7/6/15

gracie.

our beloved gracie died yesterday.  it all happened very fast.  she showed the first signs of sickness only a few weeks ago.  she was six years old.  

it was lyme nephritis, a more rare form of lyme disease that goes to a dog's kidneys.  we had her on various medications, trying to fight it, but ultimately they didn't work.  even on her last day, her ears still perked up when the ball was near, her tail wagged when we cuddled her.  you could tell she wanted so badly to do more than her body would allow. 

we are missing our gracie-girl badly, and feel like she was taken from us much sooner than she should've been.  a teary parker asked last night if God had a phone so we could call gracie to see if she's feeling better.  

the love of a dog is always there.  it's amazing how many pictures she's in the background of, how many videos i have of the kids where she crosses the screen.  they're a quiet but steady presence.  we're all feeling that absence a lot right now.  

we love you, gracie.

when we lost allie, our last yellow lab, this poem made me weep but also brought me comfort.  i'm sharing it again now.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

7/3/15

Happy fourth of July weekend!

We are back from the Jersey shore (left too late and ran into rush hour traffic and what should've been closer to 7 hours was 9!).  Plus, we lingered too long--happily--at Cracker Barrel... but it's Cracker Barrel!  How can you get out of that store of trickery plus turkey and gravy plus thirty-two "country side" options in under one hour?!  Tell me how!  

What are you guys doing this weekend?  We're having a low key fourth of July with some friends.  

Now for some weekend links... 

This is a perfectly breezy summer dress.


This is my new favorite shirt (runs big!).

Better, fluffier scrambled eggs.  (I disagree with the nonstick.  Extra butter does the trick!  But number 5, definitely.)

No doubt you've alllllll heard of this by now but it was a game CHANGER for Parker in the pool these past few weeks.  Like an extra set of reeeeeally reliable hands.

Yum.  Ten homemade popsicle recipes.  The watermelon lime one looks deeeelish.

I shared this amazing article on breastfeeding a few weeks ago on my Facebook page, but it's too good not to share here too.

Since it's the fourth, we'll probably see a lot of those sparkler writing pictures.  Here's how to join the masses and do them yourself if you don't already know.  Hashtag sparkler hashtag fourthofJuly hashtag 'Merica.

Also, fourth of July pajamas that look really comfy.

That's all, folks.  See you back here next week!

6/29/15

ocean city boardwalk.





i used to go to the ocean city boardwalk every summer as a kid.  i remember once misplacing my parents on the boardwalk at night for what was probably under five seconds but panicking, the crowds growing tall around me, until i spotted my 6'5" father (his height got my sisters and i out of various states of being lost as children many times, i'm sure).  my grandparents lived on 17th and wesley and their house with the brown and white striped awning was such a welcome sight after that hour (a millennium to a child!) drive.  and then as a high school student, on half days at the end of the year, my friends and i would take off right from school for the beach and boardwalk.  the ocean really too cold to swim but those days a hemp necklaces, some mack n mancos pizza, and a tan were our top priorities.  

it's been fun to show it to my kids for several years now.  my grandparents are both gone but it brings back such good memories.  my mom-mom's buttered rice, kohr brothers soft serve (though, polish water ice was really more my thing), and the surf mall where i'd consider henna but always decide to skip it in favor of a cheap pair of sunglasses.  those long beach days, and early nights on the boardwalk as the sun set and all the stores became illuminated from within, twinkling lights everywhere you turn.  magic.  those are some of my best summer memories and i hope my kids feel the same way. 

after a dinner of fast, hot mack n mancos pizzas, coming out of the oven quicker than we could keep up, alongside cold cups of birch beer, we headed to castaway cove and bought more tickets than we needed.  sometimes its nice to splurge instead of rationing them out so carefully.  especially because i'm starting to wonder how long william and lindsey will actually like hanging out with us, and how the times where we can just whisk them away for vacations are dwindling.  summer jobs, friends, girlfriends and/or boyfriends calling them home?  (i sort of hate the thought of it.)  so, ticket splurge it was!  they grabbed a bunch and headed off with our cousin colleen to ride the huge swinging pirate ship, the ferris wheel, the gravitron (remember the gravitron?!  there was a time when i thought it was great fun.  now i'm pretty sure i'd demand the ride be stopped so i could get off.).  they checked in just long enough to do some bumper cars with steve and parker.  meanwhile parker and his cousin nora rode the little cars that go around in a circle and i'm pretty sure they would've been happy to continue doing that two tickets at a time for hours.  

i absolutely love bringing the people i love back to the places i loved (and love!).  

and that's a lot of love.


6/26/15

Have the best weekend!

Steve arrived last night with William, Lindsey, and Gracie!  (Nathaniel's working back home and Jordan is in Minnesota.)  We sat on the driveway with beach chairs, cheese, crackers, and beers until we saw them cruising down the road.  A sight for sore eyes.  It's been really nice having all this extra time in New Jersey but Parker and I were so ready to have them here (he's been missing Dad especially--especially at night as Steve puts him to bed these days more than I do).  This weekend we're going to one of my favorite places ever: the Ocean City boardwalk.  I'm going to eat my fill of Mack N Manco's pizza. 

These are worth their weight in gold when it comes to hauling everything to and from the beach.  You should've seen my Mom and I the first day when we made the mistake of leaving it home.  Pack. Mules.

An open letter explaining ALL THE DEATH AND VIOLENCE in Game of Thrones.  Aside from all of his unnecessary swearing (and I am not above a well-placed swear), he brings up good points.

Quality over quantity when it comes to sex, researchers say.

It seems as though Taylor Swift rules the world these days.  (We're still watching the Shake it Off video and dancing any time we need a change-up.)

Nell shared this on her Facebook page and I found it fascinating: proteins in a baby's lung are what spur labor.

I bought this for my Mom for Mother's Day and used it myself when I got down here.  It is awesome and I'm sort of a believer (I didn't want to be!  $27 seems steep.).  My nails look so neat and tidy and done (with almost zero effort).  And when it chips?  Can barely tell.

The Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage!  Chobani's new commercial is so apropos.

I'm really enjoying this album lately.

Hope you have a great weekend!

6/24/15

25/52.

anders (almost 7 months old): teething like crazy, sleeping like a champ at night, and putting on the lb's one ounce at a time.  look at those legs!  that's him and my dad.
parker (4 years old next month!): he mastered the puddle jumper today and is now so excited to be in the pool.  (and to hang out with his cousins quinn and nora (not pictured), which he's done a lot of this week!)

Golden Tote.

No doubt you've all heard of the various styling services there are these days but perhaps you're not familiar with this one yet (I wasn't!)?  Golden Tote!  At Golden Tote, you fill out a style profile (which I actually found fun.  A chance to talk about me and what I like to wear?!  Sign me up!) and on the first Monday of every month, new totes go on sale.  It's $49 for 2-3 clothing items and $149 for 5-6 clothing items.  (Retail value up to $200 and $600, respectively.)  You choose 1-2 definite items to go into your tote and they surprise you with the rest based on your style profile.  It's pretty reasonable--50% off retail value so every item ends up costing roughly $26.
You can add other "must-haves" to your tote before checking out at a discounted rate, too.  Below, I ended up wearing one of my definites: the pineapple sweatshirt (duh) and a surprise item (the polka dots!).  And I also received all the stuff you see above!  An awesome wrap skirt that would look great with wedges, a drapey cardigan sweater to throw over a white tank top, a breezy summer embroidered shirt, and more.  Now, on the off chance you don't like your tote, you can return it in its entirety OR you can do trades on the Golden Tote Trading Facebook page.  That way you can keep what you like and swap out what you don't. 
For the first outfit, I went a little... playful?  Is that what we're calling it?  A bandeau skirt, hat, and converse rounds out the polka dots, does it not?  I even brought out my "I think I'm better than you" face for these pictures (I'm sorry.  I don't know why my face does that.).  Let's move on.
For the second outfit, I went a smidgen more casual (caj) and let Anders sit in on the action.  Cropped boyfriend jeans, Vans, and a pineapple top and we are ready to go.  Go where?  Not sure.  But when I find out, I'll be ready.

Do you hate shopping?  Too busy?  Do you love these style-for-you sites?  Or are you too picky? 

Check out Golden Tote and I think you'll be pleased.  You can see their past totes on the site too if you want a better feel for it.  Tell me what you think!

This post is sponsored by Golden Tote.  Thanks so much for reading.

6/23/15

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

I think these very days were the days Nat King Cole was singing about in his song.  Those days when your sandy bottomed beach bag is filled, emptied, refilled, emptied of gritty sunscreen bottles, beach hats, buckets and shovels.  When you look outside, check the weather, look outside again, and declare it a beach day (a bit of a commitment, you know, if you don't live right on the beach).  And out comes the gear.  The more people (really the more children) the more gear.  It's worth it, though, because somehow a bucket and a shovel takes on new meaning for a child at the beach.  It's everything.  So that gear has to make its way from the car to the beach in--Lord, let it be so--one trip and one trip only.  Every bit of upper body muscle takes part, no slackers here!  The umbrella, the chairs, the towels, the sand toys, the boogie boards, the food, of course the food!  Kids' faces get smeared with sunscreen, streaks of white mixed with gray bits of sand while they beg you to stop.  Hopefully you remember to use it on yourself too.  The day consists of bites of food, sips of water, running to the water, running back, digging holes, filling buckets, emptying buckets, rinse and repeat.  Somehow on the beach I barely notice I'm hungry but then the moment my feet hit the pavement afterwards I'm suddenly famished.  That salt air is tricky.

We had such a nice beach day today with my sister and her kids, my Mom, and our cousins.  It wasn't too crowded and so the kids could run everywhere, to the water's edge, back to the chairs without getting lost and frantically searching for the umbrella to call home.  There was tuna on crackers, chats, walks to collect seashells and seaweed, and some sand throwing (a perennial favorite of beach-going children, right parents?).  I don't think the smile left Parker's face all day long.  And Anders, gosh, he's the type of baby who just goes with the flow so much that you feel like asking, pleading, "Tell me when it's too much, when I'm to the point where I'm actually taking advantage of your kindness."  He protests ever so quietly, and so I nurse him under the shade of the umbrella or put him in the carrier and go for a quiet little walk.  Even so, we spent nearly five hours on the beach--sun, sand, salt air are good companions.

(Some of you have asked where Anders' rash guard came from--it's here from Baby Gap.)

6/19/15

Have a sunnnnnnny weekend!

Let's close out the weekend with a picture of this dreamboat eating some Cheerios with banana, k?  He's been the most tender, sweet boy lately.  Giving kisses and hugs and just generally being a pretty awesome person to be around.  The other night he got into bed with Anders and I at around 3 am so for the rest of the night I had one on each side of me in a double bed (no, I didn't sleep much more that night!) but, and I'm well aware of how cheesy it'll sound, it was pretty great and I didn't mind it one bit.

Don't read if you haven't seen the Game of Thrones finale.  But some theories.  The one about LOST was funny.

Interesting take on helicopter parenting.

I found this bookmarked on my parent's computer and since my Mom's like the mother of zen, you should probably take a looksie and get your ten-minute zen on.

I think I would wear this to everything if I owned it.  Evvvvverything.  Yes, even the DMV.

Since a serious road trip is on our bucket list, I was really excited to stumble upon this cool website.

This little girl!  What spunk!

This is a great boardshort for the man in your life.

And more Bachelorette commentary.  (How awful was Ian?!)

Have a good weekend!

(And, those who are well-traveled, lend me your footwear tips for logging lots of miles abroad!  I've got some ideas but I'll take yours too!)

6/18/15

jersey shore!

we're at the jersey shore!  parker, anders, and i arrived by plane on sunday morning.  i was officially outnumbered, and on a plane of all places, and it actually went swimmingly.  i prepared for nearly every scenario and packed all three of us into one carry-on and we made it!  with all limbs attached and even a stroller.  it's a pretty short flight (less than an hour!) so even if the kids loss their collective sh*^!@, i knew the end was in sight.  but hats off to those little guys who were really good travelers.

now, we eagerly await more of our crew who's driving down when school gets out in a week.  we miss you guys so much!  wawa hoagies await you when you get here (especially you, steve)!  and springers ice cream!  and lazy days on the beach!  

in the meantime, i'm enjoying a lot of nice time with my parents and my sister's family and all sorts of cousins.  anders is getting passed around and making all the ladies swoon (i really do hate that word, but here it seems appropriate right?) and parker is going-going-going and then crashing hard at night.  

yesterday, we strolled cape may and split a strawberry peace pie and it was delicious.  it's two shortbread cookies with frozen vanilla mousse and strawberry ice cream in the middle.  yes please.  we've visited the pool, and the beach, and just had quiet leisurely mornings.  it's a treat to be here.

and that's all she wrote.

6/16/15

a giveaway with white plum!


{top: c/o white plum}
{jeans: zara (old)}
{shoes: nordstrom}

an easy, breezy shirt, white skinnies, and flip flops forever and for always. 

also, use the code BRIDGETSUMMER for 20% off your white plum order through the 23rd!  (like maybe on these shoes?)


this post is sponsored by white plum.  thank you for reading!

6/15/15

co-sleeping 101.


co-sleeping!

before i begin, i should say that i'm noooo genius in the co-sleeping arena.  i've done it with both boys, though, so hours logged in bed with my boys?  of that there are many!  i realize this still doesn't make me an expert.  but after uploading a few pictures like the above to instagram, i've had a few requests to do a post on it.  so here it is!

(disclaimer: take everything i say with a grain of salt and do your own research to determine whether or not co-sleeping will work for you.  this post should not be where your research ends!)

when i had my boys, i wasn't necessarily like MUST CO-SLEEP ABOVE ALL ELSE but i quickly discovered that, for us, it was the best way for everyone to get the most solid sleep.  sleep > eating/showering/drinking/anything when you're a new mom, yes?  if i'm tired, i'm cranky, and if i'm cranky, nobody's happy!  co-sleeping is not for everybody.  it's true that some babies and moms (or dads, or partners...) don't take to co-sleeping.  some babies need their space, some moms are such light sleepers that every squeak their baby makes wakes them all night long, some dads are afraid of rolling over and hurting the baby, etc. etc. etc.  for me?  i sleep best when my babies are right next to me.  likewise, my boys have always slept longest and hardest when i'm right next to them.  they barely have to stir at night and i'm nursing, both of us back to sleep within seconds.  (at night i've found, especially with anders, burping is unnecessary.  i think babies nurse slower and calmer so there's less swallowing of air and thus less need to burp.)

so, first things first.  co-sleeping has to work for all parties.  (steve's always been happy to co-sleep, thankfully!  he might say i left him little choice in the matter.  what say you, steve?!)

now if we've established that it does indeed work for all parties, these are the basic rules i follow:

- don't tie one on (get wasted) and go to sleep with your baby ever.  it's that simple.  
- if you're a really deep sleeper, perhaps co-sleeping will not work for you.  if you work odd hours or are overly exhausted, don't co-sleep.
- wear (particularly in the colder months) a long-sleeve shirt to bed.  the reason is this: the baby's face is roughly where your breasts are (for nursing).  the covers shouldn't be right at your baby's face.  and so, you should have the covers pulled up as high as your belly button thus leaving your shoulders/chest exposed.  so, long sleeve shirt.
- if you have an overly soft bed (or a water bed, do people still have water beds?) don't co-sleep.
- keep the baby in the middle of the bed between you and your husband or between you and a barrier.  it was a learning curve, but now i can nurse on either side without switching positions.
- keep your room cool.

co-sleeping tools: you can use one of these and have the baby in your bed with you.  if that doesn't work, this is another option that has the baby on mom's side for easy access/nursing.  i've never used either, though one of my sister's used the arm's reach one.  we did use these on the outside of the bed with parker (and so you can be in the middle and have the baby on the outside, if that works better) for a long time.

is that all?  i struggled for awhile knowing what to even include in this post aside from, "i love co-sleeping!"  please feel free to ask any questions and i will answer them below.

(i'm well aware that co-sleeping gets some very bad press.  this is simply what has worked for us, and i've always taken it seriously.  as with all things baby, be smart.  your baby's well-being is always top priority.)

6/12/15

Weekend links.

After I gave caterpillars "a story" (they have a family, a Mom and Dad, the outside is their home, they need to go home for dinner, etc.), Parker really buddied up to them--initially he thought he should kill them (he killed none.).  Boys.  We brought a few inside and he named them Rapunzel, Knight, Tennis, and... neither of us can remember the fourth's name.  He was under strict instruction to watch them, and when he tired of that, they headed back outside (to see their family).  Now he's always finding them, holding them gently, and releasing them.  He will not be a boy who kills all the bugs if it's the last thing I do!

The disease of being busy.  Yep, I got it.

The ten most beautiful beaches in the world.  I think some Caribbean ones should've made the cut, but the Honopu one?!?  Woah.

Instagram's getting an updated look.  Brace yourselves.

Future events determine what happens in the past.  I'm going to need Jordan to explain this one to me.

In the last two weeks, Zulily has had Ray-Bans, J. Crew Factory, and more.  Better all the time, if you're not yet on their email list (once a day!).

I like this leather pouch.

Jon Snow impersonators.  (I'll always say it John Snuhhhhh.)  The last guy is awesome.

I've spent more hours scrolling Airbnb than I care to admit.  It's better than Pinterest.  Take this for example: a houseboat in Amsterdam.

This suit is so pretty.

Summer's here!  So, sunburn remedies.  Any tried and true remedies out there not on this list?

6 breathing exercises to help you relax in 10 minutes or less.  Must learn these... and then DO THEM.

Have a great weekend!!