Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Busy Bunch

The daily blanks on my planner have been completely scribbled in lately.

I feel like I have been running in circles, but today I carved out a few minutes to process it all by sharing with you. Lucky for us both, really. Election season is almost over, my kids are healthy and happy, and today's high is below 80 degrees. It's a good day, y'all. Here are some more cool things that have been happening for us:

Owen checked out fine after having his tonsils and adenoids removed. His ENT looked at him for 30 seconds and promised she'd never see him again. He was perfectly okay with that. As an FYI: Owen's recovery ended up being very tolerable. There's hope for your child/your sanity if your family ever has to go through it. Just stock up on bottles of Tylenol and Popsicles.

Two kids in after-school activities feels a bit like a marathon {not that I would know}. We have still been doing a decent job of getting Nathan to piano, Owen to soccer, and Nora somewhere between. This may mean a few more McNuggets than normal, but what are you going to do? They're delicious.

On that note, Owen scored his first goal at a game Tuesday night! I was home with Nora, but Jonathan alerted me to this happening with plenty of exclamation points. He said the kid immediately ran off the field to participate in a celebratory high-five. I wasn't there, so I don't know, but there was probably an 85% chance of fatherly emotion.

Speaking of proud moments, this week marked our first time to attend two different parent-teacher conferences. All five of us ducked into Owen's classroom to hear his teacher sing his praises. He knows all his sight words and how to write his numbers, and his behavior clothespin stays on the good side. Although Jonathan and Nathan {thankfully} ditched us for round two, I hear similar praises were sung on the fourth-grade hall. My son even maintained his straight-A streak. Think they get it from their mama?

Although Nora has no academic success to report, she did ask to ditch her diapers this week. So, that's happening.

As you can see, we killed it at this year's family photo session. Nora even wore fancy shoes with straps. It was a miracle! Maybe they weren't the most cooperative subjects, but they were captured in their essence. I only have a few sneak peeks now, but I am so eager to see the rest. Shout out to Bright Images!

That's the short version of where we've been since the beginning of October. My calendar is still full of reminders to drive small people places, but I am looking forward to a great fall season. Now I suppose it's time to get those Halloween costumes ordered...

Happy Thursday, y'all!

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Dear October

You might not believe me if you walk outside this afternoon, but October has arrived.

We are six days in, and while a high of 90 degrees doesn't scream fall to me, I have been obsessed with the slow signs of a new season. Today I'm sharing snapshot for the month. Following are a few October-focused questions I answered with the first thing that came to mind. Read on with that warning.

  1. Favorite Thing: October is a month that smells like fresh air, decaying leaves, and fire. These scents are good for the soul, I tell you.

  2. Planning: I am excited about two photography sessions coming up later in the month. We'll have our annual family session to grace this year's Christmas cards {and this blog, obviously}. In addition to that, we are doing a photo shoot with the extended family on Jonathan's side. I am pumped to capture these memories and spend time with some of my favorite people.

  3. Eating: Too. Much. Fun Size. My office is stocked for Halloween with tiny Snickers, itty bitty bags of M&Ms, and one-piece Kit Kats. They're cute, but they're dangerous.

  4. Drinking: Wine. This one and this one are my favorites lately, and they pair perfectly with a breezy October night.

  5. Wearing: All of the button-up shirts, please. Fall is the season of plaid and boots. You can keep your pumpkin spice stuff, but let me have the basic-girl wardrobe.

  6. Listening to: Crickets. One of my favorite autumn sounds are the bugs that play lullabies during our evenings outside. I'm sure they're singing tunes all summer long, but at that time I am inside. In the air conditioning.

  7. Enjoying: My chickens. You laughed, didn't you? That's okay, I laughed when it was the first thing that popped into my head. Gardening season is over and the girls can once again free range. Any pecking, scratching, and eating they do in the garden now is helpful. Plus, it's fun to watch them interact and explore. I promise...

  8. Current Project: Every year I vow that my kids will narrow down their Halloween costumes and I will buy them before September ends. And every year I can be found paying ridiculous shipping fees to get them in time. Today is October 6, and we have nothing. It's officially time to get Nora's "great big pumpkin" outfit ordered.

  9. Hoping for: Peace. The start of the school year blows in with a rush of things to do. I love the new routine, but lately things have been too hurried and hectic. I hope the change of season gives me a time to unwind, relax, and remember that who I am means more than what I do.

  10. Doing: October starts our hot tub season. Jonathan and I dedicated much of our evening time to that last weekend {don't tell the kids}. The cool, clear nights painted a mesmerizing celestial view and we lost count of shooting stars. That feeling of being so tiny in the universe while cooking in an outdoor tub hits the spot. Welcome, October.

What's your favorite thing about October?
Share in the comments and have yourself a lovely Thursday.

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Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Favorites

TGIF, y'all!

It's finally Friday, and in the spirit of such an exciting weekday, I thought I'd do a little sharing. Instead of telling you a list of things I love about my children, ways they drive me crazy, or why I am so dedicated to the chickens living in my yard, I am doing something new. Today I want to share a handful of actual products I have been loving lately. Without further ado, here are my very own Friday Favorites:

NUMBER ONE I am not a beauty blogger by any stretch, but I've become passionate about skincare in my 30s. I have always washed my face and moisturized properly, but I wanted to kick it up a notch. One new product I'm loving is the Pore-Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask by Clinique {most of my beauty products are Clinique due to their very gentle nature}. I got a sample of this, and will dedicate my dollars toward a full-size soon. I have used it once a week, and it makes my pores almost disappear and my skin feel like a dream. Seriously good stuff.

NUMBER TWO Another favorite is a lipstick line I've been using. Also by Clinique {see?} are the Lip Pop Color + Primer and its matte counterpart. I've never been much of a lipstick girl, but this product is changing things. The texture is super hydrating and the colors are bold and bright in one swipe. The shades I have are here, here, and here. I also have a sample of Cherry Pop, which is a great true red. My favorite, however, is Cute Pop. It's a perfect plum color, just right for everyday wear. Unfortunately, I wore it once and it broke. When I went to exchange it, they were out. We will be reunited someday soon, though. Try them out. Do it.

NUMBER THREE The temperatures are dropping and this list needs some autumn. Aside from candles, the only product I regularly get from Bath and Body Works are the hand soaps. At last purchase, I tossed a fall-inspired scent into my basket - Sunlight + Apple Trees. It was a guess since it's an odd scent combo, but it is wonderful. I'm not into pumpkin and cinnamon, but this one has my hands and home smelling all kinds of seasonal. If you do like the regular fall scents, they have a great selection going.

NUMBER FOUR It's planner season! For me, at least. With a new school year comes all sorts of spring dates and events I need to jot down, and nowhere to jot them. That's why I am proud to announce the arrival of my 2017 Erin Condren Life Planner. Last year I told you all about why I chose it. This year I went with the Mid-Century Circles pattern and stuck with the vertical layout. I was so happy to start planning. It's the little things, right?

Just so you know, these little links do nothing for me but provide Friday shopping ease for you. Because I like you. Let me know if you try any and subsequently love them. Are you already a fan of anything I've shared? Do you have any products you think I should check out? Jump into the comments and we'll chat.

Have a great weekend, friends!

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Nature Walk

I walked outside this morning to load up my crew, and did an about face when the cool air hit me.

I pulled on a heavier sweater, and as we drove down the highway I watched the temperature drop from the upper 60s to fall territory. There's a spicy batch of chili in the fridge and the nights are just about hot tub ready. While our trees are still a fresh green, it's nice to walk outside and not immediately sweat. The air smells crisp and clean and dare I say it: I think summer is just about gone.

Nathan's science class is studying autumn, and they have been taking nature walks around the school in search of seasonable items. His teacher encouraged the kids to try it out at home, too. We couldn't find many fallen leaves, but the acorns and pine cones were plentiful. I also took a few minutes to document this point in the year when summer gives up. From Halloween decorations I most definitely didn't put up to the last petunia blooms, here's what our late September looks like:

How are you enjoying the cooler temps and changing seasons? Let me know!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

No More Tonsils

Rule #1: Popsicle requests shall not be denied, day or night, rain or shine.

When you leave an outpatient surgery center with a prescription for your favorite treat, it's not so bad. Owen had his tonsils and adenoids removed before the sun came up last Friday. As terrified as we were going into it, we knew it needed to happen. The doctor suggested this procedure the second she watched the kid breathe. He also wakes up 516 times a night and saws logs inbetween, so Jonathan and I jumped right into the "this is for the best" camp.

When we made it to triage the morning of the surgery, Owen the Brave let his nerves show when a handful of doctors and nurses began explaining details and giving us a laundry list of what to expect afterward. When he slipped on a green gown that practically swallowed him, it was time to say goodbye. Tears rolled down his face and burned my eyes as I left him sitting in the anesthetist's lap. The half hour that followed was especially long.

When the doctor called us back to give the report, however, I exhaled. Owen did a tremendous job, and actually followed orders with zero tears and lots of hugs. After he took a few minutes to wake up, we turned the corner to the recovery room to the sight pictured above. Tiny Owen half asleep, chomping an orange Popsicle, and happy to see us.

Owen was an absolute champ. Every nurse we talked to was impressed with his courage, and made sure we knew to give him all the Popsicles he wanted. We made it home before lunch and got Owen settled in for a week of healing. While we were away, my mom and Nora made sure our kitchen was stocked with cold treats, delicious drinks, and a rainbow of Jello cups. They also made sure Owen had a bundle of get-well balloons.

Although we heard a collection of tonsillectomy horror stories from the moment this surgery went on the calendar, I have been pleasantly surprised. He's actually eating well, he's had energy to play, and he is doing an amazing job of taking his pain medicine around the clock.

Side Note: Waking Owen for medicine every three hours has cemented the fact that we're done with newborns.

We are only five days out from surgery, and I know it could get worse before it gets better, but I am just glad it's done. My brave little dude did a great job, and hopefully we will be reaping the benefits soon. Keep Owen in your prayers for his continued recovery. He's already itching to get back on the soccer field and back in his classroom {we have been practicing popcorn words every day, promise}. Here's hoping those days are right around the corner.

Happy Tuesday, y'all!

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Guest Blogging: Kindergarten

Today I'm over at Arkansas Women Bloggers sharing insight from my favorite primary school kid.

We have officially gotten over the school year hump of progress reports and summoning the courage to get in the cafeteria line {it was pancake day and it was worth it}. Owen has been tackling his first year of formal schooling like a champ and while he'll admit sitting still is tough, he loves kindergarten. From the incredible books to the playground friendships, he soaks up every second. The September writing prompt for my favorite blogging group is learn and I was pleased to snag a spot. Because it's his story, I let Owen do part of the sharing. That may or may not be considered cheating, but I think they let me slide this time.

Curious? Click HERE to find out the best parts of Owen's kindergarten day. Leave a comment, too, if you're feeling especially nice!

It may still be one million degrees, but it is technically fall, y'all. I wish you a terrific Thursday. Go eat a pumpkin or buy a scarf or jump in some leaves. 'Tis the season, after all.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Summer Night Snapshot

We're still sweating through this Arkansas September, but we're savoring the late-summer nights.

Around the time Jonathan gets the pots and pans and burners going for supper {hashtag blessed}, I grab my trusty basket and head out to cut the ever-growing okra and collect eggs. Typically when I'm about halfway across the back yard, I hear my name. I look back to find a mess of curls yelling, "Mommy, wait for ME!" I wait, and she helps by making sure none of the chickens get too close.

Later in the evening we {or just a few of us} will head through the kitchen doors to watch the clouds turn hot pink as the day fades. I like to snag a little more fresh air before the mosquitoes descend. Last night we got a call from Owen's fall soccer coach, and found out his first practice is tomorrow. Of course that brought the soccer ball into the mix. Let the record show the chickens were unwilling participants.

Today I thought I'd share some photos snapped during a few recent late-summer nights. This yard may not be much to many, but I am so grateful to call it ours.

{Can you guess what's happening here?}

Happy Wednesday, y'all. Take it slow today, and savor the moments you have.
How are you enjoying these dwindling summer nights?

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Monday, September 12, 2016

The Growing Room

There may still be tiny rocket ships on the bottom bunk, but this is no baby room.

This Saturday my family spent the day crammed into the boys' asparagus-green room {actual paint color}. The two babies who lived here when it first housed a twin bed and a toddler bed have grown into two students who have outgrown the space. We didn't have the time nor energy nor funds nor desire to completely redecorate, but we thought the addition of desks would spruce it up a bit.

Also, Minecraft posters. That totally upped the cool factor.

Now Owen and Nathan have two homework areas positioned where neither can see nor touch the other, featuring lamps with USB ports and bright orange chairs. To make room for these pieces, much purging took place. To my surprise, most of it was done by the boys.

They jumped into the hand-painted toy box Nathan received for his first birthday and started discarding toys left and right. I saw a three-legged horse named Lucky that had been buried since we moved. I saw stuffed animals that collected more dust than memories. I saw Legos that had been missing from a set since the box was opened. The boys whittled the toy stash down to where it all fit {semi-comfortably} in the closet, and the toy box is out.

{This is a terribly off-focus picture from 2008, but cue the awww.}

I would say it's a little sad to see this room go through so many transitions in the almost seven years we've lived here, but it would be a lie. I love watching these kids grow up, and I love a clean slate. Cleaning out kid rooms is agonizing to me {shout out to Jonathan}, but it sure feels good when it's done. Now I need to stock those desks with paper, pens, and fresh crayons to unleash the creativity for which we've made space.

I know this room will keep changing over the years {and may not always sport a very green coat of paint}, but I am eager to see what it becomes, and what becomes of the boys who live there.

Happy Monday, my friends. Outgrow your comfort zone, and keep going.

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