Sunny Saturday

The weekend is here and it is still hot.  The only way to get relief from the sweltering sun is to stay inside or sit in a tub of ice outside.  So, we have been choosing the inside option this week.  We squeeze in a short walk every night when the sun is low, but we are sweaty hot messes when we head into the house for baths.  And baths we take every night.  (Ugh.)

Today I'm sharing some things that made my week a bit sunnier.

First up, these Dark Chocolate crisps from Trader Joe's.  My friend randomly gifted these to me and they are perfect.  They are light waves resembling potato chips and have a bit of crunchiness throughout.  They are delicious and addicting.  You have been warned.  P.S. That is an empty box you're looking at, I ate them in two days.  #yikes  

MOPS.  Mothers of Preschoolers is an organization that gathers moms all over the world.  I am a lover of mommas and babes and MOPS.  I attend one group at my church in Omaha and another in my rural community and absolutely don't know what I would do without them.  If you are local and want more information about either group, send me a message and I will answer any and all questions.  MOPS is a place I feel safe and heard and known.  And the hot breakfast and childcare doesn't hurt either.

More flowers.  We are getting to the tail end of the cut flower season at our place.  Most of my garden beds right now adorn radiant purples and oranges and yellows.  This phlox is like a weed in that it spreads like crazy and doesn't need ideal growing conditions.  It looks great from far away and can fill in spaces that need something tall and full.  I pretty much let it grow anywhere because it's prettier than weeds.  Right?

Norwex cloths.  I have taken the plunge and am a Norwex user.  I was looking for a cloth that didn't stink after a use and these are my golden ticket.  I have the Envirocloth as well as the kitchen cloth and I love them both.  I use the kitchen cloth to wash dishes and the envirocloth to clean countertops. Goodbye stinky rags.

Quality time.  This week I was able to spend some quality time with people I love.  There is nothing like putting the phone away for a few hours to have a real conversation with a real person about real life.  I think the world needs a little more quality time and a little less social media time.

Hope you have a great weekend wherever you may be today!  Happy Sunny Saturday!


Sunny Saturday

What a week.  A sunset date, Cooking Club, hot coffee, playdates with friends, time alone with my babes.  It has been a good seven days, friends.  Weeks like these I find myself extra grateful for this life God has gifted me.

Today I'm sharing some things that have made my week extra sunny.  They are equal parts random and lovely.  Hope you enjoy.

First up, this truthful book by Jerusalem Jackson Greer.  I mentioned it last week, but I am in the thick of it and can't put it down.  At Home in this Life is honest and real and down to earth.  I love a good story and this is exactly that.  Girlfriends, you won't be disappointed by this one.

Big, beautiful, plum-colored lilies.  These are planted in our front garden bed and I can see them from our picture window.  They are absolutely stunning and I can't help clipping a few stems and displaying them inside either alone or with an array of other cut flowers from the yard.  It's simply the best to have flowers just a few steps outside our front door.

Less is more.  I have been on a purging spree.  Kevin so thoughtfully found The Minimalists documentary on Netflix for me.  (He really loves me.)  Although I haven't had a chance to watch it, I started listening to their podcast.  I love their tagline 'Love people, use things. The opposite never works.'  My favorite simple living writers are Joshua Becker, Tsh Oxenreider, and Erin Loechner, but Josh and Ryan give some practical advice and their banter and discussions are comical (and slightly inappropriate at times).

My crockpot.  This is not included in my picture, but I have been using this thing like it's going out of style.  I know everyone is loving the instant pot, but I haven't jumped on that bandwagon, yet.  And, I'm on a purging streak, so one is definitely not coming into the house anytime soon.  This week I made Thai chicken with peanut sauce for my crew when I was at Cooking Club and it was well received.  In the summer, I love having dinner already thought through so I can spend my time outside in the sprinkler with my babes.

Today we are celebrating my sweet nephew's birthday construction style.  Both Luke and Lily are just a teensy bit giddy to see their cousins.  Have a Sunny Saturday, all!


Before Kids Parent

I did it.  The other Saturday my toddlers were getting out of the car (for the third time in an hour) and I braced myself because I knew these children needed sunscreen if their pale little Irish-German bodies weren't going to get peel-y pink in the warm sunshine.  We were heading to see a train on the side of the road because that's what you do when you have a four year old boy.  I got ready to pull out my 'all natural' sunscreen stick and then I stopped.  Maybe because I was tired.  Maybe because I was in a hurry.  Maybe because I was being lazy. But, I stopped and replaced my hard to put on sunscreen stick with a can of aerosol sunscreen.  I sprayed sunscreen all over my toddlers pale arms and legs and necks.  #whatwasithinking  After I did it, I thought, I am officially the parent I promised myself I would never become.

When I was a before kids parent, I would only feed my children whole, healthy foods.  They would never, or hardly ever, eat sugar.

When I was a before kids parent, I would never take my kids shopping because of the possible tantrum that I saw so many parents deal with at the grocery store. If I did take them shopping and they would by chance happen to throw a tantrum, I would most definitely leave my groceries in the checkout line and go home to discipline said child throwing the tantrum.

When I was a before kids parent, I would never take my children to a non fast food restaurant.  I wouldn't want to interrupt anyone else's meal.

When I was a before kids parent, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I would never raise my voice to get my point across.  #enterfootintomouth

When I was a before kids parent, I thought breastfeeding and homemade baby food were the only ways to feed an infant.  I thought cloth diapering was essential. I held sleep training up on a pedestal and absolutely knew I didn't need a $30 swaddle for my baby to sleep through the night. (Now, I would pay $60 for a full night of sleep.)

When I was a before kids parent, I was determined I could still do everything I was doing as a before kids parent and have a baby.

When I was a before kids parent, I knew mostly nothing.

Now I'm all here's an Uncrustable and an applesauce pouch for lunch and thank you Luvs for making cheap diapers that work and 'Mom, can you please come HELP ME.'  My after kids self is laughing mockingly at my before kids self for being just plain naive.

My after kids parent, my real self today, is much more practical and joyful and grace-filled.  Kevin and I have a few goals for our parenting journey and we work and focus on how we can make them come to fruition.  Most All of our goals have nothing to do with grocery stores or sunscreen or cloth diapering. Frankly, my after kids self knows those things aren't going to make or break the trajectory of my parenting journey and my childrens' lives.

So, can we do ourselves a favor and call truce on all the things?  Call truce on all the parenting decisions that seem like a big deal and really, truly are the details.  Let families make decisions based on what is best for them and not judge or compare.  Let's give each other grace and let love come through when we interact with a parent who chooses a different path or a different brand of diapers.

Let's not be a before kids parent.

We know this parent gig is hard.  Day in and day out.  We know we all want to do it well.  Let's not get caught up in the details.

Instead of judgement, let's give encouragement.  Instead of comparison, let's grant each other love.  Instead of pride, let's offer grace.

I am okay with not being the 'perfect' mom I thought I would be pre-three babies.  I am okay with keeping my eyes on the big picture and letting the details fly way like the drift of aerosol sunscreen.  I want to be an authentic mom and let all my mom friends be the same.  

And so, when you see me at Target with Lightning McQueen SPF in a can and you have an organic sunscreen stick, know we are in the same game, on the same team, both doing our very best to raise and love our babies well.  We are most definitely not before kids parents.  


Summertime Things

Did anyone else think Wednesday was Monday this past week?  Independence Day threw me for a loop being on Tuesday this year.  I have been operating in the wrong day for the last four days.    But, Saturday is here and all is well!  

I am meeting some of my college girlfriends today sans kids for some girl time and catching up.  My husband of the year is settling in with all three of our babes and I am so grateful to get out of the house for a bit. #imarriedwell

We are in the thick of an Iowa summer with all it's humidity and cloudless days and relentless heat.  There is just something about the way a July day feels; mostly like one needs to be by water or inside in the A/C.  On this Sunny Saturday, I'm sharing some things that make an Iowa summer a bit more enjoyable.

July is the month of lilies.  They are in bloom in the front yard, back yard, and side yards.  There are pink ones, peach ones (and every color in between), ruffled ones, and extra large ones all over the farm.  Kevin and I love pointing these flowers out to Lily and telling them they are her flowers.  She might love it a bit, too.

This tank from Walk in Love is my absolute new favorite piece of clothing.  If you have seen me more than once in the past month, you have probably seen me wear this shirt.  It is lightweight and easy to pair with my workout gear or a pair of shorts to head to the Farmer's Market.  The 'Be Still' message on the front is a good reminder for me during the want-to-do-everything months of summer.

A good book.  I have a few on my list this summer and I am trying to slip some fun ones in as much as possible.  I tend to read nonfiction or memoirs and I want to change it up and read some just plain fun fiction this summer.  I started Windfall and am hoping to read Dark Matter and A French Wedding as well.  These books are outside my usual genres, so we will see what happens.  I did just get At Home in this Life by Jerusalem Jackson Greer and might try and get started on it sometime this next week.  This heat makes me want to stay inside one afternoon and dive into one of these books.

I love a good salad in the summertime...on bread of course.  Our lunches lately have consisted of chicken salad on croissants or Hawaiian rolls.  In this stage of life, I pick up a tub at Sam's and call it a day.  If you're interested in doing it the homemade way, I found this easy recipe that I might try one day when my kids can all use the bathroom on their own.  #keepingitreal

I hope you have the best Sunny Saturday wherever you may be today.  Long live the hot days of summer!


5 months with Jude

A lot has changed since Jude entered the world on a cool February evening five months ago.  The snow and bitter wind has been exchanged for humid heat, green grass, and longer days.  His newborn swaddles have been swapped for bigger sleepers and a sack he can actually move in.  I no longer get to see his sweet face four or five times in the middle of the night.  It's hard to believe, but life has changed a lot in the last five months.  The changes have been incremental.  Slow, sloth like shifts that are hard to notice until, well, I notice.  Usually three weeks after the fact.

Our littlest guy is the definition of change.  Here is what he has been up to this past month.
  • Sleeping ebbs and flows.  His nighttime sleep is semi-consistent with a good eight hour stretch at the beginning of the night, followed by a feeding and another three or four hour stretch.  Nap times are a bit harder as we are trying to teach him to sleep in bigger chunks.
  • Scooting.  He is somewhere in-between rolling and crawling.  He somehow gets from point A to point B and the only thing I know to call it is scooting.  He is on his knees a lot and wants to crawl like it's nobody's business.  (Take your time son of mine.)
  • Jude is one of the smiliest kids.  All it takes is talking to him to be gifted one of his mouth-open-wide-smiles.
  • Spitting up is still on Jude's repertoire of things he does well.  The washing machine is always going at our house.
  • Jude loves playing with his rings and books and gets giddy when someone reads, The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle. 
  • Jude has discovered his legs.  He loves to kick his legs when he gets excited about something. Speaking of kicking his legs, Jude loves to do his new trick in the bathtub.  We will soon be moving bath time to the actual bathtub.   
  • If Jude is crabby, a trip outside will surely lift his spirits.  He loves rolling around on the grass and looking up at the sky.
  • Jude's favorite people are Luke and Lily.  Lily likes to blow raspberries on his stomach and Luke likes to read him books and talk to him.  My dream is for them all to be the best of friends.  #mommascandream #onmykneesforthisone

Our baby boy is growing, growing, growing and as much as we love it, we are cherishing each and every day of the sweet baby phase.  (Kevin and I both love it so much.)  


Sunny Saturday

My hubby is home.  He was traveling all week and life just feels right when we are all under one roof.  My saint of a mother came to stay with us this week while Luke attended Summer U and it was a week of refreshing time away for me. Summer U and my momma are the reasons I feel like a million bucks today.

This week I'm sharing some things that made my week sunnier.

Washi tape.  I spent some time crafting this week (who am I??) and washi tape is my new favorite product.  It comes in so many pretty colors and patterns and is perfect for making cards or dressing up pens or paper clips or pictures in a kid room.  This stuff is so fun and purchasing it at Hobby Lobby with a 40% coupon makes it acceptable to pick up a few different patterns.

These little purple bulbs are blooming all over the farm.  They are called drumstick alliums (thanks google) and the kids have loved watching them change from green to purple balls.  They last in a vase of water for at least a week and are an ideal compliment to a big bouquet of lilies and phlox or white hydrangeas.

Halo Top ice cream.  Anyone else out there loving this stuff?  It is the perfect treat in the summertime and boasts around only 240-360 calories for the entire pint.  What's not to love?  My favorites are mint chip and chocolate chip cookie dough.  I don't mind chocolate and vanilla either.  Let's be real, I would eat any pint you put in front of me.  My freezer will be stocked with these pints of goodness all summer long.

Last weekend I made my first cherry pie of the season.  Our cherry tree is bursting with the red fruit and I can't keep up with it all.  If you're local and want to pick, shoot me a text and come on out.  Give me a scoop of Halo Top vanilla ice cream atop a piece of warm pie and I am living out a bit of heaven.

The last thing that made my week sunnier was time alone.  This week I was able to get away and write and think and blog and plan next year's school year for Luke.  When I get to get away, I always feel refreshed and energized to invest in my babies with a renewed sense of purpose and excitement.  Self care is important, Mommas.  Make sure you take time to fill your tank.

I hope you all have a great weekend celebrating Independence Day.  Have a Sunny Saturday, all!


Summer Basics for Toddler Girls

It's summertime, people!  My complicated relationship with summer has been a roller coaster the past ten years, but I am happy to be back in the love column this year.  I am letting some things go in the garden and embracing all the fun there is to be had when the sun is shining.  

This week I'm sharing some of my favorite basics for Lily during these warm temperature days.  I am trying to keep things simple with the kids' wardrobes and these pieces make getting dressed a breeze when all we really want to do is get outside!

First up is this Swim Zip suit.  It is the easiest suit to get on and off and has built in SPF, which is a major win with my red-headed girl.  It's cute and Lily has been able to fit in this one for two summers now.  Needless to say, we have gotten our money worth on this buy.

These two basics I picked up when June and January had a sale.  The teal dress is perfect for play and church and the gray top goes with each and every pair of bottoms Lily is wearing this summer.  My hope is the top will fit her next year as well.  Fingers crossed. 

Jellies on toddler girls might be the cutest thing...ever.  These jellies are from Target, but there is something similar here.  A huge bonus is Lily can wear them with or without socks.  Socks with sandals are in, right?  But really, these go with everything in her closet and she loves them.

There is a chance Lily could be a teensy bit old for a bonnet, but I'm taking advantage of the fact that this Oma and Jo one from last year still fits her. It is adorable and protects her scalp from getting pink and peel-y.  

Hope you all have a Sunny Saturday wherever you may be today.  We are going to be outside enjoying the predicted not-so-hot weather all weekend long.  

Have a Sunny Saturday! 

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