Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Favorites: Last of April

It's Friday! Another work week where I spent the first half out at a training once again has me feeling a bit off kilter. Fortunately, I think that was the last of the super long trainings I have, at least for the near future! After a few days of cold and rain (and even a little snow!) the temps are supposed to bounce back a bit this weekend with some sunshine. I can't wait to get outside, and maybe even start plugging away at some of our yard work! Oh, and planning that darn first birthday party for a certain someone who turns ONE a week from today. *Insert me sobbing, here!*

1. Boy Mom Post
This week, I shared my feelings and what I wish everyone knew about being a boy mom. It is something I have struggled with before having children, and after as my perspective and focus has changed. It is definitely worth a read if you have ever felt conflicted or pressured about the gender of your children!
2. Sandals
It may have dropped to freezing temperatures and snow this week, but for the most part, we are into sandal weather! Which means anything above 50 here, in case you were wondering ;-) Target has seriously become my go-to place for all shoes. I love the fun colors on these, and the crochet look these have. Suffering from #tallgirlproblems, I about died seeing these, because there is a slight wedge heel, but it is low enough that I can still pull it off. And because I love all things gold, I think I may have to finally jump on the lace-up trend with these!
3. Linkup
A reminder that next week is the first Tuesday of the month, and Danielle and I will be hosting our Tuesday Outtakes linkup! Share anything from over the past month that didn't quite make the cut, or a story that you forgot to tell. Whatever wasn't quite 'blog material', this is the place to share! :-)

4. Cognac Backpacks
I don't know about you guys, but I am so in love with the backpack as a purse trend that is happening. I love myself a pretty, fashionable purse, but especially since becoming a mom, they just aren't always practical. Backpacks are such a great way to still be fashionable, but can be thrown on while also carrying one (or two!) little ones. I love cognac, it is just such a classic color for any bag. This one from Target is classic and simple, and perfect for every day. The fringe and laser cutouts on this option make it a little bit fun and edgy. And, the lace crochet detail makes this backpack so pretty and girly!
5. 3-Tier Stand
Completely on a whim, I was at Sam's club with my sister-in-law to get supplies for the baby shower we threw last month, and I saw this three tier stand. And immediately threw it into my cart. You guys, it was less than $20! I just couldn't pass it up. At the shower, it was used to hold some of the pastries that we served. Since then, it has moved over to our desk area and is just such a nice accent piece, adding a bit of style, while also providing some extra storage/décor space. I absolutely love it!


Have a wonderful weekend friends. As my favorite curly haired singer from NSync would say, come Monday..


Thursday, April 27, 2017

What I Wish Everyone Knew About Being A Boy Mom

Five years ago, if someone would have told me I would be living in a house with all boys, I would have told them 'I hope not!' It is not that I never wanted a son. But, for the sake of being honest, I knew (or was naïve enough to think I knew) that I would be able to live without a son. A daughter, on the other hand, that is something I couldn't fathom living without. Who would be my lifelong best friend? Who would go with me on shopping trips while my husband went off to do boy things. That relationship I had with my mother was something that I knew I needed for myself.
Due to these feelings, I also constantly joked that I would end up being the one person in our families that ended up birthing all of the boys. And guess what, that is exactly what happened. I am rocking the boy mom status, and there is a very good chance that these two boys are the only children we will have. And the thing that I want everyone to know, is that I could not be luckier or more humbled than I am to have been blessed with sons.

I am as guilty as everyone else when it comes to the preconceived notions about boys and girls. Before having kids of my own, I also felt a bit of, dare I say, sympathy for people when they found out they would be having a boy. I mean, they just aren't as precious to dress up, and they couldn't possibly be as sweet and adorable as a little girl. And then I myself became a mom of not one, but two little boys. Suddenly I was on the receiving end of those comments and sad looks that I had in the past given to others. I felt so ashamed that I ever could have looked at a mother of boys and felt as if she were someone to be pitied, that she was missing out on something. That I felt sorry for her. I could not have been more wrong. I am constantly told I need to have another baby, because I would be such a good girl mom. I am told that I really need to experience one of each. But do you know what this all implies, regardless of the intention behind those words? That my boys aren't enough, when in fact, they are everything and more.
What I wish others (and myself) knew about being a mom of all boys is that you will never be short on love. I am the number one girl to not only my husband, but to two precious little boys who adore me. I get to see them be rough and tough, covered in mud and sweat, but then soak in their sweetness as I snuggle my youngest and watch him drift off to sleep, or when I lay in bed with my toddler and listen to him talk and giggle, amazed at the new things he is constantly learning. I get to experience so many new things that, as a self proclaimed girly-girl, I grew up avoiding. I am a better person because of the job I have been given in raising these boys. I burst with excitement when I see a tractor or a train, because I know I will point it out to my babies and they will be over the moon. We sing silly songs. We have dance parties. We do all of the things I dreamed of doing with daughters, yet it is just as sweet with my boys. In fact, I think it is special on such a deep level because, as their mama, I see such a gentle and precious side of them that is not so obvious in boys, that even when they are grown, I have a feeling will still be there.
I have the honor and privilege of shaping my boys into men. Men that will treat others with kindness and respect, that will hopefully be amazing husbands and fathers themselves. The love I feel when looking at them is something that cannot be explained or comprehended.
Do not pity us boy moms. I would never close the door on a daughter. But what having boys has taught me is that each and every child is their own person, and at the end of the day, a person is a person. They have their own little soul, their own thoughts and feelings, and my heart beats for each of my boys every single day. Looking back, I was so uncertain of how I could ever live without a daughter, and yet I never considered that I couldn't live without the exact children that I have. Having boys is the greatest blessing I have received that I never knew I needed. Moms of boys have a hidden understanding with one another, because we know that while people think we may be missing out on something, we know that that belief could not be anymore untrue. Being a parent is an honor and a gift, and some of us just so happen to end up with boys. Those messy little boys who tear apart my living room and track mud through the carpet? Yeah, I think I'll keep them.


Linking up with Annie today.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Weekending and A Little Confession

Hello hello, my friends! I took a few days off from blogging last week, really without any planning or intention. In all honesty, I have been feeling slightly burnt out of the social media world lately. Despite my best efforts, it can often feel like a rat race, and I have gotten caught up in it. While I love this space and the opportunities that it has allowed me, I never want to deviate from being true to myself and remembering why I started blogging in the first place; because I love to write, and because I love having family memories to cherish and look back upon. Family and real life always come first, and in the dangerous world of social media it can be easy to slip into a gray area where your priorities may not be quite as they should be. At the end of the day, I love blogging, but if I need to take a week off because life is hectic, I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I am learning to say no to things I do not truly believe in or feel passionate about. I don't know if I would call what I am doing 'taking a step back', but I want to get back to focusing on my family, what we have going on, and the things in my life that are truly most important. And with that, onto our weekend!
On Friday, I got a last minute call over the lunch hour to go see the wedding dress that my future sister-in-law was in love with. My calendar was wide open (does anyone actually have meetings on Friday afternoons?) so I took the rest of the day off to go enjoy watching her try on dresses! The one she went back for didn't end up giving her all of the feels like it did before, BUT..she found her dress! She looked so beautiful, and the more time I spend with her the more it because so obvious that her and my brother are a perfect match. While I would love to share photos..it's bad luck to see the bride before the wedding ;-)
Once I got home on Friday, we made dinner and fed the boys, and I got Lincoln put to bed. And then I got ready to head out for some appetizers with my sister-in-law and our high school friend. I drove over to meet them, and the second I walked in the door, I checked Jessie's left hand (she has been dating Jer for 7 years) and THERE IT WAS! He finally popped the question! Poor Jessie got tackled by me, but I didn't care :-) I am so thrilled for one of my oldest childhood friends-it was a total highlight to start the weekend! I rocked my fun new top that I plan to share with you all soon, and it felt so nice to wear something that wasn't covered in slobber and baby boogers ;-)
On Saturday, Mike offered to smoke some pork for my nephew's confirmation, so our whole day was pretty busy between all of the meat preparations, going on a walk with the boys, and getting ready for our first church attempt in nearly six months. And you guys..we lasted half an hour. We really tried. We did. But our kids made it R.O.U.G.H. They were so squirmy, and the only thing that would quiet them at all was snacks. So, when both of us had left for the entryway because each child was being so unruly, we decided to call it a day. I must say, it didn't leave us particularly encouraged to go again, but I suppose we will keep trying. Or bring books. WHY IN THE WORLD DIDN'T I THINK TO BRING BOOKS OR CRAYONS. Next time!
The rest of the night was spent having dinner at my sister-in-laws to celebrate my nephew. We stayed out late (for the boys) and didn't get home until around 8pm ;-)
Sunday was the ultimate lazy day. I went to the grocery store, Jackson never got out of his jammies, and I actually managed to prep dinner. All of the boys took naps, and we watched The Office, which is just our all time favorite.  
Did any of you do anything fun this weekend? Here's to a great Monday and a smooth work week!
Linking up with Biana today!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Life Lately: Favorite Target Finds

I have a serious question. Is there any place in this world greater than Target? Okay, that isn't a serious question, because the answer is obviously NO. Disney World is pretty high up there, but Target may in fact be my very favorite place. I was so excited to see Allie hosting a linkup of our favorite Target finds, and my biggest problem is honestly narrowing the list down. I want all of the things at Target!


1. Shoes
These shoes have gotten a lot of attention across the blog world this spring, and for good reason. They are so darn cute, and super comfortable! And with a sale, I scooped them up for a mere $17. I know inventory fluctuates, but if you see them available in your size, you need to get them!

2. Cleaner
My sweet friend Chelsea introduced me to these delicious cleaners, and I am hooked. I have the grapefruit and sea salt and lime scents, and they make cleaning so much more fun! They are extra motivation to wipe down and disinfect my counters at night, because my kitchen smells so darn delicious after!

3. Dish Soap
Okay, my age and mom status are totally showing, but I am also obsessed with this dish soap lately! I always hate having to get it out every time I do dishes, but I also hate leaving a bottle on the counter. I love that this can be left out next to our hand soap, and is a bit less of an eye sore. It also makes it so easy to put a few pumps into the water in the sink for easy dish washing!

4. Bookends
I am still obsessing over these Pineapple bookends, you guys. I was so upset that the ones left in my store were damaged so I couldn't bring myself to buy them in less that perfect condition. And by the time I put that together, the sale they were on had ended. And I always wait for a good sale. ;-) These are hanging out in my cart and I need to make them mine!

5. Iced Coffee
These almond milk iced coffees are so good. I grabbed one on a whim one day, and couldn't believe how tasty it was. While not super cheap, they are definitely still more affordable than you iced latte from the coffee shop. If you like coffee and almond milk, you will love these!

6. Comforter
While this isn't our newest purchase, I don't know if I ever appropriately raved about the comforter we purchased for Jackson's bed. His nautical nursery theme was something I wanted to carry over, as I am waiting on any kind of room design until he starts really expressing an opinion. This piece was perfect to tie in the navy and red of his room, and I accent with his original nursery quilt and décor. It is very soft, but durable meaning it is easy to wash, which is key with a toddler! I also figured with the colors it could easily transition as a hand me down to Lincoln if we ever redo Jackson's room, as they both have navy in their color schemes. Practical, but seriously cute as well!

7. Candles
I am usually a Bath and Body Works girl when it comes to candles, but when I want to stock up and be a bit more frugal, I really like the two-wick options from Target! They melt pretty well and have some really yummy flavors. My most recent favorite scent was a sugared melon, it smelled incredible!

8. Vase
One weekend recently, I set out on a mission to furnish our fireplace mantle, which is very big and was very empty. In desperation, I grabbed this vase in two sizes, totally unsure if I would keep them or not. I threw in some green stems, and fell in love! They have a funky feel to them, and I was worried they may look too modern or harsh for the vision I had, but they fit just perfectly with the rest of our décor. I have seen them on major sale in our store, so while they are still in stock online, you may find them even cheaper in store!


I cannot wait to see the other finds that you all have picked up at Target lately!

Also linking up with Annie for Thoughts for Thursday.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Weekend Recap: Easter 2017

Whew, I am out of it getting our weekend recap up! We were all so wiped by Sunday evening, and then Monday was one of those days where I just felt happy to get to the end. By the time we got the kiddos to bed, I had zero motivation to pull out my laptop, and opted for watching a comedy special with Mike instead :-) I finally got my act together though, and got the details of our weekend pulled into a post!
When I got home from work Friday afternoon, I quickly threw together a batch of sugar cookies. I love making holiday themed cookies, and I just knew Jackson would appreciate some bunnies :-) Once Mike got home, we ran to get the boys from my parents.
Our weekend kicked off on a sad note, with the loss of our childhood dog, Annabelle. While I am so sad that she is gone, the poor girl was just not in good health anymore and she had such a good day Friday, and then her death came on out of nowhere. She went from running and playing to gone in a few minutes, and I am so glad that she really didn't seem to suffer at all. Those pets just tug at every last one of your heartstrings, even though they drive you crazy half of the time ;-) We spent our Friday night at my in-laws for a fish fry, as it was the last Friday of Lent! My father in law makes the BEST fried fish, and I always eat way more than I should. I got Lincoln into his jammies while we were there, and put him to bed right when we got home. I spent the rest of the night feeling pretty sad about Annabelle, but hung out on the couch with Mike for a bit before calling it a night.
On Saturday, I ended up going down to the cities with my mom and sister to watch my brother's fiancé try on some dresses! Of course I didn't snap a single picture, but it was so fun to watch her try them on. She didn't pick the one just yet, but she is going to be so gorgeous in whatever she wears. It was fun to spend some time with the girls and take a mommy vacation for the afternoon!
Once I got home, we were all pretty lazy. To be honest, I cannot even remember what we had for dinner Saturday night. I am racking my brain as I type this and I'm not coming up with anything. Clearly it was an eventful day, as evidenced by the photo below!
Lincoln did, however, get to enjoy his very own cookie when he woke up from nap. And he ate every last crumb! He is such a good eater, I have my fingers crossed it continues so we don't have the battles another little boy in the house put us through..

 Once I put Lincoln to bed, I rallied last minute and decided I just had to live up to my mommy obligations and dye some Easter eggs. I didn't end up doing the Cool Whip option I posted about last week, as I just didn't have the time or energy. However, I did create our dye from scratch without having to buy a kit. It was actually SUPER easy and I felt good knowing I was in control of what I was exposing Jackson to!
 He was so excited to help dye the eggs! I am so amazed by the difference a year can make. Last year, while he helped, he really was not that into the whole process. But this year, he is so excited about everything, and acts like it is the best thing ever. My sweet boy.
 He was so excited to wait for the eggs to take up the color so he could put them in the bowl!
 I was so pleasantly surprised by how our 'homemade dye' turned out. So pretty, and honestly just as easy as the kits!
 His whale needed some water during the egg dying process, apparently.
 On Easter morning, both boys woke up pretty early. I had hid the eggs around the main floor, and Jackson was SO excited to search for and find them all! The worst part of his morning was absolutely when I took the basket to put the eggs in the refrigerator.
 The boys checked out the goodies in their baskets. I may have selected candy for Lincoln that I knew I would end up getting to eat ;-)
Some days I cannot handle the sweetness of these brothers. Jackson really is such a good big brother, as long as he isn't trying to push Lincoln over.

I got the boys dressed in their Sunday best. We failed to make it to church. To be honest, we haven't been since Lincoln's baptism. I know lots of people go to church with babies all of the time, but it just overwhelms me! We did decide the boys are finally at a stage that we will start trying to get there, so hopefully we can get back into that routine soon!
 I can't with those little suspenders and that hat. Can I just keep him exactly like this forever?
 These brothers are the absolute sweetest!
 We went to my in-laws for brunch, and I managed to take approximately zero pictures. We changed the boys into some play clothes, and Jackson had the best time ever on an Easter egg hung outside. He became a pro at finding them with little to no assistance, and would proudly declare 'I found one!' It is so much fun watching him experience these traditions! Lincoln was just along for the ride, maybe next year, buddy ;-)
My parents gave the boys some Easter gifts, and Jackson got a Buzz Lightyear. He brings it with him everywhere, sleeps with it, and brings it into our bedroom at 5am and wakes me up with the sound of laser beams. The joys of being a boy mom!
I also failed at getting any photos once we went to my grandparents for Easter dinner, but Jackson went on another egg hunt and both boys were shot shortly after eating. We came home, put them to bed, and relaxed before calling it a night!
 
I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend. While I just recapped today, I am so happy we are already to the middle of the week and officially on the countdown to another weekend!

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Farewell

This weekend, my precious childhood pup left us. The sweet girl was old, and not in great health, and we all knew it was likely coming sooner than later. While I was not at my parent's house when it happened, all of my siblings were, which in this day and age, is a rare feat. My brother had just gotten home from Iowa for the weekend no more than an hour before. My younger brother and sister were home. She was running around playing, getting love and attention, and within minutes, she went from wagging her tail to gone. And while it is so heartbreaking, it makes me smile to know that she spent her final moments soaking in attention, having gotten a second wind in the week prior and truly was at her happiest.
She was our first (and only) family pet, after what was a solid decade of begging. My mom has never been a 'dog' person. I still remember being a freshman in high school sitting on the couch, and awkwardly being filmed with the good old camcorder being asked what we all wanted for Christmas. It seemed so weird, and then in walked my dad wearing his big winter coat, and the tiniest little pink and black nose peeked out. We were in shock, she was so tiny and so cute. We loved her immediately, and she was without question the baby of the family. She ate like a queen, slept in our beds like a queen, and bossed us around like a queen. She was high maintenance, but the snuggliest little thing. We learned early on she was deaf, which is actually not uncommon for her breed and dapple fur. She had allergies, too, I wasn't kidding when I said she was high maintenance! But we all loved her so. My mom spent the first few weeks we had her putting on snowmobile gloves whenever she had to hold her, because she couldn't touch a dog. And now, nearly thirteen years later, she let that same little puppy curl up beside her in bed every night. I have joked that my parents don't know how to treat a dog as a dog, because Annabelle absolutely thought she was just one of the kids.
What warmed my heart about our sweet girl, much to my surprise, was how she interacted with my children. After being so spoiled for a decade, I anticipated a lot of dislike when I started bringing my babies around. But she loved them. I cannot tell you how many times I received pictures of her curled up on the couch by my sleeping babies like a little watch dog. She put up with them pulling on her tail, chasing her, and general toddler abuse, and never once showed even the slightest anger towards them. I suppose she was willing to put up with it for the tradeoff of bountiful table scraps they always threw to her ;-) Still though, her love for my children was one of my favorite things about Annabelle. She was a doggy with a heart of gold.
She was the best we could have asked for, and I still find myself stopping in the middle of my thoughts because I cannot believe she is really gone. While I have my own family and home, I always considered her my puppy. I love you, sweet Annabelle.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday Favorites: Easter Weekend

I love nothing more than Friday. In the past year or two, it has seriously become my favorite day of the week by a landslide. I don't even mind having to get through the work day, I think because I know there is relaxation to look forward to. This weekend is even more exciting than most because it is Easter! All of our family is local so we don't have to do any traveling, but I always look forward to seeing relatives and hopefully getting those little ones of ours to church! Before we get to dying our Easter eggs, I am sharing my favorites of the week!

1. H&MFinds
I was in H&M earlier this week and literally wanted all of the things. To be honest, sometimes that store is a bit hit or miss for me, but their spring stuff is a definite HIT. Nothing screams spring to me like a crisp white shirt, and this off the shoulder option is perfect. I love the pinstripe lining on this blazer,  and after hunting I think I have finally found the perfect white pencil skirt. This tulle skirt is so pretty, and while they only have black online, the prettiest mint green color is in stores and I am stalking for the site and the store waiting for them to get my size back in. Suede jackets are totally on trend right now, and this option is the prettiest blue color. And finally, I have a similar lace skirt and get compliments on it all of the time, and having it in this fun color would be amazing!
2. Giveaway
In case you were wondering, I am totally running towards the weekend ;-)
Earlier this week, I teamed up with Pink Blush to host a fun giveaway! You can look back at my original post to enter, or head straight to my Instagram! It is easy to enter, and this shop has so many pretty dresses, perfect for spring! If you are interested in shopping my gorgeous floral dress, you can find it here!
3.  Cool Whip Easter Eggs
I haven't fully decided,  but I am thinking of trying out dying eggs using this method this year. Have any of you tried it? Last year we did traditional dye from the store, and I felt a little bit bad because Jackson really was just able to watch and help out a tiny bit. With the whipped cream I think it will probably ultimately be a big mess but he can really be more involved. And I love the effect of how it turns out on the eggs!
4. Pajamas
 
I should probably  just do a weekly roundup of my favorite pajamas for toddlers because I think we can all come to a clear agreement that I am obsessed. Earlier this week there was a great sale at Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic where everything was 40% off, no exclusions. I took the opportunity to stock up on summer pajamas for the boys, because while it still isn't warm here, our house tends to heat up anytime it gets above sixty degrees outside, and fleece pajamas are pretty much already out of the question. While I plan to put these in the boys Easter baskets (I scored them for only $10!) I couldn't resist letting Jackson wear his new Mickey Mouse set this week. He was so excited! Mickey is the newest big thing in our house, and I really don't mind one bit. While the hot dog song does drive me crazy, there is something so classic about Mickey Mouse that warms my heart. And my kids being obsessed makes me that much more excited to bring them to Disney World one day!
5. Snuggles
Lincoln will be one in a few short weeks, and it breaks my heart. I am soaking in all of his baby cuddles, because I know it won't be long before he doesn't need them like he does now. I just don't know if there is anything squishier or more delicious than when he is cozy in his sleep sack and fuzzy blanket. I could eat him up!
I hope you all have a blessed Easter weekend, with lots of faith, food, and sunshine!

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