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Merry Christmas To Me: My Recent Beauty Haul

Monday, December 28, 2015

I got a chance to go out Christmas shopping, like, the day before Christmas Eve. While I was out, I picked up a few things for myself (sorry Paul), and I am so happy with my purchases, so I thought I would share them.

I mean, I didn't SET OUT to buy these things, but they just... fell into my cart. I don't know. It was weird.

Stop looking at me like that.

M·A·C 'Prep + Prime' Fix+ Finishing Mist • M·A·C • $22
I bought this because Jaclyn Hill loves it, I'm just gonna put that out there. I also love Urban Decay's Chill All Night setting spray, but I have used this a couple times now as a refresher before I put on my makeup, and I like it. It hasn't changed my life, yet... but I like it.

Boots No7 Youthful Eye Serum - .5 fl oz • Boots • $23.99 
I'm gonna sound SO "stay at home mom" right now, but I saw this on Dr. Phil, and the dermatologist that was on the show talking about this serum was pretty pumped about it, so I got pumped, too. I've only been using it since the 23rd, but I took before pics... if I notice a different, you'll hear about it.
I love this brand, and I will pretty much buy anything that says Rose Gold. I used this on Christmas Eve, and I loved how dewy it made my skin. If you're not a fan of "the dew" (like, if you carry mattifying papers in your purse to get rid of the first sign of shine), you might not appreciate this product like I do.

M·A·C Lipstick • M·A·C • $17 (in the shade Velvet Teddy)
I have been trying to find a dupe for Kylie Jenner's stupid lip kit (I say stupid because any color would look amazing on lips that have been pumped full of plumper), and Jessica said this was a great option for Dolce or Candy, one of the two (they look pretty similar to me, but whatever, Kylie). And it's true! It's the perfect matte nude with a slight mauve undertone. I've worn it a few times now, and I'm a fan. Ironically, I'm lining my lips with MAC's "Buerre" liner, which is what I first found almost two years ago when I began searching for Kylie's colors. She has issues, but that girl also has some amazing matte nude lip colors. Bravo to her make-up artist, for real. I'm concerned that I've been Google-stalking Kylie's lip colors since she was, what, sixteen years old? I need a life.

Drybar 'Mai Tai Spritzer' Sea Salt Spray • $25
I sprayed this in Sephora whilst Christmas shopping, and I had to have it. It gave my freshly-washed hair the perfect beachy texture without feeling too greasy, and it smells amazing. So, yeah. This is a staple now. I love that I can add it to wet hair for fuss-free waves, or I can add it to already styled hair to mess it up a bit. Ain't nobody got time for perfectly curled hair anymore, it's 2016 people!

What are your favorite recent beauty purchases? I am so obsessed with trying new products. Next up: a fantastic beauty oil!

Grown Up Things (Featuring Taylor Swift)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

So, I didn't originally plan to include the Taylor Swift GIFS with this blog, but once I found one I wanted to use, I couldn't resist illustrating each point with my girl. I seriously couldn't stop.

So, Taylor and I now present to you: some ways I know I'm officially growing up.

1. I make macaroni and cheese how I wanna.
I remember following the directions on the box STEP BY STEP as a kid - each time, reading it carefully like it was the first time. Measuring milk and butter precisely, having to check the box with each ingredient to make sure I was reading it right. "Ok, a quarter cup of milk, right?" Well, I made macaroni and cheese last night for Porter, and I realized that I don't even know what the directions say anymore - I just know the suggested amount of milk makes it too dang runny, and I like it better with sour cream instead instead - it makes it thicker and more "homemade" tasting. Sometimes I mix in garlic salt, sometimes I add a can of tuna, last night I got a little crazy and stirred in some leftover shredded bbq chicken. I DO WHAT I WANT. I'm an adult.

2. I do shameful things, like eating in the parking lot.
The other day, I ran out to get Christmas shopping done and left the boys with Grammy and Opa. It was late, I hadn't eaten, and there is a Panera in the mall parking lot. So, I drove through and got a quinoa and lentil bowl and a mango smoothie, and I ate every last bit in the parking lot. Not because I needed alone time, or because I didn't want to share my food, but because I cannot physically eat and drive anymore. I would hurt someone. It's a hazard, and I know that now. So, I listened to Christmas music and savored every last bit in the parking lot before I went home. Not sorry. Just over here adulting.

3. Normal music offends me.
I don't need to add much to that. If they play it on MTV, I'm seriously horrified. I used to not care about lyrics, but as an adult, I find myself listening to every word and saying things like: "omg, did he really just say that?" This summer, coworkers asked me if I'd ever paid attention to the words to Usher's song "I Don't Mind". I hadn't heard it entirely, just the catchy "gotta make that monaymonaymonay..." to which I was like "yassss, Usher! We do gotta make that money!"*open laptop to begin my work as a report writer for a content management company*. So, Coworkers played it for me - and I almost passed out. 'scuse me?

4. My favorite plans are cancelled ones.
I love you all. I really do. But 80% of the time, if you have to back out or re-schedule, I'm not offended at all. That means I probably don't have to put on pants, or attempt to mask the dark circles under my eyes. But if you back out on a dinner date? I might defriend you for life. No one messes with my happy hours.

5. I wish someone would put me down for a nap.
As I lay my boys down each day, sometimes I fight jealousy. I would die for someone to tuck me in, kiss me on the forehead, and get upset with me if I got up. Maybe just once? It would be a dream.

Holiday Tradition | Annual Photo Ornaments

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Paul and I started a fun tradition when we first got married. It's not something that's going to blow you out of the water. It's not uber creative, it's not super original... in fact, it's not original at all. I'm pretty sure a lot of people do this.

We love getting an annual picture frame ornament each year. It's so much fun to watch these evolve as we grow up and add to our family. Our first two are just us as a young married couple. Then the third year was an ultrasound photo, because Porter was due any day. The following year was his one year old self seated at his big gift for the year - the baby piano. Then, there was the three of us in a photobooth (pregnant-Simon belly not pictured). This year, we've added Simon to the mix - and tonight, I'm searching for our 2015 frame. And then I have to figure out which photo to put in there - probably one of the ones I put on our holiday cards (which we totally handed out this year, HELLO).

I've gotten ours from Anthropology, Target, and Restoration Hardware in the past, but I'm struggling with finding something different this year... I do love this sled ornament on Amazon, and since the year isn't on it, I would just have to find a 2015 charm, which shouldn't be difficult. This is just the right amount of fun and festive.

 Do you have any suggestions for photo ornaments that are not too cheesy, not too cheap? 

Here are a few I've found that I love - a few of which would need a 2015 charm added to them, too:

Weekend Rewind - Porter's Birthday, New Make-Up, and Star Wars!

Monday, December 21, 2015

We had such a fun weekend - it was busy, as usual, but we also had some great family time as Scrooge The Musical came to a close at our church. Here are some highlights:
  • Porter celebrated his 3rd birthday yesterday (Sunday, December 20th). I cannot believe we have a 3 year old. We had a fun party for him last Wednesday - a Paw Patrol pizza party at his favorite restaurant by the train tracks - and he was seriously ELATED with the fact that his entire family and all his friends were in one room together. We sang happy birthday to him, and right at the end, a train flew by- and I thought he might cry from excitement. It was pretty epic. He thought we planned it, and it was amazing. I didn't correct him, because his little eyes were so bright, it filled my heart in ways I didn't know possible.
  • Porter got some amazing gifts, but I am seriously in love with his Paw Patrol Aquadoodle that his friends Carter and Charlie ;) got him. I've heard of it before, but actually playing with it? A mother's dream. No mess, no fuss. Can all toys be like that, please? (This isn't the exact one he got, but it looks pretty cool with the metallic!) If I have to throw away cap-less markers or broken crayons one more time, I may lose my mind.
  • I seriously debate deactivating my Facebook every single day - or at the very list, going uber-private. Some people and what they share/tease/dig for just tick me off... if you don't want to talk about it, here's an idea: don't post about it on Facebook. Ugh.
  • I love this lipgloss. My friend Jessica told me about it, and so when I was at Ulta the other day buying some Christmas presents (not for myself, pshh) I grabbed it. The formulation isn't too sticky, and the color "Dahling" is the perfect cool mauve. If it were matte, I'm pretty sure it would be the PERFECT gloss.
  • I'm loving my new curling wand. It's fast, it's super hot, and the curls hold forever. I like when they loosen up a bit and look more beachy, which usually happens after I've slept on it for a night - I just take the wand through it the next day and add a few tighter curls/clean up a few kinks, and bam... perfect waves. Look for coupon codes, too - I got mine on sale, 2 wands for $34!
  • I HAVE NEVER SEEN ONE SINGLE SOLITARY STAR WARS MOVIE. I know, I know. I'm not human. But I will festively and proudly flaunt this sweater from H&M when I see it, though - so cute! Ooh, or this one from Macy's. I can totally get on board with Star Wars, guys.
  • We tried a new restaurant yesterday, called Indo Asian Street Eatery in Tacoma, and it was delicious. I had a Banh Mi, which I've never had before. I love a good sandwich, have I ever mentioned that? And a Viatnamese French Dip sounds confusing, but it was oh so delicious. It had pickled veggies and the most delicious beef broth. I want another one right now.

    Indo Asian Street Eatery | Tacoma, WA

Last Minute Boy Gifts

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Last year, I did all my Christmas shopping online, and it was amazing. This year, I'm slacking... but I've been spending a good portion of my Saturday looking online for some great deals, and found these purchases for Porter and Simon that I'm excited about.

Step2® Little Helper's Grocery CartTM • Step2 • $42.99
Porter is obsessed with "shopping". We went to the North Pole for Santa pictures last weekend, and they had a store set up where you could shop for food, complete with carts and all. He wanted to take the cart everywhere! Our new house will be all hardwoods, so he can push this thing around all his heart desires.

Vintage-Style Food Grocery Box • $40
Because you need adorable groceries for the cart, of course. That cute little loaf of artisan-looking french bread!? I die.

Wooden Fruit Set • Pottery Barn Kids • $19.20
This will hopefully distract P from wanting to use a real knife.

Paw Patrol Paw Patroller • $75.99
Paw Patrol. 'Nuf said.

Star Wars 'Stormtrooper' Rib Knit Beanie (Big Boys) • Star Wars • $24
Porter loves him some Star Wars. Can't wait until he actually cares about the movie with his dad, and not just stabbing people with a Light Saber.

Melissa and Doug Toy, Fishing Magnetic Puzzle Game • Melissa & Doug • $9.99
This might be a little too advanced for Simon right now, but maybe not for long... I would love to help him with his hand eye coordination as soon as possible. And I LOVE the quality of Melissa & Doug toys!

Wooden Story Wooden Rainbow Stacker • $32
Solid wood for Si Si! Great for those new little teeth coming in.

Discovery Kids Toy, Laptop Computer • $29.99
For Simon, because he is constantly wanting to attack my laptop and I need him to just have his own... for under $30.

Holiday Giveaway: Jesus Calling

I wish I could properly convey to you what this book has done for me. Jesus Calling has been such a blessing, and in turn, I'm starting to really try to use it to bless others.

I talked to a friend recently who was really going through a rough time in her pregnancy + being a mama of a busy toddler. I totally get it. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old, and there are times where I feel like I can barely keep my head above water. I have a lot of grace and love for moms that are just trying to be the best they can be. So, there's the weight of the most important job in the world, and then I've also been blessed (haha) to be ridden with all sorts of weird anxieties (which also came along with motherhood, how unfair is that? Like we don't have enough to deal with). Anyway. I was screaming for some reminders about who God is, and what He wants for me. I never finish devotionals, because quite honestly, I just haven't found many that click for me.

Until this one. My sister in law got it for me for Mother's Day, and it's blown me away ever since. This devotional is so timely. Almost freakishly so. Case in point: I was worried about flying to Vegas for a weeklong vacation, away from my kids, and my devotional the night before I left was about not having any idols above Him, and that includes your kids. Trust them to Him, and He will care for them. Calm your heart, mama, and know that God's got them.

I about passed out right there; I felt God's presence so strong with me in that living room on that night, that I still think about it often. I love how Sarah Young writes this devotional - speaking directly to you from God's perspective, about who He is and what He wants for your life. She explains it a bit in her forward - the why behind the heart of this book - and I just fell in love. She spotlights His love in the purest and most beautiful way.

BACK to my story! I sent this book to my friend, and I hope it blesses her like it's blessed me. It's so cheap on Amazon, and you can ship it directly to people (shipping is free if you have Prime). If you know someone that could benefit from this devotional, I encourage you to send one their way - you can include a little note of encouragement, or just ship it to them anonymously.

Let me know if you're doing this devotional, have done this devotional, or know someone that NEEDS this devotional. In fact, I would love to gift a couple of these books right now (this weekend - December 12th and 13th), so if you're in need and can't make the purchase right now, email me at and I'll buy it and ship it directly you.

Merry Christmas!

Holiday Gift Guide: Great Gifts At Nordstrom For Under $200

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hey, guys! Yeah, you. You're here because you're trying to find a gift for that lady in your life, and you've resorted to clicking on blog posts someone tagged you in on social media.

It's cool. Your secret is safe with me.

If you're looking for a few more things to put under the tree for the woman in your life, you can just start here and thank me later. Click the links directly below the pics, or at the bottom of this post, for more information and to order directly from the store, or just to get more information so you can run down to your local Nordstrom and pick it up yourself. All of these gift ideas are under $200.

This is a tough season, but I'm a tough mother.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Selfish shopping basket - roses, cookies, and food for ME!
Being a mom of two little ones, while trying to work efficiently from home, is harder than I thought it would be. I mean, I knew it would have challenges, but I think I'm right in the heart of the stress - complete with a 3 year old with lots of energy and demands, and a 1 year old that is a mama's boy, though and through. I cannot be in the same room without holding him, he just thinks that is a total disgrace. Add these demands together with a job that needs my full, analytical attention? Yeah.

The other day, I reached max capacity.

Red alert.

Where's my white flag? I was waving one in my mind. Frantically.

Simon and I were sick with head colds, and he randomly started throwing up - no fever or anything, but it seemed like it was from his congestion. I was trying to keep up with Porter's demands, catching puke in a towel, replying to IMs from work, and was barely able to comprehend my life through the fogginess of bad sinus pressure. I just needed to sleep. I wanted it to be silent.

I was able to escape. My mother in law came home, saw me in a literal puddle on the floor, and told me to leave - go see Paul, who has been pretty much living at the church due to Scrooge The Musical being in full swing, or do something I wanted to do. It was up to me. I could have chosen the good wife route, and went to the church to be near Paul, even if that meant playing Cooking Dash on my phone in the dark while he obsessed over the soundboard during rehearsal. I could have done that. I could have brought him dinner or a coffee. Not saying he doesn't deserve those things, but I think in that moment, I realized that I really needed to have some me time.

I don't remember the last time I was alone. I can't count the fleeting moments when both boys are napping at the same time, because let's be honest, the universe never allows that to happen for more than 5-10 minutes at a time, every few weeks.

I decided I wanted to go sit at a coffee shop and work. Like I was a student with no other responsibilities except for good grades and a maintained caffeine buzz. Maybe people would think I was some naive nineteen year old with a whole lot of psychology homework to work through on a Monday night. (Ha. Yeah, right - the bags and swollen eyes alone don't let anyone believe for a second that I am a day younger than 30).

I wanted to drink a hot coffee that I didn't make (and then subsequently, forget) on my Nespresso - preferably something with pretentious art. I wanted to eavesdrop on people having casual convos or engaging in frivolous gossip - seriously, does anyone remember what those convos are like? I wanted to eat a pastry without feeling guilty because my kid has seen me way too much sugary crap and WHO IS GOING TO GET HIM TO EAT BROCCOLI IF I DON'T DO IT.

I did all those things, and it was marvelous. I had a raging headache from my cryfest earlier in the day, but I felt... calm. At peace. I had listened to Christmas music all the way there, and I didn't think about anything. Not anyone's health. Not how little I'd seen of my husband. Not when our new house will be done. Not the piles of laundry waiting for me when I returned. I thought of nothing, and it was so wonderfully refreshing.

I drank a homemade marshmallow (like, handmade marshmallows, people) latte and I focused on things like graphs and unique pageviews and average session durations like they were my biggest concern. I finished two large reports that I'd been piecing together for the last 8 hours between puke sessions and naps, and I was able to also "live update" a horribly awkward first date at the table next to me. It was magic.

When I left, it was still raining, but I can't believe how much lighter I felt. I was ready for the night - as sleepless as it could be. I was ready to make it home to brainstorm a way to fix the broken train track Porter was playing with, to hold Simon until he passed out in my arms, to sit and chat with and watch a show with my exhausted hubby (who barely beat me home to our babies, by the way).

This is a tough season, but I'm a tough mother. I know I was made for this, but I have been running on fumes too often to remain healthy - for myself, or my family.

I'm a huge proponent of "start your day with Jesus", and that is something I need to take care to do as well, each day - but what I was battling was even more than just that. I needed to start or end my day with me. I needed to be alone, to remember who I was and what made me tick.

I know God challenges me, in my spirit, to be the change I want to see - but if I want my family happy, healthy and fulfilled - I cannot expect to take them where I am not, myself.

Fail To Plan? Plan To Fail.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Here's something super inspiring, today from my Instagram:

All I wanted was a matching Christmas pajama pic. Inspired by this photo, from a blogger I love:
​First of all: nailed it. Clearly. I mean, I did buy the same pajamas. Second, the underlying lesson in all of this is to not force something that just isn't meant to be. At least not right now.

Here's my reality:

Right now, my life is hectic. I don't have perfect lighting because we're living in a basement waiting for our house to be finished (yes. Still waiting). My youngest is just now learning about his freedom, and has no interest in a camera. None at all. It was 10pm when I took this, WAY past their bedtime (they are night owls like their parents).

My perfect photo was doomed to fail.

I think my point is that, sometimes, it's ok to be realistic. It's fun to be a dreamer, and I am a dreamer by nature for sure... but, it's ok to embrace reality sometimes, too. If I wanted this cute holiday picture, I needed a better plan. I needed better hours, better lighting, better moods. I forced it, and it wasn't what I wanted (although, angry Simon is pretty cute).

I think there are probably some areas in your life that feel forced right now, and I think all you need is a better plan. Maybe it's your health, maybe it's your Christmas shopping, maybe it's innovating at work! Time to make a plan to:
  • prioritze your work tasks so you have the mental capacity to think of something amazing for your clients 
  • unplug for the weekend to focus on relaxation and family, so your stress doesn't impact your health 
  • make a list and shop for one person at a time for Christmas 

If you've struggled or if you've failed, be intentional. Get a plan in place and try again. Then, let me know how it works. I like success stories.

Hallmark Movies Madness: My Top Picks

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I am proud of a lot of things. Birthing two children. Paying my tithe at church. "Dating" while married. The fact that as I grow up, I've gotten better at actually finishing beverages rather than just collecting half-empty cups in whatever room I pass through. You know, true growth and empowerment. However, when I introduced my friends to Hallmark Christmas movies, I pretty much felt like my life was complete.

Then, I got a text that just said:

"Lori Laughlin just touched a snowflake on her wall and was transported down a North Pole slide."

And I felt fulfillment that I just can't explain.

Thanksgiving Update: Baking With Toddlers

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Today, Porter and I attempted our first cake together, and I just gotta be real: baking with toddlers is a complete joke.

Maybe girls are more patient, but Porter seriously made me want to rip my hair out. He wanted to taste everything. After repeated "nos", I just let him go for it. Let me tell you, the look on his face when he tasted vanilla extract and unsweetened cocoa powder was a pained one, and I fought back every urge to beam at him: "I told you so".

I told him not to throw stuff into the KitchenAid. After I fished out apple skin (from the apple he was eating), and a whole egg, I told him he was on sous-chef probation and that he needed to vacate the counter. In retaliation, he shoved his fork into my dry ingredients and tossed it into the air, the culinary version of giving me the finger.

It was raining flour, cocoa powder, and granulated sugar. And I was seeing red. I plopped him off the counter and onto the floor, where he continued to rant about the disgusting "coconut flour" (cocoa powder) that I "made him" taste. I turned on my mom-survival-blinders and just ignored him. He stomped around the kitchen, pitching an absolute fit, until he decided tears were a better approach, and he just sobbed: "... but I wanna help youuuuuuuuu, mom!"

First of all, I am "mommy". Don't you dare call me mom like some teenager, and stop trying to make me feel guilty. You tiny, tiny, little dictator.

Second of all, YOU CANNOT PUT WHOLE EGGS INTO THE KITCHENAID. You have to follow the recipe. I know this is asking the impossible, since you can't wipe your own butt, but that's why I was repeatedly and willingly reminding you of the rules. When you chose to ignore me, time and time again, you get the boot. That's just how it goes.

And now, he's freaking out because when I asked him what he wanted for lunch and when he said cake, I told him it wasn't a possibility.

My cakes are out of the oven, and it's time for the filling - which he is not allowed anywhere near.

Thanksgiving Eve

MY FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR: Thanksgiving Eve. Actually, if I'm being honest, the EVE of Thanksgiving Eve is probably my favorite.

It's literal perfection. The anticipation, the planning, the prepping, the cleaning, the CAFFEINE. We don't stop drinking coffee until way, way after the kids are in bed. By this point, I'm peeling potatoes like a machine and Paul has decided not to involve himself with kitchen activities, so he starts putting a puzzle together at the dining room table.

We're talking about desserts for our Thanksgiving night bakeoff, we're texting friends and family to solidify plans, we're listening to Christmas music and letting the kids stay up way too late. We're on, I'm frantically searching for a new and incredibly innovative recipe for Brussel sprouts or carrots (it never fails. Last year, the bourbon maple carrots I found were a hit). I'm gagging at turkey prep (will I ever be mature enough to clean/cook my own turkey?!)

Do you have any day-before-Thanksgiving traditions that you love? What about tried and true recipes? I need some more for my arsenal! There are only so many veggies I can transform with brown sugar, maple syrup and bourbon.

Tacoma Gems: Elemental Pizza

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I love when a new food joint open up in town (why do I sound like a grandma saying that? Um). Some friends posted photos of this new pizza place downtown Tacoma, Elemental Pizza, so when Paul got home from work midweek last week, I dropped several very obvious hints until Paul finally said: "so, do you wanna go get pizza at the place you've brought up about fifteen times in the last hour?" I acted surprised, like "oh, I did? You noticed that?"

So, yeah, we packed up the kids and headed downtown.

First of all, any establishment that brings fresh dough for the kids to play with while we wait for our food is an immediate winner in my book. That, and the fact that they cook it up for him, too, in whatever shape he wanted? Yes. Bonus points, Elemental. Bonus points.

I had a truffle pizza (I'm a sucker for all things truffle) on a gluten-free crust, and a side of fire-roasted cauliflower. Paul (and Porter) had a prosciutto and arugula pizza with a balsamic reduction. All the food was amazing. The service was fast and friendly, and the decor was just perfect - lots of whimsical lighting and polished concrete and reclaimed wood. My kinda spot.

We'll be back soon. Mainly because there's a rosemary potato pizza on the menu that taunted me as I made my decision, closed the menu, and shoved it in the waitress's arms before I changed my mind.

I just can't say no to truffle.

A Day In The Life

Monday, November 23, 2015

Renee Biscarret Photography
Emails. Phone calls; quickly place my Skype on mute while Porter screams about "sharpie scissors" (although I have no idea what it means and decide quickly to ignore him, because it doesn't sound like the best idea he's had).

Get apple juice.

Grab Simon from climbing up onto the fireplace.

Refill apple juice.

Find Simon's missing sock.

Distract Porter from sharpie scissors with a piece of candy. Before breakfast. It's fine.

Remember my muted phone call and rush back to catch up on what they are saying. Pretend like I haven't gone missing, moonlighting as a waitress/maid for two very demanding clients when I should have been comparing the amount of October's unique pageviews to the average organic session duration for a very high-profile client.

Tell Porter I'm fresh out of "sharpie scissors". Again.

Turn off the water I forgot I left running in the sink.

Grab Simon from shoving his fingers into the fan in his room (which I forgot to turn off when he woke up), on my way to let Lennon outside.

Say "hold on" to my babies one too many times. Fight guilt one too many times.

That, my friends, is a peek into my typical afternoon.

Sometimes it feels like life is spinning in a mad, giant circle, and I'm only doing my best to keep steady. Porter's changed his mind about breakfast for the tenth time in as many minutes, Simon is tugging on the bottom of my shirt, so proud to be standing. My computer is making noises, I'm tripping over Leggos, and losing. my. mind.

I think about it later, as I'm composing a blog post (like now), and the day is quieting down. I'm mentally exhausted. I want Paul to swoop in, home from work and ready to valiantly play the role of mom and dad for the several hours before bedtime (which, in itself, is quite the event). I want to retreat while this happens, to not say a word, to stare at my phone and just unplug and pretend I don't have any responsibilities.

...except that I don't. I don't want that, at all. These people are my life, and my life is hectic and loud and super messy, but it's incredibly fulfilling. I don't want to unplug, I don't want Paul to pull double duty. I think I do, but I only do until it happens, and I miss them all. I miss the craziness, and tripping over Leggos. I miss Porter's bartering and Simon's snuggles.

One time, Porter was bargaining with me about something (probably candy, stupid Halloween leftovers) and as his enticing offer to trick me into saying yes, he said "maybe you can lay down and sleep?" so he could do what he was fighting with me about. My blood turned cold.

Porter knows I want sleep. He knows it's what I yearn for. Can he read it on my face? I've never told him sleep would make me happy. Is he just that smart, and guessing? Does he feel my disconnect? Do I look... worn out?

Sobering reminders that little eyes are watching. Every move I make, every short fuse that fires, every time I reprimanded when I should have had grace... they're watching. And while I assess myself with judgement, they probably think I'm pretty darn amazing. A little whacked out, sure. But overall amazing. When the day winds down and they want my cuddles, it reminds me that they do see all I do. But not with the judging eyes I assume they do - but with all the love in the world.

When there are two huge couches in our living room to sit on, and Porter wedges himself between me and the arm I'm leaning up against, I realize he can't be too mad about how many times I took candy away from him before noon. When Simon sees me from across the room, and nothing, come hell or high water, is going to stop him from crawling right up to my feet and pulling himself into my lap, I know he can't possibly remember when I rolled my eyes that he was ready to nurse again.

We are are own biggest critics, and I'm vowing to take better care of myself throughout the day, so in return, I can take even better care of them.

Our Target Tradition

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Saturdays are my favorite. We have a pretty "official" Saturday schedule going: wake up, Happy Donuts, Starbucks for mom (who is avoiding processed sugar and gets super grumpy after about 20 minutes at the donut shop), "The Target"/mall, sometimes lunch, and then home so Paul can head to church.

We always mindlessly wander Target, throwing things into our cart that we don't really need, browsing the toys with Porter, looking at the new clothes for both the boys, trying to find a good place or reason to buy a faux fur stool in the home decor section, stocking up on La Croix and coconut milk nog and peppermint white chocolate kettle corn... you know, the usual. We check out, I save 5% on my Red card, Paul panics about how much money we just spent on non-necessities, Porter gets a sticker, and then we're on our merry way.

This post sounds like an ad, but it's not. I just genuinely love it that much. What is it about Target that is just so... happy? Do they have subliminal messaging in their advertising? Is it because it literally has everything you need in one place and people always look much more sane than the local Walmart? I even love the Target brand, Archer Farms. I mean, I'm being serious: it's just ALL GOOD. Even the little things.

I mean, just today another mom and I, who was toting around a baby maybe a couple weeks old, laughed and joked around together as we searched through personalized ornaments for our kids' initials. So, ya know, it's really also about community.

I need to start documenting our weekend Target trips in pictures, so I can look back through them someday - when Porter is too busy on a Saturday morning to accompany us on our Target dates (sobs). Some of my favorite weekend memories are in our local Target, and it makes me oddly happy when Porter exclaims "THE TARGET!" as we drive up. Until he starts backseat driving and telling us to park the car, like that's not the one thing we're focused on at that very moment.

What are some of your favorite weekend traditions?

Inspiration from Dr. Seuss

Friday, November 20, 2015

I got today's little morning reminder from last night's storytime with the boys. As I read this book out loud, I found myself so encouraged - I had to pause and laugh a little at the simplicity and blatant challenge of this message. 

You have a brain in your head. Use it however you see fit.
You have feet in your shoes. Now, go.

What I appreciate about his books: the way he lays it out there - no frills, no fuss. It brought me, even just for a moment, back to the basics of what truly drives me. Let's remind ourselves of what we have in our hands, what we're capable of, and then let's go to work. It's more than just dreaming about possibilities... we have to actually get moving.

Yesterday, I was frustrated at work with the fact my clients don't seem to read my reports. I put a lot (a LOT) of hours into them. It's what I do all day. Oftentimes, I'm sure the clients only skim them for graphs that tilt in the right direction. They don't get deep into the analysis like I do, and it disappoints me. It took a short phone call with my superior (sorta the Dr. Seuss of my workplace, if you will) - to identify the problem and find the solution: I need to get on the phone with as many clients as I can and go over the reports with them. Get their feedback. Learn what they want. Adjust their next report to make them happier. I can't complain about what I allow, so I'm not allowing reports to just slip under the radar anymore.

What are some things in your life that you can innovate, improve, or take on? If it makes you miserable, or is a source of frustration, it means there's room for improvement and it has your name all over it. You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes: make it happen.

Rain On Pavement

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Do you ever have random memories of a particular day and time that never leave you?

I have one day that seriously haunts me, and it's nothing special. But, it happened as a I drove down a certain road in my town; a road that I still drive down every single day. And every single day, I have flashes of this memory. Nothing crystal clear, but just... the feeling. It's the most random, pointless thing - except that it's not. I know there's a reason that this moment lives on.

I know it was fall, and it had just finished raining. I don't remember where I was coming from or where I was going, but I remember feeling overwhelmed with gratefulness. My window was down a bit; it was one of those sunny, slightly warm days in September or October that cap off a long, hot summer. The smell of rain on the warm pavement was overwhelming, and I remember deciding in my head that I adored that smell and that it made the world seem so clean.

Maybe this was the birth of my love for fall. Maybe this was when it all began.

I remember committing that moment to memory. I remember telling myself that this was a beautiful, wonderful life and I was so lucky to be living it. Maybe this is why the rain never bothers me... living in Washington, we get a lot of it. But I always go back to that day, and remember my appreciation and thankfulness to be living in a world that is washed clean and renewed with each passing day.

Crazy Dreams

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

This is gonna sound super self-centered. Just brace yourselves.

Many people have told me I need to write a book. *hair flip*, right? Ick.

I know it's a compliment on my writing - and maybe even just the style of writing that I've developed over the years - but for so many people that I don't even really know to tell me the same thing... it's been on my mind for a long, long time.

I mean, people besides my mom have told me this - love you mom, but, you also told me I could be Vanna White. Your credibility is questionable.

I do want to write a book, but here's the problem: I don't feel like I have a story. A true testimony. I'm not an expert in anything. I know a little bit about a lot of useless things. My life has been pretty vanilla, and good Lord Almighty, I am thankful for that. I'm also not saying this as a prayer for God to give me some insane mountain to climb so I have writing material, no no no. I'm grateful for the life I lead, and each day is a total gift. I think there's something already here, within me, and it's something I've been asking God to show me. I'm trying to begin the process of pulling it out of me, somehow.

Does anyone have any wonderful writing prompts, or ways for me to begin the journey of "my story"? Prayer is obvious, because I know God can bring some crazy things to light... but I'm curious to know if anyone has felt this calling on their life, and taken appropriate steps to pursue it?

Restoring Woodland: Gray & White Kitchen (BEFORE)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I was dead-set on an all-white kitchen, but over the last couple of weeks, we've picked out our cabinets and countertops (which are a pristine white), and I've had a little bit of panic about our little home looking to much like a little medical clinic.

I mean, is there a point where too much white looks - hospital like?

Paul mentioned to me that maybe we go with a soft, true gray downstairs - in the kitchen for sure. At first I was like no, I want all the white, and then I thought... Hmm. Gray could be a nice, cozy accent to our gleaming white interior.

So, then I did what every normal person does when they need to make a decision: I Googled. I found a few beautiful kitchen photos that were what I would consider to be my dream kitchen, and then I decided that gray was the way.

Then I did, again, what every normal girl in 2015 does: took to Instagram to ask people for their favorite grays. I'm way too indecisive for the 50 billion shades of gray and white that are out there. I mean, there's blue-toned, and green-toned, and beige-toned, and warm/cool-toned with no hint of blue or green... it's just... overwhelming.

Luckily, IG is amazing and several people recommended a particular shade of Sherwin Williams called TinMan.

The only problem was: TinMan doesn't exist. Well, at least not for me, now, online or in my local store. They told me it was a Rodda paint, and I was all Instagram doesn't lie. He shrugged apologetically, and pointed me to what he's found to be a perfect, true gray: Light French Gray.

I trusted him, and we tinted our 5 gallon bucket of brilliant white paint with Light French Gray, and my heart had slight palpitations as I changed my mind three times before he took it to the back to mix it up for us. We went straight to the house before I changed my mind and we had to put our 5 gallon bucket of Light French Gray on OfferUp because I want all white.

The result? Perfect. I'm literally in love, and Paul is trying to convince me to paint the whole downstairs with... but the problem I am having, is that I have a gray couch and other miscellaneous decor I want to decorate the (white) living room with, and it would be such a great way to balance out the new color of our attached kitchen. Gray couch, gray/white area rug, rustic wood and some silver/gold because I have an identity crisis and my style is quickly morphing from farmhouse chic to obnoxiously blingy 15 year old girl with her first pager... and a complimentary gray kitchen. I feel like gray in the living room would make everything darker, and too "matchy matchy". Anyway, some pics, because that's really all anyone cares about (and we're still in progress - saving some money and doing it ourselves):

Primer is drying, so wall is a little patchy 
Sherwin Williams - Light French Gray
Sherwin Williams - Light French Gray

Balayage HEAVEN

Friday, November 6, 2015

You guys, I am in LOVE. My stylist is amazing and she got my hair exactly to the blonde I wanted. I just asked for no red/copper/gold tones. I want beige, ash, blonde - and, boom, she delivered. This is a full balayage, and she barely broke a sweat.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My apologies. I've been on something of a blogging sabbatical since last Monday, so I'll explain why. I probably needed to add to it the blog. Just for memory-sake... I mean, this is probably one of those experiences that God will somehow use to shape me in a significant way.

Monday morning, I awoke to an empty bed. Paul is never awake before me, so I was a little alarmed. Both the boys were stirring, so I grabbed Simon from his crib and headed out to the living room.

Paul was just coming back in the room, too, and without even a good morning, he said: "The Honda was broken into last night. They took the car seat and the stroller."

My heart sank. We've had some increased activity to the ONE shady house at the end of our otherwise quiet neighborhood - new, broken down cars in and out at practically the same hours every single day. People, strung out on God knows what, wandering from the house and down the road to the main road. It's so unsettling, because the road we live on is a quiet country road... our neighbors to the right have several small kids, and a family member of theirs lives in a nice house set back off the road behind some trees. The other homes, towards the main road, are quiet and well-maintained. We've had MANY neighborhood meetings about this house, and the house seemed to vacate a few months ago. The owner of the property (who doesn't live there) cleared trees and cleaned the place up, but now... the insane traffic and random people are back. We've had so much drama with this house over the years, from the people that frequent it:
  • A guy lit our mailbox on fire. He went to jail.
  • A guy stole my father-in-law's truck... crashed it down the road and we got it back the same night
  • A lady hopped our backyard fence and hid in the bushes, because she said her boyfriend was beating her. She was strung out and pregnant and when we told her we were calling the cops to get her help, she ran.
  • We've had people from the house at our front door demanding to use our phone
  • We've had cars FLYING down our quiet road at 50mph... which is what I hate most. We have kids that sometimes ride bikes or play ball in that street in front of our house, and they are oblivious and careless.
So, you can see my immediate train of thought: now, we can add theft to the list. And to take Simon's entire car seat system and our stroller?! For some reason this felt like even more of a violation. It just became way too personal.

It wasn't until minutes later I realized we had accidentally left Porter's iPad in the car, too. We had been taking in a bunch of groceries the night before, and never made it back out to get the iPad. It was gone.

Paul's leather jacket, my new green raincoat, a pair of boots I'd gotten and changed out of when my feet needed flats.... gone.

The most frustrating part of all of this: the cops won't do anything. They just tell us to keep calling in and filing complaints. We've been doing it for 5 years, and the only time they've come out is when the mailbox was set on fire/truck was stolen. 

And, we had about $1,300 worth of stuff stolen, but it's in our best interest to not file an insurance claim with homeowners. My insurance agent is a friend of mine, and told me our home insurance would go up for 3 years, and we wouldn't get enough money to replace all the items since we hsve a $1,500 deductible. Insurance enrages me more than anything... I pay monthly for this, and I can't even use it when I need it. I work hard for my things, and I pay bills and have insurance... and I'm not even truly protected, in any way.

So, yeah. I was challenged. I prayed for God to show me the silver lining. And then I got an email from my father-in-law, who forwards me and all my siblings Joel Osteen's daily devotion every morning, and this was the scripture for the day:

“Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value].” (Colossians 3:2, AMP)

I laughed. Perfect timing, God. And then He reminded me through the day - I have given you the means to replace these things. We headed to the store to buy Simon a new car seat and I told Paul this, too (he was dealing with some serious rage, haha - such a male response - they desire to protect and provide, and when someone messes with that it's no good). I also told him I was praying that whatever pawn shop our stuff ended up at, that it was bought by people truly in need, for their newborn or children. He replied that his prayer today had been that the people who took our stuff would be so sick with guilt, that they'd either anonymously return our things or get their lives cleaned up.

It's been over a week and we haven't gotten our things back yet, so I'm just hoping that somewhere, there's a sweet newborn riding in style, or a child playing with an iPad that his parents wouldn't have otherwise been able to afford (we're not sure what's really up with the iPad. It hasn't been turned on since we got it stolen... we have a notification set up to alert us and track it when it does). 

Anyway, praying for the best outcome helps me to me sleep at night, for sure.

Seek Peace and Pursue It

Friday, October 16, 2015

Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days
keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good.
Seek peace and pursue it.
Psalm 34:12-14

This is so perfectly simple and beautifully profound. As a mother, I spend a lot of time thinking. Analyzing. WORRYING. I ask God for discernment, for direction, for peace... and what a perfect reminder that everything I need to keep on loving life and seeing many good days...

... is right in front of me.

Open your Bible. Start a devotional. Talk to God. FINISH a devotional. If you need a recommendation, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young is absolutely amazing. 

This is a reminder to myself, as well as anyone else seeking purpose, encouragement, or peace.

Surround yourself with positive people - in person, and ONLINE. Seriously. Unfollow anything or anyone that makes you feel lifeless. I had to unfollow some major news outlets recently, because, in the words of many a white girl: I LITERALLY COULD NOT EVEN.

Do good.
Seek peace.
And when you find it, CHASE IT DOWN.

Happy Friday, my friends.


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