Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thoughts for Thursday: Coffee Talk

If we were sitting down having coffee together this morning, we would have a lot chat about. A few things: 



\\ I'm in sheer denial that it's the last full week of July. Seriously, how is it almost August? This summer has absolutely flown by, and I can't believe that Walker will have started school by this time next month. 

\\ Even though it's just preschool right now, it made me a bit sad to think that next year Walker will start Pre-Kindergarten and in two years, Kindergarten. Holy moly. That said, I took him down from three-days-a-week preschool to two-days-a-week preschool, and I think that, coupled with our weekly two-hour BSF program, will be plenty and give us just the right amount of time together at home vs. at school/church. Knox may or may not start in January when the new semester starts; we'll see how I feel about it then. 

\\ I admit that I'm an avid Real Housewives watcher, and I'm pretty convinced that New York is my favorite. But can we just talk about how much it bugs me when Ramona and Sonja are such freaks about their rooms every time they travel? They're so annoying. 

\\ Brandon and I started doing yoga together each evening and it's such a nice time to wind down with him after putting the kids down to bed. It's nothing fancy -- just a yoga series on YouTube that we stream via Amazon Fire TV -- but it feels amazing and I swear we have slept better at night because of it.

\\ And, adding to that, we had gotten into a bad habit of having a glass {or two} of wine in the evenings and we noticed we weren't sleeping well...and were gaining some weight. So, we have made a big change and reserved our wine for weekend evenings only, if that. It's definitely not easy, but our sleep and weight need to get back on track, and after just two weeks of it, we have already noticed our sleep getting much better and some water weight dropping off. 

\\ It's just so ridiculously hot in Texas right now. It was 102* at 4 p.m. when I took the boys out to pick up one item from Kroger that I forgot to put on my Walmart Online Grocery list and I was sweating just walking into the grocery store. I have lived in Texas my entire life and yet every year I complain about the heat like it actually surprises me...but good grief, it is just hot right now. 

\\ I absolutely adore reading blogs, but I'll tell you what kills me: bloggers whose posts are all completely sponsored. I just want to scream, "We don't want to see that!" I mean, absolutely get that free swag and make some money in the process, but I just miss the blogging days where bloggers didn't have 90% of their blog and social media accounts shilling stuff. 

\\ Thanks to Owen's recommendation, I ordered RapidLash and I'm hoping it works! My eyelashes are so sparse and thin after having two babies {the things no one tells you...!} and they used to be so long, full and thick. I've read the reviews online and it appears that I'll have to use it for about a month to see any noticeable results, but I'll report back! I'm hoping it works! 

\\ Knox is getting about six teeth right now and the poor guy is just downright miserable. I think I put it out of my mind how fussy and clingy they are when they're cutting teeth, but bless his little heart, he just wants to be held all day and practically lives off of Ibuprofen and Tylenol...le sigh. 

So, what are you confessing today? 


Linking up with Julie, Annie and Natalie 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What's Up Wednesday: July 2017

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts, so I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon this month. 



I'm linking up with Mel, Sheaffer and Shay for "What's Up Wednesday" to answer the following questions: 



{1} What We're Eating This Week
Well, it's summer and I loathe turning on my oven when it's upwards of 100 degrees out, so we've had lots of easy, quick meals on the stovetop and on the grill. Lately we have had: Bacon, Asparagus, Shallot and Pea Pasta; salmon on the grill with a side of couscous and broccoli; grilled chicken with Italian Summer Pasta Salad; and have reinstated Friday Night Pizza Night with either a quick take-and-bake pizza or a homemade one. 

{2} What I'm Reminiscing About
I just feel like summer went by so quickly. I know everyone says it, but wasn't it just May? Wasn't I just trying to figure out what to do with the boys all summer long? Now Walker starts school in less than a month and I'm just baffled that our fall schedule and routine will be here before I know it. So, I'm basically reminiscing about May and how we had the entire summer ahead of us and I'm just trying to soak up this last month of summer. (Even though it is still hot as Hades here in Texas until at least early October.) 






{3} What I'm Loving 
I could go on and on about things I'm loving lately! I'm trying to be really good about spending since we're gearing up for the super expensive holiday season where I feel like I'm constantly buying ALL THE THINGS, but I do have my eye on a few things: 

This hat, which has been added to my Christmas list {ahem, husband}: 



This top: 



And I'm also loving these earrings I purchased to wear to Baylor games this fall {for $5.99!}: 



{4} What We've Been Up To
Well, it's been a nice little lazy summer, honestly, and I'm relishing these slower days after last summer, which was basically survival mode after having a newborn baby in late May 2016. I feel like we've actually been able to enjoy summer and all it has to offer this year. 

Walker started a summer "camp" at his school, which he goes to one day a week for four hours. He absolutely loves it, and it's a great time for me to do things around the house during Knox's morning nap and spend a few hours with him one-on-one while big brother is at school. We've had lots of fun play dates with friends and cousins; gone swimming; visited the library to check out books {and have smoothies}; taken a trip to the local fire station; and I've had my babysitter come for two hours each week to take the boys to do something fun while I catch up on stuff at home {or go to doctor's appointments}. 











{5} What I'm Dreading 
I'm not sure if "dreading" is the right word, but I'm definitely not looking forward to my annual eye doctor and bi-annual dentist appointments I have coming up. Two of my least favorite doctor visits ever! 

{6} What I'm Excited About 
Brandon and I were planning a trip to Cabo in late September to celebrate our anniversary {early}, but that kind of fell through the cracks with travel details. October is such a busy month, and our parents were going to have to literally put their lives on hold and miss out on some important stuff to watch the boys, so we just rearranged and are now going to Scottsdale/Phoenix for a weekend in October! So if anyone has any must-see things or must-eat restaurants, please let me know! It will be the first time there for both of us, so we're totally in the dark. 



{7} What I'm Watching/Reading 
I have really fallen off the reading bandwagon this summer and need to get back on it quickly. Anyone have any good book recommendations? 

As for watching, I'm all sucked in to summer TV: "The Bachelorette," "Real Housewives" and we are still binge-watching "Bloodline." We also finished the latest seasons of "Orange is the New Black" and "House of Cards." I can't wait for fall TV to come back. {I'm looking at you, "This is Us!"} 

{8} What I'm Listening To
As per usual, I'm listening to the boys' little kid-friendly CD's in the car. I stupidly bought Walker this CD and now I want to yank my ears off every time we're in the car. But then I see he and Knox dancing to it and my heart melts and I just crank that volume up louder. #momlife

But in those rare moments when I get alone time in the car, I'm so basic and am loving "Despacito!" It's such an addicting song! 




{9} What I'm Wearing 
Well, when I'm not in my swimsuit {this one and this one have been favorites this summer}, I'm in Nike shorts and a workout top...and a ponytail. It's just too dang hot for anything else at this point in the year! 






{10} What I'm Doing This Weekend
We're still loving Brandon's summer hours at work, where he gets off at 11 a.m. on Fridays! We're planning to take Walker on a little "Mommy/Daddy Date" to go bowling on Friday evening; then have lunch with Emily and her sweet family on Saturday; and then we'll just have church on Sunday and I'm praying for a nice, lazy Sunday afternoon! 

{11} What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month
August and September are my least favorite months of the year...it's still so hot outside, but all the fall clothes {that you Northerners actually can wear next month I'm sure!} are everywhere and just tempting me to purchase. ;) But I think I'm just looking forward to getting into somewhat of a routine...and for all the kids to go back to school so the indoor and outdoor play places aren't quite as crazy crowded as they are right now. 

{12} What Else is New 
We don't have much else new to report! I hope y'all have a wonderful Wednesday! 

Bonus Question: What is Your Favorite Part of Summer?
Honestly, I'm such a routine girl and I live and die by my calendar. {Spontaneous I am not.} But, summer has really helped me embrace spontaneity a bit and I'm really loving these slower, easier days. Yes, it gets a little crazy 'round here by Thursday afternoon, but I'm loving that we practically live in swimsuits each day, and I do love that my boys are home with me every single day, minus Walker's one-day-a-week summer camp. And, I'm just loving being able to see summer through my kids' eyes. I loved summer as a kid and have fond memories of Popsicles in the pool; swimming all day, every day; getting to be home with my mom all day; and hanging out with my friends. 

*Also linking up with Jessi and Jenn 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Weekending

Whew, why do Mondays always come so quickly? We had a busy, but fun, weekend. Here's a bit of what we were up to: 

\\ FRIDAY: 

+ Brandon had his blessed summer hours where he got home before lunch, so the boys and I just had some play time in the morning, followed by Walker's favorite part of Friday: going outside to watch the trash truck in action. 



+ After lunch, we went to check out our new bowling alley, which was super neat! They had everything: arcade games, bumper cars, bowling, a full menu + bar where they bring the food to you as you bowl, bumpers on the lane that come up just for each player, etc. It was a really fun 10 minutes of bowling...until our machine broke and it wasn't fixed, and the boys left crying. It's a long story, but thankfully the general manager made it right and we're planning to go back next Friday on a little date with Walker to try it again. 


+ I ran some errands during the boys' nap time and then we ventured out to give Walker his ice cream reward for getting five stickers on his sticker chart last week. 


...and then stopped by Chick-fil-A for a peach shake to share. 


\\ SATURDAY: 

+ We had a lazy morning: Brandon made pancakes, we introduced Knox to "Sesame Street," we cleaned up a bit around the house, Knox took a morning nap, and then it was a birthday party afternoon. 




+ Walker's best friend's birthday party and our nephew's birthday party were both Saturday at the exact same time. Since we had just spent a week with our nephew at the beach {and we RSVP'd to Walker's best friend's birthday party first}, Brandon and I split up: I took the boys to Walker's best friend's party and Brandon went to our nephew's party since that one was outdoors and it was just too hot for Knox. 

So anyway, I took the boys and they had a ball jumping at the trampoline park and Walker and his best friend just had a ball with each other. 


+ The boys both took 2.5-hour afternoon naps {!!!}, and then we went on a family date night to Chuy's, followed by swimming at my in-law's. Walker jumped off the diving board for the first time and just loved it...and proceeded to do it over and over and over again. He's such a little fish! 


\\ SUNDAY: 

+ Sunday was church, lunch and naps; a slow, easy day. Brandon and I watched an episode of "Bloodline" while the boys slept, I got some laundry and blogging done, and we just relaxed inside on a hot, hot day. 


We're gearing up for a fun week ahead! Hope y'all have a great Monday. 


Linking up with Biana 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday!

Happy Friday! 


-ONE-
How are we already into late July? I seriously feel like it was just Memorial Day; that the days were so slow and I was desperately trying to find things to do with the boys...and now here we are with school supplies in the aisles at Target and Walker's going to be starting school in just a little more than a month. Man, that saying is so true, "The days are long, but the years are short." 

I mean, hello? Wasn't this just yesterday?! Here we are at Memorial Day: 


And Independence Day: 


And I guess I need a picture of us in red, white and blue on Labor Day to round out the equation. ;) 

-TWO-
I was getting a bit tired of my former eye cream and just felt like I needed a change, so I recently ordered this one and y'all, this one is doing a great job disguising my under-eye circles {because hello, #momlife} and any puffiness, as well as hiding those fabulous wrinkles at the creases of my eyes {#thisis30}. A little goes a long way, so trust me when I say that this stuff is worth every penny of its $20 price tag. 



-THREE-
Did you catch my post yesterday about beach essentials for toddlers and babies? Bloglovin' was acting up big time yesterday and many posts didn't show up in the blog roll. So, go check it out here



-FOUR-
Thank you all for your sweet comments on Knox's one-year portraits earlier this week! We are just so in love with these pictures {and our precious little guy, of course!} and can't wait to get them framed and hung in our house soon. If you missed that post, you can see it here



And a fun fact, my friend Liz took these pictures for me. {She's amazing!} She and I used to work together before I started staying at home with the boys. She and I were pregnant together {she with her daughter, Peyton, and me with Walker}. We had the same OB, worked together, delivered in the same hospital and our kids went to the same day cares together. So Walker and Peyton just adore each other and loved getting to be a "part" of Knox's portrait session. If these two don't end up married someday, then I will just be shocked! ;) 

-FIVE-
Y'all know I'm pretty obsessed with the Duchess of Cambridge and her style, and I often scour What Kate Wore to see her latest fashion choices. The Cambridges have been on a Royal Tour of Poland and Germany, and while I haven't been completely in love with everything she's worn this tour, I did absolutely adore the Alexander McQueen gown she wore on Monday at a birthday party for the Queen at the British Ambassador's home in Berlin. Red is totally her color and of course, I'm loving her off-the-shoulder look -- and her new haircut! 



Linking up with: AprilAmanda, Andrea and Katie
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thoughts for Thursday: Beach Essentials for Toddlers + Babies

Y'all know by now that we recently went to the beach for the very first time with Walker and Knox. It was by no means easy packing and hauling all the stuff they needed to be at the beach for a few hours each day, but it was so worth it! Our suitcases were pretty packed, but our hearts are full of sweet memories. 

I did a lot of research before we left of things we would need at the beach -- and I will say that I definitely overpacked and we didn't use 1/4 of the stuff I brought (and actually liked some stuff that one of my sisters-in-law brought better than my own stuff!). So here are the things that we used daily and I will continue to pack with us year after year when we travel to the beach with the boys: 



1. Wet Bag: This is key to putting wet swimsuits in when you're leaving the beach {or pool} to take back up to your room or condo with you. Many times, we would go down to the beach in the evenings and Walker would take off his rash guard when the sun was setting and hand it to me, and it was just nice to have a place to put something that was soaking wet. 

2. Kids Croakies: I mentioned before how I purchased cheep sunglasses for the boys at the Target Dollar Aisle because I didn't want to worry about them losing or breaking anything more than $1-3. But the best way I kept them from actually losing the sunglasses while they were out on the beach {and ensuring I wasn't constantly looking for said lost sunglasses} was to put these kids Croakies on them. In total frat boy style, they would keep them around their neck if they were off their face and made it easy for Walker to put them on himself. 

3. Stainless Steel Sippy Cup: I love the Contigo Kids water bottles for every day use, but the stainless steel ones help keep the water extra cold when we're down on the beach. {Basically like a kid's Yeti Tumbler!} We would bring water bottles down to the beach to constantly refill their cups to ensure they were well hydrated on those hot beach days. 

4. Babyganics Mineral Sunscreen: This sunscreen works best for our two little boys with fair, sensitive skin, and I love the SPF 50. We did have to reapply a couple of times a day {of course} but neither boy got burned on our trip! 

5. Blow-Up Pool: You may remember that I purchased this pool...and we ended up hating it so much that I threw it away. We had a hard time keeping it upright and it collapsed easily, and because of that, no one ended up using it. #epicfail 

My sister-in-law purchased this pool and it worked perfectly and had enough room for their twin 15-month-old girls and 13-month-old Knox. I'll just go the cheap route from here on out! 

6. Annie's Cheddar Bunnies: My boys love Cheddar Bunnies anyway, but I love them for the beach because they're not a snack that melts easily {think fruit snacks or Lära Bars -- both of which I love, but get yucky in the hot sun}. Since we were on the beach a good chunk of the day -- and because the boys were running around and working up an appetite -- these pre-packaged snacks were perfect to tide them over until lunch or dinnertime each day. 

7. Yeti Portable Cooler: A pricey purchase, yes, but we loved this cooler and plan to get many years of use out of it! Since we stayed in a hotel, Brandon would fill it up daily with our snacks, water, adult bevies, etc. in our room and then take it down to the hotel's ice machine and fill it up. It is heavy when you get all of that stuff in there -- and Brandon hated lugging it 100 yards across the beach each day -- but I think that's pretty par for the course being a dad at the beach. ;) 

8. Long-Sleeved Rash Guards: My boys have fair skin just like their mama, bless their hearts, so I cover them up practically from head to toe when we're at the beach, pool or lake. I try to buy long-sleeved rash guard sets, if possible, but if I see a swimsuit trunk I like, I'll buy one of these to coordinate with the colors. We love them so much for our boys that Brandon and I are planning to buy an adult version for the beach next summer. 

9. Swim Diapers and Travel Wipes: Walker is fully potty trained, so these are only for Knox, but I like the Huggies brand of swim diapers a lot more than the Pampers brand. {Knox wears Pampers diapers during the day and Huggies Overnites at nighttime.} When I purchased these swim diapers, they threw in a travel pack of wipes in a protective case and I LOVED that thing! It was so helpful to find in the beach bag because it was bright, but it also kept the wipes from getting nasty and wet. 

10. Babyganics Bug Spray: My favorite brand of bug spray, this helped keep any of the sand fleas and mosquitoes off our boys. It's DEET-free, which our pediatrician recommends for little ones. 

11. Crocs Kids Sandals: I love these sandals for Walker, but especially for the beach. Since they're Crocs, they dry easily when wet...and I love that they're simple enough for Walker to put on and take off himself. They're light, too, so they weren't heavy and clunky in the beach bag or on his feet.

12. SPF Sun Hat: I have raved and raved about these sun hats before; we love them so much! As I mentioned, my boys are fair skinned, so we always have hats on them at the pool, beach or lake. I like that these are big enough to not only cover their heads and faces, but their necks, too. And they have built-in SPF! Can't beat that. 

Honorable Mentions: 
+ Goggles: Walker is really into goggles right now, so I scooped up this pair on Amazon before we left. He loved using them in the pool! 

+ Puddle Jumper: Since Walker was doing so well swimming after his swimming lessons, he didn't use the Puddle Jumper at all during the trip. {Of course, we watched him like a hawk in the pool and at the beach.} We took it with us, but didn't end up using it. 

+ Life Jacket: I put this as an "Honorable Mention" because while we used it, Knox hated it. He hates all life jackets, so I wasn't surprised. He's too small for the Puddle Jumper, but too big to go without anything, so I did a ton of research and this life jacket got consistently positive ratings from parents.

+ Sand Toys: Before we left, Brandon and I went to both the Dollar Tree and scoured Target's Dollar Aisle for cheap sand toys to take with us to the beach. I'm glad we didn't spend big money on these, because we lost about 3/4 of what we came with and then just left the majority of it on the beach for someone else to enjoy on our last day. Walker loved building sand castles and taking buckets of water from the beach all the way back up to our tent, so these were money well spent. 

+ Wet Ones: Wet Ones, wipes...anything to get food and sand off of little hands. I brought these plus our wipes {mentioned above} in our beach bag. I also brought a travel thing of baby powder, but didn't end up using it. It would have been great to use if we were at a condo where we had to sweep up any rogue sand, but since we were at a hotel, they had a ton of foot-washing stations around where we could get all the sand off before dragging it through the hotel. 

+ Fan{s}: Again, not a necessity, but we did like the option of having this fan and this fan down on the beach {under the tent} to circulate the air. Neither of my boys slept down on the beach, but one of my nieces did and my sister-in-law used them to cool her off during her nap. 

+ Cooling Towels: Again, not a necessity, but very nice to have. It got hot out on the beach, and these were nice to have to cool our boys down quickly. My sister-in-law had one of my nieces lay down on this for her nap to keep her cool while she slept. 

+ SPF Lip Balm: You may have kiddos who are too small to use lip balm, but we used this on Walker {and ourselves}. I'm so paranoid about the sun that I cover every inch of ourselves and our kids in SPF. I liked this brand since it tasted good and didn't have a tingle -- something Walker can't stand. 


Linking up with Annie, Natalie and Julie
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: Knox's One-Year Portraits

My sweet and talented friend Liz took Knox's one-year portraits right before we left for Destin, and I'm just in love with them. She perfectly captured his silly, sweet, goofy little personality and as you can see, he is quite the ham! Here are some of my favorites: 















Linking up with Jessi and Jenn