Friends, I don't even know where to begin this post.

Six years ago, at our mom's old wooden kitchen table, Jenny and I had the plan to start a blog together. It wasn't our first business venture together (that would have been March Lion Inc. Cards, which we sold at the local museum and made $20 - we were five and seven!), but it was the longest, the richest, and the one which would inevitably change both our lives. At the time, we were both single, young, carefree, and living together at our parents' house. We created Lovely, and in the next month had almost 100 posts! Our goal was to show the world Long Island: the history, creativity, sweet, lovely side. We had a blast visiting places, writing, taking photos, editing fashion posts, and journaling our lives.

This blog followed me through meeting Eric, getting engaged, married, becoming a mother, becoming a teacher (and leaving teaching). It has followed Jenny though running, new jobs, meeting Andrey, and officiating many weddings (even on TV!). When our domain name got snatched out from under us (flattering, thanks), a few years back, just as we were climbing the mountain in Blog-Town, it was truly devastating. It threw us off kilter, and it's been tough, really tough, to get the momentum back.

Which is why, when Jenny and I finally had the chance to sit down and chat a few weeks back, we made the incredibly hard decision to stop posting over here. Everything will still be up, as we love our posts (so much!), but we just don't have the time to devote to Lovely, and Lovely deserves a lot of love and time.

So, where do we go from here? First off, like I said, all the posts will remain here, as will the comments, and the comments sections will be open, too! We will keep our eye on the blog, so if you ever need us via the blog, don't hesitate to reach out. Secondly, we're moving on to new pastures, as you will. I will be blogging more about social media, parenthood, and every day life on Howell Social Media's website; you can also find me blogging for various parenting websites, as well. Of course, you can always find me on Twitter or Instagram.

Jenny's going to cease blogging for a little while, but you can follow along with her Instagram, check out her store, or find her on her officiant site.

As the genius Jim Henson wrote, 

"Somehow I know, we'll meet again
Not sure quite where, and I don't know just when
You're in my heart
So until then, wanna smile, wanna cry
Saying goodbye."

When I had a son, I never realized how much I would care about what products go near his skin. I knew I wanted him to eat healthy foods, but, in the craziness of new parenthood, I forgot how much it mattered what we bathed him with, as well. When I got the opportunity to try out a new line of hair products for kids with "no nasties" in them, I jumped on the offer!

SoCozy is created and owned by Cozy Friedman, the owner and founder of Cozy's Cuts, which is a line of barber shops dedicated to children. After working with children's hair for many years, Cozy decided to come up with her own line of hair products for kids, and SoCozy is "the first ever professional line of hair care products made with the finest ingredients gentle enough for kids."

We tried the Cinch collection, which is a basic bathing collection for kids. It is "Non-Toxic, No Parabens, Sulfates, Phthalates, Synthetic Color, Propylene Glycol. Free of Gluten, Wheat and Nuts." Love that!

We were sent the Cinch Detangler (and leave in conditioner), the Cinch Berry Whip Conditioner, and the Cinch Mango-Go 3 in 1 body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. I have to say, they all smelled wonderful! We tried them out during bathtime after a particularly warm day, and the 3 in 1 Mango-Go worked great for a quick bath--when you're dealing with an active toddler, you don't have much time to open up 3 bottle of product, so I loved that the Cinch 3 in 1 had all the products I needed in one bottle!

Not going to lie...I even used some of the conditioner and detangler on myself! It felt really great to the touch, and my hair dried without any knots!

If you're looking for a healthy alternative to hair product, which is also convenient, and smells good...check out SoCozy's Cinch line, you won't be disappointed!

Full disclosure: I was sent these products free of charge to try, but all opinions are my own. 

Many moons ago, when I was young and jetted to Manhattan for shows, I saw a fantastic show at The Cutting Room: Kate Taylor. This was back in the time of MySpace, and so, after the show, I messaged Kate on her MySpace to let her know how much I loved her music. She was so kind and replied right away! We struck up a conversation, and low and behold, when I went back to The Cutting Room to see Carly Simon and Ben Taylor play a show, Kate was there (not shockingly, as Ben is her nephew), and she not only said hi to me, but remembered me, my story, my life, and even introduced herself to my mom! Not only is Kate an unbelievably kind soul, but she's a gorgeous song writer; her songs are infused with history, heart, and passion. But, we're not here today to talk about Kate's music, actually! We're here because Kate is also an extremely talented jewelry designer...when I saw her pieces she was posting on Facebook, I became so intrigued about her design choices, and asked if she would be willing to do an interview with us; not surprisingly, she was kind as always, and happily accepted my offer. Today, we have a fantastic interview with Kate, we're also sharing her music....and we have a giveaway, too! Read ahead for more!

For more info on Kate, and to purchase her jewelry, you can check out her Facebook, her website, and her jewelry's Facebook and website.

1. Why did you start making jewelry?
Ever since I was a kid I have had an attraction to shells and also to jewelry and to combine the two was a natural. When my husband Charlie Witham, our friend Joan LeLacheur and I started working with the shell that grows here on Martha's Vineyard, we weren't really thinking about "jewelry" necessarily. Charlie had been a student of Native American art and culture, and we saw beautiful purple and white cylindrical beads (wampum) made from the hard shell clam (quahog), used by the original Americans, on display behind glass in museums. The beads were and are still used ceremoniously by the native people as a means of communication and to record important events. They beads were also used as adornment, but their highest function was as a mnemonic device, woven into belts and message strands to document tribal history; agreements, weddings, etc, and to trigger the telling of these stories through the oral tradition. We were drawn to these wampum beads and really wanted to have some. We didn't know of anyone still making them, and through research into how they had been made and through trial and error, we started the journey to making them for ourselves.

2. Where do you get your materials? 

Charlie realized that the shells these beads were made from were the same shells that we were finding on the shoreline where we live on Martha's Vineyard. Starting in 1971, we spent our first couple of years working with small pieces of the ocean tumbled shell that we found on the beach. We started drilling them and stringing them up as necklaces and bracelets. In January of 1975 we made our first cylindrical wampum beads. Along the way we also started to incorporate other shells such as scallop and abalone, precious and semi precious stones, gold and silver and sea glass into our pieces.

3. What inspires your designs? 

Our intent and hope has always been to make pieces that honor the deep and rich traditional uses of the beads.

4. Do you feel that there is a relationship between music and creating jewelry?

I suppose there is a relationship between all types of art. Our natural world inspires a lot of what I do. I find it fascinating and fabulous that people can take the same materials, the same notes, the same canvas and paint and make completely different and uniquely individual things from them.

5. Have you always been creative with your hands, besides playing music?

My mom and her mother were both very creative. They made things with their hands that were both beautiful and functional; braided and hooked rugs, knit and sewn garments, woven materials. And they were both singers! They taught me to knit and crochet and to feel free to follow any creative path that might lay before me

6. Do you do custom work?

You might say that all of the work I do now is custom. There are many styles of beads, bracelets, pendants and necklaces that I have made that someone will see and want replicated, so I can do that for them, and I also can meet with a client, talk about what they might like and design something especially for them. Because of the nature of the shell and the other materials, each piece is unique.
Each shell piece is quite labor intensive and some of the materials I use are rare and/or expensive and the prices can reflect that. To make some of the designs more affordable, I have started a line of necklaces that are made from photocopies of original pieces and with some gold leaf and resin they are set into pendant trays.

1. Diamond Sunrise with Gold Leaf, 2. Tipi Fire with Gold Leaf, 3. Big Tree and Night Sky with Gold Leaf, 4. Big Tree and Night Sky with Purple Foil and Gold Leaf, 5. Circle Four Directions with Gold Leaf, 6. Wampum Beads, 7. Wampum 45’s Insert, 8. Circle Full Moon on the Water with Gold Leaf, 9. Diamond Full Moon on the Water with Gold Leaf, 10. Circle Tortoise with Gold Leaf, 11. Big Tree and Night Sky with Red foil and Gold Leaf, 12. Tipi Fire with Red Foil and Gold Leaf

Kate not only creates this jewelry, but she has many songs about these natural resources, the shells, the wampum, the waters which inspire her art...she collects her materials at Menemsha Pond, a salt water, tidal pond that is 3 miles across and is 1/2 in Chilmark, Mass and 1/2 in Aquinnah, Massachusetts. To hear some of the songs inspired by the pond and its natural resources, check out, Beautiful Road (one of my favorite songs), Shores of Paradise, Shanty Song, and King of the Pond.

Wait, wait...there's more! Kate has generously offered to give away one of her pendants to a Lovely reader! Just in time for Mother's Day...! How can you enter to win one of Kate's amazing hand made pieces? Just check out the widget below and entering is so easy! Better yet: YOU get to pick the one you want to win! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Recently, I've been in a real book slump. I can't get into anything! I try and try, and nothing I start reading catches my attention. It's a little tricky to find time to read these days, but I adore books, and there was a time I would go to the library and take out 10 books, devour them in a week, and go back for more...but now? I have to really, really fall in love with the book to read it all the way through. When discussing books with friends, I often resort to the same book recommendations; these are the books which I wish I could go back and re-read again, without knowing the ending. The books which grab you and toy with your head and heart until you're done, and then you can't stop thinking about them. I compiled my list of top books I've read over the last 5 years or so; these books moved me, stayed with me, and are ones I wish others would read so that we can discuss them together! 

What's the #1 book I always, always recommend people (of all ages and genders) read? 

It's about growing up, the world, love, parents, and the feeling that nothing around you is stable. 

Mind you, there are hundreds of other books I adore, but this list seems to be the ones I hear myself suggesting time and again.

Have you read any of these? 

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan  (Also, Maine)

Wonder by RJ Palacio

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Darlings by Cristina Alger

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

What Remains by Carole Radziwill

Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner

Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff (trigger warning: a child dies)

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

The Circus in Winter by Cathy Day

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Composed: A Memoir by Rosanne Cash

The Condition by Jennifer Haigh

Faith by Jennifer Haigh

Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt (trigger warning: a mama dies)

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

Back in the good ol' days, when a tragedy occurred in a community, it was the women who came flocking to each other. They would take care of the children, cook, clean, do laundry, and help their fellow mama-friend grieve; whether it was the loss of a husband at war, a stillborn baby, or losing a child to polio, the mama had a community around her to support her, lift her up, and grieve for her child or spouse in those moments when the grief was just too heavy to bear.

Over the last year, I have been part of a small group of women, in an online community. There are only two hundred of us, so you get to know the names, stories, and children's lives pretty well. We share our house-hunting, weekly menus, parenting ups and downs, and most recently, our tragedy. We live in literally all corners of the world, from New York, to England, to New Zealand, but, when once of us needs help, a hug, or just to vent, someone is always, always on the other end of the computer. Yes, it sounds pretty weird: how can you be so connected to women whom you've never met (though, I have two in-real-life good friends from the group, and one woman I went to college with!)? Well, I guess, for someone who met their husband online, the concept just doesn't sound too odd to me! I care for these women and their families. When they suffer, we all do.

One of these amazing women, Tessa, from New Zealand, has a little girl named Eva. Eva was born with an extremely rare disease called CHARGE Syndrome, and though she could not see or hear, she was as close as any baby to her mama, laughed, giggled, loved the sunshine, and loved hugs and kisses. Eva's life was not easy, and full of doctors and tests, but Tessa charged onward for her daughter and gave her a beautiful life.

Though Eva had CHARGE, she was doing wonderfully, which is why when all of us mamas in America woke up on February 25th to devastating news, we were floored. Tessa let us all know that Eva had passed away, suddenly, from a small respiratory issue. Like any baby with a small cold, she was having trouble breathing, and then, in front of her mother's eyes, she passed away. I can't even write this without crying.

My Mama-Group got to action immediately. We may not be there to attend the funeral, or hold Tessa's hand, or cook her dinner, but we did everything we could to make her know we were there for her, no matter what. Just as she would do for us. There are care packages, flowers, money being raised, and then, we did what any community would do: we sat vigil.

We declared that on 8PM EST (which is when the funeral began in New Zealand), March 1st, for 24 hours, we would each light candles and post our candles on to our community page. For 24 hours, only candles. Only Eva. Only Tessa. We communicated to Tessa our love and strength before and after the funeral. We wanted her to know that for 24 hours (and always, obviously), we, 200 women (and more in other mom groups, too!), would be holding the grief when it got heavy. We were praying for them, thinking about them, and holding them in our hearts.

Tessa has been keeping a blog chronicling Eva's amazing life, and I implore you to read it. I just wanted to make a few shout-outs: first, to Hillary Frank for starting the Longest Shortest Time group on Facebook, for it is through that group, that two smaller groups have formed, which have been a steadfast place for Tessa to fall apart within. Secondly, the mothers in these groups who got to work as fast as they could and have worked non-stop creating videos, cards, sending gifts, and're amazing.

And lastly, to Tessa: thank you for sharing Eva with us. We have loved watching her grow, her smile, and her brilliant life. She has taught us all more in her life than most people can teach in theirs. We are here for you on this long journey.

Our villages may be different now, but a mama is a mama. I have never seen such devotion, love, and strength in a group of women. We may not hang our apron up in her cabin and sit by the fire with her, but we are just an email, message, text, and "like," away.

If you'd like to light a candle for Eva, please do so, and share with #theoneinamillionbaby.

Lovelies, it's been some time since I've posted, and I am sorry! I'm in the midst of planning a major event in Huntington (more to come on that!), and starting my own business (also, more to come!). Meanwhile, I thought I would share the simple pleasures in my life as of late...what little things are making you happy?

1. The Brockhurst File by Lynne Kramer and Jane Mincer Dillof: Alright, so I may be biased here because my Aunt Jane published a book (jealous!), but this is a wonderful, meaty, mysterious look into the world and escapades of wealthy families dealing with divorce. Not only are the characters people you come to love (especially Lucy, the tough as nails main character), but I actually learned some matrimonial law while reading this! It's a perfect rainy day read, or wonderful for a plane ride, since it takes you on a crazy journey and it's hard to put it down.

2. Nutri Ninja: So, I consider myself a pretty healthy eater, but recently it's been a chore to eat veggies. I just don't have time to cook and eat them right now! So, when Jenny and Andrey picked up the Nutri Ninja and made me a smoothie, I was amazed with how easy it was to make and clean up. Sold! My parents bought me one as a very early birthday present, and I've been making spinach and berry smoothies every morning. Love it!

3. Hanna Andersson slippers: This is really only for the short women in the world, but, I bought these no-slip, leather bottom slippers for Weston, and when I was reading reviews, someone claimed to be my height (short), and shoe size (small), and wore these in the biggest size (for teens?). I asked my dad for a pair (the ones pictured) for Christmas, and I have been wearing them non-stop. I'm going to ask for another pair for my birthday! (PS. I'm a shoe size 5.5 and wear their biggest size in this, 3Y-5Y--they have so many colors to pick from!)

4. Raffi in Concert DVD: Three Raffi concerts, one DVD. Gives mama time to drink a little coffee in the morning. God loves Baby Beluga. Enough said. (Though, seriously: Weston's speech has improved ten-fold from watching and playing along to these songs over and over and over and over!).

5. Andy Cohen's book: When I finally climb into bed at night, all I want to do is read something light (right now), and this book fits that category. As a Bravo TV fan, and pop culture fan, I am truly getting a kick out of this book.

6. Poppin Desk Set: For Christmas, my lovely husband surprised me with a gorgeous desk set to match my website colors (desk being the kitchen table). I adore this set, and it makes me smile every time I sit down to work.

Susan guest blogged for Lovely late last year, so when she approached me to write about another tough topic, I said, "yes!" She's an amazing writer and I am thrilled to have her back. Susan asked if she could write about her recent bout with thyroid cancer and how it impacted her life as a mother and woman. I am so happy to have Susan here today sharing her story; it seems as though #thyca is all over the news lately. Long time blogger and writer, and mom to a young son, Christine Coppa is currently on a #thyca journey (check out her piece on how she told her son about her cancer), and is documenting it for everyone, as raw and scary as it is. Thanks for sharing today, Susan! 

As a new mom, the laser-focus I have on the well-being of my son is all-consuming. To the point that I push the health and needs of anyone else – including myself and my husband – to the side. Intellectually, I know this isn’t what’s best for me or my family. But the drive to protect my little guy is powerful and instinctual. It overshadows everything else.

That’s why my diagnosis of thyroid cancer a couple of months back was a sobering, important wake-up call. The news didn’t come out of the blue, but any concern I had about the growing lump in my neck was downgraded while I dealt with my pregnancy and that first hectic year of parenthood. I didn’t ignore the issue, I just wasn’t aggressive about it. Thankfully, the newly discovered cancer wasn’t aggressive either.

My journey from clueless to thyroid-less began more than two years ago, due to the incidental discovery of thyroid nodules during a neck ultrasound for unrelated pain issues. At the time, the nodules – considered extremely common, especially among women -- couldn’t be felt by a physical exam. I had them biopsied and they came back benign. About a year later, while 20 weeks pregnant with my son, I noticed the sudden appearance of the lump in my neck. Ultrasound follow-up indicated one of my nodules had grown, but I was told there wasn’t cause for concern. As the growth continued, I panicked that I’d have to deal with a major health crisis and a newborn at the same time. Thankfully, my endocrinologist told me to relax and follow-up after the baby was born. I hoped the enlargement was due to pregnancy hormones, but it didn’t shrink: it grew bigger and much more obvious last summer. It got to the point where I was eager for colder weather and turtleneck season, but I waited until October to see the doctor again.

At that visit he ordered a new biopsy, finally concerned by the rate of growth. He personally got back to me with the results, so I knew the news couldn’t be good. He was matter-of-fact about it. “If you’re going to have one cancer, this is the one to have,” he said. Excuse me for not feeling like I’d won the lottery. There’s no such thing as a “good” cancer – despite the fact that thyroid cancer has that reputation.

Another type of cancer that has a good rep in terms of treatment is prostate cancer – but the devil is in the details. My dad died from prostate cancer in 2011. Not the slow-growing kind typical of the diagnosis, but a rare, aggressive form.

I get it. The prognosis for thyroid cancer is generally excellent and the most common kind has a five year survival rate close to 100 percent. But there is more than one type of thyroid cancer and rarer forms can be deadly. I am lucky I was diagnosed with the more treatable/curable type, but I still had to undergo surgery to remove my thyroid. I still may need radioactive iodine therapy. And I still have to monitor my thyroid hormone levels and watch for recurrence the rest of my life.

Then there’s the matter of my sweet son and husband. Having any kind of cancer – even a treatable kind – brings my mind to places I don’t’ want it to go. I can’t imagine my life without them and I don’t want to think about their lives without me.

But that is life – and love. It wouldn’t be so precious if there wasn’t the worry that it could get taken away too soon. The trick is to understand that and use it for positive motivation – not an excuse to live in constant fear.

As we move into a New Year, I hope to learn from this latest bump in the road. I’m making those doctor’s appointments I put off, and I’m remembering how important it is for me and my husband to take care of ourselves and each other, not just our little one.

First of all, huge apologies to Susanne, for this was supposed to go up before the holidays, but life got a little insane, so here it is now! I love this Day in the Life Of post because it cracked me up, and also, is so honest and real. Susanne is a mom I met online, but turned out we had "IRL" friends in common! Her daughter, Lucy, is a peanut and so adorable. Thanks for sharing, Susanne! You can follow Susanne on Instagram, too! 

I’m a full time mom to one year old Lucy. Part of the time, I’m consulting for a design agency in NYC and in my free time I’m daydreaming and brainstorming about building my own business – Sunday Wellness Company. Always cooking…. Always holding a baby. Always feeling so grateful I get to do these things that I love.

Being a mom is like running a marathon that never ends.

2am: wake up to Lucy screaming like someone's come to kidnap her. False alarm, she's just lost her pacifier! I search in the dark all over the floor for the pacifier, which perfectly camouflages itself into the wood planks. Found it. But now she's up and screams when I get her anywhere near the crib. I nurse her, which calms her down and then I start rocking her in my arms for a few seconds before placing her in the crib - she promptly spits the pacifier out and I hear it bounce. I'm about to cry at this point from frustration, I yell to my husband - HELP ME please!!! He stands in the doorway like a zombie while I'm crawling around on my knees holding a screaming baby in one arm searching all over the floor for the camouflaged pacifier and he says, "do you need me to do something?" YES! Help me look. Of course he finds it in two seconds. It bounced behind the door!
(Of course.)

Back to bed everyone!

6:30am: I wake to Lucy's lovely yelling. I guess it's the best you can do when you can't actually talk so I don't blame her. I go in. "Good morning kitty cat!!!" I smother her in hugs and kisses, change her diaper and nurse her in our big comfy beanbag chair. We cover ourselves with a blanket and she hops on and off the chair grabbing new books for us to read, handing each one to me and saying "up up up!"

7:30am: Lucy starts yelling and throwing herself on the floor, now grabbing my shoulders and saying, "up, up, up!" I assume this means she wants me to get up and bring her downstairs for breakfast. Who knows! I sit her in her high chair, while I peel an apple for her to eat and she yells and tries to grab it. I FINALLY (25 seconds?) hand it over and she devours it. This used to keep her busy for a good 20 minutes, but she's suddenly a really efficient fruit eater - ten minutes tops... "Up, up, up!" At this point I have so much in my head that I planned to do while she ate that apple. Cue extreme disappointment. Cue the urge to multitask. Ok. I don't even know what I did with that ten minutes.

7:45am: I put her on the floor and let her crawl around while I attempt to tackle my list of little things I imagined getting done - my quick morning routine (oil pulling, apple cider vinegar with hot water and lemon), making almond milk, cleaning the kitchen, cooking breakfast, getting dinner in the slow cooker and checking email with some unfortunate Facebook distractions.
I look down for about 30 seconds to read an article on why moms are so tired ("hyperawareness" ? Seriously.) I look up and Lucy has climbed on the tv cabinet and is basically sitting on the cable box. Oops. I grab her down and discover she really needs a diaper change. Ugh. No, diapers never got less gross to me. How about you?

8am: Thank god that's over. I take this opportunity (just since I thought of it) to wash my face and brush my teeth while Lucy sits on the bathroom counter and turns the light on and off. I count this as learning. Side note: I just started using a Clarisonic on my face every day and oh my god can we talk about amazing results? Have you tried this?!)

8:15am: back downstairs to have our breakfast (oatmeal with almond butter/blueberries and chia seeds - it's our new favorite).

8:45: After breakfast we play on the floor with some blocks and I straighten up the living room and get my computer ready for a 9am call with work.

9am: Lucy hangs with dad upstairs in her room (sounds like they're reading books) and I take my work call. Nap time (for Lucy) is 9:30 so dad puts her down then and I finish up my work call shortly after so I have some free time (!) meaning I have some time with out baby at my feet. I finish prepping dinner (a loose rendition of this recipe) and begin to clean the kitchen - by this point in her life, Lucy has got to think my favorite hobby is doing dishes. It's not.

10am: She's up! We nurse. It’s funny, breastfeeding has been the hardest thing I’ve done in life so far and once it started to get easy, everyone started asking me when I plan to stop like I’m a crazy weirdo. She’s only a few weeks past one… we’ll see what happens.

10:15: More playtime for Lucy. I open up "her cabinet" where I keep lots of baby safe kitchen stuff and she sits and plays for a while while I get chicken stock cooking. I roasted a chicken last night; I always make a stock with the bones to get the most out of the chicken - it's also so nutritious and delicious! Then finish up making almond milk.

11am: We hop in the car and run to Value Drugs to grab hand soap and some other essentials we ran out of before vacation. Lucy reaches for every stuffed animal in the store and I stop the cart, introduce her "hi da!" And she hugs each one like its her long lost, best friend. These moments make me wonder "how is she this cool?!??"

12pm: We're home... I get some laundry done while carrying Lucy on my hip. Then she hangs out in my bedroom with me - crawling up and down on the bed while I straighten up. She goes to my night table drawer, takes out my Chapstick, and then puts it back over and over. I guess this counts as learning too. We relax. Somehow we're ahead of schedule and for a little bit we just hang out on the bed; she gets lots of tickles and kisses. She makes me laugh hysterically doing her new routine of standing up on the bed, putting her hands over her head and diving on to me. She. Is. The. Best.

12:45: We nurse. She gets a new diaper and turns off the light (while on my hip) and I put her in her crib for a nap. (1pm is nap time, but she always spends some time babbling and getting comfy in her crib. We started using the 90 minute sleep solution around two months and it has helped more than anything else I've tried. I highly recommend it!) I take advantage of nap time to take the fastest shower ever, get dressed and get her lunch ready (roast chicken from last night, a banana and a kale/cashew/mango smoothie - made six of these - one for Lucy, me, my husband, the babysitter, and a few for tomorrow.) I chug a smoothie and throw my laptop and wallet into my bag.

1:55: She's up! And in a great mood. Hallelujah. The babysitter will be here at 2pm so I get Lucy out of her pajamas (finally!) and into some semi normal clothes - we're still waiting for clean laundry because we just got back from vacation two days ago...

2pm: Charlotte (our amazing babysitter) arrives. Lucy and I answer the door and I tell her, "Charlotte's going to play with you for a while while I go do some work!" I sit her in her high chair and take lunch out and say bye! Thank god she loves Charlotte. My husband and I leave (he's been working in his home office all day) and we go to Starbucks to work for a very short two hours. Somehow, I get a ton of work done. I'm looking for a lighting designer and figuring out the best place to order 2,000 balloons from for an event I'm planning. I'm feeling very grateful to have this new project because work has been kind of slow for the past few weeks and also, this project is super fun.

4pm: We're home. Lucy hears me say hi and crawls over to me with the biggest smile I've ever seen anyone smile. We say bye to amazing Charlotte and nurse on the couch till Lucy flips off my lap, says, "up up up" and hops down off the couch (she's still figuring out up and down). She's entertaining herself on the floor doing lunges saying, "up, da" so I take this time to finish up a few emails for work and peak at Facbook/Instagram. She crawls into the kitchen and I hear her say, "up, up, up" to my husband who is standing at the counter working at his laptop. He is pleasantly surprised because she rarely asks him to pick her up. So that's cute! It lasts for about five minutes and somehow she has landed back in my arms haha.

4:45: I crawl onto the floor and sit in Lucy's elephant chair and tell her to pick some books for us to read. She gets "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and sits in my lap and we read... Well, I read. Spoiler alert: The caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly. She climbs down, grabs her baby (a birthday present I gave her last week) and hugs her and says, "baaabaae!"

She comes back over to me and it's "up, up, up!" So I grab her and head back to the kitchen (because that's where I live!) I have to get her dinner ready and finish making dinner for my husband and I, but I quickly realize this is not going to happen with my hip baby. I sit her in her high chair with an appetizer (a spoonful of coconut oil - yum! I don't know, she loves it.) Throw a bunch of cubed sweet potatoes into the oven and grab some Lima beans out of the slow cooker. I should have done those last two things earlier, but I didn't. She's done with her "appetizer" and climbing out of her high chair so I grab her and sit her on the counter and let her examine the spinach (learning!) while I'm tearing radicchio and slicing tomatoes. Lima beans have cooled! Sit her back down and hand her a bunch. She eats some, but feeds half to the dog. Grr. I throw him into the backyard so I have a better chance of her eating. Sweet potatoes are served! She loves them. But I'm still worried she hasn't eaten enough so I grab the blender and make her a quick dessert smoothie (almond milk/coconut cream/blueberries/cardamom/turmeric) she downs it. Yay! This is delicious. I instagram it. (I've been working on getting some kids recipes together and planning a "real food workshop" to put my health coach license to use, but just haven't gotten there yet. Small steps.)

6pm: Bath time has arrived! I grab a glass of wine. We climb the stairs - Lucy in front of me, climbing on all fours, start the tub and go into her room to clean up. I ask her to help me clean up all her books and she hands me them one by one - then hands me a sock, which makes me wonder if she knows what books are. Well, one day she will figure it out. Into the bath. We talk about the day. Well, I talk about the day. She says, didididididididaaaaa! Speaking of daaa! Dad come upstairs to say goodnight and hangs out for a few in the bathroom with us. Lucy says, "up up up" which means bath time is over and it's time for bed. We nurse. I put her pajamas on, we say goodnight to every stuffed animal in her room, goodnight to the sun (which has already set), I let her switch off the light and put her in her crib. Aaaaaah.

6:40: By now, dinner is ready to go so I make some plates up for my husband and myself. Now we get to relax. I love Lucy's early bed time because I get to spend all day with her and then have time with my husband at night, which for me is totally necessary to stay sane. Also, going to bed early gives her the best chance to get a full 12 hours... Babies wake up with the sun no matter what time they go to bed. They're like senior citizens. (From my experience.)

8pm: We sit on the couch, have some more wine and watch American Horror Story (that show is getting to be really disturbing), SVU and I work a little more on my phone researching caterers and lighting artists - I'd love to stop this habit and turn my phone off at night... Maybe one day!

11pm: I pour us both a "Calm" magnesium drink and it's time for bed.

Sometimes I think I have the time management skills of a teenager at a Grateful Dead concert, but this day went pretty well! Success! Now I pray that she sleeps through the night.