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Along Abbey Road | A Lifestyle And Family Blog : January 2014


Meet My Boyfriend, His Name Is Jeans

Jacket: similar.
Tee: LOFT.
Boyfriend jeans: LOFT.
Boots: Target.
Hat: similar.
Scarf: similar.

Boyfriend jeans are so appropriately named. They are cute, I take them practically everywhere I go, I love the way they make me feel, and they are still there for me even when I've damaged and ripped a few holes in them. Basically, these jeans are the best boyfriend I've ever had, and we are still going strong after 3 years that have involved highs, lows and everything in-between. If that's not commitment, I don't know what is. I'm not trying to pressure you into a relationship or anything, but you should probably snag a pair for Valentine's Day.



My Birthday Weekend

1. Luke giving Wes kisses before we head off to Disneyland.
2. Riding the "horshes."
3. Teacups with Daddy for the 539th time.
4. Feeding the ducks and learning about Tom Sawyer's island.

5. Teacups again, with a few "ta-das!" thrown in the mix.
6. Our first Disneyland family photo.
7. Space Mountain. We're clearly M.F.E.O.
8. Birthday breakfast crepes.

9. Nanny snuggles at Moonlight Beach.
10. Wes attempting to convince us he may be a redhead.
11. We're a couple of peas in a love pod.
12. Celebratory birthday jumps in a golden sunset to bring in my golden birthday right.

I'd say my golden birthday year is off to a brilliant start. We partied our boots straight off the entire weekend with a trip to Disneyland, the beach, bonfires, and lots of sugar and food. Basically everything I love with the people I love (and I'd also like to give a shout out to my iPhone and Instagram for being there for me to document this momentous occasion since we forgot  to pull out the fancy camera ... oops).

On my actual birthday, I woke up and rolled over to Wes staring up at me with the brightest, happiest smile he could muster. With his head slightly nudged to the side so his third chin popped out ever so sweetly, he batted his gorgeous eyelashes and continued to smile and smile. I took that as a glimmering sign that this year will be just as wonderful and cheery as that baby's gummy grin.

Twenty-six, you're looking real good.

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The Messy, Long Bob

I forgot about the infant death grip that generally fixes its grab on fistfuls of hair, therefore it is time to get these hairs cut. If you follow me on Pinterest, you've probably seen an excess of hair pinning, because, yes! I am indeed ready for a new do. Since cutting my bangs a couple months ago, my hair resembles a fantastic 80's mullet (also, I think the caption on the picture is funny because kids these days clearly have no sense of classic pop culture).

The messy, long bob is the route I am going, it's just a matter of determining length. Do I keep it slightly longer and eventually cut it shorter, or do I just cut it shorter so I can let it grow out and have one less trip to get my hair did? I am thinking the second option because I am the world's worst keeper of hair. This shag on my noggin is lucky if it gets cut once a year, and it's practically unheard of to cut it two times or more in the span of a year. So there it is. I suppose I answered my own question. Shorter it is. 

Also, I want to be Alexa Chung, aka Queen of the Chicest Hair Known to Woman. 



These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Scrumptious baby lips to kiss, and cuddled up bums to dream on. The warm, sweet scent of itty bitty baby breath, and staring at him for hours while he sleeps. Truly a little slice of heaven if you ask me.

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Valentine's Day Gifts

Drop cap series Pride & Prejudice | Metro watch from Kate Spade New York | "Love, Love, Love" pillow cover from hellosleepywhale | "Jungle Red" lipstick from NARS | Heart cutting board from Out of the Woods of Oregon | "Happy Valentine's Day" card from Sycamore Street Press | Pink Newbury Dress from Anthropologie | Le Creuset teapot and mug from Sur La Table | Cross My Heart bobby pin from ban.do | Chalkboard cookie jars from Target | Mini Capri Blue candle from Anthropologie

Valentine's Day is always a fun holiday to me because it includes my favorite color (I'll give you a hint... it's not red) and hearts and kisses and all that mushy-gushy, lovey stuff. I mean, who doesn't love love?! If you don't, then you are the Grinch of Valentine's Day (the "it's just a commercial, made up holiday" argument is null and void around here). But that's beside the point. The real subject of the matter is the above collection of Valentine's Day gifts I've been eyeing around the web. These lovely gifts are sure to brighten the mind, body and home of all you ladies (single or spoken for) out there.


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Tot School Ideas

At the start of the new year, we introduced Luke to "Tot School" here at home. Since we are living with intention and all, Luke becoming a child genius ranks high on the list ;) But honestly, I don't want to stifle his creativity with a 42" TV and a remote, so it was time to get in gear with a daily structured, educational playtime. 

Here is our ever-growing Tot School activity list:

  • Do-A-Dot Letters. Each week we highlight a letter of the alphabet and keep all of the cutouts and activities surrounding that letter on the wall underneath our counter where Luke can see it at his level. The Do-A-Dot activity is good for his motor skills and letter recognition. I bought my Do-A-Dot markers at Michael's, but you can also get them on Amazon.
  • Magnet Board Alphabet. Luke got one of those nifty art easels for his birthday, which is complete with a magnetic alphabet. We've made a game of picking a letter out of a basket, reciting the letter and letting him stick it up on the board. Seems tedious, but Luke loves it and thinks it is an awesome game.
  • Flashcards. Thanks again to the Target $1 bin, we go through alphabet flash cards, learning both the upper and lower case letter and an animal that starts with that letter. That card then goes up on the weekly letter showcase under the counter.
  • Sensory Bag. This one is fun because you simply take a paper bag and fill it with all sorts of objects that have a different texture, shape, and size. You can also fill it with items that start with the letter you are working on for the week. For example, our "A" bag would have an apple, airplane, acorn, apricot, arrow (a safe play one), etc.
  • EZPaints. I was just barely introduced to these and love them. Like the name suggests, they are easy in every regard. They come in little bottles that resemble a fingernail polish bottle, but they are engineered so they don't spill. Since they are small, your little ones can hold on to the bottle themselves, and it is good for their motor skills with dipping the brush in and out of the bottle. They come with darling little paint cards as well, should your kiddo want to paint a specific item as well as free paint. In my opinion painting is so great for expanding the imagination and flexing those creative muscles.

I know there are loads and loads of other Tot School ideas out there, and I would love to hear what yours are if you do a Tot School type of thing with your kids! This list of ours needs to grow. 

In celebration of all things Tot School and learning, we have partnered up with EZPaint to give away 3 sets of EZPaints for your own Tot School adventures (or whatever you call it). One winner will receive a set of 16 EZPaints, second prize will receive a set of 8 EZPaints, and third prize will receive a set of 5 EZPaints. They come in a beautiful array of colors, which include neons and metallics dependent on the package you get, and they are also an extremely affordable price point. 

I truly, honestly stand behind this product when I say you need these for your little people. I mentioned a lot of good things about them above, but also wanted to state this business is run by a mother herself (and you know how I feel about female-run, small business!), they are non-toxic, washable and good for traveling, too. Basically you are in the clear should your child decide to eat the paint, use your gorgeous white walls as a canvas, or smear it all over their face. Our kitchen table is white and after a vigorous paint sesh from Luke has ended it looks as if our EZPaints have exploded in a tragic battle. However, in one fell swoop of the washcloth it is clean as ever. 

Bottom line, these paints rule and you have three chances to win! Enter the giveaway in the widget below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is sponsored by EZPaints. Thanks for supporting our sponsors!

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A Birthday Party

We kept it small with Luke's birthday party this year by celebrating with just our little family. Matt had to jet off for a business trip just moments after we celebrated, and keeping it simple turned out nicely. Luke's a diehard Toy Story fan, so obviously he had to have everything in that theme. 

We partied hard, pounded our faces with the most delicious cupcakes (gluten-free even!), and Luke majorly scored in the gift department with a tent and tunnel, a bus and airplane, an art easel, a wooden train, a Woody doll, and a scooter. Now we just need to teach him that there is absolutely no drinking and driving since there's already been a couple of wipeouts on the kitchen floor due to attempted sippy cup drinking and scooting. 

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A Tisket, A Tasket, A Post Of An Outfit

 Top: Home. Skirt: Made by my mama. Boots: Target. Scarf: H&M (similar). Lips: MAC Rebel.

I wore this outfit last Sunday and I must admit that black is slowly creeping in and taking over my closet (along with that messy top knot that's made a permanent residence on my head). It's such a good option for mothers. A) You don't have to think about what to wear... it goes with practically everything. B) It is slimming. C) It hides smudges, dirt and any other unsightly stain that winds up on a mom on a daily basis.

The end.



Happy 2nd Birthday, Luke!

The floor is covered in leftover crumbs from vanilla cupcakes, fragments of ripped wrapping paper are wedged into the rug, more toys with wheels scatter the floor, and our home is brimming with a vibrant love that only a 2-year old can bring.

As I look back and compare these newborn, 1-year old, and 2-year old photos, I can't help but choke up a little. I can't believe my baby Nugget is two. TWO! Where did the time sneak away to? 

Luke, you bring me such an incredible amount of joy that sometimes I feel as if my heart wants to jump out of my body, do a happy dance and then explode into a million, tiny pieces all over the place. You really are my heart running around outside my body, giggling and asking for a "nack" from anyone who is over 4'10" and will listen. 

As I tucked you into bed tonight at the end of your birthday, tired from cleaning and doing the routine, mundane chores, I glanced around and breathed in my surroundings, feeling such a profound sense of pride as your mother. Proud of this cozy, authentic environment that is unique to our family. Many times in the past year I caught the blues and wondered if I was contributing anything to the world, feeling like there was a huge hole in my identity because I'm not out receiving graduate degrees, searching for a cure for something, or creating beautiful works of art. But all of that seamlessly melted away tonight as I watched you crawl under your checkered quilt and cuddle in with your toy bus. And I 100% realized that what I am doing is better than any of that. I created life in you and generate a distinctive, one-of-a-kind existence every day I wake up with you boys. There is absolutely nothing more noble than this life as a mama to you and your brother, and I firmly believe know that with every fiber of my soul. Thank you for enriching my life so abundantly, Lukey. You are what this whole thing is all about.

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy. May year two be the grandest one yet. 

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Making The Switch From Crib To Bed

So, transitioning from a crib to a bed. It's a big deal in the world of the little fellows, especially when there is a new sibling involved. Since I've had a few mamas in the similar situation of having a small toddler and a newborn ask me how we went about the whole moving from crib to bed debacle, I thought I'd share our method.

We made the big switch a few months ago when Wes was born, in hopes of avoiding yet another life-altering change that would mess up Luke's routine. I'm a firm believer in routine. It's safe, predictable and makes for a secure kiddo. A new baby definitely can rock a 1-year old's world into a tizzy for a good, long while, so we wanted Luke's move from his crib to a bed to be positive and exciting.

Here's what we did...

1) We bought a toddler bed instead of a twin. This worked for us since we live in a small space and the boys share a room, although if we had the space we would have gone ahead with the twin to be more economical since it would last through many years. However, the toddler bed will last for at least a solid 5 years and I like to think it feels similar to the size of a crib, which is perhaps more comforting (my mom reasoning feels justified in that assumption)? His crib can convert into a bed, but it seemed the more logical route to purchase a bed instead of converting the crib and buying another crib. That would be just plain silly.

2) The initial plan was to switch before Wesley's arrival, so he didn't negatively associate his bed with him and all those adjustment shenanigans, but that didn't happen. And it still worked out great! We got the bed the week Wes was born, and Luke greeted it with excitement. We celebrated and made a grand to do over his "big boy bed" and he loved it! I almost think it worked out better because it was something we exclusively focused on for him, which as we all know is eaten up like a hot cake when the attention now has to be shared with a little brother.

3) We let Luke make the decision as to which bed he wanted to sleep in. Of course he chose the bed over the crib. The bed was exciting and a rite of passage to the world of big kid stuff! It took a few nights for the excitement of being able to get up and roam around as he pleased, but after 4 nights or so, he was sleeping soundly with no distractions. Luke still takes naps in the crib though, since the temptation of playing with all the toys in the light of day is too enticing (hashtag toddler problems).

4) I co-sleep with Wes, but on occasion I've put him in the crib for naps. To avert any possessive behavior, I've had Luke help me cover Wes up with his "mimi" (that's what we call our blankets) and tuck him in all snug. And that trick has worked, too!

This whole parenthood thing kind of feels like one big guessing game, and most often I find myself wondering if I am doing any of it right. But, Luke is a happy kid, so that has to count for something, right? He turns two tomorrow, which, I will admit, has me sweating at the palms a little bit. Two-year olds aren't really my favorite, so this year may be what you would call a challenge, but I am looking forward to the butt-whooping it will give me as a parent, to stretch and refine me just a tad more. It will teach me to have patience with myself and with others. Yes, there will be sand-throwing and shrieking tantrums and learning to not live in fear of the judgments of the dreaded park moms, but there will also be amazing conversations and discoveries and a budding, beautiful friendship of two brothers and their two crazy parents.

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Wesley's Baby Blessing

Me || Dress: c/o PinkBlush Maternity. Wes || Blessing outfit: Dressed in White.

I know I don't talk a bunch of religion on this blog, but my beliefs really are a huge part of my life. With that, my family came out last weekend to take part in Wesley's baby blessing. In our church, infants receive a baby blessing when they are born. Kind of like a christening, with the exception of the whole baptism thing, which, if you are familiar with the Mormon religion, doesn't happen until age 8. 

Wes was blessed by his daddy on Sunday, January 5, 2014 in our Encinitas ward. Isn't his outfit just the most darling thing you've ever seen? Those knee socks made his thigh rolls even more prominent and delicious. I just want to eat him up! Anyway, the blessing was beautiful, and again, it was truly a treat to have family there to support.

In short, I just want to say I am grateful families and that I get to be with mine forever. I am grateful for the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and that through his grace and love I can find happiness and joy in this life. 

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I live for weekends like this last one. A fourth of my enormously large family made the trek to the beach to see us and be a part of Wesley's baby blessing at our church. We celebrated birthdays, relaxed on the beach amidst a blazing bonfire, gabbed like mad, and simply enjoyed each other.

Solid, quality family time is always a recharger and soul booster for me. There are lots of a-holes and double-tongued people in this world, and I know I can always count on the ole' famdamily to keep it real (although sometimes that includes a-holeish behavior, but of the good and honest variety, if that makes any sense). Anyhow, I love these hooligans!

Now to get the rest of the bunch down here! Isn't living a skip, hop, and a jump from the ocean a good enough reason? ;)

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Raising Boys To Be Confident Men

I came across this video yesterday and absolutely fell in love with the message behind it. I already shared it on my Facebook page, but it struck a chord in me and I pondered on it all night.

As you can tell, my boys are highly sensitive. Yes, Luke and Wes are still little babes and crying is the name of the game, but I hope to instill gentleness and sensitivity in my boys that sticks. I want them to be in touch with their emotional side and all that mumbo jumbo. I don't necessarily buy into the whole gender binary thing of "blue is for boys, pink is for girls" and blah blah blah. If they adore the color pink, love glitter and want to play with dollhouses, great. If they naturally gravitate toward things that go KA-BOOM and anything with an engine in it, great.

What's important to me is that they are loyal to who they are and follow through in what interests them. And to do it with a fierce passion and determination, knowing all along that they are supported 100% on my end. There are too few people in this world not doing what they love or actualizing what they know in their guts to be true, for fear of pushing against some cultural norm or rejection (myself included). Luke and Wes will know they can find that reassuring blanket of security boys so desperately need in this harsh world that pounds the macho man mentality into their delicate souls. I don't want little He-Men running around. I want confident, thoughtful, analytical boys that aren't afraid to cry, and desire to give hugs instead of punches and anger. Boys that don't even bother wasting their time with the pressures of their peers because they possess a sterling sense of self-assurance. And in time, I want my boys to be great men that live up to those very qualities and beyond.

And you know what? I have a hunch those little turkeys will do just that. 

“It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” -L.R. Knost

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