Tuesday, August 22, 2017

When Time Keeps Moving

Fun fact: I live in the same town that I grew up in. Despite spreading my wings and getting away for a few years in college, I live five minutes away from my childhood home, and Mike's is five minutes away in the other direction. There is something incredibly comforting about establishing roots in the place you grew up.


And yet, this week as I was driving down the main road in our town I was overcome with a wave of emotion. It may have been because of a country song on the radio (because those always get me in the feels), but I didn't just flash back to high school. I saw memories of myself as a ten year old, as a thirteen year old girl, rollerblading around town, stopping at the gas station for a Parrot Ice (local friends, please tell me that you remember), spending those long and lazy summer days doing exactly what any child should spend their summer doing. And I couldn't help but feel sad at just how quickly those days have turned into not only memories, but distant memories.


I have known this place my entire life, and yet my current life and my past life are two very different things. Those friends that I spent long, lazy summer days with have all moved on. In fact, of my close childhood friends, not one of them still lives here. The people and memories that made this place home belong in a different lifetime, almost.


This wave of emotion hit me hard. I don't think we really take a long walk down memory lane all that often. We think of past times, sure, but to allow ourselves to really transport back to a different place and stage in life almost feels as though it is an out of body experience; as if we are watching ourselves through the eyes of someone else. I am not that same girl who spent the summer of 2005 joined at the hip with her best friend, having pool days, sleepovers, and chasing boys. But if I could talk to her, I would tell her to soak it up, because those are memories she is going to cherish forever.


Today looks different. I am married to a boy who grew up in the same town as me. He lived five miles away. I knew his brother, his last name, we had so many connections, and yet our paths never crossed. I always figured I would never end up with any of the boys from my hometown, because I never felt a spark with the ones I knew. Except the guy meant for me was there all along. The children we have, the in-laws I have gained, they are all pieces that were there on the periphery of my childhood, with me being entirely oblivious to the fact that the little world I lived in, the world where I thought I knew everything, had an entire, undiscovered layer that would turn into my forever.
 

I'm not sure if this post has any grand conclusion. But, I feel as though I have had the strange and unique privilege of living two entirely different lives in one place. My childhood and my adulthood, look pretty different, and yet I have the same place to call home. And that, I think, is pretty darn amazing.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Favorites

WHEW. We made it to Friday. I am taking a much needed long weekend, with nothing on the agenda that really required me doing so. Work this week was an absolute whirlwind. I found out on Wednesday that my boss resigned, without notice, so in a matter of hours I became pretty lost in terms of what projects to continue working on, what this means for the future of our department, and basically how to proceed. Our section vice president has been incredibly supportive and helpful during the transition, but I still am quite frankly feeling a bit shell shocked by the whole situation! With that being said, this weekend is more than welcome, and I am excited to see some old friends on Sunday, and just enjoy some down time with family. Before doing that, I am sharing some of my favorites from this week that has had a lot of less than favorites ;-)

1. Peplum and Stripes
I have been seeing this top all over the place lately, and it was just restocked in all sizes! I love stripes, and the peplum detailing just makes it the perfect piece to dress up or down. I ordered it and can't wait to try it out!

2. ThredUp
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to try out some pieces courtesy of ThredUp recently, and am SO in love with what I got. I have never been much of a second-hand shopper, but ThredUp has truly changed my perspective. I was able to snag this sweater below, as well as a designer dress and a Zara scarf for less than $75. The retail price on all of these pieces was close to $700! Seriously, I could not believe the quality items I got at that price. I am going to be living in this sweater all fall while sipping on my pumpkin spice lattes ;-)
3. Baby Jeans
If there is one weakness I have besides baby pajamas, it is baby jeans. I just don't know if there is anything more adorable than a baby booty in a pair of blue jeans! This month it has really cooled off, and we have had to swap out for warmer clothing a few times already, so I am stocking up on fall essentials for my boys. Lincoln in these jeans literally KILLS me. And for Jackson, I love the soft waistband on these and these.

4. Little Baby Bum
Kind of by accident, we stumbled upon the Little Baby Bum videos on Netflix in the past few weeks. They have nursery rhymes, songs about colors, shapes, sharing, and they have about 92834 versions of 'Wheels On The Bus' which is quickly becoming my least favorite song. But you guys, these videos absolutely captivate my kiddos. Jackson asks to watch it constantly, and loves to repeat all of the shapes, colors, and words that he hears. I don't necessarily advocate television as a means of education, but he is seriously leaving so much from these videos! If you need a mama break and don't want to turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for the hundredth time, these videos really are great!

5. The cheesiest smiles
I was trying to capture some photos of the boys the other day, and by some miracle they both sat perfectly still, stared straight at the camera, and smiled million dollar smiles. You guys, I could not pose them like this again if I tried. In fact, I did try, because Mike said he wishes there wasn't a box in the background haha! And sure enough, they wanted nothing to do with it. I don't know if and when I will ever get a picture of them like this again, so it is my current favorite and likely will be for a long time! I could just eat these two up, I don't think I could love them any more if I tried!

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend, can you believe we are already into the end of August!? This summer just FLEW by, I hope you all enjoy what is left of it!


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Guest Post- Busy Little Izzy

"Happy Wednesday, friends! Over the past year, I have been so fortunate to meet other mamas who support, encourage, and inspire me. Over the next few weeks, I am going to be sharing some of these sweet mamas with you! Eryka is the sweetest lady, and she has the most darling little girl, Izzy. She is gorgeous inside and out, and shares the cutest baby and mama fashion! And *spoiler* she like sto drop the occasional swear word or two! (come on, you know you do it too ;-) ) Continue reading for her guest post, and be sure to head to her website for more great posts, and her Instagram for all the cute photos of her little family!"

GUEST POST-Eryka, busylittleizzy.com

1. Recovery from birth may be more traumatizing than the actual birth.
Am I right? And maybe it’s more traumatizing because no one warns you!!! Everyone says how bad the birth is going to be.. no one talks about your tore up stomach or vag and how that’s going to feel for weeks. I’m getting anxious thinking about those squirt bottles for everytime you pee and all the damn laxatives just to poop again. Beyond the physical recovery… let’s talk about the mental recovery. Post partum depression is real, scary and you must know you are not alone. It’s actually “normal” to feel overwhelmed and upset. That doesn’t mean you need to suffer. Ask for support and talk to your dr, a friend or spouse about how you are feeling.
2. Babies can not only shoot pee at you, but poop also.
When Isabella was a tiny newborn I changed her diaper in the night before a feeding and just as I went to cover her with a fresh diaper she legit shot poop out of her but at me! It was all over my arms… so gross. Man I thought I was in the clear having a girl… nope.
3. Baby/Toddler wearing is your friend.
It’s not just something “crunchy” moms do. If you baby likes it, all moms should do it! Can you say multitasking! I would breastfeed Izzy and cook dinner at the same time thanks to my baby carrier.
4. You will become the master of multitasking, or at least try.
I remember eating, while nursing Izzy and food just dropping on her head. lol Mama’s gotta eat!
5. Going to the grocery store … or ANY store alone is a damn vacation!
Target, grocery store, pet store to grab dog food. I don’t care, it’s going to feel damn good to get out alone. Take your time and enjoy those moments. lol
6. Wine will become your best friend.
Do I need to say more?
Wine glass from Banky Girl Creations
7. Toddlers need lots and lots of snacks!
Remember when your baby ate all that baby food and then you did baby led weaning or whatever and your kid was such a great eater. BYE! Once your child becomes a toddler all they want are snacks. Goodbye to the days of your kid eating all their veggies!
“Keeper of Snacks” T-Shirt from Banky Girl Creations
8. House work… what’s that? 
Remember how tidy your house was before you had a baby, ya kiss that goodbye. When you get a break the last thing you will want to do is clean up. Not to mention, if you are a working at home mommy like me… you will most likely be utilizing every spare second to work.
“Currently Avoiding Housework”tank from Banky Girl Creations
9. Things you said before you had a kid will bite you in the ass.
Remember that time you said your kid would never do that… they will. Okay, maybe not all the things you witnessed, but at least one of them will! lol
10. You will likely lose yourself early on.
But it’s okay we all find our way back to fun tops and makeup (on date night). On a serious note, I was so overwhelmed and so into making sure my baby was okay and then going back to work by the time Izzy was 8 weeks, I didn’t have time for myself. I used to paint and shop and have a lot of time for myself. That was gone and will be gone forever. Adjusting to this new life, that’s normal. It takes you time to find that balance again.
11. Love for your spouse will grow as you watch your child(ren) bond with them.
I must say I love my husband more and more watching him with our daughter.
12. You will also have times you want to rip your spouses head off.
Hey emotions with kids run high. The stress of having a child is no joke. Make sure you find time together so you can connect and talk about things.
13. You will never be a perfect mom.
There is no such thing. You can strive to do your best as a mother for your child and that’s all they need. Give them love, feed them & maybe attempt a Pinterest activity together. haha
14. Mama bear is a real thing.
You have never felt emotions like you will when someone messes with your kid.
XO Eryka

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Finding That Work/Life Balance

For those of you who do not know, I work full time outside of the home. One of the questions I often get is, how do I manage to keep it all together? Not saying I have my act together (because I definitely do NOT) but I have definitely learned a few tips and tricks to keep my days going as smoothly as possible. Some may seem like no brainers, and some are little things that do not seem like a big deal, but totally help me keep my sanity!

1. Have a schedule
We have a pretty strict schedule in our house. We know what works best for us and what works best for our kids, and so we try to stick with what works for us as best as possible. We eat dinner by 5:30pm pretty much every night. Sometimes this means missing out on a dinner out with family or friends, and sometimes it means I am dying for a snack by 8pm, but this early dinnertime allows us to make sur ewe get in everything post-dinner that we need to to make sure our boys are bedtime ready!

2. Shower at night
This might seem silly, but at this stage in life, the morning shower just doesn't make sense for me. My kids still aren't predictable in the morning, and while they often will sleep in past 6, there have been many, many mornings where I have had kiddos ready to play by 4:30am. So, the bedtime shower is a way for me to be sure I get to take care of myself and, hello, hygiene, which is obviously kind of important when you have a corporate job ;-)

3. Give yourself grace
Some days, I feel like I can never give 100% to everything. There are days that the kids give me a run for my money before the sun is even up, and I have a hard time staying caught up at work, and I then run home and feed my kids chicken nuggets because that is just about all that I have energy for. The reality is, a career is a full time job, and being a mom is a full time job. The 'second shift' is a very real thing, and the work never really stops. But some days, I let the laundry pile up, I don't pick up all of the toys, and I sit on the couch and watch Bachelor in Paradise instead. And, while I love to blog, sometimes something has to give, and if that means this space is put on the backburner from time to time, then so be it.

4. Communication
This one is HUGE when both parents work outside of the home, and again probably seems like a no brainer. But between drop offs, pick ups, changes in work schedules, and house projects that need attention, it is so important that we touch base as much as possible to make sure we are on the same page. Mike has set break times at work, so I always try my best to be somewhat available during that time of day in case there is something we need to be on the same page about.

5. Don't wait for the weekend
I so often feel tempted to leave all of the house work for the weekend. And sometimes, this is what I do. But let me tell you, nothing feels better than going into the weekend without a mountain of laundry staring you down, or no toilets to be scrubbed. If I ever have a day where I have a little bit of extra energy, I try my best to keep it going, and tackle any little chores that I can. Those weekend days become extra precious when you are go, go, go all weekend!

6. Invest in a little help
We don't have a housekeeper (wouldn't that be nice!) but I will say that one of the best things we have gotten recently is our bObi and are SO obsessed with it. I am pretty sure our boys think it is a new pet, but this robotic vacuum is seriously amazing. I can program it to run during the day while we are gone, and I cannot tell you how much takes off of our shoulders to lessen the amount of vacuuming and sweeping we need to do. That little machine may be vacuuming my floors as I sit her typing this cozy under my blanket. There is no shame in investing in something that takes a bit o fthe workload off of you!

7. Invest in yourself, too!
I will be honest, the first thing that tends to get neglected is myself, and our marriage, too. Jobs, kids, and housework so often comes first, but finding the time for little things is so important. Is it half an hour cuddled on the couch watching an episode of The Office? Or some days, like today, I know I need to go for a run to feel good about myself, so I take the time, and usually feel a bit selfish, and do it. I have never invested in myself since becoming a mother and regretted it. I always come home refreshed, thankful, and ready to be a bit better of a mother than I was when I was feeling worn down!

8. Find your support system
This one has been HUGE for us, and I have said so many times I am not sure how we would have survived some stages in life without our amazing support system. We live in our hometown, and both sets of parents and all aunts and uncles are nearby. If we need a breather, or our work schedules are crazy, or if I just need a chat with my mom with a hot cup of coffee, they are always there. If you don't have family nearby, join a church, or a mommy group, or a softball team, or whatever it takes to find that system that will be there for you when you need it most. I will say it one more time, we owe so much to our families during this crazy season in life.

I hope this gives you some insight as to how we get through this crazy season in life as parents of young kiddos with careers. It is a choice we made for both of us to work, and while it can definitely be hard, to us it is worth it. Whether you are a working mom, stay at home mom, or maybe someone who falls somewhere in between the two, I would love to hear what you do to keep the show running in your home!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lincoln: 15 Months

Our sweet Lincoln was 15 months old this past weekend! He is growing so very fast, and seems to be learning new things every single day. I catch myself laughing at almost everything he does. As I type this (at 5am thanks to said 15 month old) he is delicately laying his hand on my laptop, and then shyly smiling. Probably because he knows he isn't supposed to touch it. But really he is so sweet and funny, a lot of the time it is almost too much to handle!
Growth
He is still at the top of the charts for just about everything. He weighs in at 28-29 pounds, putting him at the 98th or above for percentile. He is 34 inches tall, also putting him off the charts, and rounding out his hugeness, he has a head circumference of 20 inches, which is, again, off the charts. He is seriously just growing like a weed, still fitting into 18-24 month clothing, but we are only buying 2T at this point and that is what size most of his summer clothing is! He is wearing size 4 diapers still, but I am thinking the next time I buy them I will go up to the next size just because I prefer they have a bit extra room. He still fits in a size 5 for shoes, but they are getting snug so his newest pair of moccasins are a size 6.
Development
It really has been so interesting to see how different our children have been in terms of development. Lincoln is doing great and continues to learn and try new things every day. He has mastered going up the stairs, and while we usually don't let him, he knows how to slide down the stairs and would most likely be just fine if left to his own devices. Sorry buddy, our staircase is just a little too tall to set you free on it! He isn't talking much, but he does have a few words. Mama, dada, and buh-bye, which he loves to say while waving, it is the cutest thing! He babbles all of the time, and has the most adorable jibberish you have EVER heard. We watch videos where we have caught him babbling and just laugh so hard.
He is quickly learning how to ask for things even if he doesn't have the words to do so yet. If he is hungry, he will walk to the pantry and stand at the door, and if he is thirsty he will bring a sippy cup to the fridge and try to open the door. He has even tried to use the water dispenser, but he isn't quite tall enough to be successful ;-)
He is constantly exploring, and tries to master anything he is able to. He is very good with a fork and spoon, and LOVES to feed himself. He is so independent, and for the most part just hates not being allowed to do things for himself!
He is still our best sleeper. He is taking two naps a day, but I think we are approaching cutting out the morning nap and going down to just one. He goes down at 7pm every night, and even if we put him in his crib wide awake, he will put himself to sleep. A lot of nights, once we walk into his bedroom he will actually lean back and I need to be prepared, we will be quite a ways from his crib but this guy is READY to lay down. He is not our snuggler, but he LOVES his stuffed animals and his blankie. I cover him up and put his animals around his face every night, and he settles in so happy and relaxed. He loves his crib. He did get sick a few weeks ago, and since then has once again started waking up around 4:30-5am which just..NOPE. I am thinking that cutting down to one nap a day may be the solution to this, but we will see.
Eating
He is still a good eater, but is definitely developing preferences. He is not the biggest fan of meats. He will eat them, but they are not his favorite. Jackson would eat chicken nuggets and hot dogs all day, but Lincoln will usually have leftovers on his tray and will mostly just pick at these things. He LOVES fruit, just last night at dinner he ate an entire peach by himself, and will eat bananas, blueberries, and raspberries all day. Vegetables are okay by him, but also are not his favorite.
We weaned from nursing right before he turned 13 months, and haven't looked back. He still takes his milk from a bottle, and has some right away in the morning, after naps, and about half an hour before bed. (And a fun side note, as I typed that he stomped across the room with his bottle of milk and handed it to me. And now he is waving at the characters on the TV. Seriously, he just cracks me up!) He gets water in a sippy cup at his meals. He LOVES water and nothing makes him happier than getting his hands on a water bottle his mom forgot to put away.
Some of his absolute favorite foods include pizza, bread, pretty much all fruits, goldfish crackers, anything sweet, and graham crackers. While he is a good eater, there aren't that many foods he seems to absolutely LOVE. Unless it is sugar. Give this kid ALL of the sugar. He has our sweet tooth for sure!

Personality
This little guy is almost too much to handle. From a young age, his dad has called him 'cheeser', and the nickname still fits. We often catch him giggling at the most random things. He loves to do little things like click his tongue, and lately has been fake 'chewing' while making eye contact with me, thinking he is so funny while doing so. He loves to climb up on you for a snuggle, but it will last about as long as a normal hug, and then he wants to get down and go about his business. He butts heads with his brother, oh by gosh does he butt heads with him. Jackson is really coming into his role as a big brother, but Lincoln is pretty vocal about not wanting to be hugged or kissed if he is not in the mood! They fight over toys constantly, and Lincoln knows how to use his voice if he is not getting his way! He loves Wallykazam and Sesame Street, and is pretty much hypnotized by either. He still does not have much interest in books at all, mostly because I think he just hates to be forced to sit still to listen! He loves to open all of the kitchen cabinets and drawers, and get into every last thing that he knows he isn't supposed to. He is constantly keeping us on our toes!
Lincoln, you grow sweeter by the second, and we are having so much fun watching you grow and develop. You are our blonde haired, blue eyed little mischief maker, and we cannot wait to see how much more you grow and learn in the coming months! We love you, boo boo!
 
Linking up with Julie today!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Jacksons 'Despicable Three' Birthday Party

 We had so much fun celebrating our big guy turning three this weekend! The past few months in our house have been ALL about Despicable Me and his favorite characters, the minions. So, it was easy to pull together a theme for this one! Jackson was so excited about his minion party, and I had so much fun planning all of the details! 'Despicable Three' was my favorite theme ever :-)
This is the second banner I have made with these kits from Target. I bought two of them, spray painted, and then just hand painted all of the letters and details with acrylic paint. This might be my favorite banner to make-and I pulled it together for less than $15!
I had leftover banner pieces, so I made a 'Jackson' one as well that I threw above the patio door.
I just love using my new letterboard, especially for fun occasions like this!

Jackson's actual birthday was Thursday, so we let him open his 'minion' presents that night from mommy and daddy. He got to wear his new minion Hawaiian shirt that looked 'just like daddy', and got pizza and cupcakes TWICE. It was a good birthday by any toddler standards ;-)


  The day of the party was Saturday. We spent the morning and naptime decorating before guests arrived!
 This is just crepe paper and balloons, but it is by far the most fun our staircase has ever looked ;-)
 I am SO happy with how these cupcakes turned out! I just piped blue frosting, and then cut twinkies in half, secured candy eyes, and draw the detailing in black icing. They were really SUPER easy to make!
 And we needed something that would hold the big candle I bought, so a minion cake with yellow lemon frosting and oreos eyes was also on the menu. All ingredients were made from scratch...from the box or tub ;-) Seriously, grocery store tub frosting is the best!
 Paper goggles on our beverage dispensers added some fun. These were in pretty much every store with a party section, and were only $1.99!




 My sister in law loves to draw 'sidewalk chalk art', so she drew this for Jackson. Seriously, how amazing did this turn out!?








 


 This was the first birthday where Jackson really understood opening presents, being sung to, and blowing out the candles. It was so much fun to see him really get excited about it being his birthday for the first time! And he complied and gave his round of 'thank you' hugs after opening gifts, it was so sweet!



 Seriously. SO EXCITED.


 I love this picture! He was so serious about blowing out the candle, and daddy stepped in to help.





 


We had the best time celebrating our sweet guy! I am still in a bit of disbelief that he is three, but I have a feeling that this is going to be my favorite age yet!
 
Linking up with Biana today!
 
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