What I’m Loving {4}

Hey friends, Happy Friday!!!

Hope y’all have had a good week! I for one am glad the weekend is upon us. We are traveling to the great state of Oklahoma this weekend to visit the best school in all the land – Oklahoma State University, naturally.  We haven’t been in almost THREE years, which is insane, so we’re taking the boys to show them what it’s all about – and since it’s a game day we know it’ll be a blast.

Here’s a little bit of what I’m loving lately:

What I'm Loving {4} | Haven Gray {the blog}

Athleta Capri Pants

I am a pretty frugal girl when it comes to clothing usually, but Arsen got me started on these and now I can’t stop! They are SO comfy and crazy flattering, and they’re also made out of super durable, nice quality fabric. I’ve got several pairs of the Chaturanga ™ Capris and I’ve been wearing these babies nonstop, even though it’s a million degrees outside. When the weather finally cools down in Texas I’m pretty sure I won’t take them off.

Bible Study

A few weeks ago I started leading a table at the Women’s Bible Study at my church, and I am LOVING it! I was a little (a lot) hesitant at first, because this is so far from something I ever thought I would be doing, but after a lot (a lot) of prayer, I knew it was the right step. And man, God has used it to bless me big time, because the girls at my table – pretty much none of us knew each other beforehand! –  feel like they were hand picked especially to be in this group together. I just love when he coordinates my life in such a fun, unexpected way!

My Little Family

I always love my boys (all three of ’em), but lately I have been pretty much obsessed with how great they all are. I feel like we’re in a bit of sweet spot right now, and we’re having a lot of really good family time. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the kids drive us absolutely bonkers a large portion of the time – especially the tiny one, he is CRAZY – but their relationship is becoming cuter, they’re easier to communicate with, and the husband and I seem to have found a good balance with this parenting thing. Kind of madly in love with the family we’ve created right now.

“Fall”

Or more accurately, the idea of fall. Texas usually barely gets a fall, and this year is proving to be totally predictable. It was at least 95 degrees outside today, which is horrendous when all you see everywhere are pumpkins and halloween decor and boots and sweaters. I swear I’m meant to live somewhere that gets a true four seasons – but no, somehow I’m in the hottest state on the planet. Nonetheless, I’m loving the fact that our version of fall is just around the corner, which means the holidays will be close behind. The next few months are my FAVORITE time of the year!

Alright friend of mine, tell me – what are you loving??

 

Grayson & Gavin’s Top Movie Picks for Preschoolers (I’m guessing)

I know screen time is a hot topic, and some mamas try to limit their kiddos to screen time only on the weekends or maybe 30 minutes a day – and I find that super admirable. I do.

But if we’re being real, my boys watch quite a bit of TV and movies. I’m super strict with the iPad time – some days Grayson doesn’t get any at all, but if he does I typically put a pretty strict limit on it. But when it comes to the TV, we have it on quite a bit. I like the background noise honestly, and my kids aren’t really the type to get sucked in and stare at it for hours. They may sit and watch a 30 minute show here and there, but that time includes jumping around, running in circles, maybe a little wrestling, playing with toys, AND watching the show.

But I’ve noticed that if it’s the right movie, they (even Gavin!) will sit and watch most of it – all while doing the things mentioned above, of course. In fact, Daddy is big on movie nights. He goes all out, popping popcorn in his fancy popcorn maker, closing all the curtains to make it dark like a movie theater, and turning the sound up WAY louder than Mommy would like.

So since movies are pretty big for our boys, I thought I would share their very favorites with you guys, just in case you’re looking for a treat for your little ones!

Top Movie Picks for Preschoolers - Haven Gray {the blog}

Lion King

Did you know they just released this from the vault? Well, it’s been what, a month now?  – and my boys have watched it approximately 200 times. They LOVE it. Grayson loves the fight scenes (no surprise) and Gavin loves to dance to all the fun music. This is the first movie that I’ve noticed Grayson memorizing the lyrics and singing along with all the songs, which I find super adorable. There are a few things in there that I don’t love – I’ve had to explain the meaning of “cactus butt” and also tell him that we aren’t allowed to say stupid, even though they do in the movie – but that’s the case for just about anything out there, unfortunately. He’s at that age where he’s a total sponge, and wants to know what everything means, so this has introduced some interesting conversations, to say the least 😉

Trolls

Y’all. Have your kids jumped on the Trolls train? I’ve seen this one more than I care to admit, but it IS super cute. Lots of fun music (thank you, Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake) and a pretty cute storyline. No matter where they are in the house, if they hear the first few notes of “Can’t Stop the Feeling” at the end of the movie, they come running.

Moana

This is more Gavin than Grayson, but I honestly think Grayson says he doesn’t like it simply because it’s Gavin’s favorite (brothers, I’m telling you). Out of every kids movie I’ve seen, this might be my favorite – and I’m honestly not totally sure why. Just like all of them, there are several cute songs, but I think I just love the storyline. I love that Moana dares to go after her dreams and follow her purpose even when it’s hard, and she meets all of the challenges she faces head on. I know, I’m too involved here, but watch a movie enough and you’ll start thinking about a deeper meaning. Orrrr I may just be a little crazy.

Life of Pets

We haven’t watched this one as much, but I think it’s making it’s way to the top of the list. They were watching it last night and Gavin was cracking up, like belly laughing harder than I’ve ever heard him. It is a pretty funny movie, and all those pets are pretty cute. Another perk is we haven’t watched it 100 times, so it’s still somewhat interesting to me at this point.

Alright, what about you? Do your kids watch movies often, or do you limit screen time pretty strictly? And what are some new favorites I can share with my boys? I’d love for you to share – you could be saving my sanity!

 

Diaper Bag Essentials for the First Time Mom

Even though it’s only been a little more than four years since I had my first baby, it’s a little difficult to remember what it was like before his arrival. I’m so in “mom-mode” 24/7 that I honestly can barely remember life as a non-mom. But one thing I do remember is panicking before our first few outings, positive that I would forget to put something super essential in his diaper bag. 

It can be a lot of pressure to get out of the house with every single thing you might possibly need, no matter the circumstance that may happen to arise – I mean, what if you forget something you really, really NEED?!?

Well mamas, I have good news for you: babies aren’t near as complicated as you may have been led to believe. As a mama of two, I can tell you that my personal diaper bag “essentials” have gone down in number over the years. So today, I’m going to share what I truly consider to be non-negotiable items that you should have in your diaper bag at all times. As long as you’ve got these things covered, you’ll be just fine – promise.

Diaper Bag Essentials | Haven Gray {the blog}

  • Extra Diapers & Wipes

Number one most important thing that you should double and triple check for before you leave the house, absolutely. And when I say extra, I mean several extra. You will be amazed at how often you will be changing diapers, especially in the first few months. If your wipes are getting low – throw in another pack. There is no way to predict a blow out diaper, and if you’re low on wipes when one happens to occur, you will live to regret it. 

  • Change of Clothes

At least one full change of clothes is a must, so have an extra onesie, pants, and socks at a minimum. The amount of extra clothing depends on the baby. With my first born, I always had three or four extra changes in his bag because he was the king of blowout diapers – something I’m sure he will love that I shared with the internet in his older years. With my second, I just make sure I’ve got one, and to be honest he usually grows out of them before they get used. You’ll know within a couple of weeks what kind of baby you’ve got (and good luck to you if you’ve got the first kind I mentioned). 

  • Pacifier

Oh, the horror of being stuck somewhere without a pacifier. Again, this depends on the baby, but I would say it’s a safe bet that most babies will want the comfort of a paci when they’re out and about in their early days. They have cute little pacifier carrying cases to keep them nice and clean, but a ziplock baggy should do the trick as well. 

  • Hand Sanitizer/Wipes

Especially as a first time mom, you are likely going to be obsessed with germs for awhile. I sanitized everything that came near my first born for probably his first year of life. It’s amazing how disgusting everything you touch becomes when you think about then touching your sweet, innocent little baby. Stay stocked up here for your own sanity. 

  • Diaper Rash Cream

You never know when a diaper rash is going to pop up. I swear, one diaper change things look perfect, then the next you’re dealing with a sad looking little rash. Even though my boys haven’t really had many diaper rash issues, I always keep this on hand. My favorite is Dr. Smith’s Diaper Rash Ointment. Within a diaper change or two this stuff has always cleared up any redness we’ve had going on. 

  • Changing Pad

Nothing’s worse than being out in public, about to use the diaper changing station in a public restroom and realizing you don’t have a changing pad. This has happened to me, and laying your baby down without a layer of cleanliness between them and the table is not ideal. I’ve actually gone so far as to line the table with paper towels, but obviously that didn’t work so well. So keep a changing pad in your bag at all times – it’s even a good idea to have an extra for when you wash your everyday one, just in case.

  • Blanket

While this may be obvious in the winter months, I like to keep at least a thin receiving blanket or muslin swaddle blanket in our bags even throughout the summer. On windy days it’s nice to have something to cover baby up, and you never know when you’ll be somewhere with AC that is just a little too cold. 

  • Toys

For the first couple of months your little one will likely sleep through most outings, but once they come out of their newborn cocoon they will begin to demand entertainment. There are so many great toys out there that attach to carseats so you don’t have to worry about them falling onto dirty floors or out of their reach in the car. I always keep a couple extras in the diaper bag as well. 

  • Snacks & Sippy Cups

This won’t be necessary for a few months, but once your baby is snacking and sipping on water, you will need to be ready at all times. Hangry babies and toddlers are zero fun, so keep a bag of healthy snacks with you during every outing, no matter how brief, to be on the safe side. 

There you have it! There are maybe a million other things that you can include in your diaper bag, but to save space (and your shoulders because diaper bags get heavy!) these basic items will get you through just about any situation that should come up. You’ve got this, mamas! 

5 Shows You Should Definitely Be Watching on Netflix

So I could probably do like 10 of these posts – and I just might. Because I LOVE TV. Always have, probably always will.

I don’t get to watch it much anymore (hello, motherhood), but I have a nice little routine down. When I eat my lunch, I watch something on Netflix on my computer with headphones in while the kids play. And if everyone finishes their dinner before I get to sit down to eat (which is most nights, because once again, hello motherhood) I watch a little then, too. Other than those two times a day I don’t really watch much, but I get in a little each day that way.

This explains why it takes me about half a year to get through a show. But that’s not the point.

The point is, there are some SUPER good shows out there that if you haven’t seen them, you need to make it happen. Like now. Here are five of my favorites.

5 Shows You Should Definitely Be Watching On Netflix | Haven Gray {the blog}

Gilmore Girls

Growing up in the era that I did, I obviously knew what Gilmore Girls was. But for some reason, I had zero interest in the show when it was on TV. I was more of a Friends, Will and Grace, thirty minute sitcom kind of girl, so this just didn’t seem like a good fit. But finally, last fall I think, I started watching it on Netflix. And holy moly, now I get it! It is so, so good. I absolutely LOVE the relationship between Lorelai and Rory, I love crazy Emily, I love love LOVE the tension between Luke and Lorelai, I love the friendships and the crazy townspeople. It was definitely super cheesy sometimes, but I really loved it. Bonus points to this show too, because they came out with a brand new season – what, early this year? – and it was equally great. LOVE.

Parenthood

OK, I don’t know what was going on with me, but I tried Parenthood out a couple of years ago and just couldn’t get into it. But this is what I’m currently watching and I absolutely ADORE this show. I can’t even tell you how much I am obsessed with it right now. I can never choose a favorite character because they are all so great, but I can tell you my least favorite – Christina. She drives me bonkers. And you know what I figured out? It’s because she reminds me of myself! She’s so tense and anxious and dramatic – it’s hard to watch your worst qualities played out on TV (insert all the crying laughing emojis, because I found this so hysterical once I figured out why she rubs me the wrong way SO intensely). This is the epitome of a feel good, family drama – obsessed.

New Girl

Ya’ll, I will watch a sitcom over a drama any day. I love to laugh, I love ridiculous comedy, and I love that things get wrapped up in such a happy ending (almost always) in thirty minutes. The New Girl cast is phenomenal. This is another show where I can’t choose a favorite character because they are all so great. If you haven’t watched New Girl yet, get on it!! Even the husband likes this one.

How To Get Away With Murder

OMG. This show is insanity. Every single episode ends with me saying OUT LOUD – “WHAT??!?! WHAT IS HAPPENING?? YOU ARE KIDDING ME!!!”. You absolutely positively can never watch this around your children (which is probably apparent by the title alone) but dude, it is so good. It’s pretty gruesome sometimes and can be pretty inappropriate, but if you can handle that then watch this show. Like now.

Hart of Dixie

OK, this is a guilty pleasure that I just fell in love with. It’s SO incredibly cheesy – almost every episode I had a good eye roll or two. But I really, really loved it and I hated that it ended so soon! It actually was around for several seasons, but it felt like it ended pretty abruptly – I think it was canceled? Regardless, this is just a good, heartwarming, pretty family-friendly little show. I mean, I wouldn’t watch it with young kids, but if you’ve got teenagers you’re probably good to go. If you don’t mind large amounts of cheesiness and you need a feel good show, Hart of Dixie is a good one!

Alright, like I said, I have about a zillion shows I could recommend. Chances are, I’ll be back with more suggestions in the future, because I’m not an expert on many things, but I like to pride myself on my knowledge of good (to me) TV. If you decide to watch any of these – or if you’ve got any suggestions for me –  let me know!