Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter 2016

What a wonderful Easter weekend!  The weather was gorgeous, the kids were in good moods and we got to spend some quality time with our family.  We spent 90% of our time outside and it made me wonder if we shouldn't move into the country one of these days.  I guess you never know :).  I also got to try out some of my new wardrobe additions and so far so good!  Lots of pictures in this post, I hope you enjoy!

We started Saturday off at an Easter Egg Hunt at a place called Jane's Saddlebag Ranch.  I heard about this place awhile ago, it's definitely unique!  The egg hunt was, well, interesting.  Let's just say some parents must really like Tootsie Rolls ;).  We got one egg and then played with the animals and on the playground.  That's more our style anyway!

After that, we headed to a friend's farm so Andrew could help out.  They have clydesdales and we often help out when they do parades.  Andrew will be helping in the Red's Opening Day Parade next week (aka one of my favorite days of the year!) and they wanted to do a practice run with the horses. The kids LOVE this place and we had a blast.  

Easter Sunday was spent playing with Easter Bunny treats, celebrating at church and hanging out with family.  Easter is such a happy holiday and it always gives me hope and positivity looking ahead.  Which apparently I needed because we got no sleep last night and Audrey woke up with a stomach bug!  Back to reality!  Luckily, we are still riding the high of a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Letter to my Future Well-Rested Self

The alarm went off this morning and you rolled over and hit snooze.  No doubt you have kids to drag out of bed for high school, work to do and errands to run.  You pulled the covers up and got seven more minutes of uninterrupted sleep until it went off again.  But do you remember your previous alarm clock?  It was a little voice calling out for Mommy in the middle of the night.  It was a crying baby, longing for your arms to soothe her sore teeth.  Do you remember how hard that was and how badly you wanted a full night's sleep?  Well how do you feel about it now?

Those sweet voices have been replaced with opinionated (strong willed, I'm sure) young adults who have grown into independent, well-adjusted people.  You love them just as much and have a new kind of fun and challenges, but do you remember those long nights?  Let me remind you.  You were miserable.  You would drag yourself out of bed multiple times a night, and grudgingly soothe one, or sometimes both, needy toddlers.  Most nights, you would get one to go back to sleep and just as you were drifting back to sleep yourself, the other would cry out for you.  And then the night was spent playing a cruel form of keep away where your kids were the players and your bed was the ball.  

But let me remind you of something else.  Although, I have a feeling you may still remember.  Your baby boy loved to read stories at night.  He would always ask for just one more, and you would usually give in.  He wanted you to lie next to him while he fell asleep and he was even happier if you held his sweet little hand.  When he would call out for you in the middle of the night, as soon as you walked into his room, you could see him relax.  The way he would roll over and put his arm around his stuffed Giraffe would at times bring tears to your eyes.  He needed you to fall asleep, bottom line - he needed you.

Your precious baby girl needed you too.  She had her stages of great sleep, but mostly she liked to be held and snuggled.  She would always reach her stuffed Kitty out to you so you could kiss it goodnight too.  When you would try and lay her back down in her crib, she would reach out for you with tears in her eyes and it broke your heart to walk away.  When you would start singing "Goodnight Sweetheart" to her, her body would melt into yours and she would instinctively close her eyes.  She always wanted to be part of the action rather than sleeping, but if she had to be asleep, she wanted to be close to you.  

So you may now be more well-rested and you may even be drinking less coffee (I doubt it), but do you miss those moments?  Going through everyday life on little sleep is no joke and most days you felt like a zombie.  But, you were needed in a way that you will never will be again.  I'm sure being the mom to these two amazing kids is still incredibly rewarding, but I bet you miss those sleepless nights.  And I bet you miss them more than just a little.  Think back on them with a smile, and maybe a tear, but without regret or anger.  You may have missed out on hours of sleep, but you gained so much more.  You have memories of holding little hands, drying tearful eyes and snuggling with the babies you prayed for, for so long.  And maybe if you're lucky, tonight during that restful night sleep, you may just dream of those days and realize it wasn't so bad after all. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

A Good Week

It's been awhile since I've had just a plain old good week.  I'm not sure if it was the beautiful weather or that I got about five minutes more sleep each night than usual but this week just seemed to gel.  I've felt more positive and relaxed than I have in awhile and I'm hoping it sticks around.

Sunday started with the Heart Mini 5K which was so fun and I was so excited to achieve that goal.  We spent time with family that evening to celebrate birthdays and the kids loved playing with their cousins.  

While Aiden was at school on Monday, Audrey and I did a little shopping.  It's a lot of work to find specific items for my capsule wardrobe and making sure they fit just right.  I ordered a lot of things online and look forward to seeing what works!  

Tuesday was especially gorgeous, so after the gym we had a picnic and played at our favorite little park that has a train theme.  We were there long enough to see 3 huge trains pass by!  Audrey inherited her brother's love for trains and jumped up and down each time one came through.

Wednesday was busy and included a haircut for both me and Aiden!  Mine was a relaxing time while my cousin cut it and I could catch up with my family.  Aiden's however....let's just say I left a big tip! I usually get my hair cut like three times a year, but I may have to up that to keep it this new length.  I really like it and it only took me 5 minutes to do it this morning.  I NEVER do my hair during the kids were confused :).

On St. Patrick's Day we celebrated with a trip to Target and our first Blue Apron delivery!  I signed up for the free two meals and am making the second one tonight.  I had definitely planned on canceling it right away, but it is SO easy to skip a week (you click one button), I think I'll keep it around and use it every once in awhile.  It's really not much more expensive than shopping for things for two meals and I was very impressed with the quality of ingredients and easy to follow recipe.  

We hope to (finally) finish up our basement bathroom this weekend and I work on Sunday.  But I'm off the next two, another reason to be in a good mood! 

One of my favorite pictures from this week.... both with their tongues out :).

I hope you had a great week too and have an even better weekend!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Wardrobe Malfunction

First of all, a fashion blogger I am not.  I have no intention of writing about fashion on a regular basis, however I thought my current dilemma and my attempt to solve it may be helpful to some, so here we are!  We had a 75 degree day awhile back and I came to the fast realization that I have absolutely nothing to wear when it gets warmer.  Sure, I could wear shorts that won't stay up or baggy t-shirts but since I'm 4 - 5 sizes smaller than I was a year ago, I think I deserve better :). 

I started researching the whole "capsule wardrobe" concept and quickly decided that this was the way I needed to go.  Since I am starting from scratch, it doesn't make sense (nor can I afford) to just go out and buy whatever I want and like.  The idea behind a capsule wardrobe is to purchase and/or use what you already have to create multiple outfits, basically stick with staple items and maybe throw in a fun accessory or two.  I found a lot of good examples on Pinterest, but I ran into two issues.  One - most of these wardrobes had 30 or more items and I just can't go out and buy 30 things right now.  The other issue was even the "stay at home mom" suggestions were much dressier than what I really need right now.  I am mostly in workout clothes at the gym and after and lounge type clothes when I'm working from home.  Maybe twice I week do I actually need to wear something nicer.  So I set out to create my own wish list with these things in mind.  I also want these pieces to last into summer and fall and basically be a good foundation that I can continue to add to over time.  Remember that I am literally starting from scratch, so I've got a long way to go!

**I originally planned on including pictures of these items, but I've read way too many horror stories about people getting in trouble for this!  So, instead I included links to clothing that fit the description :).

White Jeans - I love white jeans and they are so versatile.  I'd like a pair that are not distressed so that I can wear them when it's cold out too. 

Colored Jeans - Also versatile and I can see getting a lot of use out of these.  I really like the idea of red for Reds games, Memorial Day, 4th of July, etc. 

Jean Shorts - I've always struggled to find a good pair of jean shorts that fit right and are modern.  I like the idea of the cut off style. 

Colored/Patterned Shorts - I could go crazy here, but I'm going to find one pair that fit well and can be matched up with a lot of different tops. 

Colorful Skirt - I'm thinking of pairing this with a chambray top for Easter.  This is a good option for any wedding/baby showers or dinners out too. 

Casual Dress - I used to live in these until I had kids and am now always on the floor and bending over to carry someone.  This may or may not double as the swim cover up below. 

Chambray Shirt - I've owned a few of these but now none of them fit.  As in I could fit both kids underneath them.  

Solid color T-Shirts/Tank Tops - Also so hard to find just the right ones.  I'm going to do some searching and trying on to find the perfect fit. 

A "Fun" Shirt - For date night, dinners out with friends or a girl's night.  

Jean Jacket or Field Jacket - The last jean jacket I owned was in high school and I wore it to death.  Since apparently they are a thing again, it's time to relive the glory days.  Or a green field jacket may do the trick too. 

Athletic Shorts - I don't really like to workout in shorts, but these would be great for when I work from home or am just hanging out with the kids in the backyard. 

Athletic Capris - My favorite workout pants.  I have one pair right now, all of my others are full length and I will be way too hot in them come warmer temps!

Workout Tanks - I also prefer to workout in tank tops rather than anything with sleeves.  I need to continue to add to my limited collection. 

Swimsuit - I took the kids swimming at an indoor water park today and my suit from last year is pretty loose.  Going to keep an eye on sales for this one. 

Swim Cover Up - This will probably be a casual dress that I can wear whenever.  The athletic shorts do the trick here too, but it'd be nice to step up my swimwear game just a tad this summer!

So there it is!  A list of 15 items to get me through warmer weather without breaking the bank or filling my closet with things I won't actually wear. If you have any suggestions for these items, I'd love to hear them!  Or if you think I'm missing anything :).  Now to find time to actually shop...

Monday, March 7, 2016

Audrey Kay - 18 Months

Halfway to two!  So hard to believe.  Even harder to believe is that Audrey is the same age that Aiden was when she was born!  Aiden seemed so big in those days after Audrey was born but now I have to remind myself that Audrey is a toddler and not a little baby anymore.  She definitely looks and acts like a toddler, but when I hold her and look into her eyes, I still see my tiny baby girl.  I think it will always be that way.

Audrey is still our ray of sunshine.  When she's not crying that is ;).  Audrey's had some teething and sleep regression issues the past few months, so at times she's not a happy camper.  Like all phases, I know this will pass so we are just drinking caffeine and pushing through.  Besides that, Audrey has really changed a lot the past few months.  She is happiest on the go and loves to run around with Aiden.  She seems to have a pretty good grasp of the whole gross motor thing and climbs on everything, loves to go down slides (even the big ones) and will climb up to the top of a play set with no hesitation (despite my heart palpitations ;)).  She thinks she can do anything Aiden does and does NOT like it when you tell her otherwise.  I have a feeling we'll be dealing with this for years to come!

Some of Audrey's favorites right now: Mickey Mouse, bottles (still), taking her clothes off (and recently her diaper too, fun times), jumping on the trampoline, being outside, animals, wearing everyone's shoes but hers, cottage cheese (any dairy really), stickers, her kitty and blankie, being held by mommy and reading books.  

On Audrey's dislike list: Consistent sleep, most foods (she's become pretty picky), when mommy leaves (except the gym, does great there!), being confined.  Side note - it's funny when I write these because I always struggle with coming up with dislikes even when it seems like she has always been fussy!  I guess your mind has a way of only remembering the good stuff ;).

Audrey is on the verge of wearing a 3T and now (again) needs a whole new wardrobe.  Good thing it's a new season anyway!  She is feeding herself very well, loves to sit at the kid table with Aiden and has excellent receptive language.  I can give her multi step directions and off she goes.  We are still waiting for her talking to explode.  She says "mommy" and "daddy" pretty consistently but the rest is hard to make out.  One day she will probably wake up and recite the Gettysburg Address ;).  

The other day the four of us (five if you count Ollie) were having a dance party in the living room.  I thought about how 18 months ago we were about to complete our family and go through one of the toughest years we've had.  Now that we are on the other side, it feels like it's always been like this.  I look at my little blonde curly haired baby and know that she is perfect for us.  The A-Team is ready for the adventures to come. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Time to Have an Opinion is Now

There is a lot going on in our world today.  There is a lot going on in our own country and most of it makes me anxious.  As a child, most tend to go along with the opinions of their parents.  As a teenager, you just believe the opposite of your parent's opinion.  But as an adult, we should be able to think for ourselves, shouldn't we?  That is no easy task.  Watch a clip from a news show, read a headline on Facebook, talk with a friend while out to do we go about knowing what we really believe when there are opinions posted everywhere we look?

If you ask me what my favorite color is, I will probably tell you three different answers.  If you ask my thoughts on politics, I'll talk myself into circles and struggle to come up with a conclusion.  I often find myself in the middle of opinions and unsure where to turn.  And I, I believe, am like 90% of our country.  We hear the voices and read the words of the 10%, those who are passionate and have strong convictions one way or another.  And it seems to me that a lot of people are listening to them and just going with what they hear and read. The problem is, I'm not sure that's okay.  Are we really thinking for ourselves?  Are we really taking the time to decide what we believe and what we think is right?  I'll be the first to admit, I haven't been the best at this.

Until now.  I'm worried about what's going on this year.  I don't like what I've seen and I don't know how I'm going to decide who to vote for.  Again, I think those other 90% are like me, while the other 10% are passionately voting for their candidate(s).  We need these passionate people, of course we do, but we also need the rest of us to step up.  Especially now.  And I don't think just going out and voting is enough.  We (myself included) need to form an opinion.  We can't shy away from the issues and we can't pretend this will all work itself out.  This is not a reality show, this is real life.

My issue with forming an opinion is - how do we know the truth?  The news, newspapers, online articles - it's hard to tell these days.  So I'm going to go with two main sources.  First, a person's track record.  Sure, people can change and form new opinions, but their past says a lot.  And second, I am going to listen to these candidates.  I want to hear what they have to say, straight from their mouths.  Of course they can lie (or bend the truth) and they will more than likely talk around the issues (except one particular candidate), but I'd rather hear things directly from the source than through another's perception. 

I am a smart, educated person and I have the ability to form my own opinion.  We all do.  We've just become too lazy to do so.  It's easier to believe a meme on Facebook or a celebrity's endorsement.  But I am challenging myself to do the work and decide for myself what I think is best for our country.  I hope you will do the same.