Monday, July 31, 2017

The Arms Must Wave

The hubby and I had a chance to go out without the kids the other night for his work buddy's birthday party. Originally it was going to be at the beach but with the weather being rainy and a bit cold they had it in their backyard under a tent. Luckily the rain seemed to be done by the time the party started though it was still quite cold for July. Originally I had picked out a cute tank dress to wear with a white and peach striped button down. I was going to add bangles and a peachy beaded necklace and flip flops. Casual, beachy and yet still on the dressy side. I'm actually kinda bumming that I didn't get to wear this out! Pretty sure a date night is needed so I can wear this! 😉

So since this was not happening I quickly called up my babysitter, aka Asia, and asked her to bring a top over. Luckily she had this fun off the shoulder striped top that I've been dying to borrow! Still had the casual yet dressy feel so it was a great choice. And I was a lot warmer than I would have been if I'd worn the tank dress. 
Now I have to cute and "in" as these off the shoulder tops are, does anyone else struggle a bit wearing them?!? All night the damn sides kept popping up! Not cute. I felt like I was constantly pulling the sleeves back down and off the shoulder. It's a good thing there wasn't dancing. I wouldn't have been able to wave my arms like ya just don't care and everyone knows that that's a must while dancing. And Nova (yes, I just totally referred to myself in the 3rd party) definitely cares! The arms must wave, people! Someone let me know if there's an off the shoulder top that stays off the shoulder and yet still allows you to move your arms! 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Fun at the Fair

Every summer we look forward to going to the fair. Rides, animals, vendors, cotton candy, all the amazing shows and music! Even just sitting down and watching all the people.

And now with the little ones we really look forward to it. This is Lily's 4th time going and we have always had to avoid the ride area in past so she wouldn't be upset. She is such a tiny girl. Minimum height 36in and guess which itty bitty girl FINALLY is tall enough? That's right Little Miss Lily! My brave girl went on every single ride she could go on. She made her dad or I go with her but that's fine. Mommy can't handle the bigger rides anyway so the little rides were perfect for me. While on the "bumble bee" ride, a silly little thing that slowly raises you up and down while spinning, again very slowly, Lily kept pointing to the Ferris Wheel. Ummmm yeah that would be a big N. O. I'm sorry kiddo I love you to pieces but mommy's fear of heights trumps your wish for me to accompany you on that thing. But atlas, the Ferris Wheel was the one thing she kept begging to go on. So of course daddy, who loves them was very excited to step up and escorts her to the terrifying ride. Daddy and Lily are in the yellow swinging contraption, if you all are curious. Lily is quite a dare devil and every time they went by Lily would lean forward and smile and wave like it was nothing. I dont know about you but everytime Paul has managed to talk me into going on one I have sat very stiffly, usually while holding my breath and trying not to pass out, so i could avoid having the little contraption from rocking back and forth! At least Paul has a buddy to go on the Ferris Wheel now and I can just wander around eat cotton candy till she is ready for the mini roller coaster and the tea cups.

My favorite part of the fair has to be the animals. The cows, goats, horses, sheep, rabbits and even a camel to name a few! To be able to see, pet and feed some of these animals is such a great experience for the kids. This white cow, below, was so vocal and loud. Grayson's little mind was just blown away. So great to see him connecting the animals to the sounds that they make. Saying "The cow says 'moo' and the sheep says 'baa'..." only goes so far. I wanted to take this lady home with us! Well, only for a short minute. She was a bit stinky!

Lily and Grayson both had their first taste of cotton candy! Though Grayson seemed confused about the melt in your mouth sugariness Lily thought it was heaven! Thank goodness I brought wipes! The stickiness was a bit much! We only ate 1/4 of the bag which was great because I took the rest home and bribed my kids with it for the rest of the week!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I Will Not Be Shamed

I've been stuck on what to write for awhile now. Not so much writers block but just so hung up on the reactions from a recent post that I have not been able to move forward. When I wrote about weaning my son, HERE, and posted photos I expected to get some feedback. Both good and negative. The amount of positive and supportive messages and texts I received was amazing and so appreciated. I had expected the negative feedback, if any, to come from strangers. It did not. Not one. I was shocked that the only negative feedback came from some people very close to me. Inappropriate, pornographic, overly sexual and trashy are words that were used to describe something I had believed to be pure and beautiful. I started to feel ashamed, embarrassed and my heart just broke hearing these words. I felt guilt that a post that I was so proud of was taken in such a negative light.  Now just to clarify, it was the photos that caused concern, not the words. I get it. I do. However at the same time those pictures, to me, showed the bond, the nurturing and the intimacy that comes with breastfeeding. The goal of those photos was to capture a pure moment between my child and myself. How do you "properly" capture the love and closeness you feel while looking at your child while breastfeeding? The bond that is there? The trust? This a part of motherhood that is just so magical that it is hard to fully explain. Even with formula and bottle feeding, this bond is formed. The connection is just there. It is a beautiful and overwhelming experience that is so full of love. I wanted to capture the beauty of it. And I feel like the pictures I posted did just that.

I had contemplated taking down the photos. I went back and forth on this a lot. But then when it came down to it I had to be true to myself. I believed in what I had posted. I believed that though these photos were upsetting to some that I was just as covered as I would have been in a bikini. I truly do see and understand were these people are coming from. I do. I think when confronted with any opinion other than your own it's important to try and see their side. Otherwise, how can you grow, learn and not be close minded?

Now, I will admit that these photos may be more "in your face" than one of me sitting in the living room breastfeeding with a shirt and pants on. I get this is what the overall issue was from my post. I get it. However, at the same time to tell me it's pornographic and inappropriate shows that these people don't truly "get it". To try and make something that was innocent and turn it into something so disgusting is wrong. I will not be taking that post or the photos down. I will not be shamed. I will leave it up because I know that mothers get shamed all the time for more "innocent' photos and that is just sad. I will leave them up not out of disrespect to those who showed "concern" but because someday my girls may be breastfeeding in public and should not have to be worried about being shamed or having to cover themselves. I will leave them up because when my three year old "breastfeeds" her baby doll at school there should be no reason that the teachers should feel the need to tell me. It is natural. It is what breasts are meant for. The over sexulazation of breasts in our culture has become so insane that woman feel they need to feed their child on a toilet or in a hot car to avoid glares! It's not right.

I would like to thank everyone again that showed support for what I posted. Thank you all for the messages, the texts and phone calls. And to those who felt the need to say otherwise....I get it. But know that YOU are the reason for the normalize breastfeeding posts, not just from me but from all of social media. Your need to sexualize what I did and then call others and gossip about it shows your own perverse thinking. I hope that someday you will be able to separate yourself from your own close mindedness and grow.

Here you go. I found a picture that may be more appropriate.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sometimes You Need to Spoil Yourself

Yesterday I went into one of my favorite stores, Francesca's and bought something for myself for the first time in MONTHS! The last item I purchased for myself besides makeup was a pair of Olukai flip flops for our Florida vacation back in March! That fashion challenge I did has really helped me to curb my spending and take full advantage of everything already in my closet. But....sometimes you just need to get something new and spoil yourself!

The last 3.5 years I've mostly carried around a functional yet beautiful diaper bag from Petunia Pickler Bottom and though I absolutely love it I've just really needed something for me. Something for normal outings with my friends or with Asia. That wasn't baby related. Something that didn't scream "There's probably crushed up crackers and diaper cream in here!". That's right I bought a purse!! ***Eeeek!***

This purse was not only on sale but it is perfect for summer and fall! I just HAD to have it! The strap is adjustable so you can wear it over your shoulder or Cross-body style. It is the perfect size for my bulky wallet, keys, phone and a few other small yet much needed items. Like three or four lipsticks! This is my new favorite bag for sure. I have had my eye on the Perforated style type bags for awhile now so I scooped this up pretty quick as soon as I saw it. Unfortunately, it is sold out online so I don't have a link for you today. You could always check out your local Francesca's store. They may still have one. I did find a similar style HERE, in a bone color for $14.97 or THIS tan colored one for $22.00. Both are on sale at Old Navy so I would get them quick before they're gone!

What's the last thing you bought for yourself? 

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Weaning Process

The kids and I spent yesterday out back in the pool and in the garden. Figured we'd have a nice relaxing Sunday since we have been going non-stop since last week. After awhile I brought the kiddos inside for a little snack and to breastfeed Grayson. While I was laying on his new big boy bed, feeding him, in his soon to be new room it dawed on me that this is one of the last few times that I will be feeding him in this manner. In a few short days he will be moving out of our room and daddy will help with the weaning process. Our time breastfeeding will be over. This stage in our bonding will be over for us.

So this morning, to preserve how truly wonderful it was to be able to breastfeed, we had a small photoshoot. I know not everyone would share these pictures. However, I think they are beautiful. This is a natural and beautiful experience that woman are able to provide nourishment to their children. I was unable to breastfeed Asia, and I swore that when I had more children I would breastfeed them. After so many excruciating years of infertility I was more determined than ever to be able to breastfeed. It's not as easy as one would think. Those first couple of weeks can be very draining and emotionally hard on a mother, especially when there is latch issues. And the pain? Oh, no one tells you that it can be painful. You have to get that latch perfect or you may end up with dry, and bleeding nipples. It can be an exhausting time. One that leaves you raw and sleep deprived and leaves your partner feeling helpless. It truly can take a village at times to "get it down". With the help of nurses, friends, lactation consultants and breastfeeding groups. Pumping is a whole different issue with work, timing, and ounces and so on. Luckily this time around I had the option to just stay home, not work and nurse on command.
I sent this picture, above, to my grandmother. She said she thought it was beautiful but was afraid that some would see it in a negative light. After reading her text I knew that I had to share it. Breastfeeding is not unnatural. It should be the norm. I have always breastfed whenever my children were hungry. Mostly at home but at times I've had to while pushing a grocery cart, while shopping at the mall, at the park, in restaurants, in the car and even while bowling. I also did not cover myself. I did not cover myself because not only do I not have too but because you can't see if your child is latched on correctly, and it gets hot under a blanket! Have you ever tried to eat under a blanket? Not too convenient. Really, unless you are really staring you probably couldn't even tell that one was breastfeeding. Except the grocery store one....that was interesting. I have only ever once received a glare from someone, but I know others get yelled at, talked down to, judged and oh so many glares. It's not right.

Breastfeeding is a natural, beautiful experience that should not be seen in a negative light. It is a peaceful and miraculous thing to be able to provide for your child in this way. It is something that I will truly miss. This time I have been fortunate enough to have to dedicate to my son, has been a blessing. I look at these pictures now and see that bond that we have created and my only regret is that I don't have any like this with Lily...and even with Asia, though she was formula fed after two weeks.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Oh So Much Kale

I finally managed to get out to the garden to pick some veggies. Oh my goodness!! I ended up with so much kale my normal go to recipes just weren't enough. My husband and Lily are not a big fans of kale and will only eat it cooked certain ways. Hubby likes Zuppa Toscana soup and Lily adores lightly salted kale chips. So after making a batch of each I had to think of what to do with the rest! After searching the pantry I decided to go with Kale Pesto! Such an easy recipe. And so amazingly good on pasta! Lily even ate two whole servings! and if you know Lily or just have experience with toddlers, you know how picky these mini dictators can be! Asia even stopped by last night and had a big bowl of Toscana soup and then a heaping plate of my kale pesto pasta!
 *Final product shown on bottom!

  • Kale...I didn't measure but there was probably close to 3.5 cups once rinsed, destemmed , and cut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pine nuts
  • 1/2 olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2Tbs minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp pepper
*This is a very basic recipe. I usually like to add more spice (Red pepper flakes or Smoked Chipotle powder and salt) to food but for the kids this is perfect. Also if using a real lemon I would add about 1Tbs of lemon zest.

  • Rinse, destem and cut kale.
  • Add kale and pine nuts to blender
  • Pulse till chopped (about 5 or 6 times)
  • Add olive oil and pulse another 5 times
  • Add rest of ingredients and pulse till blended
Use this on pasta, rice or on whatever else you use pesto on :D

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mickey Mouse Party!

Awhile back I mentioned my total lack of planning for Grayson's birthday party. I'm happy to say everything turned out great. I spent most of last week putting together all the last minute touches. Alright, alright....ALL the touches. I did everything last minute 😠. Luckily I had most everything purchased and only had to assemble all the DIYs. Yeah alright, that's a lie too. I had to run to the party store and Michael's more than I'd like to admit last week to get things I forgot to buy! I did however keep everything relatively simple and inexpensive. It's amazing what balloons, streamers and a few hours with scrapbook paper and a hole punch can accomplish! Add a few other "extras" and it all just comes together.

Read on below to see how I put together a budget friendly party!

Flag banners were all made out of heavy scrapbook paper. I simply measured out the length I wanted then cut, hole punched and then threaded with ribbon. I had these throughout the house. You can buy scrapbook paper usually between .25- .75. I believe my total cost for all the scrapbook paper I used was under $3.00!
 Goodie Bags: I used Black bags that I got from the local party store $1 each. I cut and glued on red construction paper and then added yellow circle stickers. I had girl bags and boy bags. The boy bags had a red Mickey sticker on the outside and a Mickey Mouse Coloring book. The girl bags had a pink Minnie sticker and a Minnie Mouse coloring book. Coloring Books were a $1 each and purchased at Five Below. Each bag of also contained a small box of crayons, a few pieces candy and had room for each child's art/activity projects that they could make.
Now for some reason I didn't take a picture of the crafts I bought for the kids to do. I will show you what I got though. I bought THESE amazing frames. They come 10 to a pack and there are just so many ways kids can decorate them! And they are only $1.99 a pack!! We used THESE foam stickers, currently on sale, to decorate our frames. Instead of your traditional party hats, I got super cute Minnie and Mickey foam visors! And last, we got little felt posters, HERE, for $1.79!
 Another simple item I made was the "Thanks For Popping By!!" popcorn bags. I made the labels on the computer, you could always order them on Etsy if you don't wish to make your own, and then printed, cut and attached to thick scrapbook paper. I made tons of popcorn with our air popper and placed in sandwich bags. Then simply stapled my labels to each bag. Cute, inexpensive and best of all easy!

For Grayson's chair I measured out ribbons that I bought from Michael's. Cut and then hot glued to a long rope. Once dry I used packing tape to attach to his highchair tray. After the party I removed each ribbon and kept the clean ones. I eventually plan on making hair ribbons for Lily with know in all my spare time 😜

 Yes...we had beers. We also had water bottles, soda, and juice boxes.

For this display (below) I reused a mason jar from a different party. Painted half red and then added yellow circle stickers once it dried. Inside the jar is black fish tank rocks and yellow tissue paper. Both, also from a different party along with the red and white pompoms. *I have a huge Rubbermaid container full of different color balloons, streamers, mason jars and other reusable party supplies.* The Mickey felt shaped head, is taped to a wooden dowel rod. The number one I made out of scrapbook paper. The Mickey felt head was a $1.79. Total spent on two mason jar decorations, $3.58. Both jars are now back in the party container till I can reuse them. If you have the room, I can not tell you enough just how helpful it is to put aside a large container solely for decorations.

Below is a wooden frame that I got at Michael's for $1. I painted it red and black and hot glued some old buttons to it. I placed our menu inside and will later place a picture of Grayson eating his birthday cake. Something so simple and inexpensive is one of the little details I was talking about. It takes minutes to do but really makes a difference decorating wise.

A few Mickey themed condiments. Scrapbook paper and glue. That's it. This scrapbook paper was around .75 and has now been used multiply times. *Once again you can find more custom labels on Etsy and other places but I was going for low cost and well you really can't beat .75

The Cake: Made it myself. Cupcakes: Hubby decorated.

I hope you were able to get some decorating ideas from this post and able to see how easy it is to make the "extra" details yourself.