Toddler

Adventures in Parenthood // I Have a Toddler

Oh, my heart. A few weeks ago Henry took his first steps. We had been working on it with him, helping him go from crawling to walking holding both hands…

Toddler

Oh, my heart. A few weeks ago Henry took his first steps. We had been working on it with him, helping him go from crawling to walking holding both hands to walking holding one hand and finally we were playing in the living room one night and Ryan said “Walk to Mommy!” And he just… did. And my heart twisted in a new way that I haven’t felt yet because my baby is now a toddler.

How do these days pass? Days and then weeks and then months and milestones and years? I have never wished one moment away, even the ones in the middle of the night where your legs give out because you fell asleep standing up trying to shush the kid to sleep. Not even the ones where you’re covered in puke for the third time that week. Or the ones where the kid doesn’t even want you because he’s into Dad that week. But despite not wishing those moments away, they fly just as quickly as the happy moments and they fall away and every day the baby marches farther away from being a baby and closer to being a kid/teenager/adult.

I remember the first few weeks of having Hanky home — I was a postpartum mess. I would look at him and feel these scary waves of love that I couldn’t control and didn’t know how to deal with and the only way they could make it out of me was to cry like an idiot. So there were some tears. And then after a few weeks I could feel the fog lifting and I felt more like myself. But it wasn’t like the love subsided; it was more like I learned how to manage it. Like learning how to surf. You’re never gonna turn the wave the way you want it so you just ride it out and enjoy. And now that he’s older, every time he hits a milestone or learns something new or looks at me and touches my face, I feel those same waves and just try to ride it out.

I imagined him taking his first steps a dozen times. But never once did I imagine how I would feel about it. Turns out, the overwhelming feeling was pride. Pride?! Never would have guessed. But here’s this tiny person, and I was the first one in the world to touch him, and he’s ours, and we watched him learn to breathe and eat and drink, and now he’s figured out how to put one foot in front of the other. And I was just so proud of him that he was brave enough to try and fall and try again.

And now? Now we have a kid who runs around and tears apart our cabinets and looks at us with total unbridled joy that he found the bag of tortilla chips. Mom!!! Look at these chiiiips!!! At least, that’s what I imagine he’s saying. So we clean it up and make another mess and learn another thing or two every day. And I have a toddler. xoxo

Fighting in Marriage

Married Life // Fighting

I just asked Ryan what the next Married Life post should be about and without even a split-second hesitation, he said, “FIGHTING.” We may or may not have had a…

Fighting in Marriage

I just asked Ryan what the next Married Life post should be about and without even a split-second hesitation, he said, “FIGHTING.” We may or may not have had a doozy yesterday. We were shooting some video content for the blog and we had differing creative ideas and all of a sudden we found ourselves in the midst of a flared-nostril, crossed-arm staring contest and we had both dug in our heels so hard I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen next. I have what you might call a bit of a stubborn streak. And a temper to beat the band. I just don’t usually show it to anybody but Ryan. Lucky fellow.

So I’m sure you’re dying to know what happened next. I made a joke to try to diffuse the situation, which made him madder, which made me re-mad, so I stormed out and went and flung myself on our bed and scrolled through Instagram until my blood stopped boiling. (No joke.) After that I came back in and said I was sorry for the mean things I said, and he said nothing back, which made me mad AGAIN, and then he backpedaled and apologized too and the rest of the day was a kind of bumpy dance where we both were mad but didn’t want to be mad so we just kind of made it through the day. By evening we were making fun of ourselves for being idiots because neither of us could really pinpoint how the fight actually started.

Sometimes I feel like a jerk because if Ryan and I never wanted to fight, we wouldn’t have to. Fundamentally, we have nothing wrong (which I know is a major blessing). We’re on the same page about kids, money, work, family, religion, all that major stuff. When we fight, it’s about completely dumb stuff. Like whether the camera should be at this angle or that angle. Or who has to pick the lunch place this time. If that’s not first world problems I don’t know what is. But despite all that, I maintain that occasional fighting can be healthy for a relationship. Because usually it’s not about the thing that’s actually happening, it’s about what’s underneath, right? If I had to guess, our fight over “creative differences” actually had to do more with me thinking he might not like my ideas or that maybe I’m a total hack and have no good creative ideas to begin with. Or with him thinking that he always just tries to help and I don’t let him help. Or the fact that we both really love to be right, to a fault. Or something similarly deep and uncomfortable to talk about because they’re more serious issues. So really, if you can be honest with yourself and search for what’s way down deep underneath the anger, a fight can be an opportunity to be better as a person and as a couple. (That is, if you can stop the steam from coming out of your ears for long enough to see what’s really going on. Which is not my strong point.)

Do you fight with your partner? What are your hot-button issues? I’m not talking pet-peeve type of stuff, I’m talking about what really gets you into a war zone. How do you get out of a fight once you’re in it? xoxo

P.S. More talk about our marriage!

behindthescenes

Behind the Scenes // Photo Outtakes

This post has been DYING to happen for years, y’all. And Mr. Lovely officially gave me the go-ahead, so I’m pretty excited (for lack of a better word?) to share…

behindthescenes

This post has been DYING to happen for years, y’all. And Mr. Lovely officially gave me the go-ahead, so I’m pretty excited (for lack of a better word?) to share with you some of the best behind the scenes photos you’re gonna see, possibly ever. Because we work side by side day in and day out, we often help each other out with projects. I’m still a one-woman team at Lovely Indeed for the most part, which means we usually take all our own photos. Of the two of us, I’m a better photographer, so usually I’ll put the camera on the right settings and set a shot, then Ryan will hop behind the camera and actually take photos of my or my hands or whatever. But while I’m setting the shot, I need a subject, so Ryan stands in… Do you see where I’m going with this? I have the most magnificent collection of terrible, hilarious photos of my husband waiting for me to test shoot and I’m sorry but they are just begging to be shared. Let’s just get right to it, shall we? I took the liberty of pairing Ryan’s test shot alongside the final shot, just for funsies.

Sometimes, they’re not so bad, right?

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And then sometimes they just kind of look like bad cellphone photos.

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Sometimes he realllllllly doesn’t want to be doing whatever it is that we’re doing.

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And then sometimes he really gets into it.

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Behind the Scenes

I am sitting here dying laughing while I write this post! Come on, if you’re a blogger with a husband you KNOW you have similar photos. Or if not, hopefully you’ve had a laugh at my husband’s expense today. Don’t worry, he can take it. xoxo

Married Life

Top Five // Married Life

It’s time to play the greatest hits game! In honor of Lovely Indeed’s 5th birthday, I thought it would be a blast to go back and recap our Top Five…

Married Life

It’s time to play the greatest hits game! In honor of Lovely Indeed’s 5th birthday, I thought it would be a blast to go back and recap our Top Five posts in a few different categories. Up today, we’re sharing our top five Married Life posts. As it turns out, you guys loooove to talk about boys. Married, dating, single, it doesn’t matter. I just love hearing from you in the comment sections of these posts because you’re all so thoughtful (and totally hilarious). If you missed any of these, check them out and don’t forget to scroll through the comments for some extra juicy stuff. xoxo

Married Life // The Pet Peeves
Married Life // Honey I’m Home
Married Life // Kids
Married Life // Traveling Together
Married Life // Goals

Marriage Tips Year Four

Married Life // Tips for Year Four

This is one of my favorite annual posts! Each year around our anniversary Ryan and I put our heads together and talk about the stuff we learned that year. Some…

Marriage Tips Year Four

This is one of my favorite annual posts! Each year around our anniversary Ryan and I put our heads together and talk about the stuff we learned that year. Some of it is stupid and small and some of it is big and has shaped the way our marriage looks. But all of it is awesome. (See links to years 1-3 down below!) This year had some major stuff going on for us — we tackled pretty much every major change you can think of, from moving to babies to jobs and more. But looking back, I also feel like we’ve grown this year more than ever before, and I feel like a different person than I was a year ago. In a great way. So if you’re into that kind of thing, read on for our biggest tips and takeaways on year four of marriage.

Don’t Push a Big Decision. In our last year of marriage, we’ve moved houses, cities, and had a baby. No small stuff. Just big stuff. And each of those big things seemed like they would be a gut-wrenching decision, but they weren’t. Somehow, when the time was right to make a big decision, we just knew it. It felt right. And I think it’s because we didn’t push on trying to make up our minds about a big thing before it was time. One day, we just looked at each other and said, “You ready to move?” “Yup.” I think if, as a pair, you allow life to take its course, it’ll be a lot less stressful when the time comes to make a life change.

Live and Let Live. Now that we’re settling into marriage, we’re finding that it’s imperative to let each other be as we are. Here’s an example. I like to get up at 5:30 and go to the gym so that I can start my day all revved up. Ryan likes to sleep until about 7:30 (which, in parent time, might as well be afternoon). At first I would get so frustrated because that meant that I would be on morning baby duty and have to get my work day started. So he tried to get up earlier, but it was a dismal failure. He’s just not a morning person. His evening game is strong, and mine is not. So I’ve learned to honor the fact that he needs a couple of extra hours of sleep in the morning to be his best self. And when he wakes up, he’s ready to go. I could bang my head against a wall trying to get him up at 6 am but none of us would be better for it.

It Takes Two. Especially — especially — where parenting is concerned. Do not make the mistake of trying to take on the world by yourself. If you have a partner, for crying out loud depend on each other. And be dependable in return.

Know Your Strengths. Truth bomb: Ryan sucks at cleaning the kitchen. When he tries, he leaves a trail of smeared countertops and half cleaned dishes in his wake. But also, I totally suck at stuff like emptying the diaper pail. (Somehow I bust the bag open every time.) So he empties the diaper pail and I clean the kitchen. You’ve gotta know your strengths and play to them. Give in to it, or it’ll be years of trying to fit square pegs in round holes.

Be Love. Once you’re a few years in and the honeymoon is over and you’re down in the trenches of marriage with broken garbage disposals and crying babies, it’s not uncommon for 5 pm to roll around and suddenly you realize you’ve barely even looked at your spouse. Ryan and I have never been into grand sweeping gestures of romance, but what we are into are the tiny things, day in and day out, that all weave together to make a wonderful relationship. Instead of trying to be romantic, try to be love. Infuse love into everything that you do for each other and with each other; it takes no more time to perform an act out of love than it does to perform it out of habit or grudgingly. Each thing I do around the house, I do it knowing in my heart that it’s for the betterment of my husband (and my son) and our life together. And I swear you can feel that in a marriage.

So that’s year four, gang. Do any of these ring true with you? In my mind, it doesn’t just apply to spouses, either — I think all of these can apply to marriages, friendships, and everything in between. If you have any of your own tips or thoughts that you keep close to your heart, share ’em in the comments! I’d love to know. xoxo

P.S. Year One. Year Two. Year Three.

 

Wedding First Dance

Anniversary

Four years, three cities, two coasts, one baby, and about twenty gazillion perfect memories. I feel infinitely older than I did four years ago today when I married this guy,…

Wedding First Dance

Four years, three cities, two coasts, one baby, and about twenty gazillion perfect memories. I feel infinitely older than I did four years ago today when I married this guy, but also infinitely better for being his wife. I have no idea how we got so lucky, honey.

We’re off on our annual anniversary trip — in Tulum, finally! And this year we get to spend it with little dude. Follow along over on Instagram for lots of #lovelyindeedtravels photos, and come back next week because I’ve got a whole mess of good stuff lined up while we’re away! xoxo

Married Life // Making Friends

Married Life // Making Friends

It’s so easy to make friends when you’re little. Right? I mean, you just go up to the closest foursquare court on the playground and ask to play next. Then…

Married Life // Making Friends

It’s so easy to make friends when you’re little. Right? I mean, you just go up to the closest foursquare court on the playground and ask to play next. Then you grow up a little more and in college you’re tossed in with everybody else in your major and you have a built-in social group. But what about after school is over and you get married and you’re in the real world? How do you find friends?

Mr. Lovely and I are pals. I mean, best buddies. And it’s so amazing to be married to your best friend and get to be friends and be in love. Really, it’s insanely wonderful. We come as a pair and love to spend time together. But also, I think it’s healthy for the two people in a relationship to have outside activities and especially outside friends. I think we all need a network of support that should extend beyond our significant others, yeah?

Our situation is a little weird, in that we’ve tackled two major moves during our marriage, from NYC to LA and now to Central California. And each time, we left behind a group of friends that we were incredibly sad to part with. So now we’ve got plenty of friends, but they just happen to be scattered all over the United States. And in our new town, we’re finding that as a married couple with a little dude it’s not as easy to find pals as it was when we were young and footloose and fancy free. Also, I think that the older you get, the fewer people there are in your age demographic who are open to new friendships. Lots of people our age who live in town are kind of set for friends, they have a routine, and there’s just not a lot of room for adding more to the mix. Which I totally understand. So where the heck do you make friends?!

We’ve literally started hitting on people to be our friends while we’re out in the world. No joke, we spotted a couple in our favorite taqueria with a baby who looked similar in age to Henry, and we walked right up and asked if they ever wanted to hang out. Now they’re some of our good buddies. But putting yourself out there like that can be intimidating and tiring, and it’s easy to just fall back into the insular routine of hanging out with your spouse or partner because it’s the path of least resistance.

Nevertheless, we’re always striving to meet new people; not just to have things to do, but because people are awesome. Every time I meet someone new I am grateful to have another person and point of view to broaden my world a little bit. So I’d love to know your take on this one! Have you experienced the same thing? Where do you meet new friends as a grownup? xoxo

Mom and Baby Pink Wall

Adventures in Parenthood // Getting Sick

Everybody right this second please knock on a million pieces of wood for me, because I’m about to say something dicey. Up to now, Henry hasn’t really ever been sick….

Mom and Baby Pink Wall

Everybody right this second please knock on a million pieces of wood for me, because I’m about to say something dicey. Up to now, Henry hasn’t really ever been sick. Knockonwood. He had some tummy troubles with dairy but that was more an intolerance than an illness, and those days are long gone anyway. So we haven’t ever really dealt with a baby who had a fever or a cold or any of that.

What we have dealt with is trying to be a parent to said baby when we ourselves were sick. And not just any old sick, but knocking on death’s door, head over the toilet, literally can’t move a muscle sick. And that, my friends, straight up sucks.

You know how when you’re sick, all you want is your mom? At least that’s all I want. I want a cold rag on my forehead and saltines and my mom to tell me everything is going to be okay. But when you are the mom and you get knocked out, you kind of don’t have any choice but to just keep going. Cold rag and saltines be damned. I mean, it’s not like the kid is gonna say, “Oh I’m sorry you’re sick Mommy and Daddy! Don’t worry about me, I’ll just change my own diapers and feed and play with myself today.” We were pretty lucky this time — Ryan’s worst day was Monday and mine was Tuesday, so we sort of were able to tag team. But even so, I almost don’t even have any recollection of what actually happened on those two days. I mean, we all made it out alive (including Henry) so something must have gone right, but it’s like a black spot in my memory. Oh! And don’t even get me started about breastfeeding with the stomach flu. You haven’t lived until you’ve been trapped underneath a feeding baby and suddenly have the need to toss your cookies.

Anyway! Chalk this one up to good ol’ Chelsea keeping it real just in case any of you are thinking of becoming parents and you want some real talk. Add it to the “Things They Never Tell You” list and file it away for a rainy day! Oh, and you’ll be happy to know, we’re all much better now and Ryan and I both lost three pounds. So there, flu. xoxo

Pet Peeves in Marriage

Married Life // Pet Peeves Deux

Let’s be clear. I love my husband. I mean, loooooove. Crazy about the guy. And he’s, like, the best. As we speak, he’s outside mowing our lawn after having worked a…

Pet Peeves in Marriage

Let’s be clear. I love my husband. I mean, loooooove. Crazy about the guy. And he’s, like, the best. As we speak, he’s outside mowing our lawn after having worked a full day and watched Henry for a few hours so I could get some work done too. He’s a champ.

How-to-the-ever, you know that even in the most magnificent of relationships there are these leeeeeetle tiny things that just get under your skin. I’ve talked about it before right here, which was pretty cathartic and even more hilarious to read your responses. Lately Mr. Lovely and I have been a bit on edge, just with figuring out work schedules and baby schedules and life schedules, and when you’re on edge the little things that get under your skin can seem huge. So we decided to laugh about it instead of going crazy over it, and share it with you here. I present, in no particular order, the things my husband does that drive me promptly up the wall.

He holds his breath after he sneezes for, like, 20 seconds. It’s weird.
He pulls his t-shirts off inside out before he puts them in the laundry so I have to turn every single t-shirt right side out when I fold.
He walks just slightly faster than I do so I’m always a half step behind him.
Dirty dishes on the counter. Does it take that much longer to just put it in the dishwasher?!
He eats ice cream so. loudly. But just ice cream. Still haven’t figured out why.

And because it just wouldn’t be right to not let him have his say, here’s what I do that makes him crazy.

I pick at my nail polish. It totally grosses him out.
My hair is still shedding post-baby, and somehow it always ends up wrapped around Henry’s fingers or in his mouth. (To be fair, that one drives me crazy too. How do you stop it?!)
When he asks what I want for dinner the answer is always, “I dunno, what are the options?”
After I get out of the shower, I leave the showerhead pointed in such a way that it sprays his feet when he turns the shower on the next time.

I have to know if we’re normal! Leave a comment and tell me the weird things your spouse or partner does that just make ya nuts. xoxo

gummy bears

Married Life // Birthdays

Now that we’re old married people, I almost can’t even remember how we used to celebrate each other’s birthdays when we started dating. Oh wait! Yes I do. We were living…

gummy bears

Now that we’re old married people, I almost can’t even remember how we used to celebrate each other’s birthdays when we started dating. Oh wait! Yes I do. We were living in NYC and every birthday was a shindig out at a bar or restaurant, where whoever’s birthday it wasn’t did all the planning and inviting and paying for drinks. I remember one year my birthday there was this huge snowstorm in the city and I was so stressed and sad because I thought no one would venture out in that weather. Mr. Lovely did lots of calling and texting and put together one of my favorite parties ever. Now that I look back, that sounds exhausting. Ha!

It’s not that I don’t like to hang out with bunches of people any more. And having a big party can definitely be fun. But now that we’re in it for the long haul and we’ll (hopefully) be celebrating a whole mess of birthdays together, my preference in the way that we celebrate has totally changed. What did we do for this last birthday for instance? My two guys took me to lunch at Chipotle (that guac tho) and to Trader Joe’s to get my favorite gummy bears on earth. We had family taco night, and then spent a day in San Francisco a few days later. Nothing fancy, just little adventures with the people that I love most.

We hardly even do gifts any more, which is actually kind of a relief. Mr. Lovely surprised me with a couple of vinyl albums that I had been wanting and we called it a very successful day. (He didn’t wrap them — I came out into the living room in the morning and they were leaning against the tv. Ha.) So. This is my question for you guys. Have we lost the romance and excitement? Or is it kind of expected that after a while you don’t need a whole fanfare for birthdays? I mean, I guess where we’ve settled is a celebration in a smaller way — a way where a taco bar with your family is really all you need in the world.

So leave a comment: How do you celebrate birthdays with your boo?! (Ha. I said boo.) xoxo

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Married Life // Looking Good

Before we start, can we just acknowledge that we looked like absolute children on our wedding day? Geez when did I get so old?! Something tells me this one might…

wedding-car-palm-trees-bride-groom

Before we start, can we just acknowledge that we looked like absolute children on our wedding day? Geez when did I get so old?!

Something tells me this one might get some strong opinions in the comments, and I’m all for that. But it’s been on my mind lately so I want to know your thoughts. Here’s the deal. I’m pretty sure Mr. Lovely would love me regardless of the way that I look. Fat, thin, bald, cross-eyed — whatever. And vice versa. I would love him if all of his teeth fell out and he singed his eyebrows off in a terrible grilling accident. For sure.

But! Here I am, post baby, scrapping to get my body back the way that I like it. And one hundred percent truthfully, I am working out and watching what I eat because I want to. I feel better when I’m healthy and keeping it right. But also, it’s a fact that I want my husband to think I’m looking good. I guess my question for you guys is this: Do you think we owe it to our spouses to try to keep looking as fly as we did on our wedding day?

My answer is a wholehearted yes. And that’s where I think I might rile some people up. Of course we should all love each other regardless of our outer appearance. Of course. But also, I feel like when I’m working on my health and fitness it’s also a gift I’m giving Mr. Lovely. The gift of self care, and the fact that it makes me feel better. The fact that when I do my makeup or hair or actually put on clothes, I feel like a better, stronger, more on-top-of-it version of myself. And what’s wrong with feeling that way, and giving that as a gift to the person you married?

Do you know that song, Wives and Lovers? It’s so antiquated and kind of crazy. The first lyrics are, “Hey, little girl, comb your hair, fix your makeup. Soon he will open the door. Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger you needn’t try any more.” What?! Crazy, right? I remember being in high school and listening to that song and being pissed. Because, ya know, feminism and all that. But now I kiiiiind of get what Burt Bacharach was saying (in a really misguided way). It’s so easy to get married and have a baby and forget to wash your hair one day and suddenly you don’t wear anything but sweatpants and you find yourself looking in the mirror like “Who is this?!” And not that I’m afraid that if I wear sweatpants Mr. Lovely is going to go running to the arms of another woman, but doesn’t he deserve a cute outfit and some lip gloss every once in a while?

Maybe I’m not expressing myself very clearly here. It feels kind of jumbled. And here’s hoping I haven’t alienated all of you lovely feminists out there. But hopefully some of you are picking up what I’m putting down. And of course I’d love to hear your opinion! If you’re in a long term relationship, do you find it important to maintain your looks for your honey? xoxo