Thursday, March 8, 2018

I Have Moved To A New Website!

You guys! After months of going back and forth, I finally decided to take the plunge and switch over to a new website! It is still Stang&Co, just a different platform. I will share my reasons for switching (and how the process went!) over on my new blog in the near future. But what I will tell you right now is, because I have been using the entirely free up until now, and my new platform being a self-hosted site, I was unable to do an entire website transfer. So, that means 'starting from scratch' in terms of those who follow and are reached by my page. This is a scary step, but one that felt necessary and worth it now, versus another year down the line! So please, head over and give my new site a follow! I could not be more excited to take this big (albeit scary) step in my blogging!

You can also follow my new site on Bloglovin' HERE!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Friday Favorites-First of March

You guys, we did it! We survived the longest and the coldest two months of the year. Does anyone else just feel like a rockstar for making it through the dead of winter? We are nowhere near in the clear yet, in fact they are predicting more snow for us early next week. Also, has anyone noticed I almost always talk about the weather in my Friday Favorite posts? Woops! I am just really really excited about spring, okay? ;-)

1. Sweet Brothers
I will be honest, some days my kids give me a run for my money. They are loud, and are also both 100% boy. I would be lying if I said some days I didn't crave the quiet that I naively assume comes with having girls, but that feeling also vanishes immediately when my boys say or do something sweet. Sometimes the sound of their little voices just makes my heart hurt because I know that before I know it, those little voices will be big voices and my boys won't be so little. They butt heads like you would not believe, and there is a 87% chance that Lincoln actually wanted nothing to do with this picture ;-) but those moments where I see these two being brothers and loving each other so fiercely make every exhausting moment of being a #boymom worth it. I fear for anyone who tries to mess with these two in the future, while Jackson may love to irritate his brother, I have also seen him jump to his defense the moment he saw someone else doing something upsetting to Lincoln. I am so lucky to be their mama.

2. Fun Toddler Jammies
Until my boys stop wearing toddler sizes, this should probably just be a standing item on my favorites. I can never get enough! If you don't know, Jackson is absolutely obsessed with snowmen, and while this may be late to the game, he finally discovered the movie Frozen and Olaf is his new favorite character. He can sing his entire 'In Summer' routine by memory, and when I showed him these pajamas he about died of pure joy. I actually forgot about them, until he told his daycare provider that I had bought them and he would be wearing them that night. Woops! I had to explain to him the mailman would be bringing them, but it wouldn't be for a few days. He wasn't happy with me, but thank goodness Gap had them at 40% off, so I bought them up right away! I just cannot say no to my kids you guys, it's a problem.
I am totally guilty of giving Lincoln all of the hand me downs, and 99% of the time it is fine. Jackson had SO many clothes that most of them were only worn a few times, so Lincoln is wearing things in perfect condition. But he is definitely getting to the age where he has his own likes and interests. He saw Jackson's Buzz Lightyear pajamas on the floor this week, and got SO excited and wanted to wear them. Of course his brother did not want to share his clothing, and my heart broke a little and I was reminded that two years ago, I would have scooped those jammies up from the store in a heartbeat for big brother, and I need to make sure Lincoln gets that same special treatment sometimes! So I saw these Toy Story jammies and just bought them for my sweet littlest guy. He is going to be so excited!

3. All Things Yellow
I am feeling all the sunshine vibes this week, and as a result am all over all of the yellow things! I got this top in the mail last week and am still just in love with it. These bright jeans just came out at Gap, and I am all over them. I am still lusting over these chinos, does anyone have them!? With free shipping, I might have to bite the bullet today. And with lots of weddings and showers coming up over the next six months, I would love a bright, sunny dress like this one, and you can't beat the price!

4. Baby Shower
My mom and I are hosting a baby shower for my sister-in-law tomorrow, she is having a precious baby girl! As a boy mom, I am going to be honest and say I have been having so much fun doing all of the pink things! I grabbed this 'baby' balloon, and couldn't resist this tablecloth either! I am just dying to share the rest of the details after the party, so much pink, and so many sparkles!
A little preview of something I am working on for the shower!

5. Dirty Hair
Earlier this week, I shared the details on how I have transitioned from washing my hair daily to only two times per week. And I just loved all of the feedback I got from you guys! So many of you commented over on my Instagram with products you use to help get between days, how long you can go, and it was just so much fun to hear everyone's experiences! If you have been wanting to go longer between washes, be sure to check it out!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and soak up the fact that spring is finally in sight! And if you have a spare second or two, maybe say a prayer for Minnesota to not get the snow they are promising us on Sunday night ;-)

*Post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Stang&Co!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

How I Stopped Washing My Hair Every Day

I mean, those are real goals, right? ;-) I have always been someone who washes my hair every single day. I love the feeling of clean hair. Whenever my hair would start to feel greasy, I immediately just couldn't stop thinking about it and would need to shower as soon as possible. But I have been hearing for the longest time that daily washing really isn't ideal for healthy hair, and I am also a busy mom and really don't have time for all of that, anyway.
My hair is fine, and has gotten even more fine since having kids. Because of this, it has always seemed that within twenty-four hours, it started to look greasy. But in the last six months or so I decided to just stick to it and started washing my hair every other day, unless I had a big meeting or wanted to look my best, in which case I would always wash on those days. And I will say, on the 'other day', my hair always looked pretty rough. I have had a hard time finding a dry shampoo that gives me the fresh touchup I need without leaving behind a white powder-y residue, so often I would just let my hair do it's thing. Over time, I felt my hair start to adjust, and while my day two hair never looked amazing, it was becoming more bearable.

Truly, the biggest change in my hair washing habits came about a month ago when I decided to cut my hair. I have always had long hair, and I  love having long hair. But it was feeling pretty dull and lifeless, and I thought a fresh start and hitting the reset button would help my hair get back to healthy. And I can say with 100% confidence that cutting 7 inches off of my hair was a game changer in me being able to wash my hair less. It may be because it is less weighed down, but since cutting it, it is holding style, feels significantly less 'dirty' after a few days, and for the first time ever I am going more than two days without washing my hair. I know not everyone is willing to cut their hair, but if it is something you are on the fence about, it was like the magic switch for me that allowed my hair to start spacing out washing.
I will say that this is not an all at once routine. Start with one day at a time. I give myself about two weeks before I attempt to stretch it a day further between washes. This gives your hair time to adjust; if it doesn't need to provide as many natural oils, it will cut back, but if you drastically go from washing daily to a full week, you will unfortunately notice ;-)
 I am currently going 3-4 days between washes, and that includes not washing after a workout, which I never would have dreamed of doing before. Here is a rough outline of my routine to get through the days.

Wash hair. I have found that product buildup tends to happen throughout the week, so on my 'wash days', I will scrub a mix of baking powder, water, and a few drops of cedarwood oil (great for hair growth!) onto my scalp to get rid of any buildup. I am speaking from experience, do not try to get the buildup out on a dirty hair day; I did this and my hair was so filled with flakes that clung to my oily locks that I ended up washing my hair early. Once I scrub, I shower and rinse it out and then proceed with washing. I use Young Living lavender and peppermint shampoo and conditioner! I usually let it air dry, because #momlife. I tend to wash at night before bed, but I give myself enough time that I am not going to bed on wet hair.

Style normally. Since cutting my hair, it tends to feel very fluffy on the first day, so I make sure to spray in some surf spray to give it a bit more texture and to help avoid the dreaded frizziness that comes during winter.

I have started getting by without dry shampoo on my second day of styling. I may spray just a little around the front of my hairline, but otherwise brush my hair and touch up a few curls and am good to go.

I definitely need dry shampoo on this day. I brush my hair first, and then spray dry shampoo on my roots in 1-2 inch sections. If I start to get a bit of that 'powder' look, I brush through my hair again and massage my scalp to get it blended in. I tend to do a full touch up on my curls on this day, and apply surf spray or hairspray.

This is a top knot day! I could also get by if I just clipped back my bangs in a little pouf, depending if I feel the need to look put together at work. But usually, a top knot wins out.

That is the furthest out I have gone so far. I don't think I could wear my hair 'down' beyond day 5, and sometimes working outside of the home makes it harder because I can't just throw my hair in a pile on top of my head and call it a day. But I am super happy with how far I have been able to spread out my routine over the past few months!

*post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Stang&Co!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday friends! We have had a week full of snow and cold, but mother nature was nice enough to throw in some sunny days to at least lift our spirits a bit that way. Of course I wouldn't be lying if I said I wasn't ridiculously jealous of everyone out east. I heard temps in the 60s and 70s!? I will take that over our -17 wind chill, thank you very much.
While it may not feel like spring here just yet, I have been doing all of the spring prep around here lately and am getting in the spirit. Isn't it funny how with every new season we are always ready? This time of year, I just swoon over anything pastel, cheerful, and fresh. The heart knows what it wants!

1. All of the Spring Fashion
I have officially reached that point in winter where I am all about the pretty pastel colors. I grabbed my favorite tunic in a pretty yellow color this week, and I now own it in SIX colors. If that doesn't speak true love, I don't know what does! Colors go in and out of stock often, so if you are interested in one check back and refresh the page, there are always new colors and sizes that appear! I also used my reward points to purchase these lavender rockstar jeans. I love the pretty pink color too, I have held off so far because the distressing (which I love) makes them a no-go for work. And after being on the hunt for literally two years, I finally found a pair of pale yellow chinos that come in TALL! Of course, I am cheap and am waiting for at least some free shipping to come to play. Do any of you have the anthro chinos? I have no idea how they fit or what size to order!

2. Cute Party Shop
I just discovered Glitter Party Co., and if you are planning any sort of party, for little ones, a bridal shower, baby shower, anything, she makes the most adorable banners, cupcake toppers, cake toppers, and random d├ęcor. I have some spring garland coming my way, and she is making a custom cake topper for a shower I am hosting. I am already dreaming up ideas for things I can have her create-she does such amazing work!

3. DIY Body Wash
Since we have started using essential oils more regularly in our home, I have been having so much fun determining what we can switch out. There are body washes and bar soaps that you can purchase, but being as frugal as I am I never consider myself above trying to see if I can create a DIY for my changes. I purchased these bottles in a two pack, and then a few ingredients you can pick up right in Target or your health foods store to complete. You can head over to this video to watch and see how I made it! The best part is that you can choose any scent you want. I adore the smell of eucalyptus, especially in the shower, so I used eucalyptus and spearmint and am hooked!

4. Fun Toddler Styles
I have surprised myself by not buying the boys many clothes over the past few months. I have such an abundance of hand me downs that it sometimes makes it hard to justify buying many new things for Lincoln (second child problems, I know). His closet is honestly overflowing with items, but I still feel the need to buy him special new items now and again that are brand spanking new and just for him. I saw this fun monster sweatshirt and knew it would be perfect for my little monster. You guys, he about dies when he gets to zip and unzip the mouth on it! I also snagged him this cute pair of jeans from Old Navy, they are super stretchy which is perfect for active little ones. And one of my all time favorite items for my boys has been these cream colored jeans. They are seriously SO cute, and the color makes them work for dressier occasions, too. In fact, Jackson wore them for Easter a few years ago!
And speaking of Easter, Old Navy has their pop of color khakis back. And this obnoxious shirt actually exists and is perfect. You're welcome.

5. New Mattress
Earlier this week I shared our review of the new Leesa mattress we got last month. It was originally intended for Lincoln, but we got cold feet with transitioning him from his crib and Jackson immediately claimed the mattress for himself. Woops. Jackson LOVES it though. Be sure to head over and read the full review; I have a great promo code if you are in the market for a new mattress! I never knew how much we could love memory foam!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. We are in for some more snow, but at least it will be in the 30s! Fingers are crossed we get in one more sledding day!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Toddler Bedtime Routine

*This post is written in collaboration with Leesa. I was provided the mattress in exchange for my review, which is honest and reflects our experience. Thank you as always for supporting the brands that support Stang&Co!

In parenting, I learned hard and fast that no two children are the same. The minute we brought home our second child, it was clear that while they were both boys, that was about the only thing they had in common. Their personalities are complete opposites of one another, so I suppose I should not be surprised that their sleep habits are completely different, too. Jackson is my snuggler. For the longest time he couldn't fall asleep if he wasn't twirling mine or my husband's hair in his tiny fingers, and he needed the physical touch of another person to fall asleep. We had to lay with him in his bed for the longest time, and it was not an easy habit to break. At all.
Lincoln was a different story entirely. He was a terrible sleeper early on; around 6-7 months he was still waking three to four times per night, and on the brink of insanity, we determined that we would make him cry it out and we would not crack because something had to change. Fortunately for us, it really only took one hour of crying on the first night, and two to three days of crying for ten minutes or so at naptime and he was sleeping twelve hours straight. And a year later, that is still how he rolls. He loves to be laid down awake, and is all about self soothing. He falls asleep on his own, and really only wakes up at night if something is wrong. Meanwhile, his older brother still wakes during the night and at least half of the time climbs into our bed at some point.
We decided that maybe it was time to start transitioning Lincoln from his crib to a big boy bed. He loves his independence and we thought it might be time. We went ahead and got him a new Leesa mattress, and couldn't wait to make the transition. But immediately we felt ourselves slammed with reservations. The boys' bedrooms are upstairs, and we have a two story staircase with no turns or breaks, meaning if he should stumble and fall, he has a long way down. We know there are methods to prevent this, like a baby gate on the door, but we really reflected a bit on how he currently sleeps, and figured, 'if it isn't broken, why fix it?' He sleeps so wonderful, is easy to put down, and who knows how the big boy bed transition will affect that. Basically, we got cold feet on making the switch.
We didn't need to worry about the new mattress though. The second we opened the box (because yes, Leesa delivers their foam mattresses right to your front door in a neat and tidy box), Jackson claimed it as his own. He has been sleeping on a very generic mattress we picked up at a home improvement store, I kid you not. It did the job, but that boy knew the second he laid down on a Leesa that it was the better option. It is so soft, plush, yet still provides support. We figured that if we are holding off on transitioning Lincoln, Jackson may as well use it instead. In all honesty, it may be a good thing we didn't let Lincoln use it; Jackson immediately noticed the white stripes on the mattress, perfect for being used as a 'race track', and there was no getting him to turn the mattress back over.
He still is a more difficult child when it comes to sleep, and we have been trying constant strategies lately to get him sleeping better. As he grows, he is becoming more fearful at night, but then he is also afraid of the sound machine and light we have in his room. So any tips and tricks are welcome when your child is afraid of the dark but also afraid of the nightlight ;-) One thing is for sure though; since moving him onto the Leesa mattress he LOVES to climb into bed and snuggle up on his bed with his new pillow. It is so obvious how much more comfortable and secure he feels on his new mattress. I cannot put into words how soft and inviting it is; I have found myself tempted to snuggle up along side him and sleep on it a time or two.
In addition to the new mattress making him more willing to get into (and stay!) in bed, we have a few other things we have done.

  • Applying essential oils before bedtime can work wonders. We have a few oils we use, but lavender really seems to be the winner time and again. I notice a difference when the boys go to bed without oils on for sure.

  • Sound machines. I think having background noise is key for children sleeping well and not being woken up by every little sound. Jackson's room is right above the garage and laundry room, so there are lots of little sounds that can pull him out of sleep, and sound machines help to cover those background noises!

  • Limiting light. It always seems like common sense to have some light in the room to keep your children from being afraid of the dark, but light can actually wreak havoc on kids sleeping soundly through the night. It has required some talking and assuring there is nothing to be afraid of, but dark rooms tend to get us the best night's sleep.
  • Spending time calming down before bedtime. Lincoln goes to bed about 45 minutes before Jackson, so I have really started to implement that once brother is asleep, the toys get put away and we have 'relaxing time'. Our kids never seem to do well when they are up and at 'em and are suddenly jolted and put to bed. Having half an hour or so to decompress and not be active seems to help both boys mentally prepare for sleep.
Lincoln may not have the mattress for himself, but he sure loves to play on it whenever he gets the chance ;-)

Leesa offers a 100 day trial period for their mattresses. You can also take $100 off of your own with code STANGANDCO. It is recommended to give thirty days to adjust to the mattress, and if at that point it is not everything you expected, they will coordinate a pick-up right from your house and will refund you. We truly love the mattress though, and will be keeping it for sure. And while Lincoln may not be quite ready for his big boy bed, he certainly loves playing on big brother's bed in the meantime, if the picture above doesn't give it away ;-)
What are some of your hacks for getting little ones to sleep? As a parent of young children, there is just NOTHING more precious than a good night of sleep for everyone.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Forgotten Way To 'Help' A New Mom Of Two

Sometimes, I look back on life 21 months ago and cannot believe how far we have come. I love the newborn stage. There is so much sweetness, so many cuddles, and it is a precious, albeit sleep deprived, time of life that is fleeting that is gone in a blink.
I exclusively breastfed both of our children until they were a year old. Once I returned to work we started incorporating bottles of pumped milk, but on both of my maternity leaves, I was essentially the sole caretaker of the baby, because, let's be honest, newborns eat, sleep, and get their diapers changed. I always laugh when I see those memes where the new mother is staring at her peacefully sleeping husband with rage in her eyes while she is up feeding the baby for the fourth time that night. I was there. Those middle of the night moments can be so sweet, but man are they exhausting, and when you breastfeed, you can't ask for help, even if you want to. Even if my husband took a turn and did a bottle feeding, I would have to wake up and pump anyway. I am getting tired just thinking about it.

We live in our hometown. Both sets of our parents are within five minutes of us. And they are both incredibly helpful and willing to step up with our kids whenever we need them. When I had our first baby, any time we had the offer of a babysitter, that meant some me time. I could go for a run, or get some errands in, or just enjoy a little bit of peace and quiet.
Things were very different when we had our second baby. To say he was a difficult baby would be an understatement. He cried constantly. He hated to be cuddled, but he also hated to be set down. We lived in a constant state of walking around with him in our arms, facing outwards, and bouncing. The second I tried to sit down on the couch, he would scream. I am being real here, the first five months of life with two were h.a.r.d.
I was so grateful for all of the help I received. But here is the thing. When I was offered help, the majority of the time, it was this:

"Let me take Jackson outside to play"

"Here, let me put Jackson down for a nap"

"Oh, we will watch Jackson if you want to run errands with just the baby!"

Now, this isn't word for word how it went down every single time, but it is pretty close to how it felt. I remember so often sitting inside with a screaming, fussy baby, while I watched my family play outside with my fun, precious 21 month old. I so often felt that everyone assumed that when I needed a break, it would be most helpful to take my toddler off of my hands. My silly, fun loving toddler who was easy and fun to read bedtime stories to, who loved to play in the sunshine and was learning new games and who I already felt so much guilt towards because my time was so focused on his little brother.
I don't say this to knock my family, because again, they are amazing. But more than once I felt as though when people offered to help, they took the easy option. Maybe that isn't even the right way to say it. They took the option that on the surface made the most sense. I get it. I would choose to take the silly two year old over the colicky two month old, too. Because a newborn needs their mama much more than the older sibling, right? But that wasn't what I needed. I loved my baby, but there were so many times where that was the break that I needed most.

I will never remember the one day of my maternity leave where my mom told me to take my oldest out on a little lunch date, and she kept the baby. I took my sweet boy to a local ice cream place, and we had hot dogs and potato chips while sitting outside at a picnic table. After we ate our food, he had his very first ice cream cone, and it was one of those sweet memories that I know I am going to remember forever. Sure, I had almost two years of time where my attention was solely dedicated to my big boy, but finding that one on one time with each of my children became so much more desperately important during those hard months where I felt so helpless sometimes.

So family and friends, if you are able to help out, take the baby. Trust me, if a mama doesn't want to share her baby, I promise she will find an excuse to not hand them over. But don't assume she doesn't want (or need) some time and space. Offer to babysit the child that is a bit scarier, a bit more fragile, so mom can enjoy those fun moments with her older, easier child. Mothers of young children appreciate every ounce of help that they can get, but take a moment and think of what that mama truly needs the most. If she has been up all night feeding the baby, chances are some quality time with that oldest child is exactly what she is looking for.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday Favorites-Middle Of January

It is Friday, and I could not be more excited. I'll be honest; January is not my favorite month. But this year, despite being constantly sick and it being bitterly cold, there have been some fun and exciting things happening that are making this long month much more bearable! So before I run around outside in my shorts and a t-shirt because it is hitting 40 degrees outside today ;-) I am excited to share my favorites from this week!

1. Bathtime Giggles
I have gotten so bad about snapping candids lately. I mean you guys, I do not have a SINGLE photo from Christmas Eve with Mike's family. Oops! But earlier this week, Lincoln was being SO adorable and giggly after bathtime, and I couldn't resist snapping a few photos. I just want to bottle him up at this age. I always find things I love at every age with my children, but this 18 months-2 years stage. It kills me. It is peak sweetness, and he is so chubby and squishy and adorable I find myself wanting to literally eat his perfect little cheeks. Don't worry, I refrain. I just love him so much.

2. New Diaper Bag
I posted earlier this week about my new diaper bag, and you guys, I just could not love it more. I literally get a compliment on it every. single. time. I go anywhere with it. After over three years of rocking the boy mom gig, I have finally decided that the men in my life are just going to have to deal with there being more pink than they may like (this throw blanket may also be a new addition to our living room decor). But back to the diaper bag; compared to others I have used I love the depth and height of this bag. I feel like I can fit SO much inside of it! If you are in the market for a diaper bag that looks nothing like a diaper bag (and will transition beyond the diaper years) I cannot recommend this one enough.

3. Fun and Easy Toddler Craft
We finally broke our cold spell this week, but we had another very cold stretch that lasted through all of last weekend, which meant we didn't get out with the boys at all. Influenza is running rampant too, so we are sticking as low as we can over this next month, because we did the Influenza dance with Jackson once, and I never want to do it again. So last weekend, I grabbed some construction paper, glue, and a sharpie market and drew a large snowman and let Jackson glue down mini marshmallows along all of the lines. He loved it SO much, and it was so incredibly easy to pull together! If you are looking for a quick, easy, and relatively mess free way to kill the time on a cold winter afternoon, this is such a fun option! Toddler bonus points because they can and will steal copious amounts of marshmallows.
4. This Jacket
Okay, so last week I rounded up a few of my favorites and gushed over this jacket. I love the pale purple color so much! But when I saw this gray fleece option, I about died. And bless my height, it comes in a size TALL. It just looks so perfect for spring, I need it!
How could I not wrap this up without mentioning that football game last Sunday!? You have truly probably never heard me whisper even a breath about football over here, but I just cannot help myself right now. If any of you were watching the game, you may have caught the announcers mentioning the Vikings and their history of missed field goals in the playoffs. Literally every playoff game they have ever been in has been lost by something silly such as a missed field goal where they end up losing by just a point. We have had our hearts broken so many times that I have stopped ever getting my hopes up. But that game on Sunday. My heart still races thinking about watching that final play. Our boys didn't know how to handle me and Mike screaming and jumping around. Lincoln immediately joined in and was flopping around like a fish out of water screaming his head off, and Mike quickly had Jackson yelling SKOL VIKINGS. It was one of those magical Sunday evenings you know you are going to remember. Win or lose the rest of the playoffs, they broke a curse with that game, and it was just so much fun to watch! 

*Post contains affiliate links. Thank you for support Stang&Co!
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