Not long after Harlowe turned 6, we gear up to celebrate another birthday in the family. Gunnar is just over four years younger, but as of the latest check-up, only 10 inches shorter and 10 lbs lighter. To celebrate, we took him out to eat his favorite cuisine, Mexican food, and then got ice-cream at TWO places: Van Leeuwen and Salt and Straw. Miss H dropped her ice-cream at the first stop, so we made a second stop to pick up more.
We decided that since Gunnar doesn’t understand what is going on in terms of celebrating his birthday, we wouldn’t have a party this year. We didn’t do one last year for him or for Harlowe’s 3rd or 5th birthday’s. We have found it to be quite liberating to take a break from the big celebrations and focus on spending time together as a family on kid’s birthdays; especially at ages when they aren’t yet expecting a more elaborate party. When Harlowe was young (age 1 and 2) I quickly figured out that extravagant parties were a bit too much for her. She liked everyone singing to her, but opening presents and interacting with each guest was a little overwhelming. She’s never cried at her own party, but I’ve seen plenty of younger kids cry when friends and family sing ‘Happy Birthday’ so I opted to skip that for Gunnar, at least while he’s little because he is sensitive. To make his day extra special, we went on a hike so he could run around outdoors, took a nap, ate tacos, rode scooters and then went out to dinner and ice-cream on Abbot Kinney. We let him the kids pick what they eat each year and this year, Harlowe chose for Gunnar proclaiming that hw wanted chips and beans. It was quite a day for him. After his bath, he fell asleep almost immediately.
One of the biggest benefits of living in LA is being in a climate that allows you to be outside all year long. Our family loves to be outdoors so much that we moved to a smaller house (900 sq ft) earlier this year because it meant we got a yard! If there’s one thing we love to do together as much as we enjoy the outdoors, it’s a dance party. When I saw the Getty had garden concerts lined up all Summer for the little ones, I knew my clan would be all over them. We went to see Dan Zanes for our our 2nd kid’s concert of the Summer. It happened to be the day after Harlowe’s 6th birthday — a great opportunity to keep the party going. We met with some friends, shared a picnic and of course, danced to the Sea Shanty, John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay! Do you remember that one? Maybe it’s just me, but that song makes me giddy like I am still 6 years old.
Huge thanks to the Getty for having us out and for suprising Harlowe with this sweet gift. She LOVES it.
All the families watching the concert and enjoying their picnic.
Shop the post:
FWIW, this jumpsuit comes in 3 colors and is the most comfortable and flattering jumpsuit I’ve ever tried on. I can actually say the same for these shoes. Perfect for those days when your pedicure could use some attention, but it’s too hot for sneakers. I love them so much I picked up a pair for H too!
Over the weekend, we celebrated Harlowe’s 6th birthday! I shared some of my feels on Instagram, but Kaare and I just can not get over how quickly these past 6 years have gone. I remember laying in the hospital bed full of fear and joy after her birth and just praying that she would get out of the NICU quickly. 6 years later, here she is… healthy, happy and full of love. She is the best daughter that I could have ever asked for and is more joy than I dreamed she could be. Being her mama is the highlight of my life (along with being married to her dad and having her brother, of course). To celebrate her 6th year, we asked her what she wanted to do and shared a clear vision: a movie, unicorn, sleepover party. Here’s how we pulled that together…
Movie and unicorn themed cookies baked and hand decorated by one of my old sorority sisters, Folkvangr Cookies. I asked her to make whatever she was inspired to make after hearing Harlowe’s theme and I think she crushed it! They’re almost too pretty to eat!
I made these little poms for the cupcakes. I just took tissue paper and folded it length wise in to fourths and then used herb scissors to cut fringe leaving 1/4 inch un-cut. I used a glue stick to glue the un-cut part and then wrapped the paper around a small skewer that I broke in half until it was all rolled up. Once the skewer is wrapped with the tissue paper just use your hands to fluff it out.
Gunnar loved the poms, but not as much as he loved the cupcakes.
We used Joymode to rent the back yard theater, cotton candy machine and vintage popcorn machine. The cotton candy was the highlight for most of the kids and for me because I got to make it. I also made these cute ‘ice-cream’ cones for the kids (I had to get them to eat some fruit somehow) I just scooped up melon with a melon baller and tossed it in some cones. I think Gunnar was disappointed that it was not ice-cream, but the older kids thought it was fun to eat.
I have a photo with Harlowe and this bear for every month until she was one and one picture every year since.
Just for fun, here’s a shot from Harlowe’s 1st birthday! She looks like she knows cake is coming…
Happy Spring! Ive really been enjoying the extra daylight we get with Spring and am taking full advantage by implementing family walks. Our neighborhood is a lovely place for a stroll, but we always want to check out something new so we went over to the Venice Canals yesterday since Gunnar had never seen them and it had been over a year since Harlowe has been! I can’t believe it’s been that long since we’ve taken these. Our family has increased by 25% since then and I think Harlowe’s height has too.
They loved running up and down the water on the long, un-crowded sidewalks. Finally, no people to dodge! The houses are so charming along the canals, I don’t think I could ever get sick of it. Kaare and I decided that we will move there when we win the lottery. 😉
Harlowe and Gunnar’s cute shirts are from Tenth and Pine. I’ve really made an effort to get them both more gender neutral clothes so that Gunnar has the chance to wear Harlowe’s when he’s big enough. Also, I just like the look of neutral and minimalist kid’s clothes. They stock a lot of the brands I love like Kid + Kind and now they have their own line which is what the kids are wearing here. I just love this super-soft ‘hug life’ tee for Gunnar because he gives the best hugs ever! I hope he never stops wanting to hug mama. Harlowe’s ‘I love you more’ tee comes in adult sizes too which is pretty much my dream come true because I love matching her while she will let me.
Two weeks ago I made a big career change and am still adjusting to the change in pace. I’m transitioning from the corporate world; read: having back-to-back meetings, quickly eating at my desk and teaching YouTube workshops to aspiring creators to the freelance world. I used to know exactly what to do when I got in to the office — I could run on autopilot and now, I’m figuring out a new job. With no boss. And no training manual. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of and so far, I feel incredibly fortunate to have increased flexibility. Mostly, I’ve relished the extra time I’ve had to spend more time with the kids, but also am so excited to have freedom to pivot my career and shape it in to something more creative!
Starting a new venture has been time consuming and at the same time, it’s a slower pace of life so far. I’m sure I’ll be running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off (hate that visual) again soon, but right now there’s just a lot of planning, strategizing and analyzing. I haven’t allowed myself much down time except for yesterday when I did yoga at 9am (and it was amazing).I found myself sitting around thinking ‘I have no idea where to start… I’ll just check out some online sales and put some stuff in my cart that I don’t need before closing the tab!’? Inspiration was nowhere to be found and that’s definitely when I need yoga the most. There’s nothing yoga, the sea or a good old sunset can’t fix, right?
I’m a lot more inspired today, but Gunnar is sick with pink-eye so I may not get much done 🙂 We are off to the doctor to get some drops. Yuck. Luckily, the sunset we caught this weekend can be relived.
Still thinking about this weekend when we some of our best friends came to visit. I had to have a ladies pic, but then of course…
What about men? 😉
Where do you find inspiration? What do you do when you need to focus?
Just wanted to take a quick minute to say, Happy Holidays from Santa Monica! This year has been a whirlwind of new beginnings. Kindergarten started in August — days after our oldest turned 5 and left some of her ‘little kid’ fears behind. Fear of ‘going fast’ on the ice. Fear of climbing monkey bars. Fear of leaving her friends from preschool to start Kindergarten at a new school with no familiar faces. Most fears handled with grace and of course, a sh*t ton of reluctance. Then came the holidays which were different too.
This year we drove the concept of giving during the holidays. While our oldest had a laundry list of items she hoped to receive, giving gifts was not top of mind. Why would it be for a 5-year-old? We decided to do a few things differently this year in hopes it might help her (and us) remember to fully give and experience this holiday season. Here’s 5 things we did to help make this Christmas memorable and fulfilling.
1.) #FitFam Activities. This year we took to hikes and ice skating. Hold loved ones tight and enjoy the night (while burning some calories) on the ice or the trails.
2.) The Spirit of Giving. We adopted a family this year! It was our first time doing this and I loved it. I enjoy that that enabled us to be able to provide gifts and meals for others and tool the focus off of ourselves. Harlowe loved helping me pick out warm clothes, shoes, socks and underwear for the kids. It was a reminder to me of what the holidays are truly about.
3.) Volunteering Your Time. The kids weren’t quite ready for this, but I volunteered at a Mission here in LA to feed the homeless. We fed 1,700 men, women and children. It was equal parts tough and rewarding and I couldn’t imagine the holiday season without this. The kids will come along when they are teenagers… I hope!
4.) Customize Your Advent Calendar. We had a DIY type of advent calendar that allowed for us to choose what each day brought and I was able to fill some days with activities like making cookies. In full disclosure, she seemed to still me more excited about small gifts received, but I like to think the activities were more memorable.
5.) Remember Time is Your Best Gift. Whether you can get away to volunteer or not, you may be able to slip away with just the immediate family to share some quality time. Draw, read or watch a favorite flick together just to realign and share a laugh. We love reading The Polar Express each night, but it will get old so share you favorites in the comments below.
Happy holidays you all and thank you for reading!
A few weeks ago I managed to talk the family in to sitting pretty for family photos. I really wanted to capture our family now that Gunnar is a little older. The last ones we took he was a wee little 9-week old! I can not believe he’s now almost 9 months old. Man, time flies. He’s grown SO much and is still the happiest baby ever. He laughs at just about everything, especially anything Harlowe does.
I LOVE the way these turned out. We took them at Santa Monica Pier about a mile from our house. Having a short drive for the kids is key. Besides that, I really dig the colors, memories and cotton candy. We did give Harlowe cotton candy for being such a good sport that day. Much deserved. I cannot recommend Karly (our photographer) enough. She had a wonderful temperament, a kindness and silliness that resonated with our kids, and a swift and focused management of the session. If you’re in LA, book Karly, stat! Not sponsored in any way — she’s just that marvelous.
Hi all! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. We’re going to celebrate by riding a roller coaster that Harlowe has been begging to try! I can’t wait. These photos are from yesterday hanging around the house. After coming back from an adult-only vacay, hanging out at the house and stealing snuggles was all I had on my mind. I hope I never forget these moments because they go by so quickly.
Speaking of quickly, now that Gunnar is a sturdy 8-month-old, I’ve started using some of the beauty products I avoided during pregnancy and his early months. Perfume was one of the things I missed most. Without it I felt not totally dressed like forgetting rings you wear every day.
I’ve talked about Pinrose before and am still a fan of their unique scents. Their Merry Maker perfume was specifically designed with new moms in mind and is safe, and calming, for babies! Studies have shown that infants can quickly learn to prefer certain scents if the smell is paired with cuddling, sooooo I guess Gunnar and I will be doing a ton of cuddling with Merry Maker. Seriously, get some for yourself or the mom in your life.
For grandma, I picked up Pinrose’s Gilded Fox at Sephora. It captures the essence of a bold, sexy bombshell… just what grandma needs. 🙂
Last week we went to Palm Springs — a strong finish to Harlowe’s Spring Break. We started in Arizona where we spent Easter weekend with friends and family. Palm Springs was really our first vacation as a family of four and I’m happy to say, it didn’t disappoint. We met some friends who have a daughter Harlowe’s age. The hotel we stayed at was the most kid-friendly resort imaginable. we’re talking ice-cream socials, Despicable Me 2 playing under the stars (we didn’t stay up late enough to make it to that) and three pools designed for the 4-foot and under crowd. Picture all the fun of Disneyland without all the walking. 🙂 I’m already planning our trip there next year. Now that I’ve got one trip under my wings there are a few things I would do differently and of course, a few I wouldn’t change.
^Gunnar wouldn’t change anything. He loves all the things.
^The pools weren’t heated and this lazy river was chilly! Harlowe found a warm spot barnacled to me so she didn’t mind. Temperature not withstanding, it was a great time. It’s really relaxing going around and around…and around. Harlowe wanted to go like a dozen times soooo…
^Sibling love. Is there anything sweeter?
^We went to King’s Highway for dinner and OMG, delicious. It’s kind of time-warpy going in there because everything is 1955-ish except the other diners who were total 2016 hipsters/musicians. I’m generalizing, but seriously, everyone there was super-cool.
^Parking lot at the Ace Hotel. Cool city.
^From the photo booth at King’s Highway. It took us a minute to get the timing right (see that embarrassing photo at the top left?), so we took another shot (on the right). Harlowe, our little Leo, wanted to take some on her own. Her shots are our favorite, hands down!
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! Just before the holiday, we took the kids ice-skating in Santa Monica. There is this adorable little corner in the middle of the city covered with ice and festive lights. It made feel like we were somewhere else entirely. Like, somewhere chilly. Harlowe was a total champ determined to skate, but refused to let go of my hand until there was hot chocolate.
^This is what it looked like from the outside. Isn’t it ridiculous? I mean, look at that sunset!