Posts filed under "babies"

Here And There

Well, I was in London...
but now we're in Texas.

After a few days 
of traveling, jet-lagging, binge eating, and hustling,
we are now
unwinding, getting back to working, and detoxing...

...oh yeah, and blogging.

Nothing too fancy,
but I thought I would brighten your Tuesday
(it is Tuesday right?)
with some things
that have been snagging my attention.

. . .

I saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty last night...
Tyler & I both agreed Ben Stiller is getting better looking with age,
however, we disagreed about liking the movie.
(Him = meh. | Me = yay.)

Anyone else love it as much as me?


I'm giving my site a facelift 
with the help of the always fabulous, Kelly.

She just does the best site design...
I'm such a big fan.

(Look for the updated, spiffy look soon.)


I may be the last girl on the planet 
not to have a Kate Spade cell phone...
but I finally got one (from here)
after my long-standing $5 amazon find busted.


I can't believe our babymoon
was over a year ago.

Man, that trip was fun.

Enough fun for this pregnant girl
to forget she was the size of Italy
and waddle around the streets of Venice
 for hours on end
while her legs swelled to the size
of giant salamis...

What I would give 
to be back in that moment...

I think I'd freeze time and just stay there forever.


Baby GAP came out with a Paddington Bear collection.
Be still my beating (or was it bleeding?) wallet.

Also along the
I-need-to-stop-spending-our-clothing-budget-on-baby lines:

I'll blog about them more later
when I host a giveaway for Minnetonka,
but in the meantime- $20 for a pair. 

They even got a "those are ridiculously cute" from Tyler...
who, if you know Tyler, doesn't say those kinds of things
just to make me feel good about my shopping haul.


Also, the lady-sized pair is pretty great 
for loafing around the house in...
I already am dreaming of a rainbow of them in my closet.


Oh, and speaking of giveaways...
tomorrow, there's going to be one here
for one of my favorite travel bags by Ellington.

Be back later this week for your chance to win.

. . .

And now, 
me and my Costco-sized tub of JIF
are headed to the couch
with an apple, The Sound of Music
and absolutely no shame.

(Okay, fine... a little shame. Stupid detox.)

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy
Posted on January 28, 2014 and filed under "babies", "life", "venice".

Home (Sweet Home) For the Holidays.

Well guys, thanks.

Your love & support
was so encouraging over the past four days.

I'm writing this from a chair in my living room
with my cozy pajamas on (these)
after the first shower I've had in days.

My baby is sitting in an adorable shirt (this)
and playing with jingle bells
underneath our Christmas tree
that will probably stay in our home 
for the next couple of weeks to come.

Just for the sake of not sounding completely random
to anyone who hasn't been on various social media...

Saturday, I decided to take Viola to the A&E (read: ER)
since she had a nasty cough that had settled into her chest
and our doctor's wouldn't be open until Monday.

What I thought would be a couple of hours 
ended up being a four day stay at St. Mary's Hospital (this one).

moms who nebulize: i salute you. nothing worse than holding down your baby against their will.

The first day, we were pretty traumatized
to be back, in residence, at the hospital where the girls were born.

The quick downshift from happy/normal
to sudden change of plans felt a little too familiar,
and a wheezing, crying baby doesn't help you feel better.

Luckily- our nurses & doctors made us feel really okay with being there.

Four days, three nights and endless poking & prodding later,
Viola is back to normal
and we are thankful that God took care of that nasty infection.

We are closing up shop for 2013
on a high note,
and optimistic that this is the start
of a great year ahead.

Thanks again for, yet again, being there for our family
over the past year.

You've celebrated with us,
you've mourned with us,
you told us our baby was cute
even through her weird-alien newborn days,
and you've just been... so, so nice.

Lots of love for the year to come.

We look forward to sharing life with you again!

T, L & v.

Posted on December 31, 2013 and filed under "TK", "babies", "life", "viola".

Traveling with Babies- Here's What I Know.

I've been getting a lot of people asking me for advice for traveling with kids.


First of all,

I feel the need to clarify: traveling with a baby is an entirely different ballgame than traveling with a kid. Kids seem easier than traveling with a baby in a few ways such as having their own seat, carrying their own little animal-shaped suitcases, and, generally, knowing to not poop themselves. 

Though the idea of going anywhere (grocery store included) with a toddler is completely terrifying. None the less, let me help offer what I know & have learned traveling with Viola.

I'm not going to pretend to know all the answers, but the kid did clock 8 countries by 8 months old… If I'm not a professional, I'm at least not intimidated by traveling with a baby.

*     *     *


First things first: Adjust your expectations.

Even traveling across the ocean, I always think this phrase over & over during the day (and night) before we fly: "Even if it's a completely awful day, it's only one day and then I'll be in (insert destination here) and it will all be worth it."

To me it's a trade off. I will exchange one crappy/miserable day to spend a week pretty much anywhere, so that gets my eyes on the prize. True, not traveling with kids will save you from some stressful moments... but you'll also miss out on some amazing ones that, in my opinion, far outweigh the chaos.


Second: Know your allies.

Airline employees = nice. Fellow passengers = hate you.

I was pretty amazed at how sweet the airport staff & airlines treated us and welcomed us on board. They helped us board early, snag empty seats, and made our travel so much better. I was equally amazed at how many mean looks and snotty remarks we got while traveling.

On our way home last month, I walked to our row and the man who was sitting by us looked up, looked at me, and then snarled: "Ugh, really?" I gasped so loudly out of shock and then laughed in his face: "Yup. Sorry dude."

Fortunately, all the people around us overhead and went out of their way to compliment what a sweet baby Viola was after her A+ performance, but still.... wow.

Third: Manipulate the schedule.

I start planning the day before how to make Viola's schedule line up to need to feed as we take off. I'm doing everything I can to make sure she is hungry at the time our flight is scheduled to take off. This not only helps her pressurize her ears as we take off, but it makes her sleep like a champ. If she starts trying to eat or sleep in the gate, we play with her and get her right near that edge of feeling crazy so that she'll conk out once we start taxiing that runway.


Fourth: Get them to drink.

Babies can get crazy whenever they want on flights, but they cry most often during the last thirty minutes of a flight because the pilots start the descent and their poor ears aren't able to pop. They don't know all the tricks we grown ups know, so you have to be the brain for them on this. This can be a bit tricky, since it's a long period of time. I'm not sure if this is fool proof,  but it worked for me.

I think of the 20ish flights we have been on, Viola has only cried once and that was because it was such a short flight and I couldn't time her feeds up for take off & landing. Go ahead and nurse them and then- once they are finished and the world still looks a million miles away: pull out the secret weapon, the bottle of goodness.

When Viola was really little, I put a bit of sugar water in a bottle. I would drop a bit in her mouth every 30 seconds or so and she would gulp it down and pop her ears.

As she got older, I've diluted juice with water and given her just little drinks to help keep her curious until we touch down. Sometimes I've used Smart Water, Apple Juice, whatever... Heck, I'd even resort to Sprite, if I had to. Anything to keep her from hurting. The goal isn't for them to chug it down, just something to intrigue them into drinking a bit more after they have already filled their bellies.

Fifth: Get to the airport two hours early.

Flights have bulk seating reserved for the day-of travel. The sooner you get there, the better options the airlines can offer you for your seating. Even if you don't get the bulkhead, getting their early can help your family make sure they are all seated together. You can also hop to get an "infant block" seat,  if there are a few unsold seats.


Five: Shop the unpopular flight times.

We try to skip peak travel times in order to play the odds for a uncrowded flight. Uncrowded flights means empty seats. Empty seats mean that you + hubby could score a row of three and lay a baby down to sleep between you while you do fancy things like read a magazine and drink coffee! We look for midweek travel at non-commuter travel times like the early afternoon.

Six: Let the kid call the shots.

Airplanes are not the time to enforce schedules and try to hem children into new things…

Don't fight the small stuff.

If they want to roll around and lick the tray table, let them have at it. Your baby wants to eat 365 puffs? Great. What a time killer. They want to squish the vomit bag into oblivion? You go, Glen Coco. 

Those things are not your battle today. Your battle is getting to wherever you are going, with your sanity in tact and your baby happy. The rest is, just… well, it's not important.


*    *    * 


Okay, those are my favorite tips. Nothing mind-blowing, but it works for us.

I hope that this can help you… and please, if you have tricks that have  made your travels easier with kids, share them with us. What are some things that have helped you when you've traveled with kids?



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy


Posted on December 9, 2013 and filed under "Jet Setting", "babies", "travel tips".

If I'm Being Honest...

I feel like I've been blogging a lot of random topics lately...
and that, perhaps, a "check-in" on a more personal level is due.

You know, just being honest with
where we are, what life is like, how we feel...
and other things that will, not only clue anyone interested in,
but will be good for me to write down for posterity sake
in the years to come.

So here they are... 
random blurbs & thoughts.

{Editor's Note: Buckle up.}

*  *  *

Yesterday, I got really sad when I realized that November 2nd
was the date that we had our 20 week sonogram
and found out we were having two girls.

I haven't been up for watching the video we made,
but it is pretty cute if you haven't. 

Why is it that anniversaries are so much harder than other days?

There's nothing particularly different about them,
but I guess they just remind us that life is moving on
and we are officially a bit further removed from that person.

It doesn't help that Viola is so cute, either.

The more we love her,
 the more we see what we lost.

In a flit of boredom last night,
I looked at our pictures from the hospital.

They start the night I was induced...
such light, carefree faces in the delivery room
where Tyler is juggling heart rate monitor bands
and then switch directly to the two of us 
sitting under the bright lights of the NICU holding our sweet babies
with puffy eyes and the emptiest looks on our faces.

8 months later, 
and I still feel just as caught off guard.

I had a dream just last night that I was pushing two little Violas in a stroller
and then I look down and one has disappeared
and, in the dream, I thought: 
Oh yeah, she was never actually here. 

I hate that part.

*  *  *

When I see other moms "mourn" their babies getting "so big" 
on social media, I have to remind myself not to get fussy.

Having your baby grow 
and do "big kid" things
is what every parent who has a child
that won't hit those milestones dreams of.

You'd be devastated if they didn't.

But behind my defensiveness and jaded perspective,
I have the luxury of knowing where they are coming from
by having a perfectly wonderful baby, too.

And so, I try to remind myself to savor Viola's smallness today,
because I know one day this baby won't be exist anymore...
she'll be a toddler/kid/teenager/adult
so my time with "Baby Viola" is fleeting.

And, safe to say, I'm not taking any time for granted.

I'm breathing in cute moments a little longer
while they are here and enjoying them for what they are...

The three of us cuddled up in bed on a rainy morning.

How Viola looks curled up in my arm with her nose squished 
on my curled up arm... which is probably connected to my iPhone. #shameful

Pushing the stroller through Portobello Road with her clutching on to my finger.

Her toothless little mouth.

*  *  *

Wow, Lauren, stick to blog posts on donuts & France...
this stuff is low.

I know, sorry.

So with all of this sad talk,
where does that leave us?

Wistfully mourning? Yes.
Hopeless? No.
Scared to death of "what else" could happen? Trying not to be.

Tyler & I would both say
that we are at the point 
where we've just nestled into
the bigness of God and his goodness.

We really do believe that, 
even if it's not right now,
and despite our aching sadness-
He is good.

Does it sound like crazy talk if I tell you
that I have felt God's love more this year
than ever before in my life?

It probably does,
because- in spite of my sadness, 
I am so thankful to Him.

I feel like I'm the character in a really great happy movie
in the low point where they hit their moment of crisis...
but the writer will obviously write for everything to come together 
and happiness be restored.

And until that happy ending arrives
and I find myself smugly walking off in the sunset holding Tyler's hand,

The end of Psalm 52 will be playing on a continuous loop in my mind....

"... I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever.
For what you have done I will always praise you
in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name, for your name is good."

*  *  *

So there you have it...
a quick look into my crazy brain.

Kinda like walking through a spook house
with scary things at every corner, eh?

Perfect timing for Halloween.

Don't worry though,
 you'll make it out okay in the end.

(And, you know what? So will we.)

*image via
Posted on October 31, 2013 and filed under "babies", "life", "viola".

In Your Dreams, Baby Mama.

My good friend Beth Dotolo
is kind of famous.

At least,
you won't be able 
to convince me otherwise.

You've probably heard of her 
super cool totally unique design company,

{If not, now you have!}

She designed our little nursery
which you may have seen
of our tiny flat from earlier this year.

{If not, now you have!}

You've probably already seen
that they are currently doing a giveaway
for a gorgeous nursery
worth $6000
together with Tottini.

{If not, now you have!}

The giveaway is open to US residents
and you can sign up
for your chance to win!

So what do you think?

Have you put your name in the hat to win?

{If not, now you should!!}

*    *   *

*photography by Kevin Dotolo