Tuesday, June 28, 2016

a little house tour

I've been wanting to do a little house tour for a while now, but for some reason just haven't gotten around to doing it. I'm pretty sure I shared glimpses of our home before, but never room by room. The other day Landon took Emerson to the pool and I stayed home while Oliver napped. I was able to get so much done. I finally got all our laundry folded and put way, the rooms tidied up, and did some much needed cleaning as well. I took advantage of an empty house and snapped a few pictures of our living spaces. 

On to our not so fancy house tour, it's pretty self explanatory, so I'll let the pictures do the talking. First up is our living room, what you see as soon as you walk in the front door.  


The view from the far corner looking at the front door. Our walls are pretty bare, and they'll stay that way until we move and buy a house. One day they're will be pictures and things filling those blank spaces and I look forward to that day. But until then, this is what it is, and it works. 


Our kitchen is right off the living room and it's where we spend a lot of time. Me especially. It's not my favorite, but it works. I miss having counter space and look forward to the day where I'll be able to prepare our meals without having to clean everything as soon as I use it so I have space to work on the next part of fixing dinner. It's exciting to think about the day we get to move to Kansas, so I can have a bigger kitchen. Because, yes, a bigger kitchen is defiently a must.


Our tiny kitchen is bigger than the first kitchen we had when we were married, but with four people to make meals for, it's a challenge. I just try to be thankful for the space we do have. I would love to paint the cabinets white and add hardware, but since we don't actually own our home, I can't really do that. But it works and we enjoy lots of family time in there, which is what's most important.


This past fall I decided to make the finished part of our basement into a play room. Emerson and Bee were too big to play in his room, and they destroyed the living room every day and it was driving me bonkers. So as much as I hate basements, I hate a tornado in my living room even more. I gradually moved Emerson's toys and things downstairs. We already had most of the furniture, I just moved some it from other rooms to make it work in the play room. I did get the white cubby shelving unit and bins because we needed storage space. But other than that, everything else we already had.


After Christmas I was doing some shopping and saw some colored twinkle lights. I love twinkle lights, and thought some colored ones would be a fun addition to the play room, add some color, cheer, and brightness to the room. The walls were completely bare so I scoured Pinterest and found a bunch of free printables. I printed them off, stuck them on some scrapbook paper I already had, put washi tape on clothes pins [both of which I already had], and then taped them to the walls to hang the prints.


After the prints were hung and the twinkle lights were hung, I found that I actually liked being down there. A little bit of color and cheer can go a long way. Our landlord approved our request to paint the room, but after talking about it, we decided to forgo the paint and I'm okay with that since the prints add a lot of color. The last thing I added was a clock, mostly for function but also a little bit for more color and what not on the walls. I feel like I've put so much into this room and kind of actually love it now. Also, so you know, these play room pictures were taken when Emerson was not home. This space is only this clean after we pick it up before lunch and usually always looks like a tornado came through.


Emerson's room is upstairs by our room. He and Oliver were going to share a room and we even had Oliver's crib in there for the first five or six months of Oliver's life. But Emerson is a crazy sleeper [as in, he likes to run around his room and yell and not sleep if he doesn't want to sleep, which is a lot] and we didn't want Oliver in there with him for fear of Emerson keeping him awake/waking him up and vise versa. Anyone who has their kiddos sharing a room, please tell me how you make it work!


Even though Emerson's bed is the only one in there, it's still kind of the boys room. Oliver's clothes are in there and that's where the three of us play a lot of the time.


This is our laundry room / used to be my little work space / is now Oliver's sleeping room. Don't judge. If you heard the wild, loud, crazy shenanigans from Emerson and how Oliver can howl at night too, you would use the laundry room for the baby's crib too.


I'm glad our laundry room is big enough to accommodate Oliver's crib, but I do wish he had a room of his own. A room all of his clothes, books, and toys could be in at the same time. But that's not where we're at right now, so this is what it is and it works. Sorry, Oliver. But you do like sleeping in your own little space. So that's good, right? I do dream about the day we get to buy a house and move into it. One with a bedroom for each of the boys. I've already started thinking about how I'm going to fix Oliver's room for him once we get a house in Kansas. Fun stuff I tell ya. 


Our bedroom is upstairs also, but I didn't have time to get a picture of it. Maybe I'll add that in soon. It serves as our bedroom, my work space, and Oliver's toy/play place. It's a pretty small room so all of those things in it makes it even more crowded, but it works and I'm making the most of it for now. 

Of course we have bathrooms too, but I also ran out of time for those. They aren't terribly exciting but maybe one day I'll share those too. 

Thanks for "stopping by" :) 




Monday, June 27, 2016

little gifts [478 - 503]

Hello and happy Monday! Last week we were without internet [the horror ;], but after a few minutes of realizing that we just wouldn't have internet for a week I made amends and just enjoyed life free of the entertainment the internet brings. Instead I found myself doing a lot of other things I enjoy but don't usually do because well, I'm slightly addicted to the internet and all that jazz. Hopefully this week will start to look a little more normal for us and I'll be able to have some sort of connection to the outside world [kidding, but not really]. Anyhow, because it's Monday I thought I'd go ahead and share a few gifs from this past week or so.

original source unknown 

478. colors filling a page, bringing it to life

479. a warm breeze on a hot humid day

480. waking with the sun

481. a quiet walk, just Oliver and me, in the still of the morning

482. rays of sunlight streaming through the trees

483. reading a good book on a shaded patio

484. hot summer air hugging my body

485. little arms wrapped tight around my neck

486. listening to the sweet squeals of Oliver's giggles

487. the coolness of an air conditioned room

488. the smell of sunscreen on Emerson's check when I give him a kiss

489. a bubble bath to enjoy once the day is done

490. warm and fluffy towels straight from the dryer

500. being smothered in kisses by Oliver

501. carrying Oliver in a carrier, whispering sillies in his ear

502. two sleeping boys in the car

503. making up one more story to tell Emerson


What are some of the gifts in your life today?




 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Oliver / 12 month update

You are 12 months old, Oliver! That's one whole year of life for you! Happy happy one year to you little nugget. We celebrated your birthday in a low key fashion, that's kind of how we do things and you loved every minute of it. I'll write a separate post for your birthday fun, but I wanted to be sure to write your 12 month update before you got too much bigger and before a lot has changed.

At 12 months, you are full of energy and curiosity. You are constantly on the move and love to get your hands on anything and everything you possibly can. Some of your favorite things are the things you should not have, like the fan, cords, outlets, and tiny morsels of who knows what you magically find on the floor. Basically, if you shouldn't have it, you want it and are not happy when it's taken from you. Regardless of what you have, you study it hard. When we read books you study the pages carefully, you look at blocks closely, grass, food, toys. Anything and everything you pick up you like to study. 


You've always been a mama's boy, but now more than ever you are a mama's boy. You must have me or you will not be happy. If friends or family are around you're happy to see them, as long as I'm holding you. If they have you and I'm in the room you won't stand for it and fuss and cry for me, which I think is actually pretty adorable and sweet, but it does make it tricky for others to hold you and me stay in the room and talk with them. I walked into the nursery at church a week or so ago and the moment I stepped inside your little arm that was already wrapped around my arm, tightened into a death hold. You would not let go. Your whole body tightened around me and you started fussing at just the thought of me leaving you there to play. It was too stinking sweet and pitiful that I couldn't bare to part with you and instead I rocked you to sleep and held you during the service. If it works for you, it works for me. 

Some of your favorite things right now are playing outside, swinging [sometimes], eating, playing with Emerson's "special big boy toys" when he's not around, playing with your toys, bath time, sleeping in your own bed, mama, daddy, reading books together [your favorite books are "The Easter Story", "Who Am I? Baby Animals", "Peek-a-boo fun", and the Little People lift the flap books], Little People animals, crawling everywhere, pulling up on anything and everything, playing with my hair [or any hair you can get your little hands on], and your paci.


Right now you love eating almost anything you are given and so far aren't much of a picky eater [I'm praying this doesn't change]. So far, you're less picky than your brother and already eat things that he doesn't. Some of your favorite foods are sweet potatoes, waffles, pancakes, blueberries, green beans, mango, Puffs, and avocado. You also like rice and black beans, pasta noodles, bread, peas, carrots, corn, peaches, animal crackers, Teddy Grams, pretzels, and apples. You've eaten and seemed to like, pork, chicken, hamburger, bacon, sausage  but you don't eat a ton of meat. Mostly because I don't give you much, though, I probably should give you more than I do.  You drink prune juice and water and still nurse once a day right before you go to bed for about 15 or so minutes, though I think we'll be done with nursing very very soon! 

Some of your little habits are playing with hair; you've always played with my hair, even if it's pulled back [which is basically all the time] you weave your tiny fingers in the hair at the nape of my neck and pull a few strands loose and just pull it and run your fingers through it. There are times you like to get a big fistful or two of my hair, and it's sweet and cute, but oh so painful! Sometimes you manage to get one tiny little hair out and then you yank it out and man does that hurt! When you're sleepy you play with my hair or you'll pull at your own hair at the back of your neck. It's a soothing mechanism for you and it is pretty sweet. When someone talks to you, you'll look at them and then put your head down, all bashful like. 


You're still a little nugget and haven't gained much weight since you got sick a few months ago; when we went in for your 12 month well check you weighed 18 pounds and I don't remember how long you are. Sorry. You're still wearing size 3 diapers and we're still using Pampers Swaddlers. You're in size 9 month clothes, but some 6-9 and some 3-6 six shorts!, but you're just long enough to wear 12 month footie pajamas. 

Sleep has been going pretty well. You're taking two naps during the day, one in the morning around 9:30 for about 1-2 hours and one in the afternoon around 1:30 for about 1-2 hours too. Though, each day is different and sometimes naps are super short or super long. But you're taking them and putting yourself to sleep, so that's nice. Bed time is usually around 7:30 for you and you sleep pretty well now. Sometimes you'll wake around 5:30 and then go back to sleep [sometimes not] and sometimes you'll sleep until 6 or 7. But you've been doing a lot better and I am so very thankful. I'm just hoping that talking about your sleeping habits isn't going to jinks it for us! 


Other milestones: you say, hi, bye, wave, and mama. You've started cruising a little but, once you stood on your own for all of .002 seconds. You started clapping the other day and it was so cute to watch you get excited about something and then clap your hands together. You put smaller objects inside bigger ones, stack blocks [or try to], and you blow raspberries. You have 15 teeth. Yes, you read that right, 15 teeth. Boy, you are waaaaaaayyyy ahead of the game when it come to teeth. You had a few rough days and nights when those teeth were popping through, but for the most part you were pretty happy. When you cut your molars [!!!] it was apparent you were in pain and so very uncomfortable, you'd just throw your head or your whole body back and cry. I felt so sad for you. Thankfully it seems as though the worst is behind us. It has to be right, I mean, how many more teeth do you even have to cut?! 


You are such a joy to us, Oliver, and I am so very thankful for you. You have the sweetest and most easy going personality and bring so much joy, laughter, and love into our home. You are so very loved and I hope you always know that, but more importantly I hope and pray you always know how much Jesus loves you and cares for you. I pray for integrity, strength, generosity, and wisdom over you for your life. You are a wonderful gift and blessing and I am so thankful I get to love on you each and every day. Happy First Birthday to you, little nugget! 

Love, 
Mama



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

little gifts [460 - 477]

Typically I save my little gifts for Mondays, but since this is the first time I've been able to sit down and write this week, I decided to do that post now.

original source unknown


460. a sleeping Oliver on my chest

461. squeals of joy when Emerson is hit with the refreshing cold of the sprinkler

462. soft cotton blankets

463. a cool breeze kissing your skin on a hot muggy afternoon

464. rain pouring down from the heavy skies

465. cuddling with Emerson during a morning thunder storm

466. tiny kitties poking their heads out to play

467. celebrating one year of life for Oliver

468. cupcake crumbs and frosting spread across tiny hands and face

469. a chubby bullfrog visiting the library story time

470. Emerson's mouth wide open and dark eyes staring in wonder at critters only before seen in books

471. sitting round a fire pit on a dark summer night

472. a fan cooling the summer heat

473. Emerson's hair wet from sweat from playing and running outside

474. tiny baby booty in the air when he sleeps

475. toasty English muffins with butter sneaking into the nooks and crannies

476. being chased by a nugget with a larger than him super soaker

477. a giggle escaping Oliver's dreams while he sleeps



What are some of the little gifts in your life right now?



Friday, June 10, 2016

ONE

Happy Birthday, Oliver! You are such a sweet boy and I am so very glad we are celebrating one year of you today! 


Last night before I laid you down for the night I held you a little bit longer, gave you more kisses than I usually do, prayed more prayers over you and your little life, held your hand tight in mine, and thanked the Lord for giving us the gift of you. You truly are a gift, Oliver and I love every single second I have with you. 


You're curious, determined, content, cheerful, demanding at times, but always loving. You love for me to hold you, to give me big sloppy slobbery kisses, you love pulling my hair, and you give me the sweetest little pats. You are full of life and I'm so very thankful for the life you share with us.


It seems like just yesterday we were getting ready to meet you. I remember every moment of the day before you were born so vividly. The day I got to hold you for the first time in my arms will forever be etched in my memory, as will the first time I saw you, finally holding you in my arms, kissing your newborn baby soft checks, hearing your tiny wail fill the operating room.


Right after you were born, I waited what seemed like an eternity to hold you while the doctors and nurses cleaned you off, and tried to get the excess fluid out of your lungs. When you were finally placed in my arms, you fit perfectly and life has never been the same. I didn't get to hold you for long and you were whisked away to the NICU for some extra care and supervision. Those first five hours without you seemed to last an eternity, but in the grand scheme of things I know it was nothing was just thankful you were able to leave the NICU when you did.


Every day I praise God for the life He created in you and every day I pray that you love, obey, seek, and serve Him. Always. Seek Christ, Oliver, He will direct you and keep you. If there is one thing I want you to know, it's that. Christ loves you more than I ever can and he will keep you in His great care. Just seek Him. It won't always be easy, but it will always be worth it. You are His beautiful creation and I'm just blessed to be able to be your Mama.


I love you something fierce, Oliver. You are a joy and I'm so glad you have made our family more complete. Thank you for letting me love on you each and every day.

Love,
Mama



Thursday, June 9, 2016

a few confessions

Some times the best of intentions can get you. I've had thoughts about some posts I'd like to share, but then when the time comes for me to sit down and write them, it just doesn't happen. Either one [or both] of the boys aren't napping and if it isn't quiet, I just can't write. And then at night I get tired or distracted by the dishes or just want to sit and do nothing. But I've decided not to worry about it and just get a post up as often as I can, which I'm hoping will be three times a week if not more. A few weeks ago I got in a little slump and I have yet to climb out of it. For today I thought I'd share a few confessions because my brain is a little fuzzy from life stuff. So here we go... 


I confess . . . 

- Oliver's first birthday is tomorrow [how is this possible?!] and I have a lot  of work to do on his cake before it's ready for his big day. 

- I like to blame the amount of work I still have to do on his cake on the fact that I'm in denial that he is actually turning one. 

- in reality, it's probably not denial, just procrastination and business with other things. 

- I'm ready to wean him completely. It will still be a week or so before he's completely weaned, but we're getting so close and it's kind of exciting to think about having my body back to me and wearing regular bras again. 

- we've been going on walks in the morning and ending up at the skate park in our neighborhood. We stay and play for an hour or so and I love it. The boys run/crawl around and get lots of energy out and we get to enjoy the pretty morning weather. 

- shorts are probably my least favorite thing to wear, but I've been wearing them nearly every day for the past two weeks or so. And they're kind of growing on me. Probably because they're great for chasing two little boys around in, they stay on, they can't be pulled down or waved around by little hands, and they are much cooler than crops or jeans [obviously]. Plus, I figure if I wear them enough I might be able to get a little color on my legs, which would be nice.

- the other day Emerson napped for four hours and Oliver for three and a half hours. And it was beautiful. And I pray they do that every day forever and always. 

- I had a few errands to run the other day, so as soon as the boys woke up from their shorter than usual naps, we headed out. Three stops took us all afternoon and we barely made it home in time for dinner. 

- Courtney is doing an "as is home tour" on Instagram this week, and I love that idea. But, so far have been too lazy to actually take pictures of my house to participate. haha. Maybe I'll be able to snap a bunch of pictures over the weekend and share next week. 

- for the life of me, I cannot stand to lay out in the sun unless there is a pool or ocean nearby. I just get too hot too fast and can't stand being hot. The only thing that makes it bearable, is if I can jump into a pool full of cool water. 



I'll leave it there for today, I've got a cake to work on! 





Monday, June 6, 2016

little gifts [442 - 459]

This morning I woke up a little later than I had planned [the bed was so comfortable and my pillow kept calling my name...], but I still got up early enough to get ready and have my quiet time before the boys woke for the day. I snuck outside to sit on the front porch and watch the creation around me and spend some time with my God. As I was reading from my devotional I came across this and it has stuck with me all day, "The answer to anxiety is always to exalt Christ. ...Cause me to remember it today, Lord; adore Christ to combat anxiety." I thought about how many times throughout the day I get frazzled over the little things that really don't matter: Emerson taking five minutes to walk up the stairs instead of one minute, him running away when I tell him lunch is ready, Oliver fighting so hard when I try to sit him in his highchair/carseat, tears over having a sandwich on the plate when, "I not want a sanwhich!" The list goes on. But then I thought, those times, though they make me anxious and cause my blood pressure rise, they are fleeting and precious in their own way. These boys need and love me something fierce right now. Never again will I be so needed and so loved. While the moments are trying, they are also sweet [or can be]. I need to look beyond the immediate tantrums and frustrations and try to see what gifts are hidden behind them. Because this day, this moment, will never come again.



442. blackbirds pecking the green grass for their breakfast

443. little legs kicking and splashing water in the pool

444. the wonder and awe in Emerson's eyes as he gives a present to a friend

445. Emerson's little body standing close and rocking his body back and forth in excitement while he watchings a friend open her gifts

446. the determination in Oliver's eyes as he goes for the tiny crumb on the floor

447. birds chirping in the morning quiet

448. a brown bunny hopping in our yard

449. seeing clearly through my contacts

450. melted marshmallow and fluffy white sugar sticking to my fingers

451. a tiny arm wrapped and clinging tight to yours, begging to stay on your hip

452. playing with glow in the dark balloons and bracelets in the dark of the bathroom

453. two boys sleeping at the same time

454. hair long enough to be pulled into a bun - only to be pulled out by tiny fingers

455. the scent of sunscreen on the munchkins skin

456. the light scrape and scratch of a coffee mug sitting on the concrete patio

457. afternoon breeze gently kissing my face, arms, legs

458. seeing a hot air balloon drifting through the sky

459. tiny toes stomping the shallow water



What are some of the gifts in your life today?




Friday, June 3, 2016

the start of summer favorites

one. the perfect sandals
About a month or so ago I ordered a pair of sandals from Zulily when I saw a pair I thought was cute and that looked like they'd be comfortable. I was so excited to get them and they were just as cute in real life as they were in the pictures. They were pretty comfortable too, but at the same time not comfortable. These sandals had one major flaw, for me at least, they were basically plastic. Plastic is good for flip flops, Crocs, and jelly shoes. But for a shoe I was expecting to be a better quality and not plastic, it is not so good. I kept wearing them just to see if it really bothered me or if it was something I could get past. But my feet just got all sticky, sweaty, and sticking to the footbed and it wasn't good. Enter these beauties. I wanted a cute and comfortable sandal for this summer and felt like I had looked everywhere. On a whim I checked Kohl's again and studied their selection of sandals. As soon as I saw these sandals I knew I had to have them and that they were just what I was looking for. Now, usually, I'm not a metallic kind of girl, but there was something about these that I just loved. It didn't hurt that they were [are!] on sale for $19.99 and I had a 30% off coupon to use. Not too shabby if you ask me. It was right after Mother's Day and the thing Landon had picked out for me didn't work quite right, so I took it back and "exchanged" it for these shoes. Nice nice. And now I love them even more than the first day I got them. They are comfortable, easy to slip off and on. They look cute and can be dressed up [well, for me at least, since we all know I'm not a fancy type of girl] for church or a date with a dress or be worn every day with jeans or shorts and a t-shirt. Plus, since they're gold [and a little bi sparkly] they go with everything: brown, black, gray, purple, pink, green.... I could go on. If you are a real fashion person, please don't spoil my happy thoughts of these going with all the colors [though if you did tell me they don't work with it all, I would probably still wear them with all the things ;]. To me they work perfectly with everything and I love them for it. They are the only shoes I need this summer and I love that. And no, this is not a sponsored product at all, I just love them that much, they are my favorite. Also, I wish they came in other colors, they're just that awesome. If you're looking for a comfortable pair of sandals, look no further and go get you some. They're still on sale at Kohl's!

find them here


two. in the morning
Last weekend Landon's family came to visit us. His mom and sisters came Saturday morning and his Dad arrived later that evening since he had a work engagement. When they came, they brought some patio chairs with them for us to use. We actually gave the chairs to one of Landon's sisters last summer since the cushions were gross and unusable. We hadn't been able to find any affordable replacement cushions and figured we'd get rid of the chairs in a year or two anyway, so what was the point. So she took them and Landon's mom found some cushions for them. Since she was moving out of her apartment she no longer had a need for the patio chairs and they were returned to us. At first we weren't crazy about getting the chairs back, but they've made a new home on our small front porch and we have already enjoyed sitting in them anytime we go outside. In the mornings, I've been trying to wake up an hour or so before the boys get up [which is such a hard thing to do when Oliver will wake at 5:30 one morning and 6:40 another morning...] to get ready and have my devotional time. I have found myself loving this time in the morning and I love that I can sit outside on our front porch, read, pray, and just be. The mornings are so sweet and my favorite. I think this will be a habit that will easy to make and stick to!

three. long summer days 
We've only been at this summer gig for a week now, but I have been loving every bit of it. The days seem fuller and at the same time wide open. We've gone swimming, taken walks to the park, played outside, run errands, watched shows, read books. It's been a week of wonderful. I am loving these days and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. It's our favorite. 


four. teething bites
The littlest mister is cutting three molars right now. That's right. Three. As in one, two, three. Molars. So that's been fun. For him. For me. ugh. Poor baby, I feel so bad for him, but I don't know what I can do to help him feel better! Not such a favorite. haha. But that precious little nugget standing on his tiptoes? That is my favorite!


five. cake making
In one week we will celebrate Oliver's first birthday! How is that even possible?! I feel like it's just snuck up on me and I'm not at all prepared. I'm still not certain what his cake will look like, but this weekend I'm going to start working on it. I love making cakes and am looking forward to making one for him. My favorite fun times of fondant are in my future!


I hope you all have a lovely weekend!




Wednesday, June 1, 2016

word vomit

Over the past few weeks I've been trying to add in one new thing to my days as naps and bedtime allow. I'm a create of habit and I love routine so when adding in something new it can make my "normal" a little less normal. Add in the fact that nap time hasn't been as quiet or consistent lately which makes my to do list even more of a challenge. Even though my to do list consists of things I'd like to do and nothing I have to do, I still very much like to get those things accomplished.


I thought that waking up even earlier than I have been might help me get more of my things accomplished. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn't. In general, every day I like to have my quiet time [which I try to do early in the mornings before the boys wake], play with the boys, keep the kitchen as clean as I can, go on a walk or two [weather permitting], blog, read, work on a new sewing dream, have a cup of coffee in the quiet of the the afternoon, and maintain the mountain of laundry that sits in the hallway. Most days though, I just can't do it all. The play time and time with the boys, keeping the kitchen clean always happen. My quiet time happens most days. But the others? Not so much. I was being fairly consistent with daily blogging, but then I decided I wanted to do a little more sewing and since nap time is really my only time for both of those things, one of them gets pushed to the side. Add in the fact that nap time isn't always a guaranteed length of time and a lot of things on my 'like to' list don't get done. Then of course there are those days the morning has been so exhausting the last thing I want to do is lift my finger to type let alone sew, so nothing gets done. Well, nothing except me laying on the couch or on my bed drowning in my thoughts about what I should be doing and about what the future holds. Sometimes I wonder what the point is. The point of blogging. The point of trying to keep the house a little tidy. The point of trying to pursue a new dream. "Why bother?" I wonder. Then I think about all of the friendships blogging has created and about how it has helped me over the last few years. How it kind of gives me a purpose outside of being a mama. How it's comforting to know that I'm not alone in this stage. How trying my hand at a new dream might give me more purpose outside of being a mama. But then I can't figure out how to make time to fit it all in during a short little afternoon nap time.

I'm not really sure I have a point to this. It's just a lot of rambling on about some of the thoughts that have been swimming in my mind lately. But somehow a little word vomit usually helps me sort out my thoughts and feelings and helps me feel better. So thanks for listening to my nonsense today. I hope to be back soon with a few favorites and a little more upbeat post for you.