Bits + Pieces According to my iPhone

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This week was the start of a new tradition I think, playing Candyland after dinner. I bought the game on a whim about a week ago and I never imagined how much fun Johannes would have with it all. Surprisingly he has incredible luck and seems to win 9/10 times (without the modified rules), leaving Michael and I to battle it out for second and third. Oh and also exciting, I’m officially at the half way mark of this pregnancy! How did that happen?

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Bump Dress-Up // layers

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Layers are a pregnant belly’s best friend.  At 20weeks pregnant with my second son, nothing really fits any more…which is in stark contrast to my last  pregnancy at 20 weeks, but oh well.  I purged my closet of any piece of clothing that didn’t fit my growing belly, or ones that weren’t able to be layered on top of some loose top.  I have to say that as sad as it was to pack up all my favorite clothing, it was also a slightly cathartic process.  It forced me to see my current belly state for what it is and therefore adapt my wardrobe to it, rather than trying to squeeze into something that frankly just wasn’t meant to be.

IMG_3370 IMG_3394 IMG_3405 IMG_3352 Aritzia denim shirt (old), Wilt slouchy tee, Citizens of Humanity maternity skinny jeans, Tory Burch Flats, Zara leather jacket (old), Michael Kors watch

Moms of Instagram // Madelon

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Thank you so much you guys for all the comments, emails and general enthusiasm about the Mom’s of Instagram Series, I really have been so humbled by how much you all have embraced this series and been exceptionally patient with me during the little “morning sickness” break I was forced to take.  I will be taking a break from the series for a couple of months to revamp the content and search for several more fantastic articles but I plan on re-launching the series again in the summer.

Our last and final interview of the series is Madelon (@madebylon), who lives in Holland with her husband and two children.  Madelon is one of the first people I met on Instagram and then in person a couple of years ago when I traveled to Amsterdam with my two boys.  She’s completely genuine and amazing, my only regret is that we didn’t get to spend more time together.  Here’s what Madelon had to share:

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Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family.

My name is Madelon. I’m 36, married to Bart and have two kids, Sylvester who is four and Reva who is almost 1. 
At this moment I’m a stay at home mom. not that accepted here in the Netherlands. At first I was a bit ashamed to tell someone, always immediately started defending myself. But you know what? I’m so happy. At this time in my life it works. Even more than that. I’m privileged enough that we can get by, I love being able to spend all this time with my kids. Especially with Bart being away a lot for work. Will I always be a stay at home mom? Probably not, it’s more exhausting than all my jobs together at once, but I wouldn’t want it any other way right now!
Next to that, we are starting a new adventure next year. We are moving to LA! Scary! And exciting.
Describe a typical day/routine?
It all changed since Sylvester turned four, because he has school now. He loves it, but we still have to adjust to the strict time frame. So, we get up, get dressed, eat and Bart brings him to school. Me and Reva stay home and we still don’t have a routine. Hopefully she sleeps a bit so I can do some things around the house. We go out and do dome groceries, or drink coffee with someone. I’m not that adventures, so often we stay (close to) home. We pick Sylvester up and than talk and play until Bart gets home. Not that exciting. Weekends we do things as a family. We just love being together! We go to a park, friends, a city, or just stay at home.
Are there any special traditions, celebrations or customs your family partakes in?  
I’m a sucker for traditions. I’m planning to create as much as possible. My kids are still small, but I’m noticing Sylvester is like me. I can get excited about small stuff. We celebrated when he was 1 meter tall. With cake, hats and everything. We celebrated his last day being three (eating ice cream) and he was thrilled. I will keep doing this. They pick out a new Christmas ornament every year. Our tree is hysterical, but every ornament has a story.
I’m planning to have a date night once a year with both of them separately. My mother did this with me and my brother, we had dinner in a restaurant, went to a move or went shopping. I always felt so special!  It’s the little things, that will create big memories!
What would people be most surprised to find out about you?

Before meeting Bart I wasn’t sure if I wanted children. Didn’t really like them. Especially babies!

Favorite pass-time?
Being with people who I love. Have a drink, talk, eat, just be together. Or watch tv. I used to watch a lot of tv before having children. Or read a magazine while taking a bath.
Describe you children’s rooms decorating style? 

I love the simple, clean and bright Scandinavian style. But it’s not my room, so they have a say too. Sylvester has a strong opinion about what it has to be like. But I’m not into a theme room. He is into super hero’s at the moment, so there is one print of Spiderman. That’s all. And everything is on his level, so he can grab his own clothes, books and toys.

What is your favorite room in the house and why?
Our living room, because that is where all the magic happens ;). No, but we spent most of our time there and it’s a lovely space that is connected to our kitchen and garden.
How easy is it to meet other moms in your community?

It’s hard, but since school and staying at home it’s easier. Also, I moved to a little village near Amsterdam and that made it better. People in big cities are always on the go, busy, and keep life more to themselves is my opinion. I’m still a city girl at heart, but living just a little bit outside.

What surprised you most about motherhood?
Oh boy. It’s so much better and at the same time so much harder than I thought. While being pregnant the first time I was afraid I wasn’t motherly enough, that my instincts wouldn’t tell me what to do. Thankfully I was wrong. Being a mother is everything. Everything you do, every decision you make is as a mother. That is beautiful and terrifying. I’m a loner, good at doing things by myself and that is not possible anymore (they are still so young). There are moments I find that difficult. But I love them and what they made me. More confident, more relaxed, less soul searching. So, I miss the spontaneity in life, but I love the craziness and fun they add. And I can’t wait to see what they will be like when they are older. 

What’s your philosophy on “eating your vegetables”?

Sylvester is a very picky eater. So we make him try everything on his plate (not much) and let him finish one piece of vegetables. They always say don’t make it into a battle, but I do. Every single night. Luckily he loves fruit, so sometimes he can skip vegetables and eat some fruit as dessert.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and who would you bring along? 

We are at our best being together. And we love to explore! So us four, going all over the world. We went to Copenhagen in November (traveling with kids is great! Different, slower, but great. Don’t wait until they are older. Just do it!) and I guess we will be exploring the US the coming years. Can’t wait to show them San Francisco and New York!!

What role does Instagram play in your life? 

A big role. At first it was a place where I could post my photos (I always made too many). But when I was pregnant with Reva it became so much more. It’s a place I get inspired, where I found some real life friends and real virtual friends. It’s a sub world, but heart warming, kind, encouraging and real. 

What have you found most surprising about Instagram? 

Instagram makes the world so tiny. I’m ‘meeting’ people all over the world who I get to know, laugh with, cry with, love. This community is so big hearted. People helping each other, take the time to answer your questions, give you that little push in the right direction, just ‘be there and feel for and with you. It makes me happy. There are still so many good people around. And I love meeting people! You were my first (and I was so nervous!! Haha, I came a long way since then). Because you see photos, have small conversations you have a feeling you know each other. It makes it so much easier. I truly made some new friends, even though I’m not that good at it.

And it sounds stupid, but it makes my move to the other side of the world a little easier. I just bring all my friends with me!
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Thank you so much Madelon for sharing your family with us, I can’t wait to see what the LA adventures bring along with them!  You can follow Madelon on her Instagram account or her blog.

The Perfect Sunnies for Kids: Babiators

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Is it just me who thinks Johannes suddenly looks super grown up?  I don’t think its just the hair cut, or the outfit.  I think its just him, he’s growing up before my eyes and much faster than I’m quite prepared for.  We finally got spring-like weather after a ridiculously long winter, so we made sure to spend as much time as possible outdoors, brunching downtown, gardening, scooting, bbq’ing of course.  Johannes is in a major sunglasses phase, which is no surprise since Michael and I are both big sunnies fans.  My biggest concern with kid sunglasses is how safe they are for their little eyes.  I don’t mind letting Johannes wear sunglasses, I mean I think they’re super cute, but I do want them to be safe and protective in addition to cute.

Enter Babiators!  I’m sure you’ve heard of these awesome (and cute) sunglasses for kids, but if you haven’t then you definitely should.  Babiators are, just as their name suggests, aviators for kids and babies, only they’re safe and durable  They are so durable that they are guaranteed against breakage, so they’re perfect for Johannes who now is obsessed with wearing them everywhere (even for brunch indoors…like Kanye).  Babiators also sport 100% UVA and UVB protection lenses, so I don’t have to worry about Johannes damaging his eyes when we’re out on the lake-front or in the sun.  The kids/babies Babiators line comes in both polarized and original lenses so you can pick which style you’d like best.  Definitely check them out, if you haven’t already done so, because the sun is here to stay!  And you can follow Babiators on Facebook and Instagram for Giveways and lifestyle ideas.

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Muck Boots Winner!

The winner of the Breezy Ballet Cool giveaway is “@klbirrenkott”. Didn’t win? Don’t worry, The Original Muck Boot Company is giving you the chance to win one of 5 pairs of Breezy Ballet Cool flats here: https://a.pgtb.me/WjDL6S. Just go vote for your favorite style to win!

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Bits + Pieces According to my iPhone

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Eeeee! What at exciting week. Yesterday we had our anatomy scan and found out we are having another little boy! He’s amazing and healthy and has ten fingers and ten toes. I can’t ask for anything better. Neither Michael nor I have siblings of the same gender so we are entering unchartered waters and we couldn’t be more excited for it. Johannes is pretty excited too. He pushed us to clean out the office of all our extra furniture and office books, and helped his dad set up the baby crib. My doctor also gave me the thumbs up to start running again and I managed to squeeze out two jogs which felt so good. It’s been a fantastic week, and really I have nothing at all to complain about. If only every week was this good!

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