The great Southwest adventure

20 June 2016

I may have mentioned before that John and I have a three-year vacation rotation for our big trip of the year. It goes: Michigan (2013 trip here), domestic (2014 trip, to California, here), and international (2015 trip, to France, here). (Why Michigan? John’s family has a cabin there, so though we don’t make it every year, we try to go regularly!)


According to our rotation we were slated to go to Michigan this year, but we wanted to go with John’s siblings and parents and couldn’t find a date that worked for everyone. So, we’re postponing until 2017. We’re actually going to do both Michigan AND our domestic trip next year, so it will be a big one! On tap for our domestic travels? THE SOUTHWEST!


We are headed to a corner of the country neither of us have ever visited, and we are excited!! Truly, the photos kind of make the southwest look like another planet. And in some ways, it seems just as foreign. We know very little about the area, and there are so many possible things to see and do!


Even though we’ve got a long lead on our trip, we want to get a jump on planning, because many of the sites require permits and/or guides. But like I said, we’re not at all familiar with this area, so here’s where I’d love your help:

— If you’re familiar with Arizona and Utah, what time of year do you think is best to visit? We’re considering the week around Memorial Day, but I’m worried it might be too hot.
— Any must-dos? So far we have the Grand Canyon, Zion (the Narrows!), Antelope Canyon, and Bryce Canyon on the tentative list.
— Any blog posts or Instagram accounts I should check out for inspiration?


Already so excited!! I’d love to hear your advice and recommendations!

All photos via the Department of Interior’s fantastic Instagram account

Five month favorites

8 June 2016

Our girl celebrated her five month birthday this week, so I thought it was high time to share some of the baby gear we’re loving these days! Many of the items I shared in my first post are still in heavy rotation (especially the Ergo, the A&A blankets, water wipes, and muslin cloths), but here are a few more favorite goodies we’ve added to the crew…


From top to bottom and left to right:

— Now that June is rolling (and rolling and rolling), we’re swaddling her with her arms out and have switched to these swaddles.

— This super soft blanket was a gift and has become our preferred playing surface. We bring it out to the porch almost every day for a good rolling session!

— June did not love the mamaRoo when she was younger, but around the three-month mark she started to take a liking to it. We keep it in the kitchen and it’s a great perch for her when we’re cooking dinner or washing dishes. The price point is definitely high, so if you can borrow one from a friend, I’d recommend it – that’s what we did!

— I’m fairly obsessed with reading, so you can bet we spend some quality time with books in this house. Right now June’s favorites are ones with rhyming and bouncy rhythms, including Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Barnyard Dance, and Bear Snores On.

— We use this backpack as our diaper bag! I love that it’s simple and gender neutral. I think I’m going to do a post about what we keep in it (spoiler alert: it’s not much!), because I feel like the ones with tons of pouches and pockets are kind of unnecessary.

— I know these blocks are not the most attractive, but June LOVES them. They were recommended by her physical therapist, and they’re great for catching her attention. She’s also starting to really explore them with her hands, which is adorable!

— June’s stylish Aunt Marget bought her these heirloom lovies, and they are the perfect gift: Mama loves them and Junebug loves them! She doesn’t use a pacifier, so these help soothe her when needed. If she’s going to be carrying a lovie around for years, I’m glad it’s a pretty one! :)

— Our stroller is the City Mini GT. We have been super happy with it so far! It turns on a dime; it folds with a snap; it’s rugged enough to run on gravel with but compact enough to take into Target; and it looks good while doing it. We also have an adapter that allows us to snap on her car seat, which is so helpful.

— My current favorite outfit for June is these little dresses from Carter’s that have a built-in onesie. She’s really into grabbing and mouthing her clothes, so the onesie bottom helps her maintain a sense of decorum :)

— So far we’ve tried Pampers, Huggies, Honest, and Target diapers, and though I love the fit and design of Honest, the Target ones are our go-to. They are three times less expensive than the Honest ones (!) and you can often get a $10 Target gift card if you buy two boxes at once. Plus, they are chlorine and latex free!

— The o-ball was also recommended by June’s PT as a perfect first toy, since it’s so easy to grasp. We got this one at Target and it’s a big hit at our house!

— I like having music on in the background, so the Spotify app has been getting lots of use! We listen to everything from Raffi, to Disney, to show tunes, to bluegrass, to acoustic folk, to our dance party mix :)

So there you have it – a few of our favorites at five months! I’d be remiss to end this post without mentioning June’s ultimate favorite these days: being outside. Whenever she’s fussy, a quick trip to the porch almost always soothes her! A good tactic to keep in our back pocket :)

Mamas, would love to hear a few of your favorites for this age!

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Summer fun list (with an infant!)

6 June 2016

This is a long list of summer fun, I’ll admit. But this is the good stuff, friends!! I am ridiculously excited about everything on this list, and I plan to check off every single one. My advice, if you’re planning to make your own: print it out! Ours is hanging on the fridge where we can see it every day, which just plain makes me happy, but also helps us remember to get out and do! In no particular order, the list to enjoy before September 21…


— go to a Bulls game
— feed June her first solid food
— road trip to Maine
— host my childhood friends for the weekend
— roast s’mores
— make bruschetta with our garden produce
— jump off the wharf at the Island
— outdoor movie at Koka Booth
— outdoor movie at the Art Museum
— make strawberry lemonade
— picnic at a Back Porch Music concert
— spend a day at the beach
— make chicken souvlaki
— finish our June in June movie
— watch fireworks
— ice cream at Maple View
— road trip to Connecticut (I have a whole other list I’ll share of CT fun!)
— take June swinging at a playground
— pick blueberries
— make a pizza with our garden produce
— lemonade at the Honeysuckle Tea House
— camp with friends (June’s first camping trip!!)
— buy a new flag for our house
— visit our friends in Brevard
— squeal over June in her adorable swim outfit
— BLTs at Merritt’s
— renovate our backyard

What’s on your summer fun list?

June 2016 goals

1 June 2016

So as I mentioned in my last post, May was a bit of a busy month for me. I worked, we had visitors, I traveled, we had more visitors, and we did laundry in between it all. On a normal day, once June is in bed and we’ve eaten dinner, I usually only have about two hours, max, to get things done before it’s time for us to turn in. (These include but are not limited to hanging with John, working on Etsy orders, blogging, reading, opening mail, watching TV, meal planning, answering emails, chatting with friends or family, cleaning, and washing dishes.) I’m not explaining all that to complain, as there is nothing I’d rather do earlier in the day than hang with June, but just to give some context as to how my time has shifted a bit! I am learning that the scope of my goals also needs to shift during months like these. Even though it doesn’t look like I got much done in May, I did everything I needed to.

And now onto June! :)

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 10.46.27 PM

Revisiting my goals for May:
Get an estimate from one more landscaping company (I tried!! They dropped off the face of email.)
Apply to our HOA to have a tree removed (See above.)
Finish our will (No… sigh.)
Master an updo from the Small Things archive (Nope.)
Paint my toenails (Victory!! I’m glad and also a little alarmed so many of you identified with this goal.)
Read “168 Hours” for the NR Book Club (Not yet.)
Read two novels (Definitely not.)
Plan for and enjoy our weekend trip to Bald Head Island (Planned but didn’t get to enjoy because of threat of tropical storm!)
Have fun with our weekend visitors (YES!!!)

June goals:
— Perfect the scavenger hunt John and I are developing for my Fourth of July cousin reunion
— Get an estimate from one more landscaping company
— Finish our will
— Master an updo from the Small Things archive
— Read “168 Hours” and “Radical” for the NR Book Club
— Have fun in Brevard with our friends the Henrys
— Host my two dear friends from elementary school
— Plan out our July road trip to Maine

I have a good feeling about June :) As a reminder, here are my 2016 guideposts. If you’ve posted your goals somewhere, I’d love to see – or just drop them in the comments!