Thursday, June 22, 2017

Coffee Talk

It has been quite the summer so far. Nothing too major has happened, but I feel like I have so much on my mind lately!
If we were to sit down to coffee [preferably an iced coffee, out on the patio], I would tell you that...

Since quitting nursing, I have gained a few pounds. Nothing major, but 3-4 pounds is enough to just make you feel blah. The worst part is that I have actually been eating better, which tells me that had I not adjusted a few things that weight gain probably would have been much worse. Even still, it is pretty frustrating to make some changes that normally would result in losing weight, and instead I am just preventing further weight gain. It is definitely time for me to get back into working out if I really want to see any changes, I think.

Speaking of working out, I still haven't found my groove. While life is much less hectic than it was a year ago, we are still pretty busy. And with our endless amounts of yard work, I am pretty stuck inside with the kiddos while Mike takes care of the landscaping. I'm not complaining, but I still feel like I just haven't found that sweet spot that allows me to squeeze in exercise without sacrificing my time with my loved ones. I would take the kiddos on walks, but one of them always ends up throwing a tantrum (or a shoe) so I can never go too far!

I cannot believe how fast this summer is flying by. It felt like we were just waiting and waiting for the warm weather to arrive, and then I blinked and we are into the end of June. Summer isn't my season, but this year I wish it would slow down just a bit!

My sister in law brought this pool over when we were at grandma and grandpa's last weekend, and I need one! It is collapsible, but provides enough depth that the kids can really swim and be in the water. It comes up to their chests sitting, so while it requires a little extra supervision, I feel like it is so much more fun for them and feels more like a real pool. And bonus, it is big enough that I can sit in there with them while they splash: extra supervision and pool time for me, too!

This week, I listed a TV for sale on our local online garage sale, and I swear it brought the crazies out of the woodwork. I *stupidly* gave a person our address so they could come to the house to see it/buy it, and my brother in law then said he may want it so to please hold it. Family first, so I told the lady it was not available. She got MAD at me, and scolded me for posting the item before clearing if any person in the world that I know would potentially want it. Then she told me she 'didn't believe me'. Andddd then I blocked her. I have had multiple other people message me, some asking me questions in Spanish (and hello, we live in Minnesota here...) Just weird! Maybe it is because it is an electronic? I am about ready to say screw it and just give it to charity, but I THINK I found normal buyer. Fingers crossed...
This morning, Jackson came in my room while I was getting dressed (wearing a bra and underwear), placed his hand on my butt, smiled and me and said, 'me love your big butt!'. I think it is time to be more considerate of him seeing me when I'm not fully clothed..

I don't know if anything will top that last one for me, so that is where I'll leave it! Happy Friday Eve!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lincoln's Nursery

Well, I would call this a room reveal, but we have been in our house for ten months now, and to be honest, this room still isn't complete. The boy's rooms really took a backseat once we moved. The task of furnishing an entire house will do that. They really spend a limited amount of time in them, as they are upstairs, and our master bedroom and the toy room are both downstairs. Their rooms really are just used for sleeping, and as a result, I haven't put much priority into making them complete!
Still, I was excited to give Lincoln his own space, especially because when I brought him home from the hospital, we didn't have a house yet and I wasn't able to prepare for his arrival by planning a nursery. It felt so good to settle in and pull together some sweet colors and décor pieces for him! So, while I kept on waiting thinking I would share once their rooms were complete, I decided I love this sweet little space as it is for now!


Rather than a theme, I really just stuck to a color scheme in his nursery. Mint, gray, navy, with neutral touches were my choice, and I honestly love how they all pulled together!

 These letters are similar to the ones I made for Jackson's nursery in our old house. I just spray painted wooden letters, and used painters tape and did some free hand to create the designs!



This rug is the piece that really feels like it pulled the room together. We found it at Lorena Canals! I love LOVE the alphabet design around the outer edges! Both boys went nuts for it, but Lincoln was the lucky winner who gets to have it in his room. And bonus: it is machine washable. One of my biggest anxieties with rugs is honestly the fact that if anything gets dropped on them, they really are not something you can deep clean. I love the fact that if the boys would spill anything, or let's be real, a diaper blowout would happen, this pretty piece can go right in the washing machine without me having to worry about how to get the mess out! And, even though it is washable, it is so soft and plush.

I would still love to add a few more pieces to the room. Maybe a bookshelf in one of the corners? I have always struggled with filling the little spaces in my kid's rooms. I would love to hear your suggestions on the best pieces that could be the finishing touch!

Covertible Crib: old Delta Baby, similar here
Dresser: Ikea
Rug: c/o Lorena Canals
Crib Quilt: handmade by my talented Mother in Law!
Baby Blanket: Bizybelle
Rocking Chair: family item, refurbished
Curtains: Wayfair
Lamp: Old, similar here
Wall sign: Hobby Lobby
Wooden Chalkboard: DIY

*This post is written in collaboration with Lorena Canals Rugs. All thoughts and opinions about this AMAZING piece are solely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Stang&Co!


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Phone Flair and Mommy Brain

*This post is written in collaboration with CaseApp. All thoughts and opinions expressed are solely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Stang&Co!*

Time for a fun little story. For those of you that have followed along with me for awhile you may remember me sharing this last fall. Shortly after moving into our new house, I was doing a load of laundry and threw in the sheets from our bed. After starting it and walking away, I went to find my phone. And didn't see it anywhere. I searched high and low, you guys. In the living room, in the bedroom, under my kid's beds. And then my heart sank. I searched the last place it could possibly be, hoping and praying it wasn't there. But it was. There she sat, my pretty iPhone 6s. In a pool of water in the washing machine. I frantically pulled it out, dried it as best as I could, and immediately tried out the bag of rice trick. And, much to my dismay. Nothing worked. My phone was done.
Luckily, I had my old iPhone on hand, and was able to switch my account back over and start using that one right away. While I could have gone in for an upgrade, I just couldn't stomach paying off the remaining balance of a phone I wasn't even going to use anymore, just to pick up payments for a new one. So, I committed and have been using a very old phone, with very little storage available, for nearly a year.
While the phone has been driving me crazy, I am glad I stuck to using the old phone until I am eligible for a new one! Of course, getting a pretty new phone case or two is helping to hold me over, too ;-) Sometimes, you see a case and the words just speak to you, am I right? Coffee and mascara are kind of my love language. This case is so much fun and I love pulling it out!

I also knew the second I saw this marbled case that I had to have it. My phone may be old, but this case spruced it right up so much that I almost don't mind that I am constantly having to delete apps just to make room for pictures. Almost. I love having a few different options to switch out with, too. Does anyone else get bored and always want a new phone case!?  

CaseApp also allows you to customize your iPhone case! You can upload your own files, texts, and graphics. I thought this one appropriately summed up my life ;-) You can also create laptop skins, which are so much fun! I have seen people make darling photo collages of their families and friends. I am thinking I need one for myself!
With code STANGANDCO20, you can save 20% off on your phone case or laptop skin. What designs are your favorite? I would love to hear!


Monday, June 19, 2017

Father's Day Weekend 2017 & A Bachelorette

This weekend was a good one, and it was busy! I cannot believe we are already in the second half of June, summer is absolutely flying by. I feel like even though this summer is nothing compared to last (hello a newborn baby and building a house), it is still pretty busy and we are on the go quite a bit. We are having so much fun experiencing summer for what really feels like the first time with both of our boys!

On Friday, I snuck out of work and started getting everything ready for my future sister-in-laws bachelorette party! She absolutely loves country, so we went with her favorite colors and threw in some cowgirl attire for the night out! Everyone arrived in the early evening, and we had a great time playing games, enjoying some champagne, and watching the cutest video of my brother answering questions about Jenny! She is an absolute sweetheart, and we are so lucky to have her joining our family next month!









 





On Saturday, we went over to my in-laws in the morning. My husband and brother-in-law have become hooked on smoking meats, so they decided to try out burgers Saturday. It was one of those days that just felt like summer. The boys played outside, I got to hang out with my sisters-in-law, and we even set up the pool for the kids. My sister-in-law found this one at Walmart for $12, and it is honestly amazing! It is deep enough that the kids can really feel like they are 'swimming' in it, but easy to set up and tear down. I plan on scooping one up, it is even big enough that I can hop in there with Lincoln if I feel like it ;-)









 
 

On Sunday, we took it super easy and stayed close to home. We started the morning with the boys giving Mike his gift. I had them put their hand and foot prints on canvas, and then framed them. I cannot wait to get them hung and look at them all of the time :-) Aside from that, I ran to Target solo with the boys, Mike tackled a ton of yard work, and once we got home I cleaned the house for a few hours! There is still plenty to be done (isn't there always?) but I cleaned and vacuumed the toy room, as well as the rest of the main floor, and it is amazing what having all of the toys in their designated spot does for the soul! In the midst of it all, I even let Jax do some finger painting ;-)
We capped off the night with pizza and Fear The Walking Dead, and called it a night. This was definitely one of those summer weekends that was so wonderful and a reminder of how lucky we are!

Linking up with Biana today!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Through Clouded Glass

Sometimes, I look back over the past few years of my life and get overwhelmed. Our timeline goes something like this:
October of 2013: Got married
December of 2013: Found out we were expecting
January of 2014: Began graduate school while still working full time (and super sick with my pregnancy)
August of 2014: Welcomed home sweet Jackson
May of 2015: Put our house on the market
September of 2015: Sold our house, found out we were expecting baby number 2, and moved in with my in-laws
December of 2015: Graduated from grad school
April of 2016: Began building our house
May of 2016: Brought home Lincoln
The entire summer of 2017: Worked on the new house, packed things up, applied/interviewed for new jobs, and dealt with a colicky and difficult new baby while adjusting our toddler to being a big brother
August of 2016: Started a new job upon return from maternity leave, celebrated Jackson turning two, and FINALLY moved into our new house
June of 2017: ended breastfeeding with Lincoln
I love this photo. We all look so happy. But in reality, at this stage Lincoln was incredibly colicky, I was waking up with kids 4-5 times per night, and I was struggling to keep the show going every single day.

That may seem like a bit of a novel, but the moral of the details above is that, from December of 2013, my body has not been my own. Once becoming pregnant, everything you do and every decision you make surrounds what is best for the baby. That mindset continues afterwards for those of us who breastfeed, because our diets, schedules, abilities to consume alcohol..they all revolve around when baby needs to eat and how those decisions affect their bodies.
I weaned Jackson on his first birthday, and found out I was pregnant with Lincoln exactly one month later. So, my body had roughly a three week window where I wasn't nourishing a child in some respect. I literally have not had my body to myself in three and a half years. And that, my friends, is a long time.

I really have never thought too much about this or the effect it may be taking on me. I loved breastfeeding both of my babies. It was a special bond, a time to escape from the crazy and be alone with them. Dare I say, once we got the hang of it, it even became a relaxing experience, one where I was able to tell Mike I was going in another room to feed Lincoln and I would soak in the peace and quiet for twenty minutes. I have felt blessed and lucky with my pregnancies and post baby experiences, and never thought much more than that.

And then it happened. I quit nursing Lincoln. I could tell I had some hormonal changes happen when my body stopped producing milk, almost immediately. My skin got worse (that pregnancy glow and its after effects is real!) I put on a few pounds, because my body wasn't burning hundreds a day for feeding, which is one of the harder things to deal with. But, more than anything, I felt like a fog lifted and I could see clearly.

I never once considered if I ever dealt with postpartum depression, because I never really felt depressed. And I don't know, even now, if I would say that I did. But, almost instantaneously with ending my breastfeeding journey, I felt more alert, more playful, more appreciative of the smallest things, like a sunny day or a sentimental song. I have more energy, and don't feel like I need to go to bed at 8pm to function. I feel a spark with my husband, who *deep breaths*, I have always loved with my whole heart, but over the past year in particular, has been placed on the backburner more than he deserves as I try to just keep my head above water. I am not a perfect wife, and it can be hard to acknowledge that, while it was easy to blame tough days on my husband, I often wasn't doing my part in ensuring he was being cared for as he rightfully deserved. It is a hard thing, to make an effort to make another person feel happy and special, when you yourself are struggling to find your own happiness and balance. Most days, this past year in particular, I would crawl in bed craving solitude, wanting to drift to sleep as fast as possible after being touched and tested by my children all day long. I have experienced plenty of happiness, don't get me wrong, but it was easy to get overwhelmed in our daily lives and let those feelings control me and keep me from finding joy in the little things.

Those feelings have changed so much since quitting breastfeeding that they almost feel drastic. I find myself thinking about my husband and smiling over something he said or how he looked so handsome playing with our children. Heck, I even feel flirtatious and like I did when we were dating, cracking jokes (poorly, I might add) and playing silly games at home. I finally feel like there is enough of me left to take care of myself, and my relationship with Mike, too.
Mostly throwing this one in because I don't know if I will ever love a photo of the two of us more than this one.

I suppose all of this is to say that, if you feel like you are in a fog with small children, that you are just going through the motions, know that you are not the only one. I was seeing my life through clouded glass for the past year, but in the moment I didn't realize it. I feel more alive with a zest for life that I was unaware was missing. For the first time in a long time, I am feeling like me. I still get sad. I still get annoyed and frustrated. But at the end of the day, I feel so much more capable of getting past those emotions and not letting them consume me. I would take the same path with my children that I did a million times over, but it feels good to recognize that how I was feeling was not long term, and to put some sort of an explanation to those days where I felt like a zombie just moving forward on autopilot. Even if on the exterior it looks like a person has it all together, we all have our own internal battles that we are fighting. And it feels so good to know I have come out on the other side of this one, now matter how small it may have been.

Mothers, remember to always take care of yourself, and to know that you should experience happiness, sadness, and even anger, to their fullest extent. Because that is what really living is. Love your babies, love their fathers, and love yourself. And know that you deserve the world.



Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! Has anyone else just felt off this week? I wonder if we still haven't fully recovered from our long Memorial Weekend. Jackson got super sick last weekend and I had to work from home Monday, so I am sure that is part of it, too. It has definitely been a week where I constantly have had to remind myself what day it actually is!
This week is supposed to be a scorcher, because in Minnesota 95 degrees and humid is a big deal, and basically all the radio talks about ;-) So despite the sunshine, I am anticipating a good amount of time spent inside, and perhaps a little bit of pool time for the boys! And an adult beverage. What is it about a hot summer day that makes an ice cold beer sound SO good? Before cracking one open though, onto some Friday favorites!


1. These Shorts
I have talked quite a bit about these tomgirl shorts from American Eagle, and I really do love them. However, for the sake of honesty I will disclose that there is a hole in the backside. It is intentionally placed, and probably just fine if you are under the age of 25..but alas, I am not. In fact, I had worn them quite a bit before someone else pointed it out to me, so it really isn't that obvious! I still highly recommend, but had to put it out there!
So, this past week I decided to pull the trigger on an additional pair, and I had never tried the boy midi before. But oh my gosh, these shorts are absolute perfection! I am a light wash girl, always have been and always will be. The distressing is plenty but doesn't have me worrying I am going to rip them whenever I put them on, and they are so stretchy and forgiving. I have had the midi style before, and I would say these are just a bit more relaxed in fit and feel worn in the second you put them on. I will be living in these the rest of the summer!
2. Comfy Dresses
Some days I cannot bear to wear anything but a dress, especially on those hot and humid summer days. I swear some dresses are as comfortable as pajamas! My new favorite dress is from Modest Modern Mama. She is the absolute sweetest shop owner, and all of her stuff is so nice.


3. Simplified Planner
Has anyone else tried and failed at getting onto the planner bus? I think my biggest problem has always been buying based on price, or convenience, versus what is truly practical and will allow me to map out my week in detail. I finally took the plunge and have the Emily Ley Simplified Planner, and am obsessed! It breaks out each individual day by time, as well as providing a section for your to-do list. And, on Sundays it helps provide tips and tricks to organizing and planning your week in advance. This is something I definitely plan on doing, to make our weeks go more smoothly and feel more organized!


4. The Perfect Lip Butter
Okay, so this stuff honestly got shoved to the bottom of my purse and I forgot about it for the longest time. But alas, I recently switched purses, found all of my lost treasures, and this is one of them! This lip butter colors like a lipstick, but feels more like a gloss. It is great if you are wanting to add in some color but don't want something very bold. The packaging as it was when I bought it seems to be in the process of phasing out, but Revlon has lots of lip butters and I highly recommend them. I have been living in this pink color lately!
5. Snuggly Babies
I love my babies and I love pajamas, so when my babies are wearing pajamas, I just about can't handle it. Of course, if you have been around here for awhile you already know this ;-) I could just squish them up!!
 

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend, and have access to a pool, lake, or ocean! Summer is officially here!



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

DIY Wild One Crown

After sharing all of the details from Lincolns' Wild One first birthday party a few weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to dive into some of the DIY projects that I did to put it all together. One of my favorite pieces that I created myself was this Where The Wild Things Are crown. Don't get me wrong; I love supporting small shops and purchasing these items, but when we are looking at one-use items, I really tend to get creative in figuring out how I can do it myself. Surprisingly, this hat was incredibly easy to make, and require nothing more than glue and scissors (and okay, maybe a couple of paper clips).

Supplies Needed:
Tow pieces of the largest yellow/gold felt you can find (the more rigid, the better)
One small piece of brown felt
One piece of gold glitter felt
Fur trim (I found mine in the same aisle as the felt)
Felt glue
Elastic string
Scissors

How To:
1. Lay down a piece of your yellow felt. Trace out the peaks of your crown. I used a ruler to equally space them so they were all the same size.
2. Cut out the peaks of your felt. You can paper clip the sheets together and cut them at once if you would like. You want both large sheets to be the same size.

  
3. Spread felt glue over one side of a piece of yellow felt.
4. Lay down other felt piece and lightly press them together.
*note: the felt glue will not fully take hold until it has dried. It may seem like it is not going to stick, but it will!
5. Wrap your felt into a circle and apply felt glue where you want it to overlap and be held together.
6. Once you have your crown lined up, use paper clips (yes, paper clips!) to hold it all together. There are great for keeping things in place but not leaving any dents or marks! Any place that seems to be having a hard time staying together, clip it!
7. You will want to let the crown set with the glue for an hour or so. While you wait, trace a '1' onto the brown felt. I did this by freehand, but you could always trace an image if you would like.
8. Cut out the '1', and then cut a smaller '1' on the glitter felt, and then use felt glue to lay the smaller piece onto the larger.
9. Once your '1' has set, use felt glue to glue this onto the crown. I used paper clips once again to hold it while the glue set!
10. While your crown is drying, measure out the fur trim. The piece I bought worked perfect to wrap around the bottom edge so that it came up on both sides.
11. Once your fur is the appropriate length, wrap around the bottom and use felt glue to hold. Paper clip this as well! Allow finished crown to dry for at least a few hours.

Once your crown is complete, you will want some sort of string to secure to the crown so it stays on your little one! I bought the thinnest elastic cord I could find. To be honest, I should have gone a bit thicker; my string had a hard time holding the hat because it was too lightweight. I used a thick domed needle to thread my string onto the hat. You can also use a hole punch to make holes in the felt for your string, whichever method you prefer!

And there you have it! I love how this crown turned out, and it is a keepsake for him now, too. I moved it to his room and have it displayed on his dresser, and smile whenever I look at it. It was the perfect crown for our little Wild One!







 
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