Wednesday, October 28, 2015


~Sometimes, when we get home, I sit in the car in the garage for longer than I should, basking in the peace that comes from having both kids contained in their car seats, browsing social media/reading blogs/catching up on emails/BREATHING.

~There's a coffee cup out there that says, "There's a chance this is wine."  I want it!

~I truly, wholeheartedly, 100% believe in retail therapy.  And I loooove to online shop and to have emails that say, "Your item has shipped!"  Even if it's just diapers from Amazon.  Ha!

~I love a monogram.  On any and everything.

~I also love bad reality tv.  However, lately I've been getting more into "real" television shows, and less of the trash (though I'll always love Real Housewives of anywhere and everywhere).  I just hate getting all into a new show and not knowing if it's going to be cancelled.  Like State of Affairs - T and I loved that last fall, and it's not coming back.  What a waste of tv-watching!

~But I do have to admit that I think Kim Zolciak's "Don't Be Tardy" show on Bravo is HILARIOUS.

~At any point in time, you'll find me dancing like a fool around my house by myself with music blaring from the wireless speaker.

~I totally have baby fever.

~And maybe I have baby fever because E is going to be ONE next week!  YOU GUYS.  How is that even possible?!  And truthfully, I am so, so sad to start the breastfeeding weaning process.  Since he'll likely be our last, the thought of being finished nursing him makes me tear up!

~Ever tried the Skinny Pop popcorn?  I'm obsessed and love ALL the flavors!

~I have THE ugliest feet you have ever seen.  Hands down, my least favorite part of my body.

~Our dog (and first child) Bailey has been so mischievous lately!  I don't know if it's old age or what, but she's been getting into any and everything.  Like when I accidentally left the pantry door cracked the other day, she nosed it open, got two unopened bags of chips, tore them to shreds and ate ALL of the chips! (She's only ten pounds!)  She never used to be like that, little stinker.

~I'm glad my kids love fruit so much, but I must confess that it's killing our grocery bill. They're both obsessed with raspberries and blueberries, and will typically eat a full container within a day or two!

~I have sideburns.  Seriously.  My postpartum hair-fallout happened SO late this time.  I thought I had escaped this awful side effect of having a kiddo, but nope - my hair is EVERYWHERE, other than on my head.

~Last Saturday I took two naps.  I'm not a napper.  But an adult-only costume party Friday night just about did me in.  And it wasn't the drinking, it was the late-night and lack of sleep! (PS, T and I were Boo-bees! Ha!)

~Did you read my Grace post?  I'm working really hard to let the house be a little dirtier these days... and honestly, it's been a hard adjustment for me!

~I don't love cold pizza, but LOVE me some cold fried chicken.

~I get annoyed when people don't RSVP.  Not to say I haven't ever forgotten, but I'm usually really good about letting someone know whether or not I can attend an event.  With E's birthday party next weekend, I'd really like to know who is coming!  (Hint hint!)

~I get really excited when it's time for a new candle, lotion, perfume, or deodorant.  I love changing up smells!

~I'm officially a Vodka-lover.  I'm not a lush, I swear.  But I've been subbing out my glass of wine for a vodka cocktail every now and then and it's been yummy!

~We really, really, really need a new mattress!

~I really and truly almost didn't keep it together when CK was getting her FOUR shots at her FOUR-year well-check on Monday.  There were lots of tears and screams from her, but she tried so hard to be brave and I was a proud mama.

~And I have to confess that for quite a few reasons, we switched pediatricians and Monday was our first appointment with the new doctor.  Verdict - LOVE her and the office so far!

~I am so accident-prone these days!  And I'm not sure where it's coming from?!  Broken toe, burned finger, bruised hip, sliced-open foot... I swear everyday something happens.

~I am sooooo not a Pinterest mama, but I have to admit that I channeled my inner-teacher and hosted a Halloween-themed playdate yesterday.  CK and I made spider-inspired Oreos and candy corn pretzels ahead of time and she also drew a picture for each guest...  then once everyone arrived we applied tattoos, decorated cookies, made cotton ball ghosts, and decorated a (reusable) candy haunted house.  It really was so fun from start to finish!

~I confess that I've always been anti-trampoline.  I had too many injuries on them growing up.  BUT.  A couple weeks ago CK had a playdate at a friend's house who has a smaller, net-enclosed trampoline and she had the best time.  And now I may put one on her Christmas list...

~I've confessed on here before that I am FitBit-obsessed... it really does motivate me and I love the competitive side of it!  I've also confessed that I've been through THREE because they've all broken/malfunctioned in some way.  Well guess what?  It happened again!  I swore I wouldn't get another one, but when I called customer service they sent me a new one, no questions asked.  So yay, I'm still in the FitBit game!

~And my last confession?  I really could live off of pizza, chips and dip, and M&Ms.  All day, everyday.

Happy Hump Day!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Giving Myself Grace

I was driving home from Target on Monday, late afternoon, after letting CK spend some of her birthday money in the Paw Patrol aisle.  All of a sudden, I felt awful.  Exhausted.  Achey all over, from my head to my toes.  Like I'd been hit by a truck.

It was all I could do to get home, unload the kids and the Target bags, and sit down on the couch.  Luckily T pulled in the driveway a few minutes later.  He took one look at me and said, "Rough day, I guess?"

"No, we actually had a great day.  I'm just feeling awful all of a sudden.  Is it okay if I go lie down for a little while?"

"Of course it is.  But I think I know why you feel the way you do..."


"Because, like I told you, you need to SLOW DOWN."

T and I had just had a conversation about slowing down over the weekend.  He told me he was a little worried about me, because I'd been go-go-go, running myself ragged, not slowing down from the minute my feet hit the pavement for my 5:45am run until I basically pass out from exhaustion as soon as my head hits the pillow at night.  When we had that conversation over the weekend, I assured him that I was fine.  "Someone has to get this stuff done!"  I'd told him.

And then on Monday, it was like my body said I'VE HAD ENOUGH.

For the first time in a long time, I slept in on Tuesday morning until 7:15am when CK walked in the room to wake me up.  That day, I crossed some things off of my to-do list without having done them - just to give myself a break.  I cancelled two of our set plans/playdates, just to make our week a little less scheduled.  I also confided in a dear friend that I was feeling run-down, exhausted, overwhelmed, inadequate, etc.  And that dear friend gave me some great advice, advice I needed to hear, advice that was a wake-up call for me.

I've been thinking a lot this week about what I expect from myself and why.  What is my role, what all does my "job" entail, what is most important to me, where are my priorities and does the way I live my life reflect those priorities?

And honestly, what I've realized most is that I need to give myself some grace.  I don't expect anyone in my life to be perfect, so why do I expect so much perfection from myself?

About eight months ago I started making daily to-do lists because (a) y'all know I love a to-do list with boxes to check off, and (b) I was finishing so many of my days wondering what the heck I did all day.  Honestly, having these lists has helped me stay incredibly organized, helped remind me of what I need to do (because mom brain is a real-life thing), and they've also helped me feel accomplished at the end of some very overwhelming, blurry, chaotic days.


These to-do lists have also made me too to-do-list-focused.  TOO planned, too task-oriented, too hard on myself.


I know it sounds crazy, and I realize it is all pressure I put on myself.  My husband, my kids... they don't care if I clean the house from top to bottom every Friday.  But I do. 

Because I said I would.  

Because it was on my list.

I think having high expectations for myself is important, but I also think these expectations need to be realistic and also reflective of what our life is like these days.

And what is our life like?  Our life is a beautiful, chaotic mess.  And I need to give myself some grace, cut myself some slack and realize it's okay if it looks a little less beautiful, and a little more chaotic and messy.

It's okay if we're a little late.  If our clothes are a little wrinkly.  If the dishes stay in the sink for one night before ending up in the dishwasher.  If there are toys everywhere.  If we forget to take the trash out.  If we have pizza for dinner, again.  If I don't clean the bathrooms and dust and vacuum and mop every single Friday.  If our bank account is a little less than I'd like.  If we skip a bath night.  If the kids stay up past their bedtime.  If we have a pajama and movie day.

Being a stay-at-home-mama can be tricky for me, because, like most stay-at-home mamas, I am also the nurse and the chauffeur and the chef and the maid and the launderer and the errand-runner and the boo-boo-kisser and the event-planner and the list goes on and on and on.

But most importantly?  I am the memory-maker...

And right now I think I need to be more focused on that role than any of the others.

Truth be told, I dreamed of staying home with my kids for so long so that I could enjoy them, and I think I've gotten so focused on maintaining a clean and tidy and organized and well-run household that I'm missing out on what is most important right now.

The other morning the first line of my devotional stuck with me...

"Go gently through this day..."

And now that is something I repeat to myself, constantly.  To approach each day gently, give myself from grace, let the dust bunnies roll around a little longer so that I can roll around in the grass with my children.


Yesterday I found myself at the doctor's office unexpectedly (and with both kids).  "Doctor appointment" was not originally in our Thursday plans, so while sitting in the waiting room, all I could think about were the things I was no longer going to have time to accomplish.  But when the appointment was over, instead of turning right out of the parking lot to go home and get back to my list, I took a left... and CK, E, and I ended the day with an impromptu playground trip... running around and giggling and getting dirty and swinging and sliding - and making simple, yet perfect memories.

I will still be using my notebook to keep myself organized, crossing off those little checkboxes as I complete the tasks.  Because in reality, those to-dos are part of my job, too.  But one day, and a day that'll come way too soon, I'll be stuck in a house that is too clean - a house that seems empty without the laundry piles and toys and crumbs and dust bunnies - and my kids will be out in the world somewhere, making their own memories.  

So from now on, I will be giving myself a lot more grace, letting go of some unnecessary self-expectations so that I can soak up each and every moment I have left as CK and E's memory-maker. <3

Monday, October 19, 2015

2 Sets of Cupcakes + 3 Birthday Cakes + 5 Pieces of Gum = FOUR

Well, my little girl is four years old. <3  We definitely did about as much birthday celebrating as we could, too!

It all started with a little party at her preschool, the day before her actual birthday.  She told me she wanted to wear something special, so I let her pick out whatever she wanted from her closet:

I dropped her off, then came home to finish up her cupcakes - she wanted all things Paw Patrol for her birthday this year, and I was thrilled when I found these little rings to adorn her homemade cupcakes!

When I got to the school her class was on the playground, and I loved watching her run around and play with her friends.  This kid LOVES preschool.

Then we headed inside to PARTY!

 Cheeto teeth!

 The reason she loves preschool so much?!  This lady right here.  The BEST teacher, ever.

That night the birthday'ing continued while she was fast asleep.  I blew up (Paw Patrol!) balloons, hung streamers from her door, and left one present on the foot of her bed - just like my mama always did for me...

One of my favorite memories?  On Saturday morning, I just happened to turn on the monitor and look at her at the very moment she started to wake up.  She was rolling around in bed, opened her eyes, and I saw the look on her face the minute she saw the balloons scattered all over her floor.  She popped out of bed, grabbed a balloon, and the biggest smile took over her sweet face.  Like at that moment, she realized it was her birthday, her special day.  She took one balloon and crawled back in bed, and just laid there and smiled...

We went in and sang Happy Birthday, and she quickly tore open the present on her bed.  A stuffed Marshall from the Paw Patrol, of course!

She went downstairs and beelined to the rest of her presents.  We decided when she turned 1 that we would always do the four-gift rule on birthdays:  something you want, something you need, something you wear, something you read.  The stuffed Marshall was the something she wanted, and she got new long-sleeved pajamas (something she needs), a Paw Patrol t-shirt (something she wears), and an autographed book by Clay Rice, a silhouette artist we met last month (something she reads).  Andddd.... GUM!  As I mentioned before, for whatever reason we told her a long time ago that you can only chew gum once you're four.  And the girl has been counting down the days.  She was SO excited about it, and thought she was so cool chomping on gum all day long.  I even overhead her tell her brother, "Evewette, you can't chew gum yet.  But you know what?  I can, because today I am FOUWA."  And by the time her head hit her pillow that night, she'd chewed a grand total of FIVE pieces of gum. :)

Birthday breakfast = cinnamon rolls with sprinkles, of course!

 And then she got all dressed in a "skirt that twirls" and we headed out for a surprise.  She'd known for weeks that we were taking her something special, but we wouldn't tell her where.  Our sweet sitter Melissa stayed home with E so we could focus 100% on the birthday girl.

And the surprise?  Disney on Ice!  She absolutely loved it, and we had such a great time, just the three of us!!

We headed back home and let the birthday girl skip her nap, chew more gum, and watch a movie.  It was a rare moment where we all sat still, on the couch, and snuggled.  Ellie included, of course.  And CK asked if she could take a selfie.

One last request from the birthday girl?  Pizza for dinner, "at a westauwant, pwease."

We wrapped up our girl turning 4 with a homemade cake, another singing of "Happy Birthday," and CK declaring that she wished she was part of the Paw Patrol...

It really was such a fun day!  But we weren't done celebrating yet!!  Because a week later it was time for her actual party, which was a group party!  Four of her friends also turn four in October, so after last year when we were all going to each other's birthday parties, we thought a joint party would be fun.  And boy was it!  First, the invitations (I've covered up some information for the privacy of the other kiddos!):
Y'all... Amy at One Good Name designed, printed, and shipped the invitations and I cannot sing her praises enough.  The customer service was outstanding, prices were awesome, quality was incredible, and shipping was so fast.  Any invitation or party signage needs?  Contact Amy!!

As you can see from the invitation, we did a fall-festival-ish birthday at the local country club.  We kept it pretty simple, honestly.  Some Cheetos, grapes, pretzels, lemonade and water, along with a mini cake for each birthday boy/girl and 100 assorted cupcakes.  And yes, my little birthday girl is the only girl who didn't want a princess-ish cake.  What did she want?  Drumroll.... PAW PATROL!

We had a gift table set up and divided for the gifts, because omigosh I think we had at least SEVENTY PEOPLE come.  It was such an awesome turnout!  Because we were expecting a large crowd, we decided to donate to the Carroll County CASA in lieu of party favors.

The mamas got there early to set up and drink some coffee with Baileys, so I was SO excited when my girl came running into the party!  Her eyes lit up when she saw the three bounce houses, face painting table, duck pond game, sno-cones, and cotton candy machine!  Luckily all three sets of grandparents were there to keep an eye on Everette (who loved the little bounce house!) so I could focus on the birthday girl.

I did a TERRIBLE job of taking pictures at the party, because I was too wrapped up in talking to guests and enjoying my four-year-old.  But I want to say a huge THANK YOU to all of our sweet family members who made the trip to GA for the party!  As I mentioned, all three sets of CK's grandparents were there, and even her Aunt Beth and cousin Smith. <3

These five little pumpkins had the absolute BEST day celebrating their birthdays!!

And us five mamas survived!  We toasted with champagne as soon as the bounce houses were deflated.

But no, we still weren't done celebrating!  We headed home to open presents and have a little family time since so many special people were in town.  Also?  My mother-in-law is an incredible cake-maker, and outdid herself this year with a cake that put a huge smile on our girl's face!

It was a preschool celebration, Disney on Ice, pizza dinner, fall festival party, family get-together, two sets of cupcakes, three birthday cakes, and five pieces of gum kind of birthday for our girl.  That, I'd say, is about as good as it gets. :)