Because a switch flipped

12/20/2012 at 11:47 am | Posted in me | 28 Comments

This will be the last post I write for Pretty Swell.

I know this seems totally out of the blue, but it’s been weighing on my heart for a long time.

This website, as much as I love it, takes me away from my family. I spend A LOT of time writing, taking and editing photos, playing with the design and messing with the code. Not to mention promoting it through social media, which has always made me feel icky.

I’ve never been entirely comfortable sharing the intimate details of our life, and I’ve fallen into the trap of approaching my time with my girls as tweet-able and instagram-able and blog-able moments instead of just living in the moments as they are. I can’t do a craft project with Lily without grabbing my camera for a DIY post. Or push Sophie in the stroller without snapping a photo for Instagram. This is not the kind of mother — the kind of person — I want to be.

In an ideal world, I’d blog in the mornings before work or late at night when they’re sleeping. But *I* need to sleep. And as much as it pains me to write this, the truth is that I am often on my computer or iPhone trying to maintain this site and stay connected to my online community while I’m with my kids. And that sucks.

I love my real life. I want to give it the attention it deserves.

Because it could all be gone in a second.

Also, being a mommy blogger stresses me out. I just can’t keep up. I’m not happy when I blog, and more often than not, reading other blogs makes me feel bad about myself. Comparison is the thief of joy, and it’s almost impossible for me not to fall into that trap.

I’ve been so incredibly blessed to meet some amazing people — many of whom have become close friends — and work with wonderful companies whose products and missions I believe in, like North American Bear Company and Smart Balance and all the businesses who rallied for our Love to Zaria fundraiser. I also am forever grateful to have joined a kick-ass community of postpartum depression survivors, led by the ultimate warrior mom, Katherine Stone.

And I have the most awesome readers in all of the internet. You guys have lifted me up, cried with me and laughed out loud. You’ve also been incredibly patient with my ramblings and my monster photo posts. THANK YOU for everything.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen next.

I really need the creative outlet that this lovely little space provided, so I want to find a way to make that happen.

Just differently.

::::::::::::

“Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time
for the important things in her life.”
{Brian Andreas, Story People}

 

How we get our picky girl to drink milk {giveaway}

12/18/2012 at 11:06 am | Posted in Bloggy | 2 Comments

milk3

Lily’s relationship with milk has always been tenuous.

I stopped breastfeeding early in order to treat my postpartum depression, and we must have tried half a dozen different formulas before she finally accepted soy. Then, after she turned one, we started making half-and-half sippy cups of formula and whole milk.

But once we removed that super-sweet soy formula from her little baby cocktail, she flat-out refused to drink milk.

Of course I turned to the internet for help. And I got some great advice from family and friends. Our pediatrician also eased the blow by assuring us that as long as she got calcium from other sources (yogurt, cheese, veggies, fortified foods) we didn’t need to worry so much about milk.

But we still wanted to try to incorporate milk into her diet. So here are some of the things we tried:

- Offer cereal with milk for breakfast. She loved Cheerios and Rice Krispies and felt like big stuff feeding herself with a spoon.

- Make her oatmeal with milk instead of water.

- Provide healthy flavored milks. Lily LOVES chocolate, so this strategy works every time. She’s especially crazy about Smart Balance Kids Chocolate Milk and Nutrient Blend. She started drinking it when Smart Balance launched their new kids’ milks at North Carolina Harris Teeters back in the fall, and it was love at first sip. And I love that it has DHA/EPA Omega-3s, 30% of her daily calcium, extra Vitamin D, antioxidant Vitamins C and E, and no artificial growth hormones. I serve it to her as a special treat at lunch a few days a week.

- Whip up milk-based smoothies, encouraging Lily’s creativity and expanding her palette at the same time. Here are some of our favorite recipes.

- Experiment. I once added orange juice to a sippy cup of milk and she drank the whole thing. Of course it never happened again, but it was totally worth a try.

Today, at almost five years old, Lily drinks one glass of skim milk at dinner every night, in addition to chocolate milk with lunch a few days a week. She still doesn’t really like milk, so most of her calcium comes from the foods she eats. And with wonderful products like Smart Balance Kids Milks on the market, keeping my kids’ diets well-rounded is easier than ever.

Would you like to try Smart Balance Kids Milks? Just leave a comment below to enter our giveaway for TWO free containers! I’ll draw the winner on Friday, Dec. 21.

Thank you Smart Balance Kids for sponsoring this post. Check out their Facebook page for healthful eating tips & tricks, recipes, coupons and more!

Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content. As a Smart Balance Kids Milk ambassador, I was compensated for this post and was given milk vouchers to review. My opinions are always honest.

***Kristen P. is our winner! Congratulations!!***

Dreaming big (and small)

12/12/2012 at 4:29 pm | Posted in DIY | 4 Comments

thanks-latte(source)

Dream: “Thanks a Latte” gift card holder for the girls’ teachers. Isn’t this clever? I discovered it in my friend Brandy’s post over here. And I’ve already printed the cards. Just need to mount them to card stock and add the coffee sleeve, gift card and twine. Easy peasy, right?

Reality: Suzanne up late the night before school closes for holiday break, cutting and gluing and cursing.

pom-poms(source)

Dream: Paper garland for Sophie’s nursery. I actually made one of these for our Christmas mantel, but the pom-poms came out as gigantic flowers so now it looks like Hawaii in our living room. But I figure, hey. Now I know how to make these suckers. Just smaller. And less tropical flower-y.

Reality: Sophie’s room looking like Hawaii.

dresser(source)

Dream: A makeover for Sophie’s dresser. We just re-inherited Marc’s grandfather’s dresser from Laura, who painted it a beautiful eggplant color. I love its clean design and simple plain-front drawers. It’s like a canvas begging for a paintbrush. I’m drawn to chevron but might try a bit of a different pattern like the one above.

Reality: I got this. God didn’t make me Type-A for nothing.

Nineteen months

12/07/2012 at 8:24 pm | Posted in baby sunshine | 3 Comments

Christmas ornaments keep walking off the bottom half of the tree.

I find sippy cups full of milk inside the bathroom cabinet or nestled among the tupperware.

She says waowwww when she sees Christmas lights.

Just when I think she’s nodded off to sleep, she’ll lift her head from my chest and put her finger up my nose.

And she’ll break into the downward-facing dog pose at any given moment.

Because she’s Sophie. And she’s awesome.

I keep thinking this is my favorite age. But then it just keeps getting better and better.

Lily's letter to the big guy

12/06/2012 at 3:45 pm | Posted in Small Fry | Leave a comment

Translation:

Dear Santa,

This year for Christmas may I please have a Periwinkle doll, Lalaloopsy doll house and some furniture to go inside it, that neat vet kit I saw at Marbles, two twin baby dolls just like Caroline’s and one has a skirt and one has jammies, a frosty the snowman doll and a dog because Sophie has one and I don’t. Thank you.

Lily

She didn’t ask for a phone for mommy like last year. Bummer.

Lily's letter to the big guy

12/06/2012 at 3:45 pm | Posted in Small Fry | Leave a comment

Translation:

Dear Santa,

This year for Christmas may I please have a Periwinkle doll, Lalaloopsy doll house and some furniture to go inside it, that neat vet kit I saw at Marbles, two twin baby dolls just like Caroline’s and one has a skirt and one has jammies, a frosty the snowman doll and a dog because Sophie has one and I don’t. Thank you.

Lily

She didn’t ask for a phone for mommy like last year. Bummer.

Lily's letter to the big guy

12/06/2012 at 3:45 pm | Posted in Small Fry | Leave a comment

Translation:

Dear Santa,

This year for Christmas may I please have a Periwinkle doll, Lalaloopsy doll house and some furniture to go inside it, that neat vet kit I saw at Marbles, two twin baby dolls just like Caroline’s and one has a skirt and one has jammies, a frosty the snowman doll and a dog because Sophie has one and I don’t. Thank you.

Lily

She didn’t ask for a phone for mommy like last year. Bummer.

Decking the halls (or something like that)

12/04/2012 at 4:54 pm | Posted in family, just plain fun, snap happy | 2 Comments

Before we had kids I used to go bonkers with Christmas decorations, inside the house and out. Confession: I’ve always wanted to be *that* house. The one with so many lights that people drive miles to see but the neighbors hate. Someday, friends. Someday.

But after Lily was born it was all I could do to hang three stockings on the mantel. And every year since then, I’ve given myself a break on decorating.

Tree, stockings, basket to collect cards. Check, check and check.

This year is no exception. Although I’m going to try a couple of (small) Pinterest projects for our living room. That post may or may not come later. Wish me luck.

We decorated our tree Sunday, and Sophie loved the ball ornaments. Mostly because ball is one of her favorite words. And she loves to fling them around the room.

We only had one glass ornament casualty. Not bad.

And the girls had to try on the stockings. Because they’re supposed to go on your feet Mommy! Of course.

Little sister see, little sister do.

After Sophie went down for nap, we let Lily tear into the big box of ornaments. She decorated about half the tree all by herself. And she only took five ornaments up to her room to keep them away from Sophie even though she wanted to hide about 20. Progress.

Of course there would be no smiling for the camera, but this one actually turned out to be one of my favorite Christmas shots ever. This girl.

{Linking up with Mandy over at The Haps.}

A big week for Posy!

11/30/2012 at 9:17 pm | Posted in About town, Posy | 1 Comment

this sweet girl is one of a set of vintage Christmas ornaments on Posy

I am one proud big sister this week.

Laura was interviewed for our local CBS affiliate’s mom blog, Go Ask Mom, as one of the artisans featured in their “Made by Mom” holiday gift guide. She rocked it! Authentic and funny and so passionate about her work.

Posy will be at the ELF fair tomorrow in Carrboro. Come visit us if you’re in the area! It’s at the ArtsCenter from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be all sorts of vendors selling beautiful handmade goods. And also? FOOD TRUCKS. Breakfast burrito, here I come.

And Kindred Boutique in downtown Raleigh is hosting a mini Rock & Shop Market tomorrow. We hate to miss it! But Laura’s display is loaded with lots of lovely hand-sewn goods including napkin sets, pillow covers and pennant banners. If you stop by, look for Posy’s little nook in the white shelves on the left. The market runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

I’m in awe of Laura, who has managed to create an incredible inventory for all this while in the trenches with a newborn baby. She seriously sews stockings and napkin sets in between nursing sessions. I can’t even imagine.

Can’t wait to see what’s next for Posy and my superhero sister.

Welcome, tree.

11/29/2012 at 3:17 pm | Posted in just plain fun, snap happy | 1 Comment
Tags: ,

We picked him out the morning after Thanksgiving. Because I’m cuckoo for Christmas and my sweet husband obliges.

Lily loved the scent. Sophie loved sitting up on the truck bed.

I loved every bit of it.

We’ll bring him inside and dress him up real fancy this weekend. I can’t wait.

Have you chosen your tree? If you post photos, leave a link in the comments. I’d love to see!

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