Tuesday, August 15, 2017

On the Eve of Four


The other night I was tucking Charlie in, and he said "Mama, can we just press pause right here? I like being three, I like being right in this place." My heart got that feeling way deep inside, that ache when you love someone so much it hurts, because I knew exactly what he meant. Life is so sweet right now, the five of us, and the age he's at- it's magical. He doesn't know that quite yet, but what he does know is how good it feels to be three-year-old Charlie, and how there's a little uncertainty about four. To answer his question I took him in my arms and whispered something about how the best is yet come, and although it feels scary to change and grow up, I promised things would only get better and better.

This is good advice for me too. Sometimes I have a hard time accepting that we'll never be here again. I don't think it's a bad thing, I just love our right now so much that when I think about one day getting rid of our baby stuff, about having all big kids and never a newborn in our home again, it makes me immeasurably sad. And then I watch the video below and a million emotions swirl through me.

Birthday Eves are always a very introspective time for me. I just got home from picking up doughnuts for tomorrow and filling up a massive monster truck balloon, and I'm sitting here thinking a lot about the past years and the upcoming one. I'm thinking back to Charlie as a newborn and meeting him for the first time, a moment that I am so grateful I can recall in vivid detail. I'm remembering so much- his first birthday, his baby laugh, those big blue to brown eyes, and how soft his skin was when I'd rock him to sleep every night.



It's amazing this little guy is turning four tomorrow. He brings SO much excitement and fun to our lives. Right now, at almost-four he's all about trucks (especially monster trucks and car transporters), all things drawing and art, and he loves to dance and listen to music. He's extremely excited about starting soccer for the first time this season, and if you were to ask him what he wanted to be when he grows up, he's tell you a truck drive or a singer. At least that's his answer this week.

So happiest birthday to the funniest, sweetest little dude there ever was. Four is almost here, and like I told Charlie- it's gonna be a good one.

Here's the video I made for Charlie's first birthday. I did one for Henry too, if you'd like to see...and Olive's is of course in the works.

Enjoy.
xoxo

 
 
 

Monday, August 14, 2017

East Coast Trip 2017: New York



Check out part one of this three part trip post here. For the second leg of our trip we headed from the Jersey shore to upstate New York, to celebrate my cousin Daron's high school graduation. They live up in Poughquag, which is such a beautiful area of the state. Even the drive up was so enjoyable, mainly because we were riding in a minivan thanks to Budget (the boys were fascinated!), and also because it's just so darn pretty. This part of the trip was just for a weekend and it was filled with all things family, but we did manage to do a few extra things too.

Whenever I'm around my extended family I am filled with SO much happiness. My Mom's siblings- my two Aunts and Uncle- are three of my most favorite people in the world, and being with them is the best. My kiddos love them, it's just a really amazing time no matter what we're doing. Add in our cousins, second cousins and everyone else, and it's wild! You can bet when we get together there's always a few things happening- good food, good wine, and lots of dancing. My Uncle Brian threw my cousin's party at his house and it was such a good day full of all of those things that bring me so much joy, and it was also extremely entertaining to be around all of those teenagers. Hank and I were continuously laughing over how old we felt, and how much we did NOT mind that one bit!

While there we also made a quick stop at George Washington's home (or one of them, at least), stopped by Rutt's Hut on the way into NY, and did a whole lot of hanging at my Uncle's in that beautiful backyard. A short weekend, but the best time ever. Here are some photos from our time with family. A few of the photos below were snapped by my Uncle Paul too. Enjoy, and I'll be back soon with the final post from this vacation- Vermont!

xo






Sunday, August 13, 2017

Weekend Links


Some weekend links for you, on a Sunday evening --

Each week I'll be sharing an inspirational Instagram friend in this space, highlighting a favorite photo of theirs above. This week it's Angela Hardison, a long time internet pal, fellow Arizonan and someone who brings so much beauty to my online world. I love following her and I know you will too.

An interesting read: Motherhood isn't sacrifice- it's selfishness.

A new-to-me store, lots of cute items for Fall.

Multi-level marketing- where do you weigh in?

SO excited about this!

Unlearning the myth of American innocence.

Why are there no new major religions?

Wishlist: these slides, this bag, and these jeans.

And have any of your tried the Levi's Wedgie jeans? I think I'm going to get them a go.

This looks delicious: cherry "nice" cream.

How to get rid of negativity in your life.

Some great mantras to help you declutter.

My favorite planners are rolling in for 2018!

Thoughts on Halo Top ice cream. I personally don't like any of these types of "healthy" ice creams and instead prefer a smaller dish of the real thing! Yum.

Love this round up of wellness Instagrammers.

7 things to do now, to prepare for next week.

So cute: one, two, and three (all colors!).

And for our home: this mirror and this chair.

Clare V. has become my very favorite. Can't wait to see some of the new fall line.

This is so great: America's most iconic drives.

Some simple living inspiration.

10 female leaders share their biggest fears and how they overcame them.

And finally, the most important link of all.

xoxo

Thursday, August 10, 2017

5 Things I'm Loving


1. So my number one thing has got to be 5 month old Olive. She's just the best. So vocal, so expressive, and I feel like it is just going to get more fun. And busy. haha. Soon she'll be crawling, then walking...then running around with her two crazy older brothers. Today she was on my lap, facing out, just watching Henry and Charlie wrestle. All I could think was how she was taking it allllll in- like this is how we behave, this is how we do things around here. So once she's up and moving all I'm thinking is that she is going to be a wild woman. Not a bad thing, but it will just be interesting to see her personality develop alongside her big brothers.

2. My camera! I've gotten so many questions on the camera I've been using. Here it is- the Sony Alpha a6000! You guys I cannot even tell you how much I love this thing. It takes the best photos (I snapped the one above with it today), and it easily sends the pictures right to your phone. It's mirrorless, so it's super light and just a wonderful travel and everyday camera. This is the same one we brought to Switzerland too, and took all of our photos with it. It also takes beautiful video. The iPhone 7+ I have takes great pics and videos as well, but this is really next level and has replaces my heavier Canon. The Sony comes with a great lens attached, and I haven't had any need to get any other lenses. I highly recommend it.

3. Halloween/everything Fall is almost here and I am ecstatic. Summer is so great, but I am a true Fall person at heart. The other day I fell into a Pinterest hole of all things Halloween and I got so inspired. I'm excited for everything, but the biggest things on my list are: pumpkin picking- I think we will be in Utah this year (Park City) during Fall Break for awhile so if you're from the area any Fall recs would be so great. I feel like there are a ton of pumpkin patches there and since it will be early October, I hope the leaves will be turning also. We might be piggybacking that trip onto our Zion National Park trip we're taking earlier that week with our friends. Hank has never been to Zion and I'm really, really excited to have the whole family experience it together, alongside so many fun friends.

4. I think because I'm writing more blogs, I'm reading more blogs. Lately I've been enjoying reading random finds via Bloglovin', and I've found some good ones. Do you have any tried and true favorites? So many of my online friends have been posting about wanting to get back to blogging and I say yes, yes, yes! It's so nice to have a "mothership" of sorts where everything can live, and then use social media as a way to share bits of that, and connect with friends. I am such a fan of everyone blogging. Blogs for everyone! A blog for you! And you! And you! #oprahvoice

5. Eveything Madewell. (I like to shop from Shopbop because you can use Amazon Prime shipping!) Anyway, I'm not sure what it is but I cannot get enough of Madewell everything. Best jeans, best tees, best bags and shoes. I've always really loved the brand but lately they're just so on point. Do you shop there? We of course don't have one here in Prescott so I buy everything online and I feel like these are items I will keep for a long, long time. Quality made and not really too trendy. Also age appropriate, whatever that means! ;)

So those are my five! It's storming out right now, and if I don't hurry I'll miss my 10pm bedtime, so off I go. I was thinking of doing a "day in the life" post tomorrow or early next week, but either way I'll be back with my last post of the week tomorrow. See you soon.

xoxo

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Announcing Our Sweet Girl



Olive will be five months old tomorrow. That is so wild to me- time is flying by so much faster than with either of the boys. It's heartbreaking, but I also realize that it's just the way it goes. Life is busy, and the more kids you have the crazier it gets. More kids, more crazy...but way more love.

And now at five months I think it's about time I shared the birth announcements we sent out for our girl a couple months back. I wanted something simple and pretty, and when I found this floral set on the Tiny Prints site I was immediately sold. I've partnered up with Tiny Prints for many, many years, collaborating on everything from our Christmas cards to Charlie's birth announcements and have consistently had a great experience. I love that they're reasonably priced and always have beautiful new designs to choose from- we've always been incredibly happy with our orders.

I took this photo myself, after setting up a little newborn shoot in our bedroom. I used this blanket and this wrap, and I think it all turned out pretty great. And I actually shot this with my iPhone! The camera on that thing is so good. We also had a real session with my friend Lauren, but I felt like this simply picture really fit in with the card so perfectly that I ended up going with it. Thank to Tiny Prints for partnering up once again. And it's STILL so fun to look at this and think about how lucky we all feel to have completed our family with this sweet little darling.

xoxo

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Currently.

a scene from our hike Sunday morning

Watching: Last week I shared a bit about wanting to read more than I spend in front of a screen. Kind of impossible since I work on a computer and from my phone all day long, but as far as free time I've been doing better! I'll share what I'm reading below but if I am going to squeeze in some television it's only of the highest caliber. Quality programming, you guys. You know- Real Housewives of New York and Teen Mom, of course. I'm not even watching the Bachelor anymore. Mainly because I can't fit two hours of television in, but also because over the past few years I've just lost interest. But all of my Bravo shows remain a complete non-guilty pleasure and when I can catch up, it's such a treat. The other night I was able to watch a couple episodes of the New York Housewives (the Mexico trip) and oh my god, amazing. I love them, and like I said in my Instagram stories, drinking tequila with those ladies is now way up high on my bucket list.

Reading: So I don't know what it is but lately I've been very into "self-development" books. I think that's the nice new way of saying "self-help." haha. I like it. But I've been reading this book and it's pretty amazing. Super straight forward, a quick read, and all sorts of inspiring. But I warn you, it might just be the mood I'm in. Life is so weird right now between feeling incredibly happy in my little bubble of the five of us, and then terribly sad about my Dad, that I think gravitating towards books that make me feel really good and productive is some way I'm coping with that. I've been able to stay very positive though, so something is working.

Feeling: Each time with my babies I almost wait for postpartum depression, like it's something lurking around the corner that might pop out at any time. It's not in the forefront of my mind, but sometimes I'll think to myself, "hmmm, I wonder if/when that will happen." That might sound weird, but because I'm someone who has been depressed and dealt with anxiety in the past, each time I thought it would be a given for me. I didn't experience it with either boy, but after I stopped nursing Charlie I had a rough time. Hormones, not so fun. And this time it's been pretty smooth sailing and I'm still surprised I didn't experience it. Up and down sure, but pretty manageable. I'm well aware I won't really feel like myself for another year or so (from previous experience) so I'm just going with the flow and doing all the self-care things that help me feel my best. It's equally shocking that it's already been five months since I had Olive and that's it's ONLY five months since I had her. Time is so weird.

Eating: I've talked about it a tiny bit on my Stories over on Instagram, but I've been doing macro counting for almost two months now. I have SO much to say on the topic, and it really deserves its own post, but I just have to quickly touch on how much I'm enjoying it, which is really, really surprising to me. My best friend has been counting macros for ages and I was always very against it for myself. I was concerned it would bring up previous issues I've had with food and make me feel really crazy counting every little thing that I put in my mouth. But the big surprise for me has been learning that I've been eating SO much less than I should be, too little carbs, too little everything, by a lot. Having no food off limits means I am free to eat whatever I please (although I still stick to foods that make me FEEL good), and any leftover guilty associations I had with food are gone. It's very cool. And the results I'm seeing are just so neat. This is probably not for everyone, but it's been great for me. My friend Amy is coaching me, setting up my macros and my workouts, and I check in with her weekly. All my life I've worked out, but now I see I was in auto pilot and never really dialing in my nutrition at the same time, kind of just stuck feeling good but not getting to the next level or seeing big changes. It's been so motivating and eye opening to see the shifts in how I feel, and also in my physical self over the past couple of months. We're taking it super slow and watching my milk supply, and so far so good. I'll keep you posted.

So that's it for me this week! How about you? Feel free to do a Currently post and link me in the comments so I can read yours too.

xoxo

Monday, August 7, 2017

Back to School with Gymboree


I mentioned in on Instagram last week, but it's still so strange to me that kids go back to school in August here in Arizona. A couple years back I think we even started at the very end of July! Granted, we get out in May- but it still feels a little off to me to be getting school supplies and all ready for a new year while it's still summer. When I was a kid growing up in New Jersey, September was back-to-school month and we would be waiting outside for the bus wearing layers to combat the chilly mornings- not wanting to wear sandals and shorts because it was so hot out! And we are much cooler up here than in Phoenix- I can only imagine how weird it must be for any East Coast transplants there!

This year the boys are in Pre-K and 1st grade. It's pretty wild to think about my babies being so grown up, although the older they get the less sad I find myself becoming about it. These ages are so much fun, and I love the busy-ness that comes with all of the activities, school functions and sports. Charlie turns 4 next week and Henry turns 7 in November. If you've been reading this blog since way back before Henry was born it might seem shocking to you too, to think of him at this age. He's truly a big kid now!

Back to school shopping for these kiddos is always done online. We live in a small town without any great shopping options or even a proper mall. In the past we've had our favorite online stores, so when Gymboree reached out to partner up for this post I wasn't sure. In my mind Gymboree was a site for baby clothes and maybe the occasional big-kid find. I hadn't ever shopped there before and was unsure on the quality of the clothing too. 

The boys and I sat down at the computer and they picked out every item they have on in the photos below. That was so much fun in itself, and one of the cooler things about any sort of posts I do with them now- we make it something fun to plan and do together. Usually the boys do not always like taking photos, but because they had picked everything themselves they were VERY excited to show them off. Henry also wanted me to add that "the lightning bolt jacket is the best jacket he's ever owned." And I like it too!

One of the major things that we try to do as a family is streamline our morning to be super efficient and pleasant. And for us that means planning. My goal is to always lay out clothing and make lunches the night before, and when the boys have a hand in choosing clothing that part goes a lot more smoothly. Other goals for the year include- enjoying dinner together in the dining room 4 nights a week, sticking to our "night before school" planning, and continuing meal prep on Sundays. Everything we are working towards involves organization, and for good reason- it keeps us sane!

So below is a whole round up of fun photos showing our Gymboree picks, and many of the items we'll be laying out the night before throughout this next school year. I'm pretty blown away with the huge selection of clothing they have for every age, newborn up through Henry's size and beyond. And the stuff is so cute! On trend, fun, and one thing I really like is that they take things that kids love (like the digger sweatshirt pictured below), and make it look cool, not cheesy. Not that it's a huge concern for little kid clothing to look super cool, but it is nice to strike a nice balance and find things that make both parent and child really happy. 

I encourage you go take a look at Gymboree's back to school stuff. Such cute items and really great prices for the start of a new year, or anytime really. The quality is excellent as well. I sort of feel like I discovered some great new store to shop at, even though I know Gymboree is probably old news to many of you! 

I hope wherever you are, if you're already back in school or heading that way, you have a wonderful start. Sending lots of love!

xoxo

Outfit details- ALL of these items are on super sale so be sure to click through-

Henry:

Charlie:


This post was shared in partnership with Gymboree.