Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: The Ultimate Gift Guide List

Can y'all believe tomorrow is December? Thankfully, we only have two more Christmas gifts to purchase in our household {and let me tell you, that was not the case last year!}, but if you are still struggling with gift ideas, I thought I'd compile all of my favorite gift guides from years past {and this year!} into one post for y'all! I'll be back with a similar post -- but with stocking stuffers -- next week. :)

Here are some ideas for y'all: 

For Women:


one || two || three || four 

five || six || seven || eight || nine

ten = Tickets to something! {A play, ballet, musical, or concert!}

For Men: 


one || two || three || four 

five || six || seven || eight 

nine || ten || eleven || twelve 


For Teachers:

one || two || three || four 

five || six || seven

eight  

For Two-Year-Olds:


one || two || three || four 

five || six || seven || eight 

nine || ten || eleven  

For Toddlers:


one || two || three || four || five 

six || seven || eight || nine || ten 


Learning Activities for Toddlers:


one || two || three 

four || five || six

seven || eight || nine 

ten || eleven || twelve 

Books for Kiddos:


one || two || three

four || five || six 

seven || eight || nine || ten 


*Linking up with Jessi and Jenn 

**Some affiliate links used 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Extra Long Weekending: Thanksgiving Recap

Whew, sorry for the ridiculously long radio silence! We had a busy, fun last week, so I thought I'd recap it all here and link up with Biana to do so. ;) 

Over the course of this last week, we:

+ Kicked off Brandon being home with us for five straight days with a little Mexican food lunch before all the turkey.


+ Took loads of pictures of this cutie {and his brother} by the Christmas tree. I do have super adorable subjects who make that job pretty easy. ;)


+ Celebrated this cutie's six-month birthday! I can't believe he's already half a year old. Time, slow down!


+ Had Knox's six-month appointment, which was completed by five separate shots {#NIGHTMARE} and while we were there, I had the pediatrician check Walker out since he'd been coughing so much, and we found out that he had an upper respiratory infection and an ear infection, which required breathing treatments and an antibiotic, respectively. This has been an interesting November with sickness around here, that's for sure! I'm just ready for everyone to be well.


+ Brandon surprised me with a one-hour massage, and it was absolutely, utterly heavenly! 

+ Got the go-ahead at Knox's appointment to start solid foods, which we did, with oatmeal -- which he hated. {And it was hilarious to see his shudders after each bite.} He's doing better now, but the poor guy was not a fan at the beginning. ANNNNND I'm so excited that my best friend Lindsey's mom got me the Béaba BabyCook and I'm thrilled to use it to make Knox's pureés! So much easier than steaming on the stove, pureéing in my food processor and then freezing like I did with Walker's pureés. Love it!



+ Brandon got our outdoor Christmas décor set up, and I love how festive it is this year!

+ Celebrated Thanksgiving at my in-law's house with them, Brandon's brothers and their wives and kiddos. It was a fun time spent with family and lots of food...and the Cowboys' win didn't hurt, either! 10-1!

Our family of four

My two sweet turkeys
Bright eyes celebrating his first Thanksgiving
The three oldest cousins -- they're all three months apart: Brayden, Ellie Kate and Walker
All the cousins in birth order (R-L): Brayden, Ellie Kate, Walker, Caroline and Noelle (twins) and Knox 


Brandon doing the honors...in his Cowboys jersey. Ha!
+ Thanksgiving night, I pulled out the boys' Christmas jammies. 'Tis the season for them...and loving chokeholds. ;)

 

+ We did a little Black Friday shopping -- online, because I just can't with the craziness of the stores -- and I am only two Christmas gifts away from being finished, and I am so beyond excited about that! 

+ My friend Liz took our Christmas card pictures, and here's a little sneak peek. I can't wait to share them with y'all! I took advantage of Tiny Prints' Black Friday special {40% off + free shipping}, which you can do even if you don't have your photo yet! I was so surprised to find this out; you just order like normal, select "Designer Review" and call them right after you order and have them move your order to "Pending." As soon as you have your photo, you just call them and they'll put it in your card for your and send your order off to processing! How cool is that?!


+ After our pictures, we were heading to eat dinner with Liz and her family, and in the shopping village was none other than the Big Man himself, so of course we had to stop and let the boys see him. The following conversation ensued between Santa and Walker: 

Walker: "Santa, I've been *very* good this year! I want a backhoe for Christmas!" 

Santa: "Well, that's great! What does your brother want for Christmas?"

Walker: "Rocks." 

...we're working on sharing and gentleness of spirit. ;)

Knox was absolutely thrilled to sit on Santa's lap. I was prepared for a full-on meltdown, but he was so happy! Love this easy-going second child of mine. :)

+ Brandon and I caught the boys' yucky coughs and nasty noses, so we went to our local Urgent Care yesterday morning and each got a steroid shot, an antibiotic and cough syrup, and hopefully we'll be on the mend soon. 

I hope y'all had wonderful Thanksgivings; I can't wait to read all about them! I'll be back Wednesday with a big gift guide for all the folks in your life...stop by then to check it out! :)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Weekending: Thanksgiving Week Edition

Happy Monday! We had a fabulous weekend spending some much-needed family time together after an insane last couple of weeks. Here's what we were up to: 

-FRIDAY: 

+ Brandon got home from his business trip to Canada {#allthepraisehands}

+ It was downright chilly, so we decided to bite the bullet and put up our Christmas tree and other décor, which was everything my Mom dreams were made of: two little boys -- and my sweet husband, of course -- putting ornaments on the tree while Christmas music was playing in the background. And hearing Walker say, "Mommy, it's 'bew-full!'" just made my heart melt. I love this time of year, but seeing it through a child's eyes is truly magical. 





-SATURDAY: 

+ We had an extremely low-key day, and in fact, I didn't leave the house once! 

+ The boys cuddled up together to watch the 1964 Christmas classic, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and it was just precious! {And yes, Knox is a thumb-sucker! It's so sweet, but man, he always has that thumb in his mouth.} 


+ I did a bit of ironing, some laundry and cleaning, and just basically got a ton of things done around the house. 

+ I made this for supper, then we watched this OnDemand -- so great and definitely worth the watch!  

-SUNDAY: 

+ We went to church, then came home and had a lazy afternoon! I decided on a whim to clean the grout in my kitchen -- yes, I'm a bit of an OCD clean freak! We watched the Cowboys game {Go Cowboys!} and I got in lots of cuddles with this precious little guy and his big brother:


+ Walker wrote his letter to Santa! Special, specific requests this year were a ride-on backhoe and an orange. I think we can handle the former pretty easily, and it's a good thing Santa has already picked up this to handle the latter. ;) 





Here's the exact address if you want to send a letter to Santa -- and get a reply back!


I hope y'all had fabulous weekends, and I can't wait to read about them. Happy Thanksgiving Week! 

Linking up with Biana

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday!

Happy, Happy Friday! 


-ONE-
After all of the sickness that plagued our house last week/weekend, Brandon had to hop on a plane to Canada for business on Sunday night. So to say it's been an interesting two weeks around here would be an understatement. He's headed home today, so we are definitely looking forward to having him here, having everything be "normal" and preparing to celebrate the holiday season. I'm also contemplating putting up my tree this weekend since the high tomorrow is supposed to be 59*. And that's basically winter in Texas. ;) #falalalalalalalala 

I'm pretty obsessed with my Mom's Christmas tree!

-TWO-
Speaking of holidays, this cutie pie wore his turkey shirt to Mother's Day Out yesterday since they were doing their Thanksgiving celebrations there. I swear, there is nothing more fun than holidays, but when you add a kid to the mix who is old enough to understand what's going on? Icing on the holiday cake, I tell ya. 

And yes, it was totally warm enough outside this week for us to wear shorts. In November. I can't complain, though, because we were able to go on long walks each evening and I know the time is coming where it's going to be too cold to do much of anything soon, so I'm soaking it up while I can! 


-THREE-
Did you miss my favorite products for second babies (3-6 months) Wednesday? Hop on over to check it out. {Isn't it funny how much less "stuff" you need for the second kid?!} 


-FOUR-
I'm in total denial that Thanksgiving is Thursday, even though I'm so excited! I hit "record" on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this morning; that is seriously one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions -- curling up with a cup of coffee, my babies, a blanket and the parade. I'm making rolls, squash casserole, homemade banana pudding {per my father-in-law's request} and this delicious pie. Oh, I can't wait for next week!  

And I got the cutest top from Pearl & Monroe that I can't wait to wear -- with leggings, of course, because hello, elastic waistband! -- on Thanksgiving Day!


-FIVE-
When I was a little girl, my Mom would always pull the Christmas décor down from the attic the day after Thanksgiving. And in all of that stuff were tons of Christmas books; this one being my very favorite. I can still smell the scratch-and-sniff pages and it brings back wonderful childhood memories. So, when I found it on Amazon recently, I seriously did a little happy dance in my living room and couldn't click "Add to Cart" fast enough! It came, and Walker has asked me to read it at every nap time this week, and I'm happily obliging. I read it and I'm five years old on Christmas again, wearing ruffled socks with my patent Mary Janes and donning a plaid Christmas dress with a velvet collar and cuffs. 

It's such a sweet book and any of you with littles need to scoop it up! I promise your kiddos won't be disappointed. :)



Linking up with: April, Amanda, Andrea, Amy and Katie

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: Second Baby Favorites (3-6 Months)

It's Wednesday, and you know what that means: time to link up with Jenn and Jessi for "What's Hap-pinning Wednesday!" 

Now that Knox is almost six months old (on Tuesday, y'all!), I thought I'd share what have been some of our favorite baby items for Knox these past three months. I shared my 0-3 month favorites here, so be sure to check that out too! 



So here's what we have loved these last three months: 




one || two || three || four 

five || six || seven || eight  


-ONE-
These are hands down my favorite bottles! You can read my full review here, but we started using these when Knox was a little over three months old, and I wish I had them with Walker. The 2-in-1 silicone nipple works like the breast, letting babies instinctively control the flow of milk they're taking in and allow the baby to use suction and compression, just like breastfeeding. 

-TWO-
These rings are less than $4, and both of my boys have loved them! I attach them to Knox's infant car seat and it entertains him so much when we're in the car. He's even fallen asleep in his car seat with his hand still clenched to them. Ha! 

-THREE-
I know people rave all about Sophie, and I'm going to just add myself to that list. ;) Walker could not have cared less about her, but Knox is obsessed. She is constantly with him and he chews her so much that her paint is already fading. She also tags along with us in the car and he will find her anywhere on his mat when he's doing tummy time. 

-FOUR-
We had these same Oballs when Walker was little, and both of my boys have loved them. The holes in them make them easy to grip -- especially when they're first starting to reach for things and pull them to their mouths. Knox likes to play with his in the bouncer when I'm taking a shower or when he's in the Baby Snug

-FIVE-
Another favorite that was once Walker's: the jumperoo! My aunt is an ECI and she warned us about putting babies in them too early, so we waited until Knox had good head and upper body control and put him in hit right around five months. And y'all, he loves it! This jumperoo is pretty interactive, loud and bright, and he loves turning around to see what's behind him, beside him and around him. It's pretty hilarious once he gets going, too. Definitely recommend! 

-SIX-
Hands down my favorite baby bathtub! Since we have two boys, it only makes sense to throw them in the bath together. This one doesn't have anything that can mold, and cleans so easily. Plus, the holes in it make for super easy clean up after poop happens in the tub -- and it does! We clean it, spray it down with bleach/water mix and let it dry and it's good as new. Plus, this has held up like new through both boys. We'll get rid of it once Knox can safely sit up in the tub alone, but I would recommend this to any mom registering for baby tubs. 

-SEVEN-
My mother-in-law bought this for Walker when he was a baby, and we kept it because he loved it so much. There's three sides with different "activities" on each side, and it holds up well with little boys banging it all over the place. And an added bonus? Knox uses it to prop himself up on when he's sitting, which is so funny to watch. 

-EIGHT-
I have shared with y'all my love of Swaddle Designs zzZip Me Sacks before {read here for my full review} but I had to include it here, too. What I love most about this sack is that it has a helpful two-way zipper to make those middle-of-the-night diaper changes quick and easy. And unlike other sleep sacks, there's no pesky "hook" at the top that you have to get on track in order to zip the sleep sack; this two-way zips down from the top when you're ready to put them in it, and zips up from the bottom (allowing you to just uncover their legs and bum) for diaper changes! How awesome is that?!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Weekending

Whew, y'all. This last week has been a doozy! I usually am not thrilled for Monday to be here, but this week, I so am! 

Let me back up, though, shall I? 

On Tuesday -- Election Day -- Knox came down with a violent stomach bug. It was so sad, and we're guessing he picked it up from the church nursery since that's really the only place he goes. Seeing a five-month-old baby get sick like that just broke my heart. He would just look at me afterward and just cry every time. It broke my heart! So not only were we up late waiting for the election results to roll in, we were up with a poor, pitiful, sick little baby. 


Wednesday the boys were okay, and then, at 1:45 a.m. on Thursday, Walker came down with it. And we were scheduled to leave before lunchtime that day to go to Austin for my sweet friend Laura's wedding. I was a bridesmaid in it, so we had planned for my Mom to drive up to stay with the boys while we were gone for the weekend. Oh, we were so looking forward to a fabulous weekend away -- just us two -- celebrating Laura and Scott! My Mom was a saint and drove up anyway to take care of our two sick kids, and we hit the road Thursday late morning after spending hours washing absolutely every sheet, towel, blanket and dish in this house.

Our first stop on the way down to Austin was Common Grounds in Waco for some coffee; good grief did we need it. {Read my whole Waco recap here!} It was great to be back on my old stomping grounds...for about 10 minutes. Ha!



We checked into our hotel, the Sonesta Bee Cave, which was so new, clean and nice. After a quick change, we headed to the rehearsal at Prospect House. I was so happy to be reunited with Laura...and can you please look at those gorgeous Hill Country views!? #canipleasemovetoaustinnow #iloveTexas




After a little cocktail hour, we headed to the beautiful rehearsal dinner at Solaro Estate. The groom's parents hosted a lovely evening with a yummy Texas barbeque dinner, delicious Texas wine, and the bride's dad even wrote the couple a song and sang it at the wedding. Just perfect!
 


Then, about 3 a.m. Friday, the dreaded stomach bug hit me. And it was absolutely awful. I was supposed to be in the lobby around 8 a.m. to head to the wedding venue, and I couldn't even get out of bed. I tried and tried all day long, and I just kept getting sick. And y'all, I had to make the worst phone call ever and tell Laura that I couldn't be a bridesmaid in her wedding. I was a complete emotional wreck. But I'm beyond thankful for such a precious, understanding friend who was truly more concerned about me than her own self on her wedding day. I just love her to pieces. 

After asking housekeeping to come thoroughly clean the room, Brandon got me some chicken noodle soup from a nearby Panera, and I sat in bed with that and a Sprite alternating between sleeping and watching TV while he...


...got dressed up and got to go to Laura's wedding. {And don't even ask me what this goofy pose was. I have no clue!} I made him promise to send me pictures and tell me every detail when he got back to the hotel. And let me tell you, this is such a man. I asked, "What about the flowers? What were they?!" He said, "Uhh, they were...red." Thanks for the details, honey. ;) 


I mean, look how beautiful Laura was and the wedding was, right?! 


Thankfully, I was feeling better when I woke up Saturday morning. We made the drive back to Dallas in time for my poor Mom to jet out and get away from this sickness, and we spent the day cleaning, disinfecting, washing ALL THE THINGS and me resting. Knox was supposed to be dedicated at church Sunday morning, but we had to scrap that and move it to May. Le sigh.

Sunday, we clearly skipped church for obvious reasons. Sweet Knox had his first taste of "actual" food, a rice Mum-Mum. He wasn't sure what to think of it at first, but then decided he loved it and devoured the entire thing. Ha! We're planning to start solid foods next week after his pediatrician gives the go-ahead at his six-month appointment. {Side note: how is my baby almost six months?!} 


I spent the morning wrapping some Christmas presents and watching "The Family Stone" in mid-November...because I had just had the worst week ever and was going to wrap presents if I darn well pleased! ;) 


Then, Walker came up to me and said: "Mommy, can we please go on a date to Diary Queen?" 

Y'all, I couldn't have said "yes" fast enough. I ditched the PJ's I was still in at 1 p.m. and we took off, just us two. We jammed to Christmas music and JT's "Can't Stop the Feeling" on the way there, and then enjoyed ice cream sundaes and conversation. I loved soaking up an hour with my precious boy, one-on-one, and just enjoying his sweet self. I'm so thankful for him. I couldn't get enough of his stories on the car ride home, his questions {like, "How does electricity get in those poles, Mommy?"} and I was just drinking it all in. I love him so much. 


After watching a fabulous Cowboys victory, we called it a night. I'm praying for a much smoother, calmer week this week -- and I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week! Happy Monday, y'all! 

Linking up with Biana