Painting With Peyton

I have been so excited for Peyton’s 4th birthday from the moment she announced she wanted an art party. I immediately knew I wanted to melt crayons for a background, and stumbled upon a melted-crayon-inspired cake. Challenge accepted. I think I nailed it!! Peyton had the most fun, and had a permanent ear-to-ear smile all day. After the party, she sleepily looked at me, and said, “I liked my party and I really like you!” Melt my heart moments like that make months of planning and hours of cleaning paint off tables and chairs and tiny hands completely worth it!

Here are a few shots from the birthday, with sources listed at the end!

11047931_10102554218088495_5436160501217220883_n11196248_10102554218427815_3006139397786945925_n17615_10102554218682305_8425139865161268716_n10410374_10102554218782105_4897375537738016826_nThe calm before the storm ^11169955_10102554219874915_2657622276819360408_n20885_10102554221441775_89929043827095251_nSurprisingly, we were able to drink out of these straws!11174874_10102554223323005_6722283156071125366_n10358745_10102554224525595_1677887132026074215_n 13528_10102554228248135_566739070488296338_n

Love this family shot! ^11011030_778952202161_6775485604652358935_n 10956626_778956099351_9032238172829181644_n

Peyton’s actual birthday is Wednesday, and we plan on keeping it low-key with a fun family dinner, and lots of left-over cake!

Sources:

4 shirt | cake topper | birthday banner | cake stand old, similar here | paint palette cookies | custom straws | sparkler candle | mini chalkboard easels form Target Dollar Spot | art smocks (cute single option here) | canvas panels  | paint brushes (other brushes from Target Dollar Spot)

The cake was a store-bought vanilla cake, I made a drizzle (1 table spoon of milk, a splash vanilla, and powdered sugar until it was thick enough for my liking), separated it into zip lock bags, added food coloring, mixed it, then cut a hole in the corner of the zip locks, and went to town! IMG_8543

Watermelon on my Mind

I mentioned in my post Monday how I was looooving watermelon print this season, so I rounded up my must-have-melon print goodies:

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1. watermelon tote. this is on my wish list. I love it as a beach bag for the girls, or an easy bag to toss under the stroller at the zoo!

2. watermelon tankini. need I say more?? It’s too cute.

3. watermelon shorts. we looove these. the fabric is so soft and breathable, and Peyton calls them her “fancy fruits” which is quite possibly even cuter than the shorts themselves!

4. watermelon bibdana. an easy and practical way to get your littlest one in on the watermelon trend!

5. bunny/melon pjs. we got these for P around Easter because of the bunny, but she is obsessed with the watermelon set! like mother, like daughter 😉

6. watermelon swim diaper. I have been eying this since the snow melted. Expect to be spammed with beach-ready London rocking these!

I also love making watermelon popsicles in the summer…and Peyton mows on them i the summer, so it’s a win-win!

And now, to finish spring cleaning! Peyton and I are cleaning out her toy box to make room for any new goodies she gets for her birthday next week! The party is this weekend – I am soooo excited for the theme she picked! Stay tuned for all kinds of party fun this weekend!

Long Live The Weekend

We welcomed some serious summer vibes this weekend. Temps were in the 70s and we busted out the sunscreen for the first time since last summer. We made the most of the weather by moving our euchre party to the patio (which is STILL not finished. But we made the most of it!). We had about 30 people over for tournament style progressive euchre. Happy to announce that I took third place, and David took first! Go home team! 

IMG_8150 11138629_10102539128857435_3250403004293209442_nThe next day, we sweated off the mini-hangover in parent style by a trip to the zoo. The zoo was quite literally a zoo. I resolved to only ever going on weekday mornings from now on, however, there were plenty of strangers to beg to take a family photo – we picked a good one, she took 3 photos, then asked me if I wanted to look before she walked away. Stranger photog skillz for the win!

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This was London’s first trip to the zoo, and I expected her to sleep the whole time. She surprised us all by chatting and singing to herself in the stroller the whole time, and staring wide-eyed when the animals were close enough to see. We were also worried that she would be a hot, sweaty mess in the helmet, but the Bugaboo Sun Canopy I talked David into buying saved the day! It even has SPF, so I didn’t have to worry too much about her getting fried, but we have this sunscreen for her super-sensitive skin and are obsessed.  Peyton loves how this sunscreen foams!22114_10102539939462975_2854794138025418483_nWe attached a few toys using a Ryan and Rose clip, and didn’t have to worry about her losing her toys the whole day. (this firefly is her current favorite)

She surprised us later that day by again refusing to nap, and attempting real crawling for the first time:

10405346_10102543719432885_3099029194926704847_nShe has the rocking forward and backwards maneuver down, she just needs to figure out how to move her arms and legs without collapsing.

Note: I almost worry less about her moving around outside because of the helmet! It sticks out enough at her forehead, that if she face plants, her nose doesn’t touch the ground! It’s also very reassuring for me to see that is isn’t slowing her down developmentally. I worried if she would be a late crawler because of it. I worry too much, according to David.

Unrelated: mommies of helmet babies: what do you do to protect the top of your baby’s head from the sun? I’m debating buying a toddler-sized sun hat, and just plopping it on top of the helmet, but I would love to hear any other ideas or suggestions!!

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IMG_8254Also, I would never miss a chance to match these two little monsters. How adorable are Peyton’s shorts? London is still a drool-factory, so a bib is necessary, and I am OBSESSED with bibdanas lately. The watermelon print is everywhere this summer, and I couldn’t be happier! London has a coordinating bib from YayForHandmade on Etsy. Stay tuned for a very exciting giveaway announcement later this week on my Instagram (@heyitsjenna)

Sources:

tiny toms | stroller | sun canopy extendertank onesiewatermelon bibdana ℅ | blue romper old from gap, similar here | watermelon shorts ℅  | jelly sandals

Our Week & NeatCheeks

Whew. This has been a busy week! We are hosting a Euchre Party this Friday for some friends and neighbors. It’s a Michigan thing, and if you don’t know the game, you should! Between that, and keeping tabs on the landscapers/house repairs, it’s been keeping us VERY busy. The weather, however, has been cooperating for us! So we have been logging a lot of outside play time.

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^Peyton’s face here just kills me.FullSizeRender_1^Again, another stellar bubble-face

IMG_8125London has adjusted to her helmet like it was a headband. So that has been a godsend. She’s definitely enjoying not being cooped up. After our walk the other day, she hung out in her stroller as we watched the sunset over our little pond.  This girlie is content as long as she has something to chew on! And with the constant drooling, I hope she cuts these teeth soon!!

The day London got her helmet, we came home and went right outside to play, then Peyton took a catnap. I took that time to work on decorating London’s helmet with the Bling Your Band vinyl stickers. We went back outside when Peyton woke up. It took her about 15 minutes to realize that little sis had a fancy helmet. Shit hit the fan. “No! Now her helmet has her letters on it? Fair is fair!” This photo was taken immediately after, and I cannot look at it without smiling. London is SO happy, and Peyton couldn’t be grumpier if she tried. My little drama queen.

988917_10102532075881655_1803260923692463876_nAlso, that Baby Mickey board book was mine when I was a baby, then my brother’s. My mom gave it to me when Peyton was born, and I absolutely love watching London flip through (read: suck on) it. Hers are the fourth tiny, chubby hands to turn those pages.

In exciting news, my friends over at NeatCheeks will be on Shark Tank tomorrow! If you haven’t already checked them out, NeatCheeks are flavored face wipes. They’re all-natural and sweetened with stevia. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t suck on one when I opened the package. I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t offer a taste to one of my mommy friends. The verdict? Peyton is obsessed, London likes anything she can put in her mouth, and I might have found a zero-calorie substitute to my afternoon snack (joking. kind of.)

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You guys HAVE to try these, and for a limited time, use the code IMNEAT for 20% off your order, so definitely stock up!!

Enjoy your Thursday!!

sources:

grey color block dress | pink hair clip ℅ | purple jelly sandals | green dress | purple mocs | vinyl helmet decals ℅ | bugaboo stroller | bugaboo shade cover | tiered floral shirt old from Old Navy, similar here | similar yellow leggings | blue baby romper | neatcheeks wipes ℅ 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored in part by NeatCheeks. Words, photos, thoughts, and opinions all remain my own! I would never plug a product that we don’t use personally or love. Thank you for supporting the brands and products that make this blog possible. XO

Lo’s Helmet Journey

When London was about 2 months old, David and I started to notice a flat spot on the back of her head. We had always heard this just happens in infants, but I made a mental note to ask her pediatrician at her next check up. David suggested we try to keep her off of that side of her head, so we tried more and more tummy time, and fed her facing the other way. David even McGuivered a pillow out of towels and tape to slide into her bouncy chair, to prop her head up. When her appointment rolled around, I very casually mentioned we were noticing her head was looking a little flattened in the back. After rubbing her head and neck, her pediatrician said she had torticollis; a word I had never heard of.  And that the torticollis was causing her head to tilt, therefore causing the flat spot.

Congenital torticollis occurs when the neck muscle that runs up and toward the back of your baby’s neck (sternocleidomastoid muscle) is shortened. This brings your baby’s head down and to one side. This is known as congenital muscular torticollis. Experts don’t know exactly what causes the shortened neck muscle.

Her pediatrician said it was most likely caused by how she was carried in the womb before birth. He referred us to an in-house orthotic doctor, who we met with once a week for 30 minutes over the next two months.

Somewhere in the midst of this, I began going back through photos of London, and her head tilt became super noticeable to us, although all of our friends assured us it wasn’t that noticeable.

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He noticed no physical change, and referred us to the rehabilitation hospital downtown. Being passed along and passed along was an extremely disheartening feeling. I felt a crazy range of feelings; fear, disappointment, and sadness.

When we got the call to schedule our physical therapy sessions, I was picking one day and time which would be our weekly session for basically our lives. I’ve heard others are like this, too, so if you’re making the PT appointment, make sure it’s a day that works for the rest of your life, basically.

We began seeing a physical therapist once a week at the rehabilitation hospital. The waiting room was the worst. Seeing children with obvious deformities was hard. I felt as if we didn’t belong there. After all, it’s just a little flat spot, would it even be noticeable once she had hair?

Before London’s first PT appointment, they took a scan of London’s head. The numbers were on the abnormal side, but the cranial specialist suggested we wait a few weeks, try out therapy, and see if she made any changes for the better.

The first thing they did in PT was take a picture tomeasure how much of a tilt London had. Her good side had a 35 degree rotation, her weak side? -5 degrees. Maybe we did belong there.

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After a few weeks of therapy, which involved our amazing therapist Kate bouncing Lo on a ball, and swinging her on a swing while trying to stretch her neck and keep Lo from screaming her head off, and attempting to do the stretches at home, as well, we were scheduled for the second head scan. Kate had commented that week about how loose London’s neck muscles felt, and how she was noticing her more and more centered, so I shouldn’t worry about the scan at all.

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They put London in a head sock. I can’t handle tension or feeling awkward, so I jokingly asked if there was a place in the baby book for baby’s first du rag. Joking turned into holding back tears as they finished up the scan and showed me a rendering of London’s head, confirming she would need a cranial helmet.

IMG_6111I wasn’t upset that she would look silly, I wasn’t upset that some jerk might stare or laugh. I felt an odd twang of guilt. I felt like I was going to be looked at as a bad mother by other parents for needing my daughter’s head “fixed”. Or maybe I felt like I was a bad mother for letting this happen to her. Either way, I held the tears in until I got home and sobbed all over David, who over and over again reassured me that it was not my fault, or his fault, or anyone’s, and that once this was all over, she was going to have the most symmetrical head in the whole family. Gold stars for his strength when I am falling apart.

Peyton also helped to ease the tension by demanding she get a helmet too, because “fair is fair!”

In therapy one week later, and with one week to go until our impending helmet-fitting appointment, Kate once again noted how well London’s neck was looking. I didn’t want to get too excited, because last time she said it, we ended up needing the helmet. But we decided to take another measurement of her neck rotation (note: they want these numbers to be as close as possible to be considered “symmetrical”). Her strong side stayed relatively the same, which I am told is good and normal, and for her bad side? The -5 degree rotation side? 20 degrees! I almost jumped with excitement! The weeks of PT and cranky stretching is actually paying off. Lo has since been moved to every-other-week for therapy, due to her newly strengthened neck.

Neck? Good. Head? Still flat.

Fast forward to this morning, London had her helmet fitting. Our hour-long appointment ended up taking nearly two hours to get the fit just right. We took Peyton to the appointment, so she would have a decent understanding about her sister’s helmet, and hopefully it wouldn’t be a big deal to her. You might already know, but three-year-olds can make big deals about a lot of things.

FullSizeRenderIMG_7996London did so well at the appointment, and was mostly interested in destroying the paper sheet on the exam table. I am learning kids are a lot more resilient than we give them credit for.

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And here she is, day 1 of her helmet. As you can see, she isn’t letting it cramp her style. She really only fusses when we put it on or take it off. This is mostly our fault. I assume by week 2, we will be pros at the on/off maneuver, but right now, it’s a bit of a process. They have a strict “intro to helmet” policy, which is:

  • Day one: One hour on and one hour off, off for naps, off overnight
  • Day two: Two hours on and one hour off, off for naps, off overnight
  • Day three: Four hours on and one hour off, on for naps, off overnight
  • Day four: Eight hours on and one hour off, on for naps, on overnight
  • Day five and beyond: 23 hours on and one hour off, on for naps, on overnight

Looking back at how upset I was at the helmet news seems a little silly today. I think the helmet makes her chubby cheeks just that much more squishable!

We are expecting to be rocking this cranial helmet for the next three months, depending on how quickly London grows.  Fortunately, there are companies like Bling Your Band who offer fun ways to decorate these helmets, and are helping to make our next few months a little more fashionable. They helped me pick a vinyl design and customize my color options! The application process is super easy, and I sealed it with ModPodge to keep the design in place!

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Note: I’m not a doctor or expert. I’m just a mom who would like to help other moms by sharing our experience. Every baby and experience is different. If your baby is starting their own helmet journey or if you’re just curious, I hope this helped answer a question or two!

Sources:

Lo’s One-Piece Similar Here and Here | Bibdana | Colorblock Dress | Leggings | Pink Mocs | Pink Hair Clip ℅ | Vinyl Helmet Decals ℅ 

Easter Egg Hunt

Due to scheduling and Spring Break, our annual neighborhood Easter egg hunt was this weekend. It’s a lot of fun for the kids, but probably even more fun for all of us parents who tailgate and are seeing some people for the first time since Halloween. Winter was awful, and hibernation mode was pretty standard.

Peyton threw a fit during the group photo, because posing for a photo is clearly a form of torture. And of course, upon hearing her sister crying, London had to chime in. Happy Easter from the McFarland sisters!

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Front and center, and screaming. Hot mess express over here! 😉

FullSizeRender_1FullSizeRender_2P made a big comeback once she realized it was time to collect eggs! She was hoping hers had pennies in them. We play a game where the penny-filled eggs can be returned for a big toy prize, and Peyton had her eye on a My Little Pony.

FullSizeRender_3 FullSizeRender_4Peyton, London Bunny, and P’s best little girlfriend from the neighborhood were looking super festive post-egg hunt! I was also volunteered to throw this party next year for the kids, so that should stressful and fun next year!!

Sources:

Pey’s Shoes | Leggings are older, similar here | Top | London’s Leggings | Top is old from Juicy (similar set here)| Coat

And now, we are enjoying a rainy day inside, cuddled up with Lo while Big Sis is at school! Happy Monday!!