Jun 30, 2016
Last weekend we went to the cutest spot for a bbq that I have ever been to. I mean, when you think of bbq's you don't necessarily think of big over-sized chairs, fireplaces, and super chic chandeliers, right? Well, that is my new bbq standard. We went over to a friends place, and took over their neighborhoods club house. It was perfect for the kids to play, the adults to do adult like things. And when everyone was near heat stroke, the pool saved the day.
This weekend is proving to be somewhat of a repeat, except at my house, which is not as chic...womp womp. But, one of my very good friends will be in Atlanta, and is
brave kind enough to come visit us with her husband and two kiddos. I am beyond excited. I haven't seen her in four years which means she also hasn't seen me with a family that has almost doubled in size. I am also excited that yesterday marked the end of whole30. Well, basically just the strict whole30 go around. Now we will go back to our norm which is whole30 meals during the week and a cheat day on the weekend. Buuuuut, I am thinking that with the holiday weekend, aaaand our friends coming in town we owe it to them to binge on the unhealthy stuff. Plus, I made a blueberry pie last night from with some of the blueberries we pick at the farm. Many of you asked for the recipe on snapchat, so I will try and get that up soon.
I also binged on Game of Thrones this week. Please tell me you watched the season six finale already, because I have watched it twice now. That Jon Snow, you just can never get enough! But after I watched it and all of its secret revealing glory I thought, I am going to watch season one again. So I did. I effing love that show. Love it! Did I mention Jon Snow? Because it's Jon freaking Snow.
So what are your big plans for the Fourth? Do tell!
Jun 29, 2016
A couple weekends ago we took the kids to the National Infantry Museum. When we lived in Columbus before, this was a frequent stop for us because, air conditioning and wide open spaces. Ace was almost two at the time and Pierce was just a wee little babe. They had no idea why we were there or what anything was. They went because we went. But this museum is unlike any other I have ever been to. For starters the building is absolutely gorgeous, and that is before you even step in the doors. The last time we went they were working on a lot of the exhibits, so we were anxious to see if they were open. Fort Benning being the home of the Infantry make this place that much more special. Families, soldiers, loved ones, all come here to pay their respects, gain knowledge, walk through history, and just feel humble and proud.
I don't really talk about military stuff on this blog because as much as the Army may control our lives at times, it is not my life. That does not make me any less supportive of what Chris does, or any less proud. I simply am not knowledgeable about a lot of topics that other military wives are because I am truly not involved a lot. I am a behind the scenes kind of gal.
But when you walk into a place like this museum you cannot help but be overwhelmed with emotion. From the moment you approach the first exhibit with the music and the voices, you get goosebumps.
There is footage being played on various things that captures your full attention. Even my very unruly children were mesmerized at the things going on around them. Saying things like "dad, that's an army guy just like you". Or "hey dad, you have that uniform". My kids are obviously too young to grasp the concept of what Chris does, where he has deployed to, or what he goes off for training for. But somehow in this museum they were a little quieter, walked a little slower, would randomly grab and hold on to Chris' hand.
For me this place is kind of like a walk down memory lane. I met Chris a few months after he graduated basic training. I have been there for the last eleven years as he went from one school to the next, which the museum takes you through each and every one of those phases. They explain every step that an infantry solider goes through. Which for the kids was so cool. They would ask "dad! did you have to do that too?". It was so cute.
The museum is divided into rooms that take you through different eras of which the infantry were involved. The exhibits are so interactive, and amazing for kids. I wouldn't say that if my kids were even the slightest bit disrespectful. But, they loved looking at everything, touching the screens, pressing the buttons, and listening to all the people talking. I mean....they did move a little quick through things, but we spent a solid two hours here and they were a-okay!
It is a little weird to see a large exhibit dedicated to a war that your husband deployed to. Reading the same headlines that you saw splashed across your TV screen at the time. Hearing soldiers voices as they talk about their time deployed, which echoed some of the same stories you heard when your husband and his friends came home.
After we made it through the museum we wanted to go outside and walk the path called Heritage Walk that is made up of pavers dedicated to soldiers. This leads you to the Vietnam Memorial. As we were walking there was a woman standing there with a picture frame and a rose in her hand. We had the kids walk the other direction in order to give her some privacy. As we walked back we passed the spot where she was standing, and there was a wedding picture and a rose laying on the ground with a note that said "Happy 50 year Anniversary". The tears could not be held back.
This is truly such an amazing place whether you have any connection to the military or not. If you are ever near the Columbus, GA area I highly recommend that you stop at this museum. Make a donation, have lunch at the restaurant, and take it all in.
Jun 28, 2016
Can you believe we are about to welcome in July? I mean...half a year gone already? How! But the Fourth of July happens to be one of my favorite holidays. So much so that I find myself dressing in red, white, and blue throughout the year. I am definitely not one that has a plethora of graphic tees that scream U-S-A. I'm sorry. I am no less patriotic, I just happen to stick to more classic pieces. Ones that I know I will wear year around.
So if you happen to be like me and just want to throw together an outfit with the items already in your closet, I pulled some passed outfits from the blog archives (ha...sounds so official) for inspiration.
You can never go wrong with the classic approach, pulling out your trusty denim jacket. If you have ever been afraid to try a denim on denim look...use the fourth as your trial period. I can guarantee you will love it!
Also an easy idea, with pieces you probably have on hand, or can borrow from your husband. A classic button down, jeans, red shoes, and a chambray shirt for good measure. This doesn't scream, I'm only here for the fireworks, but more like, I'll have a glass of red wine with my hot dog....thanks.
Now this is your walking Gap ad for the fourth. Keeping things classy in my favorite pairing, all white, with a simple pop of red on the lips, and a denim vest. The high tops to add in the 'Merica!
This will probably be what I go with, all the right colors, but in a fun way. Not too matchy matchy, but the thought was there anyway. And I mean, the red lip is a given.
Or maybe this is more my speed. You know I love my overalls, and what better time to pull them out than a backyard bbq? They have plenty of room for second and thirds. And you can dress them up or down depending on how frisky you're feeling.
So what are you going with?
Shop similar items below:
Jun 27, 2016
top: zara (similar here and here) // jeans // shoes: luxury rebel (old, love these and these kate spade on sale!)
bag: louis vuitton
Noticeably my favorite outfit combo....white on white. I could careless how impractical it might be for a mom of four to be running around in crisp white clothing that just screams, COME WIPE YOUR FACE ON ME! Especially in the summer I just gravitate towards simple. And there is nothing more simple than dressing in all one color.
And truly the fear of walking around with a stain somewhere on my person is no more embarrassing than my normal personality. On this particular day we went to the Space Science Center in Downtown Columbus. We have never been there before, and the last time we lived here we thought Ace would have been to young to enjoy it. We were right, seeing as how Odette was entertained for all of five minutes. But so were the rest of the kids. The place is very very small. With one or two attractions that could hold my children's gnat like attention spans. The second they rode on the little shuttle simulator it was all over. The "this is so boring" "can we leave now" "I'm hungry" moans could be heard. But no more annoying than everyone calling Odette a boy. For the record she was dressed in a pink and white chambray romper with a pink pony tail. But this one lady just couldn't stop calling her "fella". It was a little ridiculous. So every time she would say to her kids "now watch out for the little fella", I would blurt out randomly, girl. Then she asked me...."oh is that a girl?" yes, yes it is. She looked surprised and then said again "now let the little guy play too".
So you see, I don't need a toddlers chocolate hands wiped on me to become a spectacle. I do that all on my own.
And then karma really got me when I missed the curb going to the car and did by best drop it like its hot dance move to recover.
Think I pulled something my back too.
Since the trip at this point was very close to winding down, we decided to camp one last time. If you would have talked to me three years ago, the thought of camping would have been laughable. I mean real camping, not pulling up with your RV that has running water and a bathroom, because that is what I thought camping was growing up. That's how we did it. My dad's fancy shmancy RV with a pull out hammock and satellite TV, I mean real roughing it there. The only time I had ever been in a tent was when we thought it would be fun to camp in the backyard as kids. But, Alaska changed us for the better. It awakened a sense of adventure we never knew we had. Now, camping is just second nature. The kids are pros, grabbing their sleeping bags, setting up their chairs, finding a bathroom tree and putting a glow stick by it so they always know where to go at all times. So we wanted to do it one last time, in Sequoia National Park.
If you follow me on snapchat, then you have seen how we do this. We are not community campers! We like to find the places that don't have the convenience of a toilet, or trash cans. The places that people don't want to go. Campgrounds that aren't even on a map of the park. You just have to drive and hope you find one. And we did. A back woods campground with no other people, and a road that just about took the bottom half of my car off....but it was a good one. We really like to let our hair and parenting standards down while camping.
The kids immediately jumped out and started securing the perimeter from mountain lions. It was so funny to see them take the whole wildlife situation so seriously. They are well versed in bear safety, but were terrified of the thought of a mountain lion. So they grabbed some sticks and began to hunt them down. Then it was dinner time.
When we woke up the next morning it was 28 degrees outside! 28!!! I could not believe it. We put on every layer we had in order to get out of the tent. We were at about 5800 feet in elevation, so the temps dropped drastically over night. But, I guess we started our camping in Alaska the way we finished it.....freezing.
By the time we had breakfast and I finished using my coffee cup as a hand warmer, the temps were rising to the point where Pierce stripped down to his underwear. No pictures for that....
But we turned up the music in the car and just hung out, completely forgetting that we had to get back on the road. We were dirtier than we have ever been, covered in sand and dust that the kids were kicking up from every running pass. And Caspian went from his glorious shade of white, to completely black by the time we were ready to load up.
We all agreed that it was the best camping trip yet. Such a great way to end our time in California.
So we packed up the car and set the GPS for Utah.
Jun 26, 2016
Another year passes in this house and you know what that means....another child is ready for potty training. This being my third child to potty train, I have a mental list of things I wanted to do differently. I learned my lesson on trying to potty train Ace too early, so I held out with Pierce for as long as possible, and once again that magical age of three proved to be the winner. So with Avalon I just kept telling myself that three will be the age. To be honest I don't mind the whole diaper thing. Maybe it is that I am just conditioned to change a bunch of diapers all the time, that that is my comfort zone. But, Avalon started showing all the what to expect when you're expecting signs before we moved from Alaska. It was hard to keep kicking the potty training can down the road, but the last thing I was going to do was have a newly potty trained child on a road trip for 26 days. So we pressed on......in diapers.
Until we moved into our new house and then that became priority numero uno! I figured it would be a great way to get Avalon excited about her new room and her bathroom that she has all to herself. So we started with the logical first step, Pull-Ups®. Avalon already knew the drill from Pierce, so she was excited to go to the store to pick out "girl ups" as she likes to call them. Gotta draw that fine line between her and her brothers. She was even more excited to see the new Pull-Ups® Learning Designs® Disney Doc McStuffins packages. Since she just got off a road trip of binge watching Disney characters on her iPad, this was a welcomed surprise. So we picked up a pack!
The other thing that Avalon really wanted was a "princess" stool. Ace and Pierce both got stools to go along with their potty training package, to reach the sink to wash their hands, and they are very reluctant to share those. Not that Avalon wants theirs at all, she wanted a pink shiny one. And well, since I couldn't find a pink shiny one to her liking, we decided to make one.
Which turned out to be way easier than I thought (you know me and my limited amount of craftiness). Not to mention super affordable, and just what the princess ordered.
So, we stopped at the craft store and picked up a wooden stool, some chalkboard spray paint, glitter spray, and a glossy sealant. I love using chalkboard paint on anything and everything, because there is no priming needed! #lazycrafter4life
So we did two coats of bubblegum pink chalkboard paint. And Avalon was in love! We ended up doing this whole thing in the evening after the heat of the day started to die down, and it went by quick! We did pass the time with some bbq and trampoline activities, but quick nonetheless.
Then we did two coats of gold glitter spray on the top. Avalon was very particular about this step, as she wanted to only "stand on the glitter". True princess antics here.
After that was dry I sprayed it with a glossy finish sealant, so the glitter would not be all over her feet....and then all over the house.
We both loved the way it turned out! It is simple, yet exactly what she wanted. And it fits perfectly at her little sink. Chris was even impressed with my low maintenance DIY. So now we march on with our potty trainee. She has proven to be the easiest and fastest one yet. Which everyone says that girls train faster than boys, but who is everyone anyway? So I was fully prepared for the headache that the boys gave me. But Avalon was ready! So, so ready. She loves to rip off her Pull-Ups® first thing in the morning (thank you for those easy tear sides) and put her big girl underwear on. She has no problem telling you that she has to go potty every six minutes. But the wetness indicator on the Pull-Ups® is a huge plus! I can sympathize with her seeing as how I'm sure my bladder was the same size when I was making frequent trips to the bathroom nine months pregnant. So three weeks in, and things are going swimmingly.....
Now the count is 2 1/2 kids down....one more to go!
Be sure to check out more about Pull-Ups® Learning Designs® available at Walmart. There is also a little character personality chart to help determine your potty trainees opinions on the subject. It is super cute! Avalon is most definitely an owl.
Jun 23, 2016
Has anyone else been referring to summer long before it's official start this week? I definitely have, because triple digit heat just screams summer regardless of what my calendar says. But, we checked that calendar worthy date off earlier this week with a little bbq and playground action. Our weeks and weekends continue to look like one another as Chris is still on vacation. I would like him to never go back to work, please and thank you! He is way too much fun to have around, not too mention Caspian will for sure fall into a deep dark depression when that tragic day comes. I am telling you, the vitamin d has transformed us back to our old selves. I know that sounds bad because we truly love and miss Alaska, but we must have been some moody ass people while living there! Chris and I both keep commenting on how happy one another seems, and how fun and lighthearted life has been. I don't know. Please don't misread this as "oh looky looky our life is so perfect", far from it. But it just seems like we are up and a little less sluggish, and happy about it.
Another thing making us happy is we got a little slice of Alaska back with us, in the form of our friends moving down here! Yay!! Actually a few of our friends from Alaska will be stationed here, and we are so excited to be able to spend more time with them. It is rare that you get to go from one duty station to the next with people you truly enjoy. Because lets be honest there are some that you can't wait to get away from! Such is life right....
But the other day we met up with them and let the kids play in their neighborhood, while we swapped road trip stories! And road trip stories with other parents just cant be beat because you realize how normal you and your children are. And maybe the freak out session you had when your kids were fighting over a toy and then you threw said toy out the window, wasn't as bad as you thought it was as it was confirmed by your friends that they too had a similar moment. Or maybe we just hang out with some really emotionally unstable people like ourselves. Either way it is nice to have familiar faces around these parts. And hopefully we squeeze in some more time together before the craziness of school, and work, and life goes from 0-60!
But cheers to the weekend folks! Do you have any big plans? I want to plant some flowers, which Chris keep laughing at me over because I can't keep flowers alive to save my life. Unless they are from Costco....those things last for-ev-er!
Jun 22, 2016
I'd like to think by now that Chris and I are somewhat well versed in the road trip arena. We have gone on our fair share of road trips in the six years we have added tiny beings to our travel adventures. From Arizona to Georgia, Georgia to Alaska, and back again. With many many vacations, via automobile in between. From infant to toddler. And let me tell you each and every one is a learning experience. This last one however was probably the most challenging because there were four kids, in one car, with limited space available for the Target dollar section. So we tried to make smart purchases as far as the essentials went. This post was probably the most requested while we were traveling, so hopefully it is somewhat helpful.
Here's the break down:
One: Travel Trays. We bought one of these for Ace when we moved to Alaska, and we knew we would be buying more. These work so well for so many things. Activities, eating, child containment, whatever! I love the little pockets so each kid can stash what he or she needs. Here is my only complaint which kind of turns into a non-complaint. They are not a hard tray, so the kids would get a little frustrated when they were building legos or something and they needed a hard surface. But, because they are foam, they are easy to fold up and store when not in use. So for me the pro outweighed the con...not sure if Ace and his leaning lego tower would agree. But I would recommend.
Two: iPad's or some other tablet. Now, I don't want to sit here and say that everyone needs to fork over the money for an iPad for each and everyone of their children. I mean, me and my siblings survived road trips without electronic devices for years. We fought a hell of a lot more than my kids did, some fights resulting in my two front teeth getting knocked out...remember that mom? Remember? Should have had an iPad right? Anyway, obviously the iPad's for each of my children were a life saver. They could each play whatever game, or watch a movie and time would just tick on. We made sure that when we were at the hotels to download different shows or movies so the kids had something new or different to look at. Also, this iPad case is the best! The kids can just carry them around, and they could stand them up as well.
Three: Headphones. The true secret weapon to any traveling event. Going along with all the iPad's in the car were the headphones. Or I for sure would have jumped into oncoming traffic if I had to listen to four different animated something or others. Other than the fact that the kids would then yell "MAAAAAMMM" so much louder with these things on, I was so happy we got them! And thank you to all my snapchat mamas who recommended this brand.
Four: Backpacks. Like I mentioned in this post, packing was quite the task. But if there is one thing I know about my children, it is that they are hoarders. So if you give them a backpack, they will give you the gift of self entertainment. Each of the older kids got a new "hiking" backpack, which was really just used for their uber special toys or books that they wanted to bring in the car. They each took great pride in packing them, and then carrying them every where. It was also a great way to keep the mess at bay. Stick it all in the backpack!
Five and Six: I could sing the praises of Melisa and Doug toys for years upon years. They are always my go-to company for all childhood entertainment. So I was so happy when I found these little travel activities. Ace loved the tape one, and it kept him occupied for so long! Pierce and Avalon had fun with the felt sticker ones. Mainly it kept them quiet because they had to work hard at getting those stickers off. And then I had to work hard at getting them off the windows. But whatever....that's the price you pay to stay sober right?
Seven: This latch board was for Odette. Honestly, I think the road trip was the worst for her because she was rear facing and kind of out of all the action. She would maybe watch a show for ten minutes, and then it was on to the next. This latch board was something that she really enjoyed and it kept her happy. Avalon also had fun with it when Odette would fall asleep. I have seen some tutorials for DIY latch boards, and Alex recently did one that I love! I went the lazy route and ordered it online, but I know you mamas are far more creative than I.
Eight: Neck Pillows. This is one of those learning experience things. After so many road trips we finally bought four of these. We had infant ones, but we are clearly not with it in the parenting department to put two and two together and just get four for our growing offspring's cranial support. I mean how many times have you been driving with your children and they fall asleep and you hit a bump or have to brake fast, their heads go rockin' and rollin' and BAM! No more siesta siesta. So these were lifesavers. I would jump in the back when they fell asleep, gracefully place their angel like heads into the neck stabilizer support system....and off to dreamland they went.
Nine: Water bottles. We have been using these water bottles since Ace could drink out of them. Each of the kids has one or two and we take them everywhere. They were essential for us. I feel like all my kids do is ask for food and more water. So keeping these full was my daily mission. They don't leak, and they fit in their car seat cup holders, so I mean, no brainer.
A few honorable mentions here.
-As we deemed it, a "treasure box". This is something we do for every long road trip. I grab an old box and hit up the dollar store or the Target dollar spot, and I fill that thing to max capacity! Everything from lollipops to slinky's to socks to books and crayons....whatever you can fit in there. Then when the kids are just at their breaking points but we have 73 more miles to go, you let them pick out a surprise. Or when you get to a rest stop and everyone stretches their legs and the kids go on strike to get back in the car.....treasure box! Let them pick something out once they are nice and strapped in, and you can buy yourself a few minutes. Trust me, it works.
-Also for Odette her options of activities were a little limited, such is life for a 14 month old. But while on a road trip, survival is the name of the game, so we went to extremes. So far as letting her completely empty a box of tissues, or a thing of wipes. You know what I am talking about. How many times have you left the room only to come back and 150 wipes are on the floor? Kids love it. So we let her do it. Sure it was an added chore to pick up, but nothing breaks my heart more than hearing her sit back there and cry. So eliminating that was my goal. Thank you Kleenex, I know you are better than that.
And I think that is it. Other than ample snacks and stops, these were the things that kept the crazy train on track.
clutch: louis vuitton // rings: rocksbox c/o
This week is just flying by! Is it for you? I don't know what it is, chauffeuring the kids around from reading camp, to swim lessons that started this week, and throw potty training in for good measure, but the hours are lost on me. Yesterday I was able to
run like hell sneak away from the insanity of toddler meltdowns and regain my thoughts in the form of a debit card swipe or two. Nothing like a little silent retail therapy to heal those mental wounds.
Avalon is proving to be the fastest potty trainer in my very limited experience. But she is also the most emotional! It is all a huge production every time she has to go to the bathroom, which is about every 6.5 minutes. Maybe that is another post for another day, and I should just be grateful that she has caught on fast and wants to do it. So, thank you Avalon for your willingness to use the potty.
The real test of potty training is always leaving the house right? Well for Father's Day the kids wanted to go out to eat. They think that is the ultimate celebration....so we did. Chris and I are still doing whole30 so it was basically a salad hold the dressing, and some roasted veggies. But whatever it was nice to go out. Sort of, as I was taking Avalon to the bathroom every time she took a sip of water. HA! But, truly I will just take any excuse to wear a great jumpsuit and pull out some of my highest heels. Occasions like these can be few and far between! Even though I would wear this jumpsuit everyday of my life because the material is so soft, and lightweight. The little cutout details give it a little boost in the sexy but still classy category. Which is what my mom style is all about. I like when I find pieces that I would have gravitated towards even before I had kids, because really my style is very much the same. Little changes here and there, and mostly in the footwear department. You know, stashing flats in my over-sized bag to change into before the park. But other than that I don't think my style has changed just because I'm a mom, why should it? Black jumpsuits and sky high heels for life baby!
Even if I trip and almost take out Ace on my way down.
Thank you to Stay Fierce Boutique for partnering on this post.