A Tale of Two Toddlers

On Sunday we went to church and left Moo in the toddlers’ room during the service.

When we picked her up, the volunteers in the room told us that another little girl had gotten hurt and M was first on the scene to pat her head and give her a hug.

My mommy-heart LITERALLY burst.

Later that afternoon I held M and told her that my absolute favorite feedback regarding her isn’t about intellect or beauty- it’s about her generosity and kindness. I think it might’ve gone over her 16 month old head, but whatever.

Then, that evening during a bedtime tantrum, Moo smacked my face repeated and slashed me with her Wolverine-like nails.

So all of that to say, you win some and you lose some.

LOL.


Hope everyone had a very Happy Easter / weekend and my tale of Dr. Jekly and Mr(s). Moo reminds you that there are great and terrible moments in every 24 hour period. Bank the good ones and keep Neosporin on hand for the bad.

Pandemic Project # 348: PHOTOWALL

To be honest, the majority of our time at home this past year was spent keeping Moo out of trouble AND keeping the business out of trouble. We didn’t complete too many home projects. I am extremely jealous of the people who checked off task after task.

As such, we have plenty of shelves & pictures to hang, but when Photowall reached out for a collaboration I was not about to say no. All the printed canvases in our home are from Photowall and our newest print is just what we needed to reignite our home-decorating passion.

Have you ever paid hundreds for a professional photography session only to sit around on the final prints and use them as extremely expensive iPhone backgrounds…? Yeah, us too.

Or maybe you snapped an amazing picture, but it’s now trapped in your phone with no where to go and no one to admire it.

Enter: Photowall

It looks intimidating, but the assembly process is simple and takes less than 20 minutes.

Right now this gem is hanging in our bedroom, but our plan is to order more & hang them in the foyer. I ordered a 31.5 x 39.37 inch print. It’s huge and the print quality is amazing.

Photowall also has a huge selection of artwork and wallpaper. If you have a boring wall in need of something bright, bold, or unique, check out the designs on their website.

Shipping is free and SO fast. Such good people with great hearts.

This particular canvas was gifted to me, but I HAVE and will continue to buy from Photowall with my own hard-earned money. The people and products are truly top-notch. #sponsored

As I said, behind the Photowall name are some amazing people.

They’ve given me a code to share with you- good for 25% percent off anything on the site! Use audielou25 at the check out and treat yourself to some beautiful art!

If you have any questions about the company or code, please let me know!

The Rocking Chair: Bedtime Reflections

You are safe here. In the dark corner of your cozy nursery.

There is no hate, no school shootings, no grocery store tragedies.

There is no racism or sexism. You are accepted and loved, just as you are.

There is no poverty or excess.

There is no hunger or hypothermia. There is no disease or virus.

There is no pressure to please others or obligation to fall in line.

There is no bullying. There are no politics. There is no dishonesty.

There is no scale. No size. No style. No budget.

There is no violence, no yelling, no anger.

Sometimes there are tears, but I will always take care of those.

And there is a warm bottle and worn blanket.

There are two strong and soft arms, just right for your little frame. Always right for you. Any time.

I know there is a certain level of privilege in this space. I know that. I am grateful to have the means to provide this for you.

I wish I could bottle up this time. I wish I could save this contentment and peace for you.

And when you enter the world, and the world shows you its ugly truth, I would gift you these perfectly packaged moments of safety and love and wholeness. I would stock my closets and cupboards with memories and moments of serenity for you.

Because the world will try to shatter you. It’s how it goes. It is an unperfected world.

It doesn’t deserve my perfect little human. And you most certainly deserve better than this world.

But you will leave this chair. And this room. And even this house someday.

You will follow your dreams. And I will quiet my nightmares. And you will do what you were born to do.

And when the broken world tries so hard to break you, I will hold you. You are safe here.

Aldi Toddler Finds

Like many of you, I am a big fan of Aldi. Our town doesn’t have a Target or Whole Foods or Panera… but we have an Aldi. She may not know it, but M is a big fan of Aldi, too.

I’ve talked about Aldi before. I did a post about my favorites at one point. (I imagine some of those items are now discontinued.) Today I thought I’d share the non-baby things that my baby loves.

Before I launch into non-baby stuff, I want to share that my experience with their baby items has been remarkably great.

Their diapers, puffs, rice rusks, and fruit & veggie puree pouches are top notch.

I’ve had some issues with the wipes, but still recommend them as an okay option. (The packaging has fallen apart on me- nothing to do with M’s skin.)

Ok… on to other foods.

Freeze-Dried Fruit I think these are gross but M loves them. (Well, she did last week. This week it’s a no. So probably next week they’ll be in her good graces again.) I’ve seen mango, strawberry, and fuji apple. Mango was the favorite… who knows what it’ll be next.

Veggie Straws Unlike the fruit, M is still BFFs with these square tube healthier-ish chips. Girlfriend doesn’t love fresh vegetables and fruit right now so I’m considering veggie straws a mediocre alternative. Plus they keep her happy and who am I to deny her joy? (I know, I know. It’s literally my job to deny her joy.)

Avocado Dip These are just small cups of mashed avocado and sea salt. Lazy? Sure. But I don’t have to play Russian roulette with a fresh ‘cado and end up with a browned, rotten $2 stress ball.
*We also practice using our spoon with these cups because they’re thick enough they don’t spill out and soft enough for her to scoop.

Fish Sticks M isn’t sold on fish sticks yet but we’re going to keep trying. I also did the #lazymom thing and made them in the microwave when I know for a fact they’re 10xs better in the oven. So we’ll try this one again soon. She loves fish so I have high hopes.

Chicken Nuggets Love me a chicky-nuggy lunch. I make enough for Moo-Poo and myself because DUH. I cut these into small bite-size bits and give them to her or mix them with Mac n Cheese.

Grilled Chicken Stripes These are the bomb. And they’re a HIT with Moo. Again, I just chop them into small bits and she loves them. They can be mixed into pasta, too!

Mac n Cheese, Spaghetti, Ravioli My child is a carb-o-holic and will eat any noodle put in front of her. I’m going to try mixing tuna in with her Mac n Cheese at some point. And Aldi has such fantastic prices for all these items.

Whole Milk, Eggs, Yogurt Normal stuff for a toddler, but priced sooooo well at Aldi!

Lunch Meat, Shredded Cheese, American Cheese Again, normal toddler snacks but cheap cheap cheap. M loves meat & cheese, lol. She’s her father’s daughter for sure.

As I said, M isn’t into fruits and veggies right now. She actually nommed on some pineapple the other day but I think it was a fluke. We don’t do grapes or nuts or hotdogs, so I can’t speak to any of those items at the great and powerful Aldi.

What do you buy from Aldi for your mini garbage disposals (or yourself)??

Oh, What A Year

The whole country (& world) shut down around K’s birthday last year. March 12th was our last meal in a restaurant. Sunday night suppers at my grandparents’ house stopped, mindless Target wandering was no longer ok, and spending time at home with our 3 month old became our only entertainment for a while.

Running a company is always a stressful thing, but watching K sort out how to keep everyone safe, employed, healthy, and just OK in general has been exhausting and painful. (I can’t begin to imagine how he feels about it.) It’s been a soul-crushing year.

(Our primary customers are schools- specifically the extracurricular music programs in schools. The programs that have been cancelled, delayed, reduced due to COVID.)

It’s been an atrocious year to say the absolute very least. I don’t know if we’ve (Kyle’s) ever been this stressed out, 24/7, without relief. It has most certainly shaved years off his life. The rebound/rebuild isn’t a walk in the park either.

And while he’s walking into a new year with a shorter fuse, more grey hair, and a much bigger chip (gash?) on his shoulder, he’s also grown into an even more wonderful human, partner, and dad.

We’re raising a smart and snarky little girl that loves to play with and laugh with her daddy. We have two dogs that get excited every. single. time. he enters the room. K has started cooking his way around the kitchen and- spoiler alert- he’s really good at it. We’ve bought a camper and started down that literal and figurative road. He’s paying better attention to his physical and mental health. He listens to me and encourages me and calls me out on my b.s. when I need it.

Despite all the things that I know weigh him down, he’s such an accomplished, fulfilled, incredible (almost) 34 year old. My life is good because he’s a part of it. We’re in a pretty tough, stressful season of life right now, but seasons change.

Happy Birthday, love. It’s going to get better and then maybe worse again but then better.