our little babe on the way by name.

4 years, 3 babies, 5 renovations and so many memories with my best friend. If someone had told me what my life would be like four years into marriage, I don't think I ever would have believed them...far better than I ever dreamed was possible. This life we've built together is such a gift.

Hope you're having a wonderful week so far. Happy September!! XO


parasol favorite features + a giveaway

A few weeks ago in a post here I shared our newest obsession with Parasol Co. and their amazing natural diapers + wipes. The diapers are modern + fun and so fluffy soft without being bulky or stiff. The quilted wipes make me feel like I'm at a spa {because they smell like cucumber + aloe} instead of changing a diaper and they are conveniently delivered every month to my doorstep in the exact size I need. Total mom win, right?! 

Over the coming months, I'm partnering with a handful of my favorite brands to feature all of our must-have baby essentials and what could be more essential than diapers + wipes?!

I shared just about everything we love about Parasol Co. in July's post and gave an in-depth look at what sets their products apart and what the company stands for. Now that we've been using them for about 6 weeks with Poppy, I thought I'd give an update on our favorite features as well as how long each month's box lasts us and how you can try them out yourself if you haven't yet.

F A V O R I T E  F E A T U R E S

+ I love how luxuriously soft Parasol diapers are while still maintaining their eco-friendly, natural status 

+ I can't get enough of the fun modern prints. In the summer Poppy wears dresses every day and I don't even feel the need to put bloomers on her because the diapers are so stylish, why would I cover them up?!

+ I love how absorbent the diapers are. We have tried just about every diaper out there and these rank the highest as far as combined comfort + absorbency goes.

+ The wipes. I could probably write an entire post on the wipes themselves, they're just that good. We use them for everything around here -- diaper changes, in the bathroom, in the car, in my diaper bag, wiping hands and faces and more. They smell great, feel great and are thick + durable but still super gentle on my girls and myself. I also love that they're naturally scented with a refreshing cucumber and aloe but that it doesn't linger or create a sticky residue like wipes with synthetic fragrances.

+ I love the convenience of Parasol's monthly subscriptions. This is a no-brainer, but being able to have my diapers and wipes delivered to my door makes life so much easier. Yes, I run errands often but by the time I get Olivia in the front of the cart, Poppy in her carseat in the main part of the cart and add stuff some groceries around them, the last thing I have room for is a big box of diapers. Anyone else?! Subscribing is super easy and I love that I can go into my account anytime and adjust my subscription -- you can change the frequency of your deliveries (every 3-, 4-, 5-, or 6-weeks) as well as the diaper designs and size. This makes it super simple to size up as your baby grows and try out all the different designs they have. I have my subscription set to arrive every 5 weeks, because I was finding that I didn't finish a full box of diapers in one month. The wipes, however, I cruised through because we literally use them for everything. When I'm running low I love that I can just order individual packs of wipes in either the full size (72 total in each) or a handful of travel packs (20 total in each) here under their SHOP tab. For parents of multiples, setting a delivery frequency of 3 weeks ensures you have enough diapers for both your babes

H O W  T O  T R Y  T H E M  O U T 

+ Parasol Co. offers monthly subscriptions tailored to your child and family's needs as I shared above. You can visit their website here and click on "SUBSCRIBE NOW" / Parasol offers both a Diaper-only subscription and a Diapers & Wipes subscription, which is what we do. Having an account allows you to easily log in to see when your next box is shipping, grab the tracking number once it does, modify your size & design for next month and change how frequently they arrive based on your needs.

+ When you subscribe, you'll be prompted to answer questions about your baby (name, gender, age and weight), select your diaper size and your design collection (both of which can always be modified for future deliveries) as well as enter BLESSEDNEST in the PromoCode box to save 20% off your first subscription!

+ Parasol Co. also offers a free trial if you'd like to give their diapers and wipes a try before subscribing monthly. To take advantage of their free trial, you can visit their website here and click on the "Free Trial" tab. You'll get 8 diapers in your choice of size and a 20-count pack of their wipes for only $5 shipping. This is a great way to see if they're a fit for your family. 

And of course, what's a Monday without a little giveaway?! 

I am so grateful to be able to share the products we believe in + love using in our own family with each of you so I've teamed up with Parasol Co. to give away ONE MONTH OF DIAPERS & WIPES {$85 value} in the SIZE & DESIGN of WINNER'S CHOICE to one of you! To enter,  head over to my instagram @blessednestblog to the giveaway post here.

For an extra entry, leave a blog comment below sharing a little bit more about yourself or your family! Giveaway runs today through Sunday August 21 and the winner will be announced on the original IG post once the giveaway closes. 

Hope your week is off to a great start!! XO


life lately

This week has been quiet on the blog, as we've been finishing up our kitchen, Dustin started a new job and Olivia has been busy at day camp. I thought I'd give a little update on life lately around here!

Last week our cabinets went in and on Saturday our appliances were delivered. On Saturday night I had a fun dinner date with a girlfriend, it was so refreshing to get out of the house and enjoy a long uninterrupted meal and relaxed conversation.

Dustin is waiting to hook up our sink/faucet and dishwasher until our countertops are installed, but my farmhouse sink is sitting in place and it's been so much fun to see everything come together. Even if I can't use it yet, being able to look at it is the next best thing, right?! I've been loving cooking again on our new range and am so thankful to have more options than just the grill + Chipotle ;) I've decided Friday night is definitely going to be pizza night, as I've been waiting 6+ weeks to pick up a take-n-bake and lounge at home in our pjs as a family having pizza.

We've been spending as much time outside as possible with the girls, since the weather lately has been beautiful and summer is flying by. Olivia had the opportunity to do a few different week-long day camps this summer through her preschool program and she has been loving them. This week she had to bring a lunch each day and watching her walk into her classroom, carrying her lunch and wearing her backpack she seems so grown up. I can't believe she'll be in school four days a week in just over a month. Thankfully for me it's only half days ;)

Poppy is now pulling up to stand and starting to take steps around furniture and climb up stairs. She's also cutting (her first) four teeth and always on the move, keeping us all busy. Now that she is almost 11 months, seeing the girls play together has been so much fun. Instead of just playing alongside each other, they are really able to interact and Olivia loves having a playmate whose always around. She has been walking around saying, "This is Poppy, my baby sister. She is so sweet" except sometimes "sweet" sounds like "feet" and we all crack up.

We're looking forward to August and all that we have planned (including finishing the kitchen and the fair!) but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't already excited for Fall. Olivia is so excited to start school and dance and it's definitely our favorite season all-around. I picked up a few of my favorite Fall candles last weekend and can't wait to burn them in our new kitchen and start all our Fall baking and decorating. I love summer but by the end of July, I'm pretty much over the heat and ready for some crisp cool days, caramel apples and sweatshirt weather.

Hope you're all having a great week! I can't wait to share our kitchen reveal soon. For now, there's a peek of the barnwood flooring above. XO


best of the nest | sugarboo designs

This week I'm thrilled to be sharing one of my all-time favorite brands for gorgeous home decor, Sugarboo Designs. Based out of Atlanta, GA, Sugarboo Designs was founded by artist Rebecca Puig and her husband, Rick, in 2005. Rick and Rebecca are parents to Jake and Sophie, who serve as the inspiration behind many of their pieces as well as the source from which the name "Sugarboo" was chosen, in reference to the nicknames they have for their children.

Rebecca always desired to create products that remind people of the ones they love most and recalls loving to paint and create things since she was a little girl. She attended the University of Georgia and graduated with a Studio Art degree. Her inspiration comes from her family, nature, animals, children's art and folk art. Evident in many of her pieces, Rebecca loves mixing old and new, light and dark and anything with a message. "I believe in putting good out into the world whenever possible," she stated, "My hope is that each Sugarboo piece we send out into the world will add a little good!”

I absolutely love every single piece from Sugarboo Designs, I don't think I could ever choose a favorite. They all have the perfect mix of rustic sentimentality but are versatile to fit in any space for any style. Sugarboo Designs is most well known for their wood signs and coordinating pillows, but they offer a wide range of home decor pieces as well, including wood decor, candles, picture frames, furniture, blankets and more. Many of their signs include their classic cursive script font and often involve repeating words or phrases. Sugarboo signs make the perfect addition to a child's room or nursery, master bedroom or family room, especially with how touching and heart-warming they are. They create so much warmth and comfort in any space.

One of their most recognized collections is the book series, which consists of wood signs ranging in size from 17"x25" to 3'x4' that are designed to look like book pages with famous lines or quotes on them. They also have a beautiful coordinating poetry series. With over 30 different quotes and poems to choose from, each piece is available in cream, charcoal and white and all are incredibly stunning as a focal point in any room. We have the 2'x3' Audrey Hepburn one hanging in Olivia's bedroom, which will eventually become the room her and Poppy share. Olivia has been asking to share a room with her baby sister for several months now and as soon as I saw it I knew it would be the perfect piece to hang up for my little girls.

Hanging it in her book corner seemed like the perfect spot for it, and I love that it is the very first thing you see when you walk into the room and that it makes such a statement. My hope it that it serves as a special reminder to our girls as they grow up and that it plays a part in teaching them about what really matters...about what happiness truly is and always taking time to laugh, cultivating beauty on the inside through their joy, attitudes and perspective and remembering that each day is a fresh start with limitless potential.

Because we love Sugarboo Designs so much, I've partnered with them to offer an exclusive discount for my readers to save each of you 15% off your total purchase from; simply enter NEST15 at checkout for the discount to be applied. This savings is valid from Wednesday July 20 through Wednesday August 3, 2016. 

And to sweeten your week, I've teamed up with Sugarboo Designs to give away a $100 SHOP CREDIT to one lucky winner to apply toward your own favorite pieces in their shop! To enter, visit my instagram @blessednestblog and find the original post with details. The giveaway will run one week and the winner will be announced there. 

Hope you're having the best Wednesday! Our kitchen cabinets are being installed as we speak so we are all extra happy campers over here!

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