MONAT Sample Review

So, probably like a lot of y’all, I’ve been hearing tons about MONAT hair products lately and have quite a few friends selling it. I’ve heard nothing but good things, so when a friend offered to send me some samples, I was quick to say yes!

I only tried a couple days worth of samples, so I can’t personally vouch for the products long-term, but the days I did use it, I really liked it and my hair felt extra soft and healthy, and I’ve seen great testimonials from people I know! I used the Renew Shampoo & Conditioner for a couple of days, as well as the Intense Repair Shampoo, the REJUVENIQE Oil Intensive, and the Blow Out Cream.

What makes MONAT so unique is it’s naturally based, anti-aging hair care that contains no parabens or sulfates and results in longer and stronger hair (I love all natural products!).  After having Lively, my hair has for sure gotten thinner, which the Renew Shampoo is perfect for, as it boosts the growth of your hair and improves your follicle strength, which helps prevent thinning of the hair (postpartum hair loss is no joke, so I need all of that I can get!)

If you want to know more about these natural products (full of essential oils, for all you essential oil fans out there!) or order some for yourself click here, and my friend, Carrie, can help you out!

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On an unrelated note, I love these pictures with my girl! And yes, that is ice cream all over her face 🙂 … she had an echocardiogram done right before this, because her doctor had heard a few little heart murmurs at her last appointment and wanted to make sure everything was ok; thankfully everything looked normal, and I think the ice cream cone helped erase any negative memories Lively had from that experience (thank you, McDonald’s!).

 

Always and forever,

Alex

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Having a Baby in Medical School

One of the things I get asked about most related to being married to a medical school student is what it’s like having a baby during school, if it’s even a realistic possibility, etc. So I thought I’d go ahead and write a little about our experience with having our daughter during Duncan’s second month of med school.

I was 30 weeks pregnant when we moved from Missouri to Jonesboro, AR. Thankfully I knew of a couple of people living in Jonesboro, so I was able to get recommendations on OBGYNs. Figuring out insurance, on the other hand, was much more confusing. I spent hours on the phone with the hospitals and my insurance company figuring out which hospital and doctors took my insurance and what exactly would be covered (I knew literally nothing about insurance prior to this). It was also an adjustment switching to becoming a patient at a big clinic versus the small, one-doctor-clinic I’d become accustomed to my first 30 weeks of pregnancy.

The chaos of your significant other beginning medical school is an adjustment, especially if you’ve moved to a new town. The transition into parenthood is another major adjustment. But honestly, I feel like you can either choose to let the chaos pull you apart or grow you closer than ever. We had difficult transitions both together and individually; I couldn’t completely understand what he was going through with schooling, and he couldn’t totally understand what it’s like being 30+ weeks pregnant; however, we chose to still communicate and cling to God and each other. I have no doubt that’s only made our marriage better and stronger.

Two months after our big move, Lively was born! I went into labor on a Friday, we went to the hospital that night, and Lively was born at 8:01 the next morning (I hadn’t had any contractions or anything prior to that morning, so I had no idea what to expect and basically thought Lively was never going to come out). The timing really couldn’t have been better, and although it was sad, Duncan was able to return to school that Tuesday. Both of our moms came down for a week, one after the other, then my sister came down the third week. This made the adjustment a little easier, especially since Duncan still had to go to school for labs and classes.

Insurance for Lively was another thing that was a little difficult to figure out, as Duncan and I were still both on our parents’ insurance. Thankfully, Arkansas has an amazing Medicaid program for children called ARKids First. It has been such a blessing for us, and has allowed Lively to have excellent medical care for not only her arrival into this world, but also her regular checkups and all the normal “sickness” stuff that comes with having a young child. We are also on WIC, which provides some checks for groceries each month; every little bit helps when you’re on a budget, so we are really grateful for WIC, too.

I breastfed Lively until she was 14 months old. For the first few months, I pumped a couple bottles a day, so Duncan could give her an evening bottle and have that special time with her (this was something one of his faculty members recommended, as it’s what they did after they had a baby, and I really think it was good advice). He also intentionally spent time with us when he got home from school, as well as when taking breaks from studying. I can’t speak for all medical students, but Duncan is really good about still prioritizing Lively and I, and not making it seem like he’s too busy for us. As far as middle-of-the-night feedings, I did all of them since I was breastfeeding and really wanted Dunc to be able to get rest, so he could study effectively and not be falling asleep all day (and newborns sleep so much, that I was able to pretty well catch up on sleep when Lively napped).

Another aspect of having a baby with my spouse in med school that was difficult was feeling a little isolated. He had school to go to every day, but in the beginning it was hard for me to get out of the house too often (anyone who’s had a newborn can totally relate, I’m sure). We were still new to Jonesboro and didn’t have family who we could just hop in the car to go see. Thankfully, there are other med school wives who are in a similar position, so you have each other. I also found how beneficial social media can be, especially for connecting with other moms who are in a similar phase of life. As Lively has gotten older, it’s become easier to go to a weekly Biblestudy and have play dates.

Obviously, medical school is very expensive. Unless you go the military route or your parents or spouse are able to pay for your schooling, it is necessary to take out substantial loans. Even the maximum amount of loans per semester is still a pretty small amount for a family of three or more to live on. I knew I wanted to stay home with Lively, as that’s always been something I’ve wanted to do and we don’t have family here, so child care would have basically cancelled out anything I made had I worked outside the home. We tried to be as frugal as possible, but once the second year of school started, I got serious about finding a work-from-home job.

The fees of second year add up a lot more, especially with needing to pay for boards and board prep material (boards are the massive tests they have to take between second and third year, in order to move on to rotations); not to mention, paying for diapers and now food for our little toddler (I kind of took for granted how cost-efficient breastfeeding was). I was so incredibly happy when I got a job with VIPKid (I can talk more about this in another post, but here is the link to their website), teaching English to children in China. I’m able to work before Lively wakes up and after she goes to sleep, so we never are having to pay for child care, and I don’t feel like I’ve had to give up my time with her. If you’d like to know more about my new job, don’t hesitate to e-mail or message me!

Honestly, if most people waited for the “perfect time” financially and circumstantially to have a baby, very few people would ever have children. Life is expensive and crazy, and medical school is no different; however, in my opinion having a baby during medical school is totally doable if it’s something both you and your spouse are on board with! Yes, it can be exhausting and stressful at times, but more than anything, it is amazing having and raising a little human, it gives you perspective/forces you to prioritize, and grows your relationship with your spouse (and those first couple years you have Christmas breaks, spring breaks, and a summer break, which are just the best!).

When having a baby in medical school, my biggest advice would be to give yourself and your spouse grace, communicate about everything (tell him what you and the baby did while he was at school, and ask him how school was/what he did), and be in community with other moms (whether that’s online, in a Biblestudy, with a playdate group, etc.). Also, make time to do the things you love together. We love to travel and see new places, so we try to travel on Duncan’s school breaks and on the weekends when we can; this way we can still make new memories together, aside from just our lives as related to med school.

Becoming a parent and the journey of parenthood is amazing, no matter where you are in life. You are not alone, and you can do this! Here are some of my favorite snapshots since Duncan started school and Lively’s been born:

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32 weeks pregnant at Duncan’s white coat ceremony.

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The day Lively was born!

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Bringing our girl home for the first time.

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Spending time with Lively after a day at school.

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She loves her daddy.

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His last day of first year!

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Santa Barbara, CA summer trip

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She loves pretending to use the stethoscope to listen to our hearts.

*Click here to pin this on Pinterest!*

 

Always and forever,

Alex

Favorite Christmas Decorations

A warm, cozy home decorated for Christmas is high up on my list of favorite things, especially when Hallmark Christmas movies, a fire crackling, Christmas cookies, and hot cocoa are involved.

Since getting married 3 and a half years ago, we’ve built up a small collection of Christmas decorations, including a tree, a few ornaments, a strand of pre-lit garland, stocking holders, and three stockings this year (one for Dunc, one for Lively, and one for me). I’m excited to build up our Christmas decoration collection more and more over the years! I thought I’d share some of my favorite Christmas decorations below, including the links to where you can purchase them. I’d classify the overall style of my taste in Christmas decor as cozy and simple 🙂

  1. Stockings: I LOVE the look of cable knit stockings with pom poms! We got ivory and red ones almost exactly like these.

    I also love this faux fur one and this patterned one (pictured below), and the way they would all look together!

  2. Cable Knit Tree Skirt: This ivory tree skirt matches well with the stockings I featured above, as does the red one on their site. They are simple and keep that cozy feel! tree skirt
  3. Stocking Countdown Banner: All growing up, my mom planned a Christmas activity for each day of December leading up to Christmas. We had a little Christmas tree in our dining room with tiny present ornaments on it, and each morning when we woke up, we would go find the one that matched with the day of the month, and there was a piece of paper underneath it with the activity for the day written on it. Some of the activities were big, like picking out our Christmas tree or going to watch the Dixie Stampede Christmas Show, and others were smaller, like playing Christmas Pictionary, having a “snowball fight” with crumpled up paper balls, or creating paper snowflakes to hang in our entryway. I would love to do something like this with our kids in the future, and these stockings would be a perfect way to do it! You could hang the stocking banner on the mantle or somewhere else, and just put that day’s activity in the corresponding stocking number. Click here to shop this stocking countdown banner. stocking banner.jpg
  4. Red, Green, and White Ball Garland: This garland is so cute and matches well with the stockings and tree skirt. It’d be super cute on the tree (added to lights and ornaments), or hanging somewhere else around the house. garland.jpg
  5. Christmas Candles: Duncan and I are both big candle people; we almost always have one burning! I especially love warm smells, like vanilla and nutmeg, which are extra perfect for Christmas-time. There’s just something about a candle burning that makes a house feel more like a home. Here’s a yummy-smelling one! candle
  6. A Plush Throw: I’m a sucker for cozy blankets, especially in the winter. I love the color of this green one and how soft it is (plus it’s 25% off)! plush throw
  7. Festive Throw Pillows: Couches are so much comfier with throw pillows on them, and I think it’s so fun when people use different throw pillows for the different seasons. I love this Christmasy one (and the way it would look with the throw pictured above). pillow
  8. Cookie Cutter String Lights: How cute and unique are these Christmas lights?! I love that they add something a little different, but still aren’t over the top at all! 43513837_028_b
  9. Wreaths: I love the look of wreaths, both indoor and outdoor. I love classic green wreaths like this one (it’s under $10!), with big red bows tied on them, as well as red berry wreaths like this one (25% off)!

     

    I hope you got a little holiday inspiration from these pieces, or that it at least got you even more in the Christmas spirit 🙂 Collecting Christmas decor can take time, which makes it even more special.

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Always and forever,

Alex

 

*Click HERE to pin this post!

In the Early Stages of Toddlerhood

I really can’t believe we have a toddler… how is Lively already that old?!

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Toddlerhood is totally different than having a baby; it’s a different type (and level, haha) of exhausting, but also full of so many laughs and teaching moments every single day.

Lively is about 2 months into walking and is fearless; she gets more daring each day, which is kind of scary. She runs around the house (and has already fallen too many times), climbs on everything, and would jump off any surface if we didn’t watch her like a hawk.

She says “dad,” “mom,” “ball,” “bye,” etc., but not much else is enunciated clearly yet; she does watch us super closely when we talk and is starting to try mimicking what we say. She blows me away with how much she already comprehends, though! She loves to blow kisses, wave at everyone, and give “knucks.”

Lively is in a pretty consistent sleep routine (finally). She naps around 1:00 pm every day, usually for about an hour and a half. She falls asleep much easier now, and I no longer have to nurse her to sleep. If I turn on Disney lullabies, her little aquarium sound machine, and rock her, she typically falls asleep pretty quickly. She does still wake up once or twice most nights, and she is frantic until I nurse her. She is weaned other than waking up during the night, so hopefully I’ll be able to help get her past those soon. Weaning her has been a little harder than I expected, because she never wanted to self-wean, but it was getting to the point where she would try to pull my shirt down in public… so I am glad to be past that!

It’s quite a bit more difficult to feed a toddler, because she’s not getting all her nutrients from breastmilk and simple jars of baby food anymore. When I first tried to switch her to whole milk at a year old, she got little bumps all over her skin and her stool became runny, so I waited a couple weeks to try again, and when I reintroduced it, I started with tiny amounts, which went much better! I offer her whole milk with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks (she drinks a total of about two cups a day). Some of her favorite snacks are apple slices with peanut butter, grapes (cut up, of course), cheerios, cheese and wheat cracks. For breakfast she loves eggs, wheat pancakes, bananas, etc. For lunch she usually eats turkey, cheese, peanut butter toast, some baby food veggies, etc. For dinner, she eats whatever we’re have, which is usually some kind of baked chicken with vegetables, spaghetti, quiche, and other pretty simple meals. Cheese is her favorite food right now… she would eat it for every meal.

Socially, she’s not having as much separation anxiety from me. This past week was the first week she didn’t cry being dropped off at the nursery, and it made this mama heart so happy! She loves playing with other kids (she’s walked up to kids we don’t know at the park and held up her arms for them to hold her on multiple occasions…). We’re trying to work on sharing. She signs “please” when she wants something (especially food) and is really in tune with other people’s emotions.

She loves to push boundaries (like a typical toddler), and disciplining/setting boundaries is tougher than I thought it would be, but I know it’s necessary and will help her so much in the long run (and even now).

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She is obsessed with the movie “Sing” and would watch it all day, every day if we let her.

All of our cabinets and outlets are baby-proofed. She is now officially able to reach the countertop, so that’s a new challenge (but thankfully can’t open doors yet).

She never sits still (so if we somehow get her to sit and smile for a picture, it’s a miracle!).

Trips to the store are pretty challenging at this stage. She’s not really old enough to reason with yet, so if you let her out of the cart, she’s runs the opposite direction like a crazy woman pulling everything off the shelves.

Lively is super goofy and has such a funny sense of humor. She knows how to make us laugh and really plays off of it (if something made us laugh once, she’s quick to do it again). It is such a joy watching her grow and develop more and more into her own little person. Toddlerhood is tough, but also such a fun and special time as a parent!

 

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Always and forever,

Alex

DIY Smash Cake

Sitting here on this chilly, first day of November, I can hardly believe it’s been a month ago exactly that our little Lively turned one! We had her party in Branson, where most of our family lives, a couple weeks later and enjoyed spending a Saturday evening with everyone celebrating Lively’s life. The theme for the party was pink, white, and gold/jungle animals (I know, seems so random, but I love the girly pink, it was Lively’s golden birthday, and she loves animals, so I decided to combine them all, because why not?!)

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For Lively’s smash cake, I decided to make our own, because I really couldn’t justify buying her a custom cake I figured she wouldn’t even eat (thank goodness… because she didn’t eat hardly any of it… she was way more interested in all the people, running around, and her toy car).

I made a simple, two-layer white cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. I got this 6-inch cake pan from Kroger for less than $4 and used the Pillsbury Moist Supreme box of cake mix.

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I followed the directions on the cake mix box, then put 1 1/2 cups of the cake batter in the 6-inch pan at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (make sure to insert a toothpick and see that it comes out clean). I cut off the top (so the cake was a flat surface) and let it cool, then baked one more for the second layer. Once both layers were cooled, I put them in ziplock bags overnight in the fridge.

I made the buttercream frosting the day of her party and followed this recipe. Since it was a layered cake, I spread some frosting between the two layers and used a knife to cover the whole outside of the cake.

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This dark pink, sparkly cake topper was the perfect finishing touch! And these mini gold animals tied in the jungle animal part of the theme perfectly (they came in a set of 12, so the rest we used for decorating the gift table).

A DIY smash cake is totally doable, saves a little money, and hopefully this acts as a nice guide!

Click here to pin this on Pinterest!

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Always and forever,

Alex

Homemade Fruit Yogurt Pops

Lively has been a teething machine for the past few months; at 9 months old, she already had 8 teeth! To give her some relief, as well as a fun (and healthy) treat, I made her these fruit yogurt pops with my new Beaba Babycook blender.

For this treat, I used the Babycook to blend up the fruits and yogurt. What makes this blender so unique is that it can also steam fruits, veggies, and raw meat! It’s seriously the coolest thing and makes preparing your own baby food so practical. If you make your own baby food or plan on it, you’d absolutely love a Babycook!

So back to the fruit yogurt pops… they’re super simple, but here’s the recipe and directions:

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Ingredients:

3 5.3 oz. containers of vanilla greek yogurt

Strawberries (I used 8)

1 Banana

1 Peach

 

Supplies:

Container for freezing your yogurt pops

Blender (here’s the link to the Babycook I have)

Cutting board and knife to cut your fruit into smaller chunks

 

Directions:

  1. Cut the stems off the strawberries and blend them with one of the 5.3 ounces of greek yogurt.
  2. Pour the mixture into your freezing container; make sure to leave enough room for the two other layers and try to evenly disperse it. *I didn’t like the strawberry layer as much as the other two layers, because it wasn’t as smooth due to the seeds. When making these again, I would make the strawberry layer smaller than the other two.*
  3. Peel the skin off the peach and slice it into smaller chunks. Then blend it with one of the containers of greek yogurt.
  4. Pour that mixture on top of the strawberry layer (leave enough room for the last layer).
  5. Slice the banana into smaller pieces, and blend it with the last container of greek yogurt.
  6. Pour the banana and greek yogurt mixture on top of the other two layers.
  7. Put the popsicle sticks in place.
  8. Freeze for at least 4 hours.
  9. To get the yogurt pops out more easily, run under warm water.
  10. Enjoy! I hope you and your little one(s) enjoy these fruit yogurt pops as much as we did!

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Always and forever,

Alex

 

 

Train Travel with a Baby

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We just got back a couple of weeks ago from our train trip out west. We traveled by Amtrak out to Glacier National Park in Montana for a few days, and then on to Santa Barbara, CA for a week. Total, we spent 110 hours on the train over a 2 and a half week span. It was beautiful, so much fun, and we learned a lot of valuable information on the way, so I thought I’d share some of the things we learned with y’all and some basic information about train travel (specifically Amtrak) in general:

– Get the Amtrak app on your phone. It tells you if your train is delayed (which happens often). Our first train was delayed 5 hours; although most trains probably aren’t delayed that long, it’s common for them to be at least a little behind schedule.

-To go along with my previous point about the delays, don’t make any super time-sensitive plans (you really can’t be in a rush). Thankfully we had an overnight layover after our long delay, or else it would’ve really complicated things.

-But with that being said, do not be late getting to the train station, because the train waits for no one! The train station in Chicago is really busy, and we actually almost missed our train leaving from there. They tell you to get to the train station about 45 minutes early if you’re wanting to check bags, which we did in Chicago, but for some reason the baggage check line was super long, and by the time we got to the front of the line, our train was leaving in less than 5 minutes. The lady working the baggage check told us it was too late to check our bags at that point and we’d better run if we wanted to make our train. We literally sprinted to our train with with our stroller, 4 suitcases, and diaper bag and barely made it on in time!

We had a roomette during our time on the train. If you’re traveling with a baby or young child, I would totally recommend getting a roomette or a bedroom (the next size up). The next few tips are specific to people traveling in roomettes:

-Each roomette has two chairs, which fold down into a bed. We actually kept the chairs folded into a bed the whole time, because it allowed more room for Lively to be able to crawl around. The roomettes also have a top bunk that can be folded up during the day and folded down when you’re ready to sleep. *Just a forewarning, the roomettes are small (the size of a small closet), so when the bottom bunk is down, it takes up the whole floor (so there’s no standing room).*

-If you have a baby with you, he/she is going to need to sleep on the small bunk with you. Duncan slept on the top bunk, while Lively and I slept on the bottom. There wasn’t a lot of room, but it was still nice to have a bed to sleep in.

-When you have a roomette, there are 4 bathrooms and 1 shower in your sleeper car that you share with the other roomettes in your car. The showers are actually pretty nice, and towels are provided. Make sure to bring flip-flops, though, since you’re sharing a shower with so many other people.

-There is a luggage storage rack on the lower level of the sleeper cars. You have access to your suitcases there, so you don’t have to bring your big suitcases into your roomette with you (saves at least a little space).

-Each sleeper car has a train attendant. Your train attendant will answer any questions you have, make up your bed every night and take it down in the morning, etc. Make sure to bring cash to tip your train attendant at the end of your train ride.

-Meals are included, which is huge, because the meals typically range from $10-$40. They have a menu with 4 or 5 options to choose from for each meal. Most people eat in the dining car, but you can request to eat in your room if you’d like (just make sure to ask your train attendant). When you eat in the dining car, breakfast is first-come, first-serve, while lunch and dinner are done by reservation.

-Each person is allowed to bring 2 personal items and 2 carry-on items (be sure to look at their website for specific details). A stroller, car seat, and diaper bag don’t count toward those, and you can either carry them on with you or check them through to your destination if you won’t need them/don’t want to mess with them until your final destination. You can also check your 2 “carry-on” bags if you’re not going to need them until your final destination. Most of the time we checked our 2 biggest bags (except for when we almost missed our train in Chicago), so we made sure to have our toiletries and enough clothes in our smaller suitcases.

-If you’re staying in a sleeper car (either a roomette or bedroom), check to see if the stations you’re leaving from have a Metropolitan Lounge (I know for a fact Chicago, Portland, and Los Angeles have them). They’re basically nicer waiting rooms you can relax in while waiting for your train to arrive. They oftentimes provide free snacks and drinks, and you can store your luggage in there if you want to go out and about for a couple of hours. It was so helpful being able to know our luggage was in a safe spot while we explored Portland during our 4-hour layover there so we didn’t have to carry it around with us.

Traveling by train with a baby is quite a bit of work, but it’s also such a fun adventure and a memorable experience. If you have questions, I’d love to answer (I’m sure I left out some important information)!

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Always and forever,

Alex

Tips for Traveling with a Baby

Since Lively was born, she’s been to the mountains (a 15 hour car ride), the beach (a 10 hour car ride), and on a few flights. Traveling with a baby definitely changes things, like making car rides longer and adding extra luggage, but at the same time, it makes trips so much more special seeing your little one having fun exploring new places! Our little family is leaving on a train trip out west soon; I’m super excited, because we’re going to be visiting places we’ve never been before (I’m excited to share it with y’all, so stay tuned :)), and it will be Duncan and Lively’s first time traveling by train!

In honor of our upcoming trip, I wanted to share a few helpful tricks we’ve learned that’ve made traveling with a baby a little bit easier. I know some seem super simple and common sense, but I know as a mom, sometimes I forget the most “simple” things… mom brain, I guess!

  • Make a packing list! I’m a check list person anyway, but a packing list is really important when you have a little one, because there are so many different items necessary for daily life with a baby you do NOT want to forget (maybe not all necessary, but at least make daily life way easier).

For long car rides:

  • Bring a handful of books and/or toys to entertain your little one. I’ve memorized a few books of Lively’s that are pretty short and simple, so they’re easy to recite to her in the car; some of her favorites are “Where’s Spot?,” “I Like to Squeak! How Do You Speak?,” “Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You.” Having some of the books memorized means we don’t have to bring as many with us!
  • Sing songs and tell your little one(s) stories. Lively LOVES this and it soothes her best if she’s starting to get fussy on a long drive. I think it helps, because she’s still in a rear-facing carseat, so she gets a little lonely in the backseat, and I like to reassure her that we’re still there!
  • Bring snacks (if your baby is old enough). Little snacks help when it’s getting close to a feeding time, but there’s not a good place to pull off the road for a little ways. They usually help hold Lively over until we can pull over, and I can feed her.
  • Duncan or I usually sit in the backseat with Lively for at least part of a long drive, so she’s not by herself the whole time. She gets so happy when someone is back there talking to her and playing with her!

For airplanes:

  • Arrive with plenty of time before your flight, as everything takes a lot longer with a little one. We had to go through special lines since we had a lap-sitting infant, and they involved long waits every time.
  • We flew Southwest, and they have “family boarding,” which means if you don’t have “A” boarding, you can board between groups “A” and “B” if you have a little one. We didn’t know this for our first flight, and waited until group “C” since that’s what it said on our boarding tickets. It makes it so much easier when you can board earlier!
  • For landing and take-off, I was told to either be feeding Lively or make sure she had her pacifier in her mouth (so her ears didn’t pop). It totally worked!
  • Once again, bring little snacks (in your carry-on).
  • Also, bring a couple of toys and maybe a book or two in your carry-on.

These are just a few of the tips and tricks I’ve learned while traveling with a baby. If you have some more, please share; especially for a train, since this will be the first time we’ve taken Lively on one!

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My dress in these photos: PinkBlush

 

Always and forever,

Alex

Dating When Time & Money are Sparse

We can probably all agree, whether you’re married or not, dating is fun and exciting. Once you get married, I believe continuing to date your spouse is super important and honestly still just as fun (if not more fun), because you know the person so well and are becoming closer every day.

Since Duncan started medical school, our lives have changed and he’s definitely busier than he used to be. We also have our baby girl, who takes a lot of my time and attention (not that I don’t love it, because I totally do!); these drastic changes combined have made a big difference in how much time and money we have… BUT despite all of that, dating each other is more important than ever and honestly more cherished. Our marriage is super high priority, no matter what season of life we are in, and we want to treat it that way/nurture it by spending intentional quality time together.

Most of our dates are simple and really affordable (and include our favorite little third wheel)! We love going to the parks near our house; there are a couple within 5 minutes, and Lively loves them, too! We just got an attachment for our bikes, so Lively will be able to ride with us… it’s a win/win… exercise and quality time all at the same time! We also love icees, snow cones/shaved ice, and Sonic drinks, so runs to go get one of those are high up on our list of favorite things to do. Another one of our favorites is watching TV series together on Netflix… we always have a show we are watching together; if you ever need a list of shows you should watch on Netflix, I’m pretty sure we’ve got you covered, haha. We love to go to the store and get steaks, too, for Duncan to grill at home (probably even more than we love going out to eat!).

We live close to Memphis, so when we have a little more time, we like to go into the city and find different things to do there, whether it’s trying new restaurants, walking around outdoor shopping areas, visiting the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid, etc.

Really, whatever we’re doing, it’s nice to have time to talk with no distractions. We both enjoy talking about our hopes and dreams, places we’d want to live someday, destinations we want to visit… just continuing to get to know each other better, despite the chaos of daily life.

I’d love to hear some of your favorite date ideas!

Here are some pictures from some of my favorite dates from over the years:

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Dinner date on our honeymoon in Naples, FL

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Dinner date at Nakato’s for our 6 month anniversary of being married (it’s the restaurant we ate at the night we got engaged)

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Weekend getaway Duncan planned (to literally the middle of nowhere, haha)

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Chick fil A run for frosted lemonades

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Weekend getaway at Big Cedar Lodge

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Icee run after we found out Lively’s gender (we sent this to our friends and family asking if they thought we were having a boy or girl- blue or pink)

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Best snow cones in Memphis!

 

Always and forever,

Alex

 

Beach Baby

A couple of weeks ago was Duncan’s spring break. To say we love when he gets a break is an understatement, and it is even better when we get to go on a vacation! Duncan and I both love going to the beach and could literally sit out on the beach all day, from sun-up to sun-down (I read while he fishes).

This was Lively’s first time at the beach, so we were curious what it would be like with a baby and how things would be different; come to find out, Lively also LOVED the beach! Watching her feel the ocean breeze and hear the waves for the first time melted this momma’s heart!

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Our daily routine was pretty much get up, eat breakfast, and put sunscreen on, then hurry out to the beach! Our daily must-haves included a big umbrella (Lively laid under it basically all day; the shade, warm breeze, and sound of the ocean put her right to sleep and helped her nap better than ever). We also brought out a big blanket to lay under the umbrella, my nursing pillow, my feeding cover, Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Lotion, a sunhat for Lively, and lots of water (because I always feel parched when I feed Lively, haha).

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In the evenings, it was so fun walking Lively along the beach! My WildBird carrier was perfect, because Lively is comfortable, she can look out and see, and she can easily fall asleep in it. It was so special watching Lively enjoy the beach… we love our little beach babe! We can’t wait for many more trips with her and memory-making adventures!

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Always and forever,

Alex