Saturday, May 31, 2014

{my dearest boys}

Today you welcomed six by jumping out of bed at 8 am to open birthday presents and eat powdered sugar donuts.
Five is all of a sudden just a memory.
A year full of growing pains and life lessons. 
New friends and longer legs. 
Learning to read and spread your wings. 
I'm so ridiculously proud of you. 

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

{six birthdays}

The boys are turning 6 tomorrow {!!!}, so I thought it would be fun to share a recap of their first five birthdays. 

I've had so much fun each year with the themes, and you'll see that for #3 and #4 I reallllly got into it. Although I've still enjoyed planning their parties the past two years, I've toned down the amount of work I put into it to save my sanity. 

This year is a camping theme complete with a big teepee, nature scavenger hunt and s'more cupcakes. We're having the party at the park for the first time which the boys are really excited about. I'm excited because I don't have to worry about the house being clean. ;)

Here are their first through fifth birthdays, with links to each post, {or photos for #5 because I was lame last year and forgot to blog about their party}...

First - Circus
Second - Rock Star 
Third - Despicable Three
Fourth - Super Heroes
Fifth - Dinosaurs

Let's see if I can remember to blog about #6!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

{put down your camera phone}

Have you ever met snarky Mandy?

If not, accompany me to my boys' next school program, and you will have the pleasure of her acquaintance. 

This morning the boys had their kindergarten awards program, and eyes were rolling and the sighs were coming out left and right. Just ask my hubby. Poor guy. 

Before I get too deep with the snark, let me say that this rant is in no way a slam on my boys' school, teachers or principal. I truly love their school and have been amazed at what they have learned this year and how they've grown.

But with that said, I have found nothing more annoying as a school parent than sitting through an elementary school program.

More specifically, sharing a room with all of the other parents at an elementary school awards programs.

And their cell phone cameras.

Don't get me wrong, I loooove taking photos of my kids, but sitting through an elementary school awards program makes me wish the camera phone had never been invented. 


In the middle of the audience.

Because there is nothing more annoying than having someone block your already horrible view of your children by standing up to take a zillion low quality iPhone photos of their five year old being handed a piece of paper....and sitting criss-cross-apple-sauce on the cafeteria floor...and standing in line...and breathing. You get where I'm going with this. 

Here are the two photos I took of the boys when they received their awards {while staying firmly planted in my seat}...
This was with the highest zoom possible on my camera, because the kids were an entire cafeteria length away from the parents. 

Unless you had your DSLR with a zoom lens, you might as well sit back down and wait for all 105 kids to receive their certificates. Yep...105. I think it is lovely that they were all recognized...but 105 kids is A LOT. Especially at 8 am when you haven't had breakfast OR coffee yet. 


So to the grandma in front of me who couldn't help herself, I sincerely hope your zillion phone photos turned out way better than mine. 

And next time I'll learn to sit on the aisle.

P.S. I snapped this photo of the boys in their classroom afterward... 
Much better. :)

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

{illuminated sun rays}

Hello friends! 

I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing holiday weekend.

My absolute favorite time from the extended break was Sunday, when we spent a good deal of the day at my parent's house, which also happens to be where I grew up.

They purchased the home before I was born, so a lot of my history lives within those walls, and in the grass surrounding them. 

As sentimental as I am, I haven't felt a strong attachment to that house for quite a few years. But there was something about Sunday that felt so soothing, being there.
And taking the boys there feels even more special.

We spent most of the day in their garden and yard, enjoying the cool spring breezes while the boys played baseball and camped out under a card table covered with sheets.

They were so occupied that I was able to tuck myself away inside the garden fence and do some drawing.
Their garden hasn't changed a great deal since I was a teenager, although I sure have. 

I used to spend lazy summer days laying out on the gravel pathway in my bikini, with my walkman {yes...I'm that old} and a bottle of sunscreen. 

Sunday I plopped myself down in a brown plastic adirondack chair, wearing a great deal more clothing, soaking in the sounds of nature and five-year-old giggles and the warm breeze on my skin, pen and paper in hand.

Although I would love to have that bikini body back, I wouldn't trade the past twenty years of experiences I've added to this aged frame of mine.
Everything has so much more depth and meaning now.
Sun rays illuminated by fire pit smoke take on a new level of beauty.

S'more making is more than just an approved way to consume chocolate AND marshmallows in one sitting...
Flowers and concrete statues are opportunities for faux photo shoots...
And twenty years later, a paper plate marked with melted Hershey bar, charred marshmallow and graham cracker crumbs carries with it a host of new meanings and memories...
Thankful for that day times one million.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

{fleeting stories}

Today is the last Friday that my boys are kindergarteners. 

And five-year-olds. 


Slow down time, will ya?

I was thinking this morning about what our evening will look like tonight. Dan will be at work, so it will be just me and the boys. 

Our last after-kindergarten-Friday-night-hanging-out-together night.


I want to make it fun and special for them. 

I am going to think of tonight as a story we're writing together. 

The first chapter will be hanging out in my office with snacks and shows on the touch pad while I finish up my work day, followed by a trip to Chipotle for their favorite dinner of rice and beans. We'll move onto chapter two with an adventure at the party store, shopping for their birthday party favors and then picking out candy to eat later while we watch a movie. In chapter three we might fit in some play time at the park, making new friends and repeat trips down the curly slide. Chapter four will find us cuddled up on the couch watching a movie of their choice, with two big bowls of buttery popcorn hugged between our legs. 

This might sound like a boring book to most, but the things in those chapters are the good stuff that make up my days with two five-year-olds. 

These stories are fleeting and oh so great. 

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Monday, May 19, 2014

{what's in my bag}

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and U by Kotex but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #UbKKmart

It is pretty much a standing joke with my family and friends that I always carry a huge handbag.

I need something that can carry not only the essentials, but also my drawing pad and markers, snacks, work materials and sometimes my water bottle. Not to mention random stuff for the boys.

My current bag is one of my best ever thrifting finds...
...this lovely Fossil tote.

The pattern is so whimsical and fun, and matches my new Hobby Lobby pillow quite nicely, don't ya think?

It is also super roomy which is just how I like it. Lots of pockets and places for all of my "necessities."

Wanna see what's in there?
First of all, let's be honest. This is what was left after I threw away the random receipts, gum and chocolate wrappers, and other miscellaneous trash.

1. Shop Zeeuh coffee cozy
2. Bliss lemon + sage body butter {this stuff smells sooo good and is great on dry hands}
3. Doublemint hands down favorite.
4. Dove dark chocolates. These are a MUST have.
5. Business cards from in a cute holder from Moxie Mandie
6. Nine West wallet...a TJ Maxx find.
7. C.O. Bigelow lipgloss from Bath and Body Works
8. Cute owl pouch {can't remember the shop}
9. U by Kotex pads and tampons
10. Drawing pad and markers in my Orla Kiely pouch
Now I may joke about the chocolates being a necessity, but one thing in that list surely is. 
Yep...those things.

I honestly never thought about seeking out colorful "that time of the month" products, but these from U by Kotex are pretty darn cute. 

Can I call tampons cute? 

What the heck...I just did. 

The wrappers are my favorite colors. I mean come on...I'll take anything I can get to add some fun to that time of the month. 

I shopped for these UbK products at Kmart and was happy to find out that you can use their new Shop Your Way program to save $3 on a purchase of 2 UbK items. 

You can sign up for Shop Your Way here!

What about you look for fun feminine products? What necessities do you carry in your bag?

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

{sitting next to God}

Landon was sick when we picked him up from school on Monday.

Legitimately sick.

He had a fever and the poor guy threw up once. But after passing out on the couch like a frat boy who had way too many beers {shirtless, sprawled across the cushions}, he seemed on the mend the next morning. 

He went through the school day on Tuesday just fine, but on Wednesday I got a call around 11:00 saying that he was sick and needed to be picked up. 

His belly hurt.

But I could tell when I picked him up that he was fine. At least physically. 

We went home and made a little camp out on the couch with his pillow, favorite blanket, and the old calculator I gave him to play with the other day...
He is in LOVE with this calculator. It is solar which makes it even more cool than other toys of the battery-powered variety. 

He didn't have a temperature or display any other signs of illness so I asked him a bunch of questions about school, worried that someone was being mean to him. After a little prying I realized that he was just anxious...missing home and the comforts of being with mom and dad. 

Oh how I know that anxiety. I still have it, and it makes my belly hurt as well. 

I've come up with some fail-proof methods to dispel it from my brain and my intestinal area... 

Deep breaths.

It hurts my heart to think that my precious almost six-year-old little boy is feeling that way.

So last night as the boys were splashing together in the tub {those days are numbered}, he started to tear up and tell me he didn't want to go to school tomorrow. I gave him a little pep talk and explained what I do when I'm anxious or sad. 

I told him to take a deep remember that Ben is with look to his teacher for help. 

"AND tomorrow is gum day!" I reminded him. "You can't miss that."

And then I told him to say a little prayer if he wanted, because God would be with him and help him.

He looked at me a bit surprised, like that sounded too easy.

Even though we talk about God often and how he is always with us, that is a hard concept for a five-year-old brain. Especially Landon' little daydreamer. His head is always up in the clouds so you would think God would be an easy concept for him. ;) tiny it right away. Yes! God is around us like the wind! Like a friendly ghost!

"I think God is sitting beside you right now, Momma!" he said. 

I was kneeling next to the bathtub, knees damp from the towel I put down to catch their drips and splashes, edges of my sleeves wet from pouring buckets of water over their heads to rinse off the shampoo suds. 

"Yes," I told him. "God is definitely sitting beside me right now." 

Aren't we lucky that He shows up in the ordinary places? 

I have a feeling He is sitting next to Landon at lunch today. 

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

{artterro giveaway}

Arts and crafts are pretty much a daily occurrence at our house, and when I discovered Artterro art kits, I knew the boys would have so much fun with them. This creativity kit is great because it has a little bit of everything to make lots of fun projects.
Artterro was started by two moms/artists that were looking for eco-friendly craft kits with beautiful materials like felt, handmade paper and beads. The materials are truly gorgeous...not your typical construction paper and pipe cleaners.

The boys drove me crazy begging me to open it up for can tell from the packaging that there is pure awesomeness inside.
Of course I'm a horrible mother and made them wait until the weekend. ;)

We opened up the kit and sorted out all of the different materials...
Landon was immediately drawn to the colorful patterned paper, and made two books using my washi tape to bind and decorate them...
And Ben gravitated toward the beads, so I helped him put together a fun necklace using a few larger beads from my stash as well...
It was so much fun watching them use their imagination with this kit.
Another great thing about Artterro kits is that they are perfect for any age. You can make simple crafts with young children, or make very detailed pieces.

Now for some fun news... Artterro is offering their creativity kit to one of my readers! Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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