May 28, 2014

what's working {in february}

after i posted what's working in january, my friend michelle posted her own version. and from that, i was inspired to start using the 'notes' app on my phone more often. so all month long i've been keeping a running list of the things that seem to be working well for us. so here we go... what's working in february!

+ nutella. yup, i am a million years late to the game on this one. it never occurred to me that as an adult, i could decide to keep nutella in my home. we were recently given a jar of nutella... and we're never going back. this is an eliasen family pantry staple from now on.

+ inkjoy pens. you've seen the commercials, and the pens live up to the hype! great colors, easy flow. they are currently making all my notes and planners and to-do lists look very, very pretty. $1.87 on amazon is a price that can't be beat.

+ old navy drawstring jersey pants. are these sweats? are they leggings? who knows, but they're great. a little tip from me to you: size up on these. i like them to fit a little slouchy, more like tapered sweats than leggings.

+ mossimo junior's boyfriend v tee. the other day my friend anna texted me a funny comment about gray t-shirts from target (and wearing them every day). i quickly her back a picture of me captioned, "oh, you mean THIS gray t-shirt from target?" this t-shirt is part of my every day uniform (and yes, i'm wearing one right now). whenever i go to target, i pick up another color. size up if you're into a slouchy fit, although they're a good length to start with.

+ making lunch the night before. i am going crazy trying to figure out how to get us out of the house in a timely manner. one solution that i've come up with is to pack cruz's lunch at night, no matter what. i usually do this if he has daycare the next morning, but now i'm doing it every day so that we can zip off somewhere once london's up from her morning nap. (sidenote: doesn't london's expression kill you? 'mom, how many more pictures do you need of us eating lunch?')

+ trucks app. cruz does not get a tremendous amount of screentime, but he has a couple of apps on my ipad and phone. the 'trucks' app by duck duck moose was one that i originally downloaded onto my phone. he liked it ok, but didn't choose to play with it that often. we recently pulled it up on the ipad, where it is a much better app. i like this app because there's problem solving involved, and no characters. there's a "fix it" shop section, where cars with flat tires get new tires, and cruz has now created an entire fix it shop under my desk, inspired by his game. i don't know if this is creative or disturbing, but let's go with creative.

what's working for you this month? share in the comments or link up!

what's working {in march}

it's time for what worked in march! march is typically my busiest month at work, so i've felt stressed and pulled verrrrrry thin: it didn't always feel like a lot was working. but over the last week i've caught my breath and remember that yes, there are lots of things that are working for us around here.

snapbibs. let me tell you-- i just hate bibs. they are horrible and crusty and never as clean as i want them to be. we recently ordered some cute girlie bibs for london, which turned out to be darling but a totally terrible product. she gave them a loving chomp (as babies do) and within a few days, they looked worn and damaged. then i discovered snapbibs on instagram... and this is the bib we've been looking for. london looks so cute with it on, and it's durable! i can see these being a great go-to baby shower gift. i'm already picking out which colors i want next (for her! right?).

+ coffitivity. i love working at a coffee shop. i love the smell, the energy, and the social pressure to stay focused on my work. because i have two kids at home now, i don't always get to escape to my local starbucks or coffee bean the way i used to. the coffitivity app or website helps make up for some of that. i can get the ambient noise going, and it really does help me to focus.

+ daffodils from trader joe's. honestly, you can't spend a better $1.29.

+ shampoo only. we could just call these next two tips "the lazy gal's guide to beauty." by this point you know that i am all about cutting out excess. and guess what? one morning i was so tired that i forgot to put conditioner in my hair and i ended up with a fantastic hair day! what the what?? i've now gone over two weeks without conditioner and i can only say good things about it. my showers are shorter, and because i'm using less product , i can go longer between washes. now, i have no idea if this will work for your hair, but isn't it worth trying?

+ apple cider vinegar. i've been having wacky postpartum skin. think dry, fine lines, and the occasional breakout. i've been using apple cider vinegar on my breakouts with surprisingly good results! i keep a baby food container of acv in the bathroom, and when i feel a breakout coming on, i use a q-tip to apply a little to my face. it stings, but that's how we know it's working, right? (i could probably even use acv in place of conditioner! #lazygalbeauty)

+ do you ever do serious spring cleaning? for some reason, i've had the itch to spring clean this year. i've followed iheartorganizing's daily plan. i didn't take on a project every day, of course, so there's plenty to keep going with in april. there were some projects that i originally scoffed at, but later realized how desperately my home needed them! (cleaning the fronts of the kitchen cupboards! wow!)

want more things that work?
what's working for you this month? share in the comments below or link up!

What's Working {in May}

I have never appreciated spring as a season. I guess growing up in Seattle never felt terribly different from winter. Is there truly a difference between rainy, windy and thirty degrees and rainy, windy and forty-five? In Santa Barbara, our weather hardly fluctuates. I bet you could guess the weather of any day of the year with startling accuracy—75 degrees, sunny, slight breeze. But somehow this year it has felt like spring and I really like it. I’m noticing the blooming trees and flowers in our neighborhood. I appreciate our mild days and cool nights, and I’ve been spring-cleaning and redecorating fearlessly! With Tovi and I both working from home, two active mobile kids, and one dog, it feels as if every inch of our house and space and time needs to be used well right now. We need simplicity and efficiency. There's absolutely no physical, mental, or emotional space for things that don't work. So here’s what has worked in May:

+ Working out as soon as the kids go to bed. There was a point in March when I was working so hard that I actually made myself sick. Migraine headache, throwing up, sick. Tovi said enough was enough, and he has really helped me to build some healthy routines back into my day. One of them is working out as soon as the kids go to bed. It’s an obvious transition in the day, so changing outfits doesn’t feel too weird (does changing outfits keep anyone from working out? Just me?). If you don’t have a regular workout time, I recommend this one!

+  Crystal Light Energy sticks. I’m sure this is not the healthiest trick in the book, but it works! In the afternoon, I stir one of these little powder sticks into my water and have a great boost of energy for the afternoon.

+ Anchors in the week. With Cruz we walk a fine line between helping him to anticipate what’s coming up next in the day or week and helping him to learn flexibility. One way we do this is to have “anchors” in our week; there’s something that happens every Monday, Tuesday, etc that he looks forward to, and then we can fill in the remaining part of the day with non-routine activities. Playdate Tuesdays! Music Class Thursdays! I love being able to schedule our week around these fun anchors.

+ Peaches Skincare. The combination of having a second child and turning thirty really started to show on my face. My skin started getting dry and full of fine lines and I didn’t look or feel like myself. I’ve been using Peaches for a month and my face feels young and fresh! Peaches is a local skincare line (I purchased it at the spa), but you can also order online. As higher-end skincare lines go, it’s totally affordable and I think it’s absolutely worth the price.

+ Anemone bras. My friend Annemarie introduced me to these stretchy bras. They are perfect for nursing and layering a low-cut shirt. They are comfy. They come in tons of colors. And best of all? On Amazon Prime, they’re like $12 for a 2-pack.

+ Honest Co. Conditioning Spray. I am not an Honest Co groupie. I’ve tried other products before and found them to be just okay, but I really like this conditioning spray. London’s curls are growing in, and this spray does a nice job of keeping them from getting too frizzy or wild, while keeping them sweet smelling (a bonus, as she regularly conditions her hair with green beans and sweet potatoes).

How about you? What's working in your life right now?

May 20, 2014

fill her up

when cruz was a year old (london's age now (i know, right? she was born like five minutes ago)), working from home was a breeze for me. after breakfast i would take him to the backyard for "outdoors time," and he would crawl around after the dog, grab sticks, or gaze at passing airplanes until naptime. he was so so happy out there doing his thing. i would take my laptop outside and sit at the table chatting to him while i worked. it was idyllic and i didn't even know it.

then came london, my sweet london. look, she is the world's easiest baby as long as she's with you. she's not introverted, let's just say. she doesn't respond well to mommy ideas like independent play time. do you remember how cruz would (still does) wake up early in the morning and then play happily in his crib until we came to get him? this has never happened with london. london only likes to be with people. the bumper in her crib has a permanent fold in it because the moment she wakes up, she crawls to the corner of her bed closest to the door, scrunches the bumper down so that she can monitor the door, and hollers until we scoop her up. the baby gesture that she mastered first? blowing kisses and arms straight up to be held. let me say this again, she is happy and easy beyond any baby i could have ever dreamed up, but an introvert she is not.

this makes working from home a challenge.

in a perfect world, i wouldn't work too often around the kids, but it's not a perfect world and i often need to get work done while the kids are up and about. cruz wants my one-on-one attention more than he used to, but i don't mind letting him play a game on the ipad or watching a little curious george while i finish up some work. obviously london is too young for this and has no patience for her jumparoo or other independent play time encouraging activities. the best i've been able to do is put her in the high chair (this makes me feel guilty most of the time because she'll lay her head down on the tray so that she can see me under the kitchen table, and then through the living room to my desk).

my new friend kelly is both wise and beautiful. we were at the park the other week talking about the differences between our kids, and when i mentioned this difference between london and cruz, she gave me great advice: fill her up first.

fill her up with lots of face-to-face time and play and kisses and snuggles, and she'll be more likely to play by herself later on in the day. cruz has the same needs, but he doesn't need that kind of togetherness before he plays independently.

in such a simple way, it has totally reframed my mornings and made it much easier to work while london's awake. the kids get as much of my attention as possible, from the time they wake up until london takes her morning nap. we do lots of snuggles in bed, books, breakfast, a craft, singing. i very, very intentionally fill them up (and tovi too, if he's home that morning). while london's napping, i work and cruz does something specific (usually two episodes of curious george). we're all better for our new rhythm (and especially grateful to have wise friends!).

May 15, 2014

a twitterature linkup: what i've been reading lately

today i'm linking up with modern mrs. darcy's monthly twitterature. these are my short reviews of recent reads.

reading is one of my absolute favorite activities. thank goodness i'm a fast reader, because i really only read at night before i go to bed! because of that, i have no problem stopping books that i don't feel connected to. this month i stopped reading three books: still life with breadcrumbs (anna quindlen), the headmaster's wife (thomas christopher greene), and doctor sleep (stephen king). i am also making my way through the luminaries, but i'm no where close to the end (or middle. this book is long!)
code name verity. this is billed as young adult fiction, but plucky young brits during world war ii might be my love language. #crackingstory #goodtwists
the invention of wings. beautifully and painfully told story of abolitionist sarah grimke and hetty, a slave gifted to sarah on her birthday. sarah is a real american hero. there are some graphic scenes of slavery, but that's a part of our history we should understand. #absolutelyrecommend
the dinner. this one is... weird. i liked it, though. for fans of we need to talk about kevin and defending jacob (i liked both of those books better). herman koch does a great job of building tension. couldn't put it down. #badkids
the elite and the one. books two and three of the selection trilogy. essentially, the bachelor meets divergent (i would say hunger games, but that would really be a stretch). this is just fun, popcorn reading if you're into young adult fiction. it's a fun love story, and someone actually calls out the heroine for always (thoughtlessly) taking matters into her own hands. #readin24hours

and you, dear friend? what have you been reading lately?

May 11, 2014

the day date

the day date! what a magical invention. one of tovi's sweet clients gave him a gift certificate to andersen's, one of his favorite breakfast spots. the last couple of times we've been there, it was with our kids, so i did not have a good time, and was willing to try it again, just the two of us.

everything about a day date is the best. we dropped the kids off with tovi's mom really early in the morning and the two of us were sitting down to breakfast by 8:45. we sat outside to people watch. we alternated between coffee and champagne, pastries and eggs. we talked. we dreamed. we agreed that, given the opportunity, we'd move to germany. this is the kind of crazy talk that only happens when our conversation is uninterrupted and unhurried. and it was only 9:15! the whole day was ahead of us!

before our date, tovi had proposed that we each pick somewhere to go after breakfast. i chose the new santa barbara public market  and he chose a walk along the breakwater. it was a simple morning, walking around, checking out the fresh pasta at the market, and the crabs scuttling on the rocks in the harbor. it's so good for us to pause, in the daylight and sunshine, and really see each other and connect. there was something so refreshing about being out together during the day. can't wait for our next day date. 

May 1, 2014

all the beauty

 my amazing mom came to visit us last week, and because it was a short visit, we had to make every single minute count. once the babes were up from their naps, we headed out to ellwood mesa, which is just a few minutes from our house and one of the most magical places on earth.

once you convince your three year old to walk up the hill, you're rewarded with huge fields of wildflowers, gorgeous views on the mountains, the pacific ocean, and if you're really lucky, a pod of dolphins leaping through the waves (we were lucky). we wandered and talked. cruz sang to himself as he walked slower and slower behind, trailing sticks by his side. 

i stretch my arms out, throw my head back, and sometimes i simply can't get over what a beautiful world God created.

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