Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Guest Blogger Post: Meet Brittany From Life As the Mrs.

I am so excited to be sharing my space today with one of my absolute favorite bloggers. I have been following along with Brittany from early on in my blogging days, and over the past few months we have gotten to know each other well. We are both mamas of little boys who are super close in age, and she has become the best resource when I need to vent, celebrate, or share those funny mommy moments. Her two little boys are ridiculously adorable, and following along with her daily life, cute fashion, and helpful advice is a little favorite of mine every day! Go check her out, I promise you will fall in love with this girl and her precious family!

Tell us about yourself and your family: 
My name is Brittany, and I have been married to my husband, Brandon, for a little more than six years. We are the proud parents of Walker (who just turned three…sob!) and Knox (8 months). We live in a suburb of Dallas; I’m a native Texan and Brandon moved here with his family from Knoxville, Tenn. when he was seven years old. We met at Baylor University {Sic ‘Em, Bears!}. 

I’m a relatively new stay-at-home mom; before I started staying at home, I worked in communications for a local school district. Before that, I worked for a public relations agency representing American Airlines and was there with them through their bankruptcy, merger and re-branding. Brandon works in sales for an aerospace development company. 

I blog at Life as the Mrs. and do a little contract PR work on the side. 

How did you get started blogging?
Before we got married, I started a now-defunct blog that was called “Small Town Southern Girl.” It was basically just my day-in and day-out life, and then our life as newlyweds…and quite honestly, probably quite boring. I got my degree in journalism and always loved writing, so I started this blog at the end of 2010. I have loved “meeting” the women from this amazing blogging community — some I haven’t met in person, and many I actually have…and I count some of those women close friends! 

Thoughts on being a boy mom:
I’m the girliest girl of all time, so never did I ever think I’d be the mom of two precious little boys - but oh my gosh, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Growing up, I thought I’d have girls and that my life would be filled with tutus, dance classes, Barbies and hair bows…but it’s filled with dump trucks, Matchbox cars, bonked heads, dirt and endless amounts of energy — and I absolutely love it. I’m so thankful God blessed us with our two boys and gave me what I didn’t think I wanted, but what He knew I needed. 

What has surprised you most about being a boy mom?
Even though I grew up with brothers, it’s totally different having little boys of your own. I’m constantly surprised at just how busy they are. I watch little girls sit in doctor’s offices and quietly play with the provided doll house, for example. And while they’re sitting there nicely playing with the people in the doll house, boys are loudly chunking the furniture halfway across the room and laughing about it. 

But, truly, the thing that surprised me the most was how much I would love being a boy mom and absolutely love these boys. 

What do you love the most about being a boy mom?
I love how much they love their mama. To Walker, I’m his “best friend in the whole world” and he’ll actually pitch a fit at night if Brandon tries to get him down for bed instead of me. And Knox has started this thing where he’ll cry if I leave his sight. Yes, it can get a little annoying at times, admittedly, but I know this is only a season and soon they won’t be this into me. But I’ll take all the sloppy kisses and “Mommy! I need you!”’s now that I can get. 

And, I love that I can now differentiate between a skid steer, a backhoe, a grapple skidder or an excavator, but I’m proud to say I now can and it’s just the most fun thing ever. ;) 

Your answer when people ask if you’re going to try for a girl:
Honestly, it annoys me when people ask me this question. I think it’s so personal and sometimes I want to ask why people are so curious about my intimate life - and it annoys me that they insinuate that my boys aren’t enough, so I “need” to try for a girl. 

My answer to that question is always, “No, we’re happy and done.” And that’s the truth! We are thrilled to pieces with Walker and Knox and are so thankful for them. 

Words of wisdom for other boy moms: 
Enjoy them, savor them, and don’t wish any of the moments away — even though it’s hard when you’re exhausted, worn down and in the throes of the “Terrible Twos” or have a “Threenager” or are waking up every two hours to feed them. 

With Walker, I always desired for them to hit the next milestone; to do the next thing; and to surpass what kids his age were doing. And gosh, it just wasn’t worth it! With Knox, I learned my lesson and am enjoying savoring each season he’s in. 

They grow so quickly, and soon those precious boys who told me each day, “Mommy, you’re my BEST FRIEND IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD” and gave me the biggest kiss he could muster…will soon me introducing me to the woman he intends to marry. I know I’m going to blink and I’ll be sitting at his high school graduation ceremony, moving him into a college dorm room, being escorted to my front-row seat at their weddings, and holding their precious babies in my arms. 

So, my words of wisdom to my fellow boy mamas: get down on the floor and play with them. Make “vroom, vroom” noises with cars and trucks. Take him to the airport to watch planes land and explain — for the 500th time — where the landing gear goes when a plane takes off. Wipe the mud and chalk off his pants and face — and invest in some OxyClean and “boo boo ice”…trust me. Watch the show(s) he wants to watch. Take him on a date with just you and teach him how to treat a lady. Hold that little hand that gets bigger each day. And show him how to love because — believe it or not — you’re raising someone’s husband and father. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Weekending

This weekend absolutely flew by. I love busy weekends, but I swear I blink and they are gone!
I worked Friday, and we had a pretty mellow night at home. We asked Jackson what he wanted for dinner and he proclaimed 'pizza NOW' so we obliged ;-) the rest of the night was pretty low key, we are still all catching up on sleep from the sickness going around!
We were up bright and early Saturday, per the usual. Lincoln took a nice long morning nap, though! Look at those sweet baby lips. He will be nine months old in a few days. Nine months old is one of my favorites, they are just SO sweet at this stage.
 
While my sweet boy snoozed, I got a long overdo haircut and some highlights! I enjoyed my favorite latte and relaxed for a few hours. I pretty much just go for the hand and head massage ;-)
After afternoon naps, we dropped the boys off with my parents and headed to our uncle's wedding! Mike's wonderful aunt passed away about four years ago, and Terri is the greatest blessing to our uncle and cousins. It was an emotional wedding, but seeing the happiness and love was so very special. 
 
On a side note. When did my nephew stop being a baby? He has grown so fast! It is sweet to have conversations and watch him become such a little gentleman.
 
After the wedding, Mike and I grabbed some milk shakes and went home and went to bed. Sunday morning I slept in until 7! We went and grabbed some breakfast before picking up the kiddos. Jackson was so excited to see us! Mike's aunt was in town for the wedding so she came by to see the boys. Then, we spent the rest of the afternoon at Mike's parents. I even snuck downstairs and used their treadmill during naps! A solid run while watching One Tree Hill is basically just the best. 
We capped off the night with an easy dinner and crawling into bed before 9.
I'm ready to tackle the week and just might be counting down to Friday already!
Linking up with Biana today!



Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! The weekend is so very welcome, as this was our first full week back to the grind after a very odd week last week due to the flu bug hitting our house. I am excited for this weekend, as we have a wedding tomorrow (and a kid free night!) and I am also finally getting my hair done tomorrow morning. It has only been 9 months, you guys. Of all of the things I spend money on, getting my hair done seems to be one of the first things I cut out. I am so excited for some fresh color and a cut, although I never end up doing anything drastic and usually look just about the same after all is said and done. I just go for the head massage and the free cup of coffee. Keeping it real over here ;-) Before we start the weekend, as always I am linking up to share some Friday Favorites!
1. Tulips
 
January in Minnesota is dreary. We have barely see the sun, the days are long and dark, and it is too cold to do much. But tulips are apparently in season, and they were only $1.99 for five stems at our grocery store, and they brighten up the kitchen area so much! Yay for flowers and some fresh blooms during the longest month of the year.
2. Easter Apparel
It has been so gloomy around here lately, that I couldn't help but get sucked into Old Navy and all of their fun new spring apparel. I always love dressing my boys for Easter, and saw these yellow pants and almost died. They are like little boy sunshine all bottled up into the most perfect pair of khakis! I am thinking I will pair them with an oxford top and boat shoes. And who can forget the fedora! Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE dressing little boys!?
3. DIY Felt Ball Garland
Yesterday I posted a tutorial on how I made my felt ball garland. It was such a fun post to write, and I got a lot of positive feedback from people who are interested in trying it out! 
 
It seems intimidating, but I promise it is not that bad and really fun. I don't think there is anything better than the satisfaction of looking at décor in your home and knowing it was your creation.
4. Striped Tee
I have talked about these long sleeve tees from the Gap before. They are long, so soft, and super comfy. Well, I have also been on the hunt for a perfect striped tee, and just saw they came out with a striped version! I about died. These are seriously the best tees ever. I want all of the colors!
5. New glasses
 
For the first time in literally a decade (I kid you not) I finally got new glasses this week! I got some bolder frames which are totally out of my comfort zone, but I'm kind of loving them! Fun fact, I have been wearing glasses since I was three years old, so while a lot of people love them, they have always been a burden and generally a pain in the you know what to me. My husband always gets the side eye from me when he says he wants some glasses to wear, even though he doesn't need them, haha! With all of my sports and activities as a child, I started wearing contacts at 8 years old, and never looked back. But I just might start rocking these glasses a bit more than I historically have, because they are actually kind of cute!
 
I hope you all have fun weekends ahead. It is the last one of January, we survived the toughest month of the year! Now if spring would arrive next week, that would be great ;-)

*affiliate links used

Thursday, January 26, 2017

DIY Felt Garland

Ever since moving into our new house, one of my favorite things to do has been figuring out how to decorate our mantle. The basement in our old house was never finished, so I really never had that focal area to change out with the seasons. When we were figuring out our house plan, we walked through the local Parade of Homes, and saw a house with the most gorgeous, deep mantle, almost more like a built in table than a narrow mantle. I immediately fell in love and we knew that we wanted something similar. And, while my visions haven't fully come to life because we haven't gotten around to mounting our TV on the wall yet, it still provides plenty of space for decorating. You guys, I love my mantle.
I realized quickly that one of my favorite pieces to add to the mantle is some sort of garland. I have had Halloween, fall, and Christmas décor up so far. And, as a girl living in an all boy house, my pink loving heart KNEW that some Valentine's garland was up next! But, finding the perfect piece ended up being so much harder than I anticipated. Because of the size of our mantle, a lot of the garland sold in stores is not long enough to span the length across the front. I did some looking online, but to order custom garland, while certainly an option, starts to get pretty expensive. I wanted a quality piece, that I could store and reuse every year, but I also knew that realistically, it would only be up for a few weeks before the holiday passed and it was time for some spring or Easter décor. So, in the midst of my frustration, I decided to look into how to make my own felt balls. And my latest project was born!
I am going to start from square one and tell you I took no shortcuts with this project. You can go about this more than one way. There are many sellers online who sell felt balls individually, allowing you to customize your sizes and colors to your preference. You can also buy 'kits' that provide all of the materials but that you build yourself. For me, I figured I was going to have some fun and make everything, including the felt balls, myself.
When I first starting looking into it, I was a little bit intimidated. My research taught me that I would basically need wool fresh off of the sheep. I have never worked with wool before, so I had no idea what I was getting into! I ended up finding one pound of wool roving on Etsy for just under $20, With that, I figured even if I failed, it wasn't a super expensive project. I found the bakers twine right at Target in the craft aisle, for $2.50, I think! Everything else needed I had on hand, so the grand total of supplies that I purchased was $22.50.

Materials Needed
1. Wool Roving (I ordered 1 pound, you will need much less if you are only making one strand of garland)
2. Baker's Twine
3. Gel Food Coloring
4. Paper Towels
5. White Vinegar
6. Dish soap
7. Large Sewing Needle (I used a plastic crochet needle and it worked just fine)


Wool roving. I am being honest when I say this still smelled like the farm. Not terrible (as in not manure like), but definitely farm-like.
Dying the Roving
The part of the process that probably intimidated me the most was dying the roving. It turned out to be pretty simple! I recommend skipping to the bottom of this post and making a ball or two to figure out how much roving you will need for each one, and then separating out how much you will need for the number of balls you want to make. Then, fill a pot with water and 1/4 cup vinegar. Bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, add your food coloring to your desired preference and remove from heat. You do not want any active bubbles or moving water, as this can agitate the roving and cause it to start felting. Once the water is just under boiling without being active, add your roving. I placed some large spatulas on top to help keep it all submerged to help get a more even dye. Here is a part that is kind of fun. You will know when the dying is done because the roving will absorb all of the dye, leaving the remaining water clear!

The blue dye is for a garland that I have yet to complete :-)
After all color is absorbed, typically 20-30 minutes, you can let it sit for awhile, or you can drain off the water. I lined paper plates with 5-6 paper towels, and allowed each batch to dry overnight.

Here is my pink roving right after being dyed. Depending on the amount that you dye, it should be ready to felt in 24 hours or so. I did a bigger batch of red, and it did take a bit longer to dry.
Creating the balls
Okay so now the fun part, creating the balls! I placed a small amount of dish soap in a plastic bowl, and filled it with cool water. In another bowl, I placed hot water. These are what you will be placing the roving in to begin felting.
Break off and fluff some wool roving. I tested out some roving that had not yet been dyed to gauge how much I would need for the size and density I was looking for. Ideally, whatever size you want, it should be twice that size before you start. Make sure it is fluffed, and there are no thick/streaky patches.
One tricky part I ran across is getting creases in the balls. With some practice, I found the best way to go crease free balls is to cup the wool roving in both hands, and submerge fully in the cool soapy water. By doing it this way I was able to control getting one area more wet than another, or having it fold in on itself.
Once your roving has been dipped in the water, start to roll it in your hands very loosely with almost no pressure. 
After 30 seconds or so, dip the ball (I once again cupped it in both hands) in the hot water, and continue to roll. I found my best rhythm was dip it in the cold and hot water for two cycles, before doing one final rinse under the faucet with cold water to get the soap suds out. 
With each cycle, you can apply a bit more pressure to achieve your desired density. For the sake of my garland, a lot of my balls are not very dense at all, because I am not terribly worried about them getting smashed or losing their shape because they are hanging. However, I did create some balls (that used more roving) that were more dense, and they are very nice and will likely hold up better over time.

Each ball takes about 2 minutes to roll. I placed them onto a stack of paper towels on a plate to dry, and allowed them to sit overnight.
For the size of my fireplace, I used 30 felt balls to create my garland. Depending how far you want them spaced and how long you want your garland to be, I would say anywhere between 20-30 balls will be sufficient. Gather your bakers twine and a large crocket or sewing needle.
The rest of the process was very easy!
Thread the bakers twine onto your needle. Since I made pretty lightweight balls, my plastic crochet needle easily went through. If you create more dense balls, I would suggest using a sewing needle that is a bit more sharp.
Now, just start threading! You can space the balls once you are finished.
As you can see, I just stuck the needle right through the middle of each ball.
Ta-da! Also note, I did not cut my twine until after I was finished. I looped the end that my needle was on and placed it on my mantle, and then strung it across so it hung as I wanted it and then cut and looped the other end. It was so great being able to customize it to the exact length that I needed!
I could not be happier with how this project turned out! I have roving dyed to create a fun garland to be used during the summer months that I am going to put together soon, and am also thinking I want to use some un-dyed roving for a simple, clean white garland. Are there any fun color combinations you would like to see on my mantle!? I would love to showcase what some custom options would look like :-) The one pound of roving that I purchased will end up getting me about 4 garlands, making them a grand total of about $6 a piece! You just cannot beat that! :-) I am calling this a definite DIY win.

Linking up with Annie today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Valentine's Day Gift Guide For Her

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, can you believe it!? I have never been an over the top romantic, but I feel like since having kids, I anticipate all holidays so much more. And while big expensive gifts are not something my husband and I do too much of, I always love little, thoughtful items. And who says that all Valentine's Day gifts have to be for those in relationships? How fun is this 'GAL-entine' wine glass? And my sister and I have totally gifted my mom the lip scrub-it smells absolutely amazing and leaves your lips feeling so buttery soft!


What are your favorite things to give and receive for Valentine's Day? The more pink, gold, and chocolate for me, the better!

*post contains affiliate links




Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Winter Style with Wooden Watches [And a Giveaway!]

I'm going to let you all in on a little secret. My husband does not let me dress him. Try as I might, that man is consistently dressed in athletic sweatshirts and fluorescent pink tennis shoes. Which, by the way, he gets compliments on all the time when we go out, usually by ladies, but compliments nonetheless ;-) He has his own style, and while I can count on one hand the number of times I get to see him in a nice button up throughout the year, I love his independent and unique ability to own his quirky style.
While he is the king of casual, that does not mean he is unwilling to try out fun accessories. I learned early on to not waste my time or money trying to buy him clothes. However, things like hats, necklaces, and watches are always fair game. And that is why I was absolutely thrilled when Jord reached out to me about the opportunity to gift a wooden watch to the most important (and pickiest!) man in my life.
 
To be honest, I wasn't quite sure what he would think. That man has opinions, and he shares them pretty darn freely. When I presented him with his options though, he easily picked a favorite. And asked me multiple times when his new watch would be arriving. You guys, he was excited about it! I was so happy to be able to give him something that has a practical purpose, yet is also so unique and different than anything else you would find in a store.
When it did finally arrive, it was packaged perfectly. The box that it came in was a work of art in and of itself. Engraved with a logo, it was nearly as pretty as the watch within. High scores all around on presentation.
 
 
The watch itself is gorgeous. The biggest thing we both noticed right away was how light it is; truly as light as air, which is such a nice change a pace from normal watches, which are typically a little bit heavy. The wood carved pieces are beautifully and meticulously crafted. It really is a work of art.
We encountered a bit of a scare when Mike went to put it on, as we feared it was not big enough! I was a little baffled, because Jord wooden watches are custom fit, with a request for you submit a wrist measurement when ordering. Fear not, we quickly realized that there were two clasps involved in closure, and Mike had simply not opened it up all of the way! When we figured that little detail out, it slid on perfectly and fit just as it should.
This watch is the perfect piece to dress up a casual outfit, but will also pair beautifully with dressier looks. There are so many gorgeous styles available, for both men and women, I have my eye on one or two for myself! If you are looking for that unique gift for Valentine's Day, or simply a stylish piece for the man in your life, this is it.
Now, here is the fun part. Jord is offering a $100 store credit giveaway to one lucky reader! This can be used towards any watch of your choosing. And you guys, there are so many gorgeous options. All who enter and do not win will receive $25 as well, so entering is a win no matter what!
The giveaway is open until February 5th, to enter the giveaway, go here.

*This post is sponsored by Jord Wooden Watches. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Stang&Co. Luxury Wooden Watch

Monday, January 23, 2017

Weekending

Why, oh why must the weekends always fly by so quickly? After being plagued by sickness for a week straight, this weekend was a nice change of pace. It is so funny how much you appreciate the little things (like everyone keeping down their food) after being hit with sickness!
Friday was my only day of the week that I actually made it into the office last week, so it felt so strange to be there on a day that a lot of people don't work as it is. It was a nice day to just get caught up on some e-mails and do some planning for the coming weeks. I also had my parents ask me if Mike and I were going out to dinner? UMM..what? They proceeded to say that if we were planning on getting dinner, they would be happy to pick up Jackson and watch the boys for us. If I have learned anything from being a mom of small kids is, when people offer to watch your kids without you even asking, you take it! I texted Mike right away and told him I wanted my Old Chicago and buffalo chicken pizza. Finally, we got to make up our date night! We ran a few errands to Menards and Hobby Lobby..I always get a kick out of the fact that running errands like that has become a part of our date nights. Then we had dinner, and it was absolutely delicious. If you have an Old Chicago anywhere near you, it is not on the menu, but ask for a buffalo chicken deep dish pizza. Oh. My. Gosh. Mike introduced me when we first started dating and it has been a favorite ever since. So good!
On Saturday, it was kind of foggy and gross outside. After a few weeks of freezing temps and being cooped up, we got so much moisture and melting this week that our yard is basically a big pond, so now we can't play outside because of that! So, it was a day of lots of little projects around the house. I got caught up on laundry, and did some vacuuming. Does anyone else have kids that LOVE the vacuum!? My kids do a happy dance and totally freak out whenever they see it come out, and love to crawl head on at it. It is a big thrill in our house! I also whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies, because it was Saturday and why not?
 
I also finished up my first felt ball garland! I am going to share very soon how I made it. I will admit, it intimidated me a little bit when I first started exploring the project, but while it required a few steps, it really was not that hard and I am so happy with how it turned out!
During nap time, I managed to sneak off to the gym for the first time in months. And you guys, I pretty much died. I tried doing some intervals to push myself, but that is not exactly smart when you haven't ran in three months. Woops!
The rest of the afternoon we took advantage of the balmy 35 degree weather (ha!), and grilled up some burgers outside. The boys had baths, and we lounged around. Mike and I were both ready to crash by 8pm..these boys need to stop waking up at 4am!
 
On Sunday, it was another gloomy day outside. So, we packed up the boys and made a Target run! I managed to burn through almost all of my candle stash, and they are only sale for only $8 there this week! And a lot of their new scents are so sweet and fresh smelling, perfect as we start to work our way towards spring!
During nap time, I decided the ice was finally cleared off of the roads enough to try a run outside. It was my first outdoor run at our new house, and I think our new trail is pretty good! From our house to the main road is just a bit over 1.5 miles, making my total run the perfect 5K distance, which is my favorite! It felt so good to get two runs in this weekend. I have been so sedentary lately with being busy and the weather, but I just feel at my absolute best when I am able to run.
I also did a lot of searching online for an entryway table. I have gone so back and forth on what to get, but I think we have finally decided to put my table in the corner so we can place a bench on the wall by the rug. So, I need something around 40 inches wide and it cannot be too deep. There are actually some really pretty options at Kirklands, I am leaning towards this one?
 
After the boys woke up, I packed them up and picked up my mom, and we went to my grandparents for my grandpa's birthday party. Jackson had THE BEST time. He has a lot of second cousins close in age, and it didn't take long before he was disappearing downstairs without me to play with the kids and the toys. Once we got home, I heard the name 'Liam', who is only a few months older than him, about 100 times. I texted my cousin to tell him, and he replied that Liam had already asked to play with Jackson again. So, I think some playdates are definitely in our future! :-) The night was finished off with me receiving a message that I won a giveaway on Instagram for Lipsense! I am so excited!!
 
Linking up with Biana today.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Favorites

Well, we survived this week. Since having kids, the days of getting sick and being over it in a day or two or long gone. I swear once sickness knocks on the door, it takes a solid week to get everyone infected and then recovered, at best! I ended up barely making it into the office at all this week, but am still so ready for the weekend. I am hoping to finally get our house back into some semblance of an order after being trashed by sickness and baby toys all week long. And maybe, just maybe, I will finally get to leave the house and go get that buffalo chicken pizza I so badly wanted last Friday on our canceled date night! Of course, I always look forward to sharing some of my favorites with you all, and despite the downer of a week we had over here, there is always good to be found mixed in!


1. Felting
 
I had the most gorgeous garland for my mantle that I found at Target over the holidays. I loved the way the pom poms looked strung across, and I decided I would really like something similar during other seasons, as well. They made a very similar Valentine's day style, and I was so excited! And you guys, it wasn't long enough to fit across our mantle. I should note that our mantle is really big, but I was so bummed. I started looking online, and while I found options that would be long enough, I am cheap. Especially when it comes to a holiday that I really will only have decorations up for a few weeks. So I got crafty, and decided to search how to create your own felt balls. And you guys, I did it! I don't have my garland completed, but I did it totally from scratch. We are talking wool roving that still smelled like the farm. I am planning to do a tutorial soon, but I am loving the way they are coming out!

2. Off The Shoulder
This top. You guys OMG how pretty is this top!? I have been swooning over all of the off the shoulder sweaters lately, but this piece is a nice, lighter alternative, and so dainty! I am in love with BP and basically every single piece of clothing that they make, and the reviews are amazing. How pretty would this be with jeans and sandals come spring!? Totally already dreaming of warmer weather over here.

3. Mommy/Son Dates
 
 
While I did a lot of working from home this week, I did have one day that I decided it was better to not try to constantly be checking e-mails and actually 'took the day off'. I took my boys on a little breakfast date, which are always my favorite. Lincoln can eat more eggs and pancakes than any baby I have ever seen. And Jackson is just the sweetest soul and I would be the happiest mama ever if he would be my forever date. I love them both so much.


4. Snowmen
 
 
Jackson recovered enough, and the weather was finally warm enough, that he went outside with his daddy and built a snowman this week. The kid has been obsessed with snowmen this year. Literally everything he touches lately gets turned into a snowman. So to see him get to build a real snowman, and his excitement every time he looked out the window later in the night to see it, was just so sweet. It is such a privilege to watch a child experience the world and all of the little joys, isn't it?

I tried to come up with five things, but my brain is just not having it! So I guess four favorites is where I will leave it this week. I hope everyone has a wonderful (and healthy) weekend!


Five on Friday // Oh Hey Friday! // Friday Favorites // Friday Favorites // High Five For Friday


*post contains affiliate links

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Still Alive Over Here-Barely!

We are still technically on weekend mode over here, but not in any way I would like. Sickness has consumed our house this weekend, I am hoping we are finally getting to the other side of it all! I am writing this post at 5am, because babies don't care and wake mama up at 4:30am no matter what. Readers be warned, the word 'puke' may or may not be used numerous times in this post. Feel free to skip reading if the 'p' word makes you squirmish ;-)
Friday afternoon, I got a text from daycare that Jackson had thrown up. Of course, this was the day I had decided to get my long overdue oil change on my lunch break, and my car had literally just had its tires removed. So I was stuck. Luckily the guys in the shop were super nice and rushed my car through to the front so I could get out of there. Jackson got sick once more before I got to him, so we went home, and he got to try out or jet tub for the first time. He loved his 'BIG bubble baff', and spent the rest of the afternoon chugging water and eating everything in sight. So, I figured it was a super quick bug. And then he woke up crying around midnight and there was puke everywhere. So, another bath, washing sheets, and bringing him into mom and dad's bed was on the agenda. I slept out on the couch, because did you know a two year old boy takes up the same amount of space as two grown adults in a queen size bed? Well, now you do.
Fortunately, he didn't have any more sick bouts, but was a bit sluggish and moody Saturday. We stuck close to home, but figured he was on the mend.
The highlight of the day was ordering up some pizza, because even though we are trying to cut back on our pizza consumption, dealing with toddler puke warrants an exception, right?
On Sunday, I had a fun event I was participating in. Our local bridal expo was happening, and I have been lucky enough to be able to walk in their fashion show the past few years. It is always so much fun, I absolutely love it.
I get to have my hair and makeup done, and wear gorgeous bridal gowns. It is fun that, even though I am already married, I still have an excuse to wear a wedding dress! And you guys, some of the dresses I got to wear were GORGEOUS. The one pictured below was a feature dress, in fact the top layer is a 'cape' that is removable. So much fun!
And then it happened. I was in a dress and ready for the second show to start when I got a text from Mike that he wasn't feeling well. At that point, I really could not leave. How is that for twice in one weekend being truly stuck when I was needed at home? The shows are pretty quick, so I promised to get back home as soon as I possibly could.
I rushed out after the show, and literally as soon as I walked into our house, Mike ran to the bathroom. So that was fun. I got both kids down for their naps, and then my dyingsick husband requested I go get him some 7Up. Being the nice wife that I am, I obliged. And in the fifteen minutes it took me to leave and get home, I started to feel off. I figured it was probably just in my head. Except it was not. I brought my husband his soda and informed him I would likely be joining him in the next hour or two. And sure enough, shortly after both boys woke up from their naps, the stomach bug hit me. And I promptly called my mother in law to ask for reinforcements. Perks to having both sets of parents live within five minutes, you guys! I started dinner for my kids, because fun fact, they could care less that you are sick, but they most certainly care if dinner isn't on the table! ;-) Once grandma arrived, she took over, and I proceeded to be sick over, and over, and over. I will spare too many details, but I will tell you that Mike and I both agreed that neither of us have ever been so violently sick before. It was terrible.
While the act of being sick finally ended around midnight, we both woke up totally wiped and so weak. After watching Mike fail to keep down water, despite everything in me wanting to drink, I had gone to bed totally dehydrated because I figured that was the better option. I called my mom, and she agreed to take the boys for the day, bless her heart. Have I mentioned how incredibly lucky we are to have such caring and supportive parents? I promptly dropped them off, came home, and soaked in our tub before immediately crawling into bed for a five hour nap. It was that kind of sick, y'all. Tired, exhausted, non-functioning sick. I forced myself up around 3pm, and went to pick up my boys.
I requested that my mom help me give the boys a bath there, because I honestly didn't think I could muster the energy at home, and we had already skipped their baths the night before. She then offered to make a Burger King run. Why are greasy french fries always the best option after you have been sick? While she was gone, Jackson was starting to act sluggish. Strange, but I figured he must have just been tuckered out from playing all day. He had already been sick, right? And then, poor boy walked across the room, looked at me with wide eyes, and BOOM, puke everywhere. Obviously sweet boy didn't get to eat any of his chicken fries :-( We booked it home, and he continued to be sick until about midnight. This seemed much more like what Mike and I had in comparison to what Jackson had on Friday. So I am still sitting here scratching my head wondering if he managed to get two different stomach bugs in one weekend. All I can say is, poor baby!
Needless to say, we are spending another day at home today, and I have every one of my fingers and toes crossed that we are on the mend, and that my precious baby Lincoln manages to stay healthy. This weekend was tough, but these days are always good reminders to be thankful and appreciative of our good health!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Favorites

It's FRIDAY! The first full week of work in nearly a month, so it feels so good to be through it and onto the weekend! This week included lots of snow, bad roads, and being cooped up due to the cold. I am hoping we can find something fun to do with the boys this weekend. These are always the toughest few weeks of the year, because it is too cold to even play outside. Is it too soon to start counting down to spring?? 

1. Sweater
How CUTE is this sweater from the Gap? They are running their winter sale right now, so on top of things being on major sale, they have pretty consistently been offering an additional 40% off of sale items, bringing it down to only $15. I ordered the french rose color, I think it will be so pretty over Valentine's Day! And speaking of Valentine's Day, it always drives me crazy that because I have boys holiday apparel is kind of limited. Who says little boys can't get into Valentine's Day!? Gap delivered this year with these adorable baseball tees with love themes! So cute, and I have about the best time ever dressing my boys in matching looks!

2. Doll House
 
For Christmas, my mom and sister gave Jackson a bunch of Little People stuff. He got the nativity set, Noah's Ark, and a little play house. Well, when ordering it my mom did not realize it was designed for girls in that it is all pink and very girly looking. We did a quick online search and found that there is no 'boy' version, however it used to be designed in more gender neutral colors. However, sending it back wouldn't have even been an option if we wanted to, because Jackson took off and was playing with it immediately. And now, not only does he love it, but Lincoln has taken an interest in it! In fact, this week I even saw him grabbing small toys and trying to maneuver them right to fit into the windows and doors! I lose track of what the normal ages are for things, but I was so impressed by his coordination to be able to do that! I guess the moral of this favorite is that limiting the toys a child plays with based on stereotypes is so not worth it. My boys don't see the pink of this toy, but they are learning and enjoying it so much!
 
3. Love Letters
My mom was cleaning out some drawers this week, and she found an old letter she had written to my dad the morning of an exam while he was still in law school. Per her request, I will not share the actual letter with you all ;-) But it was so cool to read, people just do not send hand written letters very often anymore. It was so sweet, a letter of encouragement, and ended with saying that all would be well as long as they had each other, Noah, and their 'new baby'. You guys! I was the new baby! That letter was written over 27 years ago, and it dawned on  me that my mom was the age that I currently am when she wrote it and was pregnant with me. To read about her excitement for life at the time, before she even knew who I was yet already clearly loved me and my older brother so much. It was such a sweet thing to see. I am motivated to write more letters, because I do not know if I can think of anything more special than remembering, decades from now, the love that I feel in my life right now.
4. On The Move
 
Mr. Lincoln is officially mobile!! He has been scooting backwards for awhile, but it wasn't quite intentional movement. An object could be a foot in front of him, but poor guy just couldn't figure out how to get to it without a bunch of pivoting and moving backwards. This week he officially got it! And is getting into everything. So far, in the four days that he has been crawling, he has pulled ornaments from the bottom of my parents Christmas tree (which yes, they keep up until February), knocked over boxes, shoved half of a plaster easter egg in his mouth that he then couldn't get out, and has been found with blue all around his face because he found a remnant of a piece of chalk big brother left laying around. This kid is going to be our wild child, I can feel it. I think this weekend is going to call for some major cleaning and baby proofing, and establishing some stricter rules on what can be left out. Big brother might have to take a temporary break from some of his toys, because if Lincoln can find it, it is going into his little mouth!
5. 90s Music
I have been on a major 90s music kick on my drives to and from work this week. Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, and Usher have all been on rotation. My poor babies have had I'll Never Break Your Heart belted out to them more than once. They are not amused and usually just get mad that I am not getting them out of the car fast enough. But seriously, 90s music was the best, and BSB>NSync. Always. 
 
Sending good weekend vibes to everyone! I am off to plot how to stay warm and cozy, and enjoy some quality family time.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sweater Weather

It has been a lot of snow and cold around here lately. While it is pretty, the Minnesota weather does not lend itself to much wardrobe variety. Fortunately, warm and cozy sweaters are always in style, and this year, there are so many fun details out there to spice up our every day winter wardrobe!
 This v-neck sweater is such a classic piece, and so cozy! A cream knit piece is perfect and so pretty. The ruffle sleeve detailing on this sweater is absolutely gorgeous, and a fun feminine detail. I am crazy about this zip front piece. Cozy and also edgy! This lace up sweater is on trend with its detailing, and great for a night out to dinner. And on the topic of the lace up trend, I have this miracle sweater and am obsessed! It is so pretty and cozy, I have been talking myself out of wearing more than I should ;-) A little more dainty and light, a pontelle is so pretty and feels like spring, which is so refreshing on those dreary winter days! You can't go wrong with a cozy cardigan like this one by BP. To brighten up your winter wardrobe, this blue Color block is fun and unique. A classic cable knit is a must during the frigid winters, perfect for cozyingbup by the fire with a warm beverage after a day spent in the snow. An off the shoulder top is so perfect for adding style, and a little va-va-voom to your look even when the temps are below zero. I am a total sucker for ombre, and love the gradual gray tones on this sweater.  And finally, for the ultimate cozy this mauve sweatshirt scores for color, style, and high rating on the cozy scale!


What are your favorite sweater styles? We are still a LONG way from spring, so I will totally continue adding to my collection to stay warm through the frozen tundra ;-)

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Lincoln: 8 Months

This month was a big one for our little guy! He saw his first Christmas season, had a total change in his eating, and continues to grow more mobile and playful by the day. He is the sweetest thing, always quick to offer a smile and a giggle. He is curious, I have a feeling he is going to be our child that we have to watch like a hawk because he has no fear! I just love this little guy so much!

 
Age: 8 months
Height: I measured between 30-31 inches. It is a little harder as baby wants to try and eat the measuring tape and big brother obviously thinks the measuring tape is his and throws a tantrum when mom refuses to hand it over. 30 inches puts him in the 99th percentile, 31 puts him well above the 100th. He is quickly growing out of his 12-18 month clothing, and is starting to wear size 18-24 months at places like Gap and Old Navy. He is in size 4 diapers, and likely will be for awhile.
Weight: 24 pounds. 98th percentile.
Milestones: Not quite crawling yet. He has been getting up and rocking on all fours for what seems to be at least a month, though. He manages to get wherever he needs to go regardless. Lots of pivoting and scooting backwards. I have seen him put his knees forward in the crawling motion about two times before he decides to drop back onto his belly. He waited until the tree was taken down, so now he has my full approval to start!
Sleep: He continues to sleep through the night! I promise to share soon what we did to make the change, but he went from being one of the worst sleepers ever to a sleep angel, pretty much over night. He is an early riser, many days being bright eyed by about 5am. But ultimately, he goes down between 6-7pm, and will sleep straight through until 5ish. He also naps so much better now, most days taking one solid nap in the morning and one in the afternoon. Our biggest challenge is getting those naps timed right so that he isn't crashing and ready for bed at 5pm. Which happens quite a bit!
Best Moments: Getting to do Christmas with this guy was so much fun! His brother was only four months old at his first Christmas, and it was pretty hard. Lincoln is at such a perfect age where he seriously loves anyone who acknowledges him, thinks things are so funny, and is just a joy to be around.
This month also brought out one of my absolute favorite things, his cheeser smile. He will do it to mimic you or if he thinks you are super funny. He scrunches up his little nose, closes his eyes, and tilts his head backwards. It is so. stinking. cute. I call it one of those things that is 'ugly-cute'. It is such an obnoxious face, and he looks so hilarious when he does it, and oh my it is just the most precious thing and everyone in our house loves calling him 'CHEESER'. 

Worst Moments: This was honestly a really good month. No tumbles, no sickness, no stand out events that were bad. I will call that a win! Jackson has had a hard time learning to share all of his toys, including Lincoln's own toys that big brother has claimed as his own. When Lincoln is playing with the wrong thing at the wrong time, Jackson has on more than one occasion ran across the room to push Lincoln over backwards. It always makes me feel so bad for the poor baby, but I know the day will come where he will be able to hold his own and fight back ;-)
Eating: He has continued to refuse baby food. Last month, we started letting him try tiny bits of real food off of our plates, and figured maybe baby led weaning was the way to go, considering he wanted nothing to do with anything pureed. And, somehow this month, we went from a baby who eat essentially no food, to eating three square meals of real food every single day. A month ago he would gag on almost anything that wasn't mashed or pureed, and now he has eaten things like eggs, pancakes, meatballs, peaches, strawberries, b0       lueberries, cheesy hashbrowns, and a number of other things. Getting bits of garlic cheese bread is basically the highlight of his life, and so is getting tastes of dessert. I really try to make sure we are limiting the new things he is exposed to, but to be honest it has been a bit of a challenge because eating in front of him elicits a growl and shriek within about two seconds if he does not immediately get a bite! I am truly a little bit baffled at the change in his eating, and how quickly it happened.
Teeth: Still just those bottom two chompers! They have really come in, and it makes his cheeser smile that much more funny to watch!
Likes: Absolutely any and all food, bath time, babbling with his brother, being tickled, having his diaper changed, his sleep sack, his wubbanub, the baby channel, car rides, toys that make noise, anything he can chew on, practicing his crawling, puppies.
Dislikes: Not getting food when he wants it, when big brother shows him a little too much love, being shoved by big brother, when someone walks by and doesn't pick him up.

Lincoln, you are the greatest blessing to us. You continue to challenge us, and show us that you are unique and one of a kind. You have humbled me more times than I can count by reminding me that you will do things your way, in your time. I am so lucky to be your mama, and love you more than you will ever know!

 
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