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A Big Brother Update and Smoothie Popsicles

A Big Brother Update and Smoothie Popsicles


Strawberry Smoothie Popsicles

This post was written in partnership with Microban. All tips, tricks, recipes and awesome parenting anecdotes are 100% mine

Without a doubt, the number one questions I'm asked these days is 
"How is Gray handling all of this??"

My big boy. He certainly has seen a lot of change in his little life over the past few months. We moved him into an apartment and then into the new house, had a baby, Daddy was home all of the time for a few weeks and then suddenly Daddy went back to work (we all felt the sting of that one). To top it off, he has a little sister who is, to put it nicely, a tad on the fussy side. I would be lying if I said I didn't lay awake and worry that I didn't spend enough one on one time with him that day - or if he's feeling left out or, basically, if he hates us for bringing this pink, screaming little lady into his life. 

 I was recently introduced to the Microban Live On campaign, which is all about worrying a little less and living a lot more, and was inspired to really re-evaluate how Gray and I were spending our time together. And thanks to years of dealing with over thinking things, I know that worrying won't actually change how either of us feels so I decided it was time to get creative and carve out chunks of our day for just the two of us.

Yesterday, we hit the trampoline park - and while baby sister was asleep in her stroller a few feet away, it was just Mommy and Gray time in the foam pit. I dove in, tossed a few foam blocks directly at my preschooler's head (what? don't judge, it was awesome) and secretly showed him how to double bounce when the park monitors weren't looking. Earlier this week, things were a little more aggressive in acid reflux land and we needed an activity we could do at home, so I came up with a little something I like to call Smoothie Popsicle. 

Strawberry Smoothie Popsicles

Gray loves to help me in the kitchen and I love to feel like a good mom who gives her kids fruits and veggies so smoothies are always a hit for us, but I honestly had never considered tossing them into a Popsicle mold and freezing them for later. Gray and I decided to give it a whirl and what do you know, this mama might just be Pinterest worthy after all.

Strawberry Smoothie Popsicles

Because I had a helper who is known to wipe his boogers on things, I'm grateful we had our Microban cutting boards on hand to reduce the risk of all us catching whatever our little preschooler might be carrying around with him. Microban helps fight the growth of stain and odor- causing bacteria and helps keep our cutting boards cleaner for longer - and it's built in during manufacturing so it isn't going anywhere. As a bonus, the boards have the cutest little pictures on the edges and on each side to remind you what food item to cut per board - no mixing a board that is meant for produce with one that is meant for meats. 

Strawberry Smoothie Popsicles

We pulled out our Microban cutting board with the blue edge for fruits and got to work making our smoothie Popsicles. Gray is crazy into colors right now and he requested that we make a red smoothie on our blue cutting board. OK, kid, you got it.

Here's what we tossed in our blender 
(yields: one smoothie to drink ASAP and three Popsicle)

 1/2 cup Raspberries
1 cup Strawberries
1/2 cup Naked Green Juice
1/4 cup Naked Orange Juice
1 tablespoon Blueberry yogurt 

Strawberry Smoothie Popsicles

Strawberry Smoothie Popsicles

I did the cutting and Gray did all of the loading into the blender business. Of course, he had no desire to wait for Popsicles to actually freeze so we had a smoothie on the spot and then poured what was left into the Popsicle molds.

Strawberry Smoothie Popsicles

Strawberry Smoothie Popsicles

 Honestly, that really worked in my favor because he was into the smoothie and didn't stress about the Popsicles taking their time in the freezer. The next day, I reminded him that we had smoothie Popsicles and he was thrilled to make a mess with one all over my kitchen. 

Strawberry Smoothie Popsicles

 We're all adjusting to being a family of four but I know, without a doubt, that our sweet boy is rising to the challenge of being an excellent big brother. He is caring and patient with her (and only occasionally covers his ears when she cries) and we couldn't be more proud of him.
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Stephanie [Olive and Tate]
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Children's Bathroom Reveal with Devine Color by Valspar at Target

Children's Bathroom Reveal with Devine Color by Valspar at Target



This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Devine Color. All opinions are 100% mine.


Tiny, dark bathroom renovation with Devine Colors at Target

Anyone ready for another renovation reveal? 

Slowly but surely, this little house is coming together, room by room, and while I wish I could hurry things along, life with a newborn is keeping our pace slow and steady. Before we launch into the second round of major renovations (so long garage, hello master suite!), we decided to tackle the smallest project on our to do list: the children's/hall bath.

This space turned out to be much more of a challenge than I ever imagined it could be. Because of the layout of our house, this bathroom serves as the current children's bath, guest bath and the hall bath. I won't lie, having our guests use our pre-schooler's bathroom is not exactly ideal, so I made it my mission to create a bathroom that was able to welcome guests while also meeting the needs of my three year old son. 

Sadly, the bathroom has no source of natural light and is too small for multiple light fixtures, so it was incredibly dark and dingy, making it look more dated than it actually was. 

To keep things interesting, we also decided that the layout of this house and our budget did not allow for any major upgrades to the space - no new flooring, vanity, lighting, toilet or tub. We did have to replace the plastic shower surround because it was separated from the tub, leaving some of the dry wall exposed and vulnerable to rot and mold. 

So, with a very small budget in mind, I set out to:

brighten the space
maximize storage in any way possible
make the space appear larger
ensure guests were comfortable 
create a gender neutral kid's bath

Oh, and did I mention that the bathroom is tiny?

Like, teeny tiny.
5 1/2 feet long by 6 feet wide, tiny. 

In case you need a visual, one can sit on the toilet and touch the sink, door, tub and three of the four walls without stretching. It's honestly the smallest bathroom that I've ever seen a full sized tub squeezed into but that tub is the only one in the house currently, so we are grateful for it.
Here's what the space looked like on inspection day:

Tiny, dark bathroom renovation with Devine Colors at Target

Notice the pedestal sink with no storage underneath, the dark brown walls and the small size...

Tiny, dark bathroom renovation with Devine Colors at Target

Tiny, dark bathroom renovation with Devine Colors at Target

And here's what it looks like now: 

Tiny, dark bathroom renovation with Devine Colors at Target

Tiny, dark bathroom renovation with Devine Colors at Target

I honestly love how bright and fresh the space looks - I really didn't know how much I could accomplish without completely ripping out the bulk of the bathroom and starting over, but I think we really met the challenges of this little space head on! 

So, here's what we did:

To make the space feel as large as possible, we ditched the dark brown color on the walls and went with fresh paint in a gorgeous shade of bright white, Devine Lightening, on the bead board and a soft shade of aqua, Devine Horizon, on the walls. Both colors are from the Devine Color + Target collection, which is exclusively available at Target (you can find it near the lightbulbs!). The paint is insanely easy to work with, applies and covers so well and comes in a huge variety of shades. Since we were working with two types of surfaces (dry wall and bead board), we really put our cans to the test, but I am in love with the results. 

Tiny, dark bathroom renovation with Devine Colors at Target

Tiny, dark bathroom renovation with Devine Colors at Target

Tiny, dark bathroom renovation with Devine Colors at Target

In an attempt to maximize storage in any way that we could, we added two towel bars that hold all of our guest towels.I think Justin kinda thought I was nuts to fill that wall with towel bars but once they were in, he agreed that we needed the hanging space. I also snagged a bright yellow back of door hook for all of our currently-in-use bath towels (we prefer our bath towels to be animal themed around here!) from the dorm section of Target. I didn't want to put any permanent hooks in the door but the added hidden storage space behind the door has proven to be oh so needed. 

Tiny, dark bathroom renovation with Devine Colors at Target

We kept the storage cabinet over the toilet and, while we replaced the hardware, we also kept the glass shelf over the sink. Thankfully, the mirror that was already in place is also a medicine cabinet, so that became home to all of the supplies we need on a regular basis and allows us to keep the shelf clear of tiny toddler toothbrushes in case we have a guest drop in. 

As I mentioned, we hadn't intended to replace any part of the shower/tub with the exception of the shower head but, unfortunately, the shower surround began to separate from the tub, creating a gap that allowed water to reach the dry wall behind the shower. Not good. 

Luckily, we found a gorgeous, inexpensive tile option that has the look of marble and added a high end feel to what was previously a dingy tub area. 

Tiny, dark bathroom renovation with Devine Colors at Target

I was able to take advantage of the need for new tile and create an oversized shower niche for storage. Since the tiny bathroom is majorly lacking storage, I wanted a spot where I could stash as many bath products as possible and my contractor created the nook of my dreams. 

Tiny, dark bathroom renovation with Devine Colors at Target

To make the space look more current, we replaced all of the hardware with brushed nickel fixtures that were in stock at our local hardware store. This was another element of the design that came about thanks to the need for new tile and I was happy to replace the old, handheld shower head and mismatched hardware for something more our style. 

Tiny, dark bathroom renovation with Devine Colors at Target

When it comes to renovations, styling the space is absolutely my favorite part because you (finally) get to see all of your hard work come together. After choosing the shades of Devine Paint and seeing them on the walls, I knew where the color scheme was going but wasn't sure how I was going to add any sort of decor to such a small space. On one of my weekly daily Target runs, I swung through the home section and found a pair of super plush towels with just the perfect stripe to bring out the wall color. After that, I was off and running - I chose a mix of what I consider kid friendly and more sophisticated decor with the combo of the adorable "wash your hands" soap dispenser (from the Target kid's bath section!) and the geo patterned shower curtain. 

Obviously, matching the colors of my Devine Paints and the accessories from Target was the easiest ever because Target gets me, simple as that. The woven tray is also a Target find and you may recognize it! She used to hold court as my coffee cup holder on my bed, but I think she looks perfect as the focal point on the only open wall space. 

Tiny, dark bathroom renovation with Devine Colors at Target

And that's all she wrote for this little project! 

What do you think? Isn't it amazing what an impact fresh paint and new hardware can make? Next up, we tackle the biggest part of our renovation and we'll be living in the house while we do it....here's hoping we survive it! 

P.S. Don't forget to check out Devine Color on Instagram for more projects, design ideas and paint colors! 

All After shots by Christa Rene Photography 

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Stephanie [Olive and Tate]
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Six Weeks

Six Weeks



Our baby girl is already (over) six weeks old! I know this is eye roll inducing to say, but it really does feel like she's been apart of our family for much longer. We are just so lucky that she is healthy, growing and ours. Because my Mom Brain has reached epic levels of terribleness, I thought I should take advantage of having a blog and jot down a few things about the last six weeks of Georgia (and you know, dump one million iPhone snaps onto any poor, unsuspecting readers who still show up when I hit publish).


Our babe is still a petite lady, weighing in somewhere near 8 whole pounds. She was born at 6lbs 5oz and has steadily been gaining weight and hitting her growth curve, so while she seems so mini to us, our doctors assure us that she is just a delicate girl (she clearly did not get that from me). It boggles my mind that she still weighs less than Gray did when he was born - and that she wears newborn sized clothes! I honestly only had one or two newborn sleepers on hand because Gray never fit into them, so I assumed none of our babies would, so our sweet babe rocks the same few sleepers over and over again. Sorry about that, G! 



As usual, we've really worked up a roster of nicknames for our newest offspring and rarely call her by Georgia. She earned the nickname Squeaks in the hospital because her cries were so small and quiet compared to our three year old's shouts, Peanut because she's so tiny, Georgie and, most often, Georgie Bell. I have no idea where Georgie Bell came from but we all call her that (or Bell) so much that Gray recently told a stranger in the grocery store that his little sister's name was Georgie Bell. I'm not sure that I've mentioned that Georgia was my great-grandmother's name and we gave her my middle name as her own, and of course, because we're Southern, it's also a family/maiden name from my mother's side of the family. 



Our Bell has been cursed with acid reflux and absolutely has a tough go of it in the evenings. During the day, she is a "happy spitter" but in the evenings she really struggles. We hate, hate, hate watching her be in pain and, when combined with the Witching Hour, we can have a pretty rogue time from 5-8pm. I am open to any and all suggestions to help her - we are on medication from our pediatrician before feeds but we'll do whatever we can to ease her pain (and ours) during the evenings, so hit me with your best tips. 

(total fail at our one month photos) 

Currently, her eyes are a dark blue and I can't wait to see what color they become as she grows. Gray's eyes are blue just like Justin's so I hope she'll also have baby blues but who knows! Her hair is this insanely spiky, hedgehog looking craziness in a shade that I can only describe as spun gold. What this child will look like when she's older is currently a mystery to me but my current guess is she'll be a blue eyed brunette. 



In her first six weeks of life, Georgia has been on vacation, gone on girl's lunches, managed to wrap her brother around her little finger, learned to rock a car nap, is waking twice a night and sometimes only once to eat, is starting to coo and is spending more time awake during the day. She loves bath time, which comes as a relief at the end of the evening, and sleeps best in her DockATot. 



We are so in love with our sweet girl and I kiss her face so much that she'll probably learn to roll her eyes before she learns to roll over. Such is life, Bell, such is life. 
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Stephanie [Olive and Tate]
8 Comments
Three

Three



Oh, my sweet boy. 
How are you three years old already? 

I honestly can't wrap my brain around the fact that we've been parents for three whole years (and let's be honest, some days it feels like we've been parents for thirty years, but that's a post for another day). We are just so in awe of how Gray has grown into a little person who is funny, kind and number obsessed. 

For his third birthday, our Gray asked for a rainbow cake (thanks to his love of the Magic School Bus Rainbow episode) and to blow out candles. We had a super casual get together in our backyard with friends and family to celebrate and brought out all things "Gray" for the shindig: rainbow balloons, a gigantic T Rex balloon, all green everything (in the shade of grass, his fave), and his blow up pool. Although we had a massive thunderstorm right smack in the middle of things, we made the best of it by dragging the party goods into our currently-full-of-boxes garage and letting the boys play in the rain. The night ended with a water balloon fight between the dads guests and an exhausted birthday boy. 



We started the day with a pajama party and the balloons were absolutely his favorite part of the day. He kept saying "look at my birthday party!" and even thanked us for singing him Happy Birthday (insert crying emoji here). 




My parents were in town and I'm not sure who had more fun opening presents - the three year old or his grandfather! 





Pool hangs during the monsoon were a must, even if my yard was a mud puddle...


Two cakes for our big boy! The rainbow cake was from the Swiss Bakery in Greenville and the Oreo chocolate ice cream cake was a Coldstone masterpiece...and my request! 


Thank you to all of our friends and family who spent the evening with us celebrating our first born. Gray is, without a doubt, lucky to have you in his life.

Tate, we are so honored to be your parents. Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you and all that you are. We know year three will be the best one yet! 

And now, pardon me while I sneak off to cry my eyes out that my baby is practically an adult already. 

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Stephanie [Olive and Tate]
2 Comments
Welcome, Baby Georgia

Welcome, Baby Georgia






Our sweet Georgia girl arrived a few weeks ago and we are head over heels in love with her. Her birth was a welcome surprise at just 37 weeks gestation and it was, thankfully, another quick and successful C Section delivery. Our tiny babe, named after my great-grandmother, came into this world at a rapid pace (Justin almost missed her birth) and screamed her way through her first thirty minutes or so of life, but she has proven to be the perfect fit for our family. Justin and I are so grateful to our family and friends who dropped everything to be with Gray at a moments notice - we couldn't have done it without you.

Instead of a classic Birth Story post, I put together a little video of photos from one of the most precious events of our lives: when Gray met Georgia. Truth be told, I spent my entire pregnancy dreaming of the moments captured in these shots. My sweet boy has been so excited to welcome his baby sister into the world and while we didn't know exactly how he would react when she officially arrived, we did know that it would be a moment we would never forget. I asked Courtney Malone of Courtney Malone Photography to be there when our children met for the first time so that I could be completely present (and not in mama-razzi mode) and I am eternally grateful that I did. Each second of that first meeting is more than I could have ever imagined - not a single photo that includes Gray is posed - he asked to hold her, see her "tiny little feet" and picked up the bottle to feed her - and Justin and I were just in awe of him. He is absolutely the world's best big brother. 

 I cry every single time that I look at these photos - the look of pride on my first born's face with our teeny tiny, only 18 hours old, baby girl in his arms is more than my post-baby mama heart can bear. We are so blessed to have been given these children and they are, without a doubt, our greatest joy. 

Make sure your volume is on....



Song credit: The Voice Complete Season 9, Jordan Smith, "Halo (The Voice Performance)"
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Stephanie [Olive and Tate]
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