Silver Lining

July 10, 2015

taking a break

Today I'm dropping in to write a few words amidst piles and piles of boxes. I'm squeezed here into the corner of the table between a big pile of pictures that have been taken off the wall and several rolls of half-used packing tape.

In the next few weeks, we're making the trek to Arizona. We're also spending these last few weeks with family, including a week-long stay at a beautiful cabin in Montana with my favorite people (and no Internet). 

I decided that I need to take a little blog break for the rest of the month. In between vacationing and moving and the off-and-on Internet access I'll have during all of this, posting at my usual schedule just isn't practical. More than that, though, I really want to be present and with my family in these last weeks. We're celebrating the end of our Utah adventure and the beginning of our Arizona adventure, and I want to truly be there for this crazy (stressful!) amazing time.

Also, I want to consciously spend time away from my blog, so that I will return even more excited and rejuvenated. Almost every job has built-in vacation time because they know it's good for employees to take a scheduled break every once in a while. When you're self-employed it's harder to take those breaks because nobody is forcing you, but I think it will be really good for me to take a few vacation days. I mean, I didn't even take days off my blog when my baby was born. I think I'm overdue for a little break. 

I have some really awesome content already prepped and ready to go for when I return. Family pictures! The most gorgeous print shop I found! A new place to live! Family vacation posts! Waiting twenty whole days to post all this awesome stuff might be harder than I think. (To my How We Wore It people: I'm super sad it won't be happening this month! But I already have a killer outfit ready to go for August, and I'll email everyone who wants to participate in the first few days of August.) 

To tide you over for the next three weeks, here are a few pictures of Claire's one-year cake smash. I mean, the girl spends all day under the table hunting for bits of food, but the second we put a delicious cake in front of her, she doesn't want it?? Even when we helped her eat some, she was mostly interested in playing with her little skirt and clapping for everyone who was watching her. What a goofball.




Thank you so much for reading along with our family's adventures, 
and for being so understanding and supportive of this little break. 
My readers are seriously the best.

Meanwhile, follow along with all my adventures on Instagram HERE! Instagram is my favorite. This picture I posted on Wednesday has been cracking me up all day long. I would love to see you over there!

July 8, 2015

First Annual Claire Awards! PLAY + TRAVEL + WEAR

I'm back with the last of the Claire Awards - the baby products that we couldn't live without. You can see part one, which features our top picks for sleeping and eating, here. Again, not all of these are the most expensive brands. They're just real tips from a real family about products we used every single day!

*All of these are clickable links. Click on the name in the description to view items, prices and color options on Amazon.

PLAY
Touch & Feel Books
Obviously, books top the chart when it comes to learning fun for any age. We loved these touch and feel books starting when Claire was about 9 months old (although I will admit some of these titles are better than others). We also love the Eric Carle board books.

You would not believe the hours my baby spent laying under this thing! From about 2-7 months, she LOVED this. The sounds, the sights, the songs and lights, the colors and textures she could swat at and try to roll over to reach... it was definitely a favorite!

Walker
In my mind, this is another must-have toy. When they're younger, they can practice sitting up and playing with the interactive soundboard. When they get older, they can walk behind it. This is Claire's most-used toy right now.

Stacking Cups
The ways that babies play with stacking cups is endless. At first, they like exploring the patterns and colors. Then, they learn fine motor skills as they try to pick up the cups (and inevitably eat them). When they get older, they can use these to practice stacking them and knocking them over, as well as balancing them or hiding smaller ones inside bigger ones. We have these ones from IKEA and love them. They get played with all day every day.

Teething Toys
Teething toys are a win-win because they ease hurting gums, but they're also fun to play with. When my daughter was about 6 months, she could spend an entire church block eating this thing and twisting it around. We also like Sophie the Giraffe (mentioned here) and Hyland Teething Tablets to ease teething pain!

TRAVEL
Pacifier Clip
I didn't think I'd ever use a pacifier clip. I mean, babies can't even hold their own head up. How far away can their pacifier really get? Turns out, they can spit it pretty far! We love this cute shop for pacifier clips that are functional but also super cute.

Loose Wrap
I did a very bad thing when I was pregnant. I got the cheapest brand of baby wrap that I could find. I majorly regretted it. The wrap was so heavy and thick and hot that neither me nor my baby liked it very much. Then I borrowed my friend's Solly Baby wrap for a day and it was a million times better! So do yourself a favor and invest in a more expensive one. It's worth the money to make the wrap light, breathable and comfortable.

Structured Wrap
We love the structured wraps when the baby is older, or when you're going on a longer outing such as a long hike. I even used our wrap to go grocery shopping every week. We have an old BabyBjorn that my parents used, but I linked to a newer one I've seen lots of people with lately.

Carseat Cover
We liked our Carseat Canopy way more than we thought. When we were running errands, the cover helped keep away the germy hands of strangers. When we were in the car, we used it to keep the sun out of my daughter's face. We would even cover the car seat when we weren't in the car to keep the buckles from getting too hot and burning her.

Travel Diaper Kit
We love this mini diaper and wipe holder for when we're on the go. It's nice to have something ready so you don't have to dig around for a diaper and wipes when you're out and about and need to do a quick diaper change.

WEAR
Everyday Wear
I am a huge Carters fan for everyday baby wear! I will admit I'm not a huge fan of clothes with sayings on them (you know, Mommy Loves Me, or World's Cutest Nephew). Carter's does have some clothes like this, but they also have a huge selection of cute clothes with fun prints and a wide range of solid colors. Their onesies and leggings were all my daughter wore for the first few months, because they were just so snuggly and soft.

Stylish Wear
It can be hard to find baby girl clothes that aren't bright pink, or baby boy clothes that aren't covered with dinosaurs. We loved Baby Gap for photoshoots and other occasions in which we wanted something more stylish and neutral. I've found some amazing deals on clearance there over the past year.

Headbands
When it comes to baby headbands, we've tried them all! Yasmi and Crew has definitely been a favorite. Their soft bands that expand and shrink to fit any head (pictured above) are amazing. They are so soft and sweet - and one of the few headbands my baby doesn't immediately pull off her head!

Moccs
Is there anything more cute than baby moccasins? We love Freshly Picked moccasins, but now that I'm moving away from Provo and won't be able to go to their warehouse sales, I might have to stick with my other favorite, The Golden Polka Dot. Both these brands have beautiful, high-quality moccs that my baby has loved.

Swimwear
There's something about a fat baby in a little swimsuit that makes me laugh. There's always a good selection of nice suits at Old Navy, and we also got a few rash guards that we loved at Target. (Don't bother with baby tankinis. They just ride up and bunch under the armpits.)

So there you have it! The baby products we couldn't live without in Claire's first year. In case you missed it, part one, all about eating and sleeping, is HERE.

Any suggestions in these categories?
I'm always looking for new products.
What are your favorite baby brands and items for travel, play, and wear?

July 6, 2015

A D O P T E D

One of the things I love the most about taking pictures is the opportunity to capture beautiful moments in other people's lives. Last week I had the privilege of photographing the amazing Whipple family. Rachelle is one of my dearest teacher friends. After years and years, her and her husband are about to adopt these two sweet blue-eyed girls!

I have to admit I got a little teary during this photoshoot. Families, man. They aren't always conventional, and they don't always come how or when we expect, but they are our everything. The bond between these two sisters and their forever mom and dad is so incredibly sweet.










Congratulations on your beautiful family, Nathan and Rachelle! 
We are so happy for you!
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