March 2018 | Olive and Tate

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

Oh this Big Boy Room. First of all, Big Boy Rooms are hard to design! I wanted a classic design that would grow with my three year old, a design that would make him happy and one that was clean with a touch of masculinity. Turns out, that's easier said than done! But, unlike every other space in our new home, the Big Boy Room is, in fact, done and I love every inch of it. Thankfully my big boy does, too and he's settled in nicely as the only family member who isn't sleeping in a pile of boxes.

Here's a little peek at the room in it's Before state, on the day of inspection at our new house:

My design plan was set by Gray (and my insane need to make this the Big Boy Room of his dreams), who requested:

Colors, specifically red, green, blue and white
Color on the roof (a painted ceiling)
and a last minute request for pink

I also wanted to use all of the major pieces from his nursery including his vintage dresser, leather club chair, rug and acrylic bookshelves, so that drove the look and feel of the room as well.

I won't lie, I'm really pleased with how I worked every single request into his room design - from his light grey ceiling to the nautical flag that managed to incorporate our last name, shapes AND three of the requested colors, I think I managed to pull it all off.

The paint color on the walls is Benjamin Moore White Dove and the ceiling is Benjamin Moore Ice Cubed Silver. All other sources linked at the end of the post! 


Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

I am just so in love with how it turned out! The room looks fresh and bright with a masculine element that I know will grow with him by updating pieces and decor here and there. Because his nursery pieces were bought with the same game plan, we really spent a very modest amount of money - the new pieces were his bed frame and headboard, the bedding and a few decor items like the alphabet print and the light fixture. 

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

This alphabet print is one of my absolute favorite finds - it's actually a digital download from an Etsy shop and I uploaded it directly to Framebridge for framing. The framing was the most expensive element in the room but I do love the touch of classic style that the gold frame brings to the space. 

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

We found the curtain rods abandoned on the screened in porch on move in day and they ended up working so nicely in the space. His dresser was a vintage find from an antique shop in Maine that I spray painted Navy for his nursery. 

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

The now infamous pink clock is fairing nicely in her new room...

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

Room Reveal: Big Boy Room

Thank you to everyone who held in there with me while I got this room ready for it's debut - I hope you love it as much as we do! 

All photography by Laura Sumrak


How To Survive A Solo Road Trip with Two Babes

How To Survive A Solo Road Trip with Two Babes

This post is sponsored by Amazon and the Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet and is a part of a series I will be writing over the coming school year. All opinions, thoughts and experiences are my own and based on our hands on use of the Fire HD.

As many of you know from my Instagram stories, I recently embarked on a solo road trip with my 3 year old and 9 month old. I quite frankly didn't think I was mom enough to handle such an event but thanks to grounded planes and broken down cars, I found myself with no choice but to pull up my Spanx and load up my SUV. 

I'll give my kids credit, the surprised me with their behavior. I had imagined the worst and they gave me their mediocre to almost best behavior for our six and a half hour journey. With only nearly peeing in the toddler car seat once and a few quick scream sessions from the infant seat, we made it to our final destination (and into the arms of my very well rested co-parent) without much to complain about. And while my offspring did well, I will absolutely pat myself on the back for doing even better - I was prepared. PREpared. If I anticipated that they would need it, want it or be bribed by it, I had it ready and waiting in the front seat. New Paw Patrol stickers? You bet. Enough ounces of pre-made bottles to get us through Armageddon? Yes ma'am. Coffee for me? Times two. Preparation is key, mamas, and I've got some tricks up my sleeve. 

And since its' Spring Break Season, I thought I'd share some of my more successful tips and tricks for surviving a solo road trip with two babes:

How To Survive A Solo Road Trip with Two Babes

So, we learned the hard way that my son gets car sick if he is reading/writing/coloring in the car but thankfully, screens don't seem to bother him. I wouldn't even bother putting him in the car without his Amazon Fire HD8 Kids Edition Tablet and two chargers. Yes, two chargers. One for the backseat and one up front with me because I will not risk letting that thing die mid travel day. The Amazon Fire HD8 Kids Edition Tablet plays games, apps and books without a WiFi connection so he jams out to it (with a sweet set of Mickey toddler head phones) for the duration of our travel day. I actually just went through and played with the Learn First program a bit and now he is required to spend the first 30 minutes of his screen time reading or watching books, then he can access the app and video sections. I also cut his video usage down to 15 minutes a day so that he is gently coerced into taking advantage of the more educational/interactive options in the apps section. I honestly love that I can do all of that from the Parent Dashboard online because we use his tablet for white noise at night so I don't have to sneak it out of his room to change settings or view his usage. 

And a small side note about the 2 year, worry free warranty program: we recently had to take advantage of said warranty because, well, because three year olds are wrecking balls, and they weren't kidding when they said they would simply replace your broken one and use Prime shipping to do it. Think if you're on vacation or Grandma's House or road tripping to your new home in a new state and your Amazon Fire HD8 Kids Edition Tablet becomes the latest victim of your wild animal - you call customer service, they get you a new one in a matter of days. Days, people. I could have cried when our new one arrived, locked, loaded with Amazon FreeTime Unlimited and read to go.

How To Survive A Solo Road Trip with Two Babes

When we stop for a break, to stuff our faces or for Mommy to use a real potty (and not the one in the trunk, keep reading for those fun details), I pull out a Dollar Aisle bubble wand and tell my big boy to have at it. What is it about bubbles? I don't care if a kid is 10 months or 10 years old, bubbles will always be a hit. I challenge him to pop ten bubbles in a row, to race faster than the bubble and to see how many he can make out of each frantic swish of the bubble wand. I'd say I spend no more than five minutes in a grassy patch near my parked car letting him make bubble magic but the energy it burns is priceless. He gets to stretch his legs, get's fresh air and the bubbles distract him from the fact that we're in an abandoned lot next to a Bojangles.

How To Survive A Solo Road Trip with Two Babes

While my son has been potty trained for a year now, that doesn't mean he won't throw me a curve ball every now and then. And something about a road trip really seems to fuel his need to keep me on my toes, something I learned on the side a dirt road, sopping urine out of his car seat. Ever since, I've kept a portable potty in the trunk of my car, no matter what. Yes, he's a big boy but even big boys will promise they don't have to go potty and then yell out "I need to goooo!" as you zoom past a rest stop at 70 miles per hour. I have pulled into many a parking lot, popped open my trunk, plopped him on our potty and then been back on the road in no time. This is especially crucial if you're solo because it prevents you from having to unload any other babes, drag everyone into an establishment, coral them in a public bathroom and then do the car seat tango for the millionth time. No thanks to that.

Besides our parking lot adventures, I do try to stop at as many rest stops as I see on the road, just to encourage everyone to try to go to the bathroom - and for myself. When Gray was younger, we stopped every hour, just to get out and bounce around, potty or not. Now that he's a bit bigger, I use good old fashioned bribery to get him to try to go when we stop: if he goes (and doesn't let those stupidly loud auto-flush toilets send him into hysterics), he earns a little trip to the rest stop vending machines. He can choose what he wants, within reason, and he gets to punch the numbers and watch his bribery of choice fall into the bin, which seems to bring him immense joy. Hey, if a .99 cent bag of Wise popcorn gets him going, who am I to judge? Bonus: I also get a treat from the vending machine for being a rockstar mom so don't forget to reward yourself, too! 

Actual footage from a vending machine bribery bathroom break, because that's as real as it gets, people. 

Now go forth and solo road trip with your babes in tow! 
(but seriously, only if you have to.)

This post is sponsored by Amazon and is the third in a series, to read more about our experice with the Amazon Fire HD8 Kids Tablet, including our fave apps, books and videos, click here and here

A Colic Update and FAQ's

I've been thinking about how to write this post for a few weeks now and have even started it a few times but honestly, the emotions and thoughts that come up when I think about our months of colic are hard to process and I just haven't had the right words. I'm not even sure that the words below are the right words but I've written about the end of our colic journey (and it's aftermath) anyway. It became clear to me as I wrote this post that I hadn't really dealt with the impact colic had on me as a mother, wife and friend until now, so bear with me as I sort through it, stream of consciousness style.

I was telling someone about Georgia's birth the other day and it occurred to me that she came into this world screaming. She cried so much in the OR that our surgical team made cracks about her healthy lungs and being displeased with her new accommodations outside of my bump. Little did I know, a few months later, I would be standing in front of another set of doctors, begging them to do whatever it took to get her to stop crying.

Our sweet girl spent six long months battling colic. We began our journey assuming silent reflux, then battled food sensitivities and digestive issues only to find ourselves out of options and with no answers. When it became clear we were dealing with colic, we stopped trying to "fix" our second born and started trying to survive it, as a family. There were days that I can't remember, days that I remember all too well, so many tears and more time lost than I care to think about. 

Six months. 

Six months of colic. We honestly thought it would never end, that she would never be happy, that our family would never be happy again. Our lives revolved around colic, around her "witching hours" and her many nightly wake ups. Our son's school was worried about how tired he was during the day, my husband struggled to walk through our door and I was just trying to get through to the other side.

Without warning and without any changes made, the colic started to ease and the days started to get less dramatic. I was skeptical after so many months of crying and discontent, I just couldn't let myself believe we might really be seeing a change. But just like everyone who has battled colic knows, she did eventually just grow out of it. No magic pill, no perfect solution, no easy fix, it turned out that time really was the answer.

During month six, we started to see more frequent smiles and giggles, the hours of crying went down to an hour or so and then could be measured in minutes. And finally, at seven months old, she started sleeping through the night. That was the turning point. We found ourselves with a new baby on our hands and, honestly, we weren't quite sure what to do with her. The first time she sat alone and played with a toy, I took photos and videos of her like she was taking her first steps - I had honestly just never seen her be....content. 

I would never have dared to dream it but Georgia is now a completely normal nine month old. She has no lasting repercussions of colic, of course will never remember it, and has an incredibly sweet disposition. She sleeps 10-12 hours a night (making up for the first seven months, as one does) and truly goes with the flow. If your baby has colic, I promise you that what they say is true: she will grow out of it. It is the most frustrating response any parent can hear because that means you simply cannot change it, but one day you'll realize that, somehow, someway, your baby made it through.

The effects of colic have thankfully left Georgia unscathed but they certainly left their mark on me. To this day, when Georgia cries, my entire body tenses up. I have to remind myself that she is better now and a single cry simply means she's hungry or wet, and isn't the trigger warning for hours of red faced wailing that will bring me to my knees. When she's happy, I think about how blessed we are, how much I wish I had known that little girl for the first 7 months of her life, and how sad I am that her little personality was trapped underneath all of that colic horribleness. 

Truthfully, when I think about colic and the months we lost trying to just survive it, I get really angry. I feel entirely cheated out of our last baby's infant-hood. I was so ready to enjoy having a fresh babe this time around, I felt so much more confident in my own skills and knowledge about mothering a baby that I knew I would be able to worry less and soak in more. And because of colic, I lost that time. Time I'll never get back, an experience I'll never get to have again and I am heartbroken over it. 

Colic challenged us in every single way I can think of and in ways I never wanted to be challenged.  Colic caused me to questions my abilities as a mother, my stamina, my patience, my love - after all, I couldn't soothe my own baby, I couldn't comfort her, calm her, reassure her that I would keep her safe. Colic challenged our marriage, our relationship as husband and wife and our relationship as two equal parents who just didn't know what to do to make our baby better or to restore some semblance of calm to our household. Colic challenged our friendships - we couldn't leave her with a sitter, didn't take her out in public, didn't travel with her and could hardly tolerate being around other babies that were happy and relaxed. And hardest of all for me, colic challenged our sweet boy, who asked for none of this, but taught us the most. Gray is Georgia's biggest fan, always soothing her, telling strangers "it's ok, babies just cry sometimes!", brining her toys and pacis and understanding when Mommy could only handle Georgia from time to time. 

But, here we are, at 9 months old and the clouds have parted. Our girl is healthy and happy, growing like a weed, crawling, eating everything in sight, laughing, clapping and kissing up a storm. She loves her Daddy most, thinks her brother is the funniest and gets super mad when I let her run out of food. She's proven to be a so-so napper and a great sleeper at night and she hates to be left out of any fun. She completes our family and we truly hope she knows how much she's loved.

Here are some in-depth answers to the questions I am most often asked about our dark days with Colic. 

Obviously, I am not a doctor, cannot give you advice or guidance on what to do with your own baby and am just recounting our specific journey - please consult your physician with any questions.  

On Bottles: 
In my experience, there isn't a magic bottle for colic. Colic isn't something that can be fixed by a bottle, sadly, and any bottle that is claiming to make colic better or reduce colic symptoms is most likely referring to a design meant to reduce gas. We tried 5 different bottle brands with Georgia and settled on the Comotomo bottles when things were really high impact in colic-ville. Once things settled out a bit, we started to mix in the classic Gerber bottles recommended by Mom's On Call - we used them with Gray and loved them and have been pleased this time as well (and also, they are cheap, cheap, cheap, which off sets the Comotomo's stunning price point). 

On Colic Criteria:
Colic is classified as a minimum of three hours of unexplained crying a day (via the Mayo Clinic, source) - unexplained meaning baby is not hungry, wet, dirty, cold, hot, sick, teething, gassy or being poked by their sibling. So, you add regular baby crying for needs and communication to a minimum of three additional hours of unexplained and unstoppable crying and you get Colic. Sometimes I get messages that say something like "I think my baby has colic, how do I know?" and my honest response, after saying to ask your pedi, is to liken it to a UTI. If you've had one, you most definitely know. If you think you might have had one, but you aren't sure, I'm gonna guess you didn't have one. 

On How We Knew:
There is some conversation that colic is not a real thing - not a real "diagnosis" - in fact, we saw three different pediatricians in our practice to attempt to make Georgia a happier babe and two diagnosed her with colic and one said she thought it was all related to her food intolerances. The problem is this: we tried many (I think six in total) different formulas to remove foods and proteins that she is sensitive to, landing on Nutramigen, which we are still on. If the colic symptoms were all food intolerance related, we would have seen a massive shift in her hours of crying within days - and the same for when we introduced Zantac in a very early attempt to eliminate any silent reflux she may be experiencing. Sadly for Georgia (and us), that wasn't the case. After that, we officially settled on Colic as our culprit. For those wondering, we had to eliminate milk protein, soy and are now eliminating sweet potatoes and potatoes from Georgia's diet. Girl eats a ton of fruits and lean proteins, which she thankfully loves. 

On "what's wrong with her":
Nothing. Well, nothing that can be fixed or solved. And we tried it all - probiotics, baby wearing, swings, special pacifiers, crib wedges, vibrating mattresses, white noise, heart beats, vented bottles, wide flow nipples, swaddles, wombies, medication, doctors and prayers. She just has colic. 

You can read more about our experience with colic here and here

Design Plan: Modern Boho Big Boy Room

Oh this big boy room.

If you follow me on Instagram stories, you know the saga of the big boy room. 
If you don't follow me on Insta stories (dude, you should, I'm a mess), here's a quick catch up:

I am a teensy bit bonkers.

As it turns out, I channeled all of my mom stress about moving my babies into creating The Perfect Big Boy Bedroom for Gray. Like, up at night, searching Etsy for the perfect alphabet print, flying across state lines with a pink clock in my purse kind of mom stress. 

In all honesty, I just wanted the transition from house to house to feel exciting for my big boy and I really thought that creating a little haven for him would help ease some of the nervousness of being the new friend, starting a new school and learning the ropes of a new neighborhood. Thankfully, he's three and really, there have been zero issues, so as usual, I completely overcompensated, but what can a mama do?

As soon as we found out about our move we started chatting up the whole Big Boy Room concept with heavy emphasis on it being in our new house. I asked Gray what he wanted in his room and he wasn't shy when it came to design requests (I think he could smell my desperation to do it right, so he went in for the kill. Smart kid.) 

My tiny client had the following suggestions for his new space:

color, specifically blue, red, green and white
color on the roof (translation: a painted ceiling)
and, a last minute request for pink

We knew we were upgrading him to a queen bed because we'd been holding on to our former guest room mattress and box spring for him, but otherwise all of his furniture is the same. We are reusing his vintage chest, rug and leather club chair that all lived in his nurseries so to fulfill his decor dreams, I had to get down in the details. 

Behold, my original design board

Design Plan: Modern Boho Big Boy Room

The paint colors are ones that I've used before - Benjamin Moore White Dove on the walls and Ice Cubed Silver on the ceiling, which looks much more blue than grey when paired with the White Dove. I'm mixing and matching patterns in his bedding and found the perfect duvet to make his numbers and letters dreams come true. My fave element in the room so far is the giant (and I mean giant) black and white school house style print. It might be my favorite because it was the easiest purchase of all time - a digital download from an Etsy shop that I uploaded straight to Framebridge to have framed in this gorgeous little number. I was a tiny bit hesitant about the quality since I was going with such a large print, but it turned out beautifully. In fact when Gray saw it for the first time, he clapped his hands together and said "it is BEAUTIFUL". Kid loves some letters. 

I've been pulling together details, ran to IKEA yesterday and just unpacked his last box so we aren't too far away from the reveal! 

(meanwhile, our "master suite" looks like a bomb went off in it...)