here a few (or perhaps a bit more than a few) photos from our vacation to north carolina last week – we saw some six or seven dolphins leading our ferry on the way to the island, kayaked into the bay, swam with schools of fish while finding conch shells, and left fully refreshed and ready to take on the new season.
it isnt “hump day”, theres no “tgif”, no “ugh, its monday”. thursday- seemingly unimportant. we woke slow to tea during breakfast, none of us clothed except for oliver wearing yesterdays shirt. remnants of our time together with friends the night before were skewed all over the house including my camera which, as we now have two wild and on the move kids, has sat in my camera bag for far too long. i fear oliver will grab it while i’m not looking, breaking a lens. or that maribelle will crawl to it (because guys, shes beginning to do the scoot crawl and i’m just not ready for it) and use it as her own personal teether. but today, on a thursday with nothing to but exist, i dusted off that beautiful canon and shot a few frames. and gosh, i will treasure them so dearly.
a spontaneous visit to our friend helen and her family was just what we needed this weekend. after deciding against a trip to massachusetts with the kids at an age they wont remember anything, we traveled 12 hours to stay the weekend in kentucky. the kids were AWESOME during both the trip there and the trip back. seriously, all fear of travel with these two is now gone. praise the lord!
leaving at around 4:30 am, we were up early enough to watch the sunrise. steve and i love to leave for roadtrips early in the am – the excitement of the dew morning air mixed with mcdonalds breakfast sandwiches is incomparable. the kids slept most of the way there since theyre usually late risers, and when they woke they were all smiles.
lunch was tiny burgers at a restaurant thats gift shop consisted of a james dean purse, bunny ears (in july, mind you), holographic dolphin posters, and “hillbilly cookbooks” — wuddup south. around seven we finally arrived in kentucky at what was supposed to be our first stop. musty, dusty, and yucky – it was so sad to see such a great piece of americana history going to junk. this has been long on our must-see list, so not all was lost. and clearly, oliver was enjoying his time finally out of the car!
the next morning, we got more tiny burgers (our area doesnt have whitecastle, so we took full advantage) and headed to the park with helen and her son gabe. ollie and gabe followed each other, poked each others bellies, and took each others sippy cups. yaknow, baby stuff. ; )
onward to downtown louisville where we crossed half of the walking bridge to indiana. the heat was brutal and the babies were a-sweatin, so we roamed the city for iced tea at heine bro coffee co, and found fair trade baskets for insanely inexpensive. we also got maribelle this quilt that youre going to be get tired of seeing because i’m obsessed.
the next day we spent just the four of us – steve and i with the kids. we ate at a farm to table restaurant and got their duck fat popcorn to go, heading back to the walking bridge to get some wiggles out. maribelle sunbathed while oliver ran around in circles making himself dizzy. the view one direction was indiana over the water, and the other was the skyline of lousiville. it was pretty much perfect.
bonfires, friends, and goodbyes. staying with helens family was the definition of hospitable. if they were a bed and breakfast, i’m pretty sure they’d make a killing. we had so much fun spending time with them and their friends, catching up, and sightseeing a bit. steve and helens husband adam shot off bows, talked hunting, and race cars, while helen and i talked motherhood, home stuff, and Gods love. this trip was so refreshing for all of us, and we’re dang excited to go back soon.
a few tips we aquired while traveling with two under two:
– snacks. seriously, all the snacks. on the daily, we try to not encourage snacking for oliver, but with a 12 hour trip whatever worked, we went with. pretty much at all times on the way there and the way back we kept a snack container filled with bunny grahms or puffs.
– water jugs. we brought along three, using the for cleaning things out (ex: sippies used for milk, and then rinsed for water) we also used the water for drinking to save on bottled water along the way.
– location location location. we organized the car where everything we could need was within reach to minimize unnecessary stops. diaper bag stocked was between the kids, as well as blankets and an extra burp cloth. snacks and tissues were on the floor of the backseat between the seats for easy grabbing. a small first aid kit in the glove compartment and phone chargers on hand. we stopped about four times each way, using those stops for nursing, bathroom, food and running time for oliver all at once.
– if youre kids use binkies (both of ours do) invest in a binky clip. we used ours from nomilude for both of the kids so they werent able to throw them somewhere out of reach, thus resulting in an extra stop. this was a big one for us because oliver just loves to toss his binky willy nilly, and fusses soon after.
– steal kisses. i think this is the most important tip of all. kiss that husband of yours. hold his hand. comment on how good hes taking those winding roads like a pro. its easy to get distracted by the stress of bringing the kids along for a lengthy trip, but its still your trip as well. enjoy it. xx
what I’m liking so much about blogging is the lack of commitment. now hear me out- it’s not so much laziness as it sounds. It’s the fact that nine times out of ten, there is no set deadline for a post- that I can say “yaknow, Id really like to watch a movie with Steve instead tonight” or “Oliver and MariBelle are playing together so sweet tonight and Id be darn if I missed it.” In an effort to transition from photographer to stay at home blogging mama, this has been the easiest aspect to get behind- rest. relax. enjoy.
this post has been a long time in the making. so long, in fact, that it’s existence was thought up before this blog was even in the works. my original plan was to have a set day weekly to post this, but that is just too much of a commitment when tiny babies are quickly reaching milestones that I want to be around for. so I will be posting, likely once a week, about our journey in oils- how we use them, where we buy from, as well as little known facts or tidbits of information that come in handy.
this week in oils:
our laundry was scented with lavender : a few drops of oil on each Dryer Balls does the trick. the scent reminds me of my memom putting laundry outside on the clothes line. sweet memories.
a few drops of Calming the Child on MariBelles teething anklet: she’s only been able to wear her anklet around the house since it’s still a little big for her petite frame, but I’m loving that oils can be applied to the lava beads.
Lemon and Pine in our Jasmine diffuser : this is steves favorite combination to diffuse. He says it reminds him of pine sol – hah! it really is a simple combination with the most refreshing and cleansing aroma.
muscle aid oil for achy nursing backs: I’m a big time huncher. I start out fine, poised, but by the time we’re done nursing, I’m hunched over and aching. this oil has been helping with those pains and in my opinion, smells relaxing as well. a few drops dilluted in your preferred carrier oil goes a long way.
essential oils have taken off in the last few years, but are nowhere near new. It is simply going back to the way things used to be- working with the land to supply our needs. we have been moving towards less pharmacy medicine and more oils, and our “medicine cabinet” goes to show how well they are working for us as a replacement. (more on what our cabinet contains later)
I’m so psyched to share our life in oils with you, and I pray it’s influential and encouraging for your family and lifestyle. if you have any questions regarding oils, leave a comment or shoot me an email!
When I first had oliver, my supply was endless. I froze a few hundred ounces of milk with ease, and had such a strong let down that he would sputter. He was gaining like a champ- growing into his next size up in clothes before he reached the recommended age. It was certainly a struggle though, as oliver had trouble latching from the beginning and we relied heavily on a nipple shield. with lots of tears, spilled milk, and persistence, we overcame. And then at four months, things changed. His weight began to drastically decrease, And I quickly became bitter. Why couldn’t he latch properly? Why was I suddenly not making enough milk? why did breastfeeding seem to come so easily for everyone else? I had plans to nurse him until at least a year, and at a measly four month mark, I felt that we had failed. I let the stress overtake me, and in turn my supply continued to decrease. Outings became a worry of “will he nurse well or will he fuss at my breast?”
I had heard of moms who stopped nursing after a few days, or two months, or seven, and I thought they must be giving up. That even with supply loss, you can pump and take supplements and that there is no reason to stop. But sometimes it isn’t enough- it takes a village. It takes support, cheerleaders, and prayer warriors. moms who you can have that “same happened to me!” moment with, knowing that you aren’t alone on this journey of breastfeeding. sometimes, it just doesnt happen, and that is most definitely okay too. It isn’t easy, it isn’t for the faint of heart, and it’s definitely stressful. in thinking that nursing to a year was the only way- was anyone’s only way- I set standards for myself that were unattainable and caused unneccesary stress. Everyone’s journey is different, so with MariBelle, we had that different mindset.
MariBelle nursed well from birth. Again, I pumped a ton from the start to have a large freezer supply. After about two weeks, we found out she was allergic to dairy and therefore wouldn’t be able to have any of the pumped milk. But see! This is where perspective plays a huge part in the nursing journey. The beauty of this struggle was that all the pumped milk I had saved i guiltlessly gave to oliver. It has helped him through colds, hard teething days, and most recently through hand food & mouth virus. When it seemed he wouldn’t be able to reap the benefits of mamas milk, there became a way he could. With the support of a strong family and friend tribe, and nursing friendly treats, my milk supply has stayed and I am able to continue to pump dairy-free milk for little miss (so far! No expectations or preconceived ideas.)
In simplifying all aspects of our life, nursing was a no brainer. To me, simplified = less stress. Less to lug around in the diaper bag too, which is a plus carrying enough for two under two. So bye went the boppy pillow. See ya later nursing covers. Sianara Landolin. Our essentials serve multiple purposes, and grow with MariBelle.
Sakura bloom sling – nursing while wearing her and using it as a nursing cover when need be. This thing seriously has endless uses. I never ever leave the house babies in tow without at least one of ours.
Coconut oil – used for sore cracked nipples in the beginning, and then continued use for diaper rash on both of the kiddos. All natural and smells so yummy.
Clary sage– womens hormonal balance in a bottle. I roll a bit on my lower tummy a few times a day. Eased the pain for my uterus contraction in the early nursing stages, and continues to ease pesky menstrual cramps.
Good ol h2o – and a cute water glass to go along with it
Reusable nursing pads – I didn’t use the reusable kind with oliver, and I wish I had. They stay put better in your bra (IMO) and after time and wear, I’ve noticed they form well to my chest. I also am a firm believer that night time nursing bras are the way to go, even in the daytime.
Mrs patel’s – guys, I’m really excited about this! With recipes passed down through generations, mrs patel’s offers nursing bars, tea, and “munch crunch”. The tea is SO GOOD. Having tried nursing teas that I had to guzzle to get down, a nice chai tea that also helps lactation is a dream come true. And that munch crunch that can be sprinkled on top of anything is so good, I find myself taking a teaspoon by itself. 😉 The best part is most everything is dairy free! Mrs Patel has offered a discount for you to try all these lactation treats. Enter code “brookebfing” during checkout at mrsmilk.comfor 20% off your purchase. And let me know how much you love it when your goodies arrive!
share your nursing stories, questions, or must haves below. If you would like to, shoot me an email instead. We need to be there for each other in this, mamas. Nourish your baby the best way for you two, with your tribe of supporters along for the journey. xx
a lot of eating, a lot of sleeping, and a lot of fun this weekend – all things we easily take for granted. my dad was home this memorial day weekend, and is finally home for good. for the past four years, he has been working overseas – first in iraq, then in afghanistan. he was working months at a time, twelve hour shifts with no days off. good food was unheard of over there. there wasn’t any time for fun, and not even much time to call back home. sleep is hard when alarms are going off every day, meaning you have to hide under your bed or go to a designated area to stay safe.
so this weekend, we ate crabs by the pound, bought bouquets of beautiful, fresh flowers, went on more looptyloo rides then our stomaches could handle, watched the kids laugh till our own bellies hurt from laughing, and just enjoyed each others company. it was a memorial day weekend done right.
friday to monday morning we stayed in ocean city. the first night, both the kids slept until ten and woke slowly – taking in the salty air blowing through our open window. steve and my dad enjoyed morning coffee at oc coffee co. while the rest of us went to bashful banana to get their famous banana whip. being as maribelle cannot have dairy or soy, bashful banana was my saving grace this weekend. the weather was pretty chilly for may, so we didnt spend much time on the shore, but what we did spend oliver took full advantage of. our little water bebe.
monday was spend in cape may – first at the zoo, and then to sunset beach. most of our shores on this coast do not have the sunset, so this was a real treat to see. while waiting for the sun to set, we saw a school of dolphins swim by, with three to four fins peeking over the waves at a time. there was also a fisherman who caught a baby shark, so we watched as he swam along shore and was released back into the ocean. when it came time to leave, we experienced the first meltdown over not wanting to go from Oliver. quite the experience, these toddler milestones!
and now we’re plum exausted. perhaps we need a vacation from our vacation? 😉
a few vacation tips from our weekend away with family + two under two:
– layers. we were able to keep from overpacking my bringing layers. one sweatshirt can be worn the whole weekend with multiple shirts underneath. if you get hot, take off a layer, dont change an entire outfit.
– when packing, we pack four bags: one for me, one for steve, one for the kids shared, and one of misc items and food. when we arrive, our clothes all go into the dressers, and our bags are used differently. my bag becomes the bag for clean clothes to be put away when we get home, steves becomes the dirty clothes to be thrown into the washer once home, and the misc bag doubles as our beach bag while we’re there. this system always works out really well for us and keeps us from having our bags sitting in the living room for days after.
– take advantage of what youre hotel has to offer. we saved money (and room when packing) by making our breakfast in our rooms often. rather than bringing beach towels, we brought the extra hotel towels down to the beach. our hotel also included beach tags and boardwalk coupons, so always check into what your hotel offers for free.
– bring a book, even if you dont think you will have time to read it. you may surprise yourself and find that you do, or at the very least it can be used to keep photo strips and other paper from bending.
– sunscreen and baby powder (for removing sticky sand) had a permanent place in our strollers back pocket, along with a huge stack of napkins. always keep napkins! runny noses, burp cloth, messy food, or a toddler that thinks its funny to blow bubbles in his milk (i’m not talking from experience, though…. ;P)
– after the kids had gone to sleep, we prepared for the next day. stocking the diaper bag, setting out the next days outfits, and so on. it kept us from craziness in the morning and potentially realizing we forgot something when it was too late.
what are your packing tips with babies in tow, or just tips in general? would love to hear!
over the past year, we’ve been pairing down our belongings throughout the house – working to only have the minimum of what we need sprinkled with a few “gotta-have-its”. it has been the most therapeutic experience! one aspect of simplifying that has thrown me for a loop is the idea of a capsule closet. when i had first heard of this idea, i wrote it off with the mindset that i already have trouble picking out an outfit in the morning, so why would i take away even less clothes? less clothes would mean more trouble during my morning routine, right? wrong wrong wrong. SO wrong. getting dressed in the mornings has been easy peasy now that i have a minimal wardrobe – i know that no matter what i pick for the day, it will fit well, mix well with other items in my closet, and be something i absolutely love. serious win!
when i started this capsule wardrobe journey, i was expecting maribelle in the first trimester. it made it easier to part with items i wasn’t wearing often or at all because i basically couldn’t fit into most of my clothes anyway ; ) now that she is here and i’m (just about) down to my pre-pregnancy weight, the new criteria for my threads are, “can i nurse in this?” or even more than that, bebe girl has been wanting to be in our Sakura Bloom nonstop, so its “can i nurse in this..in the sling?”
first off, buttons. seriously, all the button downs. these were always a staple in my closet anyway as they are so versatile – over a tank top, over a maxi dress, with a skirt, with shorts or pants. but as a nursing mama, the words “button down” bring a hallelujah chorus. most of mine are from Gap, but i am currently loving this short sleeve seersucker number from Tradlands during this hot weather.
more buttons! this gap dress is one of my favorite nursing and beyond finds so far. it is thick enough to not be see through, and thin enough to wear during this heat wave. bonus points for the hem length that is so hard to find and perrrfect. maxi skirts are another nursing essential for me as most dresses do not give breastfeeding access. this floral one shown here was a thrift find, and is perfect for sunday morning service, or chasing oliver around at the park. again, versatile is key in the capsule wardrobe.
tank tops have been another key part of my nursing friendly capsule — shown here is a pink satin lined piece from Anthropologie, a silk black tank, and a thin Victorias Secret shibori print that goes perfectly with bralettes, which leads me to my next necessity..
underthings. wink wink.
targets nursing night bras are my go-to (for daytime. who am i kidding) but this bralette trend is perfect for nursing mamas. easy access, stylish, and so many options. Free People has great designs, patterns and materials to make a simple piece your own. also shown here are my two favorite mama+little silicone teething necklaces. the black and white one was my daily wear when oliver was teething and nursing. we recieved the “zooey” mint necklace for maribelles sprinkle, and i’m so excited for her to begin using it — although i have been wearing it regardless of her not teething yet, of course.
so what are your nursing go-to clothes? where are your favorite mama-friendly shops? let me know in the comments! xx
at 6:30 am on march 17th, i woke for what was probably the tenth bathroom trip of the night, only this time it was followed by a click. yelling to steve “hey, i think my water broke”, he replied groggily, “you think??” with oliver, they broke my water at the hospital, so this was completely new to me. fun fact: my moms water didn’t break with my sister or i. apparently, it is more rare than they seem to show on tv, and i can now say from experience it is much less traumatic. ; ) we called my midwifes, and lindsay (who delivered oliver) answered, telling me to head right to the hospital to start on antibiotics i was supposed to have for four hours. we were incredibly lax as most are with the second, so we quickly packed our bags, installed the car seat (okay, maybe we were procrastinating too much) and began the half hour trip to the hospital.
by the time we arrived, my contractions were practically one right after the other and things seemed to be progressing very fast. when oliver was born last winter, i was induced and had a drawn out 43 hour labour, so these intense contractions so soon were quite the contrast. lindsay left, and one of my three midwifes bernadette took her place. she began a tub bath for me, and after a few minutes in the tub i told her i felt like i needed to push. six minutes of pushing, and maribelle james kerr was born at 9:30 am.
steve was there to help take maribelle out and onto my chest during her first breaths, and also cut the umbilical cord. he was beyond thrilled to play such important roles in her birth story, and i was equally happy to have him there being the best possible father and husband from the time we arrived to currently, as he lays next to me while i’m writing this holding little miss to sleep.
oliver has been the most gentle, caring big brother from the start. when he arrived at the hospital, he first gave me a kiss and then reached out to touch maribelle. we explained to him how this is his little sister, the responsibilities he has to take care of her, and how we know he’s going to do such a great job. from then on, its been nothing but kissing her, bringing the binkies and burp clothes, and chanting “bebe bebe bebe” around the house. to think of life before we were a family of four seems like it never was. maribelle fits in seamlessly, and life has just about gotten back to normal – well, the new normal. we are still up every three hours for nursing, wide eyes and baby wimpers in the wee hours. we are now changing diapers more often than not, and doing tiny laundry during the small pauses in between. but we’re adjusting, and even in the not so perfect moments, this motherhood gig is so so beautiful.
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finally! after two days of back and forth with our site hosts, our new site is finally LIVE. I cant even begin to tell you how thrilled I am to be sharing our everyday with you. we have big plans, and many post ideas coming!
a little about us, for those who are new to following along..
my name is demi-brooke (full first name, no middle name) and my husbands name is steven. we have two kids, oliver and maribelle, and live in southern new jersey. my husband and i love to travel + adventure, and were blessed with two kiddos who feel the same. our hopes here are to document those adventures, as well as our journey in simplifying our lives. we follow the notion that less is more — less clothes, less belongings, less stress, less distractions. we plan to homeschool both our littles and will be documenting that as well, along with our journey in health involving essential oils and the food we sustain ourselves on, both spiritually and literally.
thank you for taking an interest in our small family! if you have any questions, inquiries, or suggestions, please shoot us an email.
and without further adieu, our winner for the print giveaway from Earth and Fleur is Dana Justice! thank you all for entering! feel free to subscribe to our blog for future giveaways and posts. xx
In retrospect, its been a long time coming. Many thoughts of making this change held back by fear. fear of what, i’m not too sure. Maybe just the fear of the unknown? I had gotten comfortable behind the camera – many ceremonies and receptions, love captured and memories made. We love it, don’t get my wrong! So many beautiful relationships made, frozen in time through photographs.. but in capturing these memories, we’ve forgotten to capture our own. The SLR has become a “business tool only.” It has not seen a roadtrip or family function in quite sometime. We’re about to change that.
We are in the process of taking our selves off of The Knot, facebook, and the like, and will not be taking on anymore weddings (well, perhaps the occasional if we feel so led to. I cant help myself ; ) We will be shooting through this year and are SO excited about the friendships we’ve made with these couples who we will be documenting their “i do’s.” Who knows – maybe when our kiddos are older we’ll start up again. For now, we need to focus on our current clients and our little tribe.
(photo by Sarah Sutton Photography)
We’re beyond thrilled to transition this site to what we have planned for it. We will be keeping our branding/logo and still posting the occasional shoot, but in addition will be posting about our lifestyle with essential oils, beginning homeschooling, faith, and anything else we fancy to share.
To kick off our new site which will be up and running by next week, we are hosting a giveaway! (can I get a woot woot?!) In the spirit of newness, we are giving away a print from Earth&Fleur — to enter, head over to our instagram, follow us, and comment here on this blog post letting us know that you did. For an extra entry, repost our photo featuring this print and leave a comment here again letting us know that you did. Giveaway will end next friday.
I hope you’ll join us and pray for us as we open this new page and share so much of our hearts with all of you. We’re really blessed with the online community we have, as well as family, friends, and clients. Heres to new things! xx