Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Favorites


It's FRIDAY!!

Ryan has recently started asking Matt when he gets home from work, "Daddy, is it one more day and then it's the weekend?" (even if it's a Monday- sweet buddy)

Sometimes I think Ryan would like for me to go sell buildings and have his daddy stay at home all day. And there are some days where I feel the same way! ;)

But here we are- we've made it to the weekend!

Today I wanted to share a few of my recent favorites with y'all that unintentionally all center around books/reading.

1.
The Easter Story Egg (found here)

We bought this from The Story Shop that I posted about on Instagram last week and it is the neatest book! You read one page each day of the week leading up to Easter and it walks through the Easter story with each egg matching a different day/page of the book. We've read through the whole book several times already, taking a different egg out for each page we turn, and then we'll follow the plan and read one page each day leading up to Easter Sunday. Ryan has loved it. And although we haven't talked a whole lot about Jesus's death on the cross and resurrection, he doesn't seem to dwell on the heavier parts of the story. And he's definitely one to ask questions if this helps you determine what's best for your own kids.

Last year, at 20 months, we told Ryan that Easter was about Jesus, the Cross, and the Easter Bunny. This year we're introducing more of the actual story of Easter, but are still wanting to be aware of his questioning mind and not really wanting to have conversations about death or people intentionally causing harm to others outside of the story of Jesus' death on the cross. So I tread lightly when it comes to sharing the full story of Easter at his age!


Has anyone used the Resurrection Eggs with your kids? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts on them!


2.
Present Over Perfect 
(found here)


I am on Part 4 of this 6-part book and cannot say enough good things about it. It's so good for every stage of life, but I'm thankful it was given to me now before we've even entered the beginning of set schedules determined by other people (school, sports, etc.). If there's one thing I want to look back on and know that Matt and I have been intentional about when it comes to raising our family, it's this. 

It is a quick read and such a good and needed reminder. Unless you're an empty-nester with little on your to-do list, this book needs to be next on your list to read!


3.

A friend of mine sent me this article (found here) that made me tear up and also made me ever so thankful for the tougher moments of raising toddlers. I imagine my heart will be constantly praying away fear and worry when our babies are teens! Needless to say, this article is so great to read even if you aren't in the teen stages yet.


4.
Shutterfly photo book (free book for new customers) click here

I have made 13 Shutterfly books over the years and have paid only shipping for most of them. Once you create an account and make your first book, you'll receive promotional emails throughout the year offering free products where you only have to pay shipping. I want to say the free 8x8 photo book offer (which is the size I always make) comes 3 times/year.

These are the four most recent ones I've made (sorry for the picture quality- it's early and our house is dark).

But if you've never made one, this link should let you create your first one for free! (That's what they told me anyway) ;)


Hope y'all have a great weekend!

We have tennis in the morning and a 2-year old birthday party tomorrow afternoon, and then Matt and I are going on a day date after church on Sunday!! Insert all the praise hands and party emoticons here.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cilantro-Lime Guacamole


Guacamole is one of my favorite appetizers when I am pregnant. I love the salty, spicy taste with tortilla chips. So when my friend Andrea made this super easy version for me a long time ago, I knew it would be my go-to recipe to follow. I added lime, took out pepper, and used a whole can of the Rotel, so play with the recipe how you see fit or make it just like I do. It is so easy and SO good!


Ingredients:
3 avocados
One can of the Cilantro Lime Rotel, drained
Juice of 1 lime
garlic salt
salt
4oz can diced jalape├▒os, drained (optional)
Fresh Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Cut avocados into chunks and place in bowl. Add remaining ingredients (except garnish) and mixed gently with a spoon. I like guacamole to be chunky and not mushy, so I carefully stir so that the avocado doesn't get all mashed. Salt & garlic salt can be added to taste- I just sprinkle it in, using about 1/4tsp of each.

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Life Lately: 3rd-trimester reflections on life with almost 3


We are at that place I remember being right before Natalie was born- where we hit a groove with being parents of ONE and felt like we were ready to dive back in to the newborn stage and figuring out life with TWO. That's where I feel like we are now with two- in a groove. Knock on wood, we're in a smooth stretch of no sickness, pretty predictable daytime and nighttime routines, good sleep... come to think of it, should I be putting these things in writing?!

I've officially entered the third trimester, and with summer plans and vacations approaching, I have a feeling it's going to go by fast.

It's funny because I feel so much more ready, or maybe I should say less anxious about baby #3 coming than I remember feeling about adding a second baby to our family. I think transitioning from 1 to 2, I worried so much about the attention I would be able to give to Ryan and how he would handle the change. For 18 months, he was the only little person I focused on, and I remember feeling nervous about splitting my time. With this baby, I already know how sweet it is to watch siblings interact and know that when I am nursing or changing or swaddling the new baby, Natalie and Ryan will have each other to play with.

I also feel like we're entering a season of change in general with Ryan starting school in September and me getting time with Natalie and the new baby 3 days a week in the mornings while he's away. So maybe because it's all hitting semi- at once, it feels like we're just going to jump into all sorts of new routines- all 5 of us- all of one time. And this somehow makes it easier in my mind.

I've decided that my expectations are really low and my calendar is going to be really empty come June. I'm going to soak up my weeks with my two babies before our third one arrives, and once she is here, I am committing my mind to zero expectations on what we do, where we go, who we see, or how fast we get there.

When this baby arrives, I just want to BE.
I want to play in the yard, swim in the pool, enjoy the summer temperatures and space of our new house, but knowing that our first experience with real schedules starts in September, I want to soak in the days with all of our babies at home.

And with that mindset, I honestly don't feel nervous about the change. I feel like already, Matt and I have mostly entered a place where we laugh with each other when we're both home and the role of raising two little ones is just plain crazy- when one or both kids are tired and crying, emotional beyond understanding, or testing limits because that's part of growing up and learning how to live life.

Not to say it's not taxing or tiring, or at points plain stressful, but I guess parenthood has made me take myself less seriously in the sense that I can't control all behaviors, nor do I like the person I am when I try to. I'm learning that kids have to have the freedom to be human, to make mistakes, and to feel emotional for no apparent reason. I've humbled myself to the point of realizing that their tough days aren't a reflection of my parenting as much as they are a reflection of their humanness. So addressing the crazy and trying to find humor in the moments when I clearly have no control over the emotions of the day has helped me lean on God's grace and given perspective in my role as mom.

That being said, he's a look at what we've been up to lately:

I took Ryan and Natalie to my last OB appointment and they both did really well, until the part where I was having blood drawn and Ryan was standing right by my side and Natalie decided to chuck the glucose bottle over the side of her carseat, letting it hit the ground at the perfect angle to crack the lid and send the gooey liquid pouring all over the floor. Yeah, I didn't really see it going that way when I handed her the sealed bottle as a distraction for the 60 seconds that the nurse would be drawing my blood. Bless those nurses for being so sweet to us!

If you know me outside of this blog or have followed along for even a short amount of time, you know I'm not much of a crafter (at all), so I imagine God laughs when he sees me painting popsicle sticks with Ryan for everyone in our family before 7am. This sweet boy did not get his love of crafting from me, that is for sure.

Natalie took her first out-of-the-stroller trip to the zoo last week and she LOVED it! She rode the train for the first time and loved really seeing all of the animals. We can't wait for more trips now that the weather is getting warmer!

We had a tree removed from the side of our front yard last week, and these two were super intrigued by the loud noises and cutting-down process. :)

Matt traveled to a family wedding last weekend that I wasn't able to attend due to Zika, so I sent him this picture after Ryan woke up after a 45 minute nap- because inevitably this happens when he's gone. But when I'm gone, they both sleep for 3+ hours. Go figure.

We went to visit our friends at their new house and Ryan wanted to carry in the flowers- sweet guy

On our way to my parents' house last week, Ryan needed to stop for a potty break, so I pulled over at the first Chick-fil-A we saw, not realizing it was the one that friends of ours from high school own! Now that we know, we'll work in this potty stop into our trips. :) If you live in the Snellville/Stone Mountain area- you'll have to stop by their Chick-fil-A! Jenny and her husband, Cliff, are just the sweetest. (Also Natalie threw her bow off before we walked in- is it just me or does she not even look like herself without a bow?!)

Dinner at Nonna and Papa's, and Ryan got to sit with all of his big cousins. And he actually didn't come to get me from the adult table even once! He is growing up!

This sweet girl- when she wants you to pick her up, she curls up her hands like this and then starts flapping her feet when you walk toward her. I'm so glad I got at least one picture of her doing it- you never know how long these things will last!

We visited the CUTEST book store in downtown Monroe called The Story Shop and Ryan got to pet baby chicks after story time!

The rest of our time there involved Natalie climbing and crawling and cruising...
...and Ryan sitting and reading books. They are SO different! 

Sweet girl (about to pass out!) with her new little stuffed animal that one of her cousins gave her

Back home and glad to be back with Tally- Ryan just finished climbing over Tally when I took this and Natalie was mid-climb... so not sure if the feeling was mutual for Tal ;)

Asking me to pick her up with one hand while she held on with the other- this is one of her new favorite spots in our driveway

The boys went on a hike Sunday afternoon while Natalie and I stayed home- Matt sent me this sweet picture of Ryan and Tally on the path together. Sweet buddies!

Ryan said, "Daddy let's sit her for a little while" ...love this boy so much!


Matt and I sat in awe as Natalie sat through 3/4 of story time before she realized she had been still for a realllly long time. It was so cute to see the two of them propped up there together and Natalie actually looking at the pages of the book with Ryan!

Same spot, different day

Yes, very random picture to close out this Life Lately post, but here's a fun fact for you:
Matt and I will be married for 10 years in November, and this past Sunday night was the first time we ever ate *just* salad for dinner. His had 3 pieces of grilled chicken on it ­čśé but we both commented and laughed as we realized we had never eaten salad as the main course for dinner. And as easy as it was, this will definitely be a new meal in our dinner rotation!

Later this week, I'll be sharing a recipe for Cilantro Lime Guacamole and some of my recent Favorite Finds, so stay tuned.

Hope you're enjoying some Spring weather wherever you are- Atlanta is gorgeous today!

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March's Mid-Month Confessions


Elizabeth and I are teaming up today to share our confessions will y'all!

You can check out her post here (and if it's not up yet, it will be later today!)

Here goes:

1-
I've said this before, but outside of writing this blog and understanding the very basics of HTML, I'm not tech-savvy whatsoever. I'm always the last to update my phone, I still listen to CDs, I've never listened to a podcast (and even though my car has bluetooth, I'm not actually sure how to even play a podcast, much less through my car), we still own a VHS player and I kind of miss going to Blockbuster to rent a movie.

So I'm not sure how or why this is happening, but for quite some time now, my phone has been giving me "parked car updates" when MATT'S car arrives at his office every morning. It is the funniest thing and I don't think I've ever even remembered to tell him it's happening, but I feel like such a stalker wife tracking my husband's moves throughout the day. Now I've kind of gotten used to it and actually like knowing he's made it there safely, but it's still so funny to me that MY phone is tracking where his car goes and when it arrives.

2-
Last month, Matt and I went out to dinner about a week before Valentine's Day and had to swing by the store afterward to pick up milk for the morning. While we were there, Hallmark cards were BOGO, so we stood there together in the card aisle and picked out each other's cards, going through a stack of different options saying things like, "Oh this is a good one, check this one out." Hah- such an example of this stage of life- but I couldn't pass up a deal on cards since they're nearly TEN dollars now- what?! Seriously, the card Matt got me was $8.99. Crazy! And side note on that, we've always been big on writing long notes in each other's cards for birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's Day, etc. and I've saved every card we've give each other for the last 15+ years. I love having those cards to look back on- especially the ones that are super cheesy from our early dating (okay most of our dating and maybe even early marriage) days. One day our kids will find them and surely cringe. ;)

3-
Two days ago, I was cleaning off Ryan's bottom after a big poopy, and he was standing up to make it easier for me. Natalie crawled over and tried reaching up for his penis and Ryan said, "No, Nonni, there's poopy on there." I scooted Natalie out of the way, finished cleaning Ryan, and as I was about to put his undies back on, he turned his hips toward Natalie, leaned them forward and said, "Okay Nonni, now you can touch it." Dy-ing laughing on the inside, I said, "Oh buddy, that's so kind (KIND?!) of you, but in general, you don't really want other people touching your penis, even your sister.

Oh the things you say out loud as a parent.

4-
I have been in need of new glasses for a LONG time- ever since Ryan accidentally broke my last pair before Natalie was even born. So rather than figuring out a time to go to the eye doctor and spending all of that money on the appointment and the new glasses, I ordered a pair off of an online site, literally paid $14.83 for them, and received them in the mail a week later.

Y'all. They are hilariously huge. Like not cute huge. Just huge. So I was wearing them the other morning when I went to get Ryan in the morning and he said, "Why are you wearing those glasses? I think I want you to take those off." And when I asked why, he said, "They just don't look normal."

Haha, true in fact. Out of the mouths of babes.

5-
I've been taking Barre classes this month for the first time and they are HARD! I also go to the early morning class that starts at 6:00 and am usually one of 5 people in the class, so the instructor is extra attentive. Wah wah. Never before have I been so glad I signed up for the 5 package deal instead of the 10-class option. And never before have I been so thankful that I have to do modifications on some moves for pregnancy. Bless that growing belly of mine for getting me out of some of those holds!


That is all for this month! You can check out my other confession posts here.

Later today we'll be heading to my parents' house to visit for a couple of days while Matt goes on a fun work trip. We haven't stayed at their house in quite a while, so I'm looking forward to it!

Have a great rest of your week!
And  don't forget to check out Elizabeth's post here.

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