It’s The Little Things


I don’t wear lots of fine jewelry, so the few pieces I do wear are particularly special to me. Aside from my wedding set, these two sweet bands from Sweet Pea Stamping are the most precious things I own. 

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that I wear important jewelry on my hands – the work of motherhood is mostly handywork. The wiping of noses and tears, the holding of teeny baby feet, and the hours of washing and cooking and rocking. I remember thinking, when my first was born and he fit into the crux of my palm and forearm, “I have the whole world right here in my hands.” 

The jewelry brand can personalize their pieces to you; whether it’s the names of your children, boyfriend, husband, or even just a word, lyric, or piece of scripture that’s important to you. It’s such a neat way to carry the special things and people in your life with you. (They also make a great gift!) 

I’m so grateful for these pieces. I can’t carry my kids their entire lives (goodness knows I would try) but even when they’re grown, they’ll be forever stamped on my heart and hands. 

To purchase your own, or to buy for a friend, use the code Blakely20 for 20% off. 

Summer Style for Babies

They’re not kidding when they say Texas is unbearably hot. Who came up with the genius idea to move two Irish, fair-skinned children to this sauna of a state? It’s only June and just looking out the window makes me sweat. Dressing the kids becomes quite the task in this heat because – let’s face it – they’d rather be nude, and most of the time the battle is not one worth fighting. When Haha No Yume, a brand that makes kimono-inspired baby clothes, reached out to collaborate I thought “How cute!” but didn’t realize how lightweight and comfortable the clothes would be. Now, I need the whole collection, because it’s a great way to dress Holly up for church or a day out without having to stick her in fabric that will cling in the heat. Plus, the prints are to die for!

Just for you, Haha No Yume is giving my followers 25% off using the code “Blakely25.” Hop on over to their site, and check them out! 

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Thank you to Haha No Yume for sending Holly a kimono romper, and for collaborating with us. Want your brand to make an appearance on the blog? Email us at blakelywrites@gmail.com

 

 

But We All Love Wine

You might not know this about me, but I love politics. I love politics so much I’ve had friends brief their friends not to mention current events around me. “Just don’t mention Mitt Romney or you’ll live to regret it,” they say. They don’t think I hear them, but I do. (I hear you, SUSAN.) I love politics almost as much as I love big hair and Jesus and I love those things a lot. But, precious people, please hear me: I can’t take it anymore.

Left or right, I think we can agree that opening Facebook is like being punched in the face with a million opinions. I’ve always loved that social media can be a forum for thoughtful, meaningful political discourse, but its also given way to Ass-hat Syndrome and I simply cannot even. It got so terrible after the election, I had to unfollow people I adore (on both sides of the aisle) because they simply could not be kind or decent about their politics. I won’t claim to know exactly what the founding fathers had in mind for democracy, but I hardly think they anticipated it be carried out in 140 characters of shouty capitals.

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The worst part about having to unfollow you? Having to unfollow you.

See, I didn’t want your name-calling and unkind memes, but I did want to see your post about your daughter’s first steps. I wanted to know about that promotion, that engagement, that brunch sandwich at that place I love. And, I wanted to know what you were thinking but I didn’t need it sandwiched in between melodrama and hyperbole. You know? Calling people “crybabies” or “deplorable” just makes them shut you out.

Worst of all, the discussions stopped. There were less and less opportunities for us to engage in productive conversation. When the conversation stops, we lose. We lose the insights and ideas of people with different perspectives and backgrounds. We lose the possibility of progress and the coming together of different mindsets. Those conversations are the cornerstone of our democracy, and those of us not interested in through-the-roof blood pressure are stopping the discussions for our sanity. I became afraid of being labeled “one of them” and just ranted and raved to my husband (who – unrelated, I’m sure – would like you all to know he just invested in ear plugs).

Don’t misunderstand me. This isn’t a call for people to be less passionate or even less furious. If anything good came out of 2016, its that the formerly complacent bystanders found a reason to become engaged. Friends who had otherwise shrugged off political discussions were diving in deep and, even when I disagreed, I was so hopeful for a future of less Kardashian and more foreign policy.

So, Dear-Friend-Who-Disagrees-With-My-Politics, don’t stop coming over. Don’t stop coming to my table and discussing with me, questioning me, reasoning with me. Make less assumptions, open your ears, and I will too. We may not love all the same things, but we all love wine.

I miss you on Facebook and in real life,

Your Friendly (I SWEAR), Neighborhood Republican

P.S. Red or white?

White?

I knew I liked you.

I Love You (Most)

Dear husband,

I am going to level with you: I’m not exactly the woman you married. She had her act together. She did not have stretch marks. She showered precisely any time she wanted to. Crazy, right? When did she find the time? Indulgent wench. This season of life is tricky. What used to be sweet, flirty text exchanges now read a little something like this:

Did you call the guy about the thing?

Emergency: Please bring home Chipotle. Dinner is inedible (again).

Pleeeease tell me you DVR’d Scandal. 

Let me also let you in on a little secret (that I tell absolutely anyone who will listen, because let’s face it, secrets are not my forte): There is no one on this planet I love more. I don’t care whether we’re watching Finding Dory for the 8567th time or wiping yet another little person’s tush, I am irrevocably obsessed. Another secret? This is purely intentional. I have a reason for loving you most – despite loving and living for our two children. It’s all because of Aunt Sylvia.

At my baby shower, Aunt Sylvia bestowed upon me the most unsolicited piece of advice I’d ever received. “No matter how much you love your children, you must love your husband more.” Hold on. What? Someone take away Sylvia’s mimosa. “Wow, thanks Aunt Sylvia (who I made up for the purpose of this blog post) but that was the worst advice ever given to anyone, ever. Your wisdom is trash. Good day.” Though her delivery and timing might have been off (nothing like telling a 9-months-pregnant woman not to love her children most, right?) she was on to something.

You and I started this whole thing. This amazing, loud, beautiful group of people who fill our backseat? We made it. Our family didn’t start when our children were born, it started the day we chose one another. The day I decided I wanted to share everything with you; a mortgage, children, a very fancy washer dryer set I insisted upon having. You, with blue cheese on your cheek and a frosted mug of Blue Moon. I’ve had no clearer direction in my life than, “I need to be that man’s family.” And then came babies, and sleepless nights, and – of course – the washer dryer. It is the busiest, sometimes most challenging season and often at the end of a long day of pouring out love for our children, it becomes hard to reserve space for one another. But I do anyway, because I love you most.

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And one day, because parenthood is amazing and cruel, this season will end. We will drop them off at Harvard or The School for Enthusiastic Whistlers, or wherever their sweet and amazing souls decide is worthy of our life’s savings. After I’ve stocked their fridge, interrogated the RA, double-checked the smoke detectors, and hugged them with the force of two decades of undying, motherly love… we will leave. They will leave us, because that is the point. We will have worked ourselves out of a job. They will always be our babies (a fact I will frantically remind them of when they take longer than an hour to respond to my texts). And sure, there will be Thanksgivings and weddings and grand-babies. But I will no longer tuck them in, make their lunches, watch their perfect lashes hit their cheeks as they fall asleep. This season we are in right now is fleeting, and I’m afraid to blink, because it will be gone.

Sooner than we know, it will be just how we started: Just us two. I’m not sure what we’ll do. Finally go to Paris? Take a cooking class? Binge watch HGTV? I don’t know. I just know that when all of this is said and done, it will be you and I left to finish the story.

This is why, my sweet and hysterical partner, I still make a point to choose you daily. Because you were my family first, and will be last. And whether it’s buying a washing machine, having a baby, or flying to Paris, every season with you is my favorite.

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Photos by Kody Diane Photography

Easy Glow with EverSkincare

If you caught my recent instagram post about my skincare regiment (or lack therof, really), you know I have no time for excessive skin maintenance. “Screw it, I’ll save up for Botox,” is my philosophy.

Well, folks, I’ve found the one-stop-shop for glowing skin without all the fuss.

See this beauty of a bottle? It’s called the “Overnight Facial.”  It’s a facial in a bottle, which is good, because the chances of me actually going to get a facial are slim to none. I have incredibly sensitive skin and almost no time for make-up, so this is how I get glowing skin sans effort. Also, it smells like roses. It’s DIVINE.

My girlfriend Jessica is a consultant for this booming skincare brand and she helped me select a product that would be perfect for my moody mom skin. (Find her on Instagram, here!)

Now is the perfect time to invest in your skin, since they’re running a promotion. Buy $150 worth of skincare products (which, let’s face it mamas, you could definitely use) and you’ll get this bottle of beauty for free – an $88 value. You’re welcome. Click here to get your own!

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A #BeenThereDoneThat Mom’s Guide to Gifts

Baby shower season is upon us! I am so excited for my many friends expecting their very own children, and I’m always hopeful to give them a special gift – one they’ll remember. I usually pick one practical gift off the registry. But I also like to give something special and memorable, and I always shop small when doing so. In doing this I give two people a gift:

  • The expectant mother gets a handmade, heartfelt gift.
  • A small shop owner (usually a mother herself) is introduced to a new mom, who hopefully will love the item and buy from the shop again. As someone who works in publicity, word-of-mouth is still the most prized form of PR. Best of all, it’s free.

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Holly’s Easter outfit: Target dress, Blushing Bows floral crown, Mary Jane style moccs in Distressed Honey

I most frequently gift baby shoes, and there is no better or kinder “mocc mama” than the mompreneur at the helm of TinyBabySoles. I own way too many pairs for my own kiddos, and I’m always stopped to ask where I got them. They are a hit at showers, and the moms I’ve given the shoes to always return to the shop to buy more.

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The shoes are super soft leather, perfect for newly formed feet and come in sizes small enough to slip on to a newborn baby. Finn and Holly both left the hospital in their very first pairs of TinyBabySoles and I’ll keep them forever.

If you’re shopping for your own children or an expectant mama, you simply cannot find a more special gift!

Thank you to my friend, Emily, at TinyBabySoles who sent Holly these moccasins as a gift. We will treasure them, always, as we have all of our moccs from your shop!

A Year With Two Under Two

To the mom expecting two under two,

Are you panicking? Good. That means you have a pulse and some sense. I’m sure you’re getting questions, like:

Aren’t you afraid about your first feeling abandoned?

How will you manage?

Did you plan that?

Mmm. Aren’t people the best?

I’m here to tell you that not only will it not be unmanageable, but you’re about to have the most fun of your life. Packed in with that fun will be sleepless nights and thousands (THOUSANDS) of diaper changes, but do not let the a*holes of this world harden you into thinking this is impossible. It is possible. It is amazing.

 

To prove it to you, here we are, a year later and still standing – and smiling.

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This is Finn. I know age two gets a bad rep, but he is my favorite little person to hang out with. Last night, as I put him to sleep, he stroked my face and whispered “mama!” When I opened my eyes, he giggled, and then fell asleep. I melted.

He LOVES to dance. He’s learning new words, slowly, with the help of a speech therapist. That’s been our biggest hurdle. But if I’m honest? I’m not worried. (That’s a lie. I’m a mom, so I’m always worried. I should say I try not to worry.) He is exactly the little boy he’s meant to be. I’m doing my best, he’s doing his best.

His favorite person is his grandpa, who he calls “Bubba.” He came up with that entirely on his own. In fact, we were calling Bubba, “Coach,” but Finn had other plans. So, Bubba he is.

He LOVES blueberries and hates peas. I sneak kale into smoothies, because the internet told me if you don’t give your kid kale, you don’t love them enough. Also, it’s healthy and it makes me feel better about when he refuses his nutritious dinner in favor of goldfish.

I know dressing girls is fun (believe me, my bill at Target today serves as evidence), but I am obsessed with dressing him. He wears mostly Zara and Old Navy, but I also do my best to shop small when I can. (I’ll do a post soon about my favorite boy shops, there are so many!)

He is so much like his Daddy, sometimes I swear I’m caring for a mini-Mike. He carries his lacrosse stick with him everywhere (“iyyy Dada,” which in Finn speak means “like Dad”). Here they are, hugging. Aren’t dads the best?

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And then there’s Holly Kate, our little ball of fire. If you’re wondering how she got her name, it’s actually a sweet story. I’ve always loved the name – it’s classic, iconic, delicate. I’ve always thought I’d have a Holly one day. We wanted to give Mike’s mama a nod in her name, so we knew instantly that Kate would be her middle name. If you know Mrs. G, you’ve probably experienced her affinity for Christmas. Santa stays atop her armoire for the whole year, and decorating the tree might as well be a national holiday. To say it is her favorite holiday would be putting it mildly, and she puts on a Christmas that her grandkids will remember for their whole lives. So, when going through our list of names (Collete? Scarlet? Harper? There was a lot of brainstorming), I brought up Holly to Mike and it just sort of worked. Not only would her middle name be an homage to Kate, but her first name would too, as a nod to Christmas. Our little Christmas in springtime.

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Holly’s favorite foods are… everything. As long as their is a lot of it. (How do you think she got those munchable cheeks?)

She talks non-stop, and is saying more words at 12 months than Finn is at two. Girls, I’m told, are the chatty type. If I’m any example, I think they’re right. She is bold and opinionated. Please pray for me during her teenage years, I will need it.

I am her favorite person. This should be flattering, and it is (kind of), but for the first six months of her life I could hardly put her down. I have, on more than a few occasions, peed with her on my lap. I’m not proud of it, but sometimes a mama’s gotta do what she’s gotta do. I hope we’re still thick as thieves in 20 years.

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So, to the precious mother expecting her second I say this:

Go ahead, panic a little bit. But know one thing: Not only are you not taking away anything from your first (that notion is my least favorite, for obvious reasons) but you’re giving both of your children the greatest gift they’ll ever receive, their very best friend for life.

Brew some coffee and buckle up.

-BG