Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Guest Blogger Post: Meet Mackensey from Stang & Co.

Hey, y'all! My blogger friend Mackensey from Stang & Co. and I wanted to continue the fun post Julie and I did in December {which you can read here} about being boy moms. Mackensey and I met through this lovely blogging world and she's seriously a doll. I love that we've become real-life friends, too, texting each other from halfway across the United States! :) 

Please stop by her blog today to check out my feature, as we've swapped blogs for the day for this fun tell-all about being a boy mama. 




Tell us about yourself and your family: 
My name is Mackensey, and I am a born and raised Minnesotan. I met my husband seven years ago at the ripe old age of 19 at one of his softball games. One of my good friends was dating his brother at the time, and after getting to know each other, and maybe a few hard tea and lemonades, we all decided it would be fun to play a game of "Red Rover" outside. After lining up next to each other, my now brother-in-law ran at us and couldn’t break our hold. Once the game ended, Mike kept holding my hand :) 

We have been married for three years, and welcomed our first baby boy ten months later. We then decided it would be fun (okay, not really fun) to build a house while preparing for the arrival of our second little man, and this past summer we underwent construction and bringing home a baby. Life is finally settling down a bit, and we are loving the new memories and traditions we are building as a family in our new home.



When I’m not busy being mommy and a wife, I work full-time outside of the home doing communications for a health system. I love to try my hand at crafts, and would bake brownies and chocolate chip cookies every day if my time (and waistline!) would allow it. Most of the time I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but I love to be busy and am so blessed!

How did you get started blogging?
I first started blogging just days before Jackson was born. I was intrigued by the chalkboard trend all over Pinterest, and thought it would be so fun to document my belly and newborn that way. Of course, Jackson arrived four weeks early, so I managed to get in all but one bumpdate before his arrival ;) 

Since then, I have loved tracking milestones, holidays, and family experiences through my little corner of the Internet. I cannot tell you how many times I have looked back on old posts and felt so thankful to have such detailed keepsakes of this sweet time in our lives. It is the little things we tend to forget, and blogging has allowed me to remember so many things I likely wouldn’t have otherwise, and I am so appreciative and thankful for that!

Over the years, my blog slowly morphs and changes. I have had stages that were all about pregnancy, then all about surviving newborn life, and so on. Most recently, I have started to dive a bit more into fashion and lifestyle, but my babies have, and likely always will be, the most important part of my blogging.

Thoughts on being a boy mom: 


I will be completely honest. When I found out my first baby was a boy, I cried. Not in front of anyone. I plastered the biggest smile on my face that I could. Mike and I went out and bought a cute little outfit to celebrate. I did the whole gender reveal with family and a gorgeous cake. But inside, I was so sad. I had always pictured nothing but little girls in my life. Playing dress up, talking about sweet little girl things, decorating with all things pink. I had no idea what to do with a boy. It really took me a while to come around. 


And then I met my sweet Jackson, and my heart was forever changed. I know it is cliché, but I did not know my heart was capable of loving someone so much. He instantly became my world.

When I found out I was having another baby, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for it to be a girl. But in my gut, I knew, pretty early on, it would be another boy. When I saw Lincoln’s sweet profile on the ultrasound, I felt an instant connection to him, I think because I immediately remembered how sweet my first boy was and what a magical connection I would have with not one, but two little boys.

As a boy mom who never thought I would be a boy mom, all that I can tell you is that I now could not imagine anything else. My two boys are my entire world, and bring me more joy than I could have possibly imagined. I am constantly stumbling over trains and toy cars, and spend my days talking about snowmen, robots, and fishies. Boys love their mamas something fierce, and I get the best snuggles and smiles. My boys love their daddy, but I melt knowing I am their first love. It really is something I never knew I wanted, but is everything that I needed. 

What has surprised you most about being a boy mom?


I have honestly been surprised by how naturally it comes. As a girly girl, I was so nervous about how I would do all of the "boy things." It is nice to have a husband who is a bit more willing to get down and dirty, and to wrestle and do those types of things. But not only do I manage to play and do "boy things," but I genuinely enjoy it. Anything that makes my boys happy, I will do a million times over.


I can also say I never knew that having two boys they could be so different. While there have been some similarities, for the most part my boys are polar opposites. One wanted nothing but to be held as a baby, the other was colicky and never content. One never stuck anything in his mouth and was pretty easy, and the other is a daredevil and cannot be trusted to be left alone for a second. They are hitting milestones differently, have gone about learning to eat solids differently, they are just so different. While I may not be experiencing the difference in gender with my kiddos, I really have been shocked by how unique and one of a kind they have both been from day one.

What do you love the most about being a boy mom?
I love how much they love their mama. Probably a little bit selfish, but when all else fails, I am the one that they want, and I love it. Of course this usually means when I am trying to wash dishes they cry for me while in their dad’s arms, but that’s okay! There is something so magically sweet about little boys, and I love how after they have worked off all of their energy, and laughed at fart noises and destroyed the toy room, they always want to end the day with snuggles and big hugs. I love that I have been given the opportunity to shape these boys into men. I will do everything in my power to ensure that they are God-fearing, compassionate, loving men who put others before themselves. I just cannot say enough about being a boy mom. It is something so special that I never really understood before, and I am proud that I have been blessed with this responsibility.

Your answer when people ask if you're going to try for a girl: 


I try not to get too bothered by it, because honestly, I have probably asked that question in the past, before being a mom with all boys myself. I do get annoyed when people turn it into a pressure situation. It is fine to ask, but when I say that we may be done, I usually get, "Oh but you just have to have one more and try for a girl. You are so girly, you need a girl." 

Would I like a little girl if God decided to bless me with one? Of course. But if all I have are the two sweet boys I have right now, then I already have more than enough and more than I deserve. Recently, someone was asking about my kids and when she found out my second baby had been a boy, she honestly acted sad for me and basically said how disappointing that must have been. I cannot say with certainty one way or another if I will have another baby, but whether I do or not, and whether it would be a boy or a girl, I am beyond blessed and wish others would realize that it is entirely possible to not experience having a girl and still be happy. My boys are more than enough!

Words of wisdom for other boy moms: 
If you hoped for a boy, it is every bit as amazing as you have dreamed. But if you are nervous or disappointed, know that you are about to experience the greatest love that is out of this world. You will play in the dirt, you will read hundreds of books about trucks and monsters, you will get more snuggles than you know what to do with. Do not worry if you aren’t good at "boy things," you will be. Don’t be afraid to seek out support and advice from other moms of boys. One of my greatest blessings has been this community and finding others who are going through similar stages and experiences in life.

There is nothing truer than the saying that the days are long, but the years are short. When the laundry is overflowing and the dishes aren’t washed, but your two year old wants to lay on you and watch a cartoon before bed, do it. I sometimes find myself in moments where I am entirely overwhelmed by knowing that I am in the midst of a memory that I already know I am going to want back so badly one day. Squeeze your boys and breathe in the smell of their baby shampoo mixed with dirt and sweat after a long day of playing outside. Watch them interact together, my gosh, just watch them. You will feel no greater joy than watching your boys love each other, and the sweet things they say when they don’t think you are watching. It will make your heart break and swell all at once when you watch them discover and begin to master the world around them. Enjoy every last second of it and live in the moment. There is truly nothing sweeter than these long, tiring, exhausting, beautiful days.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Weekending: 3rd Birthday Edition

Happy Monday, y'all! We had a wonderful weekend celebrating our sweet Walker turning THREE! I can't believe he's already three years old. It truly went by in a flash. 

He's THREE!
Photo (C) Caroline Jurgensen Photography 

Here's what we were up to this weekend: 

-FRIDAY...

+ My in-law's kept the boys for me for about an hour so I could pick up Walker's birthday cake. The lady who made it was located about 30 minutes away from my house, and I knew the boys would be miserable just sitting in the car for an hour...and I knew that Walker would just be dying to eat/lick/touch his cake, so thankfully my in-law's were able to help out. 

I thought she did a great job making the cake into a "construction site" for our sweet construction-loving boy's party! 


+ Brandon came home with "just because" flowers. Such a sweet surprise! 


+ I made a last-minute run to the grocery store to pick up party food, then Brandon and I loaded all of the food and décor into the car around 8 p.m. Nothing like the last minute! ;) 

+ We finally sat down and watched "Remember" with Christopher Plummer and it was really very good! 

-SATURDAY...

+ It was birthday party day! As I've previously mentioned, Walker is super into construction anything right now, so it was only appropriate to have a party with that theme. Here are some party details: 

Invitation via C.JANE design on Etsy 

Cake via Camille's Cakes; "hard" hats and table cloth via Oriental Trading; loader via Amazon 

Paper plates, napkins and cups via Oriental Trading; excavator via Amazon; chalk board via HomeGrown 

Dump truck via Amazon; cookies (shaped like tools) via my neighbor's mother; tags via QT Paperie on Etsy


Since the party was at 10 a.m., I just served water and apple juice; chips and salsa; a veggie tray with ranch dressing and hummus; a fruit tray with cream cheese dip and of course, cake! I couldn't find my divided tray, so thanks to my mother-in-law for coming in clutch with a Tupperware one that morning. {But seriously, where is mine!?} 

The party was at a local indoor play place and Walker and his cousins and friends had a ball! {I'm not posting their photos, as I'm not sure how their parents feel about that, but rest assured that our sweet boy was super celebrated!} 



The best family picture we could get this year. Cracking up at Knox looking at his brother like, "What ARE you doing?!"


-SUNDAY...

+ Walker's actual birthday! He woke up to fun streamers on his door! He asked, "Are those for me?" I said, "Yes, buddy! All for you!" He replied, "Well THANK YOU!" Love that sweet boy to pieces. 


+ He had a special "3" donut on our birthday plate {with a candle, of course!} 


+ He opened a few gifts while his brother had a bottle: "Happy Birthday to You!" book, remote control bulldozer {from my best friend Lindsey} and this drill set


+ Then, we took him to our favorite diner, Local Diner, for chocolate chip pancakes and chocolate milk! Our waitress was so sweet to put a candle in his pancake; he was thrilled about that!



+ While Knox took his morning nap, Brandon took Walker to have a picnic lunch and watch the planes take off and land at DFW Airport's Founders Plaza

+ My aunt joined us for his birthday dinner, and the birthday boy requested his favorite meal: meatloaf! Ha! {Recipe here

I hope y'all had wonderful weekends!

Linking up with Biana 
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Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday!

Happy Friday, y'all! 

-ONE-
Regardless of what side you fall on on the political spectrum, you cannot deny how absolutely gorgeous and flawless Ivanka Trump is. I am not trying to turn this into a political post because I try to keep this space a politics-free zone, but I just loved Ivanka's recent outfits and had to share. 

I loved this green dress and coat she wore during the inauguration festivities: 


And I also adored the Carolina Herrera gown she wore to the inauguration balls: 


-TWO-
Did y'all catch my Valentine's Day book recommendations for littles? There are only 2.5 weeks until V-Day and these books make perfect little gifts for "heart day," as Walker says. I ordered him the Curious George book {he's currently obsessed with George} and Knox "I Love You More."  


-THREE-
We finally "upgraded" to the IKEA Antilop highchair {no fabric -- all the praise hands!} and I'm kicking myself for not having this when Walker was a baby. It's so easy to clean and so lightweight. I would recommend this to any mom. And bonus: it's currently only $14.99!!! 



-FOUR-
I had some of you comment on my blog and InstaStory asking for the meatloaf recipe after I posted it. Y'all are going to laugh at how easy it is! My grandparents' longtime cook made this and it's the only meatloaf recipe anyone in my family will eat. It's delicious! 


Here's the recipe: 

Ingredients
(For the meatloaf) 
+ 1.5 lbs. ground beef 
+ 1 packet Lipton Onion Soup Mix
+ 2 eggs 
+ 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce 
+ 1 cup plain breadcrumbs 

(For the sauce) 
+ 3 TBPS brown sugar
+ 1/4 cup ketchup 
+ 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
+ 1 tsp. dry mustard 

Directions
Mix the ingredients (under "for the meatloaf") together well in a large bowl. Shape into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 375* for 45 minutes. While it's cooking, mix the ingredients (under "for the sauce") together in a small bowl. When the 45 minutes are up, put the sauce over the meat loaf and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. 

Enjoy! 

-FIVE-
This sweet boy had a wonderful day at "school" yesterday, which consisted of "Donuts with Dad," followed by his early 3rd birthday celebration and capped off with stomping through the halls of school like a dinosaur -- donning a dinosaur "hat," of course! -- after learning about them this week. 

We have a big weekend celebrating his birthday and I'm so excited to celebrate HIM! 




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

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thoughts for Thursday: You Know You're a Mom When...

I was talking with a girlfriend the other day and we were laughing at us going back-and-forth about the ways you know you're a mom. Now of course, you know you're a mom when you're the parent of an actual human {duh}, but these are funny little "-isms" I -- nor my friend -- didn't realize until that said tiny human was here. These are things "they" don't tell you before these babies are born, so I thought we could laugh at some of these in jest.



You Know You're a Mom When...

+ You know exactly what time "Curious George," "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" and a myriad of other TV shows air. Friday night is movie night on the Disney Channel, so you best go record that movie so you don't have to fork over $30+ for the DVD of "The Lion King." 


+ You can sing verbatim the into songs to "Bubble Guppies," "Dora the Explorer," "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," "Doc McStuffins..." and the list goes on and on. {Via my friend Liz

+ You get ready in stages. Shower before the baby wakes up? Apply makeup when he's down for a nap? Dry your hair around lunch? You better believe it. 


+ Your entire Instagram and Facebook sites are straight-up pictures of your kids and quotes from them. 

+ You consider waking up at 7:30 a.m. to be "sleeping in." {Via Liz

+ Animals become just that: animals. Everyone told me this wouldn't happen, but alas, our beloved Oliver {RIP you crazy cat} was just another mouth to feed, and while we loved him so, his title as "baby" was quickly captured by our eldest son, Walker. 


+ Your calendar looks something like this: 


  • Monday: Play Date with Jack/Pediatric Dentist after nap 
  • Tuesday: Mother's Day Out 
  • Wednesday: Bible Study/Park after nap with Jane
  • Thursday: Mother's Day Out 
  • Friday: Pediatrician appointment 
  • Saturday: Jenny's Birthday Party 
  • Sunday: Church

I'm telling you, your calendar becomes full of play dates, birthday parties, pediatrician appointments, pediatric dentist appointments and "school" when you become a mom. 

+ You laugh at your teenage brother telling you he's tired. Um, no. There is no tired like mom tired. Go enjoy another morning of sleeping in until 10 a.m., brother, and put a sock in it. 


+ You treasure the sacred hours of 2-4 p.m. otherwise known as "Nap Time." And how much you can get done during those blissful two hours. 


+ You want to punch anyone and everyone who rings the doorbell or knocks on the door during those sacred two hours. I may or may not have been known to say smartly: "Well, if you'd like to come rock them back to sleep, then by all means, please ring that doorbell again." 


+ You know all the hidden gems of both indoor and outdoor play places that, pre-children, you never knew even existed. Indoor play place at the mall? Never noticed it before! But you better believe my kids are all OVER that when it's time to hit up the Galleria. 


+ You make restaurant choices based on the children's menu and children's activities. My friend Liz and I pick the same certain restaurant every time our families go to dinner together because A) They give your kids dough to play with while you wait for the meal B) They bring the kids meals out first and C) They have a splash pad outside the restaurant where our kids can run wild post-meal. 


+ You base a concealer on its ability to cover dark under-eye circles from being up all night with your children. 


+ You go out to dinner with your husband and you spend half the time talking about your kid: why they aren't sleeping, why they're throwing crazy temper tantrums, how much you love them, and the latest, "He said _____ and it was so funny!" 


+ You dread a rainy, snowy or otherwise not-75-degrees-and-sunny day because you know what that means: cooped up in the house with the kids all day. AAAAAHHHH! 


+ You catch yourself saying things and getting excited about things you never would have pre-kids: "Don't lick the mirror," "Don't put your foot in your brother's mouth," "Please don't stick a Cheerio in your nose," "You did it! You went pee-pee in the potty! Great job!" 


+ You automatically cut up fruit, period. No lie, one time I wasn't thinking and accidentally cut up my husband's strawberries we were having for dessert into fourths. Whoops. 


+ You hold someone's baby and you catch yourself swaying back-and-forth. It's called the "Mom Sway" and it's so real. Bonus points if you pat said baby on the bottom as you sway. 


+ You have slept in your child's crib or bed with them, or on their floor of their room holding their hand through crib slats because, apparently, sleeping alone in a dark, quiet room is for the birds. 


+ You need coffee to start your day and wine to end it. As my friend Stacy said, "Coffee and grace keep you going. Coffee says, 'You can do it!' and wine says, 'You did it! On to the next." 




So, what moment hit you in the face and you said, "Yup, that was a total #momlife moment!"? 

*Please note these are all in jest. I love my two precious boys with all my heart and can't imagine my life without them in it. We just have to laugh sometimes, right?! 


**Linking up with Annie and Natalie 

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What's Up Wednesday: First One for 2017

Happy Wednesday! I'm linking up with Mel, Sheaffer and Shay for the first "What's Up Wednesday" of 2017. 



So let's get to it: 



{1} What We're Eating This Week
Thankfully, we had such sweet friends bring us meals last week when Knox was sick with RSV...so we're still eating on those. They brought us everything from salsa verde chicken enchiladas to chili to Zoë's Kitchen. So, the first time I actually cooked a meal was last night, and it was one of our family's favorites: meatloaf! {I know, I know. It gets a bad rap. But this is the best recipe and is the only one any of us will eat. Walker often goes back for seconds -- or thirds!} 


{2} What I'm Reminiscing About 
Walker's third {!!!} birthday is Sunday, so I'm reminiscing about sweet newborn baby Walker. How on earth he turned three so quickly is absolutely beyond me. It's true what they say, "The days are long, but the years are short." 

Photo (c) Caroline Jurgensen Photography

{3} What I'm Loving 
I bought this diffuser from Amazon after all of this sickness started plaguing our house and I'm just loving it. One tiny bit of water and a few drops of essential oils in it last all day, and Walker loves that it changes colors. Between that and the Echo Dot {in which I hear "UHH-LEX-UH!" all day long...}, that boy is in heaven with our little "gadgets." 


{4} What We've Been Up To 
Well, we're going on week two of sickness in our household, so we've been up to a lot of this: 



Knox was diagnosed with RSV on Thursday, and yesterday Walker was diagnosed with a super bad cold an an ear infection. And did I mention Brandon was traveling for work all week last week? Yikes. We are just spending our days taking care of sick babies, disinfecting our house and trying to sleep when we can. 

We're definitely praying for a much smoother, slower, WELL week next week! 

{5} What I'm Dreading
Quite honestly, I'm not dreading too much at the moment. The only thing I can think of is Knox's 9-month well-child visit where he'll have to get his finger pricked, but that's about it! 

{6} What I'm Working On 
Walker's birthday party is this weekend, so I'm busy working on the little details for it. It's definitely going to be a lot more casual and laid back this year than in previous years, but I think he will love it. We're having a construction theme for our sweet construction-loving little boy! 

I ordered these invitations from this Etsy Shop and we're in love with them! 


{7} What I'm Excited About 
We officially booked our summer vacation to Destin on Sunday and I'm so excited about that, as well as our upcoming trip to Charleston in April for my 30th birthday! Bring on the vacations! 



{8} What I'm Watching/Reading 
Well, just like many of you, I'm watching this mess of a season that is "The Bachelor." So much crazy and pretty yawn-inducing, but I just get sucked in every time. I'm also watching "Victoria" on PBS {yes, I'm old, and yes, I love period pieces!}, and of course, "This is Us!" 

I'm also reading "The Magnolia Story" and am really enjoying it so much! 


{9} What I'm Listening To 
Y'all, my husband laughs at me so hard when he asks me if I've heard a certain new song on the radio and my response is always, "Ummm, no...I've been listening to Walker's music." AKA: this CD. Y'all, I totally get it now how my parents were so under a rock about the newest movies and music when we were little kids! Other than that CD, I pretty much listen to the 90's station on Sirius. 

{10} What I'm Wearing 
Well, with sick kids and being cooped up in the house, I've been living in these yoga pants...and haven't been doing yoga. Whoops! Between these pants and a T-shirt, that's been my "uniform" as of late. 


{11} What I'm Doing This Weekend
Celebrating this sweet boy's third birthday! I'm so excited for him to see all of his family and friends there to celebrate him. 

Photo (C) Liz Haas Photography 

{12} What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month 
I'm looking forward to -- and hoping for -- a more low-key, restful month. We have had a busy January full of sickness and I'm really hoping for a "normal" February. And of course, Valentine's Day! We don't do too much celebrating, aside from getting the boys sweet little gifts and exchanging cards with one another, but I always look forward to celebrating a holiday. 

*Also linking up with Jessi and Jenn
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Monday, January 23, 2017

Weekending

Well, as I suspected, our weekend was filled with continued sickness for our poor kiddos. Thankfully, Knox is continually on the up-and-up, but Walker is feeling pretty crummy now. Our weekend looked a lot like this: 


I have made more trips to CVS for medicine this week and weekend than I care to count, and we have even been diffusing essential oils in the house in an effort to try anything and everything to ward this sickness off. 

I got a lot of questions about my diffuser after I posted a video of it changing colors on InstaStories, so I wanted to share the link here, too! 


I was able to sneak in a little "me" time on Saturday night, which was definitely needed after a lonnnnnnnnng week. I took a hot shower in a dark bathroom; popped a ZzzQuil; and read a couple of chapters of "The Magnolia Story" before calling it an early night. 


And even though it turned out to be a sunny Sunday -- after a yucky, cold, rainy Saturday -- it had me sitting on the couch dreaming of a beach vacation. We are taking the kids to the beach this summer, but as that saying goes, "A vacation with kids isn't a vacation. It's a trip." Ha! So, I was daydreaming of our past beach vacations -- because y'all, we are so beach people! -- and wishing I was at one of these spots right about now: 

+ Orange Beach, 2009


+ Orange Beach, 2010 


+ Antigua, 2010 {Honeymoon} 


+ Mexico, 2011


+ Miami, 2013 {Babymoon} 


+ Jamaica, 2015


So that's our weekend in a nutshell, aside from my beach dreaming. ;) So how were y'all's weekends? 

Linking up with Biana
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