Saturday, December 26, 2015

Happy Holidays

Checking in to wish everyone very happy holidays! 
I hope you enjoy time with loved ones and start 2016 full of hope and joy!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Grief & Loss

Today is the first anniversary of my sister in law's death. Tomorrow would be her birthday. And the fact that a year has passed doesn't seem possible except for the grief I've seen my most loved one go through. I can easily say this past year has been the absolute hardest of our lives. Most of the time I felt like an observer and not an active participant. Watching the person you love the most get swallowed whole by helplessness and grief is a lonely indescribable feeling. I can't even imagine the feelings that must have been consuming him. 

One year and one week ago there was hope. There was a clinical trial. Surgery complications erased all hope and replaced them with goodbyes. The entire time I kept telling Chris to choose hope. I feel wrong for doing that now. Hope and joy seem elusive, like rare visitors.

I won't pretend that my sister in law and I were best friends but I can tell you about her love of dressing her kids. We had kids six weeks apart (my first and her second). On a visit to their house she introduced me to Gymboree and a forum called Gymbofriends. The members of this site discussed clothes, matches, new lines, for Gymboree but also other major brands. She introduced me to Hanna Andersson, Matilda Jane, Mini Boden, and so many more. Every time we met, we shopped. She'd grab deals for me, or I'd call her from a store asking if she was interested in an outfit on sale. It's where my love of kids' clothes started. 

Often we didn't get hand me downs because she was great at making deals on Ebay. After she passed, her mother in law mailed me a box of children's clothes that were outgrown. As I went through the box I was flooded with thoughts of her picking out these pieces. It took me awhile to make it through the tears. 

She probably wouldn't want me to post her picture. In fact most people didn't know she was sick but it felt wrong not to mention this anniversary. I hope this weekend you'll hug your loved ones tight and say a little prayer for my family. We'll be together, eating red velvet cake (her favorite), and sharing memories. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Weekend Review

It was a wet and rainy weekend, once again. It seems to be the theme of the fall here in the south. Usually these are weekends we put a movie on and snuggle up while there's soup on the stove, but this was busy. 

I'd start with Friday but it was pretty typical, the only exception is I talked Chris into making waffles for dinner (it wasn't hard to talk him into it, more of "hey will you make waffles for dinner?" "sure" type thing).

Saturday the boys were going nuts. They argue a lot. We decided to get them out of the house for breakfast. It was a slightly insane time (T sit down, N get out of KC's face, KC stop screaming) but it was nice too. 

The rain cancelled our baseball games for the day so instead the boys went to art class with friends. They loved it and made beautiful masterpieces!
 cheesy pasta with asparagus // cake

We followed this up with T's team party at Sky High,  a trampoline center. The boys had so much fun and were really hard to calm down at bedtime!

Sunday Chris made pancakes. We used to 1/2 the recipe, now we make 1 1/2 the recipe. I'm sure we aren't too far from doubling it. 

While cleaning up I listened to our church service and started the boys on a craft. When they have a task they get along so much better. It was fun to get out the paints with them and talk while we worked together. I had to remind myself of this as I did the clean up. Here's our work in progress:

I've been wrapping Christmas presents and hiding them. I had one present not wrapped and N found it this weekend. He wasn't technically looking for it, but he found it. I keep acting like I don't know where it's from and he keeps trying to figure it out. I've been out of ribbon for wrapping so the presents don't have tags or ribbons, but I scooped up some this weekend - I'm in love with this one:

We watched the Panther's and N and Chris headed to the field for a game. T and I snuggled on the couch (T is the best snuggler). 

My parents came down and we went to watch. Unfortunately we were down a lot of players and lost, but we had such a sweet team. N was so upset after the game. It broke my heart. Remind me why sports are good? I'm having trouble coming up with reasons. (Coin flip below - apparently #1 seeds don't get home field advantage - but I'm not bitter ;) )

That pretty much ended our weekend. We had dinner with my parents before they drove back home. KC has refused to sleep through the night for awhile now, and this morning as I type, it's raining again. Hopefully it's the start to a good week! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Five on Friday // Happy November

The first week of November and my favorite time of the year! Thanksgiving has to be an all time favorite holiday. It's dedicated to eating delicious food with family and kicks off the Christmas season. It's warm, comforting, and full of possibilities. I'm ready for all of that and hope you are looking forward to it too!

I'm kicking off November linking up with the Five on Friday ladies.

1. Is it too late to share Halloween pictures? It was such a fun night (and on a Saturday)! KC visited a couple houses, T decided he was too tired to continue after a few streets (and walked back with grandpa), and N ran ahead so often I'm not sure I talked to him the entire time (but I could hear him laughing).

2. There was a special day to celebrate last week (complete with cupcakes). While I was picking up dinner, T and Chris were playing catch in the front yard, and N was up to some antics in the back yard. He surprised us by setting up the seats at the "treehouse" with plates and napkins, but before we could sit down we had a scavenger hunt. He had taken our paper leaves and written words on them. We hunted all the leaves and then put them in order to see what the sentence said. It was so sweet and he did it all on his own. It made a special day even more memorable.

3. Baseball ends this weekend! It is crazy to think about our weekends without baseball. Last Saturday we were there from 9-2! What will we do with our time! 

4. Also this weekend The Peanuts Movie is released! We have been so excited to see it. It seems to have really good reviews too! Both Gap and Hanna Andersson have Peanuts lines. I love the Christmas PJs from Hanna. Are multiple pairs of Christmas PJs acceptable? 

5. I have holiday outfits ready to go! This is a record for me. Usually I scramble pretty late. I will say I'm second guessing some choices and will be switching out a few things (maybe purchasing a different dress for KC). Here's what we have:
I'm switching the white button down for a blue gingham one. I'm not thrilled with the "navy" dress I ordered, but it was cheap and I think it's a "you get what you pay for" situation. The boys are wearing Hanna Andersson sweaters we purchased on super sale last winter. Right now, I'm loving absolutely everything Hanna (and it's on sale). I did notice how similar it is the a lot of options from Vineyard Vines right now too (another love, they really have been a go to recently). If I needed to buy new - here's what I'm loving (all Hanna or VV, except for the smocked dress):

Dressing for the Holidays

I hope you are looking forward to the holidays. We have a rough patch to get through (more on that later), but we'll do it together. I have three gifts wrapped and honestly can't wait for some decorations to go up (but I will, because I love Thanksgiving enough to wait)! Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fall Nostalgia

Living in such a busy season of three kids with school, baseball, attitudes, homework, nap times, piano, playdates, and so on, I often find myself thinking of the past. Things seemed simpler and it felt like we had more time to celebrate. I'm sure it wasn't as perfect as it seems in my head for every season of raising kids has it's ups and downs but I have so many fond memories. We did crafts, we made cookies, we had playdates at a farm an hour away (twice in a month!), and I loved it all. Our playgroup always joked that our motto was, "Livin' the Dream" and I can definitely say I look back with no regrets. 

So if you'll humor me, I'd love to revisit our past Halloweens in a few pictures. 

My first baby and his first Halloween. My mom and I made his costume from a towel and some felt. It's one of my favorites and I'm hanging onto for his kids some day. He didn't trick or treat but we did pass out candy together (including to some of my former students)!

Toddlerhood for N and one of my favorite stages. He was everywhere and the most adorable dinosaur ever. This was the year he caught on to the whole trick or treating deal. We made it up two streets and he was determined to fill his pumpkin!

N had a homemade robot costume this year. No one really knew what he was (mom fail). It rained on Halloween which was okay with us. We spent the night before in the hospital after N fractured his skull and suffered a concussion. He was fine, but we were all on high alert for the next few weeks.

A new little guy entered our lives this year. N and T made the cutest police officer and doggie. We also had just taken the kids on their first trip across the country which made this year extra exciting.

N changed his mind about a zillion times before October. Then he and I flew back out to California and a flight attendant suggested he be an airplane for Halloween and it stuck! Another homemade costume but it was perfect for him, and up until this year was played with frequently.

T was obsessed with Cookie Monster. It started as an Elmo obsession and quickly morphed into a love of all things Cookie Monster. N finally joined the superhero craze and was Spiderman. He had always been scared of super heroes (if you need a super hero there must be a villain and villains are scary) so this was a big step. We also laughed at his choice because each year one kid in our playgroup decided to be Spiderman, N continued the tradition.

T stuck with his Cookie Monster costume for another year and N borrowed a homemade Angry Bird costume. We did a lot of our usual Halloween festivities, but I was pregnant, sick, and tired!

Another little one joined our crew and in true 3rd child fashion, did not have a costume. N had moved up a level in baseball and a lot of our fall was practices and games. We still made it to the patch and trick or treated with friends, but the month long celebration of all things fall had definitely slowed. 

This brings us to the present. The boys and KC have costumes (although today Chris mentioned we need to get the guys light sabers - not sure where to find them this late in the game). We've been to the farm, we've painted pumpkins, throw in some cookie baking and I'll call this year another win. Are you ready for Saturday? Or as a parent I should ask, are you ready for Sunday?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thoughts for Thursday

I'm tired. KC came down with a cold Saturday night and sleep hasn't been happening around here. Last night was our best night yet, but we've been up since 4am. She's currently napping and I should be folding laundry, but I'm tired and want to sit.

Yesterday the new issue of Our State magazine arrived. The subscription was a present and it's quickly grown to my favorite magazine (I even just cancelled my Real Simple auto renew because I usually read this magazine and never make it to the Real Simple). ANYWAY - There's an article on Vivian from A Chef's Life on PBS. This is one of my favorite shows and it was exciting to read more of what happens behind the camera and how her show has changed Kinston. I cannot wait for her cookbook to come out! (This issue also has an article on one of Chris' coworkers family's Thanksgivings - it was kind of neat to see in print).

Our weekend life is all about baseball these days. Since it rained so many weekends we now have make up games in addition to our usual games. Last Friday and Saturday we had 4 games total. This Friday, T plays, Saturday and Sunday N plays. N has grown so much as a player I'll be sad to see this season end. T received the game ball on Saturday for getting an out at third!

I need a pair of winter shoes. I'm debating booties but I'm not in love with the look (especially on me). I'm guessing trying them on would help me decide. I need something to keep my feet warm, which lead me to these (but maybe a ballet flat would be better). 

I realized last week that I took out my big camera exactly 1 time in the month of September. I'm trying to be better about but it's usually the last thing on my mind or I don't want to ruin the moment by going to grab the camera. I hate missing cute moments though.

Did you hear about the Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix? It may have made my week. There are a few shows I watch over and over (Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Gilmore Girls) and I CANNOT wait!! 

I've been cooking a lot recently and want to share some easy recipes. I try to make dinner while KC naps because once she's awake absolutely nothing gets done. She is by far my wildest, most demanding, craziest child.

Happy almost weekend! Linking up with Natalie and Annie :)