An Uncomplicated Life Blog

Monday, August 22, 2016

How I Spent My Blog Break

Life lessons are learned during blog breaks and vacations, but this post has none of that "wisdom" and a whole lot of photo-oversharing 

Warning (warning? That's not the right word but all that would come to mind): This post contains a ridiculous amount of pictures with ridiculous commentary. There is no point to this post - I learned no major "lessons" on my blog break, I have no pseudo-wisdom to share. I just decided I didn't want to spend our family vacation working/being attached online. That's it, that's all. And then I got some fun pics with my DSLR (first time vacationing with the fancy camera!), so I thought I'd make a fun post about my blog break. You're not going to get enlightened by reading this, I won't inspire you to rethink your blog or your life... But my toddler made some hilarious faces and my baby is adorable, so, you know. Read on for a good ol' fashion over-share post!

Everyone talks about "what they learned on their blog break" but what if you learn nothing, and just spend some time with your family and friends "being"?!

We escaped the Texas August heat by going to my parents' lake home in Wisconsin. Unlike our last trip to Maine, there was only one travel issue, and that was hitting major road construction on I35 heading north out of Minneapolis to lake country. Like, dead stopped, nearly doubled our drive time level traffic, the kind Minneapolis is best known for (I don't miss that about living there!). Oh hey, remember when I said I didn't have any wisdom to share? Lied, here it is: Don't book a flight with a car ride immediately following if you have children. They don't handle it well, and it makes you crazy.

But then we arrived and all was well! We had some perfect weather. My mom had food ready for us immediately and wine poured, like the champion she is. She had the cribs set up in her cabin so that she could get up with the kids every morning and cut us a break, even though my weird husband refused to take her up on that offer every morning. Who does that?! Meanwhile, I basically sprinted to the next cabin and locked the door, like love you kids but mama wants sleep, byeeeeeeee!

Immediately the next day, hubs wanted to take Henry fishing off the dock. Now, anything that involves hooks, worms and sitting for long periods of time just isn't my thang, but I tagged along for the photo opps.

Being adorbs while we wait for fishies
So there we are, chillin chillin mindin' our bidniz when all of a sudden we {finally} caught a fish! Daddy reeled it in. Henry was NOT sure how he felt about that large mouth bass (had to double check with hubs on what the name of that fish was because it turns out, I'm no fisherman fish expert. Weird.)

Not touching that thing, dad. Nope.
So Mr. Bass gets tossed back in and another worm sacrifices it's life all in the name of trying to get a toddler interested in fishing. The waiting game started again. And if you're wondering what that thing on Henry's arm is, it's a skull tattoo-thingy that lasted for THREE EFFING WEEKS. Don't miss that now that it's gone... Tangent ended, back to the waiting game!

And right as Henry was about to dip up out of this waiting game nonsense, all of about one minute and six seconds after it began, another fish latched on to that worm/hook combo and spent the rest of his life regretting it... Because that fish swallowed the hook and passed on to another life. RIP, fish. On a brighter note, Henry either got over his fear of flopping fish or just needed a really passive (aka nearly dead one) to touch it and get interested in fishing. So little sunfish, your life was not in vain!

Braving the {much smaller} sunfish
After two fish, I was about fished out, so I went to go see what my mom had done with my lil baby Otto. Poor little dude, one day he'll be big enough to do boy things with the boys and not get handed off to Grandma while mom snaps pics and plays with ISO levels... But until then, he'll chill safely with Grandma.

Happy as a duck with Grandma
I found both Otto and my mom in their respective happy places: Playing with toes and drinking wine. Both of those happy places are more my speed, especially if the contending activity involves hooks and worms.

When the glory of fishing wore off, or my husband got too tired of grabbing Henry's life jacket as he attempted to lurch off the dock and get into "da wadder, da wadder, da wadder!", hubs took Henry swimming. My folks found this old boat tube and Henry got a huge kick out of it. Fifteen year old toy saw a return to it's glory days thanks to Henry!

Now me, I don't get into water unless it's at least 100 degrees out. When I was a Minnesotan, that threshold was about 92 (give or take) but now that I'm a Texan, I need to be heat-stroke-level-hot to want to cool off. So I stayed in the 85 degree sun and got my first tan of the season. Yeah. It's August and I JUST got tan... Because it's too hot here to sunbathe. Add that to the ever-slimming list of things I miss about living up North.

We basically "eat sleep rinse repeat"'ed that cycle the whole trip! We had two days of overcast weather and played with bubbles. ALWAYS WITH THE BUBBLES. They never got old and entertained both kids. Henry would honestly play bubbles for hours if we let him. It's the simple things, right?

I think he's mentally building a shrine for bubble solution. He looks like he's about to tantrum - oh no, he's just passionately shouting BUBBLESSSSSSS nonstop. All day. Everyday. 
Mom went on Pinterest and found a recipe/craft for extra big bubbles that we could make with pipe cleaner wands. Supposedly they were supposed to come out in the same shape of the wand, but that was a Pinterest FAIL, which reminded me of this post. My mom isn't crafty at all so I give her mad love for trying!

Pinterest bubble shape fail. Still made some pretty big bubbles though!
We wrapped up our vacation with a two days in Minneapolis. It was a major win to break up a 2.5 hour drive and a 2.5 hour flight with a few days in between! We were able to see some family and get Henry and Otto together with their cousins, and I was able to see two of my friends and eat two fabulous meals. I tell you what, Dallas is NOT a "foodie" city like Minneapolis is. I miss having a good food scene! Alas, we have young kids so I doubt we'd make it out much anyway... But still. Dallas, pick up your food game!

And then we flew home. Another uneventful flight. And uneventful is the BEST way to fly when you're toting along two little kids.

Have you made it this far?! Gold star for you, dear reader, I always knew you were one of my favorites. That's it. That's how I spent my week and a half long blog break. It was the first blog break I've ever taken, and I started this thing back in April of 2014 and have had two babies since it's launch. I was long overdue for some time away. I hope this blog break post enlightened you with it's nothingness and photo-oversharing! Sorry I don't have the answers to how to have a more niche-successful blog or how to live a happier, more mindful life. Nope. Just photos ;)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Fall Baby Style with Burt's Bees Baby

Burt's Bees Baby just launched their fall line for babies and toddlers, and it's pretty much the cutest thing ever

Y'all know I LOVE me some Burt's Bees. I use nearly all their products, from moisturizer to blemish sticks to baby shampoo on the kids. And now a spin off company, Burt's Bees Baby, just launched adorable clothes for your infants and toddlers! I mean, these clothes are super cute. Ridiculously cute. And they use 100% organic cotton, so your littles will stay nice and comfy all day long - especially as we transition from the hot summer to the cooler fall, and temps can be cool in the morning but soar in the afternoon. Just check out how cute Burt's Bees Baby fall line is for your baby!

Now, they have equal amounts of adorable things for baby and for toddlers, but here's what: I have two boys 19 months apart. Otto gets almost 100% hand-me-downs from his older brother... So while I did pick out one shirt for Henry (because the color was named "pumpkin" and it had a V-neck so I pretty much had to get it), I focused mostly on Otto. And, um... I think these might be some of the only clothes he's gotten new, outside of a few winter pajamas I got him as a newborn! #secondbabyprobz

Enough talking though, I'll let these clothes (and my equally adorable children) speak for themselves. First, my sweet little Otto got some fresh stylin' threads for fall:

The perfect baby pantsuit for fall and winter
Green and grey pantsuit here

Grey pantsuit here
Eating brother's books
Eating everything
Such a cute fall onesie for a baby!
Blue onesie here

I mean isn't it adorable?! The green striped pantsuit has a hood that's almost too cute to tolerate. The grey pantsuit had some eyelet detailing that didn't show as well online - it's the white around his collar. It's not overly feminine, and in fact would be the perfect shower gift for someone who isn't finding out the gender of their baby! There's wooden button detailing and the texture of the grey fabric is modern and fun. The blue onesie is my favorite! When worn with some baby jeans, it will look like he's wearing just a tee shirt, not a onesie, yet unlike a tee shirt it will stay put! Mamas, you know what I'm talking about.

One note about sizing: SIZE UP. I *thought* I sized up for Otto but as you can see, everything fits him perfectly right now. He's 18 pounds and 28 inches (90% for height, 30% for weight) and wearing a size 12 months for reference. Burt's Bees Baby size 12 month fits like other brands' 6-9 month sizing. One thing I love about their sizing is if you have a long lean baby like Otto, the pants and the arm lengths are long enough while the middle section is slender enough! Thank you lawd, somebody informed designers that not all babies are short, stubby and fat! If you do have a chunkier little one, there's a lot of natural stretch in the organic cotton, but I'd still size up. Henry normally fits perfectly in a 2T and this is a 3T; he's 29 pounds and 36 inches.

Love sleeved v neck here

Henry wasn't having the "let mommy style you and you play fashion model" for this. He kept wanting to stop what he was doing to look at my camera to check himself out! At one point, I got up on a chair to shoot the pics and he attempted to follow me even there:

What it's like working with toddlers

And then he decided to act like his baby brother:

This kid has never played with his toes a day in his life, but when I pull out the camera for a blog post, all bets are off *insert eye roll*

And just because this is one of the cutest pictures ever, I'll end on sweet baby Otto eating his brother's favorite book:


If you have a little one(s) you have to check out Burt's Bees Baby for their fall style line! It's beyond cute, they use 100% organic cotton, the colors don't fad after washing or bleed onto other clothes, and the styles are on point. Bring on the fall!

Monday, August 15, 2016

DIY Fall Fireplace Hearth

This fun  fall fireplace hearth is an easy DIY and creates precious memories with your children

Yup, I'm coming back from my summer vacay to jump right into... FALL Y'ALL! Here's some fact-y-truth: I wasn't going to start talking about fall until September. I realize it's August. However, I also realize that stores are now stocked with tons of fall goodies, and if you want the best selection, you gotta shop now! I remember the first year we moved to Dallas, I didn't even attempt to get the dogs their Halloween costumes until October. I went to a pet store and they were already tearing down Halloween for Christmas... I learned that the best preparers are the early preparers. So, here I am in August, blasting you with a fun DIY. It's cool, if you don't like fall, we'd probably not get along anyway. If you do, then check out this sweet DIY that enables you to make some memories (and mementos) with your children by decorating your fireplace hearth together.

This is an easy DIY to do with your kids to welcome in the fall season!

Fall is still far too warm here to use our fireplace, so I feel comfortable decorating the hearth. We likely won't have a fire until December, which gives me plenty of time to cover it in all the pumpkins and glitter! Sorrynotsorry, hubs. Also critical to the South is to not use real pumpkins. No kidding y'all, I learned this just last year: The heat makes them rot. And rot fast. So while this would be more fun with real pumpkins, I bought fake for longevity. The bonus is that I'll have them for years to come, and will probably get all sentimental on too much wine with how little these hands and feet are compared to how big my boys have gotten.

I'm reminiscing and my children literally just did this craft two weeks ago. Anyway... On to the DIY!

Here's what you'll need:

- Faux pumpkins (I did a mix of white and orange)
- Acrylic paint (I did silver and gold but anything that fits your decor would be great)
- A wet rag you can use to immediately wipe the paint of your children's hands because those kids move quick and want to get that paint on EVERYTHING.

Apply the paint to your children's hands or feet liberally. Take your faux pumpkin and stamp their painted hand or foot on it. I got two stamps out of the paint application before I needed to apply more. Be as fast as you can with stamping the pumpkin, as the plastic is slippery and the print gets distorted if your child slides his or her hand around. I found that the younger the child, the easier it was to use feet instead of hands. Henry is 2 and was juuuuuuust barely old enough to not be too squiggly for the hand print. Feet are definitely easier for babies and toddlers! The excellent part of acrylic on the plastic pumpkin is that if a print gets smeared, just wipe it off and try again. The paint will come right off so it's easy to do a few "practice" stamps before you start to get some good ones.

Let the pumpkins fully dry, about 2-3 hours. You can do what I did and do a combination of painted and non-painted pumpkins, or paint all of them. After they're dry, tie bows on the stems. First, I cut the ribbon into equal lengths for each pumpkin. Then I tied them on to the stems, using a knot just like you do when you tie a shoe. With the shape of my pumpkins (short and wide) I found that it looked best with a small bow with long end tails, so I shorted the round part of the bow.

To make the bow more pretty, I cut about a 2 inch piece of ribbon, then folded it in on itself into thirds. I then wrapped that around the center knot. This ribbon had small wires along the edges, and that was enough to keep the piece around the center. But if your ribbon of choice doesn't, use a glue gun and adhere the decorative piece over the center knot of the bow. Finally, I cut a deep V into the ends of the bow for a more polished look. This also helps the ribbon from fraying, so yay bonus!

From this point, it's all up to you how you want to arrange them! I found some glittery acorns at a craft store that I thought were fun, but my toddler also found them fun so they're being moved into a glass bowl on our formal dining room, lest they end up all over the house and half chewed by dogs and tots. I have some additional pumpkins to add to this mix, but they're more Halloween than just a simple fall, and hubs' eye roll game would be strong if I started decorating for Halloween before mid-September even hit. I'll add those to the mix once it's time! The ribbons can also be switched out to a more Halloween-themed ribbon. Just keep the bows in storage for next year, because that decorative ribbon aint cheap, amirite? You could also keep these out through Thanksgiving and add gourds to make it more seasonal.

This DIY fall fireplace hearth is easy to do! The painting only takes about 15 minutes from start to clean up (my timed pace for two kids and two pumpkins) and my bow hacks make tying your own ribbon easy. They're great to transition into Halloween and into Thanksgiving, too. Happy Fall, y'all!