Princess Slippers by Kate Brightbill

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I was thinking the other day about the princess stage.

Both of my girls have been in love with all things princess related for years. I recall a conversation I had with a friend a long time ago, telling her about how crazy it is-- I was climbing in trees and playing in mud at their age, but they have been about as girly as can be since day one. She gave some sage advice-- enjoy that princess stage, and embrace it because it doesn't last forever

I took her advice... we have embraced their passion! Our home has become a go-to spot for princess dress-up and fancy shoes sending tiny twirling girls into worlds of their own imaginations. They've performed countless shows, we've had family dance parties, they've made castle forts, all wearing their tulle and sparkles.

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The girls recently received beautiful heart slippers from A. Andreassen, which perfectly fit both of their idea of feeling beautiful like princesses.

They wear the slippers when they want to dance on their toes like ballerinas, when they want to dress up like princesses, or when they simply want to feel lovely while reading a book. They are sophisticated, comfortable, and whimsical. I also adore their traditional Norwegian heart-- My great grandparents were Scandinavian-- I learned how to make the woven heart out of paper as a child, so the heart on their little feet tugs at my nostalgic heartstrings. ;) The slippers are soft and buttery leather, light on the foot, and perfect for protecting little feet. 

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A. Andreassen has figured out a way to make slippers truly timeless. Lovely for tiny princesses and perfect for little girls who still love fancy but want a little extra chic for Christmas this year. ;)

p.s. The slippers also come in grown-up sizes! I love these and these!

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* Post is sponsored. All opinions are my own-- we are so flattered to be able to work with such a beautiful company. 

Baby Jack! by Kate Brightbill

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In case you didn't realize it- I birthed a baby! Jack is here! He's been on the scene 7 weeks, two days today (7 weeks already!?) and... he is a DREAM. 

Since I've given myself a wealth of maternity blog leave, it's a little tricky to figure out where to start after the break. I've attempted on multiple occasions to write "The Story" of Jack David's birth, and with all the feels, but frankly, I'm too emotionally up and down to really get those words on the screen without a fit of tears. But- like- the thought of a kitten getting stuck in a tree might send me to tears these days, so don't put too much stock in my tears. Mostly it's hormone imbalances, and maybe I'll write it later, but ahh, bottom line: childbirth is a miracle, and this one felt especially so. Jack David is our miracle baby and our gratitude levels are overflowing.

Now. I will answer the top two questions and comments regarding our new lifestyle. Seems fitting. 

1. "how are you sleeping?!" An answer that varies by the day. On a day after a rough night, I've been known to kind of wave my hand as a gesture to my frizzy hair and the dark under-eye circles and just answer... "no." No. (Best thing to do is walk away). 

Other moments, I get particularly verbal and start play-by-playing my nights of that week... "Oh a couple nights ago was dreadful- he woke at 1, 3, AND 5- can you believe it?, then last night was amazing, he woke at 3: 23 and then didn't wake again, but last week! let me tell you..." etc etc. I don't know what gets into me. We all know no one needs the hour by hour and week by week sleep schedule, but hey, if you're going to ask, be prepared to buckle up and listen... Chances are, I've had two extra cups of caffeine and that is what has put us in this situation. 

Bottom line? Ask me again in a month. I was an incredibly faithful sleep trainer with my first two, and they were sleeping 6/7 hours straight by 8 weeks, but when you're running around getting big kids here to there, AND attempting to maintain a newborn daytime schedule, it's a totally different situation. I do my best to keep consistent, but I cannot truly adhere to the high standard, so I can't expect him to sleep to the same standard. That said, he only woke at 4:30 to eat last night, so as of this moment, he's basically a superstar. 

2. Three kids? Your hands are FULL. Most people who have children stop at two around here. I respect this- it's obviously much more conducive to getting from here to there, and definitely more manageable, but three! Three is FUN. Happy chaos. Chaos, yes. Moments of too much noise, moments of disobedience, moments of tears... But I've already realized (from the crazy fact that I'm about to have a SEVEN YEAR OLD, whaaat?) that this whole newborn-dependent-on-me every moment of the day and night stage is fleeting. The answer is that yes, my hands are full. I can't always look eloquent managing the variables, and I may get more than my fair share of glances, but full hands are keeping me on my toes and keeping my prayer life abundant. PS. My abuelita had 14 children, so I'm sure if she would have heard people telling me three children means my hands are full, she would have had a good long laugh. 

It's good to be back here. So much to say, so few moments taken to type! Now back to my regularly scheduled program... baby has to eat! Back again soon!

(really!)

xoxo. Over and out, friends. 

* Jacks sweater and cozy blanket c/o Hanna Andersson

A Room for BABY! by Kate Brightbill

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WE ARE READY.

I've never been this ready to have a baby before! Emotionally, physically, mentally, AND now: logistically! He has a finished room!! Things are organized! It's kind of unbelievable in the best way. 

We were crazy enough to move two weeks before Sophie came on the scene (moving boxes everywhere as I was adjusting to my firstborn! yikes!), and we lived in a one-bedroom when Maggie was born, so her "nursery" was a mini crib in our bedroom. Cozy, yes we were! I've never felt our baby's space was truly ready for them before they came though, so this is a total novelty.

This time around we have an actual SPACE for our little boy, it's not a closet room, and it's not shared. It's the biggest deal to us. I've been able to nest and prep slowly and surely, and enjoy the "design" process immensely. Re-decorating is my favorite thing in the world, so this has been a labor of SO much love. 

ABC Print by Hanna Andersson

The rest of our home is whitewashed, as they say. I'm generally so partial to bright, light, white! Because of this, I was ready to take a risk in our baby's small room and paint it deep deep blue/green. I cannot even describe how nervous I was. It's just paint! Yes. It's just paint... but my husband is not a fan of painting, and I know that painting over deep colors would not be happening anytime soon if we didn't like the color. I painstakingly chose on my own after going back and forth on several shades. All of my options I found online, and sometimes screen colors and real life colors don't translate, so I was especially nervous. After two coats and a few things on the walls, my nerves calmed, and now I love it. 

I'm not so into dark woodwork, but we are tenants, and there are limits. ;) I'm just thankful for a wonderful landlord and that he lets us paint at all. 

Green Canvas Bucket c/o Maika Goods (similar) Knitted Taxi Rattle c/o Estella NYC ||ABC Backpack || Tee || Wall Hooks

One wall is entirely cabinets. We kept toys in this room before baby was on his way, and simply consolidated and purged to keep them in the girls' closet instead. The storage in the wooden cabinets is definitely sufficient for the time being. I'm an OCD organizer, which comes in handy with small spaces. Down the road I may need to share my closet with him for hanging items, but we'll cross that bridge when we need to. I'm totally fine with sharing. ;) All of the baby clothing is easily folded or rolled into size-appropriate baskets on shelves hidden by doors for now. 

The chair is a knockoff steal from Amazon. It doesn't look like much, but somehow during pregnancy it has been the MOST comfy for me. Hoping that carries through post-pregnancy days. It was really the only size of rocking chair that would fit in the small room, so I didn't have much of an option, but we're SO happy with it. I may add a pouf or small footstool to get myself reeeeally settled in. The basket was a gift from my sister and I love it to bits, and the rug- oh the rug... my favorite. The girls and I just sit on it sometimes, to chat and soak in the softness. 

The string of light balls in the window are Bright Lab Lights, and they cast a gorgeous soft night glow when it's dark out. They'll be perfect for middle of the night nursing sessions. Mine is a custom string I assembled at an event-- the custom option is also available online, or you can just buy a pre-strung version in great color options.

I don't have space for a changing table, but as I mentioned- Maggie's setup was a mini crib in our bedroom-- I grew accustomed to simply using a changing mat and moving it around the house as needed. Less is more here, so we're happy to be going with that strategy again.  

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Lion Print and (similar) stacking toy by Hanna Andersson ||

Trains purchased in a set on Amazon

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Mobile is a DIY using trick gliders from Seedling || Hanna Andersson makes the nicest crib sheets around- they have great patterns, but I preferred white in this particular space || Sophie the Giraffe is Hanna Andersson || Jellycat Fox is a gift for baby from his big sisters who want to play with it almost daily || Frames are by Blick, and they're my favorites-- I have them all over the house because they're reasonably priced and hold up SO much better than Ikea || Tiny Golden Gate is from Petit Collage || German license plate is nostalgic from when Brian and I were young and crazy and bought a car in Germany. || Crib is Pottery Barn Kids- classic & handed down

Brian had ONE BIG REQUEST in baby's room, and he said if I can do that, he's perfectly fine with me designing everything else. He wanted a Steph Curry poster on the wall. He didn't need it to be giant, but he said it couldn't just be in an irrelevant space. HA! Wish granted, Brian. Over the crib it is. If you look closely, you'll see he's dominating Lebron in this particular shot. We drink alllllll the Warrior's kool-aid around her, friends. By the end of basketball season, we were THIS close to letting Sophie purchase the tackiest pennant available with cartoon faces of all the GSW team for her wall in her room. Brian was actually the one who nixed it in the end. I was like, well it means SHE LOVES THE WARRIORS... yes she does, but yes, I'm glad one of her parents is sensible sometimes.

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Gorgeous cable throw and SOFTEST rug ever, both Hanna Andersson. My favorite pieces in the room, hands down. I want both for my own room too. ;) 

We are counting down the days until we see our baby's face! I'm trying to remind myself that just because our girls arrived early (4&9 days), it does not mean our baby boy will! Reasoning with myself is totally futile-- I'm convinced he'll be here sooner than later. I had a night full of serious-breath-taking contractions last weekend, and I was juuust about to tap Brian to tell him it was go-time, and they stopped. Abruptly. UGH. 

So now my bag is packed (!!!), and the day is coming. His room is ready and so are we! And so are these teeny tiny shoes that showed up on our doorstep today-- Eeee! SO CUTE. Boys apparel is so underrated! I'm loving every tiny boy piece. :)

  Shoes c/o  Umi Shoes  || Rug c/o  Hanna Andersson

Shoes c/o Umi Shoes || Rug c/o Hanna Andersson

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So thankful to Hanna Andersson for collaborating with us on our baby's room. Product was provided, and all opinions are my own. I am floored by the quality of each piece, and we will all be enjoying the space SO much more because of the beautiful Hanna pieces. Affiliate links are also included in the post. Thank you for supporting the brands that support us! xx

Back to School Blending by Kate Brightbill

   Bella Blender  (c/o) with Greek Yogurt Strawberry Lime Smoothie

Bella Blender (c/o) with Greek Yogurt Strawberry Lime Smoothie

After school snacks. Ohhh, Sophie comes home hungry every day... by this time I've expended energy making breakfast, packing lunch, making lunch for Maggie, and now I'm definitely expected to make a snack for both growing kids as well. 3pm is not my most creative time of day, let me tell you!

Can I simply offer a bag of kettle chips, some crackers, or cheese sticks? Of course!! Do I? Of course I do sometimes! But I don't want junk food to be the norm- for myself or for my children. While pregnant, I find I especially need to watch my food intake and be sure that what I'm putting into my body is going to be full of vitamins and goodness. 

The girls and I decided that once per week we will make our go-to snack a nutritious smoothie. We got a new blender recently that makes the process so simple. I blend veggies, I blend fruit, I blend with juices but try not to depend on them too much. My new go-to recipe is insanely good, and the way I discovered it? Simply using what we had handy in the house to make it! I'm a big fan of just sticking to what's in the house, as opposed to running to the store for ingredients. That's the beauty of smoothies.

Want to try my recipe? YES. I know you do: 

  • Frozen Strawberries
  • A squeeze of lime
  • Greek Yogurt (ours was Vanilla flavored)
  • If you need it sweeter, add some honey, more tart, add more lime

Super complex, right? Blend that right up, and then wish you had tripled the recipe so you could keep the taste buds happy for longer. 

The right blender can make a huge difference!! I finally donated my old blender recently. It worked, but it worked so slowly!! I avoided all blending for ages because of all the pieces and cleaning involved. I got a Bella Rocket Extractor pro-plus as a replacement to my old blender, and it has changed the way I feel about blending. It's not complex as so many blenders are (twist this to that and the extra pieces between, ugh!), and one of the key reasons I love it is that it maintains the nutrients that are normally lost in juicing. We don't want to cut out the good stuff when we blend!! 

Strawberry Lime Smoothie

And now, I'll confess. While writing about my new nutritious smoothie-making habits, I am being teased mercilessly by my husband because I couldn't help but make one to sip RIGHT NOW. Ahhh, yes.

It tastes just as good at 8pm as it does at 3pm. ;)

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Our Bella blender was provided for review- thank you Bella! We've had it only a few weeks and have made smoothies & shaved ice about 15x, seriously. My heartburn has been so thankful for the cooling effects of blended ice! All this to say: all opinions are my own... I say I love this blender and I mean it, haha! xx.

State of the Pregnancy: Week 36 by Kate Brightbill

  Dress c/o  Tiffany Rose

Dress c/o Tiffany Rose

Pregnancy Update 1 // Update 2

My last update was at 30 weeks, so at that rate, this is probably my last update on pregnancy-- THRILLED about that!! So excited to see this baby face to face!! It's surreal to imagine myself the mother of a newborn, even the third time around. Every child is so different, and brings new dynamic, new joys, new challenges...

I've avoided writing any update because- while social life has been SO fun, and the past couple months have been full of excitement, they've also been full of sickness, nausea, and heartburn. I'm a bit of a CASE, and it feels kind of brutal, so who wants to hear about that? It seems the last ten weeks of pregnancy should be full of loveliness and excitement and nesting. Nesting, yes! I love cleaning and organizing- mopping and purging. The excitement has unfortunately been a bit overshadowed by the here and present daily illness that has now been my reality for about seven months straight. 

Now I'm four weeks away from my due date, and feeling a bit more thankful and optimistic than I've been in ages. I was thinking this morning about how I had no idea if this baby would make it to even week 24.. or to 30, and now here we are, edging on on totally full term. It feels a bit like a miracle if I look at all the health challenges and risks of this pregnancy, and how it's now all resolved. Nausea is such a small exchange relative to the fact that this has somehow become a HEALTHY pregnancy, when all is said and done. Neither of our lives are high risk any longer!! SO THANKFUL.

My girls were both early (4 & 9 days), so in my mind I will have an early baby again, but I keep telling myself that after this pregnancy, I may want to count on a 41 weeker, ha! Why not, right? I'm simultaneously motivated to tie up all the loose ends, and telling myself I have plenty of time so I should just rest and not get my hopes up. 

I love bullet points, so I'll use them to help summarize:

  • My bag is not packed yet- that is a project for this week. My mind has been thinking of this that and the other, so maintaining focus on what I'll need for the hospital has been totally challenging. I'll get that locked down in the next couple days. 
  • Our baby's name is chosen, but will not be disclosed this time around. ;) We like to torture our families with anticipation, ha!
  • We haven't even purchased a carseat or stroller, but aren't very worried about it. That can be done in minutes, if necessary (especially now that we have Targets in the city! Did you even know SF didn't have a Target until a couple years ago? All you spoiled suburban mothers would post about the happy place that Target is and I was living vicariously ;) My lifestyle of generally being car-less during the weekdays is far more suited to an Ergo, and we DO have that, so we're totally set. 
  • Baby's nursery is coming along nicely. We have a few spaces to fill and complete, but I'll be sharing that in the next couple weeks. I love love love home decor, so it has been has been really fun creating a space for a baby boy!
  • We DO have a plan for our kiddos when we go to the hospital. This one was just figured out yesterday, and it feels wayyy better than the thought of improvising at 2am if necessary. ;) Also, I had a night last week where I had three hours of strong contractions, so it was a wake-up call to get that plan set!

We're almost there! Just a few boxes to check. It's so funny the contrast between having your first baby, and then having subsequent babies. This time around, I'm really low-key and don't want much! With Sophie, I researched every possible product to find the very very best for the right prices. We were stocked! With Maggie, we had everything suited to a baby girl, so any extra cash was spent on wardrobe- so many tiny cute things!! This time, I'm like "eh, if we don't have it we'll work without... and if we end up needing it, isn't that why Amazon prime exists?" Less is more. 

So there you have it folks! 26 days!! 

--Ps. If you're pregnant and need an occasion dress, Tiffany Rose has the BEST options. I could seriously sleep in the dress I have from there, that's how incredibly comfortable it is. I received it and wore it for about 9 hours at a wedding last weekend, and it worked perfectly!! I also had my eye on this beauty, but found out the color would perfectly match the bridesmaids at the wedding, so I opted out, haha! In a world where maternity fashion is so lacking, finding Tiffany Rose was a huge relief. 

xoxo

Back to School Lunches by Kate Brightbill

  Lunch food c/o  Whole Foods . It's our favorite place to shop for nutritious ingredients to keep our family healthfully fed, and their  website  is FULL of gorgeous and healthy recipes for the family.

Lunch food c/o Whole Foods. It's our favorite place to shop for nutritious ingredients to keep our family healthfully fed, and their website is FULL of gorgeous and healthy recipes for the family.

When Sophie started kindergarten last year, the whole lunch-packing thing was pretty daunting. She found out quickly that her SF restaurant palate did not approve of purchasing school lunches, and apart from "pancake with sausage day," she requested home packed lunches every.single.day. 

Apparently I was NOT alone in my reluctance to pack homemade lunches... I recently found out that 90% of parents surveyed would rather help with carpool or homework than pack lunches. What? Yes, I know. It can be a brutal morning routine... and yet...

Is packing a lunch so bad?

By the end of last year, (apart from the dragging myself out of bed every morning factor), I was secretly enjoying the lunch packing. I'm not going to lie- It took awhile (like the entirety of last fall, haha!) to get Sophie to approve of the my lunches -- "mommy, I was kind of hungry when I was done with my lunch. Can you add more tomorrow?" // "mommy, I had too much lunch and I had to sit for SO LONG to finish. Can you make it smaller?" // "mommy I love cheese, but not that kind in my lunchbox. I prefer the other kind..." // "My apple hurt my loose tooth!" // Kids are way too honest sometimes. 

One day, it clicked. I was doing lunches wrong. Enough of the large sandwiches and whole fruit (apple, oranges, etc) ...I changed my formula, and started loving the packing process. It totally appealed to my childhood self to create meals in this new way... but more importantly- Sophie LOVED the changes, and was coming home happy with her lunches-- finally!

Here's what I realized: variety is huge for a kid. Chopping things to small sizes is almost always nicer for them. Small bites of good food, and having color and brightness involved are extra perks. My kiddos- thankfully- adore their fruit and veggies, so I include at least two per day in a small compartment. Sugary sweets aren't totally off-limits, but they're not recommended by the schools. That said, I like to include something for Sophie that is a nutritious sweet (her current favorite are these rasberry fig bars that check all the right boxes). Rolling lunch meat and adding a fun animal pick to secure them is a big win. The right crackers or a cheese stick can be added to round out the lunch, and we're all set!! 

Today, and probably monthly throughout the school year, I will share a few lunch ideas with you. It's something I love, it's something I'm given feedback on daily (thanks Soph!), and it's an area I really do enjoy these days.

Here are just three meals from our week that are incredibly simple to prep, and would generally be well-received by the little ones: 

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Day 2:

  • Salami rolled and secured with a pick.
  • Crackers! These are brown rice crackers and I love them, but full disclosure: Sophie prefers wheat thins as her standard cracker. To each their own!
  • Celery sticks! I often add hummus on the side of carrots or celery, but it definitely makes for more messes in the lunchbox.
  • Rasberries. 
  • Rasberry fig bar.

 

 

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Day 1:

  • Tiny triangle turkey sandwich with one roll of extra turkey meat, secured with a food pick.
  • Nectarine, cut.
  • Snap Pea Crisps (I always stock these! They're a favorite around here)
  • Raisins-- WF sells a big box that lasts much longer than those tiny ones.
  • Greek strawberry yogurt with a couple berries (for things that should be chilled, sticking them in the freezer for about 30 minutes before school can keep them cool until lunch!). OR these cute ice packs are great!

 

School Lunch

 

Day 3: (more of a traditional lunch, which is great once or twice a week to add variety)

  • Ham sandwich (for school, I keep sandwiches to meat, cheese, and mayo or mustard. Lettuce and tomato make the bread soggy by lunch, so it's best to skip!)
  • Rasberries... I stock at least one berry in bulk for the week because they're a favorite lunch staple, and I switch between blueberries, rasberries, and strawberries weekly.
  • Terra Veggie Chips with Sea Salt. 

Whole Foods spoiled us with some fantastic snacks for us to try, and the CUTEST snack containers. They're collaborating with PBS kids to create adorable backpacks, lunch containers, lunch bags, and pencil box that are all made responsibly with the bright colors and patterns that kids adore. I let my girls pick their favorites and they were giggling with excitement to show their daddy when he got home. 

ALSO- they give great lunch ideas and recipes for kid-friendly meals for the family on their website.... it's definitely worth checking out if you're in a food funk. :) How did I never know this existed?? It's full of amazing options. 

Happy new school year!! Hope this helps the back-to-school process! 

xoxo

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Post is not sponsored. Whole Foods provided products and food for our family to enjoy... all opinions are my own. x