Friday, February 3, 2017

recent bits of us

Dear Naptime Diary,

I'm sorry for the way I have absolutely allowed you to disappear into the depths of time with nary a thought of the laundry I should be doing.


PS: I'm also sorry (and not sorry at all) for the Thin Mint disappearing act.

Earlier this week, I stumbled upon a list of unfortunately appealing kindle books that were on sale.  I only mention unfortunate so it seems that I am sorry, because my list of to be read books is growing at a rapid rate.  I did manage to read seven books in January, which is probably more than I managed to read the whole first half of last year.  My favorites of the month were:

Everything, Everything was a very light and quick read.  Small Great Things was quite the opposite and still has me thinking about it. 

Last weekend was crammed with various adventures - the girls each had a turn with their daddy for their annual father/daughter dance.

There have been so many changes since their first dances, but they still look at their daddy the same way.  It's such a special tradition, and I hope they cherish it forever.

This year, we added a dance performance for Ruby to the weekend, which made things a little bit complicated.  Could we all just stop and have a moment of silence for tiny Ruby?  I cannot believe how much she has grown, as a kid, and as a dancer.  She told me she was nervous to perform, but she did SO good.  I dropped Luca off with my sister and hardly knew what to do with myself as I sat in the audience and enjoyed every single second of it without chasing or wrestling a crazy two year old.

Sunday rolled around and brought church.  That was the end of the productivity.  My sister came over and we binged on Netflix and pho as if we didn't have anything better to do.

Oh, I did manage to cut Eisley's hair.  This kid.  Once she gets an idea into her head, there's no hope of ever prying it from over eager little mind. 

The nostalgic side of me desperately wanted to hang onto this hair, because we have been working on growing any significant amount for nearly six years now (!!).  The rational, 5 minutes late side of me knew this would be a blessing of time and patience.  The thing is she would brush her hair halfway, all the way around and said she couldn't reach the rest.  So then she had this...bird's nest which resulted in morning drama.  So, goodbye six inches.  By the time you reappear, may Eisley's arms have grown so we can brush our hair without tears and stomping. 

 In an effort to not be so governed by a lengthy to do list, I have generally used my mornings with Luca as a slow start to the day.  I enjoy this time with him so much, and lately, I think even more.  He has grown a lot as a little person lately - his vocabulary and his understanding.  We can have conversations and set up an elaborate train route.  I love the way he hears trains outside and yells,"Hear that?  COME ON!" as he pulls me to the window to watch.

 This week, I did manage to finish up our recipe organization, I filed away keepsakes, and I enrolled the girls for school next year (third grade?!  hold me.)  I also managed to sneak away for some much needed friend time to celebrate a sweet friend's birthday the best way that we know how - reality television and bacon wrapped lil smokies.  It's how I know I'm old now - I go to these things and then spend the next 4 days catching up on sleep.

I am going to IF: Gathering with my friend Erin this weekend which I am SO excited about.  And having ZERO care about the superbowl this weekend means one thing: friends and food.  The end.

Happy February and Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Jimmy and I have been "collecting" recipes for years now.  It began as somewhat of a magazine hoarding tendency.  We would look through magazines and dream about various recipes, and then it turned into a guilt trip about throwing magazines away.  So, stacks of magazines began their transformation. 

The favorites have been torn out and placed in page protectors, and then they are placed in the appropriate section in a binder.  Now, they are organized, easy to flip through, and I can get rid of the rest of the magazine.

As I mentioned here, I like to choose small goals for myself for the new year.  This year, I decided I was going to start actually making these recipes that have been sitting in binders for um...years.  (It's been so long, there are multiple chicken recipes.  We haven't bought chicken in about 2.5 years due to Eisley's allergy.)

Honestly, we probably need to be knocked down a couple of notches, because at this point we are feeling pretty dang good about our dinner decisions.  Magazine recipe tearing out?  Consider us practically professional.

I should have been more diligent about photographing our fun little cooking adventures, but it was an afterthought.  I do want to share the recipes because not only have they all been delicious, but they all have been easy.  All pictures have been taken from their corresponding link and any recipe changes have been noted below.

(we used brie because it's a huge favorite around here - this dish was a hit at our NYE and a family Christmas get together.
So, I know there have been jokes about the impossible task of finding some crazy ingredient in Ina Garten's recipe, but I can assure you that these ingredients are a) not hard to find and b) worth every effort.  We have made this twice now.  SO good!

This recipe was unlike anything I have ever made before.  I liked it.  We all did, actually.  And I was a little worried about the sausage being too spicy, but it wasn't at all.
Slow cooker meals are always a huge bonus.  This was SO good.  I did not use as much paprika, and I finely diced my onions.  We also add cheese to our BBQ sandwiches because we are weird like that.
There you go - all of them tried, true, and delicious.
Stay tuned for more.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2017 and life lately

 I know of several people that choose a single word in place of a lofty list of resolutions.  I like this idea, and support my one word with various personal (small) goals.  I like having one word as a theme, and a gentle reminder for the course of the year.  I wouldn't have said my word was blatantly obvious on New Year's Eve, but as the days have gone by in January, I have had a continuous reel of thoughts revolving around it.

For myself, for my children, for my husband.  For my friends, for my imperfect home, for the piles of laundry I didn't get around to, the goals I didn't quite accomplish.  For the rude stranger, for the mistakes that happen every day.  For my imperfect self, for my lack of ability (and desire) to spread myself in every possible direction.

I have been thinking a lot lately about way I want my life to look.  How it looks to balance serving others and serving my family, to be able to say no and not feel an ounce of guilt over it.  A friend just posted this last night, and it resonated so deeply with me, as it so accurately summed up my thoughts.

Here's to peace and the knowledge that we are enough this year.  Even when we say no to others.  An unapologetic approach about the place we are in life. Grace.


 so thankful for the quiet moments we had over Christmas break.  Luca is in a really fun stage where I can't leave the room - thank goodness for the ergo.

 We had Christmas at my dad's this month - the Hatchimals were a huge hit.

One night, Eisley had already been tucked into bed.  She came downstairs and told Jimmy she just wanted to dance with him.  One doesn't say no in a situation like this.  Thankful for these little precious moments and that my kids get to have such an amazing daddy.

21 months apart--oh, my heart.

I'm on a mission to find THE BEST DOUGHNUT RECIPE.  So far, I haven't found it.  There have been some delicious ones, but either they aren't quite right or they are good and don't keep.  It's on my short list of goals for the year.  Share if you have this golden secret!


 And a couple of little things I don't want to forget:

Luca has this toy lizard - one of those ones that feels cringe-worthy.  The other day, I stepped on it and thought I was going to die, before I realized what it was.  Anyway, he has taken to placing whatever parts of his meals he doesn't wish to eat inside of its mouth.  Thank goodness, they have been found quickly.

The other night, I went to my friend Erin's house for a shameful night of The Bachelor and junk food (sanity reset!). When I got home, I was in Eisley's room laying out clothes and kissing her goodnight.  As I was finding something inside of her drawers, I looked at her sweet little notebook laying on top of the dresser.  She has had this notebook for a few months now, and she carries it around and writes as she feels inspired.  I began flipping through it and promptly had to leave the room as not to wake her.  I laughed until I had tears streaming down my face.  One of my favorite things about the bittersweet passing of time is that I have always been able to find something that makes that age my favorite.  I love the innocence as she figures out how to write and read.  Her notebook is full of so many random things.  One of these days, I'll tell her it's too full and she needs a new one, at which time, I will tuck it away to bring smiles later.

 I had no idea she was in the marines or else I would have been sending care packages and encouraging letters.  She has evidently taken up a little bit of Spanish, and she finds her brother to be funny while she remains appropriate.  And bodacious?  No words.

Friday, December 30, 2016


So many parts of 2016 seem fairly ordinary, and some even more into the just surviving territory.  Because if you have been around Luca or five minutes, you know he never stops moving, and not only does he never stop moving but he also doesn't sleep well at all. At times, it felt as if I kept piling things on my plate as my sleep became even less.  It was a definite adjustment!

In it's entirety, 2016 was a blessed year. We spent time with family, near and far.  We welcomed our brand new niece.  We grew our family by a puppy. Ruby made the performance dance team at her studio, and we are still figuring out what exactly that commitment means.  She loves it, and it has been a fun year for growth.  I ventured solo with three kids to Florida when Luca had croup.  Two friends and I had the brilliant idea to make the trek to Waco, Texas to see what the Magnolia hype was all about - so many memories. We took our annual trip to Missouri for the 4th of July, and celebrated our 9th year of marriage.

The end of the summer wrapped up swimming lessons and brought Eisley's surgery, right before she started kindergarten and Ruby started second grade.

Then football started and life became a tornado of chaos when we suddenly found a house we couldn't live without and decided we should move!  We are still sorting out things from our move, and making our house into a cozy space, but as we all know, life went on anyway.  We celebrated birthdays and holidays, and planned a surprise vacation, because we like to live with our plates on the full side.

Something I am so grateful for this year are my friends - so many of my moments of happiness are with my friends, and I'm thankful for them and also the realization that they are a precious gift to me.

At the beginning of this year, I wrote down words that spoke to me - ones that I needed to focus on for the year.  Some have been a great work in progress, some have been a success, and some of the others, well, I just need a do-over.

One of my favorite things that I chose to do solely for myself this year was to read more.  It's something that I love to do, and it has simply gotten lost in the shuffle of life.  I didn't read an impressive number, but in comparison to recent years, it was a good start.  My favorite book of the year (and a runner for all time) - The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

The new year alwaus holds promises of surprises.  You never know what little pieces of your life are about to unfold, the new things you'll discover.  I love that I get this chance to make some promises to myself, recognize what I need to work on, and dare myself to get outside of my comfort zone.

Here's to a happy, healthy, and joyous 2017.

Some of my favorite things from 2016:

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


I have no actual clue how 2016 is wrapping itself up at this point.  With a surprise move in the middle of football season and then so many events right on the tail of that, we have had little downtime.  I'm looking forward to a calm New Year.  I actually really enjoy this time of year to reflect and reset - to realize my priorities and what needs realigned in my life.  This time of year is the slowest time of year, too.  Empty schedule, holidays are behind - it's the simple life; just being together without distraction.  And nowhere to be.

Our December hardly seems like it was longer than a few days - we had a big surprise planned for the kids.  It turned out to take up quite a bit of mental room to make sure we kept it under wraps, all while getting properly prepared.  On top of that, I had to take care of all things Christmas before we left on the 9th, so it all was a bit of a whirlwind (and SO worth it!).

I'll attempt this in a concise manner, but our month was jam packed and I want to remember all of it!

 birthdays are always the best excuse to go and try new places.

 Ruby had a dance performance at the mall -we went from there to church where the girls sang in the choir.  Chaos!

Ruby got some birthday money in November and asked me how many Beanie Boos she could buy with the money.  I thought to myself she must be kidding, because we already have an entire zoo of them here.  As it turns out, she had no intentions of keeping any of them for herself, and instead wanted to use her money to go and buy them for the kids that would be stuck in the hospital for Christmas.  Oh my, my heart.  She graciously included Eisley, and together the two of them went and purchased $150 worth.  They wrote a note for every single one and we delivered them to our Children's Hospital.  I'm so proud to be their mama. 

Which brings us to this lovely night.  Haven't laughed that hard in a long time.  I'm thankful for the precious friends in my life.  We got together for a little Christmas party where I also need to mention that 4/6 of us received Lularoe leggings (#momlife).

Luca's first little art project - so precious and he was SO proud!

Finally...vacation time!

As you quite plainly see, our main priority was food.  We ate a lot.  Cruising with little kids is not quite a week of relaxation in the way that it is for some, but no cooking, no cleaning, no taxi driving - it was still a nice place to be.  We stopped in Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, and Cozumel.  We didn't do much of anything at the first two - highlights included fish pedicures and drinking out of a coconut.  In Costa Maya, we found a place to sit on the beach and eat HEAVENLY guacamole and salsa while the kids played in the sand.

Cozumel was our favorite - we swam with dolphins, snorkeled, and watched a sea lion show.

It's normally sort of a downer to get off of the cruise ship.  Not this time:

 Right around this point in the car, I gave the girls a box to open - inside were our magic bands.  It was so fun to hear the excitement as they said, "best surprise ever!"

We have never stayed on Disney property when we have gone in the past, so it was neat to experience that this time, especially at Christmas.

We crammed a lot into our three days at Disney, and had an amazing time! By the end of our vacation, I was so ready to be home - to finish up Christmas things and just enjoy our family traditions.

(can we take a moment to realize that this is the first time since 2010 (I think) that there has been no crying in our Santa pictures?!  My babies are growing!)

Our Christmas was wonderful - I am SO thankful for these special moments with my family.  These traditions and these moments through their eyes are so beautiful.

We're ready for you, 2017.

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