Wednesday, August 31, 2016

little gifts [645 - 663]

So, I realize today is Wednesday - where has this week gone?! - and I usually do these little gift posts on Monday, but this week has been slightly off, so I'm just going to pretend today is my Monday. Mmmmk? Also, that will make Friday come a lot sooner, you know, if I pretend today is Monday ;)

645. blank pages of a new journal, waiting to be filled

646. the comfort of home

647. dishes, clean and drying on the counter

648. the excitement of a new adventure

649. nap time - with two sleeping boys at the same time

650. worn rings made sparkly and shiny like new

651. a new mug to sip from

652. having lunch at a friend's house

653. visiting with family

654. towels, fresh from the dryer

655. ice cold water

656. Emerson climbing on the couch next to me, wiggling under the blanket, reading me "The Three Little Pigs"

657. a hot breakfast made by my other mom for me to enjoy

658. little arms wrapped tight around my neck

659. the anticipation of a new season

660. mercies that are new every morning

661. fuzzy blankets keeping me warm

662. jeans and sweaters inside a cold office

663. morning sunlight streaming through the windows

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

Thursday, August 25, 2016

a letter to Summer [featuring peacock socks]

Dear Summer, 

This letter has been a long time coming, I'm sorry to say. You have been nice this year. We've had a lot of good times, gone on big adventures, enjoyed little adventures around town, gone swimming, sweated through countless pairs of clothes, found shade from your hot summer rays, and many other fun things. You have been kind to us this year, so thank you for that. You've been hot, but you've also given us a few cool mornings or breezes at least. We've made memories, had fun, and tried to live each day to the fullest. Since I know this is our last summer in Illinois, I've tried my best to really take advantage of all this town has to offer - like the parks. Lots of fun things to do hear, ya know? 

Anyhow, like I said, it's been fun. But, now I'm ready to say good-bye. I've always been fond of you and enjoyed your company a lot, but I'm ready for a change. Cooler weather. Jeans. Sweaters. Layers. Socks. Hoodies. Pumpkins. Mums. Apple picking. Jackets. I'm ready for Fall. My favorite season of all - not that I don't like you, it's just that Fall and I have something special. Sorry, but it's true. 

The other day I tried pairing you and Fall together by way of shorts and socks - it wasn't the greatest match so obviously I didn't leave the house like that, even though the peacock socks are super fun and cute. 

But really, these socks are so much fun and I cannot wait to wear them! You may or may not remember my love of socks, but I have a love and it runs deep and overflows my sock drawer. Summer, you really need to get a move on so I can reunite with my adorable sock collection and wear these pretties all the time. In addition to these ones, I've been eyeing some cow print socks too - how perfect would they be for the dress like a cow day at Chick-fil-a?! You know, for when we move closer to a Chick-fil-a and can actually participate. And these ones could make me feel like I'm actually dressing up for Halloween - because socks make a Halloween costume, right? 

But in the mean time I will enjoy my pretty peacock socks and dream of chilly days that I actually get to wear them outside. Summer, you would be doing us all a a favor by saying good-bye soon so I don't embarrass myself when someone comes to our house and I open the door in shorts and knee high socks. Oh wait, we never have visitors so we don't have to worry about that ;) . So I will enjoy the comfort of these little pretties, admire the bright and cheerful colors of the peacocks and dream of the cooler days to come. Oh socks, how I love you.

Not that I don't like you, Summer, it's just that I like socks a little a lot more and Fall and I just have something special. So whenever you're ready to take a little rest for this year, I'll be good with that. 


*I was provided with a pair of the peacock socks in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

little gifts [634 - 644]

634. chilly morning air

635. eating popsicles in the backyard

636. tricycle riding on the sidewalk

637. littler brother chasing after big brother

638. hot oatmeal

639. hearing baby squeals from Oliver while he plays in his crib

640. summer sun warming our evening at the park

641. a new ironing board cover

642. morning sunlight streaming in through the windows

643. while rounding the corner while out walking, going past the path to the park - watching Oliver reach his arms out to the way to the park and listen to his cries of "pa! pa!" as we walk past.

644. open windows on a sunny afternoon

And we'll stop there for now since I have a little nugget [or two] who is ready to start the day :) What are some of the gifts in your life right now?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

confessions [of the ailment variety]

It's seems like it's been a little bit since I've shared some confessions, so I figured today I'd do just that.

I confess . . .

- I've been getting up early each morning and have been loving the quiet time before the boys [Landon included] wake up.

- on the rare occasion Landon wakes up early too, it throws me off and I feel like I don't get to enjoy that "me time".

- three is a hard age.

- after a little more than two decades of wearing glasses and contacts [that makes me sound old!] I am going to see if I can get Lasik! I am so excited about this possibility and am praying I'm eligible and that I can have it done.

- assuming [and hoping!] I can actually have Lasik, I'm terrified of the actual surgery!

- my first few sales for my shop made my day! I'm so excited to see where this little shop goes - hopefully far!

- while at the doctor the other day to see about some skin tags [ugh], I asked him about a little varicose vein I have. He said if I were his wife he'd send me to the vein specialist and they'd tell me to wear compression socks and then maybe do a few other things if that doesn't help. Well, I wasn't about to make a special trip to the specialist if a doctor told me compression socks would be the first step. So I ordered some special socks hoping they will help.

- after ordering my special socks, I saw some compression sleeves and decided those would be better.  So I ordered some, then some more due to wrong sizes and shipping address! At this point I'm pretty sure I've placed three or four orders for one item! yikes. Lots of returns to do.

- I'm kind of excited to get the compression sleeves. Does that make me old?

- I'm over short weather and Summer. Bring on the jeans, Fall days, and festivities.

- my hair has kind of gone wild recently. I feel like having babies ruined changed my hair. Now I actually have to fix it. eeesh.

That's all for today :) Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

little gifts [617 - 633]

I can't let the week go by without a little gifts post, so here we go...

617. opening my shop this week

618. getting my first orders

619. late summer days

620. the first day of school starting with me at home with just my boys

621. the hope of seeing clearly without aid soon

622. cutting, ironing, and sewing new fabric

623. a solo shopping trip to Joann's

624. GeGe and Poppy visiting over the weekend

625. exploring a new park

626. the wrinkles in Oliver's nose when he smiles big

627. all 16 teeth that show so clearly in Oliver's big toothy grin

628. a stick and a piece of grass from my favorite three year old

629. hugs around my legs while fixing dinner

630. a diaper containing everything it should

631. Oliver's little arm finding its way around my neck and resting there. all the time.

632.  spaghetti sprinkled in baby soft hair

633. the bunny clock

What are some of the gifts in your life this week?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Little Honey Buns

I mentioned a week or so ago that I had some big news to share with you all. Well, today is the day I can finally tell you all about my news that I have been waiting so very long to share with you. Over the past few months I've been working on a big project - my brand new Etsy Shop - 

That's right, I have opened a shop! I couldn't be more excited about my shop and the work I have been doing over the past few months. I am thrilled to finally be sharing this with you all.

Right now I have a few diaper clutches stocked and will gradually be adding more diaper clutches in fun new prints to choose from. You guys, the coming soon prints are swoon worthy and just the cutest. I'm so stinking excited for them! Eventually burp clothes and a few other items will be added as well, but for now it's diaper clutches. If there's anything you'd like to see in my shop, I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas, this is after all for you!

Here's a little peek of what's in the shop right now . . .

For a complete look at what's stocked, be sure to check the shop.

These diaper clutches fit a few diapers, a case of wipes, hand sanitizer, and a little tube of diaper cream if needed. It's perfect for when you're on the go or it's great to have ready in your diaper bag for the times you don't want to fool with the giant diaper bag while wrangling a squirmy baby or toddler and just need to change a diaper. It's great for just grabbing and throwing in your purse if you just have a few errands to run and don't want to tote around the whole diaper bag.

These make the perfect gift for baby showers. They're great for a brand new mama or a mama with lots of littles to chase around. I love them and am so excited to be sharing them with you all!

I would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for letting me share this fun news with you all!

Friday, August 12, 2016

new orleans [part 2]

Happy Friday! I was considering sharing a few random things today, but then I decided I really didn't have much random to share. So ... you can thank me later ;) Instead I'm going to try and finish up our time in New Orleans, it has after all been well over a month that we were there! 

I mentioned the other day that we visited the French Quarter and walked around, a lot. While walking around [on day two I think it was] Emerson declared he had to go potty. Thankfully we were able to find a public restroom and walked towards it. As we were walking to the bathroom a man started following us, fairly closely. We walked faster, he kept up. So much so that it was making me really anxious about Landon leaving me to take Emerson potty. I didn't even want to go in the ladies restroom because it was a fairly empty area and well, I have a vivid imagination. As Landon was getting ready to take Emerson in the bathroom I told him where I would be waiting - on the busier side of the street. Hopefully busier at least. The man was still so close. We parted ways and the man was still behind me. Thankfully I wasn't far from the street, as I was hoping more people would be around I heard a Gospel choir singing nearby. I walked out of the little alley way where the bathrooms were and towards the singing, thankful to see a large crowd. I found a spot near enough people and Oliver and I listened to the choir while we waited for Landon. Thankfully the man wandered off while we were waiting and my nerves calmed down a little bit. And who knows, it was probably nothing more than a man walking the same way we were, but ... I have a vivid imagination. Help us. Landon and Emerson joined us shortly after and we listed to the choir - and saw they were being filmed, like for a movie or something, which was pretty cool! 

While we walked we saw lots of tours, carriage rides, friends out and about, and a lot of characters. New Orleans is full of vibrant colors and people and there never seems to be a dull moment. The few pictures I have of "empty" streets were after lots of walking and going down a few streets not populated with restaurants and bars and such. I loved seeing the buildings and just the architecture in general. It was so "New Orleans" and southern. Obviously. We both really enjoyed the charm and character of the city. 

For the most part, we walked through crowds of people. Weaving in and out, trying to keep our boys close and safe, feeling the heat, but focused more on our surroundings and the environment. While walking the busy streets I never stopped to take a picture because well, they were busy streets and my mind was just working to figure out the best way around each puff of smoke in the air [some puffs were of the "special" variety - if you know what I mean], the overly friendly man, or the group of friends walking down the road. 

We brought our stroller with us for the trip, and were so thankful to have it! We brought it to use mainly with Oliver, but while in New Orleans we ended up letting Emerson ride in the stroller for the most part, because we did a lot of walking and his poor little legs, even though they did so well walking, just couldn't walk that much. The second evening we were there we went to the French Quarter again and walked around to Bourbon Street. The concierge at our hotel said it would be fine for us to go see as a family and "family friendly". I didn't really know much about it or have any connotations about Bourbon Street, which I guess was good because otherwise we probably wouldn't have gone. After getting off the trolley we decided to put Emerson in the stroller and that I would wear Oliver. And the heat. So I strapped the carrier to me, put Oliver inside, we buckled Emerson into the stroller and headed off. And walked Bourbon Street. Smart decision. Emerson was safe in the stroller, Oliver was safe on me, and that's how we walked the "family friendly" Bourbon Street. Turns out - it's not so family friendly. Yikes.  

I'm not a fan of the heat or crowds, and when you mix them together it's even worse. I get anxious and tense and my eyes and mind start searching for a way out. I maneuver the crowd and just work to get out of the way. We saw and heard and felt lots of color on that street. It was lively and full of character. And I cannot imagine being there for Mardi Gras. Holy Cow. After walking the street that night I was good and happy to never go back. But that just happened to be where the restaurant Landon's soon to be co-worker picked out, so the next night we had to walk it again. Fun fun. 

Trying to shelter our boys from the smoke clouds, the loud greetings, the colorful people, the characters that were every where was a job and once we left the restaurant we tried walking towards the trolley station to get back to the hotel - we ended up walking all the way back to the hotel instead, because that was the best/quickest way out of there. haha. We decided after that, we'd had our fill and seen enough of that part of the city and were happy to stay close to our hotel and the conference center. 

Thankfully there happened to be a children's museum a block down from our hotel, so one morning we headed there. Emerson loved running around and looking at all of the things. Trying this and that. Doing a little craft. Grocery shopping in their little people grocery store. It was adorable. Soon after we arrived four different preschools came - and ohmygoodness. Wow. But, we just stayed close together and tried to escape the big groups of kids as best we could [are you seeing how much I don't like crowds? even if they're just kids? ;].

It was such a neat museum and they had different stations to play/explore/learn at. Emerson love driving the tug boat and probably could have stayed there all day. We made it in time for a story time and it was fun to listen to a story with him and Oliver. 

There was even a little toddler play area, perfect for Oliver to crawl around. He was still very clingy at that point and feeling miserable for being away from home and cutting teeth and molars so he didn't play too much. But it was fun to see him explore a little bit on his own.

After we explored the children's museum we stopped at their little shop and Emerson got to choose one thing. I tried to encourage him to get something that wasn't so junk like, but he was adamant about one plane and that's what he got. Oh well... He had fun picking it out - and playing with it for all of one day. haha. While walking around the French Quarter the night before we had let him choose one thing from a shop there, and he picked an alligator [that was bigger and cost less than his airplane]. He plays with that alligator all the time and keeps in in the car for when we go out. He loves that thing. The airplane? eh... it's at the bottom of the toy bin. You just never know what they're gonna like, right?

It was so much fun watching Emerson explore and do the things that interested him. He ran around and loved that it was a place he could try all of the things at. We had lunch afterwards and did lots of walking to find some food. It was a hot mess, and he didn't last long before snoozing a little bit in the stroller. Thankfully he was worn out enough that he still napped in the hotel room after lunch.

We enjoyed our New Orleans trip and were very ready to come home by the time it was over. We saw a lot, did a lot, and were so thankful to peel the sticky clothes off and bathe and then fall into our beds at the end of each night. And the boys slept so well each night. I can't imagine why ;)

Our last night there I packed up our things, Landon worked on getting it out to the car and packing that up, and then around three or four in the morning we woke the boys - or was it Oliver woke us? - loaded them into the car and headed for home. Home sweet home.

If you made it this far, though all my fuzzy iPhone pictures [but thank goodness for those at least - there was no way I was about to haul my camera around on our adventures] and stories you've made it to the end our our trip. And aren't you exhausted?! ;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

new orleans [part 1]

Way back in June [how does it already feel like that was a year ago?!], after our vacation at the beach, we went to New Orleans. Landon had a conference he had to go to and since it was on our way home, the boys and I tagged along. Not that we really had much of a choice to not go. Also, we kind of planned it so our vacation would be right before this conference. Landon had two conferences in back to back weeks. Fun fun, right? 

Although the drive to New Orleans wasn't terribly far from where we were staying in Florida, it was still a drive. We were all happy to arrive and be out of the car, though at that point we were all so very ready to be back home in our own beds with our usual routine.

But we were there so we wanted to make the most of it. Neither of us had ever been to New Orleans before so we wanted to explore a little bit and see the city as much as we could during our time there and with Landon's limited availability.

The first night we were there we went to see the French Quarter and walked around a lot. From where we were staying the best way to get around was to either walk or take the trolley. We could have driven, but then we would have had to find parking and pay $40+ for parking - even for a few hours. We didn't feel like fooling with that and since the trolley was on a track and not on the street with cars, I felt okay taking the boys on it. 

We did a lot of walking and Emerson was such a trooper, walking nearly as much as we did. When he would get tired of waking, Landon would put him on his shoulders or he would take a turn in the stroller.

You may notice Emerson's special backpack - and yes, he wore it every time we went out. I got it for him to wear when we went to Kansas earlier this year, because well, he's three. Taking it with us to New Orleans was an obvious must since you know, he's little, it's a big city, he could wander.... I will be am that parent, but hey, he was safe with us the whole time and that's what the most important thing to me.

Because have you been to New Orleans? A big city? Have you met a three year old? My three year old? It scared me just thinking about what could happen. I was right with my thinking and was so thankful for that little owl backpack [with a leash attached ;]. New Orleans is a very colorful and lively place, especially where we walked. People were everywhere and some got a lot closer to us than I liked/felt comfortable with. But it's a city, so people will be everywhere and people will be close.

One of my favorite parts was walking around on the not so busy streets and seeing the old buildings. There is so much character there and so much history. I loved seeing the older buildings and reading the few signs that were scattered about giving a snippet of history for one building or another.

And holy goodness. New Orleans is hot y'all. Hot and sticky and muggy and hot and sticky . . . Almost as hot as Bangkok. So, pretty hot. Pretty, pretty, pretty hot. I was so thankful to be done nursing at that point because I wanted nothing more than to peel my clothes off at the end of the day and take a shower and not have anyone touching me at all. To nurse while being that hot and sticky is just - ugh - no. SO thankful Oliver was weaned!

a little bit blurry, but I had to include this ;)

Like I said, Landon was there for a fancy conference [see above photo ;] so the boys and I got to do a lot of exploring/playing on our own. I never ventured too far with the boys, but I went out and about enough to discover the perfect indoor play area for us. Thankfully our hotel was close to a mall and the conference center, so that's where we spent most or our time during the day. I was so relieved to discover the play area our first morning there, after walking miles with Oliver strapped to me in the carrier while pushing Emerson in the stroller - in the New Orleans heat. It was no joke. Morning or night, it was hot.

I was so excited to see this indoor play area and loved that it was a padded floor and soft-ish animals and things to play on. I sat and watched the boys run/crawl around and climb all the things. They loved playing there too and I'm pretty sure we all enjoyed the air conditioning!

It was such a neat little play area and it was never too busy when we were there. Usually I see germs when we go to play places like this [at the library/parks/indoor play places], but I was soooo hot and exhausted and desperate for a place for the boys to play that I didn't see a single germ while we were there. Thank you, Lord.

In the afternoons I'd take the boys back to the hotel room and thankfully they napped, and napped well. One afternoon it stormed like crazy while they napped, and it didn't even make Emerson stir a bit, which is so unusual for him! We had a little suite of sorts so the boys were able to sleep in separate rooms, such a gift! And once they fell asleep, they slept hard. That heat gets to ya.

There was an aquarium near our hotel and I tried taking the boys there twice, but then it turned out that it was further than we thought and I wasn't about to take both boys on the trolley by myself [you had to fold the stroller up and all, so it just wasn't going to happen]. So we played on the lobsters and alligators at the indoor play area in the mall a lot.

I walked through the mall a few times and during one of those walks, Emerson threw the biggest fit of all time in the middle of one of the stores - so much so that I had to set Oliver on the floor of the store, hope he wouldn't crawl too far off or eat any of the expensive leather purses, and shove Emerson in the stroller with all my might, all while he was kicking and screaming and squirming out of the straps. Fun times.

One night while we were there we had dinner with a soon to be co-worker of Landon's. She was at the conference with her husband so we met up with them for dinner. While talking with them we discovered that the aquarium was a lot closer than we thought. Or rather, it was as close as we originally thought, but just couldn't figure out how to get there. It turns out the aquarium was at the end of the mall! I had walked that mall a handful of times, right to the very end, but never gone outside, because, well, the heat. But it was right there! I felt so sad I never realized it until it was too late to take the boys. Oh well right? They had fun climbing alligators and probably liked running wild more? That's what I'm going to go with anyway.

I'll stop there for today and save the rest of our New Orleans trip for another day ;]

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

little gifts [601 - 616]

601. white blossoms resting in water

602. sitting outside on a cool summer evening 

603. two boys sleeping asleep during a long car ride

604. the conversation of three year olds

605. orange reflection of the sun dancing on the pond 

606. calling the ducks to come have a snack 

607. soft summer sun, lightly warm summer evening, two boys filling the air with squeals of delight 

608. stained and dirty clothes coming out of the wash white and fresh 

609. weeks of sleepless nights of preparation sitting in a stack of papers, thick as a Bible, waiting on the table to be presented 

610. fresh flower dust sprinkled on the table 

611. every answer to prayer

612. lonely evenings and nights - trying to find the good in them 

613. braving the heat for a ramble at the park 

614. tiny nose scrunched tight in delight 

615. sixteen tiny teeth spreading wide in a smile 

616. baby soft arms, purposefully resting around my neck 

For all these gifts I am so very thankful. What are some of yours? 


Friday, August 5, 2016

five things of late

This week has been fairly quiet. We've run some errands, played a lot, stayed in out of the heat, read books, and watched more shows than I should probably have allowed. But there are a few things that have stuck out to me... 

one. Some of my favorites from this week include the tractor ride Emerson and Oliver got to go on. And when I say tractor ride, I really mean they took turns sitting on a parked and lifeless lawn mower at Lowe's. It was a big thing for them. I sat Emerson on the tractor first, when he was done we started to walk away but Oliver started reaching his arms and fussing for a turn too. So he had a little drive too. Though unlike his brother I wasn't able to get a picture of him because I don't trust him to stay put. haha. 

two. A few weeks ago I started putting the boys to bed a little bit later in hopes that they would sleep a little bit longer in the mornings, which means we have a little more play time in the evenings. So now, most evenings after dinner we'll head outside to play in the field behind our house to kill some time. Or climb a tree. 

Or stop and sit in the middle of the sidewalk. 

three. Last week after I took Emerson to get a hair cut, the boys and I stopped at a kind of new to us park to play for a little bit. Emerson ran around and climbed and played and Oliver wasn't too far behind. How desperately that little nugget just wants to climb and play like his big brother. There are tons of wildflowers at the park and two huge hydrangea bushes. Right before we left I stopped to pick some of the prettiest flowers I could find. I have loved seeing the fresh flowers in my kitchen and living room every time I come downstairs. I'm already planning our next trip to the park so I can pick some fresh ones for this week. Love them. 

four. Ironing is not my favorite chore. It's right up there with folding laundry and putting it away. In fact, it's something I hate so much that I don't wear certain clothes just because they're not ironed. I'll look in my closet, see something I like, and pick it out to wear. Then I'll look at it and realize it needs ironing. Back in the closet it goes. Who's got time to iron? But for craft projects, I love ironing. Ironic, I know. And lately I've been working on a lot of projects so I've been ironing a lot. So much that I realized how wimpy my ironing pad has become. I've had the same ironing board and pad for 8 years or so now. And even though I don't iron a ton, I do iron [or have ironed - especially when I was teaching and Landon wasn't a student and had to wear professional clothes every day. I ironed a lot in those days]. So as I was ironing away I kept shifting the pad and then thought, "you know, they make ironing board pads, I should just replace it." And that's just what I did. And now I'm kind of excited to iron something again. haha :)   

five. Speaking of crafts and ironing, I have some big news coming soon! I'm so stinking excited to share it with you soon, but I'm not quite ready. So I'll leave it at that for today. It's going to be so amazing! I'm just so excited for it! 

I hope you all have a happy weekend!