35 More Days of Summer | #summerbucketlist

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There is officially a few more weeks before Summer turns into Fall. While we are in the midst of trying to get ready to move I can’t help but think about trying to fit in a few more fun things before the summer is officially over and the rainy season starts here in Oregon.

So I reviewed our bucket list and we have actually accomplished most of the items on it.

Visit a new park or playground. CHECK.

Visit a new park or playground. CHECK.

Go for a bike ride. CHECK.

Go for a bike ride. CHECK.

Enjoy a big bowl or cone of ice cream. CHECK.

Enjoy a big bowl or cone of ice cream. CHECK.

…but we still have a few things to cross off such as:

Attend an outdoor music event.

Attend an outdoor movie.

Make popsicles and enjoy them outside.

Have a lemonade stand.

Stay up late and lay under the stars. – 8/27 perfect day for this 

Go for a train ride.

Feed the ducks/geese at the pond.

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What is/was on your bucket list for the summer? How many have you accomplished? Any musts before the summer is over? I think that attending an outdoor music event and going for a train ride are highest on our list. 

 

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Schools out, suns is shining and the days are longer it must be Summer! For me Summer has always been about trying to get in as many outdoor activities as possible before the snow or rain, since we live in the Pacific Northwest now, comes and we are stuck inside. My family and I are packing our weeks with fun activities and making the most of the beautiful weather.  We have already had fun doing a number of these activities from camping to swimming and of course making s’mores.

Below is a list of 25 ways to have fun this summer and some might even call it a summer bucket list.

Visit a new park or playground. Summers are about trying new things so explore your town/city or a neighboring one to find the best park/playground around.

Go Swimming! Whether it’s the ocean, a lake, a pond, or a pool go take a cooling dip!

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go camping! This is the perfect way to relax, unplug and enjoy some quality family time while getting back to nature.

Attend an outdoor music event. Most cities/towns host various music events at parks throughout the summer; this is a perfect event for families with children of all ages.

Have a picnic. What’s more fun then taking a meal outdoors? You can venture to a new park, find a spot near a lake or venture as far as your front yard.

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go Berry Picking. BERRIES! One of the best parts of summer is the fresh fruit.  Kids of all ages love to pick their own berries. The trick is to see how many berries actually end up in your bucket to take home.

Enjoy a big bowl or cone of ice cream. Summer is a time for sweet cold treats. Head to your favorite ice cream shop and get a nice big bowl (or if you prefer cone) of ice cream to share (or not).

Attend an outdoor movie. There aren’t many times during the year that you can sit outside and enjoy a movie.  Check out if your town/city hosts any movies in the park or maybe you still live in an area that has as drive-in.  If neither of those options work why not set up a little outdoor “movie theater” in your backyard complete with pillows, blankets and your favorite movie treats.

Make popsicles and enjoy them outside. Get the kids in the kitchen and whip up a batch of popsicles. Once they are frozen head outside to enjoy them in the warm sunshine.

Hula Hoop. Yes give it a try! 

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Visit a museum. Explore a new museum or one you don’t frequent often.

Have a lemonade stand. Some people, myself included, would say that this is an essential part of summer and childhood. Make up a pitcher or two of lemonade, set up a little table out front of your home and start selling! 

Head to the library and join a summer reading program. Summer reading programs are a great way to keep kids reading.  Most programs are for birth through teens so mamas and papas with little ones can still participate. We just completed our first month of summer reading with Edith (2 years) and after 30 days of reading to her for 20+ minutes per day she was able to pick out a new book.  We are now onto doing a second 30-days!

Go for a bike ride. Grab the kids and get out for a bike ride. If your kids aren’t biking solo yet you can always go with a bike trailer or other seat. If investing in a bike trailer isn’t in your budget find a spot that does rentals! 

Attend or host a BBQ. Get together with friends and enjoy one of the perks of summer a big ol’BBQ!

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go down the biggest slide at the park. I’m talking to you too parents!

Blow bubbles. Make your own bubbles or pick up a bottle of your favorite brand and spend the afternoon blowing, chasing and popping bubbles; easily hours of fun.

Create side walk art with chalk. Decorate your driveway or sidewalk with sidewalk chalk art.  This is fun for kids little and big (and adults too).

Stay up late and lay under the stars. Toss out the bedtime (for one night), grab some pillows and blankets and set up camp outside the stars. Take a look at the stars and the moon and try and find the big dipper.

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go hiking. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the great outdoors. Find a hike that fits your skill level or maybe a nature walk is more your speed. Either way grab the kids and get outside!

Go for a train ride. Find a nearby train and take a ride.

Visit a Farmers Market. Take your little (or big) ones to a local farmers market. Explore the various fruits, veggies and other local goods.  Take a new fruit or vegetable home to try!

Make s’mores. One of the best parts of summer! Make them over the campfire or the grill at home.

Feed the ducks/geese at the pond. One of our favorite summer activities! Grab a few slices of bread and head to the duck pond to feed the ducks.

Kick a soccer ball around. Or maybe head out to a ballgame!

How many can you already cross off already? Which ones are on your list to to do this Summer?

Weekend at the Coast | Out & About in JJ Cole Style

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Happy Be-lated Mother’s Day! We spent our Mother’s Day Weekend at the coast playing in the sun, sand and surf.

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We lucked out and the weather at the coast was just perfect. We rented a house in Arch Cape which is about half way between Manzanita and Cannon Beach. We actually spent Mother’s Day Weekend at Cannon Beach last year as well; I guess we are starting a new tradition. This year however we ventured a bit further south to Manzanita Beach after hearing so many recommendations from co-workers and friends. I have to say it lived up to the hype and the beach was beautiful. We didn’t spend much time in town but there seemed to be a good number of restaurants, cafes and little shops.

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We may have forgot to put Edith in more water appropriate clothes and a change of clothes. Oh well she had a blast but requested a warm cup of “coffee” (steamed non-dairy milk) post wading.

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After our morning visit to Manzanita Beach we headed back to the beach house for lunch and an attempted nap. Since napping just wasn’t going to happen we packed the kids up and headed into the downtown of Cannon Beach in search of chocolate and a spot to lay out and relax on our new JJ Cole® All-Purpose Outdoor Blanket.

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While we searched for chocolate Neil tried out the JJ Cole Agility Carrier.

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Once we finally got our hands on a box of chocolates we headed to the park across the street and unpacked our blanket to sit on. We shared our box of chocolates, read a few books, played a game of tag and then it was time to pack up. We walked around town a bit before finally heading back to the beach house for dinner.

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We ended our evening with a sunset visit to the beach. We seriously rented the best place that was just one block from the access to a super quiet beach. Our first night we went down to the beach as well and it was super windy so Alder hid in the carrier but the second night he was all about digging into the sand.

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For more photos check out my post on RWT and on our Instagram.

*Disclaimer: We were provided product for this review. As always all opinions are our own.

JJ Cole items featured in our post:

JJ Cole Heather Caprice

Heather Caprice (find it at Babies R Us): This has become our primary diaper bag because we just love the style, the color and the size. I knew we would love it because if you remember a few years back we had a JJ Cole bag that we used until we wore it out. This bag has two huge insulated pockets on the side, a great zippered pocket on the front where I store my keys, phone and mom things. On the other side there is an outside pocket that holds the changing pad. In the center is a big zippered section that has four pockets inside perfect for holding diapers, books, changes of clothes and snacks. The only pockets I don’t get are the two mini ones on the front; what are they for? I guess I could store lipgloss in them but not much else. P.S. If you want to see an updated ‘What’s In My Diaper Bag’ post let me know in the comments below.

JJ Cole Prairie Blossom Outdoor Blanket

Prairie Blossom Outdoor Blanket (find it at buybuyBABY): This blanket is my new favorite thing. The blanket is 100% Polyester with PVC Coating which means you don’t have to worry about a damp ground or even better taking the beach home with you. When we left the beach we just shook it off, folded it up and off we went. That’s another thing I love, how easy it is to fold up and carry. The cool thing is that it actually has a stiff square that you use as as guide when folding which allows you to get the blanket back into the same shape as when you took it out of the package. Now if only I could find tents and sleeping bags that do the same thing – tell me I’m not the only one that can’t see to get my tent back into the bag without a huge struggle.

JJ Cole Agility Carrier

Agility Carrier (find it at Babies R Us, buybuyBABY, Target, Amazon): I had no idea until recently that JJ Cole even had a babycarrier so I was excited to try it when the opportunity came along. So what did I think? Well I wanted to like the carrier but honestly it just didn’t work well for us. First I think that while the carrier can hold up to 35 pounds in my opinion as a certified babywearing educator I really think that for both the wearer and the positioning of the baby 15-20 or so pounds is the ideal max weight. I also had trouble with the fit of the carrier because it is sized and actually it fit Neil just a bit better than it fit me. I wonder if I went up a size (I tried a large) if it would work but I think that it might have been just a bit too big in an extra large. The thing I would say with this carrier is that it’s better for younger babies and it is something that you want to try on first for size before buying. That all being said it was well made, the fabric was soft, it was easy to put on because basically it was like putting on a shirt and the back panel is a nice feature that adds a bit more support.

Weekend Snapshots | Out of the House

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We have been stuck at home for the past week with the plague. Okay that’s a bit dramatic but yes we are going through the fun cycle of sickness. Edith was sick with something I am guess was viral and had a low grade fever for a few days and now is just showing cold symptoms. Of course that means the rest of us are now starting to get sick as well. I’d say Alder is sick because of all of the snotty kisses from Edith and Neil and I are sick from the snotty kisses and the fact that we have probably had a combined 20 hours of sleep in the past 7 days.

In spite of all the sickness we decided that we all needed to get out of the house this weekend and enjoy the sun and fresh air. For those few hours that we found ourselves out of the house we had a really nice time and we seemed to forget about the sickness, at least until Edith decided to wipe her nose on my arm. Now we are back in the sickness groove – one I hope we fall out of by the end of the week. I am hoping for clear skies, sunshine and warm temperatures this weekend so that we might once again spend it at the park.

The Pumpkin Patch & Babywearing With Umi Sling

I love, love, love Autumn. It’s my favorite time of the year. I love the smell of the crisp air, the changing leaves, squash, pumpkin beer, warm apple cider and all the seasonal activities. We had our first seasonal outting this weekend to The Pumpkin Patch on Portland’s Sauvie Island. We went with friends of ours who have a daughter a month younger than Edith and a son a month older than Alder; it’s so much more fun to do these things with friends.
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I decided to use my Umi Sling (more about this sling at the bottom) for this outing because the color and design went best with the pumpkin patch (yes I choose carriers based on my outfit and our destination).  I hadn’t worn this sling in a over a month and when I put it on I was instantly happy I had chosen this carrier because it just felt great on my body and Alder went right to sleep in it. I even had to take him out about 45 minutes into our visit to nurse him and I put him back in and he again snoozed for a bit. Anyways back to the pumpkin patch.

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We started of the morning checking out the huge pile of pumpkins and all the different varieties that The Pumpkin Patch had to offer. They had big orange ones, ones with “warts”, Cinderella ones, ghost ones and blue/grey ones (those were my favorite).  We arrived a little bit before our friends so after checking out the pumpkins we went into the market and looked at all of the veggies with Edith. We went down the line and named all the veggies and then went to check out the massive cabbage and before long our friends arrived.

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Of course the girls had to take advantage of the photo opportunities around the farm.

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We debated doing the corn maze but decided to do the cow train first and then see how things were after that. In the end we just did the cow train and the little hay bale maze and tower.

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We couldn’t leave without getting a snack and while we really wanted fried dough or a candy apple we went with fresh corn on the cob with a little salt and pepper instead.

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We ended our trip to The Pumpkin Patch with family photos because you never pass up the opportunity to have a family photo taken.

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What did you do this weekend? Have you taken a trip to a pumpkin patch or gone apple picking? What are your favorite Autumn/Fall activities? 

I wanted to share a little bit more about Umi Slings with you.  I first came across Umi Slings at MommyCon. A friend of someone working in the babywearing lounge with me was using one (the most beautiful one I have seen yet – black and white ikatish color).  She was telling me about it and I just fell in love but I knew I had no excuse to get one because Edith was getting older and I really couldn’t justify another carrier.

Fast forward to this past Spring.  I connected with Umi Slings founder Megan about receiving one for blog review purposes and she sent me the Gold Geo ring sling that was used for their latest photoshoot (see more photos here).  This ring sling is unlike my others and is made of organic cotton and is hand printed.  It is a really wonderful sturdy fabric that creates a nice sung hold making it perfect for both infants and toddlers.  I also find this to be one the more supportive slings that I have come across as it has great fabric coverage across the back which helps to provide more support for the wearer.

One other great thing (probably the greatest thing) is that for every sling purchased one will also be made and given to Project Baby Bilum, helping mothers improve the health of their babies by providing closeness and access to the life-giving breast milk they need to survive. Every purchase of an Umi Sling supports moms in need in rural Papua New Guinea- how great is that?

Also a huge congrats to Umi Slings founder Megan on the arrival of her third daughter who arrived just 1 week before Alder.

P.S> Portland friends Umi Slings is local and you can find them in some local shops along with the mini slings for your littles.

Outings With A Toddler & Newborn | Adventures at the Oregon Coast

*This post was written in collaboration with Orbit Baby.
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It’s been a few weeks now but we recently made a trip to the Oregon Coast and had an amazing time and adventure. Vacations just aren’t the same as they once were when we were kid free and honestly they have changed quiet a bit since adding a second child but anyway you look at it a vacation is all about having fun. After sharing some fun photos and tidbits from our trip I’ll also share some tips at the bottom. Enjoy!

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We rented a house just two blocks from the beach in Netarts, Oregon with my parents. This was our first trip to this part of the Oregon Coast and it was so incredibly beautiful. Check out the view above! Yes that was our view from our rental house, what’s not to love?

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We arrived in the late afternoon on Friday, unpacked and enjoyed a yummy dinner and then of course we had to make a trip down to the beach. Getting down to the beach was a little bit of an adventure as we had to basically go down the side of a steep hill to get there but luckily the Ergobaby Wrap came in handy or rather gave me hands to help get Alder and myself down to the beautiful, quiet and clean beach. We played in the sand and watched the sunset. We then made our way back to the house for bedtime.

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We started our Saturday out with a short hike at Cape Lookout.  The forest was so beautiful and check out the sun through the trees – how beautiful is that? This was my first postpartum hike so we didn’t go to far but nonetheless we had wonderful time. I wore Alder in the Ergobaby and Neil wore Edith up in the Ergobaby Performance. Edith is now getting old enough that she likes to do a lot more of the hiking/walking on her own so she walked back down the trail and headed straight to the beach to play before lunch.

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I had to share the photo above because look how beautiful this (last weekend of) September weather was! Unfortunately after taking this photo we walked over to Pelican Brewing and the wait was over an hour so we ended up turning around and headed back to the car to have lunch back at the rental. Lots of tears were shed when Edith found out we were no longer going to the restaurant although I have a feeling that she might have been disappointed anyways because we have come to find out that restaurant = Veggie Grill in Edith’s world. Oh well at least we got a great photo at the beach.

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We spent Saturday night just relaxing at the house attempting to put together puzzles and trying on funny hats.

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We woke up Sunday morning and after breakfast and packing up we made one last stop to Cape Meares Lighthouse before heading home. Of course on the 15 minute ride over to the lighthouse Alder fell asleep but YAY for the Orbit Baby Car Seat and Stroller*! I was able to move him from the car to the stroller base and put down the Paparazzi Shieldwithout waking him.

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Unfortunately it was really overcast so the views were not as amazing as they would be on a sunny day but we had a great time at Cape Meares.  Neil has a thing for reading informational signs and he is getting Edith into it; they stopped and read every sign they saw. It was super quiet so we had the entire park to ourselves and we took our time checking out the views – okay who am I kidding we took our time because it was all uphill back to the car park and there was a side wind slowing us down. We made it back to the car park and I hung out with sleepy Alder while Neil and Edith went to see the octopus tree and then after a few diaper changes and a nursing session we were back on the road to home.

 

 Tips for Travel with Two

  • Travel during nap times: We left right after lunch when Edith usually naps and 10 minutes into our trip both kids were passed out. The drive to Netarts is around 1 hour 45 minutes and Edith woke up 15 minutes before arriving.
  • Keep your routine (or at least try to): When you are traveling solo time/routine doesn’t seem to matter but with kids, especially toddlers it is important to keep some structure. We aren’t ones to follow the clock but we do follow a routine which is usually breakfast, play, lunch, books, nap, play, dinner, play, books and bed. We try to keep this same routine even while traveling because it means a happier child and more relaxing vacation. Nap time actually forces us to slow down and relax which I am finding to be really nice.
  • Do what you love (aka life isn’t all about kid focused activities): so maybe you can’t go out for fancy dinners or to beer/wine tastings (although you can find some friendly brew pubs and wineries) but it also doesn’t mean you have to spend your vacation at Chucky Cheese’s.  Take your kids to do things that you love and enjoy and most likely they will enjoy themselves as well. We love hiking (or rather Neil loves it and I enjoy it) so we take the kids along with us.  We take them (or rather try to) to restaurants that we want to eat at and don’t worry if they have a kids menu or not. We do things as a family and we always (okay 99% of the time) all enjoy ourselves because we are doing it together.
  • Travel with friends or family: We rented a house with my parents which meant they had someone else to play with aka we had someone else to entertain our children at times.  This gave us a break and made us feel like we were really on vacation and not just spending the weekend at someone elses house. Maybe going away with family isn’t for you but maybe you have some really great friends with kids your child(ren)s age and you could rent a house together.  I find that when Edith is with her friends she’s like ‘mom who’? and the kids spend their time entertaining each other which gives me a little bit of break.
  • Give yourself lots of freetime.  This is a follow up to keep your routine. Make sure that you don’t over plan your days. Playtime doesn’t mean you have to have some planned activity it just means doing something fun.  If you over schedule yourself/over plan you are going to end up exhausted and disappointed. Focus on one or two things that you “must do” on vacation and have a few other things you’d like to do but don’t over commit. It’s vacation! Relax and unwind!

What are your tips for traveling with two? 

This was our first mini trip with two kids and we have a bigger trip to Seattle planned at the end of November and then an even bigger trip in August to Vermont for a friends wedding. So more tips and sneak peeks of our adventures to come!

minted. | Alder’s Birth Announcements

There are only a few events in our lives that warrant sending out announcements. So, when they come around, I like to take advantage of them. We’ve been lucky enough to send out Save The Dates and invitations for our wedding and a birth announcement for Edith and now it’s time to send out Alder’s birth announcement to our family and friends.

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Our first exposure to minted was the birth announcement of Neil’s co-worker. When it came time to pick out birth announcements the first place I headed was minted.  I was impressed with the variety of styles and layouts. The only problem was once Neil and I got started we found ourselves in love with almost every design so I went in and created a dozen or so options to get us started. I figured that once I did that, Neil would zero in on one that he loved the most. Of course, like me, he had a hard time narrowing it down to just one.

We wanted to do something different for our announcements than the typical postcard style. One of the options for your announcements with minted is a magnet. We thought it would be fun to send an announcement that could go on our friends and families fridges. There were also a number of options that we loved that weren’t available as magnets. In the end, we compromised and ordered a mix of magnet and post card announcements.

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I practically squealed when our box from minted. arrived. I barely made it from the mailbox and into the house before opening the box. Inside I found two packages of announcements that were nicely shrink wrapped with a ribbon and personalized sticker with who packaged up our announcements.

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Below is the magnet version (FYI: any friends and family who are reading this, this belongs on your fridge).  This one is my absolute favorite of all the designs because it’s clean and simple. You are provided sample text but I chose to customize it to make it our own. I also made sure to note that Alder was born at home because for us it was a big deal and we wanted to share that bit of news with our friends and family.
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Below is the postcard version and this was Neil’s first choice of announcement and I have to say I love it too. I love the watercolor effect and how peaceful Alder is. I also love that it says LOVE across the middle.

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I thought I should mention that the photos were taken by me. We debated hiring a photographer to take newborn photos but due to moving and budgeting it just didn’t work out for us so I DIY’d it. I used our Canon Rebel T3, our bed, the Boppy pillow under our white duvet and I opened up the windows to let in as much light as possible. I stood on top of a small kitchen ladder and snapped away. The photos aren’t professional but I think they turned out well and they made great announcement photos.

While this will probably be the last announcement that we have for a while, it certainly won’t be the last time we use minted. While perusing the birth announcements I also took a peek at their other products. We are getting professional family photos done next month and after this great experience we plan on  using minted. for our holiday cards this year.

Thanks to minted. for sponsoring today’s post!

minted. provided us with a credit to use towards purchasing our birth announcements. As always all opinions are our own. 

Babywearing Adventures | Solly Baby | Weekend Farmers Market

Getting out of the house with two kids can be quite the production.  We have to get two kids in the car, make sure the diaper bag is fully stocked (95% of the time it isn’t) and then, when we finally make it to our destination (usually at least 10 minutes later than planned), we have to figure out who is going to walk, ride or be worn.

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We are still slowly getting out of the house beyond the grocery store and Target and this weekend we took a break from unpacking to head to the market. I honestly was not feeling the trip to the market at all. We had headed out right when it usually starts to get busy and it was hot and nap time was slowly sneaking up on us, but, we did it. When we arrived I noticed we only had the Solly Baby Wrap in the car so right away that meant I was on baby duty.  Neil can wrap but it usually takes a little talking through and help so it was just easier for me to do it and for him to be on tot duty.

I wrapped Alder up snuggly on the Solly Baby Wrap and he fussed for just a moment before falling asleep. We walked over to the market and I had my hands free to carry market bags and hold one of Edith’s hands.Solly Baby Wrap Alder

We headed straight to my favorite farm stand to pick up our produce for the week. I was so excited by all the beautiful produce that I started to fill our bags and then realized that we had no cash. Neil said he would run to the ATM, which was luckily not too far away, while I continued to shop – the catch though was that Edith had to stay with me. If Alder had been in the stroller or in my arms there would have been no way that I could have held the half filled bags of produce and chased a very curious toddler around but thanks to babywearing we made it work.

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After finally purchasing our produce we walked around the remainder of the market, picking up a drink and a treat on our way out. We stopped over by the beautiful water fountain to enjoy our drink and snack before heading back to the car. The best part? Alder was still sleeping. Also we had no toddler tantrums, I was able to purchase 90% of the produce I had on my shopping list and we got to enjoy the market and sunshine as as family. The worst part? I dropped my shopping list so I had to go home and rewrite it and head out again to pick up our grocery items.

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