Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Caleb's First Easter Basket {Blog Hop}

Before we start today's post, let me do a little disclaimer here: In our home, we emphasize the real meaning of Easter. Caleb will grow up knowing that Easter is not just about the plastic eggs, pastel presents, jelly beans and chocolate bunnies. None of those are bad things - in fact, we love it all. But, we know that there's more to this holiday than just that. We will be celebrating (and have been all week) our risen Lord on Sunday, and are so thankful for a living, loving God.

That being said, we get super excited about the fun side of Easter too. And this year is sure to be super fun, as it is Caleb Monroe's first Easter! It's hard to believe that at this time last year, I was almost 9 months pregnant. And this year, he's here to celebrate with! Despite not doing a lot of spring decorating since our house is on the market right now, we didn't hold back on the Easter basket. After searching for forever for just the right basket, I settled for the large Pottery Barn one I'd had my eye on from the beginning. And Caleb's Daddy and I had so much fun filling it up with fun things for our favorite little man. We tried to pick a few things we knew he'd need - like sunscreen and beach sandals - along with some fun things for playtime around the house. Here's a peek at what our little man is getting this year:

God Gave Us Easter Book / Whale Spout Cover (not pictured) / Pottery Barn BunnyFrozen Blu-Ray / Coppertone Baby Sun Stick / Beach Sandals / Pirate Onesie and Bubble Wand (Walmart) / Easter Chalk, Carrot Bubbles, Beatrix Potter Books (set of 4) and Ninja Turtle socks (Target $1 Section) / Mini Watering Can (Michaels)

I had to pack everything into the basket pretty tightly (thank you, sweet Julie, for recommending the large basket!), so here's a better look at a few of the items:

Are you doing an Easter basket for a special little person in your life? If so, be sure to pop over to join the link-up on sweet Darci's blog to share in all the fun (and maybe get some last minute gift ideas!)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lessons From a Baby {And Toast}

One morning this week, instead of preparing the usual oatmeal or yogurt and fruit for Caleb's breakfast, I decided to change things up a bit. My lucky little man got quite the treat with baked cinnamon-sugar toast, scrambled eggs and a banana. I knew it would be a hit. And, boy, was it.

I smiled as I watched Caleb inhale the eggs and begin stuffing the toast bites into his mouth. His pleased grin, and the crumbs that were quickly taking up residence on his milky cheeks and forehead as he rubbed his food all over his face were evidence of just how delicious he found this particular meal to be. It pleased me to make him so happy. I quickly realized however, that the pace he was setting was not a good one - he was not finishing his current bites before stuffing the next bit in. Fearing that he would choke, I took some of the pieces off of his highchair tray to help control how many he was able to grab at once. As I removed the pieces, my baby watched inquisitively, his little eyebrows going down over his bright eyes as he began to realize what was happening. He grabbed at my hand as I moved his precious toast away, and tears filled his little eyes. His tiny mouth opened wide, and I could see the remnants of at least three pieces still swimming around inside his chubby cheeks. Instead of finishing the bites he already had in his mouth, my son let out a wail that sounded suspiciously like what I would imagine would be the cry of someone being told their dog died or something equally terrible. I held firm, unwilling to let his cries sway my decision. I knew that he would be ok, and that he would be pacified quickly, as soon as he managed to finish the mouthful he already had. And I was right.

But this situation got me to thinking. How must we appear to God? 

After all, we are His children, He is our Father. He apportions our blessings just like I apportion my baby's food - in amounts that I know are good for him. Amounts that I know he can handle. I know that there are more times than I could ever imagine that my life has been full of the most wonderful blessings imaginable. So full in fact, that I can't even chew them all at once. And yet, just like Caleb, instead of sitting back and enjoying all the blessings I do have, I find myself grasping for more. Tearing at God's hand, crying furiously, and wondering why I can't have more. Why I can't have what others have. Why I can't have what I think I deserve. How must God feel when I behave like that? As my Father, I can only imagine the pleasure He gets when showering blessings upon me - just as I feel pleasure when I am able to do things that make Caleb happy. But to have me ignore those in search of ever-more? How ungrateful. How unbecoming.

Despite my efforts made to ration Caleb's bites for a bit, he still managed to sneak one too many pieces of toast into his mouth that morning. And, predictably, began to choke on the overwhelming amount. I saw his little eyes go round, and watched as his mouth opened wide for air. Springing into action, I was able to get the offending piece out of his way so that he could breathe and eat normally once again. No harm, no foul. It all happened in a matter of mere seconds, but again, was another metaphor for the pondering I'd been doing that morning. 

At times, God does step back and allow us to make mistakes. He does allow us to choke. When we seek things that are not His will for our lives, you can bet the outcome is not going to be great. I'm the first to admit that I've choked many times. I grasped for the things I thought I wanted, only to find myself strangled by wrong decisions. Fortunately for me, my God is a loving God. A forgiving God. And I am so undeserving. 

I guess you could say Caleb taught me a lot during our breakfast that morning. The lessons one can learn from a baby. And his toast.

Monday, April 14, 2014

An Easter Egg Hunt {Weekend Review}

Happy Monday, ladies! 

Here we are again at yet another Monday, and another weekend review. They come so quickly now, am I right? As a side note, I just thought I would mention that, yet again, Blogger and I don't seem to be getting along. I posted my 5 on Friday first thing Friday morning...And it showed up on feeds on Saturday afternoon. Sigh. So, be sure to check my blog daily for new posts even if they don't show up in your reader.
On Friday night, B and I spent an exciting night at home getting the house ready for the walk-through on Saturday with our new realtor. And I say exciting in the loosest sense of the word, ha! If you enjoy cleaning, our Friday night would have been your jam. If not, well, it's a good thing you weren't there. The highlight of my night? At one point, while nursing Caleb on Friday evening, I had the tv turned on to ABC Family. And guess what came on? Home Alone 2. Yes!!! You better believe I sat there and watched it for a bit. Watching it got me thinking: It's already April. As in, the 4th month of the year. Meaning we are already 1/3 of the way to next Christmas! Love it!

On Saturday, we had a busy morning. B was off early to grab breakfast with a friend of his who is shipping out for about a year. It is his closest childhood friend, and I know that he will miss him greatly over the next year. Although the timing wasn't the best for B to take off all morning, I am glad that he made the effort to go. We will be wishing his friend safety and security in his time overseas, and will definitely keep him in our prayers. As soon as B returned, we hit the ground running for some last minute house touch-ups before our new realtor arrived. The meeting with him went well - he had some great new ideas and seemed to be really positive and enthusiastic - and our house is going up again tomorrow as a new listing. Please keep us in your prayers, as we are really hoping to see more movement this time around. B starts residency in just over 2 months, and we really don't need to be sitting on a mortgage as we plan to move elsewhere! God is good, and we are trusting him in this next chapter, but I do have to admit that it sure is scary.

As soon as the realtor left, B, Caleb and I did a quick Chick-fil-A lunch (which may or may not have been my third meal there this week - eek!) On the way there, I was sure to document C riding in his new big boy carseat, courtesy of Mawmaw. 

He loved it! He sits up higher, and can look around a bit better than in the infant seat. He looked so tiny sitting in it, that I just died looking at him. One day, he will fill it out, but it was nice to be reminded that my little man is still small for now. I don't want him growing up too quickly. (And yes, he is still rocking a bruise courtesy of an appointment he made with the kitchen floor).

After lunch, I popped into the kitchen to whip up some homemade white chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and fresh guacamole for a neighborhood dinner being hosted later that evening. Then it was time to get Caleb Monroe dressed. Little man was styling in a pair of new preppy plaid shorts and a t-shirt (first time wearing shorts this season), and a sweet little pair of fisherman sandals. I have to admit, the shorts were a bit long on his little legs, and looked suspiciously like capri pants on him, ha! But they were still cute - we all know that Caleb can get away with anything. The shirt pictured below was not the one he wore, but it was the only one I got a picture of. Oh well. Just look at those itty bitty sandals....

Around dinner time, we headed next door for a potluck dinner with our sweet neighbors, Hannah and Ketan. They are getting ready to move to Memphis at the end of this month, and they had invited everyone on our street over to meet the new couple who will be moving into their house. We are so sad that this sweet couple is leaving, but are glad we got a chance to meet the new neighbors. Most of the neighbors on our street came, and we had such a good time spending time with everyone. B and I have been so spoiled by the wonderful neighbors we've had. Honestly, we have. They are the type that you just dream of when you buy a home. Just today, B was popping next door to ask if they had any Coke on hand (Mama had a craving!) And it's like that all the time around here. We all have keys to each others' homes. We watch each others' dogs when someone goes out of town, look out for packages, pick up mail for one another, give each other rides, host parties together, have wine nights, enjoy dinners on each others' porches, plan group yard sales, give gifts, celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and more, and do girls and guys nights. It's been like our own little version of Mayberry. And I have loved it so much. With Hannah and Ketan leaving, and then B and I leaving shortly thereafter, the dynamics won't be the same on our little street, but we sure hope that the new neighbors will be just as good for the sweet friends we will be leaving behind.

Yesterday was yet another busy day in our house. We were up and ready for church at the normal time. And then home for lunch and some house chores. Then, around 3:30, we headed back to church for the Easter Egg Hunt and Spring Party. B and I were so excited to participate in Caleb's first egg hunt with the rest of the birth-preK babies. There were so many sweet little babies there dressed in adorable pastel outfits. Despite his face in the picture below, C had a great time:) (Not sure what the scrunchy face is about in pictures lately).

Predictably, Caleb wasn't quite sure what was going on when the egg hunt began. I walked him to grab the first couple that we saw, and that was that. He held one in each hand, and was perfectly content. When I tried to show him how to put the eggs into his tiny little basket, he wanted none of it. He hollered the minute I tried to take his little eggs from his hands. Hey, I guess he's easy to please. One day, I'm sure he'll be racing around to get as many eggs as he can find, so I'm happy to have a content little baby with just two little eggs for now.

After the egg hunt, we walked around for a bit. We enjoyed a snow cone and talked to friends before heading out to dinner with our friends Lynn and Jason, and their sweet son, Levi, and our adorable couple friends, Megan and Tyler. These friendships are ones we are going to miss so much when the distance prevents us from getting together so often. Fortunately, Atlanta is not too far away, so we will be hoping to get together with them as much as possible. Levi and Caleb are too cute together to be separated for long!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Shorts Weather {5 on Friday!)

Before we get started with the usual weekly link-up, be sure to pop over and visit me on my sweet friend Jenn's blog today, where I am guest posting while she is away getting married! Congratulations, Jenn! Wishing you and MG a very happy wedding weekend, and a blessed life together as husband and wife. Wish I could be there to celebrate this weekend, but know that P!nky and Lynn will do a good job for me:)

enjoy today (and every day!)

Okay, now on to our weekly favorite...5 on Friday!

1. House Updates
Well, the big news on our house is....Oh, wait. There is none. Except for the fact that we are getting a new realtor. Wish just two months to go until B starts residency, we realized that our current realtor just wasn't going to cut it. She'd shown our home exactly 1 (yes, ONE!) time in the 6 months it's been on the market. So, we terminated our contract yesterday and are hoping that the new realtor we've chosen - who we are meeting with tomorrow - will be a bit more proactive about selling our home. He will be taking some updated photos tomorrow and will hopefully have the listing up some time this weekend.

2. Crazy Hair
Despite trying to avoid it like the plague, a tiny trim was necessary for my little man this week. He's got precious little curls coming in on the back of his head, and I wouldn't touch those for anything, but the long fringe hanging down over his forehead and into his eyes? Yeah, that had to go. I trimmed it just a bit, but it made a big difference. I can actually 'style' it for him now. My presh little model baby.

3. The Easter Basket Dilemma
I couldn't tell you why, but for some reason, I have had the mother of all trouble trying to find an Easter basket for Caleb this year. I though I'd found a solution in a pastel blue basket from Hobby Lobby. But then, Pottery Barn put theirs on sale AND offered free shipping. Done and done. They did not however have a liner that I liked, so for this year, Caleb's basket will be liner free. Maybe next year.

4. Shorts Weather
The little man and I have been going on walks every day now that the weather is nice. And yesterday, we both got to wear shorts for the first time this season. It was absolutely glorious! I'm not a huge shorts fan on the reg, but I do like walking in my old cheerleading shorts when the weather is warm.

5. Self Tanners
In order to rock shorts, dresses and skirts in this warmer weather, yours truly has invested in two different products to give my legs a little bit of a glow. I prefer to avoid skin cancer, and these lotions/tanners are the best way to do that. Side note: If you're like me, the scent of many gradual tanning lotions is absolutely repulsive, so to avoid that, I mix a little bit of a regular scented lotion in with the tanning lotion as I apply it, and voila! No more smell.  I like to use Bath & Body's Coconut Lime scent!

I use these once a week:
L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes- Medium Natural Tan
And touch up with this every couple of days:
Suave Visible Glow Lotions - Medium to Tan- 7.5 oz
1 / 2

When I use the Suave, I mix it with this. SO yummy!
Coconut Lime Breeze Body Lotion - Signature Collection - Bath & Body Works
If you'd like to participate in the weekly link-up, visit the sweet hosts: Natasha,  Christina,  April or  Darci. 

Five on Friday

Alright, ladies. I am off to clean my house from top to bottom for the new realtor walk-through and photos. And then do a little bit of birthday party planning for a certain little man in our house who is going to be the big O-N-E in just over a month! Can't believe he has been in our lives for almost a year already. And can't believe I have just a few short weeks left to get his party figured out. Time needs to just slow down!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Brights & Neutrals {Sole Society}

Happy Thursday, pretty readers!

Sole Society

Today I am back with a fun review of an absolute favorite of mine: Sole Society. You all may remember when I did a review of a few of their lovely products last fall. Well, recently, I was contacted by the company again in regard to their spring line, and I couldn't be more thrilled to share a few of their new things with you today. 

Bright, bold colors are a must for spring. Neons and heavily saturated hues are making clothing and accessories pop. The bright colors are super fun for the warmer weather, and are a great way to start working spring and summer clothing into your wardrobe. However, in order to avoid looking like a human highlighter, it's important to limit the amount of color worn in one outfit. The best way to do this is by pairing brights with neutrals. 

I decided to choose a few fun new accessories for my review. I went for a bright statement necklace and a boldly colored bag. To offset the bag and the necklace, I chose a neutral pair of shoes. And, as you can see, paired all of the above with a simple white tank and jeans. Easy. This is an outfit I would wear to dinner with B. While out shopping with the girls. To Sunday brunch. Anywhere and everywhere! 

Here are the key elements for my look...

#1. A Bright Accessory: The Floral Chain Collar

I loved this adorable necklace from the minute I laid eyes on it. I knew that it would pair well with most of my simple spring and summer tops, and would add a pop of color to any outfit! I also love that it incorporates such a variety of colors. It's one of those pieces that you could throw on with just about anything. 

#2. A Bold Bag: Dalia Colorblock Vegan Tote

For the most part, I tend to be a bit 'safe' when it comes to handbags. However, as you can see with this bag, I am definitely not playing it safe this time around. I loved that this particular tote is vegan leather. I love that the style is a bit structured and tailored looking - which is always something I gravitate toward. But most of all, I love the surprising bursts of neon yellow on the sides. So fun. It truly is neutral enough to pair with almost anything, but is still trendy and cute with the pops of color on the sides. Bonus: It's big enough to carry anything I might need for me - or for Caleb - while we are out running around! Any mom can attest to the importance of a versatile bag when small children are involved in daily errands and activities.

#3. A Neutral Shoe: Tamia Block Heel

I just have to say: these may be my very favorite shoes of all time. You guys. You guys. I knew they were going to be great the minute I opened the box. You know when you just know something is going to look good before you even put them on? Yeah. Well that's how I felt about these little beauties. They are part of the Julianne Hough line for Sole Society. If they're good enough for J. Hough, they are good enough for me. I mean, really. The tan leather. The block heel. The ankle straps. I die. Even B was excited when he saw me pulling these sexy little things from the tissue paper. 

Surprisingly, they are also super comfortable. Sexy AND comfortable. Yet another win for mamas everywhere.

After working with Sole Society for a second time now, I can continue to say that this is a company I support 100%. Though I enjoy working with them on collaborations such as this one, I am also a happy customer of theirs as well, and have more Sole Society boxes and bags in my closet than I care to admit - or for B to see:)

If you haven't checked them out before, be sure you pop over and visit them today. And, if you are new to Sole Society, don't forget to sign up for their email newsletters. The newsletters are super fun to get, as the company always offers random discounts and flash sales that make their affordable shoes and accessories even more affordable. It's a fun surprise in your inbox every day! As a gift to new email subscribers, you can get 20% off your purchase of $85 or more. So, pop on over and take advantage, lovelies!

I was provided with the items seen in this post in exchange for my review. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own - and I truly am a customer of Sole Society!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Most Amazing Feeling {It's the Little Things}

I'm sure as soon as our little man is here this will hold true but he'll have to share my heart with his Daddy!

I felt a tiny little hand resting lightly on my shoulder. I turned, and there he was. Big smile on his face. Gummy mouth wide open, little eyes crinkled up in glee, cheeks rosy. In that moment, I could feel my son's love for me just radiating off of him.  I could see myself through his eyes - as his favorite person in the whole wide world. As the one person he just lives to be with these days. The person he trusts the most. The person who, for now, is his everything. And it was the most amazing feeling.

I'd been working on my computer as he enjoyed his afternoon juice. At some point during the juice break, he'd dropped the bottle and crawled over to me. I'll never know why. But I like to think it was just to remind me that he loves me. And let me tell you. That kind of love is the very best kind. The touch of that tiny hand was enough for me to snap my computer closed and snuggle on him until he was squirming to be let go. Those little moments won't be forever.

He won't always be waiting at the door, watching his daddy water the plants in complete awe. He won't always stretch his little arms up to me, begging to be held. He won't always crawl up to me, mouth wide open for a kiss. He won't always fall asleep in my lap, tiny little body curled up perfectly against my chest and feet tucked up against my tummy. He won't always want to snuggle. And he won't always want to be with me 24 hours a day. These are the little things I am going to passionately miss one day. One day very soon. Much sooner than I'd like.

So for now, I plan to soak them up. Every cry. Every kiss. Every grin. Every giggle. Every snuggle. Because these little things make life oh, so sweet.

Linking up with sweet Ashley today from Words About Waverly for the It's the Little Things series. Pop on over to join in!