Flower Dumbbell Teether {Nuby Product Review}

I have to admit, since my first was a boy, I am all about anything girly for Isla so I am loving the adorable look of the flower dumbbell teether. That and the fact that it is more than just a teether makes it a winning combination. Isla loves that the flower petals crinkle. I would say that is actually her favorite feature of this teether. That and she actually holds it like a dumbbell. I was laughing to myself about how she "works out" with it, then I realized dumbbell is in its name. Nice one Nuby!  

I really appreciate that the flower dumbbell teether is more a toy with a teether feature built in. That means Isla can get more use out of it than just gnawing on it for comfort. Thus to me, it is better value for the money because it will grow with her. I like that it is small enough to take along with us anywhere, but fun enough that it will actually entertain Isla for more than two seconds. 

You can purchase the Flower Dumbbell Teether online at www.BuyBabyDirect.com and Target.

I did not receive any compensation for this post, although as part of the Nuby Mommy Blogger program I may receive items to sample or review.

A Little Sibling Comparison

I was looking through old pictures the other night and came across a couple of Connor at the same age as Isla. So I decided to do the same pictures of Isla for a little side by side comparison. 

Connor was always a little bit ahead of the game in terms of physical activity. At this age, he was standing up and could walk holding on to things. I personally am glad that Isla is not doing these things yet. I already feel like she is grown up enough just because she can now go from laying down to sitting on her own. And she is way too close to standing up for my comfort. 

Isla has always been a couple pounds heavier than Connor month to month. At 8 months old, they were the exact same length. Judging by these pictures, I would say she is now looking a little taller that him, but I'm not sure. They both had the same amount of teeth - two on the bottom with teeth coming in on the top. 

Looking at these pictures makes me realize they have the same eyes and also seem to have the same half hearted smile going on as well. These pictures also make me get all nostalgic thinking of little baby Connor! 

Here's another comparison from when they were 5 months old and also when they were wee little babes

Built in Buddy

Recently I heard a mom talking about describing marriage to her 13 year old. She explained it as having a built in buddy. She told her son that her and her husband were best friends and enjoyed going on adventures together. That made me smile. 

This is us in 2003, just before we got married

Ian truly is my built in buddy. I feel completely myself around him. I love going on adventures with him. I love how laid back he is about things and always seems up for anything. 

I enjoy thinking about when we were first married, staying up all night watching 24 or going to Jack in the Box at 1am after I got off work. I love remembering sleeping in our rental car while we drove around Germany, getting fish and chips every Friday while we lived in Scotland. I love watching him walk up the street on his way home from work. Talking to him at the dinner table while the kids throw fits. I love living life with him.

I love walking through life with my built in buddy by my side. 
Happy nine years Ian! 
Here's to a million more!

Care to read about my thoughts on past anniversaries? You can read about years sixseven and eight. Enjoy!  

Lately {in photos}

1. Pool fun
2. Happy girl
3. My adorable shopping pal
4. We teach 'em young! 
5. I don't think its good to have my "real age" be that far from the truth
6. Driving
7. Crawling under furniture
8. Checking out Aunt Carli's tortoise 
9. Trying jello for the first time
10. Walking a new section of the Virginia Trail
11. The result of playing in the dirt
12. Cool girl in her shades

Living Room {my house}

The living room in our house has undergone many transitions since we moved in. Painting it was only the latest development and I am sure there will be more to come. 

This is what the living room looked like when we bought the house:

Believe it or not, the "custom drapes" were actually advertised in the flyer on the house as if they were a good thing. We wanted those spider infested 1970's drapes gone as soon as possible. Unfortunately custom shutters take time. So we were unable to part with the drapes for a couple months. And what we discovered after taking them down was they weren't actually painted behind. After living with white drape lines on our walls for almost a year, we finally did something about it a couple weeks ago. Ian patched the holes, sanded down all the walls and painted. 

We went with a grey color. If you have never dealt with grey paint before, apparently there are way too many grey choices. Brown-grey, green-grey, blue-grey, purple-grey. It was hard to figure out what we wanted. We ended up going with a purple-grey and like our choice. 

I can't find a before picture off hand, but after painting we re-did the layout of the room a little bit and it really opened the room up. Also, I had to rehang my photo wall and I am glad I did. It looks a lot more uniform the second time around. 



I am really grateful that years ago I worked at Pottery Barn and snagged most of the stuff in our living room with my amazing discount. We definitely wouldn't have the furniture that we do without that discount. 

Here are some of the details of the room. 

This is probably my favorite piece of furniture in our house. I coveted this chair for a year or so before finally getting it. And given that Pottery Barn no longer sells this exact chair, I am glad we got it all these years ago. The pillow we picked up in London before moving back to the states. This chair is actually where I take all of Isla's month pictures. When I turn the chair around to face the windows, it has great light and makes a perfect spot to plop a baby and go all paparazzi on her. 

Spike was an engagement gift from one of Ian's friends. He is always a conversation starter given that his assets are on display. 

There are still a few decorative touches I would like to add to the room. Things like picture ledges on the wall with the big window to display our photo books. And eventually finishing the photo wall, though I have a feeling that one will take time. 

And you may have noticed that even though I have two kids, there are no toys or the such in here. After trying out toys in the living room, I decided I enjoyed having it more as a retreat away from the kid stuff during nap time and in the evenings. Toys do migrate in here, but at the end of the day are picked up and stored in another room. 

What Isla Wore {two}

This really is just an excuse to post pictures of my oh-so-adorable baby girl. I really do like her outfit though. Its cute and not too babyish.

Headband & Clip: made by me
Dress: H&M, thrifted
Leggings: pants from another outfit
Shoes: Saltwater, hand-me-down

Minivans & Modesto

I bet you didn't know that Modesto and minivans have two things in common:

1. You have to swallow your pride to be associated with either. Everyone knows this about minivans. Sure, there are some out there that love the swagger wagon, but those people are in the minority. Everyone else has to take a ginormous humble pill before purchasing their first minivan. The same can be said for living in Modesto. All anyone raised in Modesto wants to do in life is leave. Once they come back, cough, cough...WHAT? There was something stuck in my throat! Where was I? Oh yeah, once they realize they are moving back, they have to take that humble pill. 

2. You have to talk yourself into both of them. Did you ever notice when minivan owners talk about them, they try to point out all the features? You know, all the cargo room, the sliding doors and MPG. They don't get that good of gas mileage people!!! I kid you not. I was actually shocked that they only get slightly better gas mileage than a full size SUV. Anyway, the same is true of Modesto.  I here over and over people saying Modesto is a great place to live because its so central. You can take day trips to San Francisco or to the mountains to go skiing. Makes me laugh every time I hear this. Why don't people brag about living in the car theft capital of America?! Oh yeah, because we were dethroned and now are only number two. Shame. 

I would like to point out, the two people in my family who moved to Modesto kicking and screaming (when we were high schoolers, none-the-less) are the two people left in Modesto today...my older brother and myself. A little bit ironic and a lot funny if I may say so myself. 

Oh, and don't plan on seeing me in a minivan anytime soon! It's my lifelong mission to avoid owning one. A 1970's VW bus though, I think I could handle. 

Thrifty Finds

My mom was in town this past weekend and Ian was painting the house, so I was under strict orders to keep the kids out of my house all day. So of course my mom and I went thrifting...and to an amazing estate sale. 

You may be asking yourself, if Jessica likes thrifting so much, why doesn't she ever go without her mom? I have tried. Let me tell you, it is not pretty. Thrift stores are small and crammed full of stuff. My little children have go-go gadget arms and seem to be able to rip everything off the shelves. So I need another set of hands to help me with this said problem. Given that none of my friends are super into thrifting, my mom it is! Thanks for this mom. I really do enjoy thrifting with you. 

This gem I actually snagged to put on the table in our backyard. But, its home became on the wall in our newly painted dining room. It was $3.99. 

I don't buy many clothes for my kids, but most of the ones that I do, I get at thrift stores. I love that I can snag name brand stuff for so freaking cheap. I almost passed up this adorable Janie and Jack dress because I am cheap. It was $2.99. I don't normal pay that much for thrifted clothes. But it was adorable and in the end, the adorableness factor won me over. You can't tell from the picture, but it has little butterflies all over it. 

Stride Rite sandals for $1.99. Need I say more? Ian thinks they are a little dorky looking, but for the price, I don't care! 

I am all about collecting little wooden toys for my kids. This is a miniature bead roller coaster and cost me a whopping 39 cents. Isla pretty much uses it as a weapon rattle. 

Wooden blocks are my obsession as of late. I need to be stopped. I have amassed quite the collection. This set right here put me back 99 cents. 

This amazing little cozy coupe was found at the estate sale my mom and I hit up. It didn't have a price and given how adorable it is, I was afraid it was going to be expensive. We asked how much and the guy gave it to Connor. That's right, it was FREE. I like free! 

Have you found anything good while thrifting lately?

Connor Lately

Connor has been growing and changing so much lately. He is constantly learning new things and changing right in front of me. Its fun to watch the hard work of teaching him things pay off. Yet at the same time, it boggles my mind watching him become his own little person. He definitely has his likes and dislikes and isn't afraid to show it. He enjoys life and goes a million miles a minute. He is now talking so much. And repeats everything. Watch out what you say around him! He can say his abc's and count to 15. What really got me, is he is actually starting to understand numbers. We were out yesterday and I asked him how many dogs he saw and he said two. It blew me away that he actually got that concept. Go Connor! 

Connor is still obsessed with all things train. He likes to see them. If he hears one in the distance, he tells you. He talks about riding on them. He plays with them. He wants to watch them on tv. He is all about trains. Its kind of funny. I never knew trains would be such a big part of my life. I find myself pulling  off on side streets to watch passing trains or driving out of my way to see a train that is parked. But watching him get so excited about it makes it all worth it. 

My little boy. You bring more joy and lessons in patience to my life than I ever thought possible. Having you throw your little arms around me melts my heart. You wanting to hold my hand or wanting to be held by me makes my heart leap. I love you little boy...now stop growing up so fast. 

Isla {8 Months}

Weight: 18.5 lbs
Length: 27.5 inches

Crawling/scooting backwards
Sleeping in her crib...finally
2 cut teeth (both on bottom)

Oh my Isla Grace, you have turned in to quite the wiggle worm as of late. You move all over the room. Of course, since you primarily only go backwards, you tend to get stuck under furniture a lot and that makes you mad. Whenever you make your way over to your brother's toys, he always moves them back out of your reach...sorry about that. He's not the best at sharing. 

You now lift your chubby little hands out to me when you want me to pick you up and will do that to others as well. You tend to not like being left in a room by yourself, but as long as someone is there, you are happy. Your brother especially makes you happy. You just love watching him go, go, go. You are starting to understand "jokes". If I put food up to your mouth, wait for you to open your mouth, then pull it away, you laugh. I even heard you laugh at peek-a-boo for the first time the other day. Hilarious, I know. You prefer eating books over having them read to you. And you will put just about anything in your mouth. 

You have lost weight over this past month. I am going to contribute that to you eating solids with gusto (and solids have less fat and calories that breast milk) and are moving all over the place. You are definitely a lover of food. Especially the solid stuff. You have eaten all sorts of non-ground up food already - bread, watermelon, yogurt chips (and not the baby freeze dried ones), avocado, tortilla, cheereos...and the list goes on and on. I told you she likes food! You still prefer veggies to fruit. Way to be healthy! 

You are now sleeping in your own bed at night and are only waking up about once a night to nurse. This whole saga deserves a post of its own, but I am OH SO HAPPY we have arrived to this point. And arrived to it without allowing you to cry it out (I don't have the heart or willpower for that). Its fun to see you all snug in your bed. And to see you twisting and turning all over that crib. You seem to prefer sleeping on your stomach...or at least that is how I find you when I go in there. When I lay you on your back, you instantly throw your hands above your head to sleep. You are a light sleeper though. So if your brother makes too much noise or anyone for that matter, you wake up. 

What I Wore {ten}

On Friday Ian graduated from a local leadership program he did (Leadership Modesto), so we got all dressed up to go to the graduation. My entire outfit was inspired by my hair. I wore pigtails and a scarf that day. I was planning on showering and redoing my hair, but Ian said it looked cute, so I went with it.

In order to match my black scarf, I chose a black dress. I still wanted to look summery, so added some color with my shoes and necklace.

Dress: Target
Scarf: Banana Republic
Necklace: a gift
Shoes: Banana Republic

This entire outfit is years old, which makes what happened at Ian's graduation even more funny. Some ladies were telling me how "in" the color of my accessories were this year...I will agree given that I have purchased both jeans AND shorts in this color this year. But I thought it was funny given that my shoes and necklace are at least 6-7 years old.

After the graduation, Miss Isla ripped the necklace off my neck, so it will have to be repaired before I can sport it again. Such is life as a mama.

Fathers Day

Happy fathers day to the most amazing man my children have the privilege of calling dad. I couldn't have picked someone so perfect to raise a family with. Only God could have done that. Ian, you are so involved, so loving, so caring, so patient and so fun with our children. I am amazed at the father you are. I thank God for giving our children such a wonderful man to raise them.

And to our fathers, what can I say, you obviously did an amazing job. You have us as children! In all seriousness, seeing you two as papas has been an amazing experience. Both of you are so hands on and it melts my heart seeing both of you get on your hands and knees to play with Connor and how you light up when my kids come in the room. Thank you for always being patient and continuing to teach Ian and I as we navigate life as adults. And especially for loving our children the way that you do. 

Ian's dad with Connor

My dad with Isla


My little boy knows the ABC's!!!

Sorry for the crazy video. Its hard to get a good video with a toddler constantly on the move. If you listen really closely, when Connor is singing the bit at the end, he says "now I know my ABCD's..." So cute...and perhaps one of those things only the child's mother finds adorable! 

Black & White

I have always loved black and white photographs. There is a black and white picture of my older brother and I from when we were toddlers. We looked like hot messes...his shirt was untucked, his arm around me. I had my fingers in my mouth and my hair was a mess. But it is probably my favorite picture of my brother and I. It is just so beautiful. There is just something about black and white photographs and the emotion they portray. 

That being said, every time I edit my own photos, I always have trouble turning pictures into black and white. Why? I love color. I love texture. I love the pizazz. The other day while playing around with some pictures of Isla, I realized converting these pictures to black and white allowed me to focus on her sparkly eyes, even if you can't tell they are blue. Why? Well because I wasn't so distracted by her crazy colored high chair and equally crazy colored pajamas. Black and white. Simple. It allowed me to focus on what I wanted to focus on. My beautiful baby's face.

I think I am turing a corner here. I think it is time to try black and white a little more often. 

P.S. In case you were wondering, these are pictures of Isla stuffing her face for the first time with some blueberry pancakes made by her daddy. 
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