Friday, July 21, 2017

Baby/Toddler Schedule: Who's ruling who?

 (How precious is that angel baby?! I can't believe he's almost 14 months old!) 

Hey Friends! Long time, no chat. Matt and I are headed out on a date and a church event later tonight, and as I was writing out Sam's schedule for my Mom, it got me thinking.
Wanna know what we've received (surprisingly!) the most flack for in regards to parenting Sam? His schedule! You wouldn't believe the amount of ill-mannered and critical comments we've received about it. It's baffling. But one of the most common comments we've heard repeatedly is "You shouldn't let your baby dictate your schedule." But you know what? He doesn't rule our schedule. We rule his. And he's a better kid for it. But even better? Matt and I are better versions of our parental selves for it.

Sam thrives on predictability, which is something we learned very early on about his personality. When he knows what to expect he behaves better, is less fearful, and trusts us more. As a baby, I can only remember a handful of accounts where we witnessed real meltdowns and they were generally from being over tired. And I strongly believe we've been so fortunate because he has always known what to expect from us. 

Does this mean we make sacrifices? OF COURSE! What parent doesn't for their children? There have been times when I would have loved a later bedtime so we could attend specific events as a family. Honestly, he would be totally fine with a pushed bed time now, as a toddler. But we've reaped more reward than anything else.

His early bedtime allows us more time alone as husband and wife each night and makes date nights out as simple as someone coming over to watch the monitor. Or on nights like tonight, it makes someone else watching him and putting him down for bed ridiculously simple because he has always had such a solid routine. 

His predictable nap time makes scheduling events and appointments effortless and gives me a foreseeable amount of time to accomplish things for myself. We know how much time we have during each part of the day and it benefits our family tremendously! If you knew me and Matt before Sam, not one ounce of this would surprise you. Our time together has always been so precious and we've always thrived on a routine as a couple. We're the first ones to arrive anywhere, we've always had dinner with the early birds, and we are true homebodies. I think those things say a lot about our personalities and Sam's schedule is simply a part of who we are as a family.

Now, does this mean I think you should have your baby/family on a schedule? Well, no. I believe every family is different and every situation varies. You should do whatever works best for your family, your baby, and your lifestyle. My favorite thing about parenting is that there are many different styles and approaches and we all have the luxury of learning from one another. We each learn what works best for our families and it's totally okay if that's different from your peers. We offer advice to the best of our abilities but we should also understand if someone chooses to take a different approach. I'm sure we all want our children to grow up as unique individuals and I promise that won't happen if we're all parenting the same way.

P.S. If you would like for me to share some sample schedules by age showing what has worked for us, I would be glad to. Let me know!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Weekend Recap 4.10.17

Happy Monday, friends! I hope yours is happy too, and you aren't feeling the effects of Monday too harshly. This post is going up a little late today because sleep is seemingly more obsolete in our house lately. Sam has decided to sleep like a newborn and nap like he doesn't need them all of a sudden. Apparently sleep training is something you have to repeat numerous times. Who knew?!

Despite the lack of sleep, we had such a fun filled weekend. Friday we visited some of our best friends and their brand new baby boy. Even though my child is a little aggressive (pulling his rock and play with him in it!) being around a brand new baby gives me the worst case of baby fever! Not enough to actually make me forget that I couldn't handle two of Sam, but enough to make me all googly eyed over him. He is the most precious! I love that Sam is surrounded by so many boys. His social life is even more impressive than mine!

On Saturday, we visited the park for another one of our friend's baby girl's first birthday party. Mermaid themed, y'all. So much cuteness! I'm grateful that in between Sam shoving dirt and sticks in his mouth, we were able to celebrate with our friends. He's currently in a stage where he will even pick the dog hairs out of the carpet and put them in his mouth! I'm not sure what we're going to do with him and all of his curiosity! He keeps us on our toes, for sure.

We finished Saturday with a trip to Cracker Barrel for Sam's favorite, hashbrown casserole. When you're pregnant you imagine how your baby will love all of his healthy foods and you're only going to be willing to feed him certain things. But then he ends up allergic to everything you can imagine, so you let the boy eat whatever he wants.

We spent a low key Sunday at home preparing for the upcoming week. We're hosting Easter dinner at our house Sunday, but before that we plan on celebrating Holy Week to its fullest with Baby Sam! Easter egg dying, visiting the Easter bunny, and learning all about the resurrection. I'll be sharing how we celebrate and the fun things we plan on doing to teach Sam all about the importance of the Holiday on the blog on Wednesday so make sure to stay tuned! I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Easter Outfits: Mini Edition {+ Gymboree SALE picks!}

easter outfits for baby boys
 one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten

As I type this, we're currently waiting for some pretty severe storms here in the Upstate of SC and I'm a ball of anxiety. I have a ridiculous fear of tornadoes and I swear having a baby puts that into overdrive. Our closet is cleaned out and we're ready to jump in any minute. Saying lots of prayers for the Southeast right now! Storms are the worst.

Anyway, we all know Easter isn't Easter unless everyone gets a little gussied up and that doesn't exclude the little ones. Gymboree is currently having an amazing sale so I thought I would share some of our favorite Easter options from the store, plus a couple more ideas. Everything on Gymboree's site right now is $14.99 and under which is such a steal, especially compared to their normal pricing!

You can shop each item simply by clicking the corresponding number above. Enjoy your shopping and the rest of your day. I'll be sure to share Sam's #ootd after Easter! I'm off to prepare for the storms!

P.S. This is not a sponsered post. Just one Mama trying to help another Mama (or Dad) with their last minute Easter shopping.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Not "just" a Mom?

motherhood blog
{Photography by Amanda Morgan Photography

Happy Monday, friends! I hope everyone had a good weekend. I'm coming off of 3 night wakings and one less cup of coffee than I prefer, but we're still going strong this morning. We had a jam packed weekend full of family dates downtown (with excessive amounts of ice cream) and a group sushi date (sans baby) with friends last night. Exhausted and with a full heart is the best way to come at a Monday in the Sumner house.

mom blogger

Thanks to my Mom and Matt, I was actually able to get fully dressed for dinner last night. Most days I choose one thing to accomplish, either hair or makeup. I need one of the two to make me feel somewhat put together. If I walk around a hot mess, my day is sure to follow suit. Having the time to do both these days is a privilege. Anyway, feelin a little extra, I snapped a selfie for insta stories with the caption "Group date night. Almost hastagged '#notjustamom' but let's be real I'm dying inside missing my child and we just left." And that's true, last night was the first night anyone has babysat Sam for bedtime since he was super tiny and I honestly just missed being home and snuggling my baby before I put him to bed. His night time bottle is basically the only time he's still and cuddly, so I don't love to miss it. Truthfully, I would always prefer to take Sam anywhere unless it's a one on one date night. He has fun when he's out and we really enjoy the time with him.

the girlish blog

 Back to my point. The more I thought about it, the more my caption started to bother me. "Not just a Mom?" Seriously? Who do you know that's just a Mom? There's nothing simple or "just" about it. It's not for the weak or faint of heart and it surely isn't a job title that should make a woman feel that way. A post that has been floating around my social media titled "What if All I want is a Mediocre Life?" and Courtney's piggy back off of it got me thinking about it even more.

  When did simplicity become insufficient? When did being "just" a Mom become something to be frowned upon? It's a beautiful thing when a woman has the career of her dreams on top of being a mother, but it's just as beautiful if the career of her dreams is her own personal caption as a Mother. I grew up knowing I was born for this, being a Mom. I still have dreams of my own, but most of them are dreamed up with my family in mind. If being "just" a caregiver, a problem solver, a snuggler, a boo boo kisser, a feeder, a changer, a hugger, a cleaner, a cook, is everything I ever am, and if loving my family unconditionally is all I ever do, I'll never look back on my life feeling like it wasn't enough. More often than not, isn't that what most people end up wishing for? More time with the people they love? I want my life to revolve around the time spent with the people I'm so privileged to live my best life with and for. I'm not "just" a Mom. I'm Sam's Mama, and Matt's wife. Those titles are simply beautiful and they're everything I've ever wished for.

You, Mama, are enough. Every single day, and even when you are wishing for more, you are everything to someone. And today I pray you'll never forget it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sam's Easter Basket Fillers

I cannot even begin to put into words how thrilled I am to put together Sam's first Easter basket. I know it seems trivial, but it's something I've dreamed of doing since before he was born. I love celebrating holidays. Easter is one of my favorites, and being a Mom makes those little celebrations so much sweeter. Playing Easter bunny, Santa, and whoever else comes my way, is the most fun!

I know it can be difficult to come up with non-candy items for baskets, especially for babies, so I wanted to share what we intend on filling Sam's with. Most of these items are super accessible and can be picked up from your local Target. Let's be honest, at this stage of life if it doesn't come from Target, I'm probably not buying it. 

I picked up the sippy cup and the swim trunks recently and they're probably my favorite fillers! If you know me at all, you know I'm pineapple obsessed and these swim trunks were only $10! And I think the cup was like $4? The bunny ears are just too precious and I know Sam will love it. Give him a straw cup filled with water and he's a happy camper.

 Have y'all heard of The Teething Egg? It keeps popping up on my Facebook and Instagram with rave reviews so I thought we would try it out. Sam has 6 or 7 teeth, I'm unsure because he refuses to let me look most days, but he always has something in his mouth. A paci, a tooth brush, the dog's chew toy, dirt, you name it. Being that this is an egg, it couldn't be a more perfect addition for a babies basket.

 And what Easter basket is complete without a special book? I have about five in my amazon cart right now that I'm struggling to choose from. Although I love the idea of Easter baskets and decor, its really important to me to teach Sam the true story of Easter. Books like this one are the perfect opportunity for us to teach our babies about our love for Jesus and His love and sacrifice for us. Any opportunity to start a conversation about Him, is a good one.

 I hope everyone enjoys their day! Thank you so much for reading!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Instagram Love: Favorite Small Shops for Boy Babes

baby boy half birthday crown

baby boy fashion

baby boy bow tie and suspenders

little mister outfit

baby boy style
 Half Birthday Crown: Little Blue Olive | Baby Denim: Hudson | Bow tie and Suspender Set: Little Mister | Moccasins: Freshly Picked | Photography by: Amanda Morgan Photography

A question I get quite often from friends and readers is "where do you buy all of Sam's clothes?!". Shopping for baby boys can be frustrating. I'm not a huge fan of baby blue or sports or even smocked outfits for boys. Gasp, I know but sometimes all a smocked outfit does is make a boy look feminine and Sam already gets mistaken for a girl half of the time. It even happened today during our ice cream date. While his entirely navy and turquoise outfit is drenched in vanilla, someone says "Oh, she looks like she's enjoying that." We also get "He's just 'too pretty' to be a boy." quite often. Psh, another topic for another day.

Anyway, back to my rant. Boy shopping is hard. Even though my husband's style can mostly be described as a "seersuckin' Brooks Brother", mine is a little more on the edgy style, so I like to incorporate the two in Sam's style. Seersucker shorts + a graphic tee, for example. We also love our moccasins and accessories. That's where Instagram small shops come in. I wanted to share a few of our favorites + some of the items we are currently coveting.

Freshly Picked. Okay so maybe not so "small" anymore, but I used to dream of the day I would have a little babe to dress in these moccasins. The first wearable item I ever purchased for Sam was a pair of crib moccs in "weathered brown". They make great gifts and are the perfect memory keepers. There are a lot of "dupes" out there, but you really can't beat the quality or the customer service of Freshly Picked. They're also constantly coming out with new styles, so there's something for everyone. They're the only shoes Sam has ever worn.

Trilogy Design Co. Our favorite graphic tees! Sam currently wears this tee constantly and he lived in the rompers in the Winter. We also love the "Naps suck" (because to Sam they do!) and the "sicker than your average" tee because Mama loves her some B.I.G. No shame, yall. None.

Imperishable Clothing Co. Starting conversations about Jesus with out favorite t-shirts. Enough Said!

Noxx Beanies. Y'allllll. There's something so stylish about a baby in a beanie and we love these. They release new styles constantly and I haven't seen one I didn't immediately become obsessed with. The green stripe camo is our current fav!

Rags to Raches. OMG. There is no cuter or easier to get on and off romper out there! We love our RAGS!

Baby Breez. Sam lives in his Pj's, mostly because he refuses to nap in regular clothes, so it's just easier to keep him in them until after his last nap of the day. These rompers are a dream because they are easily converted to sleeper by pulling the foot cuffs over them. I wish we would have found them sooner!

Little Mister. Our favorite suspenders and bow ties! I plan on ordering a new bow tie for Easter and currently can't decide between the "white roses" or the "navy roses". Oh the struggle!

More Favorites:

Modern Burlap
Tribe is Alive
George Hats
Savage Seeds
Tubby Todd
Little Blue Olive

P.S. Not a small shop, but I do love Cat and Jack for Target. Sam is in the phase where he's CONSTANTLY dirty. He's all boy! So $5 for a super cute t-shirt is right up our alley.

P.P.S. Most of these shops carry little girls clothing as well and I'm just as obsessed with most of it!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The day I recommitted my heart to Jesus

 (Because what's a blog post without photos. Sams half birthday in November up top and his Valentine shoot on bottom. He turned NINE months on Monday, y'all. Photos by Amanda Morgan Photography)

This morning, for the first time in only God knows how long, I opened my church app and read the devotional. As I began my closing prayers, per usual, I felt Jesus' presence tugging on my heart so strongly that I felt compelled to re submit myself and give my life to Him. For months, even with all of the goodness I'm surrounded by, my heart has been in all the wrong places and doubt has been so prevalent in my mind. These are two things only Jesus and my husband have been fully aware of, but it has been so apparent in my behavior and choices to shut out some of the people I love the most.

During my stent with postpartum depression, I let the devil take over completely. I fully comprehend that what I was going through was hormonal, but it was also completely real and debilitating and at a time when I should have leaned on Jesus, my family, and community, I turned to doubt and completely lost all of my faith. What I didn't realize at the time, is even in the moments where I was refusing to get down on my knees to pray, Jesus was still holding my hand and whispering words to my heart that would ultimately save me, the way that He always has. 

Friends, I've never been one to shy away from my faith, so the lack thereof was something I never thought I would admit to. I'm sharing because I want to be completely transparent. I want you to know that if you are going through a similar season in your life, you are not alone. You have a good Father who gives good gifts and who loves you even in your darkest days of doubt. If you listen closely, He is still with you, and He will never give up on you.

Today, March 1st, I recommitted my entire life to Jesus Christ. He is and has always been my Lord and Savior. It may not be the first time, but it is the most meaninful step I've taken in my long walk with Him and I encourage you, friends, to look for what your next step is. Do you need healing? I know I do and I also know He is there waiting for you, the same way He was for me, if you will only open your heart to him. 

P.S. I want my readers to know that I will never try to push my faith or beliefs on you. I'm simply sharing what I believe and what I love. I got an email not too long ago informing me that my domain was about to expire and it was a sweet little reminder that I'm not ready to say goodbye to girl(ish) just yet. I have so much love for you all and I'm so grateful for you.

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