Friday, August 28, 2015

The Friday Five, errrr, Four

This week has basically chewed me up and spit me out, leaving me frazzled and exhausted and run ragged.

Anyone else?

So here's a somewhat lame attempt at a Five Four on Friday...

E is in full-on tasmanian devil mode, and of course I say that with complete affection.  He's a cabinet-opening, dog-food-eating, everything-dangerous-finding little stinker and our house is way overdue for some baby-proofing.  S.O.S.

And how in the world is my tasmanian devil so close to being 1?!  The birthday planning has officially begun for my almost-1-year-old and almost-4-year-old.  My big girl will be having her first-ever joint birthday party with some local friends... four of her friends also turn four in October!  And I think I've decided on my sweet little boy's birthday party theme.  Can't wait to share all the details!

Summer is coming to an end, and after Labor Day, CK will start back at preschool three days a week.  So we've been soaking up the last of the lazy summer days - days of little to no plans, days of lingering pajama-wearing, days of being barefoot in the backyard 'til the sun goes down.  In an attempt to squeeze every last bit of fun I can out of these days, I've been trying to plan some fun post-nap activities for the kids.  Yesterday's neighborhood scavenger hunt was a huge hit!

And I'm ending with #4 today because... THE LUTONS ARE COMING TO TOWN!  We cannot wait to have my sister and her family in GA all weekend.  So looking forward to watching the cousins play while we talk and laugh and drink and eat all weekend long.  The guys are gonna get in a round of golf, and us mamas plan to sneak away for some pedis and shopping.  And how cool is this?!  We were all together this exact same weekend four years ago!  Banks was just a tiny little thing, and Cameron and Raleigh were in our bellies!!

And with that, I'm off to finish up some things before our guests arrive.  Have a great weekend, and here's hoping next week doesn't completely kick my butt like this one did!

Friday, August 21, 2015

5 on Friday!

Can you even handle it?!  My stepbrother and his wife had their first baby last week on August 13th.  This precious little boy, Wilson, has stolen all of our hearts.  He makes grandchild #8 on my side, with an even four girls and four boys.  Don't you just wanna snuggle him?!  Luckily I got to this past weekend...
Because this little stud muffin made his debut about 12 hours before I came into town, five days before his due date!  Way to go, buddy!  He is perfection, and I am just beyond thrilled for the new mama and daddy.

And why was I in Charleston, you ask?  Well, I headed down there to spend some quality time with family... 

but also to have a mini-getaway with some of my best girls from high school!  My brother and his wife let me unload my kids on them for about 24 hours so I could soak up laughing with these girls.
We had an incredible lunch and walked around in downtown Charleston, had drinks overlooking the Battery, and then spent the evening eating, laughing, drinking, and laughing some more at my friend's incredible house on Daniel Island.  There's just something so refreshing about spending time with some of your favorite childhood friends, friends who know practically everything about you and love you just the same.  Already looking forward to our next weekend together!

You guys I found the coolest product!  I used to workout with and follow an awesome group of mamas when I lived in Winston Salem... mamas who were all about a healthy (and fun!  and practical!) lifestyle.  We did these stroller-in-the-park workouts that were unbelievable!  Anyway, one of the mamas and her husband have created a brand called Raise Them Well, as they are passionate about what we put on and in both our bodies and our kids' bodies.  Well, one of their products, this Zinc Oxide powder, is so awesome.  
When you buy it you get a free e-recipe book, which includes how to make your own diaper cream, acne cream, and sunscreen.  The recipes are fool-proof, and the end products are incredibly effective and 100% safe for both you and your kiddos.  The best news?  From today until August 28th, you can get $10 off with the code CCRSZO10.  I highly, highly recommend you take advantage and stock up on this stuff - I only wish I'd had it in hand when I first became a mama four years ago!

I feel like I haven't updated on my girl CK in awhile!  She'll be back in preschool three days a week soon, and while I am looking forward to having a few hours a week to be a little more productive around these parts, I am truly going to miss her!  Y'all, she is just the sweetest girl with the kindest heart.  She is growing up too quickly, and our relationship is just so awesome.  She is my best, my sidekick, my mini-me.  She is becoming so thoughtful and introspective, so curious and smart.  We talk about many grown-up things, and when she asks questions, no matter how uncomfortable the answers are, I try to answer her honestly.  Most recently, she is obsessed with death and dying and heaven.  Just yesterday:
"Mommy, I have another question about heaven."
"Will God let me bring my elephant Ellie and my monkey Mel-Mel?" <3
Also?  She is absolutely, 100% obsessed with her little brother.  She wants to play with him all day, everyday.  And making him laugh brings her so much true, pure joy.  But lately?  She's all about carrying him around the house.
Thank goodness he's usually in a helmet!

Speaking of the helmet... we have an appointment two weeks from today, which they call "D-day"!  Two weeks from today marks 12 weeks in the helmet, and at that point Everette will either "graduate" or have to wear it for six more weeks.  Fingers crossed!  Our little ray of sunshine had his 9-month checkup this week, where he clocked in at 20lbs 2oz (55th percentile) and 29.7" (90th percentile).  
And can we all pause for a minute and send thanks to the heavens because... last night, for the first time in as long as I can remember, E slept through the night!  And the angels sang HALLELUJAH. Our ped gave us some great tips at our appointment on Wednesday, which we put into practice that night.  And then last night the little stinker slept twelve hours like a champ.  Here's hoping it continues!  And lastly, here's hoping this little guy's new silly face brings a smile to your Friday:
Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I Believe...

-dating your husband on a regular basis keeps a marriage refreshed.

-in the power of a good song playing on your headphones during a run.

-in dancing alone with music playing throughout your house.

-handwritten thank-you notes go a long way.

-it's important to be both affectionate toward your husband and have heated discussions with him in front of your children.

-Pinterest is 40% good and 60% evil.

-in the power of prayer.

-a playroom should be messy, most of the time.  I refuse to clean it up every single day.

-mother's instinct is a real thing.

-life's too short not to enjoy food/dessert/another bite.

-a smile goes a long way, especially when it feels impossible to smile.

-there's nothing like good, real girlfriends.  Girlfriends who know you - really know you - and love you just the way you are.

-you should spend time outside every single day.

-you should always do little things to surprise the people you love.

-eating dinner altogether as a family is so important.  Though two nights a week T and I feed the kids separately, put them to bed early, and eat takeout in front of our DVR'd shows.

-good workout clothes making working out more enjoyable.

-in always wearing a hat in the sun.

-there are some things you just have to buy name-brand... especially laundry detergent and mustard.

-a nice pillow is worth the extra money.

-in eating breakfast every morning.

-to-do lists keep me both organized and sane.

-that sometimes you just need a really good nap.

-in getting down on the floor and actually playing with your children.

-in also letting your kids play independently so they know how to entertain themselves.

-the only way I can prepare for the day is to spend some time with Jesus.

-logging my workouts via my daily checklists and my Runkeeper app holds me accountable and keeps me motivated.

-in needing coffee and deserving wine.

And I really, really believe in being the kind of parent YOU want to be.  Give your kid juice, or not. Let your kid watch a movie, or not.  Make your kid cry it out at night, or not.  Let your kid sleep in your bed, or not.  Spend a lot of time away from your kid, or not.  Let your kid have a pet, or not.  Make your kid say yes ma'am, or not.  Breastfeed, or not.  Put your kid in fancy clothes, or not.  Feed your kid organic, or not.

Within the realm of what's practical, common sense, and safe, I believe you should always do what works for you, your child, your family.  Every parent, every child, every family, every situation is different.  And I believe in today's world, there is such a stigma about what we, as mamas, should/shouldn't do.  But I think we're all just trying to survive until the next moment, we're all just trying to do our best.  And that, mamas, is always enough.

I also believe in celebrating making it halfway through the week - so Happy Hump Day!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


I stood in the dressing room last week - probably the first time I have been in a dressing room since having E - and tried on outfit after outfit.  I kept handing them back to the store clerk, because none of them were working for me.  I either looked a little to wide, a little too bumpy, or a little too still-pregnant.

Yet every time I put on a different outfit, my little shopping buddy - my CK - exclaimed, "Wow, Mommy... You look beautiful!"  So genuine, so pure.  Like she really and truly meant it.  Like she really and truly sees me that way - beautiful.

But even better?  The next morning.

We're standing in her bathroom, and I'm putting her hair in an often-requested "Cinderella bun."  She looks at herself in the mirror, smiles, and says, "I look so pretty, Mama."

"Oh honey,"  I replied.  "You do look so pretty.  You always look beautiful.  But what do you think makes someone look beautiful?"

"Well, I look beautiful today because I'm wearing this dress."

So we proceeded to have a talk about the words "pretty" and "beautiful."  Which is a tricky conversation to have with your daughter - your 3.5 year old daughter - in today's world.

Because I do want her to always see herself as beautiful, to never question or worry about her appearance.  But I also want her to learn that what truly makes a person beautiful is a kind heart, a sweet spirit, a giving nature.

I've been so in awe of CK lately, of the little person she's becoming, the little lady she's growing into. And I am so proud of her confidence.  

So jealous of her confidence.

Cameron Kate will dress herself from head-to-toe, in whatever her heart desires, and proudly march around in public like a queen.  She will dance anywhere and everywhere boundlessly and limitlessly.  She will sing all day long, songs she knows and songs she's made up - horrendously out of tune, but at the top of her lungs.  And no matter what, she always, always smiles at herself when she looks in a mirror.

When does that stop?  When do we become so worried about how we look, what others think of us?  When do we start comparing ourselves to everyone else?  When do we lose that confidence?  And WHY?

In my lifetime, I know I will learn a lot from my daughter, more than I could ever teach her.  But one of the most valuable lessons I am already learning is what it truly means to believe in yourself, to be proud of who you are, to like what you see when you look in the mirror.

Because of her, I am trying so hard to look at this body - a body that, after years of hormones and fertility treatments and four pregnancies and two babies, will never look the same - but a body I feel proud of... Proud of where it has been, where it is now, and where it'll continue to take me.  This body gave me my two incredible babies, this body carries me on long, much-needed runs, this body allows me to enjoy dessert, this body lets me feel love and experience life.  

Because of CK, I now know that this body deserves to see itself in the mirror, and smile.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Confessions!

*I've been all about some Pandora lately... while I'm cleaning, cooking, etc... I'll hook up the bluetooth speaker and pretty much have a solo dance party around the house.

*I want this coffee cup:

*I truly, 100% believe in the power of retail therapy.  Which is probably why...

*I have an online shopping addiction.  To my credit, I rarely if ever buy anything for myself!

*Sometimes when we get home from a playdate/running errands/the pool/anywhere, I will sit in the garage in the car with the kids for just a few extra minutes before unloading everyone and going inside.  It's the only time both kids are contained and calm.  I'll either scroll through social media, check email, catch up on texts... or just sit there and DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

*I am FitBit obsessed.  I feel naked if I'm not wearing it, and am so competitive with myself!

*The shows I have recorded on my DVR are embarrassing.  I don't know if it's because I go-go-go all day long and when I finally sit in front of the tv to relax in the evenings, I need something mindless.  But it really is embarrassing.

*And on that note, I'm currently reading I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends, which was written by a former contestant on The Bachelor.  For all of you who have been sucked into The Bachelor franchise, you must read this book!  So, so interesting.

*I love a monogram.  On any and everything.  T doesn't get it, always asking me why I/CK/E need our names on all of our things, ha!

*I may have a teensy, tiny bit of baby fever.  Yes, E is only 9 months old and yes, I'm crazy.

*I have to have a clean house before I go on an out-of-town trip, because I cannot stand coming home to a dirty house.  So before our beach trip a couple weeks ago, I cleaned the house from top to bottom, and it felt soooo good coming home to that!

*And speaking of cleaning, I have to confess that I got unnecessarily frustrated with CK the other day when I kept telling her to CLEAN UP HER ROOM and PLAYROOM and it wasn't getting done.  She kept telling me she'd finished cleaning, and I'd walk in and it was still a disaster.  And then - I realized I'd never explained to her what cleaning up a room really means.  Oops.

*I've never been an ice-cream-at-home kinda gal.  I love going out for ice cream, but have never been the kind of person who unwinds with a spoon and a carton.  Until now.  At this moment in time, there are FIVE PINTS of Ben & Jerry's in my freezer you guys.  Cookie Dough, Cookie Butter Core, Peanut Butter Core, Red Velvet, and my personal fave:

*I am much more content when I am busy.  When I am busy, I always complain that I need some downtime, some no-plans/lazy days.  And then I have about one of those and I'm ready to be on-the-go again.  It gives me more anxiety going into a week if we have an empty calendar rather than a full one!

*I'm so over E's helmet.  His head really is improving, and for that I am grateful.  But it's so hot, it stinks, it's a pain, and I miss snuggling up to his sweet noggin'. Hopefully, fingers and toes and everything crossed, we've got about a month to go.

*I am love-love-loving Dunkin Donuts iced coffee with caramel.  Like, I wish I could have one every morning.

*One of my favorite things to do is watch my kids play.  CK is in this wonderful imaginative play stage, where she will get wrapped up in her own world and dialogue and come up with scenarios and songs and play by herself for long periods of time.  E is crawling nonstop, all over, getting into any and everything and approaching the world with such a wide-eyed desire to discover.  And don't even get me started on how they play together. <3  Sometimes I just sit there quietly and watch them... it's my favorite.

*And speaking of those two - I've always truly believed in the innate differences between boys and girls.  Having taught elementary school for ten years, I saw it daily.  And having only a daughter for three years, I'd see the differences between her and her little boy buddies.  She'd sit and play contently and somewhat quietly, and the boys would be  Now?  Now I see it firsthand, all day long.  It's crazy to me how different E and CK are already!  E is EVERYWHERE and into EVERYTHING and seems to already have a boundless energy and loves to be messy and dirty and omigosh, someone teach me how to be a mama to a boy!

*I haven't slept through the night in about two months.  My sweet little butterball E, who we worked hard to make a very good sleeper in his early days, has decided that sleeping through the night is for the birds.  It all started right around the time he got his helmet (which yes, he has to wear to sleep).  So is it (a)the helmet?  (b)9 month growth spurt?  (c)9 month sleep regression?  (d)teeth?  (e)manipulation?  (f)all of the above?  (g)none of the above?  (h)some of the above?  Your guess is as good as mine.  We've tried letting him cry - it didn't work.  We've tried sending T in to soothe him instead of me - it didn't work.  The only thing that helps in the middle of the night is me - or at least, the goods only I can give him.  We always put him down awake, and honestly, after he eats during his night-wakingS he's always still awake... I'll put him back in his crib and he happily goes back to sleep.  But y'all, I am TIRED.  S-O-S.

*And speaking of my non-sleeping buddy-roo, poor thing has been a snotty, coughing, congested, drooling mess this week.  I've been back-and-forth about whether to take him to the ped, since he's had a low-grade fever here and there.. is it teeth?  Ears?  Again, who the heck knows!  But I hate paying $40 just to find out if my kid has an ear infection.  So, yesterday I ordered my own otoscope on Amazon.  Ha!  Dr. Mama.

*And a personal confession - I'm really happy with my post-baby weight loss.  I have worked really hard to get where I am, which is about 10 lbs lighter than I was pre-Everette (only because the IVF process put about 10 lbs on me to start!).  BUT... I really want to tone up.  Everything feels so - jiggly.  Problem is, I need to run like I need to breathe.  It is an addiction for me.  But I know if I want to see changes in my body, I need to sub in some strength training.  So HELP!  I need good, not too long, at-home suggestions for getting my loose bits less loose.  I've done pretty much all of Jillian Michaels' things, so I'd love something different.  Suggestions appreciated!

*It's time to start some back-to-school shopping for my girl, so we started with getting her foot sized.  I learned quickly that my threenager now has quite an opinion about what shoes go on her feet.  And I learned this the hard way.  One minute in the shoe store and I had to physically pry her away from the light-up Anna and Elsa shoes.  And around every corner was another pair of dang Frozen shoes.  So I got her shoe size and then hightailed it out of there, telling her they were all out of her size IN ALL THE SHOES.  We came home and online shopped together, and after about 30 minutes, we both compromised and settled on a pair of silver, sparkly Sauconys with pink trim.  Praise Jesus.  And for the rest of her back-to-school shopping, I will be going alone.

Happy weekend, from us to you!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

3/4 of 1 Year

To my 3/4 of a 1-year-old:

To a little boy who has me completely, without-a-doubt, wrapped around his little fingers;

To a little boy who gives the best slobbery kisses and who is having fun screaming and making all kinds of consonant sounds and experimenting with his voice;

To a little boy who is starting to show hints of separation anxiety and who has forgotten how to sleep through the night;

To a little boy who is crawling on all fours, and FAST, and who will put any and everything into his mouth;

To a little boy who is equal parts sweet and silly, and who loves to try to do things to make you laugh;

To a little boy who claps and who gets so excited by the vacuum;

To a little boy who does sign language for "more" and "all done," and who has four adorable teeth;

To a little boy who is such a MESS, and whose favorite person in the whole world is his big sister;

To my son, to MY little boy...

You make me want to be a kinder, happier, sillier, better person.  I'll never know what I did to deserve you, but I will spend every single day thanking God for the opportunity to be your mama.

With all my heart and soul, sweet Everette. <3