Hiroshima Osorakan Trail: DNF

One of my main goals since moving to Japan is to get back into ultra running. The landscape is beautiful here and I have a lot of time to train. Let me take that back. I have a lot of time to train on the roads while pushing my double stroller. Having two small children makes it difficult to duck off into the woods every morning for a trail run. Nonetheless, I have spent the last six months preparing for my first Japanese trail ultra marathon. I ran a lot of miles to prepare for this day and felt confident I would do well. A DNF (Did Not Finish) was definitely not in my plans. Continue reading

DIY Derby Hat

Did you just get invited to a Kentucky Derby Party, but have no clue what to wear? A big hat is a must or a bow tie if you are a fella. Don’t have a big hat? No problem! Here is a quick tutorial on how to make a fabulously simple KY derby hat to don at your party.

What’s the big deal with these hats anyways?

Originally women wore big, extravagant hats to declare their social status. Today women (and even men) carry out the tradition of Derby hats by making their own unique hat and adding their own twist. A lot of people view the elaborate hats as good luck charms.

Here is a simple DIY for making a fabulous Derby Hat:

Step 1: find a straw hat

Step 2: find your hot glue gun

Step 3: find a bunch of stuff to glue on hat. (For example: roses, other flowers, plastic horses, tissue paper pom-poms, etc)

Step 4: glue items to hat

Step 5: look fabulous wearing your new hat

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I found this hat and paper flowers at Daiso which is like a dollar store here in Japan.

Straw hat and paper pom-poms from Daiso

I opened the flowers and poked the wires through the straw hat to attach, then reinforced with hot glue.

Check me out! Now I’m ready for Derby!

Follow us on Instagram for more easy and fabulous Derby Party ideas!

5 Reasons to Let the Pinterest Mom do Her Thang

There’s a lot of snark and eye-rolling that can be found describing the mom who does everything oh-so Pinterest perfectly. As much as I love snark, I am not here to partake…this time. Oh no, I love the Pinterest moms! And that’s not just because I occasionally try my hand at a project or two.

Little Pookie Cupcakes

Pig cupcakes I created after perusing Pinterest.

Pinterest Moms make the world a better place. They put the time and effort into crafting and creating an experience for their kids’ birthdays and holidays. They’re making gorgeous, delicious cakes, themed DIY decor, over-the-top Easter Baskets. And that’s okay. It does not mean I have to meet them at every embellishment. Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Crafts

I have kind of ignored that Valentine’s Day is this week. My kids aren’t in school so I don’t have to worry about making Valentines for an entire class or this nonsense of decorating a box for them to receive cards in that I see other parents on Facebook fretting over. What happened to just collecting your cards in a brown paper bag? I feel pretty lucky that my kids don’t really know or understand holidays yet so if I want to pretend like one doesn’t exist they can’t call me out on it.

I’ve never really understood Valentine’s Day and the one time a boy did try to ask me to be his Valentine, I ratted him out to the teacher. Needless to say, no one ever tried to give me chocolates in my desk at school ever again. What can I say, I’m hard to love.

I wasn’t going to do anything to celebrate this year until I stumbled upon some super easy craft ideas that would be fun for my kids and keep them busy for at least a few minutes. So if you are feeling lazy and unmotivated like me, here is a list of ideas to get you and your kids in the Valentine’s Day spirit. Make some crafts and help your kids spread the love!

My little lefty coloring her Valentines

1) Free Geeky, Math-y, Science-y Printable Princess Awesome Valentines!

These Valentines are fun for boys and girls. All you need to do is print the sheet and dump out the box of crayons! #easypeasy

2) Heart Keepsake

We watch a lot of SigningTime videos in our house and practice sign language regularly, so these hand crafts are meaningful and cute! #doublewin

3) DIY Crayon Heart Valentines

These look super fun and a great way to recycle all the crayons my little one has snapped in half! #MilMBlog

Stitch Fix is a Mom’s Best Friend (plus other delivery services we love)

Before children, the idea of having a personal assistant seemed like some sort of unattainable dream; a frivolous luxury even. Now, with the variety of home delivery services and the reality of trying to accomplish a to-do list with two kids, having a sort-of personal assistant is actually very accessible.

From grocery shopping to planning date nights, the internet really does have it all. Here are some ways you can add a little personal assistance to your hectic life: Continue reading

Review: Baby University

I am a huge advocate for STEM education in my children’s lives. Research has shown that building a foundation for these skills early helps children to be successful in school and in life. I remember attending my first science camp in middle school and falling madly in love with research. This spurred me on to pursue a degree in chemistry. I naturally want my kids to also find science as interesting and exciting as I do. I try to nurture early STEM concepts and skills through daily routines and play. I leave the music and art nurturing to their father. He is more adept in the fine arts than I am.

“STEM” stands for science, technology, engineering and math. STEM
can refer to the subjects individually or one or more working together,
but can also mean a way of doing things that includes solving problems,
asking questions, and exploring the world around us.

Continue reading

When Mamas are Spread Too Thin

I’ll make this a quick post…

Mallory and I each have a list of things we’d like to write about on this blog. As you may have noticed, we haven’t been keeping up and those lists have been tossed, desperately, aside.

You see, the past few months we have been battling sick children who don’t like to sleep. Some of the time we’ve been sick ourselves and often we are both facing these challenges while our husbands are away.

Just letting the chaos and mess exist for a bit…luckily it can be cute sometimes.

By the time we’ve recovered, we usually just wanted to rest or catch up on this or that. Unfortunately “this or that” rarely ends up being the blog. (Please read on, as this post is not an admittance of defeat, but an attempt to hit the reset button.)

We have been spread much too thin to take-on all of the things we’d like to do. During this time, it’s been helpful to give ourselves permission to half-ass the house work, turn on the tv or tablet a bit more and to vent our woes to each other (after all, misery loves company).

Now that we’re both on our second kid, we find ourselves in a perpetual game of catch-up. But now I think it’s easier for us to admit we can’t do it all. I think we’re able to say, “I need a break,” and make it happen – even if it’s for as little as 5 minutes.

Luckily, being such good friends, we also keep each other accountable. Now that we’ve wallowed in our problems, it’s time to look ahead and give our blog some extra TLC and attention.

Stay with us, friends, and Happy New Year!

Gallbladder Surgery while Nursing

After experiencing some excruciating pain that felt like extreme heartburn, I was actually relieved to find out I just had gallstones. I thought I was dying. Apparently, pregnancy puts you at risk for developing them. The gallstones were too big to dissolve and not big enough to warrant immediate surgery, so opting for gallbladder removal was going to be totally up to me.

I sat on the idea for several days because my new baby boy was still only about 4 months old, so I was worried what effect the surgery would have on our nursing relationship and (since he was still so little) I worried that juggling him and my toddler while recovering would be impossible on my own. Continue reading

REVIEW: 4 Family Friendly Craft Books

As a result of some napping miracle, both of my babies fell asleep at the same time and I was able to look over these 4 amazingly-easy, family friendly craft books. I even made it halfway through a project before I heard that sweet sound of babies stirring in their cribs. I am not a crafty person by any means. I obsess over pins I find on Pinterest and dream about the day I can complete all the cute projects on my boards. I feel like there is a lot of pressure for moms, especially SAHMs to be crafty…as if we don’t have anything else to do. I always give it my best shot, but I’m definitely more of an Amazon Prime Mom than a Pinterest Mom. These books definitely make it easy for me to be sneakily crafty and add a little flare to some everyday things, like water bottles, name tags, training plans, etc. Continue reading

Must-have items for new moms

We have several new and expecting moms following our blog so we want to share with y’all our list of must-have items. These are the kinds of things that you’ll want around as soon as baby gets here. Items 1-8 are Mallory’s must-haves and 9-16 are Claire’s.
1. Baby carrier – I actually have three baby carriers; we like to baby wear in this family! My first child had reflux so it was necessary to wear her constantly to keep her happy and my hands free. The Boba wrap is perfect for keeping baby snug and wrapped tightly to your body. My husband and I prefer to use this carrier if we are wearing the baby around the house. I don’t feel as comfortable going out with this one on because it is not very supportive.

The Boba wrap is perfect for baby wearing around the house.

The Baby Bjorn baby carrier is great for going out. It’s lightweight, easy to put on and supports the baby close to your chest. We recently bought and fell in love with the Ergobaby 3-position carrier for our toddler because you can wear the child on your back like a backpack. If you are only going to get one carrier, I’d highly recommend this one because it will meet all your needs.

Wearing a toddler as a backpack using the Ergobaby carrier makes exploring a new country much easier!

2. Bob jogging stroller – if you like jogging or doing anything outdoorsy, I highly recommend paying the big bucks and investing in a Bob jogging stroller. They are amazing and worth every penny!

3. Oh joy! Diaper bag from Target – this diaper bag is a backpack, has stroller straps, and zips closed. The bag has several pockets and is very deep for lots of storage. I love it and get compliments everywhere I go! Claire’s had 2 diaper bags and doesn’t love either of them. She’s going to go buy one of these bags this week.

4. Love to Dream swaddle UP – this swaddle is fabulous and so easy to use. You just put the baby inside and zip it up. One problem I always had using a blanket to swaddle was that my LO would struggle until her arms were free. With the Love to Dream swaddle the arms are up in a patented wing position. My husband calls it a wingman suit for this reason. The babies look like skydivers. The 50/50 swaddle has zip-off wings to help baby transition out of swaddles. I unzipped one wing at first then after a few nights took off both wings. This made the whole process easy for mom and baby.

Love to Dream swaddle UP a.k.a. Wingman suit

5. Rock n Play Sleeper – these are the best to have in every room (just kidding I just pick mine up and move it into which ever room I am in). Great for bedtime, nap time, daytime and playtime. For me, it comes in handy after nursing. I can lay my LO down without worrying he will spit up because it is the perfect angle.

Big sister coming inside to check on baby brother every 5-minutes

6. Amazon Subscribe and Save – first off, if you don’t already have Amazon Prime membership please crawl out of your cave and get with the program. Amazon saves me so much time and effort. Subscribe and Save is even more amazing because I can create a monthly list of items that will be automatically delivered to me by a certain day. It even works in Japan! This is how I get all our diapers, wipes, diaper trash bags, and most importantly our K-pods.

7. Nose Frida – the grossest, most effective apparatus for extracting snot from a stopped up baby nose. It is somewhat satisfying watching all the baby’s snot fill the tube.

Using the Nose Frida…the patient is not always happy about you sucking snot out of their nose!

8. Tinybeans – best app to keep your family updated with daily photos without sharing your little ones face and life story with the whole World Wide Web. Read Claire’s article to find out why we love Tinybeans so much.

9. Pack n Play w/ Bassinet feature – This is one of the essentials to have ready when baby comes home from the hospital. You’re gonna want your newborn within arm’s reach the first few months, so setting up the pack n play right next to your bed is going to help you catch some z’s. When baby transitions to the crib, you can still keep your pack n play around to contain baby around the house and on trips.

10. My Brestfriend Pillow – This nursing pillow was recommended by the lactation consultant at our hospital. It buckles around your body for extra support and convenience. My love for it has grown since we’ve moved into a two-story house. I just clip it around my waist which gives me two free hands to carry baby (or extra snacks and water) to wherever I want to nurse him.

11. Keekaroo changer – while I was pregnant, I was learning the parenting ropes from a friend and this is the changer she had. At first I was put off by the price, but because you don’t need changing pad covers, it’s basically a wash. Just wipe down and done. I was satisfied by this purchase in the first week we brought our son home: I put him on the changer, took off his diaper and suddenly the Keekaroo was flooded with meconium! We kept trying to put on new diapers, but it just kept coming!

keekaroochangingpad.jpg

12. Two-in-One Swing – In my experience I’ve found two camps of moms: The Rock n Players or The Swingers. There are so many (what I call) “baby receptacles,” on the market it’s hard to know what to choose. You’ll definitely want something outside of the bedroom for setting down and soothing your babe. What works best for you is largely dependent on your baby’s personality, but for me, the practicality of the Graco 2-in-1 Swing won me over to the Swinger side. I loved that the swing seat is also a bouncer that can be removed and moved around the house. Such a space-saver!

2014-10-11 10.03.49

Probably the only time I strapped him in…

13. Bamboobies – reusable nursing pads! Yes! I will say, in the beginning, I still ended up using disposable nursing pads because I leaked so much that the reusable pads would just stay wet which is not good for your nips, but once my supply regulates, the reusable are all I really need.

14. White Noise machine – this was one of my “live and learn” purchases. As my first-born got older and more sensitive to his environment, sometimes the smallest creak would startle him awake. I finally got a white noise machine to drown out any startling noises. Today I have one in each of my boys’ rooms which has been especially useful for drowning out the incessant barking of the dogs.

15. Madela hand pump – I don’t pump often, but when I do it’s usually in the middle of the night to relieve engorgement. Getting a good double electric pump is great, but if you’re looking to avoid the whole production of getting connected to your electric pump, a hand pump can be used from the quiet comfort of your bed. Also great for throwing in your diaper bag or suitcase if you’re traveling.

16. Vibrating teether – Teething sucks. I have all kinds of teethers, but found that nothing provided sweet relief quite like the vibrating ones. The only problem with them is that little babies have trouble biting down on them to get them to vibrate. The one linked helped me solve that problem. I can let baby chew on one side and I’m still able to hold down the other side to keep it vibrating.