Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Dinnertime Struggle- How Do You Hero?

This post is sponsored by Revolution Foods.
Be sure to enter to win a month’s supply of breakfasts, lunch, and dinners here.

I feel like everything in my life is on a scale. Very rarely does it all balance out, but when it does the angels sing, I swear. It kind of goes like this- very on top of this blog, very on top of working out, very good about getting out everyday after school...BUT then...not so good about having a home cooked dinner on the table every night, not so good about getting to bed on time because I stay up way too late trying to grab some "me time" once everyone is down. These are all interchangeable but it's VERY rare that all things are perfectly managed at once. Something's got to give, right? And lately it's been the dinnertime thing. By the time we do school pickup, I entertain Olive, get the boys snacking, start homework, it's often easier to just grab quick stuff and do a smorgasbord type meal. That's fine for some days, but chicken nuggets or frozen pizza plus some random veggies every night for the kids does not make me feel happy. 

Growing up I have some wonderful memories of the meals both my Mom and Grandma would cook. And it wasn't necessarily about the food (although sometimes it was- English muffin pizzas can't be beat), but it was about being together around the table. So I try to remind myself that when Mom guilt creeps in- at least we're sitting down to eat together pretty often! That's a HUGE deal to me, and something that I want to make sure we try our best to work towards as the kids get bigger and we all get busier.

But the key for us right now is EASY. I love to cook, but in this season of our lives we need quick and simple meals during the week. 

Say hi to Revolution Foods. Founded by two moms who began serving freshly prepared meals to students in school, they have now expanded to retail. I love what Revolution Foods stand for too- "We believe that everyone deserves access to high quality food made with carefully considered ingredients. We believe in food that tastes good, food that promotes growth and development. Feeding good is our promise to you. We stand for food you can feel good about. No high fructose corn syrup. No artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. because our kids deserve nothing less." So good.

We've tried a few of their meals, including their lunch kits and breakfasts, and they're truly delicious. We decided to share this particular meal because the boys were the most excited about it, and we had a great time cooking dinner together. The box even opens up into a cookbook, which Henry loved. It's simple- you provide the protein, and use their kits to make a great meal. Add a side and you're set!

We're huge fans, and we know you'll be too. Check out Revolution Foods here and enter to win a year's supply of meals too. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


It was my second baby's birthday today. He turned four, and tonight while he opened his presents the look of happiness on his face lit up my whole world. Charlie is excited by the simplest things- gummy worms on top of his special breakfast donut. Arriving at school and having a friend meet him with a birthday hug. The way the front of his new monster truck carrying case looks three-dimensional. There is such pure joy wrapped into everything he does and through everything he views. The lens which Charlie sees life is such a rose-colored one, and everyday I try to look through it as much as I can.

But shit you guys. I've started typing out this post so many times, erasing, and retyping. I don't know what to say about what is happening in our country. But I do know that it's worse to say nothing. I'm sick to my stomach, angry and disgusted at what is going on. At what has been going on. I don't say too much politically in this space. And sometimes I wonder why, but if I'm being honest it's because it's easier. And I'm well aware that by easier we can also read: privileged.

I read this today, although it's from January --

"I want my friends to understand that "staying out of politics" or being "sick of politics" is privilege in action. Your privilege allows you to live a non-political existence. Your wealth, your race, your abilities or your gender allows you to live a life in which you likely will not be a target of bigotry, attacks, deportation, or genocide. You don't want to get political, you don't want to fight because your life and safety are not at stake. It is hard and exhausting to bring up issues of oppression (aka "get political"). The fighting is tiring. I get it. Self-care is essential. But if you find politics annoying and you just want everyone to be nice, please know that people are literally fighting for their lives and safety. You might not see it, but that's what privilege does."

I avoid talking about politics here because I don't know what to say. At all. I know what I believe and I know how I feel about this horrible administration and the state of everything, but when speaking about the unspeakable events that just transpired, from my vantage point what could I even contribute to the conversation? I don't want to say something the wrong way, but really, is there a wrong way to say this is NOT OKAY? That if you are a racist, hateful person you have no place here and we will not tolerate it? Our country has become a place where those kinds of people feel emboldened- no hoods, no masks- and I don't know how to change that. But what I do know is that this is not a time to be silent. So like my friend Angela said (the friend I tagged in my links post earlier this week), "here is my small voice joining others to speak out against the hate." And I know speaking up is not enough, but I want to learn and listen and assist, so we can try to change what has been growing right here in America. Any insight or help learning more is so appreciated.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

On the Eve of Four

The other night I was tucking Charlie in, and he said "Mama, can we just press pause right here? I like being three, I like being right in this place." My heart got that feeling way deep inside, that ache when you love someone so much it hurts, because I knew exactly what he meant. Life is so sweet right now, the five of us, and the age he's at- it's magical. He doesn't know that quite yet, but what he does know is how good it feels to be three-year-old Charlie, and how there's a little uncertainty about four. To answer his question I took him in my arms and whispered something about how the best is yet come, and although it feels scary to change and grow up, I promised things would only get better and better.

This is good advice for me too. Sometimes I have a hard time accepting that we'll never be here again. I don't think it's a bad thing, I just love our right now so much that when I think about one day getting rid of our baby stuff, about having all big kids and never a newborn in our home again, it makes me immeasurably sad. And then I watch the video below and a million emotions swirl through me.

Birthday Eves are always a very introspective time for me. I just got home from picking up doughnuts for tomorrow and filling up a massive monster truck balloon, and I'm sitting here thinking a lot about the past years and the upcoming one. I'm thinking back to Charlie as a newborn and meeting him for the first time, a moment that I am so grateful I can recall in vivid detail. I'm remembering so much- his first birthday, his baby laugh, those big blue to brown eyes, and how soft his skin was when I'd rock him to sleep every night.

It's amazing this little guy is turning four tomorrow. He brings SO much excitement and fun to our lives. Right now, at almost-four he's all about trucks (especially monster trucks and car transporters), all things drawing and art, and he loves to dance and listen to music. He's extremely excited about starting soccer for the first time this season, and if you were to ask him what he wanted to be when he grows up, he's tell you a truck drive or a singer. At least that's his answer this week.

So happiest birthday to the funniest, sweetest little dude there ever was. Four is almost here, and like I told Charlie- it's gonna be a good one.

Here's the video I made for Charlie's first birthday. I did one for Henry too, if you'd like to see...and Olive's is of course in the works.



Monday, August 14, 2017

East Coast Trip 2017: New York

Check out part one of this three part trip post here. For the second leg of our trip we headed from the Jersey shore to upstate New York, to celebrate my cousin Daron's high school graduation. They live up in Poughquag, which is such a beautiful area of the state. Even the drive up was so enjoyable, mainly because we were riding in a minivan thanks to Budget (the boys were fascinated!), and also because it's just so darn pretty. This part of the trip was just for a weekend and it was filled with all things family, but we did manage to do a few extra things too.

Whenever I'm around my extended family I am filled with SO much happiness. My Mom's siblings- my two Aunts and Uncle- are three of my most favorite people in the world, and being with them is the best. My kiddos love them, it's just a really amazing time no matter what we're doing. Add in our cousins, second cousins and everyone else, and it's wild! You can bet when we get together there's always a few things happening- good food, good wine, and lots of dancing. My Uncle Brian threw my cousin's party at his house and it was such a good day full of all of those things that bring me so much joy, and it was also extremely entertaining to be around all of those teenagers. Hank and I were continuously laughing over how old we felt, and how much we did NOT mind that one bit!

While there we also made a quick stop at George Washington's home (or one of them, at least), stopped by Rutt's Hut on the way into NY, and did a whole lot of hanging at my Uncle's in that beautiful backyard. A short weekend, but the best time ever. Here are some photos from our time with family. A few of the photos below were snapped by my Uncle Paul too. Enjoy, and I'll be back soon with the final post from this vacation- Vermont!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Weekend Links

Some weekend links for you, on a Sunday evening --

Each week I'll be sharing an inspirational Instagram friend in this space, highlighting a favorite photo of theirs above. This week it's Angela Hardison, a long time internet pal, fellow Arizonan and someone who brings so much beauty to my online world. I love following her and I know you will too.

An interesting read: Motherhood isn't sacrifice- it's selfishness.

A new-to-me store, lots of cute items for Fall.

Multi-level marketing- where do you weigh in?

SO excited about this!

Unlearning the myth of American innocence.

Why are there no new major religions?

Wishlist: these slides, this bag, and these jeans.

And have any of your tried the Levi's Wedgie jeans? I think I'm going to get them a go.

This looks delicious: cherry "nice" cream.

How to get rid of negativity in your life.

Some great mantras to help you declutter.

My favorite planners are rolling in for 2018!

Thoughts on Halo Top ice cream. I personally don't like any of these types of "healthy" ice creams and instead prefer a smaller dish of the real thing! Yum.

Love this round up of wellness Instagrammers.

7 things to do now, to prepare for next week.

So cute: one, two, and three (all colors!).

And for our home: this mirror and this chair.

Clare V. has become my very favorite. Can't wait to see some of the new fall line.

This is so great: America's most iconic drives.

Some simple living inspiration.

10 female leaders share their biggest fears and how they overcame them.

And finally, the most important link of all.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

5 Things I'm Loving

1. So my number one thing has got to be 5 month old Olive. She's just the best. So vocal, so expressive, and I feel like it is just going to get more fun. And busy. haha. Soon she'll be crawling, then walking...then running around with her two crazy older brothers. Today she was on my lap, facing out, just watching Henry and Charlie wrestle. All I could think was how she was taking it allllll in- like this is how we behave, this is how we do things around here. So once she's up and moving all I'm thinking is that she is going to be a wild woman. Not a bad thing, but it will just be interesting to see her personality develop alongside her big brothers.

2. My camera! I've gotten so many questions on the camera I've been using. Here it is- the Sony Alpha a6000! You guys I cannot even tell you how much I love this thing. It takes the best photos (I snapped the one above with it today), and it easily sends the pictures right to your phone. It's mirrorless, so it's super light and just a wonderful travel and everyday camera. This is the same one we brought to Switzerland too, and took all of our photos with it. It also takes beautiful video. The iPhone 7+ I have takes great pics and videos as well, but this is really next level and has replaces my heavier Canon. The Sony comes with a great lens attached, and I haven't had any need to get any other lenses. I highly recommend it.

3. Halloween/everything Fall is almost here and I am ecstatic. Summer is so great, but I am a true Fall person at heart. The other day I fell into a Pinterest hole of all things Halloween and I got so inspired. I'm excited for everything, but the biggest things on my list are: pumpkin picking- I think we will be in Utah this year (Park City) during Fall Break for awhile so if you're from the area any Fall recs would be so great. I feel like there are a ton of pumpkin patches there and since it will be early October, I hope the leaves will be turning also. We might be piggybacking that trip onto our Zion National Park trip we're taking earlier that week with our friends. Hank has never been to Zion and I'm really, really excited to have the whole family experience it together, alongside so many fun friends.

4. I think because I'm writing more blogs, I'm reading more blogs. Lately I've been enjoying reading random finds via Bloglovin', and I've found some good ones. Do you have any tried and true favorites? So many of my online friends have been posting about wanting to get back to blogging and I say yes, yes, yes! It's so nice to have a "mothership" of sorts where everything can live, and then use social media as a way to share bits of that, and connect with friends. I am such a fan of everyone blogging. Blogs for everyone! A blog for you! And you! And you! #oprahvoice

5. Eveything Madewell. (I like to shop from Shopbop because you can use Amazon Prime shipping!) Anyway, I'm not sure what it is but I cannot get enough of Madewell everything. Best jeans, best tees, best bags and shoes. I've always really loved the brand but lately they're just so on point. Do you shop there? We of course don't have one here in Prescott so I buy everything online and I feel like these are items I will keep for a long, long time. Quality made and not really too trendy. Also age appropriate, whatever that means! ;)

So those are my five! It's storming out right now, and if I don't hurry I'll miss my 10pm bedtime, so off I go. I was thinking of doing a "day in the life" post tomorrow or early next week, but either way I'll be back with my last post of the week tomorrow. See you soon.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Announcing Our Sweet Girl

Olive will be five months old tomorrow. That is so wild to me- time is flying by so much faster than with either of the boys. It's heartbreaking, but I also realize that it's just the way it goes. Life is busy, and the more kids you have the crazier it gets. More kids, more crazy...but way more love.

And now at five months I think it's about time I shared the birth announcements we sent out for our girl a couple months back. I wanted something simple and pretty, and when I found this floral set on the Tiny Prints site I was immediately sold. I've partnered up with Tiny Prints for many, many years, collaborating on everything from our Christmas cards to Charlie's birth announcements and have consistently had a great experience. I love that they're reasonably priced and always have beautiful new designs to choose from- we've always been incredibly happy with our orders.

I took this photo myself, after setting up a little newborn shoot in our bedroom. I used this blanket and this wrap, and I think it all turned out pretty great. And I actually shot this with my iPhone! The camera on that thing is so good. We also had a real session with my friend Lauren, but I felt like this simply picture really fit in with the card so perfectly that I ended up going with it. Thank to Tiny Prints for partnering up once again. And it's STILL so fun to look at this and think about how lucky we all feel to have completed our family with this sweet little darling.