Thursday, March 23, 2017

Fun & Economical Travel Tips for Families

Being able to travel with family and to do so in fun, exciting and economical ways is something that is not always easy to do.  You probably love to get out on adventures as much as the next family does or plan a day trip on the weekends. A quick weekend excursion somewhere relatively close by is a great way to get in some extra rest and family bonding time.


When it comes to planning how you can get to your destination and how you can be as eco-conscious and economical on the way can be quite tricky, especially when traveling with little ones.

To that point, Rideshareapps, is a great way to introduce yourself to the benefits and advantages of sharing rides for travel. This is something to consider the next time you want to plan a quick weekend getaway with the family.

Regardless of how you get to where you are going, here are some eco-friendly travel tips that you can plan on for your next travel adventure with your family.

Travel Tips for Families
Bring stainless steel water bottles along for the ride. They are always a better idea than plastic water bottles, healthier, and of course better for the environment as you won’t be throwing them away and creating unnecessary waste.

Travel Light: Pack only as much as you really need. Pack clothing that can do double duty and that can easily transition from daywear to a night out for dinner at your destination. Often, many people tend to overpack for weekend getaways and trips because there is a concern that there won’t be enough clean clothes to go around, or perhaps weather could affect the way you pack.

Eliminate these fears by thinking logically. If there is anything that you are missing by the time you arrive to your destination, you can just buy a very inexpensive version of whatever it is that you feel you forgot.

You will also save money by packing less as you won’t have to pay extra for additional luggage at the airport. on having to pay for extra heavy luggage at the airport.

  1. Pack cloth or disposable diapers if you will have access to laundry services wherever you are traveling to. This will cut down on waste and of course is much more environmentally safe than traditional store bought diapers. Not to mention better for baby.
  2. Stay at Green Hotels-you can search for hotels that are committed to going green and who are socially responsible that are available at your destination of choice.
  3. Pack snacks-you will want to bring along healthy snacks like fruit, veggies, granola bars, homemade baby food, and any other snacks that your family loves for your trip. Not only will you be eating as healthy as you possibly can on the go you will avoid spending unnecessary money on expensive food items at travel rest stops or airports.
Currently,
Kelsie

Monday, March 20, 2017

Eli's Newborn Photos

I've only been a parent for a few weeks now, but I'm already realizing how precious these moments are with our little one. It's crazy to think that someday Eli won't let me snuggle and kiss him, so even when I'm tired or frustrated, I'm trying to take advantage of the sweet time I have with him right now. Babies grow in the blink of an eye, and I knew that I wanted to capture Eli in his early days so I could always look back and remember how small and sweet he was. (Read his birth story here if you haven't yet!) I know I'll always cherish these photos.

Newborn photos of our sweet little one.

When I was looking around for newborn photographers, I was so excited to find my friend Kelsey of Kelsey Alumbaugh Photography. Kelsey and I were sorority sisters back at Mizzou, and it was SO much fun having her come to our home to capture photos of Eli when he was only a couple of weeks old. Kelsey shared some of her favorite photos from the shoot on her blog, and I am so excited to share some of mine with you today. I am so happy with how they turned out, and think that they capture our little man's personality perfectly. 

Newborn photos of our sweet little one.  
 Newborn feet photo

Newborn photos of our sweet little one. In an attempt to capture Eli in some sleepy moments, I fed him right before Kelsey came. Of course, like all plans with babies, that backfired and Eli ended up more awake than ever. We did manage to get him to snooze for a few photos, but I actually love that these newborn shots capture his love for his hands, sticking his tongue out, and kicking his feet. He makes the silliest faces sometimes, and I couldn't love them (or him) more. 

Newborn photos of our sweet little one.


Newborn photos of our sweet little one.

Newborn photos of our sweet little one.
 
Newborn photos of our sweet little one.

After we got some newborn photos of baby E on his own, we headed up into his nursery for some lifestyle shots. (Check out Eli's Gender Neutral Nursery here!) I love how Kelsey captured our love for our sweet little boy, along with some candid moments of the three of us. Because what is parenthood without baby yawns, kisses, and some unexpected laughs?






Seeing Aaron be a daddy makes my heart melt. Eli doesn't even know how lucky he is to have him. One thing is for sure, I couldn't be more in love with my boys. I am enjoying every second, but also look forward to the days when Eli and Daddy do fun things together like Boy Scouts, working on cars, and of course getting into all sorts of fun trouble and teaming up against Mommy! Aren't they just the sweetest? Be still, my heart.



 


I'm so grateful that we will have these photos forever, to cherish and to look at and remember our little seven pound peanut and our time as a new family of three. I'm sure it will be fun to show them to him someday. You are prized and precious, sweet Eli. We love you so much, no matter what, and we always will. 

If you're looking for photos, be sure to check out Kelsey Alumbaugh Photography! She does an amazing job with babies, maternity, engagement, weddings, and more, and we are so happy with our shots of little Eli.
You can also follow along with her and her work on Facebook and Instagram! 

Currently,
Kelsie

If you'd like to check other pregnancy and motherhood posts on the blog, click here


Monday, March 13, 2017

Things to Leave Out of Your Diaper Bag

 While I'm out on blogging maternity leave, today's post is by Sydney of ConsumerSafety.org. She is sharing tips on a very fitting topic for me right now: diaper bag safety! 

Parents: We always want to do what’s best for our babies. After all, keeping these sweet bundles of joy safe, healthy, and happy is what we strive for as loving parents and caretakers. As a mom or dad, you’re probably aware of the grand selection of new products continuously claiming to be exactly what you need. In terms of safety, one would assume since an item was made for a delicate baby it must be harmless, right? Well, I hate to say it, but that’s far from the truth!


After doing much research, it has been determined that some common baby care products contain nasty, dangerous chemicals. Yikes. Don’t worry though- below is a list of ingredients you can be sure to avoid:

Propylene Glycol (PEG and PPG): Baby wipes (also found in your windshield wiper fluid!)
Triclosan: pacifiers, anything “antibacterial”
Bisphenol-A (BPA): The liquid inside teething rings
Talc: Baby powder
Fragrance (generally made of coal and petroleum derived synthetic chemicals): Disposable diapers, baby powder, baby wash and shampoo, lotions
Formaldehyde: Baby shampoo

While some of these dangers may seem self-explanatory such as Propylene Glycol, or PEG and PPG (cleaning your baby's bum with the same thing you use for cleaning your car windshield!), others still seem innocent and even helpful. Like Triclosan. Before knowing what I know now, I would have naturally chosen an antibacterial product over a non-antibacterial product. The tricky thing about Triclosan is it’s a carcinogenic endocrine disruptor (that’s a mouthful) that also happens to be harmful to the environment. Long story short, let your baby’s system create natural resistance and immunity without the antibacterial products.

Another complex product: Talc. Yes, that’s what’s in fresh-scented baby powder that’s used to treat diaper rash. Unfortunately, studies have found talc to be associated with ovarian cancer and was contaminated with asbestos years ago. Although the asbestos is no longer present in the products sold today, even asbestos-free talc may not be completely safe. To avoid any risk, use talc-free products that contain arrowroot, earth clays, cornstarch, or rice powder, such as Baby Bee's Dusting Powder or Honest Organic Baby Powder.

Now for the formaldehyde. It’s a known human carcinogen- an agent directly involved in causing cancer. Interestingly enough, formaldehyde may not be listed as an ingredient in your baby’s shampoo. So you think: “great, don’t have to worry!”. Well, not quite. Formaldehyde is a sneaky chemical and some products may contain formaldehyde “releasers”. Common ingredients likely to contaminate products with formaldehyde include: Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, Diazolidinyl urea. After some poking around, it looks like Dr. Bronner's Unscented Baby-Mild Pure Castile Soap is a solid choice. Grab it on your next Target run.

You can see that your baby is far better off with minimal intervention from several mainstream baby products. If you see one of these ingredients on your baby’s product, you can easily make a switch. Usually, you can find a decent variety at either your local health food store or just by searching Google. Don’t forget that not all products marked “natural” or “organic” are in fact wholly natural or organic. And when in doubt, double check with your pediatrician. In fact, they probably have some fantastic recommendations!


Sydney is passionate about keeping families safe. She researches and writes about important health topics for ConsumerSafety.org, where she focuses on women's and children's health, as well as food allergies.  I'm thankful for her tips and words today!

Currently,
Kelsie

Friday, March 10, 2017

How to Perfectly Place Your Furniture in Small Spaces

 While I'm out on blogging "maternity leave", today's post is from Ash. He gives some great tips on how to make the most of your small spaces. Check it out!

Renting or buying a place may not be for everyone, and it is not always easy to get a place with a large space. The bigger the space, the more it will cost.

To maximize your modern prefab home, it will take a lot of thought and moving around furniture until you get your ideal look and homey feel. It can be hard to fit everything in small spaces, especially if there are a few of you occupying the area.

But with these tricks, you’ll be like a kid again who’s excited to finally have accomplished maximizing the little space you have. You may need to do some new furniture shopping or if you already have some, might still need some arrangements so that you can fit everything perfectly.

Brighten Your Home with a Mirror 

Image Source
You’ve probably heard of this one or have at least come across the idea, but having a mirror, usually in the center of your wall, helps widen and brighten your room and make others feel like you have a bigger room. As soon as people step foot in your home, they’ll be in a good mood as they are greeted by the lights reflected from the mirror.

Take Advantage of Elevated Beds 

Image Source
Although this is pretty popular in rooms for teens or kids, as well as in dorms, an elevated bed can definitely maximize your space, as you have more room for storage, wardrobe, sofa, table, or whatever you wish to put under the bed. This means that you can add more to your room or have more space in it to do whatever you want.

Use Bright Colored Furniture

Image Source
Instead of using dark colored furniture, use bright colored pieces to make your space seem bigger and brighten up one’s mood. In fact, there’s even a list of which colors you can use for each mood.

Diagonally Place Your Furniture 

Image Source
A great trick to making your room look larger and more appealing is by placing your furniture diagonally. Keep in mind, though, to not place furniture near the doors to avoid having a cramped room.

Take Advantage of Multipurpose Furniture 

Image Source
There are so many ways to use furniture pieces, so maximizing such is a must. For instance, a coffee table can be used for eating, working, and storage. Afterward, you can simply put it back to its original size and tuck it in the corner or beside your sofa.

Maximize Shelves 

Image Source
Next time you buy a shelf or if you know anyone who can build one, make sure that there are a lot of drawers and shelves inside so you can place more items. Don’t waste a single space and just squeeze everything inside. This way, anything can be easily tucked inside, and you can really make the most of the space you have.

Use Sofa Beds Instead of Normal Beds 

Image Source
Since some beds can be transitioned into a sofa, consider these over normal beds for your small space. This furniture would make you say goodbye to useless furniture and make space for other items.

These are just a few of the tips you can use in your own space. Do you have any other tips in mind? Share it with us!

Ash Genete is a consultant for Revolution Precrafted. Aside from real estate, architecture and interior design, his interests include media, marketing, and pop culture. He's a Pokemon fan. If he's not writing blog posts and doing academic research, he's probably at the beach or on a mountaintop.

Currently,
Kelsie


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Eli's Birth Story

In case you haven't heard, Baby K is here, and HE is named Eli Robert Kleinmeyer! We welcomed Eli on Thursday, February 23rd at 4:08 pm, and we couldn't be more in love with him. I'm so excited to record his birth story, both for my own memory and for those of you who like to read these sort of things. Giving birth was the most incredible, challenging experience, and though it was originally one of the reasons I was afraid to have a baby, I look at him and know I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Sometimes I honestly can't believe that our little guy is here. Here's the story of how sweet little Eli came into this world! 

Birth Story

On Tuesday, February 21st, I texted Aaron at school and told him not to freak out, but that I was having some mild contractions about ten minutes apart. I was uncomfortable that day at school, with the contractions continuing throughout the day, but I had a doctor's appointment that afternoon so I wasn't too worried. At the appointment, it turns out I was at a 1.5 and was about 90% effaced already. We were excited, and my doctor told me that she would see me the next week if I didn't have the baby before then. I knew most first time moms were late, but I also knew that this little one had been head down and ready to go for quite some time.

Wednesday came and the contractions had stopped. We went to work as normal, but because of the Tuesday contractions, I was a little more aware of things we should be doing just because: installing the car seat, making sure stuff was somewhat in order at school, and having most of a hospital bag packed. Looking back now, it sure was a good thing we did! We went to church for our weekly Conversations dinner and shared our dating story with the Youth that night. Then, at around 11:40 pm, I woke up and told Aaron this was the real deal.

Birth Story

Aaron ran some water in the bathtub and I labored in there from 11:40 pm to about 2:20 am. Aaron recorded my contractions, which were about five minutes apart right away. I listened to my Pain with a Purpose labor playlist, Aaron timed and packed the hospital bag in between contractions, and we realized we were about to be parents! Once I'd been consistently at four minutes apart, we headed off to the hospital. 

I was measuring at a 3, but when they checked me again two hours later, I really hadn't progressed. The nurse said we could stay and they would check me again two hours later, or we could go home and come back. I hated the idea of getting back in the car for contractions (it's the worst!), and I didn't want to eat, but I also didn't want to be at the hospital forever. We'd also been up and I'd been laboring for about six and a half hours already, with basically no sleep the night before. We drove home and Aaron suggested that I call my mom to come to our house and sit with me while he took a quick nap so he could help me through the rest of labor. 



My mom showed up and was a complete champ. She really helped me breathe through my contractions and held my hand (which I kind of crushed hers with) for hours. She and Aaron timed me for a few more hours, and when I felt like I could push we knew it was time to head back to the hospital. The drive there was horrible, but I was already at a 7.5 once we arrived, and was at an 8 shortly after. Even though I had been terrified at the idea of getting an IV and all the other things I would have to do, I didn't even notice any of it in the moment. 

They checked my blood platelets, which had actually gone up a little- which meant that an epidural was an option. Again, I thought the idea of one would terrify me, but in the moment I had been laboring about 14 hours at this point and knew that I would still have to get to a 10 and then push as well. I hadn't committed fully to having an epidural or not, but both my doctor and Aaron thought it would be a good idea for me to relax a little and rest before pushing. I agreed, and it was the best decision I could ever have made (and wasn't freaky at all). A short while later, I was laughing and joking and asking, "Was that a contraction?" The smiling photo above was definitely after the epidural kicked in. I even had time to rest and listen to my music, knowing that our baby was only a few pushes away.



I was ready to push at about 3:15, and my nurse Michelle (who was absolutely incredible) told me that I was having this baby on her shift! Since I'd had a little rest from the epidural, I felt invigorated, strong, and ready to push Baby K out. My mom and Aaron helped me on each side, and everyone was so excited and encouraging that I just knew we were almost there. With one more push, our baby was born at 4:08 pm. Aaron got to tell me that it was a boy, and we told everyone that he was named Eli Robert. Both my mom and Aaron were able to capture some photos and video, and I love that we captured this most amazing moment. And yes, we all cried.

Eli's Birth Story

Eli was 7 pounds and 20.5 inches. He has long feet and a darker complexion like his mama. We are so in love with our little guy. We spent an hour together as a family of three, and then all of Eli's Grandparents, Uncles, and Great-Grandma came in to meet him. I got to eat my first meal, 54th Street of course, and just bask in the joy of knowing that we had a son! I'll never forget those first few moments of looking into his eyes.

Eli's Birth Story


Before we went up to the Mom and Baby Floor, we had to take a picture with our incredible nurse, Michelle. God was so good to us throughout this entire pregnancy, and Aaron and I truly felt that we had the best nurses, doctors, and staff around to help me bring little Eli into the world ten days early (and then figure out how to take care of him.) The Lord walked through my fears with me and helped them seem like nothing as this amazing team cared for me. I am so grateful for them all, and hope they are still around for our next baby- but I told them to give me a few years!


All in all, it was a very smooth birth. I felt accomplished that I got to an 8 without any pain medication of any kind, but I was also so grateful for the chance to rest and have a little relief from the epidural when the time came. People always say that once you hold your little baby in your arms, nothing else matters and you kind of forget the rest. I didn't really believe them, but it's true. I remember thinking "That wasn't so bad. I'd do it again." And I would.

Welcome to the world, sweet Eli. You are prized and precious. We love you so much, no matter what, and always will.

Eli's Birth Story

Currently,
Kelsie

For more pregnancy and motherhood posts, click here
Be sure to follow along with our journey on Instagram and Facebook!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Gender Neutral Nursery Reveal

With Baby K on the way in less than two weeks, I'm excited to announce that we are officially done with our gender neutral nursery! This sweet space started with dark oak trim and hot pink and green walls, and now it's just the right mix of pale gray, white, blue, and green with some pops of beige. Creating a gender neutral nursery was just as fun as I expected, and now we're all set for all of our babies, boy or girl! I'm so excited to be sharing our nursery with you today, and I hope you love it just as much as we do.

A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of pale gray, white, blue, and pale green.

For the room, we decided to go with calm, airy colors and a fun travel/adventure theme that really captured the heart of our dreams for our baby. Aaron and I love adventuring through life together, and have shared travels all around the world, and we have the same hopes for our sweet little one. In fact, we feel like them joining our world will be our greatest adventure yet (and I've tried to capture that in our room decor).

A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of pale gray, white, blue, and pale green.

A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of pale gray, white, blue, and pale green.

A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of pale gray, white, blue, and pale green.


A few years back, I painted the terrible neon pink and neon green walls of the room a dreamy color called Woodlawn Sterling Blue. I loved the mix between gray and blue, and found it very calming. Once I got pregnant, I did some hunting and pinning and just knew that I wanted to paint our trim in the room. (If you missed it, check out my original gender neutral nursery inspiration here.)

We have oak trim in all the other rooms of our house, but I was ready for a change in the nursery. We didn't use a pure white, but instead went with Oatlands Subtle Taupe, a color I had used in other rooms of our house to accent, and one that would more subtly transition into the rest of our house. Aaron also bought and finished a new door for the closet.


A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of pale gray, white, blue, and green.

From there, we took the old dresser/changing table from when I was a baby and painted it the same color as the trim. We also bought some (new to us) blinds from our local ReStore that matched the trim just perfectly. Although we had originally planned for Aaron to possibly build our crib, we found an INCREDIBLE deal at Nebraska Furniture Mart in the clearance center. Everything with the crib was structurally sound, and so we brought home this dreamy gray Serta beauty that we would never have purchased for full price.

A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of pale gray, white, blue, and green.

 A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of pale gray, white, blue, and green.

We brought in the nightstand we already had from Nebraska Furniture Mart (clearance center again), and I picked out this fun lamp from the same store after much deliberation! I wasn't sure about it at first, but I really love the way it brings in the burlap texture, which I then continued throughout the room in small doses of decor.

A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of burlap, pale gray, white, blue, and green.

 A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of burlap, pale gray, white, blue, and green.

This glider/recliner in Dolphin Gray was our big splurge in the room, and I love it so much! I just knew that I would be spending a ton of time in it, so I wanted it to be super comfy. With limited space in the room, we also thought that a recliner would be worth the extra money, instead of going with a chair and ottoman. It's so soft and fabulous and I can't wait to snuggle our little one in it. Our crib skirt, the arrow, and the small IKEA containers all bring in pale pops of green throughout the room that tie in with the map idea and also bring a feminine touch in case Baby K ends up being a girl.

A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of burlap, pale gray, white, blue, and green.

Rounding out the decor for our travel and adventure theme was SO much fun. I found this cute "Adventure Awaits" sign at TJ Maxx, along with a cute little globe, and those were actually the first two purchases I made for the entire room. From there, I did a lot of planning and dreaming before finally figuring out what I wanted. I loved this Burlap Mail Organizer from Kohl's, and thought it would be perfect to hold a few diapers above our changing area. I also loved the burlap and plan to put up fun photos of our adventures with Baby K.

A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of burlap, pale gray, white, blue, and green.

The other two gallery wall items are a fun Kansas City print that we won in a Christmas Gift Exchange (representing home), and a painting that we bought on the street while we were in Greece this summer (and I was newly pregnant). After much debate, I finally landed on curtains from Walmart in a pretty pale blue/green color called Spa.

A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of burlap, pale gray, white, blue, and green.

For the area behind the crib, I wanted something light and bright and map-related. I looked and looked but didn't find anything I really loved until I saw a multi-canvas map on the Kohl's website. It was kind of pricey, so I sent the link to my incredibly-talented hubby, and he made it on wood and painted it for me. What a winner, huh? I like to say that he can always tell our baby that he gave them the world.

A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of burlap, pale gray, white, blue, and green.

 A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of burlap, pale gray, white, blue, and green.

Aaron also made the arrows around the room, my brother and his girlfriend made us the super cute cloud mobile for me for Christmas, and a sweet YoungLife girl painted us the "You are Our Greatest Adventure" canvas. I love that so much of our room is decorated with meaningful, handmade items specifically created with Baby K in mind!

A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of burlap, pale gray, white, blue, and green.

 A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of burlap, pale gray, white, blue, and green.

A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of burlap, pale gray, white, blue, and green.

All in all, I love this space and am so excited for all of the hours I'll spend with our sweet little one (and future babies after that). It's just the right mix of airy and light, and I love thinking about all of the adventures to come with Baby K- adventures that are even better than those we've had before!

Here's a summary of the items in our nursery: 
Crib: Serta Fernwood Convertible in Gray
Glider/Recliner: TRYP in Dolphin Gray 
Curtains: Calix Fashion Window Curtain, Set of Two in Spa from Walmart
Lamp: Nebraska Furniture Mart
Crib Skirt: American Baby Company in Celery
Fitted Sheet: Target
"Adventure Awaits" Wall Hanging: TJ Maxx
Burlap Mail Organizer: Kohl's 
World Map Canvases, "Greatest Adventure" Sign, Arrows, Cloud Mobile: Custom Made 

Currently,
Kelsie

A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of burlap, pale gray, white, blue, and green.

Are you following along on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook? Be sure to join us for more home decor ideas, posts, and to meet Baby K! 

A travel and adventure-inspired gender neutral nursery with pops of burlap, pale gray, white, blue, and green.