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Children/Motherhood

Children/Motherhood
Children/Motherhood

Holiday Cards with Basic Invite

Thank you to Basic Invite for sponsoring this post. All opinions included are completely my own.
Basic Invite Holiday Cards


Hands down, one of my favorite things about the Christmas Season is sending and receiving greeting photo cards. I absolutely love to see how families have grown and it always warms my heart to see the smiling faces of so many people that I love. It is also fun for me to look back through the cards that I send out each year and see how my own family has grown and changed.

Greeting cards are so incredible nowadays with limitless customizable options for you. Websites make it easy for you to personalize your holiday cards with your own unique style and preferences. This year, we decided to trust our prized Christmas cards to Basic Invite and we are so pleased. We've used Basic Invite in the past for thank you notes, so I already knew how fabulous the products would be.

Basic Invite Holiday Greetings
Basic Invite Christmas Cards


One of my favorite things about Basic Invite is that they have almost unlimited color options for you to choose from. To any men reading this, you might not even realize that there are 180 different color options in the world, but all the women know what I'm talking about! When selecting your cards, you can choose from 180 color choices to make the card exactly how you prefer. Once you select your design, you can change the color of each element (down to the smallest detail). I prefer more of a crimson color instead of a bright red, so I chose the color Cardinal to use on our Christmas cards. It was very helpful that each color sample was large enough for me to see the difference in each color. Another great custom feature is that Basic Invite offers over 40 different colors of envelopes. In addition to all of the color options, they have tons of design options to choose from. I really like their vintage Christmas cards selection. Basically your options are endless when creating cards and invitations.

Basic Invite Envelope Options

Basic Invite is a mother's best friend during the holidays for many reasons.
1.) The first is the most important - all of their envelopes are peel and seal so you don't have to lick a single one! And because of the seal, you know that all of your envelopes are securely closed. I've spent way too many years licking envelopes and getting a rather unpleasant taste in my mouth. You don't have to worry about that with Basic Invite. Plus, the peel and seal saves you time!!!!

2.) They offer an address capturing service. You can share a link on any of your social media sites and request that your friends and family give you their address to be stored in your Basic Invite account. This is so helpful! Also Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no cost on all Christmas card orders (another time saver). You can customize the fonts of your address printing as well.
Basic Invite Addresses

3.) You can have your cards mailed out for you! Short on time? Select this option and have the cards delivered to your friends and family without having to worry about stuffing envelopes yourself. And don't worry, you will still be able to see what your cards look like because they also offer custom samples. You can order a printed sample so you know exactly how the cards will look and feel.

4.) Return address printing is also included. No need to worry about ordering return address labels separately, you can have your return address printed directly onto each envelope at no additional cost. We really liked this feature because we recently moved and I was able to customize our return address to let everyone know we have a brand new one.
Basic Invite New Address

I love Basic Invite for the quality of their cards, the almost limitless customization options and the ease of using their website. As a busy mom, I'm often short on time and Basic Invite helped me save time because the ordering process is so simple.

Now through the holiday season you can save 30% your order when you use coupon code holi30. Want to save even more money? Check out this link to see their cheap holiday cards to really save some dough.

And once the holidays are over, for goodness sake, please don't throw away all of those precious cards from your friends and family. Check out this blog post I wrote last year about how I save all of the cards we receive and enjoy them year round!


Thank you to Basic Invite for also including a little bonus for me with my order. They printed an ornament with a photo of the kids for me to keep. I immediately hung it on my upstairs formal tree because the colors matched perfectly! How did they know I had a white, black and gold Christmas tree? :)
Basic Invite photo ornament front
Basic Invite Photo Ornament
Basic Invite ornament
Basic Invite Family Christmas Cards

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9 Months Old

9 Months old

Here we are at 9 months old - it happened in the blink of an eye!!!!

Stats: We had Knox's 9 month check up last week and he weighed in at 19 pounds, 12 ounces and is 28 inches tall. He is around the 50th percentile for height and weight. This cracks me up because almost everyone who sees him comments on how chunky he is - I wonder what they would say about all of the babies who are in a higher percertile?!?!

Development: Knox is a very fast crawler and we think it will only be a matter of time before he picks up walking. He pulls himself up to standing at every chance he gets as he prefers to stand. He also cruises around the ottoman and the length of the bathtub. His gross motor skills are developing so nicely! Also in the fine motor skills department, he is perfecting his pincer grasp and can easily pass toys back and forth between his hands. If we cover something up or hide an object, he is aware that it has been hidden and will try to find it. He is very verbal and makes lots of noises all day long. He hasn't put too many consonant sounds on his noises yet, although we have heard a -y sound a few times (ya ya). He can finally hold his own bottle to feed himself too!

Loves: As I've mentioned almost every other month, Knox loves to eat. He hasn't refused any foods at all! Now that we are giving him more table food (more on that below), he gets really excited when it is time to eat. And of course, he still loves his sister. When we go to pick her up from school, I always see him trying to lean forward in his car seat so he can see her when she gets in the car. It is adorable. He prefers to be around his sister any chance he gets.

Dislikes: The boy is consistent, the two reasons he will get fussy are when he is tired or hungry. Other than that, he is a pretty happy baby and doesn't dislike much else.

Sleeping: His sleeping has improved drastically. He is a more consistent napper now and usually takes a really good nap in the morning followed by a shorter nap in the afternoon. He occasionally needs a quick cat nap around 5 p.m., but it doesn't happen everyday. His bedtime is anytime between 7 and 7:30 p.m. and most of the time he will sleep until 6:45 or 7 a.m. Every now and again he will wake up crying around 5 a.m., but he is getting better at putting himself back to sleep.

Diapers: Size 3 Pampers Swaddles are what he is currently wearing. I think he will be in this size for awhile.

Eating: As mentioned above, he loves to eat. He hasn't refused anything I've given. I can definitely tell if he doesn't like something as it will take him longer to eat, but he will still eat it (this is true for green beans). We are giving him table food as often as possible. He devoured some chicken spaghetti and broccoli cheese soup. I think he really likes that we are giving him more food that we eat! He's unsure if he likes bananas and avocado; it might be a texture thing for him. We had pizza the other night and gave him some bits of sausage that he really liked! He still drinks a bottle of breastmilk four times a day, but the amount is decreasing as we continue to give him more table food.

Clothing: Size 9 months and 12 months are what he wears mostly. But he can actually still fit in a few 6 month pieces. Since we have had a lot of really cold days, I keep him in fleece pajamas as much as possible. They help to keep him warm and also make it easier for me to change him. I haven't put any shoes on him yet, but I think I will start since I'm sure he will be walking soon.

Miscellaneous: The kid is constantly on the move and does not like to sit still for anything. Diaper changes have become increasingly hard because he doesn't want to hold still for any amount of time. I keep reading articles that say separation anxiety will start to develop around this age, but Knox continues to love people and has shown no sign of just wanting to stay with me. He is very similar to his Daddy and has not met a stranger. Knox especially loves men with beards as we think the beard reminds him of his Daddy (and it is also something he can grab onto!).
It is amazing to me how different my children are. Knox is VERY curious and gets into everything unlike his sister when she was this age. He touches anything in sight and recently pulled a lamp off a table and knocked over a vase. Luckily he didn't get hurt by either incident, but he is keeping us on our toes.

9 month baby


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Pajama Gift Guide

Pajama Gift Guide

Happy Thanksgiving Week!!!!

If you are anything like me, you've already made plans to get comfy and cozy this week while you relax and spend time with family. And maybe when you look at your comfy clothes you realize that your pajama game is not so strong. Well, I am here to help you out!!! Because if there is one thing I know, its how to be comfy in style.

I've compiled a huge list of my favorite items right now. From loungewear to sleep sets to robes and slippers and even super soft throw blankets, I've got you and your shopping list covered. I even included some cute holiday coffee mugs, because nothing goes better with loungewear than a hot cup of coffee.

I must tell you that the Plush-Knit Lounge Joggers you see below are a dream. They are so soft, wash really well and come in three colors. I already have them in black and I will most certainly be scooping them up in the wine color as well.

In the slipper department, I bought both this pair and this pair last year and cannot decide which I love more. I'm all about blush this season, so I'll certainly be grabbing a blush pair this year too.

So scroll through this list and click "add to cart." Everything you see below is super affordable; you won't break the bank with these purchases. I give you permission to go ahead and buy several things for that fab gal pal you might be shopping for.

And if you see anything below that you want to add to your own Christmas list, feel free to forward this post along to anyone you like. Just call me your little pajama elf!



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Ready for Anything with Britax B-Ready G3 Stroller

Thank you Britax for sponsoring this post. We have always been fans of Britax; all opinions expressed are completely my own.
Britax

Get ready for this mamas, because I'm about to introduce you to what I consider to be THE stroller that you need in your life. Feast your eyes upon the Britax B-Ready G3 Stroller. This stroller is perfect for almost everyone. Whether you just have one baby or two small children or twins, this stroller conforms to meet your needs.

First I must say that we have been a Britax family for over five years now. When I was pregnant with my first child, we did a lot of research on strollers and car seats and we determined that Britax was the brand for us. Their safety standards are unparalleled. In fact, Britax engineers their products to exceed the safety standards set by the federal government for car seats. They conduct twice the number of tests required so we as parents can feel secure knowing that these seats have been tested and retested for safety. Plus, Britax is continually enhancing their products with new technologies that distribute crash forces away from your child during a crash. You can read a thorough description of their safety standards on their website.

We've always been pleased with our Britax items and have found them very easy to use. We recently started using the Britax B-Ready G3 Stroller and are blown away by the features included. I'll break everything down for you below.
Britax B Ready with infant seat

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Halloween Through The Years

Happy Halloween Eve!!!

I thought it would be fun to share our costumes through the years. We make all of our own costumes and I've become quite proud of our creations. This is Tolar's absolute favorite holiday and it has also become Kendall's favorite. In full disclosure, until I met Tolar I never really celebrated it because I do not like anything scary. However, once Kendall was born and we decided to dress in theme for our costumes, I have developed a love for Halloween. I even remarked this year that I love how creative we are becoming and I look forward to the time that Tolar and I spend putting the finishing touches on the costumes.

I do have to give credit where credit is due. My mom has helped us create some of these costumes due to her wonderful sewing skills and we are so thankful. She luckily has taught me some sewing knowledge and thanks to being a theatre major in college I picked up even more. Maybe next year I will actually get my sewing machine set up in our house so I don't have to bother my mother.

It is fun to look back and remember the awesome times we had. It is also fun to see how my photography and staging have improved over the years.

2013 - Kendall's first Halloween
Super Mom, Diaper Decimator and Captain Chaos
All of these costumes were created on the fly, using items we had around our house.
Halloween Diaper Decimator
Halloween Super Heroes
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Kids Labels Made Easy

Thank you Inchbug for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are completely my own.
Inchbug Bag Tags and Orbit Labels

It is storytime y'all!
Several weeks ago, I had an event to attend and I needed to leave Knox in the care of some nursery workers. This was the first time he was in this particular class so his schedule was new to the friendly workers. I explained that he needed a bottle at 11 a.m. and I showed them where all of his belongings were kept. But there was one problem I didn't realize existed...I had not labeled anything! I know this is shocking to some as I consider myself to be a very organized person.

After my event was finished, I went to the nursery to pick up my child and found a bottle that didn't belong to us in the diaper bag. I thought nothing of this, placed the bottle on the counter, and then we went on our merry way. Once we made it to the car I made a shocking discovery: Knox's bottle was still in the bag completely full!!! Now I cannot be certain if that bottle I found earlier was simply just placed in our bag by mistake, if Knox missed his 11 a.m. bottle or if Knox was fed someone else's bottle. I'll probably never know the answer to that riddle. But here is something I do know: Knox will never be left in a nursery without his belongings being properly labeled again. I'm certainly not interested in learning that there was a chance my child was potentially fed someone else's food. (I don't want to get too deep into that subject matter, grace has been given regarding the situation I share above. I tell you this story to paint the picture)
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Old Navy Options For The Cooler Months

Last week I received some INCREDIBLE customer service while shopping at Old Navy, so I have decided to spread the love and share some of my favorite items. Old Navy is always a good option because of the super affordable prices. You can really find some great pieces and almost everything in the store can be styled multiple ways. Old Navy is always where I head to stock up on basics and to find comfortable dresses that you can wear everyday.

I've compiled a list my favorite tees, dresses, vests and shoes for you. This post is clickable and shopable - all you have to do is click on an item if you like it and you can purchase it immediately. And right now through October 28 you can use your Super Cash to score some really great things. If you don't have Super Cash just use code SWEET for 20% off your purchase!

Shoes



Dresses



Vests



Tees

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Hello 8 Months

8 Months Old

I do not know how we got here so fast!!! As much as I try to make time stand still, it keeps right on not listening to me and actually moving faster instead (is time a child or something?!?!)! Here we are at 8 months old and I'm definitely not ready for this. So let's just get on with the monthly update.

Stats: I don't know his exact height, but I do know Knox is 18 pounds, 11 ounces. Knox unfortunately has been sick in recent days and we ended up at the doctor on Friday where they weighed him.

Development: We have a full blown crawler! Knox picked up crawling fast. One day he was rocking back and forth on his hands and knees, the next day he was on the move. There is no sitting still with this kid. Now that he is mobile, he wants everything in sight and will get whatever object he wants all by himself. He can also pull himself up to standing. He particularly loves to do this in his crib during nap time. He's still a very happy baby and always gives us tons of smiles. We are working on getting him to clap his hands; he isn't able to do it by himself yet but he always giggles when we clap his hands for him.

Loves: Since he is mobile, Knox has shown us his fondness for new things. He LOVES the heater we keep in his room. That heater is like a Knox magnet, the second I set him on the floor he takes off after it. I have to quickly pick it up and put it out of his reach. He has also discovered door stops and that they make the most brilliant noise when you play with them. He could play with a door stop for a good ten minutes if I let him. Blowing raspberries is another favorite of his.

Dislikes: Taking naps. Seriously, this kid has the most inconsistent nap schedule ever!!!! In fact, last week I was pretty sure that he only slept for 15 minutes one day. Oh sweet baby Jesus, please help this kid nap!

Sleeping: As you can see from above, naps are a challenge. Sometimes he will sleep during the day and most of the time he won't. His naps are all over the place in length. However, he does sleep through the night, so I really cannot complain. I would much rather him sleep at night when we are trying to sleep too!

Diapers: He is still in Pampers size 3 diapers and I think he will be in them for awhile. Now that he is mobile, I don't see him gaining weight so quickly.

Eating: Food is definitely still a favorite of his. He doesn't like to wait on food; when he is hungry he wants food immediately. Knox gets four 8 ounce bottles of breastmilk each day, plus I give him food at lunch and dinner. Because he loves food so much, he really isn't that messy! He makes sure everything goes straight to his mouth!

Clothing: Knox is able to wear lots of different sizes. He can still wear 6-9 month clothing and just regular 9 month clothing. I do love that just like his sister he can wear the size that corresponds with his age. That makes it very easy to shop for him. Now that the weather is colder, I pretty much keep him in sleepers all day long. They make diaper changes easy since we prefer the sleepers with zippers.

Miscellaneous: His sister still tops his list of favorite things. I love to watch them interact,; if sister is in the room he is so incredibly happy. She is also quite fond of him and will do just about anything for him. She is such a big help, especially if I need to leave the room. I just ask Kendall to play with Knox and she will do so until I return. She tries to keep him out of things that he shouldn't get into and she does it the only way you knows how...by dragging him across the floor by his feet!!! Since she can't pick him up, this is the next best thing. And of course Knox thinks being dragged by his sister is quite funny.
Knox is certainly a second child because we just took our first overnight trip away from him (I didn't leave Kendall until she was about 14 months old). I have quite the freezer stash of breastmilk, which makes it easy for someone else to feed him.
He's a sweet baby with a loving disposition. He often reaches out to touch the face of others and he loves to cuddle. I'm soaking up the cuddles while I can!

8 Months Standing

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Diaper and Wipes Gift Subscription with IncrediBundles

Thank you IncrediBundles for sponsoring this post. All opinions below are completely my own.
IncrediBundles

Holy smokes, I am so pumped to share today's blog post with you!!!! One of my favorite things to do (and a big reason my blog still exists) is to try and make daily life just a bit easier for you gals. Probably the biggest gift we can give ourselves and others is more time and I think I have found a way to help you mamas out with that: a diaper and wipes gift subscription service from IncrediBundles!!!

I think we can all agree that two of the most needed items for a baby are diapers and wipes. When I was pregnant with Knox, we were gifted so many diapers and wipes and it was such a huge blessing! In fact, we made it a full seven months using the diapers we were given before we needed to purchase any more. Virtually every time I pulled open the drawer for a new diaper, I found myself thinking just how thankful we were that friends gifted us such practical things. Don't get me wrong, the cute clothes are appreciated just as much! But there is definitely something pretty spectacular about being gifted the necessities. Add in a subscription service where the diapers and wipes are delivered straight to your door and you will surely make many mamas happy!

Do yourself (and any moms of babies) a favor and click on over to IncrediBundles right now. The next time you have a friend or family member who is expecting a child, don't fret over selecting a gift. Trust me when I say that gifting them a diaper and/or wipes subscription from IncrediBundles is the way to go. The only thing you will have to worry about is selecting which gift option to purchase.
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When God Speaks To You Through Your Words To Your Children

Isaiah 66:13


Four and a half years ago the life of my family looked much different than it does today. At that time, my husband had lost his job right after we made the decision for me to leave full time employment so I could stay home with our baby girl. We exchanged our big city life for small town living and the future seemed kind of uncertain. I was scared and nervous and not exactly a happy camper to be living in such a rural area. 
I'll never forget the first time we decided to explore town. I was silently crying behind my sunglasses. "Downtown" was certainly not a happening place, Target was 20 minutes away, the only people I knew were family and I felt completely alone in my situation. As we drove around town, our baby (who is now a Kindergartener!) started crying in her car seat. I reached back to rub her head and said "don't worry baby, I'm right here with you."

BOOM! 

Did I just say that or did God say that to me? 

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Aria Advanced Faux Wood Blinds

Thank you Comfortex for providing the Aria blinds for me to review. All opinions are completely my own.Aria Faux Wood Blinds Kitchen

Slowly but surely our house is coming along. The boxes have been unpacked, items are mostly organized, and I'm feeling a bit more settled. If anyone has ever built their own house, you know there are several things that you just don't think about adding until you move in. One of those things is window coverings. The options are endless, it seems, for blinds and window coverings. Luckily we discovered Comfortex Window Fashions and we couldn't be happier.

Comfortex has multiple types of window coverings to choose from including cellular shades, wood blinds, roller shades, roman shades and more. My favorite part about our new house is the grey wood flooring on our lower level. We decided on the Aria Advanced Faux Wood Blinds in Whitewash to go with our neutral color palette in the house and to complement our floors.

I'm a huge fan of faux wood blinds because I like how attractive and classic they look. Also, faux wood is necessary if you are going to have blinds in high humidity areas like the kitchen or bathroom. The Aria blinds resist warping, cracking, chipping and fading while holding up to the rigors of everyday life. In fact, the Aria blinds are guaranteed not to warp in temperatures up to 148 degrees.

We got two sets of Aria blinds, one for our kitchen and one for our living room. I took some simple measurements of our windows and our custom blinds were created from that. Installation was an absolute breeze (says the person who stood back and watched). Tolar and my dad put the blinds up in a matter of minutes - seriously. The included instructions were clear, thorough, well written and easy to follow. And the blinds themselves are lightweight, making them easy to handle and hang. Thanks to the simplicity of the design, the instructions are almost unnecessary. Though an extra set of hands is appreciated, one person could easily install these blinds by themselves.
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7 Months Old!

7 Months Old


Suddenly we have a seven month old. Wasn't Knox just born last month? Where has my little newborn gone?!?! Even though I'm sad my baby is getting so big, I am loving this stage of life with Knox. He is so much fun right now. His mind is taking in so much and I love watching him change, grow and develop every single day.

Stats: We won't get the "official" measurements from the doctor until 9 months, so we have to settle with our measurements at home. I measured him at 27 inches and 18 pounds.

Development: Be on the lookout for an official crawler any day now!!! Knox often gets on his hands and knees and rocks; I can tell he wants to take off so badly. When he gets on his hands and knees he will launch himself forward in kind of a belly flop motion, get back up on his hands and knees and do it again. When something he wants is out of his reach, he tries so hard to reach it. His belly flop motion gets him to where he intends to go for now.  Knox has mastered sitting up! He loves to sit up and play with his toys. If he falls back, he isn't able to set himself back up so he will just flip onto his belly and roll around. This boy is always on the move. He also mastered the jumperoo in the past month and a half. The jumperoo is a new favorite thing and we are all thrilled. It is awesome to watch him light up with joy when jumping! I also love the jumperoo because he is contained for at least 30 minutes. Up to this point we have not dealt with any separation anxiety from him. He is perfectly content having any of our family, my friends and any of the girls in the nursery at church hold him. He's a social baby and loves people already!

Loves: He has developed some new loves recently. Number one is TAGS! Yes, if there is a large tag on anything, Knox will find it and put it in his mouth. He loves the big tag that comes on the boppy or his playmat. It is always funny to see him playing with something, look away and then look back to see he has found the tag. He also loves his feet! His feet end up in his mouth a lot.

Dislikes: The boy still doesn't like to wait on food. If he is hungry, he wants to be fed immediately!

Sleeping: His naps have somewhat improved. I've gotten more consistent naps out of him lately, but every so often he still throws me a curve ball with a 30-40 minute nap. His napping has also improved when he stays at my mom's house. Sleeping through the night is still happening and he has gotten much better about going to sleep. It is very rare that he will cry when we put him down each night, I think that is because his napping has also gotten better. He normally goes to bed between 7 and 7:30 p.m. and will usually wake up between 6:30 and 7 a.m. Occasionally he will wake up around 5 a.m., but he can put himself back to sleep after "talking" to himself for a bit.

Diapers: Knox is still in size 3 Pampers. We might be switching his nighttime diapers as they run a bit smaller, but his daytime diapers fit nicely.

Eating: The boy can eat!!! He loves food and never refuses anything we give him. I can tell that he doesn't really like green beans, but he still eats them. He loves sweet potatoes, oatmeal, pears and carrots. Since he is eating more purees and real food, he doesn't need tons of extra milk. But he still drinks four 8 ounce bottles of breastmilk each day.

Clothing: He consistently wears 6-9 month clothing.

Miscellaneous: Knox is a great traveler and does great in the car. In fact, it is pretty much guaranteed that if we are in the car he will fall asleep. He is still in the infant carrier car seat, but we think we will switch him to a convertible car seat soon.
He's got a terrific laugh and he squeals with delight over lots of things. I love to make him giggle because it makes my heart so happy. We are very lucky that he is a relatively easy baby. He's calm unless he is hungry or tired. I don't know how we got so lucky to have a calm baby, but I'm so thankful.



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The Podcast Post

Favorite Podcasts


I've been a podcast listener for about three and a half years now; I started listening back when Serial first took over the world. Tolar and I discovered Serial when we were driving home on a long car trip and we were hooked from episode one! Since then, I've enjoyed adding podcasts to my life as often as I can.

You can listen for entertainment, for spiritual growth, for business advice, for encouragement and on and on. If there is a topic you are interested in, I'm sure there is a podcast devoted to it. Every Wednesday I am in the car BY MYSELF for two hours (and it is glorious!) and I fill that time with podcasts. I've compiled a list of my all time favorite podcasts below. 

The beautiful thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them just about anywhere! Of course I love to listen to them in the car, but I also enjoy listening while I fold laundry or make dinner. With a podcast, you can work on something while you listen and you don't have to worry about missing something important because you couldn't look up at a particular moment. Turn that idle time into time for YOU and find a podcast that speaks straight to your heart. The opportunities for growth, just by listening to a podcast are endless.

Inspiring
The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey - Quite possibly my favorite podcast. Jamie talks with guests about anything and everything and she does it in such a natural, relaxed way that you feel like you are sitting around a table with your girlfriends. I've felt deeply when listening to the stories shared and laughed quite a lot. Such a feel good, encouraging podcast to listen to. If you want to start anywhere - start here.
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How I Keep A Clean House With Children Around

How to Keep a Clean House with Children Around


I live by two rules in my house:
1.) Everything has its place.
2.) Do a little bit each day.

I'm a neat freak through and through, I cannot relax unless my house is clean. My husband often teases me and says that I like cleaning, but I actually like the end result. Keeping a clean and tidy house is important to me; it keeps me sane and helps me feel like I'm in control of something.

Even though I have two small children, I still like to keep things orderly. Yes, messes and accidents happen and there are some times when I need to just let life happen in our house. But there are plenty of other times when order reigns supreme in our house. Here are my tips on how I keep our house tidy even with my children around.

1.) To repeat myself from the beginning: Everything has its place.
Teach this to the people who live in your house. Shoes go on the shoe rack, book bags get hung up, toys go in the closet, books go on the shelf, papers get filed etc. My daughter knows where everything goes and when I tell her that it is time to clean up, she can easily help put everything back where it belongs in its proper place. By putting things where they belong eliminates the clutter on the kitchen counters and tables in the living room.
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Home Decor Items From Amazon

This post contains affiliate links.
Home Decor Finds From Amazon

As a work from home mom with two littles, my shopping time is often limited! Thank goodness that we live in an age where basically anything you want can be found online and shipped straight to your door. I'm currently in a home decor buying phase as I work to style and decorate our new house. A few weeks ago I shared a photo of my front door on instagram and people went CRAZY over the mats.

Judging by the popularity of my front door purchases, I thought it would be worthwhile to compile a list of things I'm currently scouting for our house. Every single item I'm listing below can be found on Amazon and everything is VERY affordable.


Front Door
In full disclosure, I actually found my front door mats at Hobby Lobby, but I found some really great and affordable options to share with you here.


Rugs
I clearly have a thing for grey. I love using rugs to add extra texture to a room.



Indoor Fake Plants
My thumb is black and most certainly not green, but I still love the look of plants in a house. Fake plants are my jam right now!







Are there any home decor items that you are in need of and would like me to help find? If so, comment below and I will gladly search and perhaps compile another post!
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Taking Time To Slow Down and Rest

Tips to rest and slow down

It's a fast paced world in which we live. Society is constantly telling us that we need to do more, be more, have more, get more. Somehow in recent years, I've allowed my life to get back to the craziness it used to be when we lived in D.C. Throw in a five year old starting Kindergarten, a 6 month old baby, a new house, work commitments to three different businesses and my life gets pretty insane.

Tolar and I recently came to the realization that we are not teaching our children what rest looks like. We are teaching them to fill up every weekend with trips and meetings and standing commitments. We are showing them that life is always go, go, go and we want to change that!

Leading a life that lacks rest and includes chaos means that I often don't notice the small [read: important] things around me. My children on the other hand, they do. 

Often, I'm so focused on completing each task at hand that I realize I'm just going through the motions; trying to finish everything but never really allowing myself to EXPERIENCE it. 
So what do I do about it? How do I remind myself to slow down, get some rest and notice the world around me? First let me tell you that I'm a work in progress! I'm most comfortable when I'm busy and checking something off my to do list. The list I share below are my ideas on how I will allow rest to become the norm for our family.

1.) Schedule REST on your calendar
Early in the summer, we noticed that almost every single weekend in June, July and August were booked with some sort of event or trip. We did not like that, so I scheduled two weekends in our summer calendar where we would not plan anything. We stayed home, cleared our schedule and just allowed the day to happen.
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5 AND 6 Months Update

5 Months Old
6 Months Old

Life is crazy and chaotic in our neck of the woods, so imagine my surprise when I found myself taking photos of my 6 month old baby before I got around to posting a 5 month update. So today's post is a combined update! Let me just say, Knox is definitely a second child. When Kendall was a baby, we never missed each monthly anniversary and always took the pictures on the exact day. With Knox, we are lucky if we take a picture a week after each monthly anniversary. 

Stats: Knox had a 6 month well check and weighed in at 17 pounds, 1 oz. He is also 26.25 inches in length. So he has gained about 2 pounds and 2 inches since his last well check. His head circumference is 17 inches; he's definitely in the right family with that large cranium!

Development: He started rolling over right around 4 months old, but he got REALLY good at rolling at 5 months. I often joke that rolling is his mode of transportation - he can get from one side of the room to the other very quickly. There have been numerous times when he rolls onto his stomach where it looks like he is getting ready to crawl. He can sit up for several seconds, but will quickly fall backwards or to the side. He can really reach up to grab things and we often see him try to stretch his body to get whatever toy might be just out of his reach. He still hasn't popped any teeth, but I'm sure they will come along soon as he gnaws pretty hard on just about anything. Just like his sister (and his mama!), he babbles and talks a lot.

Loves: He loves to eat! In recent weeks Knox has started kicking his legs in excitement whenever he sees his bottle. He will even reach out and pull the bottle to him because he is so excited to eat. He also loves to look at himself in the mirror and always giggles and squeals with delight. He has one of the best giggles ever. His sister can still make him laugh like no one else can - I hope she is always a favorite of his.

Dislikes: Taking naps apparently. His naps are super inconsistent. I might get a few good naps out of him for a couple days, then he will give me 30 minute naps for several days. I just cannot figure out why his napping is so terrible, feel free to send me suggestions!

Sleeping: Even though his napping isn't the best, he is sleeping through the night! After we returned from the beach, we tried some sleep training which did the trick! He goes to bed between 7 and 7:30 p.m. and will sleep until 6:30 or 7 a.m. He has started talking in his sleep around 5 a.m., but he usually stops and goes back to sleep for a bit before he is ready to wake up for the day. On the days he takes good naps, he will go down for the night very easily. However, on the days where his naps were short or nonexistent, I can expect there to be plenty of crying when I place him in his crib. Luckily, he always quiets down and falls asleep. He prefers to sleep on his stomach and he moves around his crib all night long. I find myself taking so many pictures of him while he sleeps because he is always moving.

Diapers: We just moved him up to size 3 diapers. He was in size 2 until just before he turned 6 months old.

Eating: We started giving him pureed food right around 4 months old and he hasn't turned anything down. Like a typical boy, he will eat whatever we give him. He really loves sweet potatoes and pears. When he turned 5 months old, we upped the amount of pureed food he was given because he always seemed to want more. We are just now starting to give him chunkier food; we started with a banana a few days ago. I'm hopeful he will like avocados when I feed him those too! We also have given him a pizza crust and a french fry to chew on when we were out at a restaurant. He REALLY liked the French Fry and kept pulling it back to him whenever I would move my hand away.

Clothing: Because different brands size their clothes  so differently, he is wearing all sorts of sizes. He can still wear some 3-6 month stuff, but also wears 6-9 month clothes too. And there are a few 6 month pieces that are starting to feel snug on him. 

Miscellaneous: At his most recent doctor's appointment, we were told that he is right on track. His weight is in the 50th percentile range and he is developing normally. Knox is a mama's boy which warms my heart. If he is crying, I can cuddle him and calm him down almost instantly. But his Daddy can tickle him and play with him and get him laughing better than me.




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Amazon Fashion Finds Under $35

This post may contain affiliate links.

Do you want to know the hottest new place to score fashion???
Amazon!!!

I'm not kidding, there are so many great clothing and accessory items available on Amazon. I think it will quickly become my new favorite place to fill my closet. Plus, so many clothing pieces are available with Prime 2 day shipping - score!!!!

I have rounded up some of my favorite pieces from Amazon in four categories: dresses, tops, shoes and accessories. Some of these pieces already have a home in my closet and others will be arriving on my doorstep shortly. The best part about the items I've selected is that everything is UNDER $35. Most items are around the $20 mark!!!!

Check everything out below and feel free to let me know if you have any questions. Happy shopping!


Dresses




Tops





Shoes





Accessories



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Tips to Navigate the First Day of Kindergarten

Tips to Navigate the First Day of Kindergarten

The second biggest day after giving birth to my daughter just happened this morning...she started Kindergarten!!!!

This was a day we've been preparing for all summer. My girl, like a lot of other children (and parents!), gets nervous when things are brand new. Often in those times of unfamiliarity she will cling to me and beg me not to leave with tears in her eyes. Oh, how that tugs at a mama's heartstrings - I'm sure many of you other mommies can relate. I was determined to prep her as much as possible this summer to make our goodbye on the first day of school a happy and joyous one!

And I'm thrilled to say it was very joyous indeed! My girl walked over to where her class was seated, gave me and her daddy a big hug and sat down to begin her day. No tears, lots of smiles and even a little encouragement for ME in the car occurred. We are all so happy and I cannot wait to pick her up and hear all about her day.

Several weeks ago, I took to instagram asking my fabulous followers for helpful suggestions on how to make our goodbye on the first day of school easier. I received some tremendous help so I thought I would put together a list for any other mamas out there who might need a little extra help dropping their children off for the first day of school.

Tips to Navigate the First Day of Kindergarten

1.) Talk about school A LOT and focus on the positive aspects.
Luckily, my girl has two years of preschool under her belt and already has a deep love for school. She did know that Kindergarten was going to be a longer day than preschool, but instead of focusing on the actual length we talked about the extra time she would have to play with her new friends. I made a big deal out of the fact that she gets to have lunch with her friends at school. Anything positive and exciting, we talked about it.
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4 Month Update

4 Months Old

These past four months have been so full that they flew by in the blink of an eye. Knox brings so much joy to our lives, it is hard to remember what life was like before him.

Stats: We had Knox's 4 month check up on Monday and he weighed in at 14 pounds, 14 ounces and has grown to 24 inches long. His weight and height are pretty normal, basically in the middle of the pack for other babies his age. However his head circumference is almost off the charts. He fits right into our big headed family.

Development: He continues to smile a lot and has also started laughing, especially at his Daddy. Everything he touches makes its way to his mouth. We thought he was teething, a tooth even appeared in the top of his mouth and then it was gone! We can only assume that his gums swelled and covered it back up. He can now hold onto toys and also reaches out for the toys that hang from his activity mat.

Loves: This boy loves to eat. He doesn't miss a meal and for many days this past month he even took an extra bottle. Knox also loves to ride in the car. If he is fussy, a quick car ride will quiet him down. Laughing is a favorite pastime of his as well; Star Wars sounds will always ensure a laugh. And finally, I love that Knox loves his mama. We have a special bond that I hope never goes away.

Dislikes: Knox is quite a happy baby...until he isn't. There isn't much of an in between. He hates to be hungry and he hates to be sleepy. Those two things will 1000% ensure that a screaming fit will occur.

Sleeping: Knox was pretty much sleeping through the night until we moved. He would sleep from about 7:30 p.m. until 5:45/6 a.m. Then when we moved, we switched him from his Rock n' Play to his crib and things changed a bit. He started waking up around 3 a.m. and his naps almost became non-existent. We are working on things now and doing a bit of sleep training to get him back on track. His sleeping (or sometimes lack there of) is incredibly different from his sister and I've had trouble adjusting to it.

Diapers: Our little guy is still in size 2 Pampers.

Eating: Knox eats anywhere from 32-40 ounces of breastmilk a day. He eats 8 ounces at time, about 4 hours apart. Luckily, my oversupply has kept him well fed.

Clothing: He is solidly in 3-6 months clothing. I've even put him in several 6 months outfits that fit pretty good, but still allow some room to grow. Now that we've moved into our new house and I've unpacked his room, I've found tons of bigger clothes that I forgot we had. I'm glad we are pretty well stocked on clothing for him for awhile.

Miscellaneous: I'm so glad to report that the doctor told us Knox is very strong, has incredible muscle control in his neck and he is totally on track with his development even though he was born four weeks early.



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3 Months Old

3 Months Old

Stats: We don't have actual stats on our fast growing boy as he won't have another check up until 4 months old. But we are thinking he is around 14 pounds, maybe? He has definitely grown and his feet have really gotten big as they don't fit into his sleepers. We can't wait to find out his real stats next month.

Development: These past few weeks have been so fun because Knox has really been able to focus and make tons of eye contact with us. He is SUPER smiley most of the time and his smile makes all bad things a distant memory. He moves his head around alot, checking out his surroundings. And his neck control is impressive; he can hold his head up for a very long length of time. I even started putting him in the Bumbo seat and he can hold his head/body up without slumping.

Loves: Not much has changed, he still LOVES his sister. I adore watching their relationship, they both have so much adoration for each other. He also loves to eat as you can tell from his growing body!

Dislikes: Right now his only dislikes are being hungry and being sleepy. He has had a couple fits of screaming because he was so hungry and was unaware that his milk was right in front of his face.

Sleeping: We started using The Baby Sleep Solution to help him sleep through the night. Right now Knox will go down around 8 p.m. and sleep until 5 a.m. most nights! We are thankful for those nine hours of uninterrupted sleep. He will wake up and eat just a tiny bit and then go right back to sleep which makes me think he will drop that 5 a.m. feeding soon. I'm super hopeful that he will sleep 12 hours straight (just like his sister did) very soon.

Diapers: Still in size 1 Pampers, but once we are done with the opened box, we will switch to size 2. We did start using size 2 overnight diapers.

Eating: Since we started using The Baby Sleep Solution, Knox is primarily bottle fed so we know how much milk he is eating throughout the day. He gets pumped breastmilk and eats every 4 hours. I have quite a LARGE supply of milk and already have almost 2,000 ounces frozen. I had no where near an oversupply with Kendall, it is incredible how different my body is this time.

Clothing: Most of his clothing is size 3-6 months, but there are a couple 3 month outfits that he can wear. It still amazes me how two different brands can be labeled the same size and yet vary in size drastically.

Miscellaneous: This past weekend we traveled to Illinois/Missouri for our niece's graduation, making it Knox's first road trip. On the way there he was a rockstar as we split the drive up over two days. For the return trip, we made the trip all in one day. The first six hours of the ride were perfect and he was so easy going. However, the last three hours were not so fun. I couldn't blame the poor kid, I wouldn't like to be stuck in a car seat all day either. We decided that we won't be traveling over six hours at a time anymore until he is older.



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