• Denim Basics for Back to School

    back to school denim basics.9

    I’m such a huge fan of denim. It’s my favorite neutral because it can be dressed up or down, goes with everything, and is classic. My son wears a uniform for school, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do a little bit of fun back to school shopping for some denim basics to pair with his navy and white uniform. I have fun memories of doing back to school shopping with my mom: the anticipation of a new year and the excitement of some new outfits to wear. I’d like to carry on that tradition with my boys. I was super happy to find stylish denim options for back to school this year thanks to Arizona Jeans at JCPenney.

    back to school denim basics.9 back to school denim basics.9

    Jeans are a staple in our house, and a well made pair is a must considering my son is notorious for getting holes in every knee of every pair of pants he wears. He’ll wear jeans on the weekends and can also wear them on free dress days at school. If the wash is dark enough he can even wear denim as part of his uniform. I love that this pair of Arizona Denim jeans is fitted without being too tight. It gives Charlie room to be comfortable and play while still looking stylish.

    back to school denim basics.9 back to school denim basics.9

    I’m also a sucker for a denim jacket. A good denim jacket can last forever! This one is also Arizona Denim and is perfect for chilly mornings when we’re headed to school and will transition well into fall. I also love that it has a hood and the sleeves give it a letterman jacket style that fits well with a school uniform.

    Besides having great back to school styles this season, JCPenney also partnered with the YMCA to help ensure every kid has the basics they need to start the school year off right. JCPenney will donate $1 for each pair of Arizona Jeans sold to support the Y’s academic achievement programs through their #SoWorthIt campaign. As if you didn’t have a good enough reason to buy great denim basics before, now there’s an even better reason to go shop. Because shopping for a good cause makes great deals even sweeter, am I right?

    This post is sponsored by JCPenney, but all opinions are my own.

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    Designing A Shared Boys’ Bedroom

    Shared Art Room & Office Space | Oh Lovely Day

    The time has come to evict Quincy from our bedroom and put him in the nursery (because I really need more sleep!) Which means the time has come to evict Calvin from the nursery and move him in with Charlie. I’ve always planned to have the boys share a bedroom, but Quincy’s arrival made that happen a little earlier than I originally planned since we ran out of bedrooms sooner than expected.

    Combining an almost 6 year old and a two year old in one room that needs to function as both a bedroom and playroom for both is a bit of a challenge. Especially when you are as sleep deprived as I am. So I enlisted the help of the Design Services team from The Land of Nod. We started with a Pinterest board of my design ideas and I provided a detailed layout description with wall and window measurements. Within a few days my designer Stephanie emailed me back an inspiration/design mood board that reflected my ideas with a few design elements thrown in that I hadn’t thought of. She also created a 3D layout of the room with furniture and items we wanted to include and an overall floor plan. I can’t tell you how much I love this and how helpful it has been for me in planning the space!

    I am not a theme-y type of person. I was inspired more by color, things the boys love, and making a space that is functional as well as beautiful. I don’t function well in chaos and neither does Charlie (it’s hard to tell with Calvin but I think he functions well in any and all spaces) so I wanted to move much of the toy storage into their walk-in, under stairs style closet so that the room itself wasn’t cluttered and chaotic.

    designing a shared boys' room with The Land of Nod designing a shared boys' room with The Land of Nod designing a shared boys' room with The Land of NodWe already have a campaign dresser and that teepee, which I’ll be including in the room. I also have a play kitchen that we want to keep, book shelves already installed on one wall, and some windows, doors, and a space heater to design around. But I think the end result will work great for them.

    We’ll be getting the Abridged Bunk Beds from The Land of Nod — I love that they aren’t as high as traditional bunk beds, which works perfectly in our space and for our boys. I also like the placement of the ladder – it doesn’t jut out into the space.

    I’m also including this Bin Play Table and two of these Little Felix Chairs. I love that the table has a bin below for storing legos or other small toys and that it looks WAY nicer than the ugly plastic lego table we currently have. And it will grow with the boys and can be moved to other spaces and still look really nice.

    Other than that I’m including some bedding designed by Ampersand Studio and a few key decor pieces, like this Cryptids banner, a volcano pillow (Charlie LOVES volcanos!), these prints from Brainstorm, and a couple of details from some of my favorite makers.

    Stay tuned for the finished room tour, hopefully coming by late September! Any tips for transitioning a toddler into a bed from a crib (Charlie was in a crib till 3 so it was easier, and he’s a rule follower) or moving two littles in together?

     

    This room is being done in collaboration with The Land of Nod.

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    How To Choose An Engagement Ring

    How To Choose An Engagement Ring

    This post is brought to you by CJ Affiliate’s VIP Content Service and is sponsored by Jared The Galleria of Jewelry, but all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

    Choosing an engagement ring can be so difficult, and for good reason. It is more than a ring — it is a symbol of your commitment and future marriage. It is something that will be worn forever (hopefully). It will be ogled and photographed and passed on to future generations. There is just SO much pressure to choose the right one.

    How To Choose An Engagement Ring

    Before you start, you should ask yourself a few questions:

    • What kind of ring does she like? Does she like a round stone, or a princess cut? Does she prefer a solitaire stone or a more detailed setting? 4 prongs or 6? Platinum or gold or rose gold? If you don’t know, ask a friend, sister, or even your girl herself.
    • What is your budget? Setting a budget and sharing it with your jeweler will ensure your expectations are met and you are able to find something that works for you.
    • What is her style? Classic, trendy, fashion forward, timeless? Would she like something vintage or modern? Remember this is the ring she’ll not only wear now, but forever.
    • What is her ring size? Besides the obvious need to know what size ring to get, some styles work better with specific sizes.
    • Are you working with a trusted jeweler? Don’t rush into a purchase and don’t let yourself be pressured into buying anything before you are ready and have done your research.

    Where you choose to buy your ring is really important. That’s why Jared is so great — it has the advantage of scale and selection as well as the feel and intimacy of a local independent jeweler. They have a full custom design studio in every store, which means they can literally make your engagement ring dreams come true. They have exclusive products from well-known designer collections like Neil Lane, Vera Wang, and Angel Sanchez to name a few. And now they have Chosen by Jared, a new collection of diamonds that allow you to go from raw diamond to the engagement ring of her dreams, and incorporate the diamond’s journey into your love story.

    How To Choose An Engagement Ring

    But regardless of style, size, cost, or cut, at the end of the day, you’ll have a beautiful ring that she’s sure to love, most of all because she loves you.

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    A Few Lessons I’ve Learned After Breastfeeding Three Babies

    What I've Learned After Breastfeeding Three Babies | Oh Lovely Day

    I’ve shared quite a bit about my motherhood experience both here on my blog and over in my instagram feed (and these days on Snapchat as well). I try to be pretty honest without constantly oversharing. I try to be encouraging so other moms find a community of support and maybe solutions to something they are going through (or at least to see they aren’t going it alone). I try to be real. On some days the real me doesn’t get dressed until the afternoon, and only if I have to leave the house. On some days the real me has a hard time and there is a lot of anxiety. On some days the real me feels really good about myself and like I’m kicking ass as a mom. But after having three babies I at least have learned that I’m not alone. I know we all have hard days. I know we all feel like we’re doing a shitty job sometimes. But there was a time when I struggled really hard as a mom and I thought it was just me — like I was doing it the worst. Do you ever feel like that?

    One thing I found particularly difficult with my first baby was breastfeeding. Nursing is probably one of the hardest things for many moms, but people make it seem so easy — like you just “do” it. Nursing is the thing other people (other moms, family members, total strangers) will judge you about the most, whether you do it or not (if you do, it’s all “cover up, don’t do that in public, don’t do it too long, you aren’t doing it long enough” and so on. And if you don’t it’s like you are the worst mother ever, regardless of why — and really, it shouldn’t matter why.) And if you choose or are able to breastfeed, it is probably the thing you’ll be hardest on yourself about. After being able to breastfeed three babies myself, to varying degrees of “success”, I feel like I’ve learned a few nuggets of wisdom that might help other mothers who also hope to breastfeed. And maybe even the ones who don’t.

    I have been lucky enough to have had the choice to nurse my babies, but not everyone has the choice to breastfeed, and not everyone wants to breastfeed. I fully support mothers choosing whatever works best for themselves and their families. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing comments from “well-meaning mothers” who like to suggest that breastfeeding is the only way. Or if you do breastfeed you should breastfeed longer. Or if someone is giving a bottle to a baby they automatically assume they chose not to breastfeed (it could be breastmilk, it could be their only option, or it could be a bottle of formula — who the hell cares!?) We all know breast is best, but breast isn’t for everyone, sometimes by choice and sometimes not. Just do you and let other moms do them and as long as no one is harming anyone else then everyone is ok. But I digress…

    Back to ME 🙂 I did really want to breastfeed and with my first it was a struggle. At around one month we realized my supply was really low, but I didn’t know why. I saw a lactation consultant who told me to pump pump pump. She told me to try a drug called Raglan (that wasn’t FDA approved for milk supply help and had some nasty side effects that didn’t help what I was already experiencing, which I later realized was PPD). She told me that every mom can breastfeed, you just have to work at it. So when I couldn’t, I pretty much felt like a failure. First lesson: not every mom can breastfeed, and it is ok. Not every mom wants to breastfeed, and it is ok. And not every mom that tries to breastfeed is able. And it is ok.

    What I've Learned After Breastfeeding Three Babies | Oh Lovely Day

    I came to that realization once Charlie was older and I was doing better with my PPD. I realized that lactation consultants don’t know everything (although there are mostly wonderful ones out there — I just happened to have a bad experience with a specific and highly revered one) and some have an agenda that isn’t supportive of all mothers or babies. I realized that my formula-fed baby was strong, healthy, smart, and happy. I had a very low supply and no amount of pumping, teas, supplements, water, etc. could help me. I was a good mother. I am a good mother. Second lesson: good moms feed their babies however they can.

    Flash forward to when Calvin (my second baby) was five months old and stopped gaining weight after nursing well up to that point. My pediatrician advised me to start offering a bottle of formula after every feeding to get his weight back up. After two weeks of supplementing he did gain weight and he was back on track. He started napping well. He was much happier. I realized my supply had like a 4-5 oz max and once he needed more than that, I needed help from formula. Gradually he started preferring the bottle to the breast, and it was also around the time he started solids (we did mostly baby led weaning with him). So I decided to follow his lead and fed him bottles of formula after every nursing session, which eventually turned to only nursing in the morning and at bedtime, and offering formula bottles for his other meals. Lesson three: sometimes breastfeeding is going really well and then something unexpected happens and you need help. It throws you for a loop. But everything will be ok. Giving formula won’t keep your kid from going to college. It doesn’t mean you love them less. Breast, bottle, breastmilk, or formula: #nourishwithoutshame.

    What I've Learned After Breastfeeding Three Babies | Oh Lovely Day

    For a while I pumped when I could so some of those bottles had some breast milk too, but I didn’t get much when I pumped and I finally stopped. In all honestly, all the pumping I did the first time around really made me hate pumping. I’m sure no one likes pumping. No mom says “ooooh, I can’t wait to pump!” But after the first time around I gave myself permission to just do my best and to refuse to pump if I didn’t want to. I still nursed first thing in the morning and the last thing at night until Calvin started biting around 8 months old. I tried but couldn’t get him to stop and couldn’t work past it (he’s still a biter so I don’t think we would have ever worked past it). I was really sad to stop nursing — it was earlier than I had planned for sure. I was really down about it at first — the end happened so fast and unexpectedly. But I knew I tried my best. I didn’t feel guilty about giving formula. I didn’t feel like a bad mom. Lesson four: pumping sucks and biting, well, bites. (Puns intended.) You are allowed to decide to stop. You can give yourself permission and you don’t need permission from anyone else.

    And now with Quincy I have been able to exclusively breastfeed. He’s over 6 months and the chubbiest baby I’ve had at this age by far, and it’s all from me. I can’t believe it. And to think he spent a week in the NICU and I was so worried it would ruin my chances at nursing. Quincy has never taken a bottle! It is the first time I have had a steady milk supply. It is also the first time I’ve had any issues in the beginning that other women dealt with but that I had only heard about (engorgement, clogged ducts, pain, bleeding nipples, etc.) I’m glad that nursing him has been relatively easy, aside from a few minor clogged ducts, a bout of thrush for me, a quick visit from mastitis, and eliminating dairy from my diet to help with Quincy’s reflux (which has been our struggle with baby three – you can read more about our colic and reflux battles if that is something you think you might be dealing with as well.)

    What I've Learned After Breastfeeding Three Babies | Oh Lovely Day

    I don’t have any expectations about breastfeeding this time around. This is my last baby, so I’m just going to do it as 2long as I’m able, as long as he wants to, and as long as it works for our family. I have a goal of one year but definitely would go longer. I just know that having expectations makes you feel bad if something happens and you can’t meet them. It’s great to have a goal, but putting pressure on yourself is unfair. We already have too much pressure, too little sleep, too little help, too many things we feel we aren’t doing well enough. Lesson five: don’t go into breastfeeding (or anything in your motherhood/parenthood experience) with big expectations. It never leads to anything good. Instead, just do the best you can, enjoy it while you can, and don’t be too hard on yourself.

    I hope someone finds this somewhat helpful. It is something I wish someone had told me or something I had read when I was struggling. I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts as well, but please remember — this is a judgement free zone.

    Also, I blogged my breastfeeding essentials with some of my favorite things here. And again, I’d love for you to share your thoughts or experiences, or your biggest lessons learned either here or on instagram. I think we all have something to learn from each other. And if you aren’t yet familiar with it, I’ve been using the hashtag #battlefieldmotherhood on instagram to share my real, raw, hard, and victorious days and other moms are joining in. Check it out and use it if you’d like! The more the merrier.

    Photo credits: Photos 2 and 4 by Jennifer Roper, others by me. Jennifer Roper is a member of my Lovely Vendor Guide. If you are interested in becoming a Lovely Vendor, apply here.

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    Favorite Gift Ideas For Baby Girls + A Giveaway

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    You’ve heard the phrase “always a bridesmaid” — well, I’m the boy mom version of that. Always a boy mom, never a girl. And I’m ok with that, really I am (maybe 10% of me still dreams of a baby girl…) But as a blogger who gets to work with and learn about so many great brands, makers, and products I know what I’m missing in the cute girl stuff department. My best friend recently had a baby girl (after having two boys as well. Actually, I have TWO besties who had two boys and then had a baby girl!) so I revisited my favorite cute little things for baby girls list to send her. Then I thought, why don’t I share a whole baby girl gift guide on the blog and just get it out of my system 🙂 So, here ya go!

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    I love both of these brands for my boys and they wear them both often. But this hot pink hamburger onesie from Mamacase Prints is quite possibly my favorite ever. And the hair accessories, swing dresses, rompers, tights, and bubble gum pink striped blanket from June & January make my ovaries ache.

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    Yes, boys can wear Freshly Picked moccs. And my boys do. But they can’t (well, I guess they could, but it wouldn’t be the same…) wear the pink and gold heirloom moccs! Or any of the other super girly colors or prints that are all my favorites. I mean, aren’t these just the cutest!?

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    I use the onesie stickers and the memory book from Lucy Darling for my boys. But I have ALL the heart eyes for the girl versions! The pastels and the gold and the florals — they make this girly mama happy. A must have for any baby girl for sure.

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    I’ve been obsessed with the swaddle scarves from Coveted Things for, like ever. But this diamond stunner is perfect for a baby girl! Diamond swaddles are a baby girl’s best friend, you know?

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    One of my favorite baby gifts to give any baby are personalized wooden state rattles from Bannor Toys — I super love that you can include birth details to make for a wonderful keepsake. But my inner childhood princess is a little obsessed with their star wand.

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    Every time new baby products come out from the Oh Joy for Target line (from one of my favorite design blogger mommas, Joy Cho), it makes me wish I had a girl to buy it all for. Sure, there are baby boy things too and they are really cute also — Quincy has quite a lot of it. But the girl versions — the neon polka dots and patterns on the swaddles and clothes, and this flamingo lovey — are darling! Cutest lovey award winner in my book (the hedgie that Quincy has is adorable too and may just be in my baby boy gift guide coming next mont, hint hint!)

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    The best part is I’m giving a bundle of these away to one lucky reader. One of you will win:

    You know what else I love about these goodies? They are all made by momma entrepreneurs! How amazing is that!?

    The giveaway runs from 8/1/16 through 8/6/16 and a randomly selected winner will be chosen and displayed in the entry widget below on 8/7/16. Enter below and good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    •  Quincy and I went to the #redCARpetsafety event today, which raises awareness for baby safety. Saw friends @uppababy @munchkin @ergobaby @babyganics & made some new ones like @thestep2company @showmeyourmumu as well. Quincy was making eyes at all the ladies, but he flirted the biggest with Caila with the good hair (which should totally be her hashtag). And all the new moms and moms-to-be were asking about this sling @mywildbird! Which made me think of a good #momtip: Taking Quincy on the go is so much easier thanks to babywearing and that @loyal_hana jumpsuit -- the hidden zippers make it so easy to nurse Quincy while wearing him in the sling. No one even knows I'm breastfeeding! Makes it so much easier to go places, especially with other little ones. I did a whole post on ohlovelyday.com about breastfeeding while babywearing if you want more tips! #OLDfavefinds #quincyrhys #babywearing #normalizebreastfeeding  If I got to take two naps a day I'd be this happy too.  And for all of you who have asked me about this playmat, I blogged all about it today -- link in profile. #OLDfavefinds #quincyrhys
       Watching these three interact with each other over breakfast makes me flash forward to seeing them doing the same thing as big boys and teenagers and it makes me smile and shed a little tear at the same time. And then I think about how much cereal and milk I'm gonna have to buy  #thefredrickboys #lifewithboys  It's been one of those days (weeks, months, years) where everything is going wrong. Been up since 4:45 since I couldn't get Quincy back to sleep after a feeding. Calvin fell asleep in the stroller on a walk at 10:30 (something he hasn't done since he was like 5 months old!) so his normal nap (my break to eat/shower/work/rest or only have one child to care for for a couple hours) is gone for the day. Quincy pooped all over himself so bad that we were both literally covered in . And he's already woken up from his afternoon nap after only 45 very short minutes. And I'm supposed to have a date with my husband tonight except I'm exhausted and covered in  and have no time to do anything about either one. Oh, and I fell down the stairs (sore but not hurt). Motherhood: somedays you win, somedays you lose. But on all the days you are, to some extent in this season of motherhood, covered in shit.  Here's hoping the weekend is less shitty, in all the ways. #beerme #battlefieldmotherhood
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