Mother's Day Gift Ideas

I love buying presents. As far as I can remember, I have always put energy into finding thoughtful gifts for the people in my life. I remember dragging my mom all over town in middle school to find the perfect color lava lamp for a friend's birthday gift.

Mother's Day has really been on my mind this year, and not really because I finally get to join the mom club. It's mostly because my own mother has been completely keeping me above water since the twins were born -- and even before then when I was helpless on bed rest -- and I feel a strong need to thank her properly for being such an amazing mother to me and grandmother to our babies. Plus, my mother in law and grandmother in law are so loving and supportive that overall I'm just feeling really blessed to be surrounded by such strong women. Caring for the twins has been so hard, and I really have a better understanding of how much they have sacrificed to raise us.

Anyway, I have been brainstorming gift ideas that I think would appeal to most mothers out there just in case you are stumped about what to get the women in your life.

One more thought before I get into the list: The best gift for any mother is probably time. Time spent with you. Time spent with her grandchildren. For a new mom, time for herself so she can take a long nap/shower/walk to refresh her spirit. So I would say that when possible, make sure any material gift like the ones below comes with the added gift of time. And a card with a handwritten note is just the perfect cherry on top!

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

  • You cannot go wrong with flowers, especially if you buy your mom's favorite kind. I'm pretty sure Mother's Day is the busiest day of the year for florists, and for good reason. Two of my favorite online floral companies who make modern, organic looking arrangements are Farmgirl Flowers and Bouqs.com
  • If your mom is into decorating like mine is, a simple home decor item that reflects her taste - the wooden tray, a cheerful cake stand, a fun decorative pillow or a happy new door mat - could be a perfect gift. Some of these aren't available online anymore, but you can find similar options at HomeGoods, Target or World Market year round. 
  • There is a reason why pajamas are such a popular gift. We all love sleeping, and having cute pajamas is just the icing on the cake. I recently bought these pajamas for myself (the button down shirt is perfect for the breastfeeding new mom) and they are so soft and cute. The best part is you can buy the set with the pants and then add on the shorts so that it's a pair she can wear year round. It comes in several cute prints. Highly recommend!
  • Does your mom love to read? I know I do, but it also feels like such a luxury to have a chunk of time to lose yourself in a good book. Depending on your mom's reading taste, a new thriller or funny, encouraging reads (I love this book, and this one too) might be the perfect option. Or you can buy her some classic novels with beautiful covers, which are great to read and to leave out on the coffee table for a pop of color. Bonus points if you throw in a bottle of wine/coffee cup/bubble bath to accompany her reading time. And if your mom loves reading but you always get her a book, think outside the book and try something fun like this scarf printed with classic literature
  • One way to approach gift giving is to buy the person a special treat - a luxury item they would never buy themselves. It doesn't have to be crazy expensive, but just something they would feel a little guilty purchasing for themselves because it's not a necessity. How about a nice perfume (I'm partial to Marc Jacobs scents and packaging and wear this and this) or a new lipstick
  • Have a mother who is constantly on the go or really into her Zumba classes? Treat her to some nice new sneakers.  I know my mom loves taking her dogs on long walks and could benefit from a new pair of sneakers that fit well help prevent injury. It's frustrating to shell out money for nice sneakers, so consider taking your mom to your local sporting goods store, have her get properly fitted and treat her to some new running/walking shoes. Just like buying bras, it is really important to get fitted for running shoes. It wasn't until I got properly fitted at my local running store that I realized I needed shoes one full size bigger, and they needed to be narrow width. I'd been doing my feet a disservice all these years with ill-fitting shoes.
  • Jewelry is a popular gift, but consider jewelry that is more personalized. Birthstone jewelry carries a sweet sentiment, but I think a lot of it is a little bit cheesy. However, I love this bracelet with the birthstones. Fill her bracelet with the birthstones of her children or grandchildren and I'm pretty sure she will love it. 
  • Lastly, photo gifts. We all love photos of the kids and grand kids! There are so many cool options now, like framing your artistic Instagram photos or building her a photo book. If you buy her a set of frames like this for Instagrams, earn some bonus points by actually hanging them up for her, too. I know I am bad at hanging artwork so I would love if someone did it for me. (Thanks for hanging everything in our house, dear husband.)

I also want to send my thoughts and prayers to anyone out there who is suffering through infertility or has suffered a loss that makes Mother's Day a very sad time for you. It's hard for me to believe that at this time last year, we were three years into an infertility struggle. We were going through our first round of IVF and didn't know what the future held. I felt pangs of sadness on Mother's Day and would even avoid church so I wouldn't be reminded of what I was missing out on. It's really hard.

I'm thinking about you, friends. <3

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$12 DIY Magnolia Wreath

In my third week of motherhood, I got a strong craving to make something. Does that happen to you? I should specify that "make" does not include making food - I have had no cravings to cook anything whatsoever. (Although I totally made these 3 ingredient Nutella brownies yesterday and they were delicious.)

I've been thinking about Mother's Day gifts and was perusing the selection at Magnolia Market, the online retail outpost of our favorite HGTV renovation couple, Joanna and Chip Gaines from "Fixer Upper." Joanna has a signature magnolia wreath that she uses in almost all of her renovations, and she sells it in their store. Unfortunately, that $95 price tag is not in my budget.

So when I received an email from Hobby Lobby telling me that all floral items were 50% off - and the sample photo was a $2.50 branch of magnolia leaves - I made up my mind to try to make my own wreath for less.

The twins and I made the outing to Hobby Lobby and bought all of their magnolia branches (they only had 3 left) and a wire wreath form. I didn't buy anything else because I knew I already had wire to attach the branches at home, and I thought that would be all I needed. My total purchase price with the 50% off discount was just under $12. This project was really simple and only took me about 30 minutes to complete.

When the twins were napping, I got to work. I'm turning into one of those people who does everything as fast as possible during naps because I know one of them could wake up crying at any minute. I used to be such a slow eater but now I'm scarfing down my meals like my life depends on it! That's just one of many changes I've noticed about myself since I became a mother.

My first step was to cut off all of the leaf bunches from the long stems.

Then I simply fluffed up each bunch of leaves and attached them to the wreath form using some extra wire we already had. Floral wire or tape would be perfect for this part if you have those supplies instead.

Pretty soon I had this nice looking wreath. Not bad, right? If I were trying to make it better, I would buy even more leaves to really fill it out. Too bad my Hobby Lobby ran out. I think it would work equally well with a foam wreath form, too, if you wanted to give that a shot.

It may not be as nice (in terms of faux leaf quality) as the original Fixer Upper wreath, but it's certainly a passable knockoff for a much more appealing price tag.

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Mom's Powder Room Makeover Plans

A few weeks before we had the twins, Scott started helping my mom renovate her powder room. This tiny bathroom was visible from the front door so it has always bothered my mom that it looked dated and uninspired.

Here's a before picture I snapped when the bought the house. Like the rest of the home, it was meticulously cared for by an elderly couple but hadn't been updated since the late 1980s when it was built. It came complete with shiny gold hardware and lighting and a busy wallpaper pattern.

We were attempting to tackle some projects before the twins arrived (and by we, I mean my husband and my mom, since I was on bed rest), and this powder room was on the list. She started by picking out a fantastic graphic ceramic tile from Home Depot for the main wall behind the sink and toilet, and the rest of the design went from there. I couldn't find all of the products online that she ended up picking, but here's a mood board to show you her general design direction.

Powder Room Makover

That geometric tile is the real showstopper, and I was so impressed that it was from Home Depot. It's part of an affordable line by Merola Tile inspired by the cement tiles that are so popular right now. You know, the kind Joanna has been using for a lot of the kitchen and bathroom floors on Fixer Upper? This provides a similar look at a fraction of the price. They have many patterns to choose from in this grey family, plus a few that are more colorful. (I'm pretty sure this goes without saying, but Home Depot isn't sponsoring this post. I wish they were! Ha. We just stumbled upon these tiles and thought they were awesome, so it's my blogger duty to share with you in case you're in the market for some modern, affordable tile.)

For the floor, she chose a greyish brown wood plank-look ceramic tile that she had already used in the kitchen. She found the vanity on sale for 50% off at Home Depot (just under $130), and its 24" width just the right width for the narrow space. I couldn't find the exact vanity online, so I chose a similar one for the mood board. A pedestal sink would have worked in here as well, but she wanted some additional storage.

My in-laws were in town this weekend so I got to make a quick trip to HomeGoods (such an amazing luxury after more than 8 weeks on bed rest), and I spotted this fantastic capiz mirror that I thought would be perfect for her bathroom. Sure enough, it was just the right size! It was a bit of a splurge by our frugal standards at $100, but that's actually a steal for a capiz mirror. She loved the dramatic, unique shape and that the warm white of the capiz would coordinate nicely with the warm white of the vanity.

Progress is a little bit slow on this project since we are so busy caring for our newborn twins, but we make the trek to my mom's house when we can so that Scott can continue to finish up the last touches. I will share final pictures very soon!

If you're interested in how our life is going with the twins, please follow the blog on social media by clicking the social icons on the homepage. I'm probably oversharing and risking annoying people with the amount of baby pics I'm posting, but I can't help myself!

We've taken the babies on some outings already - doctor appointments, a Target shopping trip, even brunch - and they've done really well. I can't tell you how excited this makes me after spending the last two months in isolation on bed rest. I've been dying to get out of the house so I am thrilled to take them on little field trips to my usual haunts. I haven't gone with them alone yet, but I'm working my way up to that.

I'll be back soon to share photos from their newborn shoot and a quick update on how we're navigating life as first-time parents to twins.

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Party of Four

On March 24 at 8:47 and 8:48 a.m., we welcomed our beautiful twins into the world!

After eight weeks of bed rest, we made it to our planned c-section at 36 weeks and 6 days. Throughout the entire pregnancy we were hoping to make it to 38 weeks, but my blood pressure was continually rising at the end so we moved the c-section up one week. I was so miserable by then that I absolutely could not wait to welcome these nuggets into the world (and out of my poor body).

I'm thrilled to introduce the two new loves of my life, Evan Donaldson (left) and Hope Everly.

In case you're wondering, Evan looks just like his daddy. Hope takes after my side of the gene pool. They are both so small and snuggly, and we are head over heels in love with them!

Evan made his debut first at a whopping 7 lbs and 20 inches, which is apparently huge for twins. The doctors and nurses couldn't get over how big they were. But if you had seen my gigantic belly in the last few weeks of pregnancy, you would have easily believed I had 14 lbs of baby in there – trust me!

Hope arrived only one minute later at 6 lb. 9 oz and 19.5 inches long, and I was finally able to hold both of my babies. It was the most wonderful and surreal feeling I have ever experienced. Our family had literally doubled in two minutes. This is when it finally felt real. "Whoa, I'm a mother. We are parents. Holy cow!"

The anesthesiologist took my phone during the surgery and went to town taking photos. She said she loves to help couples by taking photos during the c-sections. How cool is that? We got so lucky that she was assigned to our c-section that day.

We stayed in the hospital for four days while I recovered from the surgery and we both learned how to be parents. We are so grateful for the amazing nurses and doctors at our hospital, who patiently taught us the ins and outs of caring for two infants.

We didn't hire a professional photographer, so I took it upon myself to document the first few days of their lives with my iPhone. I took a million snapshots and tried to soak in every little detail of their tiny fingers and toes. I will cherish these photos forever.

By the time we went home, we felt as ready as we could be to face this whole parenthood thing on our own. We were quite the spectacle walking out of the labor and delivery unit two car seats and two tiny babies. We shared the elevator with some other tired new dads who looked intensely relieved that they only had to care for one baby. Ha!

Like most infants, ours have their days and nights mixed up. Our first night at home was pretty harrowing (I may or may not have cried irrationally at 3 a.m.), but it's gotten slightly better each night. Or maybe we have just lowered our expectations and embraced the fact that we won't be getting any sleep during this newborn stage. Either way, we feel better about it and are really trying to soak in each moment, knowing they won't be this small forever.

They sure are cute when they are sleeping though, aren't they? How sweet is this mirror image pose I captured during yesterday's post-pediatrician visit nap?

As I was writing this post, I experienced a very important  boy mom right of passage. I took a break to change Evan's diaper at 1 a.m. and as soon as I touched his cute little bum with the baby wipe, he peed all over my arm and shirt. I couldn't help but laugh, as gross as it was. I will be googling "tips for changing a baby boy's diaper" as soon as I finish this post...

We've been home for 4 days, and we're developing a new normal over here. We've had two pediatrician appointments so far (all healthy reports!) and we even took the twins to Target tonight. After eight weeks of bed rest, you have no idea how great it felt to wander around Target like the good ol' days.

I started a photo series with each baby so I can chart their growth next to their favorite stuffed animal (or shall we say my favorite stuffed animals, since they are a little young to care). I used the Baby Story app to add the cute text details, which I think will save me so much time when I create their scrapbooks. The app costs $1 and has additional things you can add for more money, which I think it pretty reasonable. I can see myself having hours of fun with that app.

If you follow me on social media, I apologize for flooding your feed with baby photos. I just cannot help myself! What else am I supposed to do but play with photos on my phone when I'm feeding babies in the middle of the night?

Well, I'm off to calm a fussy baby. Wish me luck! :)

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