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Friday, July 29, 2016

family beach pictures 2016

This year we hit the jackpot with our family beach pictures! The lighting, ocean, outfits, smiley faces...everything was perfect :)







Hope everyone has a GREAT weekend! We are celebrating my grandpa's 95th birthday with a huge party and family from all over coming down to celebrate. I cannot wait! Will make for a fun, busy and exhausting weekend. See you on the other side...


Thursday, July 28, 2016

back to school swag

I love new school stuff! Planning and shopping for it with the kids takes me back in time to when I was getting ready with my mom. I just seriously love it! Since the boys wear uniforms and we aren't back to school shopping like most, I let them get a new lunchbox and backpack every year. This year Asher really wanted a rolling backpack and I have to say when I went shopping for them I was completely shocked at how expensive they are! Holy moly! Luckily one day I was browsing Pottery Barn Kids and found this one on clearance for $25! 

I really wasn't sure if he was going to like it because he has quite an interesting style so I ordered a few pins to decorate it and a letter "A" as well. When it all came in I showed him and to my surprise he loved it! So together we pinned on the pins and hot glued the letter A.
It looks really cool :)

As for Aiden, he's a lot easier to shop with. His only requirement this year was that his backpack be "really big." One day I got a Land's End catalog and coupon so we hopped on their website and he picked his out...30% off!
He is also going to add some Pokemon pins he already has to his because he really liked how Asher's turned out.

As for lunchboxes...this wasn't as easy as backpacks. 
I wasn't even going to buy Milly one because she has a really nice one from Pottery Barn I got her last year but she begged me for the My Little Pony bag. She said "but Mommy you know I just love My Ponies" and hugged the bag. How could I say no to that??? I'm just going to save her other one until she starts Kinder. Again, Aiden's requirement was a "really big lunch bag because I am always so hungry at school." So he picked out this one that is seriously the size of a small cooler. LOL! 
And Asher. We almost didn't even get him one because none of the ones at Target were "cool" enough for him. As we were leaving the back to school area we stumbled across this bag.
It's absolutely perfect for him and pretty cute if you ask me. So we left Target all set for school!

We needed some new Bento boxes for the kids because the ones we had either broke last year or were breaking. I ordered these yumboxes from Amazon and am hoping they work for us.

My boys also like big snacks, so I found these cute snack boxes that should fill them up during the day.

With all that gear we are officially ready for school! Less then 2 weeks to go! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

the end of an era...hopefully

It is no secret that my little Amelia is not a great sleeper. She still...at almost 4 years old...does not sleep through the night consistently. It's exhausting to say the least. I was terribly spoiled with my boys who have always been great sleeper. Ever since they were little we would put them to bed and unless they were sick or had a bad dream they just stayed there. Never came out of their room multiple times, nothing. 

And then there was Sissy.

When we moved into this house she had just started sleeping really really well. She was still in a crib and when we moved we decided it was the perfect time to move her into a big girl bed. I'm not sure if it was the bed or the new house but she was terrified of her room. So every night I would read her a story and lay with her until she fell asleep.

Fast forward a year and a half.

I am still laying with her every night until she falls asleep. Most nights it's pretty fast but then there are those nights that I am literally in there for hours. Those are the nights that take me to my breaking point. I just want my evenings back. Those long evenings I would lay in her bed awake rationalizing with myself "she is only going to be this little for a short time," "she isn't always going to need you." These thoughts would help me to calm down and feel better about this decision. But honestly the gig is up for me and while I have enjoyed our nighttime snuggles, I am ready to take control of my evenings and not feel guilty about it. She is almost 4. She needs to learn how to sleep on her own. 

I need to teach her these things.

So August 1st we are going to try a new routine and try to get our little Sissy to fall asleep by herself. I've been talking to her about it to which I get big crocodile tears in response. I figure the more we talk about it the better prepared she will be. She even picked out a new Elsa and Anna night light yesterday at Target. Honestly I really have no idea how this is going to go. It could completely backfire on me and ruin my evenings in a whole new way. The thing is we have to try. Who knows, she could completely surprise us and this transition could be quite easy. I'm not really counting on that but it would be nice right?!

My Dear Milly girl,

I have really enjoyed those sweet nights laying with you, listening to your final stories of the day, hearing your sweet voice pray and feeling your little arms around my neck or on my back. But for the love of God it is time for you to go to sleep on your own in your big girl bed. Momma needs her evenings back so that I can tackle another day with you with the right mindset. M'kay?!

Love you,
Mommy



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

preparing for the back to school feast

We are only 2 weeks away from our 2nd annual Back to School Feast and I am knee deep in preparations. 

This year it will be the evening before school starts not the 1st day. I think this will be a change that becomes a tradition. First thing I do when getting ready is chose a theme for the year for my kids. This year it's

"be faithful in small things because it is in them that your faith lies." 
~Mother Teresa

This year is probably going to be pretty challenging academically for both my boys but especially for Aiden. I want him to remain confident and be able to use this theme to keep his head high and faith strong even when it feels like he might crumble. Last year I pushed him and at times might have been a little to hard on him. At the end of the year Cameron gave me some really great hindsight advice and so this year I am only going to support him in positive ways and let who he is and is meant to be shine through. Our children cannot be who we want them to be. All they can do is be who God wants them to be. After a summer of clarity and I now believe this to be true more then ever :)

Once our theme was chose I ordered stars from Kurt Knudsen...one large one with the theme and then 3 small ones (representing each kid) to hang around. 

And ordered a print from Pinhole Press that I will hang in the homework room. I created this print in a design program on my computer. I am also going to make one with last years theme and have it printed to hang in the room as well.


And I am thinking about having small notebooks made with this on it as well. Maybe they can use it as a journal for the year.

I was introduced to a new planner company by a friend called Plum Paper. I am a proud paper planner girl and have loved Erin Condren planners for the last 2 years. However, I am always up to try new things and after seeing hers decided to order a new one for myself and while shopping found these student planners on their site
So as our present to the boys this year I ordered each of them a school planner and personalized it to meet their needs.

I should be getting them any day now in the mail and I cannot wait to see how they turned out! I hope this keeps my boys organized this school year :)
I also ordered Milly a little notebook with Elsa and Anna from Shutterfly ;)

I plan on decorating the table again and am using their cute pots as a centerpiece. I am also going to cook their favorite dinner (which we haven't quite decided on yet). I cannot wait to spend the evening with my favorite people celebrating one of my favorite times of year! I know it might seem like a lot but it really is a fun way to get ready for school. I highly recommend creating a Back to School Feast for your kids even if it's just small and simple. Building memories is what this life is all about :)

Monday, July 25, 2016

summer week 7&8

As I am sitting here typing this I cannot believe that we are 2 weeks and 2 days away from the 1st day of school. While I absolutely love the first day of school, I am looking back at this summer and amazed at how quickly it flew by. Only 7 more summers with our Aiden before we are packing him up and sending him to college. So crazy to think about. It is so true the saying "the days are long but the years are short." 

Anyway...on to our summer weeks!

Week 7

This was our first week back from the beach and I had to boys signed up to go to a free financial camp that a local bank was holding. I had been told by a teacher at our school that she sends her boys every summer and they love it so I figured why not give it a go!
And they loved it. Said it was their favorite camp they went to all summer. And they actually learned a thing or two. One day they were talking to me about compound and simple interest (which I have no idea what that is) and then the next about how they want to start up savings account. Not bad for a free camp ;)

We also celebrated Milly's very best friends birthday! 
She adores Annabelle and these two are thick as thieves.

We even played a little Pokemon Go at the party
Milly thought this was hilarious! She keeps asking to look at the picture. Is it just me or is it weird that my 3 year old little girl likes Pokemon??!! ;)

The boys went to an art camp at our local Painting with a Twist. They had a blast and painted beautiful pictures! 

Little Sis liked posing as Elvis

Other then that we spent the week recovering from the beach vacation, laundry, cleaning the house and getting ready for school to start. New uniforms were bought, laundered and hung up, backpacks and lunch bags bought and closets cleaned out in bedrooms! It was a very productive and busy week!

Week 8

This week we continued the closet clean outs in the house. I am going to post the system I use for the boys rooms because its sooooo easy and it really really helps keep them organized which keeps me happy :) I also tackled my closet while I was at it because it needed it as well. I loaded up another bag for thred up and sent it packing.

After 2 days of non stop working at the house I treated myself to a new delicious drink from Starbucks while the boys were in gymnastics
I wish I could tell you the name but it's insanely long and makes you feel a little ridiculous ordering. It's some kind of sangria tea...and it's amazing. With the boys occupied I sat in the parking lot for 30 minutes while Milly watched a movie in the backseat quietly. These few moments of peace and quiet were heavenly.

To reward the kids for their great behavior while I got stuff done at the house, Wednesday I took them to an indoor trampoline place with friends. 
 
 

No surprise they had a great time!

And Milly made a new friend she called Diamond. Not sure if that was the girls real name but I have to say they were the cutest little things in the whole place jumping around together :)

We also painted pots and bought cactus to plant in them. These are part of our Back to School Feast and will serve as the centerpieces. They are super duper cute!
 

Friday our house keeper came (hallelujiah!) so we had to get out of the house for the day. We went to see The Jungle Book at the discount theater (it was okay) and then stopped by IKEA for some finishing touches to my living room (which I redid again). IKEA has to be one of my fav places to go in the summer. I drop off Asher and Milly in the childcare area where they can play and have fun and Aiden and I hang out together. He had fun taking selfies with furniture I was looking at. Goofball!

Saturday, Cam's dad came into town and since he loves golf we figured why not load everyone up and head to Top Golf. We've never taken the kids and this was the perfect opportunity. It was so much fun!
 
Such a fun place to hang out together as a family. I beat Cam in 2 rounds which was quite hilarious to me considering he plays golf weekly and me...well never ;) 

Milly even joined in on the golfing fun.

These last few summer weeks were great. I so enjoyed being at home and not vacationing (I know that sounds weird, right?) Last week was especially great with no camps or commitments. I really love being home and productive. No promises but I really am going to try and post something everyday this week! ;)

No promises though...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

wwws

“Love is shown by little things, by attention to small daily signs which make us feel at home. Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love. That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches.”
~Pope Francis


Asher
Shirt: Zara (from Italy)
Pants: Old Navy
Shoes: Sperry

Amelia
Shirt: Target
Pants: Old Navy
Shoes: Disney Store

Aiden 
Shirt: Children's Place
Shorts: Old Navy
Shoes: Crocs