Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What's Up Wednesday: February 2018

Happy Wednesday! I know February is a shorter month, but this year it has truly gone by in a flash. We have lots of exciting things happening around here (nope, not pregnant) and I can't wait to share all about it. 

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

{1} What We're Eating This Week 
Lots of delicious things: Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potatoes with roasted Brussels sprouts; this pasta (which was a huge hit with my boys); Salsa Chicken Bake (which was good but cook your chicken breasts way longer than the recipe calls for); some leftovers; and our traditional Friday Night Pizza. 

{2} What I'm Reminiscing About 
I was talking to Brandon yesterday morning about how Knox is currently at the age Walker was when I was hugely pregnant with Knox, and how that time has just gone by in the blink of an eye. I truly almost can't remember what life was like with just one child and so I've been looking back at pictures from our days when it was just Walker and me at home. Yes, we were able to get out and do a little more a lot more often, but I know we'll get back to that point soon. But gosh, I just remember thinking he was so big {at 2.5} and looking at these pictures...he's just so little! Knox is right around this age now and is wearing some of these clothes and it just has me so emotional! 

{3} What I'm Loving 
All of these recent President's Day sales where I've been able to scoop up some super cute furniture pieces at great prices! Wayfair has been killing it lately and I've gotten these three pieces that are just steals: 

These headboards for the boys {a twin for Knox for $64.22 and full for Walker for $70.48!} 

And this bench for the end of my bed {$145.99}: 

I'm also super loving this dress {also a steal at $29.97!}...just be sure to size one size down: 

And finally, I ordered these bowls for the boys and we are all loving them! They either had to use our ceramic cereal bowls or these teeny little baby bowls and I finally just bit the bullet and ordered these. I love the RePlay brand (they're made from recycled milk jugs) and they hold up so well in the wash -- and with two little boys: 

{4} What We've Been Up To
It has been kind of a dreary month here, but we have still managed to have some fun. Aside from the usual week-in and week-out routine of preschool and Bible Study, we: celebrated Walker's 4th birthday {a little late}; had some fun with friends; got ready for and celebrated Valentine's Day at home and at school; Walker and I made a quick weekend trip to my hometown to celebrate my best friend's little boy's birthday; we celebrated President's Day; I voted in the Texas Primary; and we had lots of fun spending a rainy Saturday at Chuck E. Cheese's; and finally enjoyed a sunny day playing baseball, running races and getting some Vitamin D at my in-laws' house. 

{5} What I'm Dreading 
Let's just say we have lots happening next month and I'm dreading a big portion of that. Sorry to be vague, but I'll clue y'all in on it soon! :) 

{6} What I'm Working On 
Brandon and I are heading to Las Vegas this weekend and I'm working on all the mom duties that come with leaving your two boys at home with grandparents. So many schedules to type out, medical release forms to sign, clothes to lay out and house to be cleaned. Whew!

{7} What I'm Excited About 
Vegas! I have never been (and Brandon's only been for work), so we are excited about a little time away together. It's so hard to actually do, but it's always nice to finally do it. We have lots of fun restaurants booked, a spa appointment calling my name, and a Cirque du Soleil performance we are so excited about! Thank y'all for all of your amazing recommendations on what to do and where to eat in Las Vegas!

{8} What I'm Watching/Reading
Now that the Winter Olympics are over, we are getting back to our regularly-scheduled programming (no pun intended) of: "This is Us," and of course my trashy "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" and "The Bachelor." 

I haven't picked up any books in a while and really need to get back in that routine of reading before bedtime. 

{9} What I'm Listening To 
Currently as I type this, the boys are at school so it's the sound of silence, other than the dishwasher and dryer running simultaneously. But if you're talking about actual music, I'm the most uncool person on the planet. I am either jamming to the boys' favorite CD or 90's on 9, or acting like I'm cool when I like one cool song that all the cool kids are probably over by now. ;) 

{10} What I'm Wearing 
As per usual, my Zella leggings that I practically sleep in: 

And with all this rain we've had lately, I've been donning this cap far more often than I should {and also washing my hair far less often than I should, too}: 

I mean, seriously, y'all, I'm not very cool. ;) 

{11} What I'm Doing This Weekend 
We're going to Las Vegas! I'm so excited for a little time away with Brandon. Even though we aren't huge gamblers, I've heard there's something for everyone in Las Vegas, and I'm praying that "something" also includes sleeping in past 7 a.m. Though with the two-hour time difference, I'll probably be up at 5 a.m. ;)

{12} What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month
Not too much, honestly! We have the boys' Spring Break, which I might go spend a bit of it with my parents if they're around. I'm just hoping for much prettier, drier weather and getting to be outdoors a lot more than we were this month. 

{13} What Else is New 
Not much else to report around here. Happy Wednesday! 

Also linking up with Jessi and Jenn 

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, y'all! 

I have been eyeing this dress since Sheaffer posted it months ago, but I just couldn't justify the $70 price tag. But when I saw that she posted that it went on sale for $29.97, I jumped on it and ordered it in black. I read all the reviews and it says to size one size down, so I did. I can't wait to get it in and wear it on our trip to Las Vegas! 

In honor of President's Day on Monday, I couldn't resist putting Walker and Knox in their matching "Reagan/Bush '84" T-shirts in honor of (in my opinion) the best presidential duo! I found them on Zulily and thought they looked adorable on the boys. If you still haven't jumped on the Zulily train, let me know and I'd be happy to send you an invite! 

I wrote a post on Wednesday about why I write thank-you notes -- and why I make my kids write them, too. It is definitely a controversial topic (more than I ever would have thought!) but if you missed it, you can see it here

Life has been so crazed lately that I haven't even gotten a chance to share pictures of Walker's Valentine's Day party at school last week. Whoops! 

I was in charge of the party, and, with the help of three other moms, we pulled off this adorable little party for the kiddos. (We found the majority of the decorations at Target's Dollar Aisle, Dollar Tree and Party City.) We served Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets, mini cupcakes, fruit, cheese cubes, Pirate's Booty, apple juice/water, and a cute little snack mix one of the other moms made. We then decorated sugar cookies, did an easy little heart craft (I found it here on Pinterest), exchanged Valentine's and did a little Valentine-themed book exchange. It was so cute! 

But the best part was Walker running up to me and giving me the biggest bear hug when his teacher let them all in the classroom. He was so sweet and kept saying, "Mommy, thank you for my party!" Oh, my heart just melted right then and there! 

I have a ton of precious little boys' smocked outfits, cute holiday-themed pajamas, a few "W" monogrammed items, and Jon-Jons that are all very gently used. I'm looking to sell them and wanted to open it up to any of you boy mamas on here first. If you would be interested in looking at them, would you please let me know by leaving me a comment here? I'd be happy to email you pictures and pricing, and I will most definitely ship! 

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

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: Thank-You Notes

Growing up, we always had to write thank-you notes for gifts we received: for our birthday, Christmas, or even just because gifts. And I always remember my mom writing them to friends for bringing us a meal after my sister was born, helping her out in a pinch, and more. 

I loathed writing thank-you notes as a kid and even told myself, "I'll never make my kids do this when I'm an adult!" But, as I have done far too often as an adult and now a parent, I've been eating my words more and more. 

I write thank-you notes, and I make my children write them, too. 

I know: call me Southern, old fashioned or just plain out of the loop, but I feel like it's very important to write thank-you notes to show my gratitude (and my kids' gratitude); to teach my children to be grateful; and to honor and acknowledge the person who took time out of their busy lives to get us a gift, wrap it, buy a card, sign it, and either deliver it to us or come to the birthday party and hand-deliver it. (Or, to the person who takes the time to make us a meal by shopping for the food, paying for it out of their own pocket, taking the time to make it -- or set up delivery -- and bringing it to us.) As an adult who understands the value of a dollar and the value of time in today's busy world, I find it even more important to write a thank-you note. 

And, I know, I know. It's the 21st century and there are plenty of other ways to communicate: texting, emailing, calling, Snapchatting, Insta story-ing...and I also know that writing a handwritten thank-you note has "gone out of style." And I also know that we have 708 different different things going on in our days: getting children up, fed, dressed, out the door to school, to work ourselves, our volunteer and work commitments, church commitments, parties, lunch dates...and the list goes on and on and will forever. 

But I personally think there is nothing that shows your sincere thankfulness more than a handwritten thank-you note. We put such an importance on sending Christmas cards in the mail, but we don't have nearly as big of an importance on acknowledging a thoughtful gift with a quick thank-you note. Why is that?

Have you ever given (or sent) someone a gift, only to not have them acknowledge it at all? No thank-you note, no text, no email, no verbal "thank you?" Didn't you feel weird and wonder if they received it; if they received it, did they like it; and, if you're like me, you go through your head thinking of 403 different scenarios as to why they may not have received it or liked it and have no clue how to bring it up without it being awkward. That right there is why I believe you should send a thank-you note: acknowledgement that the gift was received; appreciation for their time, effort, energy and money toward the gift; and showing that appreciation by taking five whole minutes out of your day to sit down and share with them how thankful you are. I guarantee you it took them a lot longer than five minutes to think about, purchase, wrap and send your (or your child's) gift. 

I'll be honest, nothing burns me up more than purchasing a gift for someone (whether an adult or a child) and not receiving any sort of a "thank you" for it. I don't do it for the thank-you note, but I do expect to be thanked for the gift I gave. It's just simply manners. I also cannot stand to receive a generic email sent to every party attendee that goes something like this: "Thank you for coming and for the sweet gift!" The end. That's all. I sit there and think, "Did you know which gift I gave you?" "Did you like it?" "If you hated it, I can totally send you the gift receipt!" My mind goes all over the place. 

Why does that bother me? Because, again, I took the time to carefully select your gift (whether from your registry or not); pay for it with my own money that I most definitely could have spent elsewhere; purchase a card to go along with it; sign said card; wrap the gift; and either bring it to your party/shower/event or have it delivered there. Not acknowledging the gift and the time it took to do all of that, frankly, is insulting. Not receiving anything tells the gifter that you don't appreciate the gift or them, in my opinion. 

I make my children write thank-you notes, too, because I have worked so hard to teach them to verbally say "thank you" when they receive something (whether a gift, a sticker from the cashier at Target, an ice cream cone from me, a toy they wanted from their brother), so it's also important to me that they write their thankfulness. My children receive a lot from family members, friends and even Brandon and me, and I want them to understand that it comes at a cost, and they therefore should take a few minutes to acknowledge someone's thoughtfulness. I know they don't like to do it now, but I know the gifter appreciates the sentiment and knowing their gift didn't go unnoticed. And I can only hope that this translates into their adult lives, as well, because an ungrateful child is one thing, but an ungrateful adult is a whole different ball game. I don't ever want my children to think they deserved anything in this life and, if making them write a thank-you note shows them that, then so be it. Thank-you notes are a wonderful way to make our children pause, reflect and express their gratitude. 

So here's how I typically write (and make my children write) a thank-you note: addressing the gifter by name; saying "thank you for the _____"; explaining why they liked it, what they will do with it, etc.; saying, "thank you for your thoughtfulness/remembering me on my birthday" etc.; and closing. A typical thank-you note for a gift I've received goes something like this: 

"Dear Nana,

Thank you so much for all of my amazing Christmas gifts. You far outdid yourself with the Kendra Scott earrings, Nordstrom robe and gift cards. I cannot wait to wear the beautiful earrings and don the robe while I get ready each morning. The gift cards will definitely be put to good use this spring, too, so I can purchase some much-needed spring clothes. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. It means the world to me! I love you! 

Thank you again,

That's it. It takes five minutes (or less) to write, address the envelope, stick a stamp on it, and pop it in your mailbox. I have found the cutest thank-you cards for just $1 in Target's dollar aisle and you can order stamps from either Amazon {here} or USPS online {here} and have them delivered to your home -- so no having to go to the post office or wait in line there! 

And yes, I've heard the argument that "they just throw the letter away anyway," but my gracious, have you ever received a thank-you note yourself that you yourself keep? Probably not. But doesn't it make you feel so wonderful to receive it and know how thankful someone was to receive your gift? 

So why not just take a few minutes to write your thankfulness out? You never know, you may have just made someone's day showing them how loved and appreciated they -- and their gift(s) -- were. 

Linking up with Jessi and Jenn

Monday, February 19, 2018

Weekending: Road Warrior Style

Happy President's Day! Unfortunately, Brandon doesn't get this holiday off, so it's back to Monday business as usual for the boys and me. (Boo!) 

This weekend was a bit of a crazy (but so fun) one. It was my best friend, Lindsey's, son's birthday in The Woodlands, so Walker and I went by ourselves since we were only staying one night and that's a hard four-hour drive one way on a little guy like Knox. 

Anyway, I dropped Knox off with my mother-in-law on Friday morning and hit the road with Walker to my hometown. Walker did great in the car and we enjoyed some special one-on-one time together. (Brandon picked Knox up from his mom's house after work on Friday.) We had a little put stop at Buc-cees, and when we got into town, Walker and I made a quick stop to my mom's store; went out to visit with my grandparents; and then went to my parents' house to have dinner and spend the night with them. 

Saturday morning, we left bright and early to head to The Woodlands Children's Museum for the party! Again, Walker was a champ in the car and we had a ball at the birthday party. It was such a cute little place and it was so good getting to celebrate sweet Austin. After the party, Walker and I loaded up and drove straight home to Dallas. We drove 540 miles in 36-ish hours (shew!), but it was so much fun and I'd do it all over again tomorrow. 

It was so good to get home to Brandon and Knox, and we all went out to eat Mexican food because I most certainly wasn't cooking! 

Sunday was rainy, yucky and gross. Brandon let me sleep in until 8:30 a.m. (heavenly!) to recover from a long last few days. We had a day full of cleaning the house, running errands and laying low around the house. I made these delicious stuffed sweet potatoes (along with balsamic-glazed Brussels sprouts) for supper and it was a huge hit. 

I hope y'all have a great day!

Linking up with Biana 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! 

How was everyone's Valentine's Day? We were basically celebrating all week: Knox and I made Emily's Valentine's Day Snack Mix together on Tuesday and I got a ton of stuff done for Walker's class Valentine's Day party that day, too. Wednesday, we had a sweet little day: Bible Study in the morning, lunch at Chick-fil-A with our best friends afterward, and a fun day at home to round out the day. Brandon grilled steaks, I made Ina's spinach gratin, and my mom's "Chocolate Yum Yum," of which I'll share the recipe next week. :) Walker had his class Valentine's Day party yesterday and it was so cute. Here are some pictures from our week: 

Making snack mix together while Walker was at school

Matching jammies (find them here

Brothers on Valentine's Day!
(Knox's shirt is old from Smocked Auctions and Walker's is Old Navy, but it's sold out online)

When I try to tell two boys to smile for a picture at Chick-fil-A ;)
At Walker's Valentine's Day party at school 

Did you catch my post (or I should probably say, "novel") on Wednesday about my journey with Invisalign? You can read it here. Thank you to those of you who left me encouraging comments; y'all are the sweetest and the best! This is definitely a marathon and not a sprint -- and I have to remind myself of that daily. 

Walker said the funniest thing at Sprouts on Monday that I had to share here, too. 

I had to go in for two items and one of them was steaks to have Brandon grill on Valentine's Day. As we were passing through the meat section, he saw all the fish sitting there on ice. And then he proceeded to yell out loud for all the store to hear: "Mommy! Who is the mean guy who killed ALL THESE FISH?!?!" (Please note we aren't vegetarians or vegans or anything of the sort, so I'm not sure where he heard this?) People around us starting cracking up and I was half laughing, half mortified. 

And then, as we were checking out, he asked the lady ringing us up: "Ma'am, what does 'cray cray' mean?" Again, not something he heard from me! 

Out of the mouths of babes! 

I've shared the love on these before, but since I just had to order some more for the boys, I thought I'd share again! :) So many socks fall off of my kids' feet and have since they were newborns, and these are the only ones that stay on their feet -- and hold up well in the wash without getting pill-y. My friend Liz told me about the goodness that are Jefferies socks and I have been buying them for four years. Y'all need to get these for your kiddos! 

Is anyone else planning to do a little shopping with the upcoming President's Day sales? I'm so tired of anything long-sleeved and am dying to scoop up some cute spring clothes. I saw this dress at Old Navy and am planning to see if it goes on sale this weekend and grab it. It's so cute! 

I also thought this one was super cute, too! Clearly I'm loving chambray right now. ;) 

I hope y'all have fabulous weekends! 

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

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