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Along Abbey Road | A Lifestyle And Family Blog : July 2013


I Doth Confess

Folks, I have a confession... or twenty. Lately, my mind has honed in on that silly, nonsensical quest for perfection as a mom, wife, friend, person... whatever! Basically any and all facets of my life that define me and how I am somehow or another not meeting the criteria. 

So, I thought to myself, what better way to get out all of these frustrated feelings of inadequacy than to blast them out into the blogosphere? Because that's what any self-respecting mommy blogger would do, right? Right!

But seriously. I figure if I get these poopsy-moopsy feelings, certainly some of you get these doggone mama blues, too! Consider this my official pledge that I am not perfect, nor do I need to be, or do I intend to be.

Here it goes (and a big round of applause to Lauren for inspiring this confessional)...

1) In the off-chance that Luke even makes it into clothing other than his diaper, that rarely happens until the hour of 12 pm. We parade around in our undies and pajamas for the better half of the day.

2) Based on confession number one, it may come as no shock that we stay home. A lot. More than I would like, but either way it happens. I try to justify it with the, "I'm pregnant, and I'm tired, and I don't feel like climbing three sets of stairs with a toddler in tow" excuse, but that's just lame. And we don't have a yard for Luke to play in since we live in a condo, which then makes it even worse. But! I am working on making more of an effort to get out and about every day (yes, I am patting myself on the back).

3) I really suck at brushing Luke's teeth before bed. Who am I kidding? I suck at brushing my own teeth before bed. 

4) Curled hair? What's that? Yep, my hair is on top of my head or pulled back under a hat approximately 6 of the 7 days in the week, because, hello, I hate doing my hair. And my makeup.

5) In fact, it's ironic that I even have a style blog because I am such a bum when it comes to getting dressed and ready. I wear the same 5 things over and over again. Again, I am currently using the pregnant excuse thing, but we all know that ain't gonna change even after the baby gets here. It will probably get worse. However, that is why I have this blog, because it inspires me to put together a cute outfit and actually put on some mascara and lipstick every once in awhile. 

6) Luke should probably eat more vegetables than he does. Fruit is no problem. He could eat an entire strawberry field empty if we'd let him, but those darned leafy greens! He kind of hates them. And I kind of hate putting up a stink about it with him. So he kind of eats them, oh I don't know, 3 times a week? Gasp! Seriously though, what are some good tricks to get him to eat his veggies?

7) I have a really hard time putting myself out there (that statement seems boldly contradictory considering I have blog where I share a lot about myself and my life). Yes, I am friendly and can be outgoing when I have to be, but I am more of an introvert and homebody at heart. I desperately suffer from fear of rejection and the occasional bout of social anxiety, so more times than not I just stick to myself. That way I don't have to get my feelings trampled on or feel vulnerable and awkward.

8) This last trip to the pediatrician I was informed that Luke should no longer be taking his pacifier. What do you mean no more pacifier, doctor?! That thing is my lifesaver, my trusty wing man when daddy isn't around to pawn Luke off to during an episode of tantrums! So guess what? Luke still gets his pacifier, and I don't have any set date or plans of taking it away yet.

9) I only get around to making dinner about 3 times per week. And it's hardly ever 100% organic and beautifully staged. Those other nights it's the drive-thru or PB&J!

10) Oh, and I don't work out. I like the idea of it. It sounds really special and tempting, but I just kind of suck at that, too. And I fully intend on being a bum for the first 6 weeks post-partum, because my pain tolerance is at the lowliest of wussy levels, and conquering the world a week after I've birthed my second child pretty much sounds like hell.

So I guess that wasn't quite twenty, but those are my weaknesses that I am tired of feeling bad about. Yes, I am working on changing them, because I am an avid believer in constantly improving one's self, but I don't want to pretend that I lead a picture-perfect life. Yes, I generally like to post about the things that bring delight into my life and can uplift others. I know more than anyone that having a blog makes it easy to portray life as a cropped and edited half-version of the truth, showing only the beautiful and poised moments. I love that side of blogging, but I also love it when people tell me how it really is, what they suck at, and that it's okay to not be a Stepford Wife. Because sometimes an overabundance of all that seemingly uplifting, fluffy stuff can be a downer. Life needs balance, and sometimes balance calls for the ugly.

So there you have it, the humble confessions of Abbey. 

Now it's your turn to tell me yours so we can all feel better about ourselves, mkay? Awesome. High fives all around!



Skirt That Bump

 Skirt: Sprightly So. Chambray Shirt: Sprightly So. Sandals: Payless. Belt: LOFT. Glasses: Vintage.

Maxi skirts might as well be my best friend during pregnancy. Let's think about this. They are stretchy. They generously cover my legs (translation: I don't have to shave). Oh, and they double as a midi length dress! 

I was getting sick of the usual style of this maxi skirt, so I decided to pull it up and transform it a little. By adding a belt, it accentuated my bump and gave it a whole new look! It's a wonderful way to rework your maternity wardrobe. I highly recommend it.

Also, I would like to take this opportunity once again to plug the fact that everything in my shop is 50% off! I am wearing a size small in the skirt and a large in the chambray top. I opted for the biggest size in the shirt because I can tie it up like I did above and it just gives it a more relaxed look, especially with a growing belly. Take note that there are very limited sizes left, but a lot of the items have stretch or a slouchy fit anyway, so going up a size will still work!
Looks like a lot of us are sporting our favorite maxi skirts and dresses this week! What can I say? They just make sense once that belly starts popping itself wayyyy out there. 

Make sure you check out how Lynzy, Emily, Laura, and Tiffany styled their bumps! This is our last round of Style That Bump, so I hope you found this helpful and inspiring in maintaining effortless style during your pregnancy!

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Newborn Essentials

To say I've simplified my newborn essentials list is an understatement. With the first baby, you have no idea what to expect and generally over-plan and over-buy. At least I did, anyway. 

This time around, I know what I like and am attempting to keep my life as simple as possible. I've compiled my favorite, trusted products and a few new ones I am going to try (enter the Blooming Bath!). 

I learned with Luke that dressing up a newborn is kind of, totally, completely futile. Sure, the clothes are fun to buy, but they just seem so uncomfortable! And my babes are swaddled 90% of the time, so this time around we are sticking to our basics: onesies, socks, mittens and a blanket. After all, they are only tiny for so long and I want to soak up all that newborn yumminess this time, and try not to dress him for a day in the Hamptons (at least not for a few months).

My breast pump saved my life when I engorged with all that glorious milk for the first time, and I totally recommend the Medela breast pump and bottles. Yes, they are a little spendy, but amazing.

Luke's skin is incredibly sensitive so I swear by the Baby Bee products. The ointment is an excellent replacement for Vaseline for protecting the circumcision those first few weeks, and it doubles as an excellent diaper rash cream.

Doesn't the Blooming Bath look amazing?! A friend told me about it and I am dying to try it out. Looks so comfy. Do they come in adult sizes? ;)

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A Random Thing Or Two-sday

Tee: LOFT (similar). Skirt: LOFT (similar). Hat: Boutique (similar). Sandals: Payless. Bracelet: H&M (similar).

1) Today was my first time using the tripod to take "official" outfit photos. I'm taking it one step at a time with these solo photos. Ideally I would have ventured outside to the great outdoors, but I didn't dare. I am not brave enough for those shenanigans yet. It's bad enough posing for a picture randomly on the street with strangers gawking, but with a tripod? And a kid waiting on the side in a stroller? That takes it to an entirely different narcissistic level that this girl just isn't ready for. Someday though. Someday! And I truly applaud those fashion bloggers that solely take their own photos with a tripod. You people are the real deal!

2) Fact: According to Zillow, the White House is worth an estimated $287 million (source).

3) I know, I know, we are all freaking out about the royal baby and all have dreams of our children either a) marrying him or b) becoming his best chap at boarding school and university, but seriously. I really am not opposed to encouraging Luke and Baby Numero Dos to become Oxford-attending geniuses and finding their way around royal best friendships with the little prince. Also, Matt suggested we name our bambino William last night. That is no joke. I think he and I have devised the same royal crashing plots unbeknownst to one another (reason 3,437,981 why I adore that man).

4) This film is all kinds of beautiful and lovely (thanks for bringing it to my attention, Tisse!). Makes me want to do something similar in regards to documentation with this pregnancy, capturing those precious moments as they enter the world and the first few days after. That type of footage is priceless.

5) Would you rather never have to shower or never have to use the bathroom? Both would be incredibly convenient, right?

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The Freakin' Weekend

Outfit details || Me: Top: LOFT (similar). Boyfriend Jeans: LOFT (similar). Sandals: Payless. | Luke: Top: H&M. Jeans: Target. Sandals: Saltwaters.

Clearly our weekend was thoroughly enjoyed if you are basing it on the bounteous amount of pictures we managed to snap. I get a bit camera-happy when I'm in good spirits. It's like our camera is a mood ring of sorts. No pictures lately? Oooo, Abbey is crabby -- watch out, people! Shield yourselves from the venomous stares and the fire she spews! Photo dumping for days? Abbey is on cloud nine and her hormones are treating her kindly (I feel like Matthew McConaughey from The Wedding Planner right now, you know, how he refers to himself in the third person when he is upset? Although mine is like the reverse).

So, basically our weekend was Alpha ++. 

Luke fulfilled his lifelong dream of watching trains go by that were close enough to blow back those wispy blond hairs. This belly of mine decided to double in size and be our tour guide as we aimlessly strolled through the streets of our small town, with no time constraints or directions dictating our every move. We lived in the moment, for the moment. No more, no less.

Can I just tell you how much I adore these boys?  I don't know how life dealt me this royal flush of a hand, but I've pretty much got it made. I count my blessing about 500 times a day for these gents I call my own, and can't wait to add another little handsome to the mix.

Life is good, folks. Life is GOOD.

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Keeping A Young Toddler Entertained

We can't seem to kick the summer fever and bugs over here, so the Lukester and I have been cooped up in the house for the better part of a week. And you know that gets old reaaal fast with a little boy aching to run around in the good ole' fresh air (and for his mom, too).

So, what's a mother bug supposed to do? Get creative and come up with incredibly thrilling indoor activities. That's what!

I give you my trusty list of indoor activities to do with a young toddler in the off-chance you are restrained to the confines of your house for whatever reason (although I hope you aren't feeling sickly and are out enjoying the sunshine like a healthy person!)...

1) Build a fort (pictured above). If you follow me on Instagram (@alongabbeyroad) you will have seen our fort building adventures from the other day, which we did in fact stay in all day and all night. Forts are especially fun because the bebes love running through the blankets and sheets, and eventually pulling them down in true toddler form!

2) Finger paint. We just tape huge sheets of butcher paper to the floor and let Luke work his Picasso skills. If you have carpet, just set that little tike up in the kitchen. We use the Crayola Washable Finger Paints. It's a fun way to teach colors and how they blend. Also, they are non-toxic in case your small buddy thinks it might be a good idea to take a taste test, and they clean right up with water and soap.

3) Play with a magnet board. We just bought a small piece of sheet metal at the local hardware store and made a portable magnet board for Luke to play with his magnetic letters, numbers, and figurines. It stores away with his books and he can pull it out whenever he is tired of reading.

4) Read books. Do I even need to list this one? I feel like it's a no-brainer, but we keep Luke's books on rotation about every 2 weeks so he doesn't get bored. So far it works wonders and keeps him interested and occupied.

5) Make a discovery box. Simply take an old shoe box or plastic container with a lid and fill it with goodies all over the house. We like to stuff it with old scraps of fabric, sheets of foil, wax paper, toilet paper rolls, sponges, etc. Basically you can just stuff it with different objects of various textures for them to explore, rip and crinkle. They'll be entertained for hours (almost)!

6) Bake a feel good treat. Luke is finally at the age where he can stand stably on a chair next to me while we combine the ingredients. It's fun to let him see how to mix things, and helps with motor skills by helping stir and pour (with assistance, of course... I don't need cake batter covering the floor).

7) Make an obstacle course. We all know how much toddlers enjoy a solid jump or crawling through small spaces, so why not make your own fun center? Our obstacle course includes, but is not limited to, tipped over chairs, couch cushions, tunnels made of blankets, and laundry baskets. You get the picture.

8) Take an extra-terrestrial bath. I don't know about you, but Luke would take 20 baths a day if I'd let him. On sick days, the steam and warmth can help clear up any congestion and all-around yuckiness, so we let him take an extra couple. But, we like to give it an extra summin' summin'! Thanks to Pinterest, we add glow sticks to the bath to make it a glowing solar land of its own, and add food coloring to shaving cream for a bath time painting sesh of sorts. Lemme' tell ya, it is a home run every time.

9) Have cardboard box races. Matt gets tons of packages for his work, meaning our home overfloweth with boxes. Luke found that some are the perfect fit for him to sit in, and we've turned them into makeshift racing cars. Luke snuggles in, and I race around the house pushing him from behind. One of these days we will get around to decorating one like a car, which leads me to my last activity...

10) Make a cardboard playhouse. We haven't conquered this project yet, but it's on our list. Thanks again, creative peoples of Pinterest!

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Style That Bump

Top to Bottom: Laura | Emily | Tiffany | Me | Lynzy

Bom badddda bahhhh! Three cheers for round three of the maternity style series!

My look this week was styling a bump in pants. And I have to tell you, I loathe maternity pants. They are wretched awful. The cuts are generally all wrong, and I ain't spending hundreds of bones on designer ones. 

I generally opt for a stretchier type of pant with plenty of elasticity in them and a belly band. Simple as that! These white ones above are all kinds of excellent in the stretchy department, and a loose-fitting, longer blouse balances the silhouette (and will hide a belly band, too) because these hips don't lie, especially when they are prepping to pop a child from the womb.

Add some heels and a fabulous shade of lipstick to keep things sassy, and you've got yourself a stylish bump!

Be sure to check out how Lynzy, Emily, Laura, and Tiffany styled their bumps!



No More Lukeys Jumping On The Bed!

Last night before bedtime, Luke ran amuck through the house, bouncing off walls. Usually Matt gives Luke his bath and helps him wind down for the night with Daddy and Luke time, but Matt had a jampacked, late work night, so Luke and I spent the entire day and evening together. 

Around 7 pm, Luke pattered those chubbery feet as fast as they could beeline to our room, crawled up to the bed, and looked out at the cars as they "vroom-vroomed" through the street.

Flowing to the brim with love and admiration for this high-spirited monkey child as I sat there on the bed with him, I proceeded to tell him, "jump!"

And so we jumped. And jumped. And jumped. And it was splendid.

This got me to thinking. What limits and boundaries do we place on our children and with what purpose in mind? Do we not let our kids jump on the bed, or do we? Do we allow them to explore their tiny worlds, or create tight boundaries and keep a ridiculous amount of things off limits?

Obviously, I don't let my child play with knives and drink bleach, or let him run free and scream like a banshee with no interference, but I prefer to let Luke figure out his place and limits through experience. He is free to rummage through the cabinets, which contain plastic cups and pans, he plays in our closets trying on our shoes and things, we give him donuts for breakfast and dessert after dinner, and yes, we let him jump on the bed (supervised, of course). 

Parenting a toddler is tricky, and so is finding that balance. I love this post that the beautiful Casey Leigh wrote back in January about building up our toddlers and children. I've kept it bookmarked and refer to it often. What I learned is that I prefer to be the type of mom that says yes more often than no, focusing on building up with positivity instead of frustration and yelling, and I have made it a point to never apologize for Luke's behavior in front of other people. We stop the negative behavior with distraction and explain to Luke why we don't behave that way, but I shouldn't have to grovel and tell people sorry when my baby is having a tantrum. That's how babies and children are. We've all done it, no matter how wonderful we think we are (I'm pointing at you lady, who gave me the stink eye as we were in line at the store because Luke screamed because he wanted something in the cart that I told him he had to wait for. You can kiss my big ole' pregnant arse!).

As I bottle up all of my thoughts into one thought to end with, I'd say this:

Let your kids get dirty and dissect and explore. Let them express their emotions, and teach them how to confidently and happily overcome negative feelings and behaviors. Don't apologize on their behalf. Feed them when they're hungry. Let them have treats. Try to make them laugh as often as possible, and always try to give them at least 100 smiles, so you can get 200 back.

I know I'm just a rookie at all this mama-ness, but I'm doing my best and I think we've got a good egg to show for it. I hope all you mamas feel the same and fully embrace the way you parent, regardless of the glares and unsolicited opinions from others! Power on, mamas!



Summer Wishlist

Danny Zuko's brawny voice singing, "summer lovin', had me a blaa-aaast," has pretty much been stuck on repeat in my head all summer long. It's the ode to a perfectly cheery and cheesy summer, just the way I like it. In honor of such a song and temperament, here is a little collection of the things I've been eyeing all summer long, or a post which could otherwise be titled "Things I Would Buy If I Were Lousy With My Monies." 

This look is how I picture the ultimate, carefree summer playing through my mind. Cruising on my mint bike (Huffy till I die!) through the streets of Encinitas and along the coast (with Luke on the back in a child bike seat not pictured, obviously), sun shining on my face with my billowing dress and pink-tinged hair blowing in the wind, not giving a hoot. And a darling little picnic lunch packed in my Tory Burch backpack that I can only dream about owning, of course.

What do your summer wishlists look like?



A Cloth Diapering Update

We've been at this cloth diapering mumbo-jumbo for ten days now. I figured it was time for an update!

You can read my first post from the other week about deciding whether or not we wanted to take the daunting cloth diapering path. After many suggestions and tips from friends and readers, I am so happy we took the plunge! So, first and foremost, thank you for all of your feedback!

Here is the rundown of our cloth diapering system:

-We use Gerber prefolds during the day and around the house. Originally, I exclusively wanted to use Kawaii diapers, but found that I don't love the way the microfiber insert holds onto smell moreso than basic cotton prefolds. Also, it is a bit pricey buying an entire stash for 2 days worth, and we are slowly working our way up to that. Right now we have 4 pairs of the bumGenius 4.0 and use them for overnight or when going out, because they do hold an astronomical size of pee when using both the newborn and adjustable insert. Being on the every other day wash cycle, 4 pairs seem to be doing the trick for overnight diapering.

-Our prefold routine needs its own paragraph, so here it goes. I prefer the Gerber 3-ply prefolds because they have a plush, thick center fold, which is much more absorbent than a basic flat-fold cloth diaper. We rotate between 20 cloth diapers (2 packs of 10, which is about $24) being on the every other day washing cycle. Since Luke is now a toddler, we use the bikini twist fold. It fits him the best and soaks up the urine and bowels because of the twist. We use Snappis to fasten the diapers and Dappi nylon covers. Luke weighs about 28 lbs, so we get a size large for him. The nylon covers can seem a bit poofy at first (Matt calls them Luke's Roman emperor underwear) but they fit well with clothes and are $5 for a pack of two, and we rotate off of 6 pairs. Sold!

-My sweet reader and blog friend, Bri, told me all about disposable diaper liners. Let me tell you that they make the poop side of cloth diapering a snap! I've been using Bumkins Flushable Liners and love them so far. You literally just peel it off into the toilet and flush. I was concerned at first that I'd be spending unnecessary money on these because there are only 100 in a box, but Luke's bowel schedule is pretty much like clockwork, so I know exactly at which diaper change to use them, therefore preventing wasteful liner usage. Oh, the strange knowledge we mamas acquire! Didn't ever think a poo schedule would be on my list of things to note.

-The dreaded washing schedule. This was the part that most concerned me about cloth diapering, but it is actually my favorite part. I love seeing all the muck and yuck come clean! Since I religiously wash every other day, the ammonia and stench doesn't build up as it might if I washed the diapers less frequently. I personally prefer to rinse both the urine and poop diapers after changes as well. I think it makes them wash up much better, especially the pocket diaper microfiber inserts. I know they make special dry pails and wet pails and yadda, yadda, yadda, but I use our Diaper Genie and it works just dandy. We do not use the diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet because we have a detachable shower head that reaches the toilet and theoretically does the same thing (three cheers for living in a tiny condo!). And again, the flushable liners cut out a lot of the mess. For detergent I use the fragrance-free Babyganics Loads of Love. It is completely natural and plant-based, HE compatible, and free of all the softeners and brighteners and all that shtuff that sticks to your diapers and ends up wearing them down making them wreak over time (especially the pocket diapers). I always do a quick prewash on cold, followed by a hot wash with detergent and an extra rinse cycle. The pocket diaper covers hang dry, and the rest of it gets thrown in the dryer on low tumble dry. And that is it! Sounds more time-consuming than it actually is, and the diapers are so fresh and so clean, clean!

-We do still keep disposables on hand and use them if we are going out for an extended amount of time, but have managed to use cloth diapers 90% of the time. And can I tell you how good it feels not to be throwing out mounds of diapers every day and going through piles of boxes? It is pretty spectacular -- environmentally and fiscally!

And that's the skinny on our cloth diapering routine! As for the price of everything, here is the financial breakdown (please note I am not an accountant, I hate exact numbers and I rounded everything up to the next dollar amount, so I guess this makes it a close ballpark figure, and isn't down to the exact penny... but you get the idea):

One-time cost:

-2 packs of 10 Gerber 3-ply prefold cloth diapers: $24
-1 pack of Snappi diaper fasteners: $9
-3 packs of 2 Dappi nylon pants: $15
-12 Kawaii one size pocket cloth diapers: $60 (they are only $5 each if you buy them during a sale!) 

One-time total: $120

Monthly costs:

-1 box of Bumkins flushable liners (purchased every 2 months): $9 ($4.50 per month)
-1 64 load bottle of Babyganics detergent (purchased every 2 months): $15 ($7.50 per month)
-Additional cost of water: $7.50
-Disposable diapers (use roughly 30 per month): $6
-Wipes: $3

Monthly total: $28.50

Considering we used to spend around $60 a month, it has cut our diapering cost in half and will only take 4 months to make back what we spent in the initial start up of cloth diapering. And once the little guy gets here, the monthly savings amount will be a heckuvah lot higher (like $120!) since we all know how much newborn disposables cost (yikes)!

And now my brain officially hurts and I am leaving. If you made it this far, I hope you found this informative and helpful if you too are on the switch to cloth diapering or plan to cloth diaper your future adorable cherub babies. Hurrah!

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4th Of July, Brought To You By The Rodriguez Family


This 4th of July is going in the books as one of our favorite holiday celebrations. We woke up at the crack of dawn to catch the ferry from the Broadway Pier at San Diego Harbor to Coronado. Luke spent the entire time oooing at the military ships and the gorgeous panorama of the city. 

Coronado was buzzing with activity. Chairs lined the streets, flags and patriotic colors flooded the senses, and the smell of hot dogs floated on the air. We walked, ran, stuffed our faces with said hot dogs, and waved our flags with all the vigor we could muster as the veterans and soldiers marched through the streets.

After much-needed naps, we ended the night with burgers and a trip down to Del Mar to watch the fireworks. Luke clutched on for dear life to the collar of my jacket for the first couple of booms, but decided the explosions illuminating the night sky were actually pretty great by the end.

Independence Day, you were grand! We love our country!

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