baby

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // Marina Grace is Two!

March 23, 2017

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Marina Grace turned two-years-old on Monday. My goodness. Ya’ll already know how I feel about my babies growing up and time passing too quickly, so I’m not going to get into it… again. Instead I’ll share these photographs that I snapped at the aquarium the other day.

Instead of a traditional birthday party, we decided to spend the day at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden. It’s a bit of a ride, two hours each way, but it was a lot of fun. I’ve been obsessed with aquariums and zoos for as long as I can remember. Visiting them has always been a favorite pastime and I’ve visited lots of them all over the country during my travels. However, because my babies weren’t always the easiest to take out and about, it’s been over four years since I’ve gone! Far too long.

This day was very special for me and for the littles, as well. Marina was more than willing to share her special day with the whole family and we had a blast. Best of all, they were both so well-behaved. Proving that, indeed, they are finally ready to start exploring the world beyond our usual routine. What a joy for this Mama’s adventurous heart!

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Aquarium Birthday Adventure // livelovesimple.com

Happy Birthday, my sweet Marina Grace. You are funny and loving and wild. You have the most-determined little spirit I’ve ever come across. I know that it will serve you well. Stay strong and fierce, my beautiful girl. I love you always and always and all ways. xo

Of All The Things My Hands Have Held…

February 18, 2017

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When my children look back on their childhood, my greatest hope is that they will remember the magic that I have worked so hard to create for them.

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“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.”

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“For all the things my hands have held, the best by far is you.”

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“Life is tough, my darlings, but so are you.”

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“In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours.
In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.”

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Our Favorite Natural, Baby Bubble Baths

January 6, 2017

Natural Bubble Bath

This is not a sponsored or affiliate post. All opinions are strictly my own. I paid for and tested these products myself, nothing was sent for review.

Natural Bubble Bath

Natural Bubble Bath

I’ve been wanting to do a post about our favorite bubble baths for awhile. I feel like it’s been a “trial & error” thing for us and I’m hoping that my wisdom might benefit some other parents out there. Also, I may or may not have simply been looking for a reason to snap some photographs of my sweet babies in the tub together. 😉 I know these days won’t last forever.

Natural Bubble Bath

Natural Bubble Bath

Natural Bubble Bath

So let’s start with the basics. When it comes to bubble bath, I use it as a wash and a shampoo. I think it’s silly to buy separate bubble bath and shampoo for babies/toddlers. It shocks me that baby shampoo is usually priced higher than bubble bath, by the way. As far as I can tell, they do the same thing and function the same way. But anyway, I digress…

Natural Bubble Bath

Natural Bubble Bath

Natural Bubble Bath

When I’m looking for bubble bath for my babies, I’m looking for four qualities:

  • It has to be natural, preferably organic.
  • It has to be moisturizing and easy on their sensitive skin. As I’ve written about previously, my babies have sensitive, dry skin — just like their Mama.
  • It has to smell delicious, and I prefer lavender, because we usually do baths at bedtime and lavender soothes (if not them, at least me!).
  • It has to create a lot of bubbles — what fun is a bath without bubbles!?

With that in mind, here are my top 5 choices for bubble bath, starting with my favorite.

Natural Bubble Bath

Natural Bubble Bath

Natural Bubble Bath

1. Honest Shampoo + Body Wash — It surprises me that an Honest product finds itself at the top of my list. The truth is that I’ve always wanted to love The Honest Company. I love what the brand stands for. However, I haven’t had the best luck with the products. The diapers always left my babies with diaper rashes, and the dishwasher detergent didn’t effectively clean my dishes at all.

So, I was hesitant to give Honest another try, but I’m grateful that I did. Their baby Shampoo + Body Wash is my absolute favorite. It meets all of my must-haves and it creates the best bubbles and scent of them all. Note that, I am referring to the Shampoo + Body Wash. Honest also makes a bubble bath that is more expensive. I haven’t tried that one, and I don’t see any point in spending the extra money, when this stuff works great.

2. Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Bath — Aveeno is a close second. I love this stuff and it also meets all of my must-haves. The reason I rank it second is simply because the fragrance is a little bit more mellow, and… give me all of the the lavender, please.

3. Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo & Body Wash — I love Burt’s Bees. It’s the natural brand that I use the most and have been supporting the longest. It was what I used when Roman was a tiny, little baby. (Remember this!?)

I’d love to rank this higher on the list because I love the brand so much, but the truth is that it doesn’t meet a couple of my wishes. It doesn’t come in lavender fragrance and it doesn’t bubble up well. Other than those things, it’s a great product, so I still recommend it, depending on your needs.

4. California Baby Calendula Bubble Bath — This is another brand that I’ve come to love and trust over the years. One of my favorite part’s about this bottle is that it comes with a bubble wand inside for blowing bubbles, so fun. California Baby offers a whole selection of bubble baths in different fragrances that claim to do different things. I’m interested to try their “Overtired & Cranky” formula one of these days.

My gripe about this product is that it doesn’t seem to be carried by many of places that I usually shop. I usually fail to plan ahead end up running out in a pinch to grab something at my local grocery store or Target. But if you’re good at planning ahead, this is a nice choice.

5. Shea Moisture Raw Shea, Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Bubble Bath — This one shows up last on the list, simply because we’ve only been using it a short time. I actually starting using Shea Moisture products on my own hair recently and I really love them.

I was initially drawn to the products on the shelf because the label so proudly declares that the products are natural, organic, and sustainably-produced. They’re also pioneering fair trade through Community Commerce and strive to be sulfate-free, paraben-free, and more, whenever possible; and never test on animals. Basically everything that I’m looking for when I shop — yes.

We just started using the bubble bath, but so far so good. The drawback is that the bubbles are minimal. While the scent is not lavender, it is quite delicious! It’s definitely a product and a company to keep on your radar.

Natural Bubble Bath

Natural Bubble Bath


Okay, friends. That’s all for this bubble bath roundup. If you have any recommendations that I’ve left off the list, please let me know. I hope that you’ve found this post helpful, and if you know someone else that might find it helpful, I do hope that you’ll pass it along. xo

Natural Bubble Bath

Natural Bubble Bath

Marina Grace @ 18 Months Old

October 9, 2016

Marina @ 18 Months // livelovesimple.com

Growth & Appearance: You are about six months overdue for a well-visit. Just keeping it real. There are a lot of reasons for this. The two primary reasons are that 1. I don’t like the way that the pediatricians make me feel when I tell them that I’m spacing out your shots and 2. Life has been a little bit bat-shit-crazy-insane lately (always? just me?) and you and your brother are regularly sick, so we see the pediatrician plenty enough as it is.

All of that, simply to say that I’m not quite sure how tall you are or how much you weigh. What I do know is that you’ve outgrown most of your size 18-month clothes and you fit comfortably in size 2T, and even then you’re starting to push the limits on a few of those pieces.

So, in my book, you’re as healthy as a horse and you eat like one, too. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

Marina @ 18 Months // livelovesimple.com

Sleeping: Since so much time has passed since your last update, a hell of a lot has transpired and I couldn’t hope to note it all. However, the most notable change, is that between 15 and 16 months, you stopped nursing and started sleeping through the night. If this were a game show, this is the part where the horns would blow, balloons would fly, and confetti would fall from the ceiling.

Up until the very last night that you were nursing, you woke up every 45 minutes through the night. Yes, you read that correctly. Every forty-five minutes. All night, every night. When I finally weaned you, I didn’t have very much discomfort/leakage which goes to prove that you were, indeed, comfort nursing (i.e. using me as a pacifier). After the second night without, you slept a straight twelve hours through. Clearly, you were ready and, needless to say, so was I. We both benefited greatly from the change and the whole new world of uninterrupted sleep.

These days you generally sleep straight through the night between 10-12 hours. However, if you are sick or teething — which, let’s face it, happens a lot in the world of toddlers — you tend to wake up throughout the night and require lots of cuddles to get back down.

As for napping, you typically take one nap a day which lasts between 30 minutes and three hours, all depending on how tired you are and how quiet and dark the room is. For awhile, you would only nap in the car and I spent a solid six months driving around for an hour or so each day so that you and your brother would sleep. Now, you’ve started napping in your crib and your stroller most days which is a huge relief.

Marina @ 18 Months // livelovesimple.com

Marina @ 18 Months // livelovesimple.com

Eating: As I alluded to above, you eat like a horse that got loose in the grain bin. I’ve never seen a little girl eat so much. I don’t know where you put it! Although, admittedly you do have the sweetest, roundest Buddha belly around. You love all of the food. You favor salty/savory foods over sweet, unlike your brother and your Papa, but just like your Mama. You’re an amazing eater, really. There isn’t much that you won’t eat and you eat in large quantities. You can easily pack in three bowls of spaghetti at one sitting.

Marina @ 18 Months // livelovesimple.com

Marina @ 18 Months // livelovesimple.com

Development: I thought that you were behind Roman developmentally, but when I looked back at his update from this age, I see that you are right on par with him. You are smart as a whip. Your vocabulary expands daily. You are strong and agile and pretty damned fearless. You tackle any obstacles in front of you and it’s amazing how you differ so much from your brother in this regard. He wouldn’t even go near a step until he was at least two-years-old. Meanwhile you can make it up a flight of stairs in a flash.

Marina @ 18 Months // livelovesimple.com

Favorites: You don’t have very many favorites, per se. Like your brother, you never attached yourself to any one object like a blanket or stuffed animal. You treat all things equally, although you do like to have something in your arms while you sleep. As far as food goes, you love rice & beans and spaghetti. You will eat any type of cheese that is put in front of you. You also love potato chips and french fries. You still don’t really give a hoot about TV, much to my dismay. However, you have just in the past few weeks taken a liking to Sponge Bob and you will sit and watch that for a few minutes which is about the longest that anything, ever, has kept your attention.

Marina @ 18 Months // livelovesimple.com

Marina @ 18 Months // livelovesimple.com

Dislikes & Behavior: Speaking of keeping your attention… it’s nearly impossible to do. You have the attention span of a fly. You are constantly moving from one thing to the next. Up until the past month, there was no such thing as independent play for you. Your days of “high needs” infanthood have blended into your days of high needs toddlerhood. I have a whole lot to say on the topic, but I’m going to save it for another post. Suffice to say that you are my little handful. Still, you have come a very long way from those newborn days of crying eight+ hours a day and sleeping no where except my arms. You are gaining some independence, little by little.


Marina @ 18 Months // livelovesimple.com

You are my silly, funny, wild girl. You give the biggest hugs and the sweetest kisses imaginable. You are so beautiful and so smart. I love you, Marina Grace, now and always. xo

Roman’s First Day of Preschool

September 14, 2016

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

Today marks one week since I took these pictures and one week since Roman’s first day of preschool. Over the years, I’ve shared how I’ve gone back & forth between sending my children off to school and homeschooling. About a year ago, I began bringing Roman to church with me on Sundays and leaving him in the church nursery with the teachers and other children. To my surprise, he loved it. There were no tears, not even close! He made friends immediately and he was always looking forward to going. Then, over the summer, I enrolled him in art camp for a few days. Again, he loved the experience and didn’t flinch when I walked away. It is clear to me that he really enjoys being around other children.

Since Marina’s birth, it has gotten more and more difficult for me to homeschool Roman. Marina was a high needs baby and continues to be a high needs toddler. I’ll write in detail about that, but for now, suffice to say that effective homeschooling has become next to impossible (for me!).

In any case, now that Roman is in his second week of preschool, I can see how much he is growing & thriving already. He adores his teachers and his friends. He’s learning new things and experiencing interpersonal relationships in a way that I never could have provided him at home. I am very happy with our choice to send him. He goes to school twice a week — on Wednesdays & Fridays from 9:00 am to 11:30 am.

Roman’s school is a modern Co-Op Nursery School located in my church (which is also where I work!). The school is nonsectarian (not faith-based) and it’s very family-oriented. Parents are encouraged to be involved as much as possible. It is strictly a nursery/preschool, meaning that it is not a daycare (there are no infants, and no full-day program available for working parents). There are two classes–a class for two-year-olds and a class for three & four-year-olds. I love the school’s philosophies which include hands-on learning, class trips, outdoor play, science, music, and art.

I was a little bit emotional on his first day, but mostly I was just as excited as he was. There were no tears shed from any of us, which really surprised me. I thought I would be Miss Waterworks, but it all went off without a hitch. While some of the other little ones were nervous, Roman wasn’t at all. In fact, he ran straight up to his teachers and greeted them with a big hug. One of the teachers said, “Wow! We’re used to getting this kind of love on the last day, not the first!” My sweet, loving boy. He fills my heart with a warm pride that I could never put into words.

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

Here’s hoping that the rest of the year goes as smoothly & wonderfully as the beginning has. xo

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