Crew Does Two — The Third Quarter


You are officially in the home stretch to three (insert disbelief face here!).

This last quarter-year has been a dynamic one. You have been making huge leaps developmentally, and while we are amazed with how much you are learning each day, the growth comes with frustration — for you, and then by proxy, for us. Your brain is working overtime — so many questions, more complex thoughts, first real fears, and you are talking ALL. THE. TIME. You are hyper-aware of when you are and aren’t capable of doing something yourself — and are super frustrated when it’s the latter.


Your growth this quarter has translated to interrupted sleep — we are working through a sudden and intense fear of sleeping in your room by yourself. What started as freaked-out meltdowns at both naptime and bedtime have thankfully, progressed to a point where you can now calmly get yourself to sleep for a nap, and at nighttime, with us out of sight — something we took for granted before! You do wake up at 2am to the dot most nights and after trying several methods to get you back to sleep in your own bed (some gentler, some firmer), we’ve called a truce and opted for SLEEP over everything else. For now, you end up sleeping with us (thankfully, you go right back to sleep and are a pretty decent sleepover companion). Neither your dad or I are thrilled with this arrangement, but for the short term, we’re riding it out and focusing on the fact we’ve navigated two of the three get-to-bed scenarios. Paci and “brown blankie” continue to be necessary bedtime companions.


You tell us all the time that you are big, and brave. You like to point out the things you can do because you’re a “big kid”, and it’s so awesome to watch you work through things that I KNOW you are intimidated by, but you try anyway. Somewhere in the break between winter and summer swim lessons, you developed a fear of being submerged underwater for more than a split second. I sat at a swim lesson with you recently and watched you come up from a turn at diving for rings with your teacher, and you looked back at me through the glass, stiff-jawed and holding back tears, determined to be tough. (I was so proud of that brave moment!) I’m happy to report a few weeks back into it, and with the addition of goggles, you can’t wait to get to the pool for your lesson.


You continue to be a huge lover and snuggler. Depending on time of day and mood, you prefer to be as close as possible, and ask us to “snuggle me!” with a blanket. You do these funny little sigh sound effects and smile at us and close your eyes in happiness. Those moments make up for the frustrated ones!


You want to be the number one helper ALL THE TIME. We can’t go to the car without you announcing, “Only Crew can be the door holder! I will open the door!” and you want a hand in everything that is going on. You are no happier than when you have a special task or job to do that is all yours. You LOVE to help cook and clean, and we’ve established that Mom gets a turn and then Crew (and then Mom again) so that I can ACTUALLY accomplish some decent vacuuming or complete a meal. I love that you’re developing some skills and vocabulary around the kitchen — even if you can’t actually muscle it, you know how to use a can opener and you have a set of kid knives that you use to help me chop veggies. We’re learning the basics of measuring ingredients (“Fill it up to 1!” were your exact words when I said we needed 1 cup of water the other day), and you can actually crack an egg with precision (and then pick out any pieces of shell you drop in, while announcing, “we don’t want any shell in there!”). I don’t pretend to be a fantastic cook, but I do love that it’s something we can enjoy together.


You suddenly seem so big boy to me in how you play — rougher and louder. I love that you love to be active, and while you do get screen time (you’re obsessed with Blaze and the Monster Machines!) you will drop it in a hot second at the promise of going to play outside or doing an activity with us. You’re into Legos if we’ll build something WITH you, continue to obsess over garbage trucks, and love anything the park has to offer — the climbing rock walls and ladders are particularly popular with you right now, especially when you can do them unassisted.


You love school, your class of friends, and your teachers, and can actually recount brief bits of your day to us now. You sing songs you clearly learned at school (and are confused if we don’t know one of them and can’t sing along) and sometimes you surprise us with something we didn’t even know you had learned, until it comes up randomly at home — just the other day at the park we were talking about “today” and “tomorrow” and you started referencing days of the week. So we asked you what came after that day, and low and behold, you knew your days of the week — in order — neither of us knew you had any idea!


You’re beginning to express bashfulness and embarassment — if we giggle at something you say or do, you either laugh along like you get the joke, or shake your head and roll your eyes to not look at us. You’re trying to string together much more complex sentences as you get more detailed thoughts across — but sometimes you mix up your phrasing, leaving us to ask, “what are you saying? tell me again?” and you realize you’ve not making sense and do the same shaking of the head, and mutter total babble under your breath as if to say, “oh forget it” ha!

You’re repeating a lot more now (for better or worse!) and picking up on our key phrases. When you had an accident at the park a couple weeks ago, I took you to the car to change, during which you sighed and looked at me, then said…”I’m a hot mess!” :) Another fave is when you grabbed my face the other day, pulled me in close and said, “Mommy, you’re the cutest!” Man, are toddlers good for your ego! :)


Swim lessons are going great and we have no plans to stop them anytime soon. As opposed to the baby-level classes which seem to get pretty repetitive, it’s fun to see you at a point where you’re making real progress and learning skills. You love to plug our noses and instruct us to close our mouths (something your coach asks you to do at the start of each class, to practice breath control!)


I love that you are picking up on things we love to do. You will sit and watch golf on TV with Dad (truly watch! and yell “get it in the hole!” lol) and when a toy camera showed up in a happy meal recently, you went full-throttle into taking pictures of everything. It cracks me up that you will pretend to show me a playback and say, “Look! There’s Crew and Mommy in dat picture!”


You continue to live joyously and love fiercely and I’m more aware than ever that that is exactly what the world needs right now.

Posted in House + Home


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Photo cred: April & August Photography

It’s been an entire decade since we exchanged vows, walked up the aisle, and started married life together in a little apartment in Des Moines, a city we had moved to just the month before. Married life has been nothing short of grand, and this city we love is a big piece of that joy.

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As we celebrate both a decade of marriage and a decade of life in Des Moines, we continue to live in the moment and our life goals are ever evolving. I’m proud of what we have embarked on, both as individuals and as a couple, these first ten years. I so look forward to what the next ten bring. Cheers to more adventures!

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In the spirit of anniversaries, I compiled a little playlist. It’s nothing overly lovey-dovey, just a collection of songs that bring on some anniversary vibes and have degrees of meaning to the two of us over the past decade.

Decade Spotify Playlist |

Happy anniversary to the handier, more patient, more tech-savvy, in general COOLER half of this duo of which I’m lucky to be a part. <3

Posted in Celebrating, House + Home, Just Us Stuff Tagged , |

Halloween Classroom Treats

Bugs + Kisses Halloween Treats |

I’ve always loved Halloween — it’s smack dab in the middle of gorgeous, festive, fall and the costumes, treats, and traditions are all so much fun. It’s a new (less spooky!) kind of fun with a kiddo, and this is the first year that Crew can actually understand reading and talking about trick-or-treating, answer people who ask him what he’s going to be, and (somewhat) understands how far off it is…(“I think Halloween is in two more tomorrows, Mom!”).

Bugs + Kisses Halloween Treats |

The minute the merchandise hits the stores, I’m all over it. Because we can’t bring homemade treats to school, I kept an eye out for individually wrapped candies, and per Crew’s interest in bugs, found some little spring spiders that you push down to “lock” and then a few moments later they jump a couple feet in the air, to the delight of a certain two-year-old. Sold. I can’t take credit for the “bugs and kisses” — I saw it somewhere on Pinterest at some point and it stuck in my head! The spiders are from Target and I used these treat bags), and whipped up a business card size design to fold in half length-wise and staple across the tops. Quick and cute!

Posted in Celebrating, DIY + Crafts, Holidays, Kiddos, Toddler Tagged , , , , |

Halloween 2017: Crew’s Garbage Man Costume

DIY Garbage Man Costume

I always appreciate some costume idea inspiration sooner than later — so today I’m sharing Crew’s costume he’ll be donning in a few short weeks (and who are we kidding, several times before then!).

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can |

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can |

It was no surprise that of course Crew wanted to be a garbage man for Halloween (the first year he’s had any kind of say!). I had grabbed the vest at IKEA for dress-up (he’s a size 3T and it’s the smallest size they make — Youth XS). To make it a little more special, I ordered an iron-on patch with his name. As much as I love to make his costumes as opposed to buying them, we just had to have a piece of legit merchandise directly from Mecca — this youth size trucker hat was perfect, and he was SO excited when I showed it to him.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can |

Obviously, the best way to haul his loot this year would be in what else — a garbage can. We bought a black Sterilite flip-lid style, hit it with some green spray paint, and added a WM decal bought on eBay. Even though it said it was meant for plastic, the spray paint is pretty delicate and scratches/flakes easily, so right before Beggars Night arrives, I’ll probably hit it again for touch-ups.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can |

Page added two replacement 7” plastic grill wheels by running a threaded rod through the back-bottom of the can. Eight washers, two nuts, and two stop nuts later, Crew was mobile.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can |

To make it easier to pull, Page added a wooden handle that he also sprayed with the same paint. He drilled it directly into the back of the can.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can |

Crew has himself a mini-version of the big guy, and he could NOT be more excited!

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can |

And if you’re in search of more ideas…see how we embraced the pacifier last year when Crew went as a scuba diver (and Dad was the shark who chased him!) and his very first Halloween when he went as Albert Einstein (scroll to the bottom of that post). :) Happy costume planning!

Posted in Celebrating, DIY + Crafts, For the Kiddos, Holidays, Kiddos, Shopping, Toddler Tagged , , , , |

gift ideas for the garbage / recycling truck enthusiast

garbage truck gift ideas |

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

If I’ve learned one thing since becoming a mama (to a garbage truck OBSESSED little boy), it’s that there’s a whole subculture of boys — and girls — like mine, who LIVE for garbage day. The garbage truck topic is a super specific one — there’s no Pixar movie or TV show about them, and there are far fewer books (the closest we can usually come are zillions of books about construction vehicles), and you know finding cute clothes or home decor items about, well, trash essentially — is a hurdle.

But if you have a garbage enthusiast in your world, you know they happy dance each week on trash day, you know they can hear the unique rumble of their stop-and-start brakes a mile away, and that they will find any excuse to throw something in the trash and dump it out. I never thought I’d add garbage truck expert to my resume, but here we are, and I feel compelled to share the best of what we’ve found (and loved) for anyone else looking to gift something to a future Waste Management worker. 😉

  1. Melissa & Doug recycling truck — this was Crew’s very first truck and it is STILL a favorite. In general, I find that even with all the bells and whistles some of these have, he prefers to make his own sound effects, and manually fill and dump the receptacles. A LITTLE frustrating for younger (under 2) to get the trash can on the levers just right, but with time, he figured it out.
  2. Dickie Toys garbage truck — this is probably the very favorite of Crew’s entire fleet. Rather large, but still quiet, this one has a simple one-touch button to raise and lower a dumpster into the top of the truck. The dumpster slides open as it dumps and any number of small toys/trash can fit inside. ENDLESS HOURS of entertainment from this one, and it’s still ticking after months of (daily) rough play.
  3. Garbage Truck pajamas — it’s tough, like I said, to make something with garbage trucks particularly cute, but these fit the bill. I do think they shrink but the price is right and they’re soft. I’ve since bought them again in the next size up.
  4. I Am a Garbage Truck — We literally wore out our copy of this, and while a super short/simple read, it teaches the difference between trash and recycling. Added bonus that the book is shaped like the truck.
  5. Trashy Town — I can’t say it’s on my top ten list of kids’ books across the board, but as far as this subject, it’s a cute read with cool illustrations and introduces us to Mr. Gilly, the garbage truck driver. We have since added a truck to our entourage that came with a driver, and of course, he is referred to as Mr. Gilly. There are only a handful of garbage truck books out there (we’ve purchased them all) and many of them stink (pun intended), so if you want a book on the subject, this would be my go-to title.
  6. VTech Go Go Smart Wheels garbage truck — I had to search a bit to find this particular vehicle, but it was worth it for as much as it’s been played with. Crew was a superfan of the VTech parking garage from day one his first Christmas, and we still rotate it in and out of play as he’s since learned to build tracks and play with it on a new level. He would have loved this little truck all on its own, but it’s especially a must-have if your kiddo has any of the Smart Wheels sets.
  7. Pottery Barn Kids recycling truck (currently on sale!) — Like I said, many of the trucks that get played with the most (and have also LASTED the longest) are the simplest ones, without all the buttons and batteries. The fact that there are “guys” that fit these trucks was a big deal for Crew, and the simple dumping truckbed can hold quite a bit.
  8. Garbage truck puzzle — While he needs help to build the puzzle (“it’s almost a garbage truck! we’re doing it!”) it’s a bonus that the truck itself Velcro opens and closes to hold the pieces, and the wheels actually roll.
  9. Play Doh garbage truck — This is one we don’t have but it’s on my list for future reference. Crew loves Play Doh but still needs something to DO with it — cookie cutters, plastic scissors, etc. This would be a fun addition to our Play Doh bin.
  10. Little Tikes Rey Recycler — I didn’t see this one until Crew was too old for it, although it still catches his eye when we see it at the store! For the littlest garbage fan, (or to keep a younger sibling out of an older one’s collection), this is a great starter truck!

And of course, if you want to see how we brought the garbage theme into Crew’s room decor, check out that post here!

Posted in For the Kiddos, Kiddos, Shopping, Toddler Tagged , |

the minimalist game: 30 days of purging


Recently, Page and I watched the documentary, Minimalism.  While of course, to be entertaining, the people featured are going to extremes (tiny houses, possessions that only fit in a backpack, etc) it still fired up the desire in me to get rid of some excess around here. After poking around the creators’ website, I spied The Minimalist Game, a challenge that lasts 30 days. Day 1, you get rid of one item. Day 2, you get rid of two. And so on. I was all in.

minimalist game | get rid of 465 things in 30 days |

It’s been 30 days and I have purged…donated, pitched, sold on facebook, and dropped off at consignment stores. No room was off limits. I jotted down what I parted with each day, and most days I managed to get a photo as well. It’s crazy to think that following this schedule allows you to get 465 items out of your house by the end of the month.

I’m pretty committed to combing through stuff on a regular basis, and the recent swap of Crew’s room and my office/guest room, coupled with having to clear everything out of our basement for renovation, have both forced me to go through our stuff numerous times and really assess what we didn’t need. And yet…I still managed to find stuff that we won’t miss. Not everything was tangible — I figured anything I could delete/uninstall/unsubscribe from also counted — after all, it’s less “stuff” in my life.

If you need inspiration as to where to dig for items you might be able to purge…here is my list for each of the 30 days!

  1. hair bun shaper (because unless I’m going for the Leia look, why do I have two??)
  2. old bath toys
  3. pieces of costume jewelry
  4. IKEA light pieces (we bought for our wardrobes, never used them, and have since lost pieces)
  5. kitchen gadgets
  6. kid dishes (more than we need!)
  7. email lists unsubscribed from (“stuff” can be digital, too!)
  8. bath products / nail polish, etc.
  9. apps deleted off my phone
  10. home decor items (mostly nursery decor)
  11. undergarments (hello bras I hate and never wear)
  12. expired meds / millions of travel toothpastes, etc.
  13. baby supplies (unopened wipes, food pouches, etc all went to a local pantry)
  14. clothing items
  15. baby / toddler outgrown toys
  16. glass frappucino jars (haven’t used since we moved)
  17. more clothing / accessories
  18. random items from basement storage (lamp, garment rack, pillows, duffel bags)
  19. basement samples / swatches / paint chips
  20. used bottles / pacifiers (while clean, they’re gross looking —  one of a few things I would buy new again if there’s a baby #2)
  21. more clothing (went through off-season and maternity stuff this time)
  22. pantry items (expired stuff and stuff we tried and didn’t like, random entertaining pieces, etc.)
  23. random stuff in my office (supplies, old notes, ClickSmith materials, etc)
  24. old art supplies (mine and Crew’s), random laundry supplies
  25. more bath products, cleaning products
  26. more dishes, kitchen supplies, table linens, cocktail napkins
  27. old art supplies, photography gear, newborn props
  28. so many papers — reference articles, statements, old lists, etc
  29. outgrown Crew clothing items
  30. stationery / invitation samples / misc. paper products (haven’t designed invitations in years!)


Posted in House + Home, Organization Tagged , |