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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Panimals for Em

It's been nearly 2 years since we've established a "Pancake Saturday" (and usually Sunday, too) routine in our house. What used to be the day we'd have breakfast out (pre-kids) turned into an at-home-breakfast thing, and we began to really like it.

Once Emeline started getting older, Declan would make her the occasional Minnie Mouse pancake. You know, the easy circle, with two circle ears, add some chocolate for eyes, maybe a whipped cream smile, and ta-da! Happy camper.

Then he branched out, and made--wait for it, a pig. Honestly, I showed him the idea from something her preschool teachers had done for Farm Week, and it went from there. One of our friends commented on his instagram picture that morning and said, "make a pancake frog and I'll really be impressed!"

And.that.did.it.

It sort of became a hilarious challenge for us to make random animal pancakes for Em. Pancake+animal=Panimals. (Patent that language, we came up with it, yo.)

We started combining our efforts, and now our fun little pancake creations are definitely a team thing from my husband and I. I usually do the free-drawing part (former art teacher), he does the creative research (ha! We like to sound technical), and also he usually pieces the pancake together & all that jazz.

I know, it sound so silly. IT'S A PANCAKE. That is going to be EATEN. But it seriously takes us very little time and the joy we see on her face when we bust out a Hello Kitty pancake is way worth the few minutes of prep that goes into it.

We started hashtagging them as #panimalsforEm on instagram and have come up with quite the collection of pancakes so far. People have even left their suggestions for us for the next creations, and we've tackled some of them!


It took me a few weeks (months) to start breaking out my real camera (duh) for pictures. But here are a few of our latest creations:

we decided (ahem, my husband decided) we were allowed to branch off from animals for 'holidays. hence, the lep.








It's FUN.

And sometime, I will figure out how to do a legit tutorial to show you all how to do it too if you haven't figured it out. Maybe I'll put together a video.We use squeeze bottles for the more detailed portions, sometimes we add fruit for details, and we always manage to sneak in chocolate somehow for our chocolate-lovin'-gal.

Yes, we're nerds. Yes, we think pancake creating is fun. No, we don't have a lot of time on our hands, in fact, we're very busy people---but sometimes, sometimes, you just gotta have fun. And I think Emeline will have memories of the crazy pancakes her folks made her for years to come.

:)

***

*** Since Google Reader is gone July 1st, I've switched to Blog Lovin--so make sure to click below to keep following.
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Think big, dig deep, I'm always rooting for you.

Brushing hair. Changing diapers. Making sure everyone is fed and bathed. Teeth brushing and shoe tying. Potty runs and wipes. Toy playing, show watching, book reading and snuggles.

This plus a million other things are what occupy a mothers physical doings on a daily basis. You know, the outward stuff. The child wrangling, snuggling, kissing a boo-boo, shuffling in the door with crazy toddler, bags and bags of stuff falling off your arms, and infant carrier with baby in tow. It's what people see on the outside. The mom gracefully trying to rock this outward mom gig. While struggling somewhat, because let's be honest--what's life without some struggle?

What you don't see, is the part of motherhood that's going on inside their mind, behind the scenes. The deep worries and thoughts of what will this world look like for my children. Am I doing this right and equipping them with all the tools to handle it all. Or, for me, the fact that raising girls is scary, downright scary, in a very male dominated world. Will my daughters know their amazing potential? Will I do enough to teach them and show them and raise them to be confident women, knowing that they have just as much to contribute to this life as anyone else (or more). Will they see themselves beyond what the world tells us women should be, beyond the sex-selling and that women are only good for a romantic scene in a movie, or just to be pursued by a man. Will they know that they're valuable, and more precious than the rarest gem? Am I doing enough to raise them to hate injustice, speak up for what's wrong, and love those who seem unloveable? Am I being a living example of this?

Take a breath.

This is deep, y'all.



I felt the heavy burden of raising girls from the time Eme was just a few days old. I was sitting in the corner chair of her nursery, feeding her, staring at her tiny lashes--when tears started falling down my face. I couldn't help, in that moment, to feel the weight of the world for her. Call it postpartum hormones, maybe, but it's still there. It's deep in my chest always, it sits there, every day. I thought about the trials and pains she will inevitably go through. The hurts that I can't always spare her. The fact that I'm bringing her up in what is a very-much male dominated society, where men are still more privileged than women. Ouch.

There's no denying that fact. It's the truth. No matter how far (collective) we feel we've come, it's not far enough. Remove the blinders and take a look around. It's clear as day.

I want so many things for my girls. But mainly, I want them to feel the fire that's within them and not be afraid to show it. Be passionate and strong. Go against the flow sometimes, often times. You are more than what Disney Movies tell you about being a female, so much more. To be confident and bold in who you know you are, at your core. And believe that what the world tells about girls...about females, and who we 'should' be is NOT all that you can be. Not even close.

You are more than just a little girl who twirls around in a dress and a tiara. You can go against stereotypes. You can be exactly the person God made you to be, my daughters.

Dream big. Think big. Momma's always rooting for you.

***

This is an area I'm deeply, deeply passionate about. I've written about it many times, but have never published any of my writings--they sit in my drafts. I'm digging deep this morning, trying to figure out just why I struggle to publish them. Am I afraid of being judged? Will I look extreme? Will mothers of boys think this has something to do with them? (It doesn't, not even a tiny bit) Then I realize by not posting about it, by not being honest with myself, I'm not living by example. 

I was inspired by this post to finally just take a second and let out some of the thoughts in my head about this. It's merely scratching the surface of what lies really deep in my heart--but it's good for now. Any step forward is a good step, I tell myself. 

---

*** Since Google Reader is gone July 1st, I've switched to Blog Lovin--so make sure to click below to keep following.
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Monday, March 25, 2013

Let's focus on the good things, shall we?

I'm sitting here at my kitchen table watching snow fall outside all the windows, sipping my coffee, and I'm sure that sounds all sweet and beautiful--but I assure you it is not. I am ticked off. I feel like it's a legit slap in the face from the lying groundhog himself. You guys, it's supposed to be SPRING. Easter is this weekend, do you know how weird it is for your girls to wear flowery dresses when it's SNOWING out--for the love.

And I love how I like to act like I'm the only one experiencing crap weather when there's a couple million others currently pissed at the weather, too. But. Right now, Momma ain't happy. I want to take my little family and run for the beach. And not our snow covered beaches. The ones down south or out west, you know, where you can wear bikini's (not that I'd be wearing a bikini) and maybe even get a sunburn. Those beaches.

I'm in a funk. A weather-induced mood funk and it stinks. I want warmth and sunshiney goodness. I know how to savor a good Spring day like the best of 'em. I promise you REAL Spring (not just the calendar 'date'), that if you come, I will not waste a single day of your awesomeness. I promise you. Come hither, my favorite season ever.

Sigh.

In effort to move past my weather induced funk, I'll focus on the happy things.

---

Last year's Easter Dress
















Emeline's preschool is on "spring break" (psh, whatever) this week, so Friday she had her Easter Party. She heard the word Easter and insisted on wearing the dress she wore last year. So, fluffy dress, leggings, boots, and last year's 24 month cardigan--that's how she rocked it to her party. Some things aren't worth a fight, and really? Who cares.

Her teacher told me she spun around and showed everyone how the dress twirled for practically the whole class. That's my girl.

A daddy and his girls

















Despite having an insanely busy weekend, we managed to squeeze in lots of precious family moments. And there is absolutely nothing that makes me happier than seeing my girls with their daddy. Dance parties require dress up clothes, didn't you know?

5K's with Family


We had so much fun this weekend doing the Phillies 5K. I love that Declan and I are running more 'together' and that it's something so many of my family members enjoy doing, too. We've come a looooong way in the fitness category and I love that we choose to run on a Saturday morning (every once in a while ;) ) and that we can make it a family thing. My favorite cheerleaders came along (thanks to my awesome parents who watched them), and it makes it so much more fun and gives me motivation when I pass them & see my cuties while running.

Dedicating babies


Yesterday, to add to our already busy weekend, we had our sweet Lucy Girl's dedication. I can't wait to tell you more about it and share (hopefully) some video. For now, none of that's done, I have no pictures since I wasn't the one taking them, and didn't have time to edit the videos. But--I will. It was a sweet time and I'm thankful so many family members could be around us as we prayed over Lucy's life and committed to raising her in the best way we believe.

***

Ahh. I feel better now. Until I look out the window, that is.

Happy Monday, friends.

*** Since Google Reader is gone July 1st, I've switched to Blog Lovin--so make sure to click below to keep following.
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Lucy Says {sink bath version}

 Ohh, my own personal hottub--this is awesome. Even when this chick splashes me in the face. 

Mom, I'm really not sure I like this.                            Okay. Fine. I like it. 

Wait. What is that girl with the pigtails doing? And where did her clothes go?

Sure. Move me to the little sink. If I tweeted I'd hashtag this #littlesisterprobz, 'cuz for real.

That's it. I'm getting the heck out of here.

-----

Cheers to having a nice, big, deep sink--wet, soapy floors--and memories.

Happy Friday! (yessssss)

----

*** Since Google Reader is gone July 1st, I've switched to Blog Lovin--so make sure to click below to keep following.
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On spring, the body, and a few great links.

Happy spring, I guess. Don't worry--I won't drone on and on about the weather and the fact that it's freezing cold still, that the freaking groundhog couldn't have been more wrong (don't trust anyone from Puxatawney I hear, joke), and that it feels anything but spring outside around here. But regardless, the calendar says it so I guess it's technically here. Whatever.

Meanwhile half the country is in a tundra, the other is having over 99 degree days (holler Texas), and we're over here just twiddling our thumbs, waiting.

I just like to think it'll be extra sweet when Spring chooses to arrive. Anyway.

I haven't updated much about body and fitness stuff, because, well--there is not much of anything to write about. While my sister is absolutely killing it at the gym, I'm just over here drinking too much coffee and eating too many 'healthy cookies' that aren't really all that healthy once you've eaten 5 of them.

In all seriousness--I've not been completely lazy. Ok. A tiny bit. I've run still a bit here and there, and last night I even did The Shred. In fact, we have a 5K coming up this weekend. Do you remember when just about a year and a half ago, my first 5K was a huge stinkin' deal? Now, I hardly mention it and it's just another one for the books. It doesn't mean it's not still an accomplishment, it is. It's just--not as big of a thing. Part of that goes to show just how far I've come in some ways. I used to fall over dead just thinking about running 3+ miles just for fun, (and heck, paying for it), on an early Saturday morning. Those people be crazy, yo.

Some day-maybe, some day--I will up my running. For now, I'm a little meh-whatever about it. And while this may sound completely awful to the real runners out there--I'm just kind of glad when I get back out there after a few weeks off, I'm not completely back to square one.

I'm also thinking I need to hide my scale. It's not doing me any favors anymore. After reading SkinnyMeg's post about why she stopped weighing herself, I feel a little convicted. I need to use my clothes and how I feel as a judge. Not necessarily the number anymore. I get that a scale is totally necessary while in the throes of weight loss, but I feel like since I'm more at a maintenance phase in my life, I should relax with it.

I like to have healthy relationships with food and the scale. So I'm having my husband just put it somewhere.

There's no more before and after pics, nothing fancy with all that, no more dramatic changes give or take 5-10lbs (hopefully take). So that's just where I'm at. Boring old maintenance life.

***

Few things-

I love this post I found yesterday. I shared it on my facebook page, and many of you loved it, too. To the Parents of Small Children, Let me be the one to say it out loud. Go read it.

And then this one.

His wife's essay about her doughy belly & stretchmarks. So beautifully written, and made me think about how I'll broach that subject when Emeline asks me about my stretchmarks.

And then this silly and hilarious Top 10 Things Not to Say to Bloggers from Motley Mama. Yes, just--yes. Go read it, you're probably on one of the sides of the conversation.

Then you can come back and admit you read my blog and introduce yourself or be all, hey, I was in your 3rd grade class. K?

Happy Wednesday.

-----

*** Since Google Reader is gone July 1st, I've switched to Blog Lovin--so make sure to click below to keep following.
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Monday, March 18, 2013

The 5mph slow roll.

"Mom, my snowman pj's must be in the dishwasher, so I can't wear dem tonight, k." -last night, from you-know-who.

Mixing up her cleaning appliances, just a bit. We'll work on that. These random things I love about toddlers. The way they put sentences together. The way their brains connect random tidbits. The way they don't.forget.anything--ever. (Well I may not love that in the future...it shall surely bite me in the butt.)

A few weeks ago, we were out doing our normal Saturday-after-naptime-with-no-plans thing. We kind of just get the kids ready, pack up, and head out as if we have some big, awesome plans--when in reality, we have no real obligations at all. The only goal is family time, really.

In the car I began paging through one of those big coupon books...you know the one that I bought when my kid's preschool did the fundraiser and I didn't want to be THAT mom who brought back the book without buying it? Yea, that one.

So I happen to see bowling. Lightbulb went off.

"Oh my gosh, Em! Do you want to go bowling?? This will be SO FUN. Your first time! You get this big, heavy ball--and roll it down a long aisle, and the goal is to knock down all these pins...it's SUPERDUPERFUN" 

Her eyes are all lit up. She is amazed. "I wanna go bowlin'!! I can't wait to go to bowlin'!"

I smile a little because, well, I just came up with the perfect activity on the cold, dreary Saturday that is certain to be filled with memory-making and will definitely fill our Family Time cup to runneth over status.

Except when I called to reserve lanes--there were none.

Like. None.

I went and broke the cardinal rule of parenting--announcing a plan, before it's in stone. You know, those kids and their memories. And I felt awful because she was sad. Like, really sad. Tears-sad. The kind of sad that only Chuck E. Cheese can make better. But let's not talk about that.

The girl didn't stop talking about bowling for two weeks. really.

I was so thrilled that we could blow her little toddler mind this past Saturday when we were able to get some lanes and finally take the kid bowling and make all her wildest dreams come true.


The smallest children's shoes were 2+ sizes too big, and yet she still wanted to rock 'em and girlllllll I am so glad she did. Because I don't know what it was about those little velcro diddies but it transformed her into bowler-extraordinaire. We won't even talk about the dance moves that were seen in those bad-boys.

ok.fine.we will, because errmmmaaagahhhh. (sorry, crappy iphone video. but still.)



Anyway. It was seriously a blast. Like, every part of it.












Watching her so seriously roll that bowl down the thingie (what's that called?), waiting, waiting, waiting (do you know how slow that ball went?!) for it to finally hit some pins---and the huge smile that would erupt on her face, followed by high fives, cheers, jumping and "I did it!!!!!!!!!!" galore. I mean, really.

Was grand.














I don't know if it was seeing her swing around that heavy ball like a champ, snacking away on soft pretzels and lemonade with her little legs crossed, or the way she'd shout, "MOM, it's your turn!!" all dude-hurry-up-like----but reality has set in. My girl is getting so mature. and she's downright cool, too.

I love making more memories with my little family.

First time bowling. Put it in the books.

Pretty sure she's a fan since the first thing she said the next morning was, "you're gonna take me bowlin' today again, k?"

Yea. About that.

:)

*** 
Since Google Reader is gone July 1st, I've switched to bloglovin'--so make sure to click below to keep following.
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

When hodge meets podge.

I can't lie. My heart jumped into my throat last night when I saw the message pop up on google reader that it's closing July 1st. I know, I know. Dramatic. It's dumb to feel that attached, but seriously. That's how I read my blogs and sort them, etc--and probably how many of you read. You likely are reading this in Google Reader now. I know there are other services out there--but I'm going to do some research my husband will do the research, ahem on what I'll change to and then let you know so you can still hang out if you want. Losing the blogs I read would suck. Can't.happen.

don't you love Em's face--NOO LUCYYYYY
I love babies, but I'm semi-annoyed at how fast they fly through milestones. Why can't they just enjoy one cute little milestone for a little bit before they have to go and conquer the next!? No. Really. Whyyyyy.

Lucy learned to officially crawl not even a week ago? Or just a week. Whatever. And then, last night? Starts pulling to stand. STANDING. I know, God designed them this way and all---but seriously, this first year is insane. I forget just how fast it all goes and how one milestone is just on top of the other. Welcome to the land of head bumps and bruises.

Declan calls Monday nights my 'weekend'.  Basically making fun of me because I don't go to bed at some ungodly early hour, and I stay up late watching my dumb chick shows (the bachelor), which PS: I was totally team Catherine by the way, and completely thrilled with the show on Monday. Ahem. I mean. I don't get invested in dumb reality shows. I do.

I admit, there is something that makes Monday a little bit easier knowing that I have a silly show to look forward to, call it what you will. So, what do I do now that it's over?!?

I have had so much fun with wearing Lucy. I baby-wear so much more than I ever did with Emeline. I just think there is something about that 2nd kid, who has to go with the flow, and you NEED YOUR HANDS sometimes for that first demanding toddler, you know? Yesterday we worked on our hip carry and back carry with our Freehand Mei Tai--and Lucy loved being on my back. It was seriously so comfortable, too.


Does anyone have a dog with severe anxiety? Serious question. My dog is on-edge-all-the-time. He has issuez, with a z. I'm at my breaking point with him and I'm thisclose to being one of those people who gives my dog away. Probably not really, but yesterday? I was all PACK YOUR BAGS, DOG. He is completely irrational and harder than my 2 kids put together, I'm not joking. So, doggy prozac? Maybe? It will probably cost me an arm and a leg but may be necessary for mine (and his) sanity.

Okay--and lastly!

Super excited that I had the chance to join in at The Vintage Apple's, From One Mom to Another series today. I think you may like the post--so if you're looking for less hodge-podgy writing, I'm over there and would love to see that you hopped over and read it.


xoxo




Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On mommy legalism & doing what works.

Last night I was laying in bed and I suddenly had this, Ohhh my bed feels so spacious feeling. When, like an idiot, it clicked that I haven't had to share my side of the bed with Lucy girl in weeks. My neck and shoulders have felt better, I haven't had to sleep in some contorted position to protect her from falling, or in a way in which I can be easily accessible at all times, if you know what I mean.

Then I started recalling those feelings I had about our nighttime woes not too long ago. Will she ever be able to sleep away from me? She only likes her crib for an hour at a time. We didn't have this issue with Em. My God, will this kid go to college asking to sleep near her momma? Have I ruined her for life?!?!

You see, I'm usually really go-with-the-flow. I am totally the kind of person who tells every new mom to DO WHAT WORKS. Survive. Don't torture yourself. Do absolutely whatever you can to get sleep. But I admit that, at times, the mommy legalist advice has stuck inside my brain, pinging back and forth every time I chose to sleepily bring my baby into bed with me after the 9230829038 she was up that night and I literally couldn't bear the thought of walking to her room one.more.time.

You know what I mean. Everyone wants to tell you those crazy outlier stories. My friend let their baby sleep in their bed, and now as a 10 year old, he STILL sleeps with them!! NEVER LET YOUR BABY SLEEP IN YOUR BED.*

I find it the same way for most mom-related things. I had a friend who gave their infant a bottle too early and they never breastfed again. I had a friend who let their kid sleep in their swing for so long he never could sleep anywhere else, FOR A YEAR. I had a friend who swaddled too long and it took monthsssss to adjust them to sleeping hands-out, never!swaddle!your!baby! *shock gasp, the horror*

I'm being slightly facetious about some of this--but the truth is, I really have heard many (and way more) of these things. Chances are, you have, too. The exceptions to the "rules" (seriously. WHAT rules? As far as I know I didn't get handed any rulebook when I left the hospital, just saying). The things that make new moms shudder in fear, question herself in the wee hours of the night, or taunt her that she's somehow messing up her kid when she's merely trying to survive insane sleep deprivation, the newness of it all, and the millions of unanswered questions in her head.

And last night? I realized something. It is so true what they say.

THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

I should know all this already--being that this isn't my first rodeo. But last night, as I laid in bed, realizing I didn't have a crick in my neck for the first time in weeks--that I actually felt somewhat rested these days, it really sunk in.

I did what I needed to do over the last 7 months to survive and function for my kids, for my family, on the littlest sleep I've ever had in my life. Truly. Whether that meant I ended up sleeping with my infant half the time? what-ever.

In a flash, things change with kids. Their little brains make crazy decisions to just go from waking up 5 times a night to sleeping 12 hours straight**. One day you swear they'll have to be swaddled still in high school, and the next day, they decide they're done. And like that, it was no issue at all. You can't hold your kid too long. You can't rock them too much.

Do what works.

Do what you want to do.

And for the love, let's stop scaring moms with the horror stories, ok? We all have enough pinging around in our heads, wondering how the best way to raise our children is, doing our absolute best. When those outlier stories are up there, ringing around--it doesn't help. Its more of a fear-driving tactic, and I'm just not a fan of that.

I'm all about loving on your kid. Doing what works for today. So that you can be the best mom you can.

Listen to that true little inside voice--because you're a good mom.

----

Happy Wednesday ;)

*not an exact real story, but--you know what I mean. 
**not true for everyone, just my experience.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Snacky snacks--a healthier chip option, yes please.



I'm sort of a chip-snacking person. I'll be honest and say that when I started losing weight, giving up things like chips or crackers or pretzels? Yea. Didn't happen. I couldn't cut cold turkey like that. I decided I'd keep them in my 'diet' but in moderation. I still do that to this day. Counting out portion sizes, or just eating a snack-size pack.

So recently when I found out that Green Giant had new veggie chips coming out, I was totally excited to find a new snacking option that would taste good and like regular chips, but that I could feel better about eating. 

They have two really delicious flavors I was able to try....Multigrain Sweet Potato Sea Salt, and Roasted Veggie Tortilla in Zesty Cheddar. 


I really, really liked them. In fact, so did my toddler. I know that chip snacking for kids can be frowned upon, but I admit--I may have passed my chip-loving-ways onto her. I feel less guilty that she enjoyed snacking on a product that was made with real vegetables, has 17 grames of whole grain per serving, and are flavored all naturally. 




I chose to snack on some of the sea salt chips this afternoon and calculated it up, and I could enjoy 16 chips for 3.7 points. Which is not bad, at all--considering they're the better of two chip options in my house right now.

I'm always a fan of learning new, healthier snack options--and I'm happy to share The Green Giant's Giant Surprise of new Veggie Chips with you. I love that they're sharing a coupon for the product that can be found right here.

Check out the surprise talents the Green Giant has unearthed- http://youtu.be/BfHUBT9vKVU and enjoy even more of the surprise talents found at Green Giants YouTube channel.

Thank you to The Green Giant™ for being a sponsor. Show the Giant your surprise talent atwww.facebook.com/greengiant

Saturday, March 9, 2013

I'm a video nerd these days.

After yesterday's post, Lucy literally started crawling like a pro around the house. Of course, every time I got out the camera she got all video shy. Of COURSE. But this definitely shows that she's really starting to get it down. This time next week she'll be tearing around here like a darn pro, I know it.

Isn't she so stinkin cute?



****

Also.

I take these random videos of Emeline every few months because she changes so dang much, I don't know how else to bottle her up. I love her little voice, and her little catch phrases, and they change all the time. Catching stuff on video is the only way I can freeze time for just a second.


Now, if you'll excuse me--it's weekend time, baby. xo

Friday, March 8, 2013

I feel light, I see it in her eyes.

I realize little Lucy gets the shaft sometimes when it comes to photos. I thought that wouldn't be the case, but it's so much easier to take out my phone most days. Poor Lucy, forget legit pictures, she gets instagram.

I guess it's better than nothing, right?

But lately--she's perfecting a new trick. My girl is crawling, albeit a little gimpy still. It's just too cute. She rocks back and forth, she'll do a few little crawling steps, then flop on her belly and army crawl faster than you can believe.

I love this kid. I love her joy. The light that exudes from her little smile. The way her eyes are so full of life. The way she adores her sister. The way she makes me realize my heart can love beyond what I ever imagined.



Sorry, Eme. It's tough being a big sister ;) hehehe....




And I feel so stinkin' lucky that I get to call her mine.

*****

Here's to a beautiful weekend, friends.

(I feel like I should update that today, 3/8/13, she decided to full-blown-crawl...no more gimp. Ahhhh!)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Grateful for today.

In the last 24 hours I've started 3 posts. I am having issues finishing them, but, oh well. They can wait.

Right now I'm in a super mood. I don't know if it's the hope of spring on the horizon, I can sort of feel it in my bones, you know? It sounds weird, but I can tell. It's close.

I live somewhere with four distinct seasons. I didn't choose this place. It's where my family is. If I had it my way? I'd pretty much take 3 out of the 4 seasons, heck, 2 out of 4, and leave the other to the wolves. Because bitter cold and snow be crazy yo. It ain't my cup of tea.

After spending time in San Diego, I daydreamed for weeks about living there. I had myself convinced that if I could live someplace deliciously sunny and warm like that, I'd be happy year round. I'm sure I'm delusional, but I'm pretty sure that bad days don't even exist in parts of the country with lots of sunshine and warmth, and where the beach can be enjoyed in February. People who live in that climate, feel free to debunk the myth in my head. For now I want to think you all live on cloud 9 all the dang time.

This morning I felt the early sunshine creeping in. I peeked, and the snow storm that was supposed to come? Totally passed on by us. I couldn't be more thankful this year that the meteorologists have been so dead wrong on so many storms. At least I know when to avoid the grocery stores. I also felt well rested. Happy to be awake. From a morning-hater--this is big.

My baby, who used to hate sleep---who would wake every 20 minutes some nights (really), every hour....on a good night every 1.5-2 hours? Decided over a week ago, out of the blue, to start sleeping through the night. Like, fully through the night. It didn't involve letting her scream in her crib, or gut-wrenching sobs--or me feeling awful for not tending to her needs. Nope, she just did it. Something clicked. And I seriously think God was in on this. Because I might have been getting to my breaking point.

The rest of my family needs and deserves a well rested mom and wife.

With the advice from a good friend last night, I checked in Emeline's mouth to find those big two year molars popping through. I don't know why, but I forget that kids her age still have teeth coming in. The pieces are starting to add up with the random low grade fevers she's been having, and the complaints of 'my head hurts' (likely jaw pain), and red cheeks. Is it weird that feeling those two rough-edged teeth coming in gave me peace? Because it did.

My sisters wedding is coming up soooo soon. I can't help but have excitement and butterflies in my stomach for this day. To see where she came from, out of heartbreak and circumstances she didn't deserve--and then to see God's faithfulness in bringing Jeff into her life, and turning this into a beautiful story of hope and love. It makes my heart leap with thankfulness.

And can I gush now about my husband? He's such a good dad, it makes me tear up thinking about how blessed our girls are. This week, Emeline wanted to call him. I gave her my phone, pushed the button to call, thinking he may not answer because of work---but, he answered, and they chatted away for a good 20 minutes. He wasn't too busy for her. He shows our children all the time that they are important, loved, and have his attention. I know it spoke volumes to her little self, I could tell.

top right? dead. seriously.
Things are good.

With spring on the horizon, I feel it coming. The hope of new things. More happy memories. Sunshine'y days.

I'm grateful for this day.

***

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I like big (and pretty) rugs and I cannot lie.

I have this itch. You see, it's not curable by some cream. No, no. It's the crafty-redo-everything-get-new-curtains-take-things-up-a-notch-itch. I've lived in this house for almost 5 years. When we moved in, we made it everything we wanted to be in that moment. I love it. I still love it. But as I change and grow, so does my style. And my need to see some small changes in my home to go along with that.

I refuse to do full-blown paint jobs. It's too much work, because I don't believe this is our forever home--so I've been doing little face lifts here and there. Small things. Like creating my kitchen office. Making lots of DIY chalkboards. Evolving children's bedrooms. Fixing up our bathroom and the girls bathroom, or creating our under-the-deck-"patio", or getting new curtains to spice up a room--heck, new throw rugs.

Rugs can change the look of a room, freshen it up, and lift and lighten it. And that? Makes me happy.

That's exactly what this large 6'7x9 shag rug from RugsUSA does for my living room. 


When my sister walked into my house yesterday, her first reaction was Wow, it really brings your eye up! and I honestly couldn't agree more. Also? I love. Love. LOVE. that rugs on rugs is totally acceptable now. I like the way it lightens up my living room. I am all about FRESH spaces now. I love light and bright. I am thankful that this pretty ivory/white shag does that for this space. See? Simple changes. 

This morning, as I was wrangling Emeline to get her dressed for school (yep, in the living room)--she rolled around on the carpet and said, "Mom, its just soooo soft and tozy!" Ha. I couldn't agree more.

**

RugsUSA has insanely cute patterns on rugs. I've done a lot of rug shopping (not online) and have never found styles and patterns near as cute as their selections. This was my first online-rug-shopping experience-the shipping was fast, and the products packaged nicely and safely right to my door. I'm not sure I'll ever lug a big, heavy burrito-rug around again to get it home. Shipping is way easier. And why not when shipping is free. holler!

I feel like Oprah--but, wait, there's more

Ok. So. So so. 
Another one!

LOOK at this cute, new, lovely rug in my foyer. What a fun, pop-of-color-and-pattern greeting, yea?


This is the Moroccan Trellis Rug in Green (size 3'6 x 5'6). The first reaction to this was, first--slight obsession with the pattern. Second, it's SO thick and durable. Third. Ohh. Soft. I just think she looks so pretty at my door overtop the hardwoods.

I think these new pretty rugs totally help my need to freshen up the house. And because so many of their rugs are 50% off right now, plus the always free shipping, it's a really great time to rug shop. 

***

Thank you RugsUSA for letting me review these two beauties. I love them. My feet love them. My need for freshness loves them. And my toddler thinks they're so tozy! You guys rock. 


Monday, March 4, 2013

Susan's Bridal Shower ((recap, sort of--photo style))

The shower went so great. I really think the day was special for my sister and all the little details I'd imagined in my brain came together pretty well in the end.

I could talk about this a lot--but I'd rather just show you photos, well, cuz it's easier.

(silhouettes are SO fun and so easy...just profile shots, taken into photoshop--search tutorials online!--candy guessing game--burlap banners galore that I made)
(bought all the flowers in bulk, arranged them--fancied up my own stock of vases with burlap & lace accents--cookies by The Kake Lady, a local friend-tags on cookies from minted.com)
(mad-lib idea via pinterest, just my own design--same with "he says, she says" game--invitations from minted! (these photos by lyryn))
(cake and cupcakes made by my SIL, Lyryn-cake bunting by moi. painted the tray & made into a chalkboard as you can see--advice board top right)
(oh look, the hostess in action--my beautiful sister, Susan & my momma--and all the bridesmaids  (these photos by Lyryn))
(gift bags for winners that had a small starbucks gift card & candy bar!)

(these photos by Lyryn)
***

Feel free to watch the video below...it's short. Just some mini-clips of the day--nothing spectacular but gives you a feel of the day and let's you see my gorgeous sister in action ;)
 

Such a pretty shower for a pretty sister...who deserves no less!

(photos in this post were a combo of mine & my sister-in-law, Lyryn's)