Thursday, April 26, 2018

Disney with Toddlers

We are home from our first ever trip to Disney!  It really is one of the most magical places, but dang did it test my patience.  I am not one for big crowds, or waiting in lines so I was riding the high of my little ones who were living their best life.  My husband who also had never been to Disney as a kid was loving it so it was extra fun to share this with him.  My Mom, sister, and my sister's family were in Florida with us and the cousins got to experience Disney for the first time together which made for some pretty amazing memories!

We got there right when they opened, as did everyone else it seemed like so I'm not sure that overly shared tip is really that beneficial.  Everything they say about fast passes is true, you need them, especially if your kids aren't great at waiting... so like me and mine.  

 I honestly think Dumbo was my favorite ride for the kids.  It is so stinking cute.  Preston rode with my mom and I, while Nick and Leavitt rode together.  I loved watching them on the ride together they were having the best time making it go up and down.  Disney is the one place it really is fun to be married to a big kid! This was the one ride we didn't have a fast pass for and were able to get on it pretty quick!

I bought a new double stroller for our trip because I knew Leavitt would need to ride for a little bit.  I am so pleased with my choice because the heat and long distance walks took a toll on my big boy and he loved riding in the shade and sharing popcorn with his little bro.  Their matching outfits felt a little overkill at home but once we got there I realized they were subtle compared to everyone else's Disney swag!  I loved how enthusiastic everyone is there with their outfits, it was really cute to see all the other Disney siblings dressed up!  

My littlest boy was in heaven at Disney.  He adored the rides and it still makes my heart swell to see his happy little face in these pictures.  Disney can be hard on littles.  It's hot, crowded, and involves a lot of waiting.  So these moments of bliss on their faces were really worth all the effort.  We enjoyed the afternoon parade after we had lunch and then went back to our house to swim and eat dinner.  I returned that night with Leavitt and the rest of my family while Preston slept it off with his Dad.  

The fireworks were truly my favorite part of the whole day, I am only sad I didn't get to share them with Preston and Nick too.  I am so glad we got to share this special trip with my mom, sister, and her family.  It was really fun watching the kids make memories and I know we will be doing it again someday!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Freshly Picked: Disney

Guys!  My little family is headed to Disney in April and we are so so excited.  Disney was a right of passage for me as a toddler.  It was an annual trip my parents took us on, and something we looked forward to every year.  My sister and I would get out the JC Penny catalog (anyone else remember those?!) circle our vacation wardrobe must haves and magically the Easter Bunny would get it all to us in time for the big trip.

In preparation to get my boys ready I have been compiling lists in my head of all the outfits we need, but especially for the day at Magic Kingdom.  I had no idea how serious the outfits are for Disney, and being that I am a shoe girl through and through I knew Mickey shoes were top of my list!!  For Preston there is no shoe more worthy of such a milestone than Freshly Picked Moccasins.  They fit his wide chubby baby feet, but are durable enough to stand up to his rowdy boy ways.  He also leaves them on his feet which saves me from fighting with him to get them on.  Anyone else have a kiddo that curls his toes when you put their shoes on?!  Only me? OK.  

Lucky for Preston I will be letting him walk as much as possible in these because I am dying to save his little footprint once they are worn into the sole from a day at Disney.  Adorable shoes baby loves doubling as a memento for mom!  

One last thing that I am really so impressed by is that every pair of moccasins comes with dust bag perfect for traveling!  If you are headed to Disney you must check out the rest of their Disney line here they also have great Spring and Easter options.   As a bonus for you all Freshly Picked is giving a free pair of moccs away to one lucky reader on Instagram you can enter that on my Instagram @Bringingupleavitt for details head over there!  Any Disney experts have any tips for me send them my way I am going to need all the insight I can get!

Pictures taken by the oh so talented Danielle Brady.

I was given products in exchange for this review.  All opinions are and always will be my own. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

JORD Engraved Watches: The extra touch for a perfect gift

I love a sentimental gift, especially if it includes my two favorite things, my kids, and fashion.  So I am so excited to share with you all something I know you will love as much as I do!  I was recently approached to review JORD wooden watches.  Within minutes of browsing their website I couldn't say yes fast enough to work with them.  Not only is everything beautiful on their site, but they set themselves apart with sustainable materials, engraving (more on that later), and their modern meets traditional style.  

As soon as the watch arrived at my house I couldn't wait to show my husband.  He is into cool watches much more than I am so when he was impressed I knew it was special.  The packaging is beautiful.  The watch arrived in a wooden box with no detail overlooked.  The box has a magnetic closure to the top, and a small drawer to the bottom, perfect for storing spare links, the cleaning cloth, or small jewelry.  I chose the dark sandalwood & smoke watch.  I love the dark natural look of the wood with the feminine touch of rose gold on the smokey gray face.  It pairs so well with my rope bracelet that I wear every day.  

My watch came engraved with "Every second I love you more" with my boys initials.  I can't tell you how much that effects my mood when I look down I am reminded of what is written on the back of my watch and how lucky I am to be their mom.  It alters my way of thinking when the days of mothering two boys can be long,  that time is precious and loving them is easy... even on the hard days.  I just know that any mother would love to have a cool watch she can wear every day with a precious message from her family on the inside.  JORD's engraving services are top notch.  They can engrave the wooden watch or the box, and can even use a sample of your handwriting!  How precious would it be to have your spouse or child's handwriting engraved on the box? I know it's a little early but Mother's Day will be here before we know it so start shopping those women's watches here!

Speaking of Mother's Day, Father's Day will be here before we know it too!  Like I said my husband was gushing about how amazing the packaging is, and how fresh the wood style is so I am going to be purchasing one for him for Father's Day and having the kiddos help customize it by having it engraved!  There are so many unique watches for men it will be so hard to choose one for him.

Some other really amazing things about JORD wooden watches,  as a company they take great care in using sustainable materials in their products ensuring that your purchase is not only beautiful but good for the environment.  The glass used on the face of the watch is sapphire glass which I was impressed to learn is second only to diamonds as the most scratch resistant and durable materials on earth!  Pretty incredible!  The company is run by artists, designers, marketers, and minders who value experiential living.  I can't think of a better outlook especially while raising little people.  The wood is  considered to be splash proof so there is no need to worry about it during everyday wear, it however is not waterproof so no swimming with it! 

My friends at JORD want to share the love with you all as well and are giving you a chance to win $100 gift card to buy the watch of your choice!  Enter to win here 

Here are some quick links to make shopping easier for you!

Luxury Wooden Watch

Monday, January 22, 2018

Family Photos 2017

So long Holiday's!  You stressed us out, brought us joy, ushered in a parade of crap into our homes, and left us happy we have a year to recover before we have to meet again.  The one thing I love about the holidays, but that stresses me out the most is Christmas cards.  At the end of summer I start messaging Danielle with ideas for outfits and we try to put a session on the books.  I love a holiday look to our photos and its the only time of year I can sucker my husband into them because I always say I want them because Leavitt's birthday is coming.  Which is true, but inside I'm scheming up our card.

I always start with my outfit.  Being that I am the only girl in the family, and probably the most self critical I want to make sure whatever I wear I will love.  I was obsessed with this dress from ASOS.  For me it hit all the marks.  Holiday vibe, long sleeve, forgiving enough that I could move and be present with my family while Danielle captured us.  I STALKED this dress for a good two months.  I think Danielle was ready to kill me after the 100th text about it.  They offer this dress in petite, tall, regular length, plus, and maternity.  They also offer a midi version, and short sleeve version.  I wore the maroon short sleeve version the year before so I didn't want to go with that one, but its gorgeous!  After a couple months of the dress not being restocked I started to panic and dug out my dress from last year.  I noticed I hadn't ordered my normal size so I double checked the measurements on the size guide and I was able to size down and purchase a regular length dress.  HALLELUJAH!

The next thing I did was check out Minted to see what card I wanted.  I settled on this one as soon as I saw it.  I love the message, simple design, and the trees in the sample look exactly the same as our favorite tree farm where we always get our pictures done so it seemed meant to be.

I then easily pulled the boys looks together, and at the last minute opted to get Nick a plaid shirt instead of a matching one to Leavitt, and used a little burgundy on the boys.  Preston in his shoes, and Leavitt with a thermal under his flannel shirt.

This year our session happened to land on a freakishly cold day.  I had hair and makeup appointments, a sitter at home to help me, and an influx of texts from Danielle and my husband wondering if I was really crazy enough to go through with it on this frigid day.  I was like heck yes I am still doing this!  My hair is done!  They ended up talking sense into me, and we rescheduled, and I did my own hair and makeup the day of the actual shoot... cue the tears (and sarcasm).

My favorite thing about having Danielle photograph us is that she doesn't stop when things start to go rogue.  She caught Leavitt's expression immediately after kicking his brother in the face accidentally. She caught me comforting him while he screamed in my face and my husband looked on.  She caught Leavitt shaking his booty instead of looking at the camera.  She caught Leavitt under my tulle skirt a habit he has had since our wedding two years ago, then again last year during Christmas card photos, and apparently the tradition is going strong 3 years later, HAHA! I love having photos of who we really are, and how we actually interact with each other.   I know that will serve my heart more years from now so much more than the perfectly posed pictures we send our friends and families.  But I do love those perfect pictures too, it proves to me that in the real chaos of our lives we really do have perfect moments... having proof isn't bad either!  I linked our outfit details below, for those of you interested!

My - Dress

Preston - Outift // Hat // Moccasins

Leavitt - Shirt // Pants // Boots

Nick - Shirt // Pants // Sneakers are sold out Similar here

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Holiday Reality Check

I had intentions of making this holiday season magical and meaningful for my kids.  I wrote out our holiday bucket list and packed our weekends with all the things I just knew my kids would love.  Well, let me just recap that list for you so far.  We piled in with my in-laws and drove two hours to the Polar Express.  I don't think the other adults were that excited to begin with but Leavitt was pretty pumped so I joined him in his enthusiasm... until his little brother hit a wall and lost his shit on the train.  At one point while trying to keep him from his great escape he managed to unbutton most of my shirt leaving me looking like a half dressed fool with unruly children.  We left there for Cabela's to try to salvage the day when Leavitt lost his mind and cried in the parking lot for 20 minutes, and proceeded to cry as my husband drove us home.  Luckily I had brought Preston his new Plush Activity Octopus to play with in the car.  He spent most of the trip using the different features on the tentacles to make different noises, each one made him giggle a little.  He chewed on the textured teething rings, and the soft fabric was perfect for snuggling on the go.  If you are going to be traveling with a little one this holiday season I suggest snagging one because we adore ours and it will entertain them.  You can snag one here and a little birdie told me it's on sale right now!

The next weekend we were off to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens to see Gardens aglow.  I left Preston with his grandparents and was going to take Leavitt with his cousins, my mom, and my friend Meghan.  We didn't even make it a mile from my house when we were in a minor car accident.  By the time we made it home and the tow truck had my sister's (brand new) mini van, none of us were in the mood to attempt the trip.

Last weekend I went to Portland shopping with some gal pals.  All of us needed to get a few things, but mostly needed a break from the Christmas stress.  We had planned to go to the Magic of Christmas show and blew that off for some extra time shopping.  Another dreamy plan sidelined for getting more checked off the to-do list.  We had the best time, and if you follow along on Instagram stories you know that meant I got to do a cheap spa treatment in bed!

We have been talking a lot about the meaning of the season.  How Jesus was born, and what a gift that is to us all.  How kindness is the gift we give others, and that when we forget to be kind we can ask for forgiveness - the gift believers receive because Jesus was born.  We went to a live nativity where we saw an outdoor play of the night Jesus was born.  What do you know Leavitt would refuse to wear his snowsuit, so I let him stand there knowing he would freeze.  Two scenes in he wants to go get his snowsuit on causing us to miss half of the show.

Through all of the madness of the season, the extra expenses, and stress I want them to feel that message more than anything else.  As much as I am looking forward to hearing the shrieks of excitement when Leavitt sees his box of new fishing clothes, hearing him tell me about the manger and why we celebrate is the only thing I want this year...unless my husband is reading this then I want a day at the spa!

Now for those of you hoping to get your hands on one of those Plush Activity Octopus toys I have teamed up with Nuby to give one lucky reader one!  Head over to my Instagram @bringingupleavitt to enter!  I am going to close the giveaway Saturday December 23rd! Good luck!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Holiday Mealtime

I am at that really exciting place in mothering brothers when they both admire each other but constantly want to compete with each other.  Everything is a race.  No one can have something the other doesn't or it becomes a really intense game of tug of war.  Preston is still young so many disputes end in me reasoning with Leavitt and redirecting Preston.  Unless it is mealtime.  

Preston still sits at  a highchair but he likes to be pushed up to the island to eat near his brother.  They like a lot of the same foods but Preston is by far my better eater, for now.  Until he's done and starts frantically throwing food on the floor so I get the memo.  I love that they like to eat together but throwing his plates on the floor is a real pain.  Leavitt pawns his unwanted food off on Preston, and Preston is always trying to steal Leavitt's drink.  

I found some really awesome ways to transition Preston into the big kid he wants to be while making my life so much easier!  Nuby makes these amazing Sure Grip Feeding Mats that suction to the table keeping it on the table and off the floor.   Preston thinks the monkey face is fun, and I am so glad I don't need to keep replacing plastic plates he breaks on the floor and it makes clean up that much easier.  These make great useful gifts for parents and grandparents! I am going to snag a few for the grandmas in our lives to have for when we make the rounds this holiday season!  You can grab one on Amazon here.

Speaking of grandparents, last night I took the kids to my mom's house for dinner.  My kids love for each other is fierce but their love for their cousins is equally matched.  With so many toddlers tearing up the house it can be easy to missed a tipped cup, or abandoned snacks.  Preston really wants to be in the action with his cousins so I have been using the same cups for my two kids in different colors so they can tell them apart.  Preston feels like a big boy using these adorable 360 wonder cups from Nuby!  I can't tell you how sweet they are when they cheers them together its precious! 

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the 360 Wonder cup, it features the 360 drinking action that allows baby to drink from any where on the rim! Now the range comes in new fun prints and is made of tritan from Eastman. Coming soon to Babies R’ Us stores.  Seriously snag these!  They are spill proof unlike any other, and come with a cover to keep them clean while on the go!  Kids love the the prints, Preston has claimed the airplanes, while Leavitt likes the red cup better.  I love that these work for my one year old and that my almost four year old likes it too.  It is encouraging Preston to use a big boy cup without stressing me out that there will be a mess if he knocks it over. 

This weekend has been a not so gentle reminder that the busiest season for moms is upon me.  While I love the hustle and bustle, and dinner invites galore, I really love the coziness of being home.  I would never say I like sick season BUT when Preston got sick last Friday, I put on the Christmas movies and really relaxed in the playroom with the kids.  I had my coffee, Preston had his new 360 Wonder cup with pedialyte , and Leavitt was using his new Snack N Sip cup.  

How clever is this little cup? It holds 9 oz of liquid in the bottom & 4.5oz of dry snacks in the top.  I was not a mom when we built our home so the playroom is a hike from the kitchen.  Which means it is a chore to get snacks and drinks to the playroom for movie time.  Leavitt loves having one thing to carry around with him and he thinks it is so cool to have them in one cup!  I can't wait to take it in the car too!  Perfect for holiday movies at home or road trips!  I can't wait until Preston can use one without spilling the snacks on top!  But I have a feeling Santa will be putting one in his stocking this year!  You can get one online here or in store at Walmart, & Babies R’ Us. 

Want to win a Sure Grip Feeding Mat? We are giving one away on Instagram!  You can enter here! Giveaway ends Thursday November 16th! Good luck!

Bringing up Leavitt is a Nuby parent blogger and was given products in exchange for reviews.  All opinions are and always will be my own.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Holiday Bucket list

It feels early to be talking Christmas, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't already planning my kids Christmas pajamas and dreaming about all the ways I will decorate our house this year.  I also am at that point in motherhood where I am totally sick of all the toys.  My kids are not however sick of toys so there will be plenty of that kicking around here this year but I am going to shift my focus from shopping to creating memories in the season.  I have been scouring the Internet since September for announcements and event schedules of things to do in Maine with kids.  It wasn't long before I had something going on every weekend from Thanksgiving to Christmas and to be honest I might regret that come January but I really want us to enjoy the magic of Christmas while the boys are still so small.  So I have come up with my Holiday Bucket list for 2017!

The Polar Express We have never done the Polar Express but from November 24th through December 23rd you can board The Polar Express in Portland and head the "North Pole" complete with hot chocolate, cookies, a visit from Santa and a Christmas story.  I can't wait to take Leavitt I know he will get a kick out of it since he's had me watching the Polar Express over and over for a week now.

Gardens Aglow  This event was all I heard about last year.  Everyone raved about how amazing it was and I was super jealous by the time I knew I had to go they had sold out so definitely get your tickets early!  They light up the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens with over 500,000 lights and you can walk the gardens.  They also have a S'mores pit, popcorn stand, and art exhibit.  This year it will run November 17th through December 31st.  I really think it would be magical to do with the kids, but then again it would make the perfect date night, or girls night out.  

Rockland Festival of Lights November 24th through November 26th Rockland has some really fun and uniquely Maine Christmas festivities.  On the 24th Santa arrives by Coast Guard Boat, you can enjoy coco, cookies, and free horse drawn carriage rides.  That evening they light the world famous lobster trap tree that was featured on the TLC Channel "extreme Christmas trees".  The 25th you can enjoy the carriage rides, gingerbread houses on Main St. and a parade at 5:00pm.  Sunday the 26th you can enjoy pancakes with Santa.  We have never been for the full festivities but I have taken Leavitt every year to see the tree during the week when the town is quiet.

Rudolph the Musical  Who doesn't love a Christmas Musical? I saw this show was going to be at the Wang Theater in Boston and was dying to go but logistics were stacked against me.  Getting a weekend free with the husband and leaving Preston behind because let's be honest a 15 month old doesn't want to see a musical.  So having a show in Maine may just be the way to make this happen for us!  I hope we get to attend the only drawback is its in the middle of the week at 7pm (who plans theses things?!)  We might be playing hooky from school the next day (#sorrynotsorry).

Magic of Christmas is a show put on by Portland Symphony Orchestra.  They will play at Merrill Auditorium for the 38th year!  I have never been but have a girls shopping trip and this show on the books for December.  I can't wait to dress up with my nearest and dearest gal pals and enjoy some traditional Christmas music in the gorgeous Merrill Auditorium.  If you are one of my gal pals and want in on this trip hit a sister up the more the Merrier!!

L.L. Bean Northern Lights Celebration is something we did last year and I am adamant we do it again.  They have the most charming Santa Claus in the cutest little barn that has some seriously magical reindeer in it.  There is a warming yurt this year with free hot chocolate and a letter writing station to send letters to the North Pole.  A model train village that will make all the little boys in your life go crazy.  There are also horse-drawn wagon rides, and the Discovery Forest with 600 trees lit up for a magical little stroll.  It truly is a great experience and the shopping isn't bad either!  It runs from November 18th - December 31st and the best part is it is all FREE!  Yes, you read that right, free.  Who doesn't love a perfectly magical free Christmas experience because lets be honest, the holidays are expensive enough!

Last year we went to a live nativity scene which ended up being a lot like an outdoor play.  It was at a local church and while I don't have any info on one in particular it would be worth it to check out your local churches in your area for Christmas plays, or live nativity scenes.  They really hit home what the season is truly all about.