Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween! Our trip to the pumpkin patch...

Even though these little ones will not remember this, my sister, parents, and I will!  
Last week, my sister and I, along with our girls and gramz and pops, took a trip to the pumpkin patch near my sister's house.  It is such a sweet place and the weather was perfect.  We had to wake Andie up because she fell asleep on the way over, so she wasn't exactly thrilled.  It's all worth it for the photos, right?!  Such sweet memories.  Thanks to my mom, Gramz, for their matching and personalized shirts :)
Before we woke her up for pictures....
My sweet sister, Juju.

Have a Happy {and safe} Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Andie's mini photoshoot

While visiting with the girls down in Los Angeles a little over a week ago, my talented girlfriend Nikki casually snapped pictures of Andie.  She did it in about 5 minutes, and got so many great shots.  She is so talented with her camera, and I loved these unexpected shots of our sweet girl!  (And a few of me, her and TL... which I don't have many of!)  :)  Thanks Nikki!
I wasn't in the room, but apparently Andie thinks her daddy is hilarious! :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

5 on Friday

Happy Friday!

ONE.   I finally decorated my house for fall.  It looks the exact same every year, and don't have much, but I enjoy it!  It was so fun to pull out the decor because it reminds me of the exciting time of year.  I really do love this season, and this year is going to be a special one with our sweet girl!

TWO.  My girlfriend (you all know her, Nikki, from La Mia Vita) snapped some pictures (so casually in about 5 minutes) of Andie when I saw her last weekend and I can't believe how cute they turned out.  Nic, you are so talented... love them... and finally have a couple pictures of Andie and I that I don't hate the way I look in.  Will share more soon.
THREE.  I have already started Christmas shopping.  I can't believe it's two months from TODAY!  It creeps up on me every year.  Is it weird that I am also excited for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals?  My husband thinks I am coocoo because I have my credit card number memorized.  Step away from the online sales and free shipping!!
FOUR.  Ebba released their Abundance Candles!  My favorite is the quotes on the front of the candles.  They make such a cute gift.   Love that everything from Ebba is hand made in Los Angeles.

FIVE.  The youth volunteers involved with the non profit I work for are doing our neighborhood food blitz this coming weekend.  Basically, we drop grocery bags off at people's homes with a wish list of items the local food banks need.  If they have anything in their pantry they wish to donate, they fill the bag and put it on the doorstep - then our youth volunteers will come by their house a week later to pick it up.  The food banks are in NEED right now - so any little bit helps.  It feels good to help fill hungry bellies.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Baby girl is ready for fall!

Why are baby girl clothes so freaking cute?
Gap, carters, gymboree, old navy, target... I can't get enough!

Here are a few baby fall fashions that I can't pass up.  Too cute!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Favorite Fall Styles and Boots

I haven't done much shopping for myself yet this year, but I do know I would love to get a few staple items that I can throw together that remind me of this time of year.  I am obsessed with boots - and Steve Madden boots always seem to do the trick for me!  I want glasses, but don't need them. 

Fall Wear

Fall & Winter Boot

Fall & Winter Boot by tracyzlesh featuring faux-suede boots

What are some of your favorite fall staple items? 
For me, it's boots, scarves, and sweaters!
And nail polish too.

Monday, October 14, 2013

I am starting to sound like my mother...

... and I am 100% completely okay with that.

A few days ago, I was singing my morning song to Andie while I was changing her diaper.  I stopped right in the middle of my made up song, looked in the mirror above her changing table and said out loud, "wow, I sound just like my mom."

I wasn't referring to my inability to carry a tune (although, sorry mom, we may have that in common too), but it was the words I was singing, the looks I was making to Andie, the feeling I had in my heart.  I could feel it.  I am starting to sound like my mom.  And it's absolutely one of the best things that could ever happen.

Growing up, my mom has always made us her first priority.  Her favorite thing in the world is her girls, and I have never, ever doubted her love for us.  She's not one of those moms that had the "cheer mom" sticker on her mini van, or the one in the audience of our oral language fair performance boasting to other moms "that's my daughter, isn't she beautiful"!?  She's not the one to brag or find the superficial and physical attributes of her daughters the most charming.  But I have always known she is proud of me.  She has said to us since we were little, "real beauty is on the inside".  And that thought has never steered me wrong.

My mom has always been a friend to her girls.  But first and foremost, she is our mom and growing up we muttered those awful words words "I hate you" a time or two.  It's because she knew she had to teach us the meaning of the word "no!" and stick to it.  She had to teach us (and I am not sure how she did) to appreciate everything we had and how hard she and my dad always worked to give us a good life.  But she did it so subtly.  The words "I love you" were said often, and I never had a good night sleep unless my mom was there to give me a kiss goodnight.  I still remember yelling for her from my bunk bed.

My dad has always worked very hard to provide for us (& he is a fantastic father).  He worked a couple jobs while I was growing up, and my mom worked too - but we were her full time job.  My mom managed to do everything a woman does to provide for a family with 3 girls in tow.  And she did it gracefully with no help from her parents, in laws, or a sitter.  It's something you don't always appreciate when you're young... but, I can yell this now from the highest mountain top - Mom, I don't know how you did it.  But you did.  And you did it so well.  Grocery shopping can be an adventure with just one... and she did it with three no problem.  And she tells us all the time that she enjoyed it.  There was no where else my mom wanted to be but with her family.

My mom is absolutely hands down the best mom I could have ever asked for.  She has shown me unconditional love, encouraged me, been my biggest critic when i've needed it, and lead a life that is definitely an example of how I want to live mine.

When I say I am sounding like my mother... I am not saying I will be the best mom.  What I do mean is... this baby girl is the center of my world.  I can suddenly feel this love and understand everything she has said to me over the years from her perspective.  I only HOPE to be half the woman and mother she is.

I love you, mom.  Thank you so much for being you.  Gosh, I am so lucky and proud to be your daughter.  And now, my heart is so warm and happy when I see Andie smile at you.  You're her Gramz, she loves you, and she is one very lucky girl to have you.

{an oldie, but I love it}

Friday, October 11, 2013

Dear Andie... You're 5 months old!

My sweet daughter,

5 months!  The sweetest, most heart warming months of my life.  You have brought me so much joy every day.  The highlight of the last month for me has been your noises.  You have developed the cutest little giggle, which sometimes turns into a happy scream, and you love when we make faces at you.  I can almost always get you to smile when I say "I love you sooooo much!"  You talk all the time and I wish I could understand what you're saying.

You are quite talented at putting anything in your mouth.  Toys, fingers, blankets, anything you can reach goes right into your mouth.  You'll even grab my face and try to gnaw on it.  One of the cutest things you've started doing is taking your paci out of your mouth and putting it back in by yourself.  If we hand it to you, you'll stick it right in your mouth.

You are wearing lots of 3 month and 3-6 month sized clothes.  Your Gramz loves to buy you clothes and you and your cousin Stella have quite a few matching outfits.  You're in size 2 diapers and have managed to blow many of them out.  Your little feet are finally growing a little bit and your hands have gotten bigger too!

You slept through the night a couple of times this month (even for one long 11 hour stretch, I had to get up twice to make sure you were okay), but you typically go from about 8-9pm to about 4-5am.

Bath time is most often with me in the big tub because you love the water.  You were splashing and kicking so much in your little tub that we upgrade when we can.

You still aren't a fan of the car.  Daddy and I have a few tricks up our sleeve (Mickey Mouse Club House and Little Einsteins on the iPad), but sometimes nothing works.  We have moved you back into your car seat carrier instead of the big girl car seat because you seem a little more comfortable in it now that you're bigger.  I know it's something you'll grow out of.

You are very mellow, especially in the mornings.  Sometimes, I will lay next to you and you'll just look around and take everything in.  I am amazed at how good of a baby you are.  You especially love to be held, and at events, you'll let anyone hold you!

You are moving and scooting all over the place.  We can't leave you on the floor and expect you to stay put - you'll scoot yourself in all directions and roll around to get where you want to go!  It amazes me that you're becoming so good at moving around.

You tried rice cereal for the first time on October 7th!  You did so well and over the last couple nights, you have loved eating it.  I think you may be a good eater, just like you are with breastfeeding.

This month has made me even more aware of how proud I am to be your mom.  When I look into your sweet blue eyes, I am truly overwhelmed with love for you.  Sometimes, you and I will just stare at each other.  I know I will forever cherish these moments and days with you, so I am doing my best to not take this precious time for granted.  When daddy and I take you out in public, you do so well, especially when attached to our chest in the bjorn.  You love to see out and talk to people.  I love taking you around and introducing you to the world, you've given me a different and special perspective on life.

I love you so much and although I am devastated by how quickly time is passing, I know you are growing and developing well and nothing makes me happier.  I hope you never doubt how loved you are.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Some of my favorite bloggers

This blogging world is truly fabulous... I have met some great ladies from all over the country (& world)!  They are supportive, encouraging, and a great source of advice, ideas, and creativity.  I am so appreciative of all the connections I have made, and love keeping in touch through our blogs, instagram, and Facebook.

I have updated my sidebar - lower left hand side - with some of the great blogs I love to read.  There are still several that I need to add, I just have to sit down and organize my thoughts :)  Here are some of the ladies I know that you may enjoy as well:

1.  Natasha from Hello Happiness - You probably already know her, because lets face it, she's fabulous!  She is one of my favorite people to follow along with.  I will make it to Nashville one of these days and her and I are going to have a play date with our girls :)
2.  Nicole from La Mia Vita.  She is one of my IRL friends, but that's not why I love to follow along with her.  She is adventurous, a travel maniac, has lived abroad, and always gives me a unique perspective on life through her beautiful photographs and writing. 
3. Caroline from Simply Smithwick - she has a weenie dog named Knox, so of course I love her :)  She has a huge heart that you can see in her photos on instagram and written out on her blog.  She has a beautiful baby boy and is now pregnant with her second baby.  She's had a very unique journey to motherhood, and I have loved reading along for the last couple years!
4.  Colleen from Meet the Sullivans - this mama is so creative and is a maniac in the kitchen.  She has a ton of good recipes for food and drinks and her pictures are always beautiful.  If you're ever looking for dinner ideas for a casual night at home, or the perfect drink recipe for a party you're hosting - she's got it all!
5.  Caley from Ellie Love.  Who doesn't love Caley.  She is truly the sweetest girl.  I have loved getting to know her and learn more about life in South Africa.  She recently sent me a package from SA and TL and I were so blown away.  She always has thoughtful and sweet posts on her blog.

What are some of your must-read blogs?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Painted Nails & Time for Me

I've never been one to have painted nails.  Not only have I always been horrible at keeping up with them, but they always end up driving me nuts.  It's something you have to stay on top of if you want them to look good.

I hear some women say after they have kids they stop having time to care about themselves and put effort into their looks.  Occasionally, I do use Andie as my excuse, but really I have never really been great at taking the time to beautify myself like I should.  I don't think it's too much different with her here.  Work meetings force me to get out of my work out clothes and get somewhat put together.  Pony tails and very little make up are common in my world.  But something about my painted nails has recently been making me feel better, more feminine, and more put together.

It's my "secret solo mommy behavior"  (see also: "secret single behavior (ssb) from Sex & The City).  Lets face it, we all need a few moments to unwind - no matter how sweet our children and significant others are, it's important and healthy to have a little solo time.  It's time for me to be by myself in my bathroom to give myself a mini manicure.  I need time for them to dry, so it can't be when she's napping in case she wakes up - it needs to be dedicated time for me.  No diaper changes, baths, outfit changes until they're completely dry.  It's time for me to just relax.  I am very fortunate (as I know not all moms get this time) to have a husband home in the evenings to occasionally give me this time.  And I have really loved picking up some new colors for fall.

So, what about you?  What do you do in that time to yourself? 

Friday, October 4, 2013

5 on Friday

ONE.  A girlfriend of mine signed me up for Blissmo Box and I have started receiving monthly boxes filled with "mommy and baby" samples and products.  This month's has a new mama tush-soothing mist, all natural laundry soap, and My True Nature baby soap.  I still need to try a couple products - but I love the idea of trying new things! They have a TON of different themed boxes you can sign up for - it's not just for new moms!

TWO. I love the blogging community - there are so many amazing women, including Caley (Ellie Love) who I adore.  She sent this sweet package to me all the way from South Africa.  It was so exciting to see it on the door step with the SA stamps all over the front.  She is really thoughtful and now I am going to have some fun trying to figure out what to send to her from Cali!  Any ideas?  Thank you, Caley - your brightened by day - so sweet of you to send these thoughtful gifts to us!

THREE.  With the cooler weather yesterday, I busted out my mom's famous taco soup recipe and made it for dinner for Tim and I.  It was delicious (as usual) and perfect to chow down on while we watched Thursday night football. :)

FOUR.  I love this quote and it's something I try to remind myself of everyday!

FIVE.  Abbey, mama of 3 adorable triplet girls, is also a creative headband maker and Etsy shop owner.  I LOVE her stuff.  She sent over a few headbands for Andie to try out and I love them.  They don't leave marks on her head - and she does custom sports team bows - she made her a gold 49er one that is so cute.  She has a ton of stuff at her Etsy shop (The Pleated Polka Dot) and does a lot of specials on her facebook page!  We are doing a giveaway starting today and ending next Thursday - it's easy to enter, all you have to do is "like" her facebook page.  There are a few extra things you can do to better your chances of winning.  Good luck!

Also - if you LOVE good quality bows and headbands - she is doing a special... for anyone who wants 10% off their entire order - enter the code TIGTT10 at check out! This code expires next Sunday (10/13).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Erin Condren Planner Review

Last year, I ordered my first ever Erin Condren planner... and I have loved it.
I was so excited to pick out and order another one this year and tried to customize it differently because I wanted something new for this next year and I LOVE it.  I don't get her famous Life Planners... I get her notebook and then add a calendar - and it works perfectly for me.  The designer classic ones have really festive pages and quotes.  The keep it simple ones are much more plain.
There is a reason so many people rave about her planners.  They are great quality - mine held up perfectly for an entire year.  They have the cutest monthly view calendars (I don't use the weekly) and the paper is perfect for keeping my to-do lists and weekly notes.  I love the "page keeper" & ruler it comes with to keep me on my page.  It also has a handy little folder and pouch in the back to keep receipts, etc.  I love mine!

This year, I wanted colorful and fun.  And I put one of my favorite quotes on it...
"there's always time for a happy dance"
I love it.
Love the darling packaging and the sweet quotes on the inside pages...
Love the calendar.  Easy for me to see monthly view!

I LOVE my EC planner :)
Happy Tuesday and first day of October!!