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Children/Motherhood

Children/Motherhood
Children/Motherhood

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

2014 - Stick Figure
This was a big transition year for us, having just moved away from DC. So Kendall was the only one who dressed up.
Stick Figure Halloween Costume


2015 - The Flintstones
With a daughter who has bright red hair, you HAVE to dress her up as Pebbles, right? So Tolar and I joined the fun as Wilma and Fred. Mine and Kendall's costumes were made out of blankets and Tolar's was made out of fabric we purchased and pinned together. Also, what a perfect excuse to wear my leopard print booties!
Halloween Flintstones
Halloween Pebbles
Halloween Pebbles costume

2016 - An Owl and her Tootsie Roll Pops
This owl costume I am most proud of because I cut out every single feather you see. It was a labor of love to create this for our daughter. Our Tootsie Roll Pops took us almost all day to create!
Halloween Owl and Tootsie Roll Pops
Owl Costume Halloween
Halloween owl costume
Owl Costume for Halloween

2017 - An Elephant and her Peanuts
Halloween costumes Elephant and Peanuts
Halloween Elephant and Peanuts
Halloween Elephant
Halloween Elephant costume
Halloween costume Elephant


What are you going to be for Halloween this year? To see our costumes from this year, keep your eyes on my instagram stories tomorrow!
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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)

Once I discovered the bottle mix up, I knew I needed to remedy the non-labeled items immediately. So I took to the internet and did some research on the best labels for bottles and other baby items and I'm here to share it with you all: Inchbug!

The Inchbug Orbit labels are my new best friend for many reasons.
1.) They fit the bottles we already use and actually fit all bottles and sippy cups (except Dr. Brown's 4 oz standard bottle).
2.) They are waterproof and dishwasher-safe.
3.) They don't move when on the bottle; once I place the label on the bottle I know it is going to stay nice and snug.
4.) They have so many pretty colors making it easy for me to identify from across the room which bottle belongs to us.
5.) The Orbit labels also transition from baby bottle to sippy cup to travel mug allowing me to get a lot of use out of them through the years.

You can customize the Orbit labels several different ways. The ordering process is quite simple and easy to navigate. Your options include:
-color choice
-a fun icon to jazz up the label (or no icon at all)
-2 lines of text (which can include your child's name and your phone number)
-3 choices of font

Inchbug Orbit Labels for Baby Bottles
Inchbug Orbit Labels

If you have more than one child that requires Orbit labels, you will be able to easily customize the labels for each child and you won't have to worry about anything getting mixed up. The Orbit labels would have helped in my above situation but now that we have them I am confident that there will be no mistaking which bottle belongs to Knox.

In addition to the fabulous Orbit labels, I also grabbed a Bag Tag for our diaper bag. Have no fear, this tag is definitely not going to get crumpled or bent. It is made from very durable plastic that is scratch-resistant; certainly built to last. I actually had to giggle because the website features an icon of a big, muscular arm with the words "Super Durable" and that description is 100% true. The quality of the bag tag is even better than I imagined it would be. That is one thing I love about Inchbug: they send you quality products that are going to last you for years.
Inchbug Diaper Bag Tag

You can also customize the Bag Tags. Your options include:
-selecting a style/design (they have allergy alert styles available which is very helpful!)
-choosing customized text on just one side or both sides
-lines of text (4 lines on one side, 1 line on the other side)

I chose to have customized text on both sides of the Bag Tag so there would never be any question about to whom the diaper bag belongs. The fun colors of the Bag Tags make it easy to spot which bag is yours and the tags have full color on both sides.

Thanks to the genius people at Inchbug our items are now properly labeled. I don't want a story like mine to happen to you, so do yourself (and your friends!) a favor and grab you some of the Orbit Labels and Bag Tags now. It will help to put your mind at ease if you have to leave your baby during a feeding time. One of my goals with this blog is to share products that are helpful and make life easier for us as moms. Well, consider your life that much easier with these labels that are made to last (and look pretty at the same time!).

Inchbug Labels for Bottles
Inchbug Labels for Baby
Inchbug Bag Tag

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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.

IncrediBundles Wipe Subscription


As the purchaser, you select a subscription length (3, 6, 9 or 12 months). And then this is where it gets really good: the recipient gets to select which size and brand of diaper they want delivered straight to their door each month. I have learned that parents often become loyal to a specific brand, but it sometimes takes testing out different brands to find the right fit. With the IncrediBundles diaper subscription, the recipient can try out different brands each month or if they know their preferred brand they can select that. And you don't have to worry about buying them a diaper brand they don't like since they make the selections themselves.

Another fab feature to the subscription is that a monthly subscription doesn't mean you have to order consecutive months. Think of months more as installments. The recipient doesn't need to place an order request every month unless they need it. They can order whenever they need more diapers and wipes (this includes skipping months or ordering more than once in the same month).

When you purchase the subscription, the recipient will receive an Announcement package so they know that a subscription has been purchased. IncrediBundles can either mail the Announcement package direct to the recipient or send it to you so you can take it to a baby shower. The Announcement package is adorable and comes with the softest teddy bear ever - Knox sure likes the teddy bear he received! In addition to the precious teddy bear all of the information the recipient needs to redeem their diapers or wipes subscription is included in the package.

IncrediBundles Announcement Package

I'll continue my love letter to IncrediBundles by telling you that the ordering process is quite easy. The website tells you exactly what to do and all the recipient has to do is follow their simple instructions. Selecting the brand and size of diapers is a breeze as well thanks to the easy drop down menus.
IncrediBundles Order


I cannot wait until someone I know has a baby shower because I will most certainly be gifting this service to them. And I am thrilled to tell all of you that IncrediBundles is generously going to give one of YOU a 3 month diaper subscription!!!! All you have to do is head over to my instagram account, find the IncrediBundles picture and get entered! Don't delay - this is such an incredible prize!

If you have any questions about the service or entering the giveaway, feel free to let me know. I'm so excited for one of you to win this!!!!

Giveaway details:
-Enter by heading to my instagram account
-Winner will receive a 3-month diaper subscription
-Giveaway lasts 5 days
-Only open to US residents
-Entrants who have previously won a giveaway from IncrediBundles cannot win twice within a 12 month period.


IncrediBundles Gift
IncrediBundles Teddy bear
IncrediBundles Box





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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? 


As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I immediately knew that they were not my words. God had placed those words in my mouth and on my heart to remind me that I was NOT alone - HE was with me.

The more days and months that pass and the more I find myself deep into parenting, I realize that I am never alone. God is always right there with me and He often uses my words to speak directly to me. 

There are two things that Tolar and I will say to our daughter pretty regularly. I will tell her "remember who you are." I always want to say so much more; I want to tell her how kind and sweet and caring and helpful and amazing and awesome and talented she is. But I don't always have time, so I've shortened it to "remember who you are." This is usually the last thing I say to her as she gets out of the car for school. Tolar will tell her "to be a bit better today than you were yesterday." Through his words, he is telling her that we all fall short daily, no one but Jesus is perfect, but we are given this incredible gift of grace where we can learn from our mistakes and do better the next day (or the next moment).

Let me paint a picture for you:
It is 7:05 a.m. - you overslept - and you need to leave the house at 7:45 a.m. to take your kindergartener to school. Your schedule before you is cram packed with so many to-dos that you have almost lost count of everything on your list. Everyone needs to be fed, dressed and put together in a presentable fashion. You are one of those people who likes order and does not respond well to chaos and rushing around. And suddenly your kindergartener decides that she wants to pick out her own clothes and is taking forever. So what do you do? You yell at her and rush her around and completely forget the real you.

And suddenly God whispers "remember who you are." Do you hear it?

Maybe not. But I guarantee you will hear it when you get to school and say those words to your child as she heads into school.
Ouch.

Mamas, I think we have all been there. In a moment of chaos, we find ourselves acting like someone we don't even recognize. We allow the stress to overtake us and we forget who we really are. But here is the incredible thing. We have an opportunity to apologize to our children. To show them that we as moms are human too and that we need forgiveness and grace everyday. To show them that we respect them enough to admit when we are wrong. And if your child is anything like mine, your child may seem like Jesus to you in human flesh. Yes, those are huge shoes to fill, but it's true. My daughter sees me fail all the time and yet she listens to and accepts my apologies and she loves me all the same. She tells her friends that I'm nice, she tells me I'm the best mommy all the the time and she she showers me with love even when I don't deserve it.

So friends, know that I am with you. When you find yourself in those moments of chaos or stress...stop for a second. Remember who you are. Take a moment to pray. Allow God to remind you who you are and allow your child the opportunity to see you crushing satan in his tracks. One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 66:13: "As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you." God didn't use any other noun to describe the comfort that He can give us. He says that He comforts us the same way a mother comforts her children. Remember that! YOU were picked to be the mom for a reason. YOU can do this. You can do the hard things and conquer stress every single day. You have the power to comfort your children in an incredible way. Remember that.


Give yourself some grace, cut yourself some slack and be a bit better today than you were yesterday.
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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.

Comfortex Aria Advanced Faux Wood Blinds

The Whitewash color has a greyish tint to it and we absolutely love it. I know sometimes the colors on websites look different than in real life, but I have to say the color of our blinds is almost identical to what you see online. I like having something different than just a basic white as it gives each room a little extra dimension.

Comfortex Aria Faux Wood Blinds

We are very pleased with the blinds. The quality is amazing, I would even use the phrase top notch. They raise, lower, open and close with ease. As Tolar says "the gear mechanisms are fluid." The blinds are so durable; we never fear that we might break them or pull the cord out whenever we raise them. With everything being so fluid, when you open and close them you can make minor adjustments and don't have to yank on the cord to get the blinds to move. They also keep out quite a bit of light. We lived in our house for a couple months without window coverings and the day we installed them it made such a difference.

One of my favorite features is how the cords are contained. I don't have to worry about excess cords hanging out for my little ones to grab and all cords are high enough and out of their reach. Scroll to the bottom of this post and I'll share Comfortex's child safety tips with you. You can never be too careful where your children are concerned. So please be aware when you are installing your window coverings to install them properly. I would even recommend if you are looking for window coverings for your children's rooms that you look at installing the cellular shades from Comfortex (they come in over 800 colors!).

Be sure to check out Comfortex if you are looking for new window treatments, I cannot recommend them enough!

Comfortex Aria Faux Wood Blinds hanging
Comfortex Aria Faux Wood Blinds in Living Room
Comfortex Aria Advanced Faux Wood Blinds Living Room
Comfortex Aria Advanced Faux Wood Blinds Kitchen
Comfortex Aria Faux Wood Blinds in Kitchen
Comfortex Aria Faux Wood Blinds
Comfortex Aria Faux Wood Blinds Living Room

Child Safety Tips
1. Be sure all window treatments are properly installed and compliant with current safety standards.
2. Always keep windows closed and locked when small children are in the room.
3. Do not place cribs or other furniture near windows.
4. Never allow anything to dangle in a crib or bed.
5. Never allow long window covering pull cords to “puddle” on the floor next to the window.
6. Choose the cordless shades option whenever possible.
7. Hang stylish crib comforters or other bedding items on the wall, instead of placing them in the crib. Fluffy comforters or pillows, while adorable, have the potential to smother or suffocate a baby.
8. A spring-loaded lid-support device for toy chests is useful to prevent the lid from falling on a child’s neck or from trapping a child playing inside the chest
9. Changing tables should always have safety straps.
10. All electrical outlets should be covered – in every room, not just the rooms you think children are most likely to be in.
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