Friday, August 29, 2014

How to Have a Pleasant Trip to the Mall with a Toddler

Bear and I go to the mall about once a week, and stay 2-3 hours. When I tell other mom friends this, I get looks of disbelief and questions like "What?! Aren't you pulling your hair out the whole time?". The truth is, we both love it. It's relaxing for me & there are tons of fun things for toddlers in most malls if you take advantage of them! Here are a few of our tips for making your mall trips an enjoyable experience (for everyone involved!).
1. If there's a carousel, ride it! This is an obvious one, as most toddlers will beg to ride a carousel upon seeing it. I also realize that not all malls have carousels and we're lucky enough to live by a fantastic mall. This also doubles as a great distraction if you choose to eat in the food court; sitting beside the carousel mesmerizes Bear and he eats his food without a peep.
2. Buy a treat (or bring your own). There are always cookie, pretzel, and ice cream stands in the mall. I'll often grab Bear one cookie and he's perfectly happy in the stroller devouring it.
3. Bring favorite toys and/or a busy bag. If you have a toddler and are not familiar with busy bags, you've got to hop over to Pinterest and see the life-saver that you're missing out on! We went to a busy bag swap recently and came home with lots of great bags, but you can also make your own. This popsicle color match is one of Bear's favorites, and is great for keeping him busy while I'm looking in stores. 
4. Go in a few fun stores. Disney, Build a Bear, and even Gymboree (they have TVs with cartoons!) always make a shopping trip more fun for little ones.
5. Let them play. Mall playgrounds are not always the most sanitary places, but we bite the bullet and let Bear go crazy anyway. He loves our mall playground and I usually try to give him 20-30 minutes of playtime in the middle of our shopping trip to give him a break from the stroller. He often makes new friends, too! AND Mommy gets to sit down, which is nice.
6. Visit the book store. Almost every mall has a book store, and these are the perfect places for toddlers to explore. They usually have stuffed animals, lots of visual stimulation, and of course books! Bear could stay in Barnes & Noble for hours (so could Mommy). This also turns an ordinary shopping trip into a learning experience.

7. If your child gets tired and fussy, it's time to go. This is a big one. I'm guilty of doing it a time or two, and I see it all the time. While it'd be nice to go in just one more store in search of the perfect nude heels, if your little one is crying and rubbing his eyes it's probably time to go. The shoes can wait, but nap-time makes everyone happy.
8. Bring plenty to drink. Walking up and down the mall makes everyone thirsty (even the stroller rider), so it's always good to bring your own water rather than have to buy it from an expensive stand or vending machine.

I had to include this picture because Bear's expression cracks me up. "Tell the lady to get this thing runnin', Mama".
I'm sure Bear would add a few things to the list, such as "bring Dum Dums", "spend an hour in the pet store", and "avoid the loud music in Forever 21", which are all valid points as well. :)
Hope a few of you find this helpful and your next mall experience is a pleasant one!
Also, TGIF! Cheers to the holiday weekend; have fun and be safe!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

21 Months

I'm pretty in denial that our baby boy is now 21 months old. How can we possibly already be planning his 2nd birthday party? Time reeeeally needs to slow down, please. In the meantime, we are loving every minute of watching our sweet son grow.
Prepare yourself for some picture overload...
I haven't done a monthly update in so long (bad blogging mommy!), and I realize that 21 months is a random age to recap. But Bear is doing so many funny, note-worthy things right now that it'd be a shame not to record some of them.
Things To Remember:
-Knows all of the alphabet (has since 17 months) and points at signs, t-shirts, and everything else to sound out letters.
-Goes to bed about 9:30pm, wakes up about 9am. Takes a 2-3 hour afternoon nap.
-Loves running any and everywhere, especially when Daddy says "On your mark, get set, GO!".
-A few of his main words are "Mama, Dada, eeeez (for both cheese & please), ball, nose, ear, bye, and yeah.
-Crazy about his grandparents. He asks for "Du" & "Ba" multiple times a day.
-Begs for DumDums and Airheads. (insert wide-eyed emoji here)
-Enjoys being outside more than anything, especially at the park with swings & slides.
-Bath-time would go on for 2 hours+ if we'd let it.
-Favorite color is "boo".
-Favorite foods are mac 'n cheese, grilled cheese, black beans, & burritos.
-Favorite books are Squiggly Fish, Frosty the Snowman, and Brown Bear Brown Bear.
-Has the funniest, loudest fake laugh that he does at the most random times.
-Just starting to really like trains and building blocks.
-Dances by bobbing his knees up and down anytime he hears music.
-Any time he hears the Happy Birthday song, he gets the biggest grin and totally thinks it's his birthday (so we play along).
-Knows almost every animal noise, including dinosaur (raaaawr) and turkey (shakes his head back and forth making a clucking noise).
-Best friend is Peyton, and lets her know this by showering her with kisses every time he sees her.
I've said this a thousand times, but it really is such a joy watching our little man grow and learn. Skinned-knees are a constant, grilled cheeses are served up daily, and bedtime is often a struggle, but we wouldn't have it any other way. We are so proud to be Bear's parents and we have had the time of our lives the past 21 months.
We love you, Bear Clayton!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

DIY Tassel Garland & Paper Straw Flags

I'm both honored and thrilled to be matron-of-honor in two of my best friends upcoming weddings this fall. With the weddings being less than a month apart, it's been very busy in the shower & party planning department (which I love)! Throw in planning a sweet friend's baby shower and Bear's upcoming birthday and let's just say one of our guest bedrooms is party planning central. And I've kind of turned into a crazy person. Anyway.

I'm loving getting to actually decorate with pink & gold for once! For months I've looked longingly at all of the pink & gold parties on Pinterest; now I'm getting to actually create with girly colors! There are so many details I want to share with you all but I'm waiting until after the bachelorette party next weekend :). Just in case the bride is reading!
First up, simple gold glitter paper straw flags. I thought about doing an actual picture tutorial but then decided it isn't necessary. Just grab some washi tape (this gold glitter tape came from Target), cut a strip about 3 inches long, wrap it around the straw, and cut a "triangle" out of the end to give it a flag shape. That's it! Really simple and a fun way to pretty up a drink. These polka dot paper straws are from Michael's; couldn't pass them up!
I've had my eye on this tassel garland tutorial for awhile and I'm so glad I finally got the chance to make some. No need for me to share a how-to; Linen, Lace, & Love did a great job of explaining. Now I want to hang some in every room of the house. That cool, Zach? Yeah, didn't think so. Worth a try.

I'm so excited for these upcoming parties & weddings! Any excuse to change out of my "momiform" and I'm down. :)

Hope you're having a wonderful week! It's almost Friday...reason to celebrate!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Weekend Fun

My little brother, Ryan, and his girlfriend, Jordan, came to visit this past weekend and we had so much fun! We took them to Galveston, Top Golf, Cheesecake Factory, and of course Freddy's :).
First things first, let's talk Oreos and how good these things are. We all agreed the Reese's ones are better, but the Cookie Dough are still pretty yummy. Zach maintains that nothing beats good old fashioned Double Stuf, and I have to say that while I allllmost agree, these Reese's Oreos are my new favorite.

riding a dolphin on The Strand

sizing up Truffles, the RMCF bear

Ryan & Jordan in La Kings, our favorite spot on The Strand
How could it not be, with the most amazing Coffee Bean Flake ice cream?

After lots of shopping, we headed for the beach. To say that Bear loved it would be an understatement; he had SO much fun! Running in the water, digging in the sand, trying to catch pigeons, etc. We loved watching him enjoy one of our favorite spots, too.

Ryan bought Bear this Olaf and even though Bear hasn't seen the movie, he's hardly put Olaf down since. In fact, he's napping with Olaf in his arms right now. It's pretty much the sweetest thing ever.

Everyone enjoyed Top Golf, except Bear who was confined to the couch minus this one brief moment of glory.

We've laughed so hard at this picture; Z tried to capture my swing but instead focused mostly on Ryan eating queso...

It's a pretty magical place once the sun goes down.

Yesterday afternoon, we headed to Freddy's for one last meal before Ryan and Jordan hit the road. They'd never been to a Freddy's, so it was a must! Bear brought Olaf, too.

Overall, it was such a great weekend and we were sad to see it fly by.
Ryan and Jordan, thank you for coming to see us! Can't wait to see y'all again!

Monday, August 18, 2014


Between having a busy toddler, a business from home, and planning four parties in two months, I've needed to hear this a lot lately. It's so easy to get caught up in the frustration of everyday life when things don't go exactly as we'd prefer. I've also started to notice that Bear picks up on my attitude, whether it's happiness or frustration. Whenever possible, I'm making a point to take deep breaths and be patient in those little moments that I'd normally lose my cool. I want Bear to think of his Momma as a happy, loving individual rather than a short-tempered, crazy one. :)

Monday's alllllmost over which means it's one day closer to the weekend. Hooray for that! Hope yours has been a good one!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tea Parties Are Not For Bears

Last Wednesday, Bear and I headed to the Crossroads Tea Room in Old Town Spring to celebrate our sweet friend Amy's birthday. Let's just say that it wasn't Bear's cup of tea. Two hours of wrestling him on my lap while he dipped his paws in my teacup and begged for Airheads from the diaper bag and I was ready for a nap myself. The party, however, was absolutely lovely and I'm so thankful Amy invited us. I'm always down for any excuse to wear a big hat and pearls! 

Spot Bear's horse, "Uh Oh", amongst all the fine china?

We also had lunch and did some shopping with our friend Nicole last week. Always a treat to see her pretty face!

Still battling this silly summer cold, but it's getting better thanks to these grocery store grabs. Have you had this B&J flavor? If not, please run to your vehicle right now and drive to the closest grocery store. You won't be sorry! It's that good.

Bath time is the best time! He would stay in there for hours.

This face. I can't even.

Is anyone else getting excited for fall? I've started looking only at all things pumpkin spice on Pinterest already....I think I have a problem.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Weekend in Sweetwater

Last Thursday, Bear and I made the 7 1/2 hour drive back to Sweetwater to see family, friends, and celebrate my dear friend Britnee getting married! Bear was honestly an angel on the drive; I never heard a single peep out of him (thanks to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse).
We had so much fun seeing everyone and enjoying Brit's festivities. Bear especially loved being spoiled by his grandparents and playing with his cousins.
Perhaps his cousins didn't enjoy it as much? ;) Kamdon just wanted his hat back!
Beautiful evening on the Fullwood farm.

Every time we go home, I look longingly at my American Girl dolls and seriously contemplate pulling them off the shelf. Yes, I'm 27 years old. Not ashamed at all.

Worth every minute of the 7 1/2 hours to see this.

Little Man had a crazy fever this day and was still all smiles. He's one tough baby Bear! Thankfully it was just teething and he woke up fever-free the next morning.

More cousin fun at DQ!

This momma got a few minutes of R&R by the pool.

Britnee's bridal shower was beautiful! Thank you to the sweet ladies that made this occasion so special.

Bachelorette Party
My parents were kind enough to drive Bear & me back to Houston on Monday, which made the trip about 5,000 times less stressful. Thanks, Mom and Dad! We love y'all and can't wait to see you again soon!
Now we're getting ready for my little brother and his girlfriend to come visit this weekend; we can't wait for a beach trip and lots of good eats!
I'm battling a brutal summer cold that feels like the flu...any tips on remedies? Nothing seems to be helping much so far. Trying to kick it before the weekend!

Happy Hump Day, friends! Hope it's a great one!