olive june: June 2017

summer fun travel tips with evenflo | flying with a toddler

thank you to Evenflo for kindly sponsoring this post. all opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.
happy summer! bring on the travels~ any fun trips coming up? traveling is fun but with young children, it can also be challenging and stressful. today, i am sharing some simple tips + ideas to make things easier for you. in may, i traveled to my hometown for a family wedding with parks solo. you may remember that we were supposed to drive; however, i was experiencing intense neck pain so we booked a last minute flight. i learned a few things and reached out to a local girl tribe in charlotte to bring some summer travel tips your way. i hope these help you in some way as you make your plans and fly to those exciting places. 

here are some tips for flying with a toddler:
"one of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are."
- edith wharton
i think the best advice i was given is this~ go into the flight expecting it to be okay! often parents dread it and expect it's going to be awful, causing their anxiety to rub off on their kids. mental preparation is important for us too. stay calm and pray they do the same. 
in the dayton airport --> charlotte bound 
{i placed the car seat on top of the rolling suitcase}
car seat | evenflo . shoes | aldo . jeans | madewell

checking in | i always encourage checking in online for moms. if it's a holiday (like this weekend- happy fourth!), i would definitely try and check in online because sometimes flights are sold out and the last people to check-in are usually placed on standby/are bumped. because of my neck pain, we brought the sibby stroller (it's a perfect size for travels- more here). usually, i would baby wear parks in the airport (esp. for running to a gate) but we had a direct flight and there was no way we could have put him in a carrier with my pain. the stroller was perfect for this trip and i actually think i would do a stroller again next time. we were dropped off and checked in outside (the tip was worth it in this case) we checked our evenflo stratos car seat (color: silver ice) outside so we would be hands-free through security + walking to the gate. you can buy a bag on amazon for under $10 to help protect it but i don't recommend hauling it through the airport. it was easy, free, and was waiting for us at baggage claim when we arrived. 

security | a backpack is usually your best friend! (isn't this the case as a mom in general?) we love this one from fawn design. i found that one airport wanted all of his food and drinks in a plastic bag for checking- so i would do this in advance. kids don't have to take off their shoes until the age of seven and they can walk through with you. the stroller + car seat may require a more thorough check. 

at the gate | depending on the child, i think this is either a good time for exploring and 'getting out the energy' or a good time for them to chill. parks is a very chill toddler when in his evenflo stroller + car seat (versus let's say a high chair!) so that's what we did; however, many kids would probably be better off using their energy during this time frame. while waiting, i try and use the restroom before the flight and remember to fill up the sippy cup  + change diapers before taking off. i also recommend bringing some plastic grocery bag in your diaper bag for dirty diapers on the flight. 
in case you are lucky enough to enjoy a second of quiet (whether they are napping or are chilling in the stroller- like parks does in the sibby!!) do not forget to bring a book/magazine/your favorites, too. you just never know... 

and i thought i loved you then

june 29, 2013 
four years ago~ a gorgeous summer day in uptown charlotte, i married the most genuine, kindest person i have ever known. i know God brought him into my life and i know he's my true love. now we are mom and dad to the sweetest baby boy, continuing to enjoy our city, travel, and take in the simple moments in life. we dream, we try our best to overcome the difficult days, we challenge, we laugh, we cuddle, we pray, and we try to be the best parents we can for parks james.

here are just a few of my favorite memories from our wedding day: 
-my bouquet- 
the rosary was a gift from my maternal grandma and the colored brooch was my paternal grandma's (she passed away when i was a young girl) yesterday would have been her 103rd birthday. i could feel her love that day and i know she was with us
i surprised my new husband with a cannoli bar to honor his italian heritage 
the charlotte city club (especially the director, nathan hoffman) made it a day to remember- always.
now you're my whole life
now you're my whole world 
i just can't believe 
the way i feel about your girl 
we'll look back someday 
at this moment that we're in 
and i'll look at you and say 
and i thought i loved you then 
and i thought i loved you then 
{then by brad paisley}
j + t 
every day- i can feel how much my husband loves me. for this, my heart feels so full. 
what's even better? i know that our son feels the same love. 
my sister stood closest to my side all day 
from my bridal portraits - i loved my dress!! it was originally a one strap dress, turned high lace
the girls wore cream and gold + pink and coral peonies
my girls 

thirty-four candles

yesterday, i turned another year older and it was one i think i will always remember. last fall i wrote about my most memorable birthdays (here) but this one is right up there. it was simple, spent with my boys, and full of love. i have spent a good portion of the past year striving for simpler, more soulful living - so this day was ideal for me. 
a confetti bundt cake from a friend ... she brought it over with a bouquet of white tulips last week.
my boys put a gold candle in it and i made a wish (my very favorite part of every birthday!) 
after the perfect service at watershed (love so much) this week, the message really spoke to me- like it usually does there- but it really aligned with our conversations the night before, which made it very special. after church, we met my mother and father-in-law at the workman's friend for brunch (one of my favorite spots in the city!) they watched parks overnight (we had a charlotte staycation) so it was the best just seeing him and spending time with them.  
my sweet brunch date + i love this boy 
saturday night, we stayed at a local bed and breakfast, met one of my favorite friends and her husband for cocktails uptown and then had a romantic dinner at the charlotte city club (which is where we had our wedding reception... four years ago on thursday) they treated us so well (too well) it was lovely. nathan hoffman - the director- is a very special person and we adore him. 
one of the best parts of the day was (finally) finishing the book, present over perfect by shauna niequist. i am a reader- always have been and i am not sure if a book has ever spoken to me in such a profound way. in the book, she offers an honest account of what led her to begin a new journey- a compelling vision for an entirely new way to live: soaked in grace, rest, silence, prayer, simplicity, and connection with the people that matter most. 

so this- this is my main goal for year thirty-four
i feel ready 
never more excited for a new year 
(hoping to share my journey here!)
ps: do you have any advice?

a first birthday party | sweet bunny love

my cousin, megan, and her family were just here visiting from colorado. like i mentioned yesterday, we truly enjoyed their visit and parks is missing his buddy, stella mae, lots today. from the moment i saw photos of stella's first birthday garden party in may, i knew i wanted to share with you all. it's just too cute for words... they celebrated in their backyard with a bunny themed party for the birthday girl. i hope you all enjoy this extraordinary birthday gathering.

a mood board | june edition

"what kills a soul? exhaustion, secret keeping, image management. and what brings a soul back from the dead? honesty, connection, grace." -shauna niequist

june mood board
june mood board

hello. hope your week is going well. i have so, so many things to share with you all. it's been a whirlwind of a month but i am excited to be back here (planning to post regularly!) now that we are back from our travels + we have had visitors since june 11 (we have had the best time with my cousin and her family from denver!) parks is going to miss precious stella so much. this morning, on the way to amelie's french bakery, we looked back and they were trying to hold hands from their carseats. just the cutest pair and we are thankful for the time together. we explored museums, markets, consignment shops, library story time, coffee shops, restaurants, pools, ice cream shops, parks, juice bars, and gourmet donuts etc.
has anyone read, 'the book of joy?' i think this might be my next read? also, we just watched 'the keepers' on netflix... wow. anyone else? 

“if you are setting out to be joyful you are not going to end up being joyful. you’re going to find yourself turned in on yourself. it’s like a flower. you open, you blossom, really because of other people. and i think some suffering, maybe even intense suffering, is a necessary ingredient for life, certainly for developing compassion.” ― desmond tutu, the book of joy: lasting happiness in a changing world
when your mom tells you... it's time to leave the splash pad
first ward park in uptown charlotte has an area of fountains and parks is in love. i plan to take him at least once a week... along with many, many trips to the gym (after the past ten days of fun!!) 

gia & the blooms | cincinnati, ohio

-my favorites of all the blooms- 

my sister recommended using gia & the blooms for her baby shower- and i am glad i agreed. it was the most charming experience... so i thought i would share with you all. the owner, yulia, has a background in design and loves to apply her knowledge and love for contemprary and clean aesthics to creating floral arrangements. everything is elegant yet has a 'fresh from the garden' feel. many flowers are grown locally but they also support u.s farmers. in addition, they deliver (for free) to the cincinnati metro area and offer a few styles to avoid visual overload. the shop is in otr or the 'over the rhine' area in downtown and i can't recommend poppin' in enough!! i would totally be a regular but plan to visit when i am in town. 
all of the details were so adorable! the space was quaint, cozy and yet felt spacious (in its own way!) 
i bought my sister's shower card and wrapping paper here as well 
but the girl working was just the nicest - we had the best service! 
one of the things i love most though~ they offer classes throughout the year. here is more info!
i know my sister did the eucalyptus wreath last christmas (i actually posted a pic on insta right before the holidays when i was visiting because i loved it so) for $55 you walk out with a beautiful and festive wreath! (and have fun with friends in the process)

a grateful heart

"if you want to change the world- go home and love your family." - mother teresa

parks and i got back to charlotte early last evening after a trip back to my home state of ohio. we spent time both in my hometown and in cincinnati. both were fun in their own way and lots of great memories were created in both places. seeing my sister so thankful (and happy) at her shower made the months of planning all worth it. her friends were so appreciative of my vision and my sister mentioned all of my hard work over and over (not necessary at all) yet very nice. she was glowing- she was radiant. the weekend was simply 'one to remember' and i just hope that everyone enjoyed. (i love her friends!!) i plan to share all of the details soon (i have already posted a few on my insta feed) and above is a shot from the photo booth i created, which was a good time/lots of laughs... much more coming soon! 

a grateful heart | 

this past weekend we celebrated and we loved. everything felt so new and so old, more beautiful once i closed my eyes and thought about it. lately, i feel most grateful in all that is seemingly simple. 
there was so much love for my sister, my brother-in-law (aka my big brother) and their sweet baby. everyone was so friendly- and very appreciative. this time has become very special... as my baby grows older each day and my sister gets ready for one of the very greatest joys of life. i would love to hold it like i do all of the things i love. like it were a bubble or butterfly or a rose on the brink or an aurora. it's gentle, purposeful- no movement too quick, no reason too slow. i love to watch parks play in the grass at my parent's house as he runs- he runs as hard as he can; giggling and exploring until his forehead gets dewey and his cheeks fiery. all of this, this time of being- it is what i call, the greatest expectation of my life. i can't wait for my sister to experience this soon and i know that just like the last trimester before parks james arrived, there is a thunder in her heart until he or she arrives. 
floral arrangements | gia and the blooms
the cutest flower shop ever. i can't wait to share more about this place soon (all the heart eyes)
like i mentioned, seeing my sister so happy, celebrating with her friends, was the greatest part
my sweet-souled, travel buddy - he was just so good. and for that, i am especially thankful. 

again, i can't wait to share the details of the shower soon
-a weekend to remember- 

currently | june edition

remember- "God always keeps his promises" (always)
shipping a few packages before leaving charlotte yesterday
-fresh flowers form a local farmer's market-

planning | my sister's baby shower (well almost done with the planning and ready to celebrate that sweet thing- the shower is this saturday in cincinnati). parks and i drove to my hometown in ohio yesterday (he never cried once- for nine hours!) i am so proud of my travel buddy. this is such a special time, as my only sister (and bff) gets ready to welcome her first baby soon. the gender is a surprise and she is due at the end of august. i love this precious babe (so much) and can't wait to celebrate with loved ones. most of you know this... but i love planning small gatherings and so this has been so, so much fun. my mom and sister have also helped (we all come together for these types of things- esp. both of our weddings- and i love the bonding memories made) tomorrow i am heading to cincinnati to spend time with her (and run errands for the event) and then my parents will be bringing baby boy on friday afternoon. i will be sharing the details on instagram this weekend and then eventually on here. again, i really have enjoyed doing this and can't wait to shower my sister and my niece or nephew! 

wishing | the temperature in charlotte was just a bit cooler during the summer months. it has been in the low 90's and pretty humid there already... on the other hand, i am currently sitting at my parent's house-in rural ohio- the windows are open (it's 59 degrees- way more my style) ... i can hear the pond/waterfall outside, the trees swaying, the birds, i have a blanket on my lap, a blue jean capri candle lit (i highly recommend), emiliana torrini radio playing, diffuser (oil: orange) is on, and parks is sleeping soundly. i am slightly chilly- just the way i like it.  

learning | to prioritize each day, to say 'no' more often, and to let things go (all things that are hard for me to do... i am a 'true cancer' and have a very sensitive heart) “the world will tell you how to live, if you let it. don’t let it. take up your space. raise your voice. sing your song. this is your chance to make or remake a life that thrills you.” - shauna niequist, present over perfect: leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living. i also love this article: what if all i want is a mediocre life?

browsing | headboard options for our master bedroom... i love a cozy + feminine upholstered bed (colors: gray and blush are leading the way) but also really adore the look of restored wood (brown or gray) in a bedroom. any that you really love? 

going | on more dates/nights out with my girlfriends. last saturday, i met up with some of my very favorites in plaza midwood (a cute area of charlotte) and we enjoyed conversations, dinner, cocktails, and lots of laughs. i came home with the biggest smile on my face. 
we spent last sunday together as a family 
we went to church, brunch, and then had a cleaning party while parks napped
{my college roomies and i always did this and i have so many great memories... laughs + music}
when parks woke up, we enjoyed his pool, bubbles, and a new set of wheels 
(he was so happy!) 
i found this photo on my phone last night... my lula room before it became a shop!
last night: celebrating the end of a long, but successful road trip with momma 
it actually wasn't bad at all

...what about you...
what are you currently loving?

ps: there are still two days left to enter this giveaway
linking with Anne and Erin
-this post was not sponsored*