Monday, October 1, 2018

OLIVER IS TWO! + PARTY ANIMAL BIRTHDAY

This post is sponsored by Basic Invite but as always, all opinions are truly my own.

Oliver turned two this past week and I still cannot believe it! My little boy is growing up at the speed of lightning right before my eyes. I do feel that I've been able to enjoy him so much and I think that it's because with Elliot, as a first time mom, everything was sort of a blur. I'm sure I'm not the only one who shares that sentiment.

For both kids, Jack and I decided that no big parties would be thrown until the age of three. For Elliot, the first two years were cake with family and that was it. It makes for some cute pictures, no stress over a big party and a kid that won't remember anything at all. That's just us though. ;)

For Oliver's party, the theme came easy as he loves any sort of animal and calls them all horses or "hosies" as he says. I loved this idea as it was a great starting point for me and my best friend Pinterest. I found some pretty cool stuff and I compiled a few ideas to make them our own for the cake table.

Jack and I made the banners with construction paper, and the balloon arch. It was actually not as time consuming as we thought. My sister-in-law made the cake for us and it was so delicious and exactly what I had pictured. We purchased the animals at Hobby Lobby and Target and Jack made the little party hats for them. We kept it simple and we love how everything turned out!

The invites for me are also a huge deal and since it was only family, we needed some affordable but cute ones. Have you guys ever tried Basic Invite? I thought I had it made with other sources to get invitations but I was beyond wowed with them. They're the only place that offers truly and entirely custom invitations plus they have the best toddler birthday invitations! You can change the colors to fit your style and theme with a ton of options, color and font of text, size, whether you want the text in the first place, etc. It was easy to navigate and change everything I needed. What I also really love is that you can customize your envelopes too! How many times have you gone to the store to get a card  and the envelope it comes with doesn't really match the card and you spend time looking for the perfect one? No? Just me? Okay. With Basic Invite, you can have colored envelopes, and even prints on the inside! I'm never going back anywhere else. You can also upload your own design and even add a custom number of invites you need. They also have foil for their invitations in silver, gold and rose gold (Hello!) that would be perfect for any occasion! How cute are these invites for a mustache birthday party? They really have the best birthday invitations. With the holidays around the corner, these would be so perfect! Basic Invite also offers address capturing from any of your social media, how perfect is that? Especially for procrastinators like me, who want to do everything last minute. You share a link, and your friends enter their addresses there!

I also must say, their customer service is amazing. I accidentally typed "Oliver's 3rd Birthday" and sent them to print then I realized what I did and when I tried to change it, the spacing was being funny. I emailed their customer service, and by the next day, they had fixed them no problem. Easy peasy! Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51 


Oliver had so much fun at his little celebration and we loved having our family over to share that with them. He ate cake and ice cream, danced, played and opened his presents. It was such a nice evening! He had a sleep over at my mom's, his Mima, and though we missed him, he loves spending time with her and I love that.

He is the true definition of a wild child and though it's really tough at times, we wouldn't have it any other way. We love you so much Oliver, happy two years old!



Friday, September 21, 2018

LEGOLAND + 5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

In my previous post, I talked about our family vacation to San Diego. We went to the beach and we also planned a trip to Legoland.

It's such a fun place for kids but honestly Jack and I had so much fun as well! I think seeing your kids have fun, automatically leads to fun for parents.

I really wanted to share five things we learned from being at Legoland with two small kids, and these might not be ground breaking, but they're things I wish we would have known! Fortunately we were prepared for some, but I wanted to share them anyway.

1. First and foremost, if you have stroller-aged kids, actually even if you have kids that get tired of walking (maybe 5-7?), RENT THE LEGOLAND STROLLER, cart, sanity-keeper, whatever it's called. I promise you, it will make your life twenty thousand times easier.

We had a stroller for Oliver but the darn shade was broken and it was super sunny, hot and humid. I saw people with those stroller cart things and immediately told Jack we needed to rent one. They have the one kid and two kid one. We got the one for two and it was a life saver! Elliot (5 years old) was able to sit in it as well when he was tired or wanted a snack. It had a big shade and it was so light and easy to push. We probably saw 85% of parents with one.Elliot and Oliver both sat in it and enjoyed the ride, and Jack and I didn't have to deal with the "I'm tired" chant from Elliot. We left our stroller we took by the entrance and took it back to our car once we left the park. Best twenty dollars spent.

2. Plan on spending the entire day there unless you get the two or five day passes. Legoland was so kind to send  us the one day resort hopper for all three areas (Legoland, Sealife and Waterpark), but we knew we only wanted to be there one straight day, and in hindsight, we could have gone back to the hotel to rest but we didn't, and I'm actually glad because we didn't have to get the kids back then have to load the car over again and take the drive. Jack and I probably high-fived each other about a hundred times when we left because the entire day ran so smoothly due to all of the things we did to maintain our sanity and the sanity of the kids.

3. Carry plenty of snacks and water. We took sliced cucumbers, goldfish, pretzels, veggie chips and other snacks to keep the kids full (and busy) when we all needed a break from the heat and walking. Obviously you can buy lunch there but little finger food snacks are the best until you make it to lunch. Water, water, water all day long. With the heat, sun and humidity, we all drank our weight in water. I get really bad headaches when I don't and for a full day of rides and walking, I couldn't take that risk. Stay hydrated! There's plenty of shade, but that doesn't mean the sun is gone. Of course, apply lots of sunblock!

4. THE BEST. Take your kids in their swim gear! We didn't since we didn't plan on going to the water park (and we didn't go) and I swear I thought about throwing them in our backpack just in case, but I decided not to at the last minute, and I kicked myself for it. About 4 hours in, the kids were getting tired and super hot, there was a little splash pad there and we let them get wet in their clothes. For some miraculous reason, we did pack swimmers for Oliver, I changed him really quick and they enjoyed that probably more than the entire park. Kidding, sort of, but really they were so happy to get soaked. We spent about an hour there and then continued with the rest of the park. The splash pad was packed with kids and parents sitting around for the same reason we were, I'm sure.

5. Take extra shoes. Every parent probably knows this, except for us. I must have seen a total of 6-10 single shoes around the park and I thought, who in the world loses their shoes without their parents noticing? We do guys, we all do. Almost at the end of our journey, while Jack and Elliot were on a ride, I noticed Oliver only had one shoe on, I looked everywhere for it and once Jack and Elliot were done, we walked back to retrace our steps and could not find the damn shoe. Also, I only packed one pair for him for the trip (face palm). We went back to the hotel one shoe short. A Target trip and twenty-five bucks later, Oliver had new shoes. See what I'm getting at? Don't be like us and spend unnecessary money on shoes you didn't really need if you would have packed two pairs.

The entire park was so enjoyable and the Sea Life part was really cool. The kids loved seeing all the different fish, sharks, sting rays and all the other sea life there. It's really neat. Legoland is honestly really great for kids their age.

This trip was also a great way to see what to expect once we go to Disney (or other parks) and it taught us a lot of things about ourselves and the kids. For one, we realized we have way more patience than we thought we did and also, our kids are waaay more well behaved and resilient than we knew.


Thank you Legoland for having us! Till next time!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

SAN DIEGO FAMILY VACATION

Believe it or not, this is the very first vacation as a family of four that we have ever taken! Granted Oliver is only almost two, but still.

First of all, let me say that I am so impressed with my kids, they did SO well on the car ride! Oliver cried a few times from being so tired but other than that, and on the way back, they were so freaking good!

We decided on San Diego because we wanted a beach and also a place to take the kids for some fun. Definitely not Disney right now, somewhere smaller, where our boys could run around while still leaving us some of our energy. Plus, San Diego is so beautiful!

We obviously decided on the beach first, Jack and I knew the kids would love it and us as well. We went to Coronado beach. I hadn't been to one in a long time, probably since High School, it was as beautiful as I remember it. A vast blue ocean and my feet in the sand. We had been dreaming of this vacation! It was much needed with the busyness of life, parenthood and work. We needed it as much as the kids did. La Jolla beach is also stunning! To us, Coronado was a little more family friendly and easily accessible.

I can honestly say that this was the most amazing and relaxing vacation ever, and the first one of many! The beach is my favorite place to visit, but I really could not live there! ALL.THE.SAND is insane. So much of it, everywhere! I was somehow still vacuuming it off our floors at home. It doesn't take from the fact that it was so beautiful. The sound of the waves is one of the most relaxing sounds I have ever heard, everything is at peace when the waves crash on the shore. 

Legoland was also really cool. Perfect for little kids with so many rides for them, we were sent tickets from them for all three parks (so generous, thank you Legoland!) and were able to go to SeaLife and the actual park, we didn't make it to the water park but the kids did have fun in a little splash pad as it was so hot that day. Stay tuned for a Legoland post!

The marina was so pretty and seeing all those huge ships including the Star Of India was on my list of to do things. We walked a lot and our legs hurts, but headed to the beach right after for some comfort. We got to see downtown and I think that was my favorite part aside from the beach.

I also reaaaally wanted to visit some good eating spots, but after a long day of fun and tired kids, room service seemed way more appealing. Next time San Diego, next time. 

If you want to visit, I recommend having Waze with you at all times. It's the best app for navigating through a big city! Maybe that's more advice for me and those like me who live in smaller cities traveling to bigger ones, BUT it's really great for finding places. There's SO much to do and see but we wanted to keep it simple for the kids and just do a few things on this trip. There's always next time. 

I believe pictures say more than words, without further ado, here's a little picture dump for ya. ;) 

P.S. You'll see Elliot in a Captain America mask, there was a little shop selling them on the marina and he couldn't resist.


Till next time San Diego!
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