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


Bubble Gum And Toddlers Are A Funny Mix

Every single day Luke asks me for "gums." Without fail. Which immediately makes me think of the bit in Jim Gaffigan's, Dad is Fat, on little kids and gum. "If they know you have a pack of gum, you suddenly have absolute power. You can lord it over them. Kids will do absolutely anything for a piece of gum."

Truer words have never been spoken, er, written. This is the daily conversation I have with Luke:

"Gums in Mommy purse?"

"Luke, you ate it all, remember?"

"Oh. We go get more at stooore?"

"Yes, but you have to be a good boy. No crying or throwing tantrums. And no smacking Wes!"

And it seriously works. Every. Single. Time.

Luckily for the little bugger, we snagged a phenomenal stash of bubble gum, and we all know what that means. Ultimate bribery and learning to blow bubbles! And swallowing most of it. Is it true it takes seven years to digest gum, or is that just an urban legend you learn when you are in elementary school? If it is true, Luke is going to be digesting gum for the next 70 years.

Anyway, last night we spent part of the evening enjoying some down time on a blanket outside. It was a scorcher of a day, so as the sun was setting, the weather was at that sweet spot of warmth and coolness, and the perfect place to attempt an education in the art of blowing bubble gum bubbles.

But first, Wes needed to perform a taste test to ensure it was satisfactory. He approved.

So, here we have Luke's version of blowing a bubble. The technique I will give a solid 8.3, but the execution was, well, a total flop. He chewed it, then completely spit it out, then put it back in his mouth and then ate it. I am actually quite impressed he even tried to do it being that he is only two and a half. 

I thought that if we matched, it would give us some good bubble blowing juju.

Do you think it worked? (I think I need a refresher course in bubble blowing, too. These were pathetic.)

I love spending these simple, silly moments with my boys. This is what summer is all about, and we will be soaking every drop of it up in these last few weeks we have left of this wonderful season. I hope you do, too! Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

*This post is a sponsored campaign on behalf of One2One Network and Juicy Fruit. Thanks for supporting our sponsors!

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Dear Wes

Dear Wes,

Today you are 10 months on the dot! (What the heck, kid? Quit that growing stuff already!) You still have rolls on your forearms and your ankles that would suggest we put elastic bands around them, meaning you are still very much deserving of the nickname, Chubby Dubby. That can only be attributed to the fact that you eat more than your brother and dad — combined! I think macaroni is your favorite food based on all the yelling that is involved for more even after you've scarfed down a pan.

Every morning you like to snuggle in bed with me, your dad, and brother to sing a lovely rendition of "Patty Cake." The way you flick your hands to and fro trying to roll the dough is the best part. Whenever we are all laughing at a joke, you make sure to add in your hearty, fake laugh that just makes everyone laugh even harder.

You have only your two front teeth. I like to think you are celebrating Christmas early, and I think the gap between your teeth when you give us a gummy smile (which is pretty much most of the time) is the cutest thing around... especially paired with the aforementioned laugh.

I love to watch you sleep. It reminds me of the day you were born and that you are still my teeny tiny baby. The way you suckle while dreaming sweet dreams makes me want to kiss those perfectly puckered lips. And just last night, I walked in to take a peek at you and you had your head perfectly placed on a square plush toy just like a pillow. It's those little things.

Pulling yourself up on everything is currently your jam. (And finding the dog food, no matter how stealthily it has been removed.) For some crazy reason, you've decided the bathtub is the best place to pull yourself to a kneeling/standing position, which also illustrates that you have an adventurous spirit about you.

You love to nurse. I am convinced you will want to breastfeed until you are five if I let you, and since that won't be happening, it's delightful to cherish those moments, just you and me. Your eyes are as piercing as crystals when you look up at me with those long lashes brushing along your eyelids. Most of the time you like to sit your foot on my chest and kick it back and forth so it makes a "pat, pat, pat" sound on my skin. And you will occasionally rub your eyes with your foot as well. Yes, you are wacky and silly and that is precisely what I love about you.

Even from just a few weeks old, I knew you had a strong sense of conviction and determination. It's the Scorpio in you, and I immensely look forward to the person you will grow to be. I can't wait for the deep conversations we will share, to see your zest for life in the spark of your eyes, and to watch your life all unfold as you accomplish your dreams. I know you have big things in store, Wes. It's written in your stars.

I love you so much, my darling boy. Never, ever forget that.


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Wraparound Twist Hair Tutorial

As a mom, you generally have two options for hair: throw it up in a ratty bun or ponytail, or hide it under a hat or headband of some sort. (It gets even more bleak if you have shorter hair like I do.) Sure, there are some mothers out there who manage to wash their hair every day and look glamorous, but I am definitely not one of those moms. 

One day after getting fed up with the same fugly hair thing going on day in and day out, I lurked through Pinterest to find a quick and cute hairstyle that works with short to medium length hair. Since I am no hair guru and don't know how to do fancy braids, I played around with some looks until I mastered a twist thingamabob that turned out to be a fantastically happy accident. And that is how the wraparound twist hairstyle was born. 

If you follow me on Instagram (you totally should if you want to see a million pictures of the two cutest fellas in the world, Luke and Wes!), I shared this hairstyle a week or so ago, and today I give you the tutorial! As promised, it's so easy a three-year old can do it. 

To do this wrap around hair style you will need:

5-10 bobby pins
Dry shampoo (if your hair is really fine and sleek and needs some grip)

Step 1: Brush your hair so it is smooth, and part your hair in the middle or slightly to the side. Spray in some dry shampoo if your hair is fine and needs some texture and grip.

Step 2: Grab a one-inch thick piece of hair at the top and split it into two. Starting at the top by your part, take the piece that is nearest your part and pull it away from your face, crossing it over the top of the other piece.

Step 2: Pick up about a one inch piece of hair into the bottom piece. Now twist that piece over so it is on top and pick up a one inch of hair on the bottom. (Kind of like you would with a French braid, but this is waaaayyy easier since you only have two pieces to twist the entire time.) Keep doing the cross over and pick up until you reach the middle back of your head.

Step 3: Secure the twist with bobby pins. I put about two or three short bobby pins to secure it at the back and one near my ear to keep the twist close to my head. Also, please note my lovely postpartum hair loss growing in! One of the many pleasures of having babies, which reminds me that I have the yummiest postpartum hair mask recipe coming soon. (How 'bout you, Sideburns? You want summa dis milk?)

Step 4: Repeat steps 2-3 on the other side of your head. Wrap the two twisted pieces that meet together in the back under one another and pin. Once they are both pinned in the back, go through and secure any loose ends or wacky hairs sticking out of place. Spray generously with hairspray to smooth out frizz and hold it in place.

Ta-da! You now have a fabulous hairdo that looks great, takes only a couple of minutes to do, and could easily land you a role in the next Jane Austen flick — move over, Keira!

Be sure to leave me a comment or tag me in your photos if you try this look out. I would love to see how you other gals and mamas style your wraparound twist hair! Enjoy!

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A Random Thing Or Two-sday

Tortoise Eyeglasses c/o Firmoo
LOFT Army Green Anorak (similar)
Anthropologie Striped Dress (similar) 
Converse Chuck Taylor Low Sneaker
Revlon ColorBurst Matte Lip Balm, Unapologetic

1. So, I have to admit that I am still more than a little peeved about the whole Anthropologie breastfeeding shaming fiasco that went down in Beverly Hills last week. Therefore, I am having mixed feelings about shopping there and/or wearing their products. But, this dress is an oldie and a goodie before all of that happened, and it is one of my go-to dresses. I am curious, are you boycotting shopping at Anthropologie on principle of the whole Nipplegate incident, or do you not really give a hoot?

2. Fact: Forty-six states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location (source). That excludes the states of Idaho, Michigan, South Dakota, and Virginia, in case you aren't a geographical wizard and fail to know the states in alphabetical order off the top of your head.

3. This B-list actress is EVERYWHERE. I swear she holds the record for the most commercial gigs in the history of TV. (You recognize her, don't you?) Then, when I thought I couldn't possibly see any more of her, she was on Chopped! And listed herself as a comedian, which made no sense to me... I clearly watch way too much television for my own good to be bothered about this type of rubbish, but just needed to vent out my frustrations. I feel much better now.

4. Matt watched Dirty Dancing for the first time a couple of days ago. I know, I know, what rock has he been living under for the last three decades? To finish the evening off right, I showed him this scene where Ryan Gosling does the lift as his "big move" in Crazy, Stupid, Love. In my opinion, it's Ryan's second best scene on the silver screen. (You all know what the first one is!)

5. Speaking of arguably two of the all time greatest scenes in romance movie history, would you rather have your own, "nobody puts baby in the corner!" moment with a monumental dance number, or your own, "it wasn't over, it still isn't over!" moment kissing in the rain?

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How To Make A DIY Kimono From A Scarf

How To Make a DIY Kimono From A Scarf | www.alongabbeyroad.com

DIY Kimono (see tutorial below)
Beach Bum Tank c/o Style Lately
LOFT Boyfriend Jeans
Birkenstock 'Gizeh' Birko-Flor Thong
Forever 21 Classic Round Sunglasses

There have been loads of DIY kimono tutorials on the internets for the past few months, and I was wanting to make my own, but far too lazy to drag my butt to the fabric store. It may be the fact that Luke and Wes have a knee-jerk reaction to start screaming the minute they see those forest green shopping carts. Can't say I blame them — it's probably genetic since I did the same thing with my mom... up until I was, like, 15. And now look at me! Sewing and all that nonsense. It's the circle of life.

I digress.

The other week as I was digging through my excessively large bin of scarves in my closet, a lightbulb went off. I could make kimonos from all these bulky wads of fabric I hardly wear! No surging, no hemming raw edges. It was as if the gods of the kimonos were doing me a solid by providing the easiest solution to making my own DIY kimono from a scarf.

How To Make a DIY Kimono From A Scarf | www.alongabbeyroad.comHow To Make a DIY Kimono From A Scarf | www.alongabbeyroad.com
Can I tell you a quick story? K, so when I went to scout out this location to take these photos right by our house, there was this huge, white metal gate blocking the entrance to the path. Of course I had the boys in our double stroller that is essentially the same size as a Smart car, so I had to open said gate in order to squeeze through. Well, this gate is one of those that has a pull lever and the hinges in the ground. I am pretty sure it hadn't been opened in, oh, I don't know, a year? There I am pounding away, trying to get the lever to slide to the left. In the meantime, my right hand was sitting directly next to the bracket that the hinge was to connect with once it opened. And slam open it did! Smack dab into the fat pad on my thumb, where my skin was pinched between the two. 

I let out one of those delayed screams of terror/pain — you know, like Marv does in Home Alone when Kevin sits the spider on his face.

My hand immediately started swelling up and the blood blister was a frightening shade of red since the skin didn't tear. I was out of commission for the rest of the day with an ice pack tightly wrapped around my entire right hand. Thankfully the swelling went down within a day — I would like to give my leftover ibuprofen from my c-section a shoutout for coming through! — and I was able to use it again to type this post out. The things I do for this blog! Now you are obligated to read it FOR-EV-ER. 

How To Make a DIY Kimono From A Scarf | www.alongabbeyroad.com

(If you look really closely at my right hand —your left — you can see the gash and the bruise. Just trying to keep it graceful and refined over here with blogging battle wounds, guys. Also, this is my victory dance.)

How To Make a DIY Kimono From A Scarf | www.alongabbeyroad.com
Now back to the DIY kimono! The nice thing about this one is it can be sewn by hand (unless you jacked yours up like I did) or with a sewing machine. There are three simple steps, and it is for the novice sewer. Here is what you need...


-Long, rectangle scarf that is wide enough to fit across your body
-Matching thread (and a needle if doing it by hand)
-Fabric scissors

How To Make a DIY Kimono From A Scarf | www.alongabbeyroad.com


1. Fold the scarf hamburger style with the right sides together. (That means fold it together so the wrong sides of the fabric are face up.)

2. Pin it together on both the left and right sides, then stitch it either by hand or with a sewing machine 3/4 of the way up. This will make your arm holes.

3. Cut the top piece all the way up the middle to the fold. This will be your front opening. (DO NOT cut the bottom piece or you will have something that will start resembling a poncho, and that's not what we're aiming for here.) Fold over those edges twice so they raw edge doesn't show, and hem it down. Flip it right side out and bada bing, bada boom! You now have yourself a fantastically trendy kimono.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 with all 542 old scarves you have sitting in your closet, your sister's closet, and your mom's closet.

Isn't that such a simple and fantastic DIY? I think so, too. Oh, and by the way...

CAUTION: Kimono may give you magical flying powers.

How To Make a DIY Kimono From A Scarf | www.alongabbeyroad.com

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What A Pool Day With A Baby And Toddler Looks Like

Albion Fit Antigua Floral Bikini | www.alongabbeyroad.com
Going swimming at the pool with a baby and toddler is no easy feat. Luke insisted on riding his scooter there (an entire 10 yards), and we happily obliged. He kicked his way there in only the most graceful of ways with a figure skater's poise; leg lifts, pointed toes and all. I will get a video for ya' one of these days.

So, we get to the pool and he immediately insists he rides his scooter into the pool. I was all, "Luke, do we look like the cast of Jackass? I don't think so!" Okay, so I didn't really say that to him because I don't need him running around shouting, "JACKASS!" (name that movie!) to neighbors and innocent cashiers, but that's the scenario that immediately played through my mind. My son is going to be the kid riding his skateboard off the roof into the pool. On fire. When he is five.

After we convinced him that scooters are pavement-only toys, he settled on falling in backwards and jumping in and out. The child has NO fear of the water, so his life vest has been a saving grace this summer.

Albion Fit Antigua Floral Bikini | www.alongabbeyroad.com
(Hey, look! I finally got the swimsuit of my dreams! It's the Antigua Floral Bikini thanks to Albion Fit. The print and fit are superb, although I would go a size down in the bikini top if you are short-waisted like I am. I suggest you get one. The one piece I have is also fabulous and girly, if ruffles are more your thang.)

While Luke was busy performing water acrobatics, Wes was thoroughly entertained by his hand. Babies and stoners, man. Hands are life-changing, trippy things if you stare long enough. He literally sat there for 20 minutes waving it back and forth and touching water puddles. Cheap entertainment for the win.

Albion Fit Antigua Floral Bikini | www.alongabbeyroad.com
But, then we all decided it would be better if we jumped in, because after all we were at a pool and they aren't just for sitting around and taking pretty pictures. 

In fact, this is a very real representation of what a day at the pool with a baby and toddler looks like. Right after Wes splashed us all in the face until we were practically blind from the chlorine, Luke decided to jump on us to test our swimming skills. Good news! We passed, but barely. Note to self: beware of jumping children from all angles, and don't swim in the deep end with a baby.

After that escapade, there was dive practice and training time for Luke's special tricks with Matt. Luke is replacing all of the killer whales at SeaWorld this fall! Come one, come all! (Could you imagine a water show full of toddlers doing tricks, though? I would totally go see that. You're welcome for that brilliant business idea... just don't tell them it was me when PETA and CPS come picketing.)

Shortly after that, Matt told Luke he needed to go swim to the side because he needed a little breather, but Luke had other ideas. He promptly got out of the pool, marched over to me and said, "Daddy naaaauugghtty. Daddy talk back to Luke!" Matt and I exchanged glances and couldn't help but bust up laughing. Apparently the the chain of command in our home goes as follows: Mommy, Luke, Daddy, Wes, Benny. And even then I am rapidly becoming Number Two in command these days. Can you tell someone is going to be three soon? Send me ALL the parenting tips! I am kind of scared.

We ended our pool outing on a high note with sloppy baby kisses from Wes and a quick dip in the jacuzzi. And that is what a day at the pool with a baby and toddler consists of. All 15 minutes of it ;)

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Tot School: Make Your Own Fireflies In A Jar And A Printable

School is back in session at the Rodriguez casa! Tot school, that is. We took a break from doing our tot school activity time because that is what summer is for, but are ready to get back on the educational train. 

This week we learned about fireflies, for purely nostalgic reasons. Around this time two years ago, I saw my very first fireflies when we were visiting Matt's parents back in Chicago. Dusk drifted in and those magical, glowing creatures came alive. I felt like I was watching fairies or something, and got giddy at the sight of it. Those little buggers are pretty dang magnificent, so I wanted to teach Luke all about the cool bugs at Nanny and Papa's house. I knew it would be an instant hit, and I was right!

We made our own glowing fireflies in a jar, watched a video about fireflies, and colored a printable.

Here's what you need to make your own glowing fireflies in a jar:

-a mason jar
-fake floral buds or pom poms (plastic toy beetles or flies would obviously be more realistic, but I couldn't find any and wanted them to look round when they glow in the dark)
-glow spray paint
-grass, leaves and sticks for the bug jar


1. On wax paper, spray your glow paint onto your balls or pom poms in a well-ventilated area. Give them three coats of paint — the more coats, the brighter they will glow! Let dry for 15-20 minutes.

2. While they are drying, tape three 3-inch pieces of thread to the inside lid of the mason jar. Make sure they are evenly spaced so they hang correctly.

3. Fill your jar with all your nature fixings and findings. Throw a few ants in there to give it a real dramatic effect!

4. Once the "fireflies" are done drying, tie then onto the string and close the lid. Make sure to sit them by bright light for a bit to get that glowing juice. Then go into a dark space and see your fireflies glow!

Luke kept staring into his jar and was completely mesmerized. After about twenty trips in and out of the bathroom to see the "bio-woom-a-ness" in action (bioluminescence — yes, I taught my 2-year old that word; we have Ivy League universities to prepare for, people), we watched a short video presentation all about fireflies on our new Intel 2 in 1.

We were graciously given this Dell Inspiron to review, and we have loved it so far. Matt has always had a Dell of some sort, whereas I have always been an Apple person, so it has been fun testing it out. It is both a laptop and a tablet, which is genius engineering if you ask me. With my laptop, it always bothers me I can't touch the screen to click or select something as you would with a tablet, and I always get frustrated trying to type out lengthy things on tablets. Thanks for solving this problem, Intel! You rule. That incredible price point of $400 isn't too shabby either, especially for students. (Much better than the $1,500+ you'd shell out for a Macbook and iPad.)

After the video, we went over the basic concepts of what a firefly is and how it works in terms that Luke could understand. We then set off to coloring this firefly printable coloring page. It is both a counting and coloring activity, and wrapped up the tot school day perfectly. 

This was the perfect lesson to get back into the swing of things. What boy doesn't love bugs? I hope you can find some time to enjoy one or all of these activities with your little one! Happy tot schooling!

Disclosure: This product was sponsored and provided courtesy of Intel, however all opinions are my own.

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