Turner’s 5th Birthday

I can’t believe my baby is FIVE!? Where did the time go? I remember when he was born thinking 5 was so far away. I feel like it’s such a milestone! FIVE!?

I must say, he is like a fine wine. He gets better with age. He is a true first child. He’s a pleaser, a snuggler, and has the sweetest heart I’ve ever seen. I’d like to take credit for that, but he was born exactly that way. I love him more than words can describe! I see so much of myself AND my husband in him. What a joy it was to celebrate him!

This year he planned his birthday party for the first time. Usually I have a theme and matching food and am all Pinterest crazy. This year he just wanted his buddies (and Gracie, of course) and a jump castle. I must say, it was the easiest party I’ve ever planned! No frills. No fuss. Just straight up fun with his friends!

We grilled up some hot dogs, made some PB&Js, and had cupcakes. Simple and perfect! Happiest of birthdays to our sweet Bubba!

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Happy Halloween!

What a weekend of celebrating we had! I swear each year gets better and better! Turner and Gracie dressed up as Beauty and the Beast which was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! It was Turner’s idea, which is hilarious! They looked adorable, although it was like herding cats trying to get their picture! They used to pose so nicely! Now either one is crying, one’s hungry, one’s distracted, or one’s touching the other causing a screaming fit! I managed to get a few. Their faces say it all :o)

We had, what felt like, party after party! Over the weekend we had two parties AND our neighborhood parade! Our neighborhood is amazing. There are tons of kids and tons of moms that are so good at doing creative things! We had our neighborhood chili cook-off, pizza and an ice cream truck, and jump castles! The fire truck even came to lead our parade. And of course, we have a ton of kids in our house on the regular. This time was extra cute (and insane) because they were dressed up!

Gracie guarded the food like she was Queen of the Castle. And Turner just tried to sneak cookies every time I turned my head!

Tuesday was the first Halloween that we didn’t have friends over to trick-or-treat with us. We usually have the same routine year after year! A big pot of chili and cornbread for dinner and wine on the porch while we hand out candy. This year, Turner wasn’t feeling well enough to have friends over. But, by golly, we did trick or treat and we did eat chili and drink wine! It was one to remember! Happy Halloween!

 

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Halloween Gingerbread House

I was in Trader Joe’s the other day and noticed one of those boxed gingerbread kits in the “impulse buy” section. I’ve never seen one for Halloween before! But the thought of it excited me. I contemplated, as I stood in line, whether or not to buy one. Every time we attempt building one, it falls over, or the kids eat all the candy, or our giant dog knocks it off the counter and eats it. But I sure do love building them! So I grabbed one and put it in my basket.

I told Turner that we would build it after school on Monday. He was counting down the seconds! Yesterday, after Gracie’s nap and his quiet time, we started the festivities. We put on our Fall Music (a.k.a Nat King Cole), lit our pumpkin spice candle, and got to work! They were each in charge of kneading the bags of icing which they thought was extremely thrilling. Once they were finished, I assembled the house. We had to let it sit for a few minutes to dry before decorating. That’s the mistake we’ve always made in the past! We would start decorating, and the whole thing would collapse. I finally learned my lesson. So we sorted our candy and waited!

I put the icing on, and the kids added the candy. I think Gracie ate more than she put on the house. At one point she had shoved so much candy in her mouth that she looked like a chipmunk! I kept trying to push everything farther away from her so she would stop eating it. But she literally climbed on the counter so she could reach!

I fought the urge to try to control their decorating, but every part of me wanted to tell them what to do. You know, the way my older brother did to me as a kid? So, instead, I decorated my side and let them decorate theirs :o)

And Stew walked in just in time to get a photo of me giving them the Mom Eye threatening their very existence if they ate another piece of candy!

I’m not sure what I expected. Giving kids three bowls of candy and expecting them not to eat it is just setting them up for failure. But we finished our house! And we had a lot of fun doing it which is all that matters, right? Here is the finished product!

Now that the weather is cooler and it’s October, we’re officially ready for the holidays!

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4th of July and Self Control

I don’t know whose idea it was to do Whole 30 over 4th of July! We literally had three days of BBQ’s. We contemplated starting over on the fifth, but we were already 3 days in, and I kinda wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, even with 7 layer dip, crescent roll wrapped hot dogs, and deviled eggs staring me in the face.

Guess what! We did it! We made food for our friends and had a little separate dish of grilled lemon chicken for us. We also ate and drank our body weight in watermelon and LaCroix. If I was more prepared I could have made a Whole 30 feast for everyone! But my impulsive decision to start on July 1st left me lacking a plan, so alas, I stuck to our original menu!

We had a blast! And having three separate occasions to dress Turner and Gracie in the festive outfits my mother in law sent was the icing on the cake!

Our neighbors across the street set off the loudest, most obnoxious fireworks! Up until this year, Turner would wake up hysterically crying because the noise scared him beyond words. I’m thinking he might be able to handle some firework action this year. So our plan is to keep Turner up and watch them! Hey, if you can’t beat ’em join ’em! Can’t wait to mix up a mocktail and party it up! Happy 4th!!

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A Healthier “Easter Basket” & Toddler Snacks

I recently saw a blog post by Danielle Walker on building a healthier Easter basket. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am plagued by the thought of feeding sugar and candy to my kids! Not that it never happens, but when it’s within my control, I try to have healthier (and just as delicious) options for Turner and Gracie to avoid the temptation and help them build healthy habits! Enter the Easter basket…

I just can’t get down with loading a basket full of candy and handing it over to my kids! I just can’t! So, after reading Danielle’s post, I decided to take a trip with the kids so they could pick out some of their favorite snacks from the bulk aisle of Whole Foods. They were actually SUPER excited about this! This is what they picked out: pistachios, dried mango, banana chips, cacao energy bites, and some frozen berries. (I know you’re probably thinking, well your kids are freaks. My kids would never pick out pistachios. But the idea is, get them to pick what they want within the boundaries that you’ve created. And remember, you can always say NO!) So these are the goodies they’ll snack on Easter morning! We had to test it out of course…

While we’re at it, I wanted to share a recent lunch and breakfast idea. Basically, anything that is arranged in a pretty pattern will have my kids gobbling it down! So our lunches recently have been Peanut butter, honey, and Coconut Butter (this is the bomb. Warm it and spread it on bread, or drop a huge spoonful in your smoothies) with a side of fruit, cheese, and pistachios. They tear it up!

Another idea, now that it’s getting warmer, is the smoothie bowl! You can make it however you want. Here’s the deal though, it’s thicker than a smoothie, so that means more work on your blender. I use a high speed blender (like THIS) so it doesn’t explode. Another option is the food processor which works great. OR if you don’t have either of these, just add some more liquid to thin it out a bit. It’s still delicious! So in this bowl I had about (I don’t measure) 2 cups organic frozen berries, 1/2 ripe avocado, 1 cup frozen banana, heaping Tbsp Coconut Butter, 1/2 cup to 1 cup of strawberry cashew milk (use whichever liquid you like), 1/2 cup raw walnuts, 1 Tbsp Acai Powder. Start on low speed and build up to high using the tamper (if you have a Vitamix) to blend completely. Pour into bowls and top with goodies like Cacao Nibs, coconut, and fresh or frozen berries. SO GOOD!

 

Happy snacking!

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Valentine’s Day Traditions

Ahhhh Valentine’s Day. One of my favorite holidays! Not for the romance and flowers (that part’s nice too), but because we’ve weirdly made it a super special holiday! Stew and I started the tradition of making fondue every Valentine’s Day more than a decade ago. It’s evolved from sitting in his garage apartment that shook when someone walked up the stairs, to being in the comfort of our home surrounded by our babies (who stress us out and teach us how to love so deeply all at the same time)! It’s no better or worse, it just shows how life is ever-changing!

Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that makes me think about love and relationships. It’s not like the movies. The years go by and people change. I don’t get butterflies when Stew and I hold hands, but there’s a different kind of love that has grown. It’s one of depth and comfort and need. It makes me think about how no one person is going to fit every check box and marriage isn’t easy. But it’s worth working at. It’s worth talking through the downs and celebrating the ups. I feel blessed to have a husband who loves me more than words can express and who thinks I’m beautiful in my sweatpants and glasses. That’s what it’s about, isn’t it? Once the newness and passion wear off, hopefully there’s a depth that keeps you coming back for more!

As moms, our husbands get the leftovers. They get the tired, stress-out version of us at the end of the day. They are the ears that hear our complaints. While we give to our jobs and our kids all day, our husbands don’t get any of that! So this holiday reminds me that our husbands deserve more than the other areas of our lives to which we give. Because when Mommy and Daddy are happy, the rest falls into place. So here’s to a Happy Valentine’s Day, wherever you may be!

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Happy New Year!

This is my favorite post of the year! It’s a recap of our year in pictures! It’s been one of the best to date!

We dressed in our holiday best

We moved to a dreamy nest

We celebrated birthdays

And went on family vacays

And caught up on much needed rest!

It was a year to remember. One of growing, and learning, and loving more than we ever thought imaginable! A year of thanking God for our many blessings and praying for many more to come!

Thank you for letting us share our family with you! Wishing you a Happy New Year! May 2017 be filled with joy and blessings (and sparkly dresses)!

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Merry Christmas!

To say that this was our best Christmas yet is a huge understatement! We are blessed beyond measure and have enjoyed every last second of this holiday season! Decorating the house was an absolute joy! I loved sprinkling every inch with holiday cheer!



This Christmas was filled with festive garb, Christmas movies, nebulizer treatments and snuggles, hot chocolate-a-plenty, and reading about Baby Jesus! We packed as much into this Christmas month as we possibly could!

Christmas morning was perfect! I was up at 5:30 and went downstairs to put Monkey Bread in the oven before anyone was awake. I crept upstairs with coffee and Stew and I waited for the kids to wake up! Turner slept in later than he ever has (6:45)! I wanted to wake him up but since both kids were just getting over strep throat, I figured he needed his sleep.

FINALLY, he started yelling from his room, “I’M AWAAAAAKE”! So we went to get him and then headed downstairs to see if Santa came! And boy did he come! But before anyone could touch presents, we had to get our token family photo (insert post-traumatic flashbacks of my dad setting up spotlights for the perfect video which seemed to take hours)!

Turner had a blast opening gifts! Gracie didn’t really get it. She mostly got food and stuffed animals which kept her happy!

After a morning of playing, napping, and cooking, my family arrived for more presents, food and celebrating!

And of course, Christmas with my family wouldn’t be Christmas without our token Christmas carol singing and nearly fatal dance party!

Merry Christmas to you! I hope it was a great one!

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Christmas Cookie Baking

I can’t believe next week is Christmas! I feel like it was just Thanksgiving and we were just putting up our Christmas tree.

I have enjoyed this holiday season so much. The kids are at the best ages and they’re so excited about all things Christmas. One of our favorite traditions is baking Christmas cookies at my mom’s house with my grandma. We’ve been doing it forever, and each year is a new experience.

Watching the transformation of the kids when I look back on pictures is just incredible! I’ve gone from baking while holding Turner in a wrap at just a few weeks old, to Turner actually being a part of the process with Gracie snatching cookie dough when no one’s looking!

Turner loves to cook and bake with me. He’s no stranger to being in the kitchen. It’s one of our favorite things to do together! So doing it with my mom and grandma is even more exciting and special!

While Turner helped with cookies, Gracie did some work of her own.

Christmas really is so magical! While it’s fun to talk Santa and twinkling lights, the best part is spending quality time with this incredible family God has blessed us with and celebrating the reason for the season, Jesus’s birth! Merry (almost) Christmas!

 

 

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It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas!

Thanksgiving is, hands down, my favorite holiday! I love getting together with our family, eating good food, and being reminded of how blessed we all are! It also means that Christmas is around the corner, and it’s officially ok to decorate and listen to Christmas music (though I usually start that in October)!

One of the things that I was most excited about when moving into our new home was decorating for the holidays. So here is a sneak peak of some of our Christmas decor.

The kids seem just as excited as I am about the holidays. Turner has been steady watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for a week now (hence the red nose in the pic below). Today we will go get our Christmas tree and decorate while we rock out to some Christmas tunes. I can hardly wait!

But for now, I’ll leave you with some sugar from these cuties xoxo.

 

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