Art Project: [These hands, big and small..]

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

For Father's Day, I thought it was time we started with some homemade gifts. Along with what I already had an idea for, searched Pinterest and came up with a little cheesy something to make for the Mr. While he was gone on a work trip, it was perfect timing to have some evenings to get it all together; we picked up some supplies and got T excited for the 'art project'.
We used these brasswood round plaques, washable kids paint, and in different colors, layered our hand prints on the wood. Easy peasy, well besides getting an 8 month old to lay her hand flat..

T had SO MUCH fun playing with the paint after we did his hand print, he kept asking for the rest of the week if we could do another 'art project'. We will definitely be breaking out the paint again soon!!
We finished the plaques with 'These hands, big and small.. Love YOU most of all.'

Seven Years

Friday, June 26, 2015

That itch, the SEVEN year one.. I guess there's such a 'thing'.
However, I'm thinking lucky number SEVEN sounds better..!!
This weekend is our seven year anniversary. It feels so crazy to say that, 'we've been married seven years.' It's like we should be all grown up and have it figured out since we've been at it for seven years..

  I'll be the first to admit I don't have it all figured out. As another year flies by, it seems so much has happened as our family grows, we work, play, and live. It's not always easy and I don't always handle the difficult or high-tension times with ease and/or grace; but like we said, for better or for worse.. I know I'm occasionally the latter, but everyday I will try to be better.
This marriage and life with you brings me so much joy. Thank you for supporting, loving, and believing in me. Thank you for this beautiful life.
This seven year itch is one I'm happy to scratch (eew?). :)
As always, I can't wait to see what another year has in store for us. 
Happy anniversary, my dear. xo

The Guy Behind the Blog // June

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Since first joining in last month, I definitely wanted to keep up, so guess who is eagerly back answering more questions..
The guy behind this blog, my Mr.
[Mr. // Me]

1 // What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on?
When we traveled to Europe.
Where all did we go?
Germany, Ireland, Switzerland. Austria, by accident..
2 // If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
Australia. Mate.
3 // Are there any summer traditions that you have or would like to start?
None that I can think of that we have already.. 
What about the annual camping trip?
Oh yeah, Lake Mac. I forgot about that one. (Lake McConaughy, Nebraska)
Tell me about that.
Oh, we go drive out to the lake, hang out for the weekend, drinkin' and hanging out in the water. Getting sandy.
Who all goes?
All my old basketball buddies and their wives/girlfriends.
Would you like to start new traditions?
Going 'Colorado' camping would be fun; somewhere we can go fishing, take Tyson fishing.
4 // The 4th of July is coming up…what’s a must-have picnic or BBQ food for you?
That's it?
It said 'what's a must have'.. Potato salad would be a good one. I'll be eating those green chile provolone burgers.
I thought you'd say, 'is beer a food?'
I'm answering the question honestly, it said food.
5 // Think about your ideal vacation…are you in a cozy cabin, camping in a tent, or hanging in a hotel?
I don't think it's about where we're staying, but what we're doing. Probably a hotel if we're in Europe, but we wouldn't spend that much time there anyway.  

There you go folks, travel convo over bottle washing with my Mr., it's got me really in need of a vacation. And makes me want a hot dog real bad (name that movie!).

Linking up with Betsy.

Being Catholic: [Going to Mass]

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ah, yes, the long lost Catholic series. UnFortunately for you guys, I'm back at it..
As Catholics, we go to Mass every Sunday.
We even base our babies' schedules around the Mass time we regularly attend. T was born on a Wednesday, we went to Mass on Sunday. Homegirl was born on a Thursday, we attended Mass that Sunday. So, needless to say, they've been going to church since day one three and four. Taking babies/toddlers to Mass takes some planning, preparing, and sometimes trial and error, but we have figured out what works for us and how to make it a pleasant routine each weekend.
Even though Homegirl is still learning to use her whisper voice (ha!), we start as early as we can instilling the expectations of acceptable church behavior.
Here are a few of the things that help us through our 1-1.5 hours in Mass with baby/toddler each Sunday.

Be Prepared
On our way to church, even at 1.5-2.5 years old, we talk to T like he understands (because he does) and go over what's expected and how we will behave - we'll use our quiet-church-whisper voice, shake hands and say hi to the priest/parishioners, make good choices, etc. Even though by now he knows this is what is expected of him, it never hurts to give a friendly reminder (as a toddler's frontal lobe is still a development in progress, if you-know-what-I-mean..).
The other most important part is quiet entertainment/activities to help keep them busy. At almost 3 years old, T still gets to have books/small toy at church, for Homegirl it's a pacifier and chew toy. With the mobile toddler age, it is especially essential to have something to keep them occupied as they aren't necessarily paying attention but rather staying distracted throughout the Mass. T's backpack includes a few books (bonus points for church-related), one or two toys (dinosaur, action figure, etc.), and a water bottle. We've learned what toys make too much noise and adjust accordingly for the next weekend. When T was younger, we would allow a small snack (since it was a regular time for that), however we do NOT give them the whole bag. We'd discreetly give him one at a time (goldfish/teddy graham, etc.), in order to avoid making a mess/scene.

Participate!! Make it fun!!
T has been very interested in the 'happenings' at Mass, so much that he often 'plays' church at home and will reenact alter boy responsibilities (carrying the cross, swinging incense, holding up a book). Not only does this make me extremely proud, but it shows he is paying attention and is getting something out of going to Mass!! We absolutely encourage this by 'playing' with him at home, and pointing out these things at church, or moving him to the end of the pew so he can watch the processional/recessional.
Although, it isn't necessarily a run-around-and-party atmosphere, we always strive to make it a positive and fun experience. We share with the kids our excitement to go to church, and we've seen firsthand, that is contagious!!

Try again
Babies/toddlers will cry and/or throw fits, doesn't matter where you are. There are times we need to step to the back or stand in the foyer. However, that it is not a time to play and/or run around. We simply step out to reset, and then go back to our seat to try again. We try to have whichever parent is closest take care of the situation; we try not to be a distraction and avoid passing kids back and forth and making a scene.
Some Sundays feel like a disaster--my palms are sweaty, I'm distracted by my kids who can't seem to sit still, it feels like everyone is staring right at this circus in our pew, and we seem to be the loudest things in the place.. Odds are it isn't as bad as it feels in that moment. Plus, there's always next Sunday. ;)

Matthew 19: 14 - ..but Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

(Similarly, these tips could be applied with a friend/spouse/boyfriend who is new to going to Mass. Maybe not necessarily the books/small toys, but perhaps a pamphlet or booklet outlining the order of Mass so they can follow along and feel involved.)

Some of THE MOST meaningful compliments I have received are from people at Mass, commenting how well behaved our children are, or what a good job they do sitting through and/or participating at Mass. It makes me so proud that a 2 year old can be an example to those around him, not to mention bring joy to fellow parishioners.

I know someday there will be a time when they won't be excited or want to go to church; but as I've experienced in my life, having parents who are consistent and foster this 'lifestyle' are setting the example and expectations for living our Catholic faith. By making it normal and part of our weekly routine, I hope we are able to build a foundation in faith for our kids also.

Toddler Talk

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Oops - I made a publishing mistake and accidentally reverted this post back to a draft. I'm hoping it will publish back where it should be, sorry if you're seeing this again..
Telling Homegirl, as the Mr. was putting a new sheet on his bed and he was helping 'build'..
T: Maybe someday you can build with Tyson and dad.

After supper, hearing the kids playing outside..
T: Rocco? (neighbor boy) Where are ya? We comin'!!

T: Oh blesh you.
Momma: That was a cough.
T: Yeah, blesh you.

T: Can I have an M an M?
Momma: Why?
T: Cause Imma makin' my good choices.

Sitting, playing the guitar..
T: And I'll sing hah-lay-loo-lah, ok? HAHLAYLOO-GOD!!

While reading a book together..
T: Let's see what's happening on the NEXT page!

In true toddler dialect..
T: Those are my crowns (crayons), they're for draw-ling.

Commonly asked after we say something to T..
T: Are you talking to me..?

Responding to Homegirl's jibber-jabber..
T: Whahtch you talkin' bout gurrl?
Telling me on the way home for the day..
T: You don't live at school with me. (Pause) You live at work.


Guest Post: [Brag On Dad]

Thursday, June 18, 2015

With Father's Day right around the corner, I was extra excited when Kary reached out to take part in her special series. I was also stressed and a little panicked because I'm an over-thinker I didn't even know where to start with the bragging, I wanted the Mr. to know just how much we think of him..

After getting married and settling into our life as a couple, I got comfortable, was having fun, and all of a sudden--even though I always wanted kids--felt unsure about starting a family. Why mess up this wonderful thing we have going?! Thankfully it was the Mr.'s excitement and encouragement that helped get me back on board and remember how much we wanted this. I always knew he was going to be an amazing father...
Head over to Always Painted, Usually Chipped for my guest post. Thanks again Kary for having me!! 

Enjoy the special men in your life this weekend, take some extra time to brag on them and let them know just how much they are appreciated.

Weekend Fun: [Party Going]

Monday, June 15, 2015

Where did that weekend go..?! Mostly we were just excited to have the Mr. back after yet another week-long work trip. This 'single-parenting' is not for the faint of heart, but thankfully T covered the 'man in the house' position and lived up to the responsibilities extraordinarily!! We've got it down to a science and get out the house for work/school in near record time, considering..
There wasn't much time for R&R upon the Mr.'s return as we had a packed weekend full of family and friends. Our nephew turned 2, and his mom (my SIL) put together an adorable Toy Story party.
 She had some props and a little 'photo booth' set-up, complete with disposable cameras. It's ridiculous how excited I am to see how some of those pictures turn out.
  Mean-muggin' and cute as ever // Daddy-kisses
CAKE!! // Party favors
Older brother/cousin were soooo helpful while opening gifts, as you can imagine..
We also had a dinner with some friends/kids, went to church, and did some shopping. The shopping trip marked our first 'missing child' experience. All are safe and sound, momma and dad were definitely more worked up than T who calmly said, 'Dad, I was looking for you.' My sweet, sweet boy.

Camera Roll Reminiscing

Thursday, June 11, 2015

You know the dreaded 'your storage is full' notice that pops up on your phone when you're trying to capture a picture or video of the cutest thing EVER..!! So frustrating.. After too many close calls, I finally got my phone backed-up and pictures downloaded.

Then comes the job of clearing off that camera roll.. Which instead, turns into a viewing and reminiscing session.  Even though they are now just on our computer, it's hard to delete - I don't want to NOT be able to carry them around with me!! This last time I was reminded of some special moments from the newborn haze/phase.
T has always been interested in and in LOVE with Homegirl. Those first days home were filled with lots of cuddles and lounging, just hanging out together as a family. I'd catch the proud big brother with his arm reached over, placing his hand so he was just touching his new little sister.
There were of course struggles along the way, including him fighting naps, which is very unlike him. So, if a nap wasn't happening or cut short, I'd get him from his room. He'd come sit by us, eventually leaning on me, or laying back, and falling asleep where ever we happened to be sitting and/or nursing, which is also very unlike him.
As I've mentioned, T tested us quite a bitduring the first weeks/month home with a newborn Homegirl. It brought exhaustion, tension, and even sadness for me. To see this 'big boy' so peaceful was reassuring, especially after times of extreme protest and tantrums.
These simple memories, I'm sure, will someday escape me; but at the the time of a major transition had me soaking in some snuggles from my first baby (who all of a sudden seemed especially BIG) and enjoying this budding sibling and family relationship.

First Marshmallows of the Season

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The past month+ has been very Seattle-like gloomy/rainy around here, then all of a sudden that sun decided to show his roast-y face and oh, it feels good!! Our last Sunday dinner included lots of cousin-fun outside, digging in the sandbox, roasted marshmallows and lots of sticky fingers.
Oh, and the cutest little camo ruffle-butt I've ever seen. 
Bloomers: Gift (local, handmade) // Bow: ZoZuBaby c/o