Friday, September 4, 2015

Donuts & PJs & Gingham, Oh My! {Friday Link Ups}

Yes! Now that I work in a classroom this means even more!: Yes! Now that I work in a classroom this means even more!
1| This. Six of This. That's All.
The kiddos and I will be heading to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast today. And, though I tell myself I'm doing it for Caleb, we all know that I will be getting just as much pleasure out of the sweet, pumpkin glazed goodness as my two year old will. Also, I may just get 12. Maybe.

2| A Pajama Meltdown
After bathing Caleb one night this week, B came to me and asked if we had any 2T pjs. I told him no, and that I'd gone ahead and bought 3Ts last year, since a lot of Caleb's 2T shirts tend to be rather short on him. We then proceeded to open up Caleb's drawers...and realized that every single item of clothing I'd purchased for this fall and winter is 3T (and it's all stuff I purchased last year, so it can't be returned or exchanged). Every. Single. One. And most of them are way too big. Especially the pants. So, unless Caleb has a growth spurt in the near future, we are out of luck, and our son will have nothing - nothing - to wear. I won't lie, I had a bit of a meltdown when I realized this. Buying in advance may not have payed off this time around. Oops. On the flip side, realizing this did give me an excuse to do a bit of shopping. Caleb will be wearing these pajamas to celebrate Halloween, and this sweet little pair is heading his way as well. And don't get me started on all the adorable Christmas jammies I've got my eyes on now. Can you say brother-sister matching!?!

3| Cheapskate in Gingham
I missed out on this shirt the other day when I placed an order for Caleb. It had sold out, and I was bummed. Well, wouldn't you know, now it's back in stock....Buuuut, I've been doing some research, and have found a few other options I'm liking. Namely, this fitted option from Nordstrom. And my cheapskate side keeps telling me that the free shipping doesn't hurt. Anyone have or know anything about either of these options? I've love a little gingham in my life.

4| On an Uplifting Note
I love reading uplifting news articles. The news can be such a downer, and is always so full of sadness and hate lately, that it's nice to get some balance it out by reading good news now and then. This article was so lovely, it gave me the chills while reading it. Such a simple gesture - I wondered why we don't all do things like this more often for one another. Goal for the weekend: pay it forward!

5| Weekend Plans and Weekly Photo Dump
I am so, so, so excited that B has this weekend off. Y'all - this is his first holiday off since Christmas. Seriously. He worked Memorial Day. He worked 4th of July. But now we have Labor Day - which we weren't originally supposed to have, and just found out recently that he'd gotten. A glorious three day weekend. I am drunk with happiness over this. We would have loved to attend the wedding of some sweet friends of ours, but unfortunately, it's too late to RSVP now. So, we don't even have big plans or anything; just some much needed family time together. Thank you, Lord! Here's a few pictures from the last week.

Put a 5.5 inch bow on her. And realized that it may be a few years before she's ready for that. New bows order, coming right up!
 Wearing a 47 year old dress. And a more appropriately sized bow.
Love watching these two play together.
Hey there, blue eyes!

 Decided to try the jogger trend. These have a leather waistband and cuffs, and are super flattering. Fall, I'm ready for ya!
Lookin' so stinking cute while swinging for the first time in her brother's swing.

Of course, then brother needed a chance to swing too:)
Doing work.
Fun mail deliveries. Baby clothing is the best.

Linking up with my favorites for the weekly Friday fun. Visit their blogs to join in and participate!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

My Favorite Age {Five Things I Love About Two)

My childrens' milestones are always a bit bittersweet for me. It's exciting to watch them learn, grow, and achieve. But there's a tinge of sadness as well, because with each goal they meet, they take one giant step away from their days of squishy newborn-ness. Their days of rocking chair cuddles, and that sweet new baby smell. Their days of tiny shoes and soft squeals. Their days of reaching to be held, instead of running away. 

Despite having that tinge of wistfulness, when I look at my big boy, I can honestly say that Caleb at two years old is my FAVORITE thing ever. Two is just so much fun. I didn't have high expectations, what with all the "terrible two's" talk that everyone is always going on about. And yes, two is hard, and at times, demanding. Sometimes, the lack of logic with two year olds is frustrating, and having your patience tested over and over can be exhausting. But overall, I have found two to be just the sweetest, most fun age ever. Here's what I love about Caleb at two:

1| The Unbounded Joy
We opened a cereal box one day, and there was a cheap plastic Minion toy (from Despicable Me) in the box. You would have thought we won the lottery with how excited Caleb got. Other things Caleb gets excited about? Feeding the dog every morning. Helping Mommy change sissy's diaper. Getting three (mini) Oreos for dessert instead of just two. Going for a ride in Mommy's car. Getting to see his friends, Uriah ("Ri-ree"), Luke ("Wook") or Robert ("Rob-boo").  Saying hi to sissy every morning. Roaring like a dinosaur. Watching Paw Patrol. Having chocolate milk. Helping mommy cook dinner. Taking a walk to the mailbox to get the mail...all small things that you normally wouldn't think twice about, but that make this little boy's day! I hope he'll always find happiness in the little things.

2| The Uncensored Person That He Is
It gives me so much pleasure watching my little man be the person he is. Just being. Being silly, being loud, being funny, being rough, being boyish, being frustrating, being strong-willed, being sweet, being helpful, being kind. All qualities that make up his little personality, and all things that he is not afraid to share. No one has told him he needs to be anything other than what he is right now, and I hope they never do. He thinks he is great, and I love that. I hope that he is always confident, always kind, and always marches to the beat of his own drum, even if it means that he is the only one marching sometimes. 

3| The Pure FUN!
At two years old, my kid is fun. So, so fun. I thought he was fun at 6 months. I thought he was fun at 18 months. But nothing prepared me for 2. He is a ball of boyish energy, always ready to go, go, go - with the bumps and bruises to prove it. He is talking non-stop, and says the funniest things. He loves to laugh and wrestle and cuddle and read and take baths and go for walks and be in the car. He's just fun. He's my little buddy, and I love doing life with him. The other day, B and I were driving down the road to a lunch with friends, and the empty car seat in our backseat kept catching my eye. I knew that we were only going to be gone for a couple of hours - and I know that it's good (and necessary) for B and I to spend time with each other on our own. But I couldn't help but miss my little guy. I just love having him around, so even being away from him for a couple of hours makes my heart hurt a little. Sappy? Yes. Sorry not sorry.

4| The Little Helper Syndrome
Another positive of the two year old stage? The littler helper syndrome. Caleb is always, always, always wanting to help, and it's just the sweetest thing. He thinks he is big stuff because he gets to help feed our dog, Ellie, and our turtle every day. He comes running when it is time to change Vivian's diapers; he likes to keep her company and talk to her while I change her. He puts away a lot of his own toys now. He likes to pick out his pajamas every night before bed. He also loves to drag his little chair up to the kitchen counter when I am cooking to "help" cook. I usually give him his own little bowl, a spoon and a handful of flour or noodles, or some other ingredient, and let him stir it around, add water, and "cook." His little face just beams with pleasure, as he really thinks he is helping me make a meal, and when the meal is ready, you can see how excited he is that he was part of creating it. I love that he is so eager to help! It's just the best.

5| The Unconditional Love
This one makes me tear up just thinking about it. Because, honestly, there are times where, as Caleb's mama, I know I am not worthy of the love that this little boy has for me. There are times where I get frustrated or angry or stressed out, and take it out on him. There are days in which Caleb decides not to listen, and it just pushes one button too many, and he ends up in time-out or being spoken to in a tone in which he may not have fully deserved. Sometimes, he even gets his little hiney swatted (though, I will say - when it comes to that, it is always well-deserved). No matter what though, that child is always ready to give mama a hug. Even when he's been in trouble and had to be disciplined. Even when Mama isn't being super sweet. Caleb is right there reaching his little hands up for a hug. And that just does me in. I always want my children to know how very much they are loved. If they know that, then my job as a mama is a job well done. And having their love in return is a gift that I am so, so thankful for.

I learn from Caleb every. single. day. About what it means to live a life of joy. What it means to be thankful and excited about even the small things. What it means to be grateful for little blessings. What it means to take pleasure in the unexpected, even if the unexpected means that we are having peanut butter and jelly for lunch instead of grilled cheese.  I wouldn't trade my life as this little boy's mama for anything in this world, and feel so incredibly blessed to get to look at life through his eyes. What a privilege.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fall Style Must Haves {Plaids, Leather & More}

Now that it's September, we can all begin singing the praises of pumpkin spice lattes, riding boots, and scarves, am I right? Hallelujah, amen. Never mind the fact that it was 90 degrees yesterday here in Georgia, with a humidity factor of about 100%, leaving me drenched and sticky after pre-school drop off. There's nothing quite like having an entire conversation with your son's former Mother's Morning Out teachers, and then getting into your car and realizing your forehead is glaring, ahem, glistening, with a lovely sheen of sweat. Cute.

But, hopefully, the dog days of summer are on their way out, so we can begin partaking heartily in my personal favorite: the fall trends. Every year, I look forward to seeing what will come with the fall styles. And every year, I am never disappointed. The textures, colors, fabrics and prints are always my absolute fave. Give me all the suedes, leathers, plaids, velvets and lace.  Today, I thought I'd do a little round-up of some of my personal favorites for this fall season. Each of the items below are ones that I have either already added to my wardrobe, or will be looking to add as soon as possible. And you should too:)

I grabbed this tunic at Target a couple of weeks ago. It is finally in stock online (and on sale!), so hurry and grab one while you can. I nabbed the red and blue version - which is red, despite being called orange online, but I also love the navy and gold. It's long enough to pair with leggings or skinnies - while providing adequate bum coverage - so that makes it an automatic winner in my book.

As you all know, I've been singing the praises of the flared jean since July. I purchased this adorable pair, and already have several outfits planned around them. And for the price? How can you resist?

Since becoming a mom, I've realized that I really don't like dragging expensive bags out and about with me when I am with the kids. They get torn up too easily, and I just don't see the point in loading leaky sippy cups, and diapers, and snack cups full of crumbs into leather bags worth hundreds of dollars. My solution? But this tote in every color. Seriously. It's the best thing ever. I wore the blush one all spring and summer, and am now carting around the black version. Even after all the wear and tear of normal life, they are holding up great and still look new. Highly recommend.

I've also invested in a leather jacket this year - something I've wanted to do for forever. How cute is this little pretty? The fur collar is removable for a more casual look. More on where I found this gem to come;)

There's really nothing more classic than a good gingham shirt, am I right? They can be paired with almost anything, and are just so crisp and clean. Perfect for fall. I've seen several that I like, but this popover version has really caught my eye. And, of course, being such a budget-friendly option makes it even more enticing.

I mentioned that I finally bought into the fringe trend a couple of weeks ago when I purchased a pair of adorable suede booties. I snagged mine at TJ Maxx for a steal, and have been unable to locate them online to link for you. However, I came this close to purchasing this pair - which are a dead ringer for my pair, just a bit more expensive. *Side note: I noticed that Candance Cameron Bure - anyone know her? - has these, and was wearing them recently on her IG. Great minds;)

I would love, love, love to try this trend. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a poncho that fits me well enough to keep. You'd think that something as drapey and forgiving as a poncho would be a "one size fits all" kind of deal. But, nope. They really do need to fit correctly to keep from completely drowning someone. You want this look to be effortlessly chic or comfy-cozy. Not sloppy.

Though similar to a poncho, the cape is more of an outwear staple than something you'd wear as a sweater. You may recall seeing photos of Kate Middleton rocking a plaid cape last winter, while pregnant with Princess Charlotte? I love this one, and for the price, am thinking about trying it. With Nordstrom's free shipping and returns, it can't hurt. Right?

I've never been much of a hat girl. But this floppy felt version is such a classic, especially in the camel shade. I think maybe even I could pull it off? We shall see!

So, there's what I've got my eye on this fall. What are you hoping to add to your closet, ladies? Bring on the cooler temps and apple cider!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sweet Talkin' and Potty Training

September. Not the link, just the initial pic :): September. Not the link, just the initial pic :)

So, it's September. 

I'd like to pause for just a second to let that sink in...We are now 9 months through another year, y'all. I'll be packing up my sundresses and pulling out these old favorites any day now (if you don't have a pair, get one now - trust me.) The pumpkin donuts have arrived at our local Dunkin. And Starbucks is offering the PSL once again. Fall is officially on its way. At this time last year, I was hiding the news that I was pregnant, feeling sick as a dog, but looking forward to welcoming another little life into our family. And now our sweet girl has been here with us for almost 5 months, and we are preparing to celebrate the wonder of the most magical trifecta of the year - October, November and December - with her. How sweet life is. And how quickly it flies by. With the events of the last few weeks, I have been reminded more than ever of how important it is to soak up every. single. second.

Speaking of soaking up these seconds - a couple that I just had to share from over the weekend:

1) While at a lunch with friends on Saturday, I caught B in a discussion with a recently married friend of ours, who has expressed reluctance to have children any time soon. B was telling him that he absolutely loved it when I was pregnant, thought my pregnant belly was the most beautiful thing, was always so excited about all that we had to look forward to while I was pregnant with our children, and loved being able to reach over and lay a hand on my belly. Talk about sweetest thing ever, am I right?

It's one thing to have your husband say nice things to you while you're pregnant. I mean, who really wants to upset a pregnant girl. But to have them say nice things after the pregnancy is over? When you know full and well that you were a completely hormonal, crazy pregnant lady? That right there is Husband of the Year material. He said it in the sweetest, most earnest way, and it really just warmed my heart. I picked a winner.

2)  The potty training has begun in our house. On Sunday, we were stuck at home with bad weather and an unfunctioning car - don't even get me started on that. But, since we were just around the house all day, we decided to let Caleb try wearing underwear. He's been sitting on the potty on the regular lately, has expressed a desire to try to use the potty, and knows when he has a dirty diaper. All signals that he is approaching readiness for potty training. 

He was super excited about his Lightning McQueen big boy underwear, and looked so stinking cute running around in them. Every thirty minutes, either B or I would take him to the potty. Spoiler alert: it did not work. He had one accident in the family room while playing. And then another one on the way to come and get me - which showed progress, as I think he was trying to let me know, and just didn't make it. After that we popped him into a diaper for naptime, and have been trying potty breaks ever since, with little or no results. With him in school now, I don't have a few unbroken days until his fall break in a few weeks. So, we may try again then - and really give it our all. I'll be sure to update then. Riveting reading material, I know:)

Monday, August 31, 2015

In Memoriam {Lyndsie Beggs Brooker}

It's with a heavy heart that I share this post today. My sweet friend, Lyndsie Beggs Brooker, lost her battle with ovarian cancer, and went to be with Jesus on Friday, August 28. 

I had the privelege of meeting and knowing Lyndsie through my best friend, Erin, who is married to Lyndsie's brother. Though I have not spent a lot of time with Lyndsie, the times I did spend in her company were always full of laughs and fun. Totally indicative of the kind of person that Lyndsie was. She was beautiful. Sweet. Caring. Funny - so, so funny. An absolute light. She radiated the love of Jesus. The love of her husband. And the love of her family.

Over the last few months, I know that Lyndsie suffered greatly. I know that it killed her family to watch her bear the burden of such tremendous pain and suffering. For that reason alone, there is joy in knowing that Lyndsie has been made whole once again. That she is perfect and pain-free, and in the arms of Jesus. However, her absence here leaves a gaping hole that will never be filled. She leaves behind a loving husband. Two little children. And a family that loved and cared for her deeply. If you could continue to keep the Beggs and Brooker families in your prayers over the next few weeks and months, I know it would be appreciated. 

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fringe & Skin {Friday Link Ups}

Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti.

Happy Friday, ladies. Let's get right to the five things for this week, shall we?

1| Kindness
I am trying hard to live by the motto above, and to instill it in my children. It's really easy to get caught up in living for yourself and always putting yourself first - especially since that mindset is so promoted by the society we live in. But the truth is, living for yourself can lead to a very selfish lifestyle. And in my experience, selfish people are always the most unhappy people. I hope that my children will grow up to understand the value of kindness, going the extra mile for others, and realizing that in life it's not always what you can get, but what you can give. I know that I can do better in this area, but cheers to making a concerted effort.

2| Fringe Booties
The hint of fall we had earlier this week with our cool(er) mornings and evenings, has me so excited for the coming months...and the fashion that will come with them. These pretties made their way into my closet last week. They are Jessica Simpson - I found them at TJ Maxx, so unfortunately, I can't link to them for you. If you happen to have a TJ Maxx store near you, it'd be worth a trip to see if they happen to be in stock. I am so excited to be trying the fringe trend, but in a subtle way. Don't be surprised if you see me rocking these babies, oh, every day. They are so stinkin' cute, both my mom and my sister ran out to snatch up a pair too. #justcallmetrendsetter (ha!)

Similar options here (on sale), here and here

3| Skin Help Wanted
Y'all. My skin feels so dull. So, so dull. I remember feeling this way after having Caleb, but it's been magnified with having Vivi and operating in a constant state of exhaustion. My late nights and early mornings, paired with my Coca Cola penchant do not help, I'm sure. But I also just think my skincare routine could use a little help. I use a Clarisonic, but need to start incorporating it into my normal routine. I also have a nightcream that I really like. So here's what I'm looking for: 

-A good day cream with SPF. I don't think basic Oil of Olay is going to cut it anymore. Suggestions?

-A night serum, preferably with retinol to encourage cell turnover. I tried this one after all the hype about it and was sadly, not impressed. Anyone know any good options? Preferably that won't cost me my life's savings?

-And, finally... Yes. We're going there. Anti-aging. I think I need to get on the bandwagon. I don't see any (many) lines yet. But I also don't think it's too early to start preventative measures. I tried a sample of this product. And LOVED it. But don't love the price. Can I find something else that's more economical? Or am I destined to fork over lots of dollars for a quality product? 

Skin care junkies, please advise. I need my youthful, pre-baby glow back!

4| Pumpkin All The Things
And so it begins. While making a Dunkin Donut run (because we don't have a Krispy K near us) earlier this week, you better believe I asked when the pumpkin donuts would be making a reappearance on the scene. 

Next week, y'all. Next week. You're welcome.

5| Weekly Photo Dump

 Is is time for this yet? No?

 Holding her hand while watching a movie. Heart melted.
 Working on her selfie game.

Real life: Brother stole that toy from sissy. Then commenced wide-eyed stare, like "Who, me?" while Vivi scream-cried.

 Sweetest little balding head you ever did see. She's losing her hair in a ring where she sleeps on it.

As ususal, linking up with the girls of the blogs below! Grab their buttons and link up to join in:)