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Monday, December 12, 2016

Happy Monday, friends!! Right..?!
We have a company Christmas dinner party (at The Broadmoor), a preK Christmas program, and a double-date night with friends to look forward to; soooooo, I'm kinda pumped about this week.

Today I'm over at Whitney's blog, Work It Mommy, as part of her Mommylogues series, a fun collection of mom bloggers, sharing their journey in and stories about motherhood.

Check out my post here. I get a little honest about what motherhood is like for me and share a few of our new family photos (by Allison Easterling Photography).

Simple & Festive: [Christmas Cards with Tiny Prints]

Monday, December 5, 2016

Oh, it's the MOST wonderful time of year - the calendar is packed, the lights cast the most perfect glow, and no matter how dark and cold it is, I'm always game for checking the mail in hopes of finding a festive card with greetings and smiling faces from loved ones.
As much as I love to receive cards, I LOVE to send them as well. However, this year, I'm all about keeping it simple and easy, yet festive. Tiny Prints to the rescue. With Tiny Prints, it was a smooth process tagging favorite designs as I sorted through the specific themes/styles (FOIL-stampedglitter!, classic letter press), having the ability to see our picture in the cards as I scrolled through, and all sorts of custom options.
This year I couldn't resist the custom envelopes and personalized stamps. I love the simplicity of addresses already printed and extra fun details to send off to help spread holiday cheer. We of course went with the 'Merry Christmas' message foil-stamped on one of our new family pictures, and I just LOVE them!!
Disclosure: These products were provided to me free of charge, all opinions and desire to keep it simple are my own.
Check out Tiny Prints HERE for current promotions and make it easy, yet festive, on yourself this Christmas season.
Merry Christmas, friends!!

A long weekend in Portland: [Part 2]

Sunday, December 4, 2016

[Check out the first part of our long weekend in Portland here.]
Saturday we had more plans to explore (waterfall day!!) and a new place I wanted to try for breakfast, Tasty & Alder. We arrived about 20 minutes before opening (since I knew it was a popular spot). Sure enough, there were already a few groups ahead of us and by the time they actually opened, the line was wrapped around the building/block!! The menu was unique, very eclectic - small plates that you order to share, just not your typical brunch menu. We started with a chocolate potato doughnut with creme anglaise - melt in your mouth, I could've eaten a dozen!! Then a biscuit breakfast sandwich of sorts and the Tasty steak and cheddar eggs, served on a cornmeal pancake in cast iron. Let me tell you, these flavors have my mouth-watering as I think back to it, such great seasoning and flavors, all cooked to perfection.
After breakfast, we grabbed another latte and headed out to see some waterfalls. Thanks to tips from Karra, we knew to expect a super-touristy visit to the first one and a more off the beaten path second stop. First, we checked out Multnomah Falls. About 30-45 minutes outside of Portland, we parked and rode the shuttle, which was a great idea as parking closer was a MESS during this particular time of day (we unfortunately didn't heed Karra's advice of going early, sorry we had to eat first, ha!!). Once we saw the falls in the opening, it really was cool, with the bridge mid-way up fitting into the scenery seamlessly - very picturesque!!
We made our way through the crowds, walked up to the bridge, snapped a few pics, and headed back to the shuttle. I don't want to downplay the beauty of this waterfall, it was gorgeous!! 
Don't let these pictures fool you, it was just way too crowded. Karra suggested if we went, don't stay too long, that the other one was way better, so we went on our way to Wahclella Falls. To get to this waterfall, it's about a mile out 'hike' and MUCH more exclusive, in comparison. 
Again, this place was hard to leave as it was SO refreshing, invigorating, yet calming, and just plain beautiful. It was such a gorgeous and special little corner of the earth that we had the privilege to come upon. There were rocks and logs and perfect places to just sit and take it all in. There was a rock right down in the water, about 25-30 yards from the waterfall that you could climb to and stand RIGHT THERE, so. refreshing. It was beautiful.
We headed back into Portland and it worked to swing by another place I wanted to try, Por que no? taqueria. There was a line out the door, but it moved quickly and was worth it!! We grabbed a few tacos, chips and guac, and drinks. I'm pretty sure these were the best little street-style tacos I've ever had - DEFINITELY the BEST corn tortillas ever!! 
We were on that side of town, so we tried out another brewery Dan had his eye on, Cascade Brewing. They make mostly sour beers so it was a good opportunity to have smaller portions and try what they have to offer.

When we first booked our trip to Portland, Dan sent me a link to an outdoor grotto/church where they held Mass, it looked awesome so I was excited to add it to our itinerary. It ended up being a beautiful, peaceful, and perfect ending to our trip.
The Grotto has a large, perfectly beautiful statue of Our Sorrowful Mother - equal parts heart-breaking and calming; this place holds a special place in my heart and I'm so glad we were able to visit. We had a late afternoon flight out so we made the outdoor noon Mass, walked around the grounds and Stations of the Cross, then headed to the airport.
It was one of the best long weekends seeing a new part of our beautiful country and spending one on one time together; it was SUCH a gorgeous place and the food was out of this world..!! Of course one of the best parts was getting back home to our babes and back to 'normal'. 
Looking forward to planning our next adventure..!!

A long weekend in Portland: [Part 1]

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Mr. and I had been talking about taking a trip, just the two of us, for the longest time. We finally booked a long weekend to Portland in early September.
Each view was the most beautiful and every meal was my favorite, it was a much needed (and appreciated) getaway!!
We decided to do a long weekend trip, getting into Portland late-afternoon Thursday and leaving in the afternoon Sunday. This ended up being the perfect amount of time!! We had talked about what we wanted to see/do, plus I did all sorts of searching online, consulting with blog friends, and looking up every recommended place around - I was armed with a list and we were ready to go!!
Our hotel was a splurge but was totally worth it for the prime location - we stayed at the Sentinel, right downtown Portland. The staff was friendly and very helpful, great amenities, and the decor was absolutely perfect (I was in love with every green detail). It was centrally located in a part of downtown that was well-kept.
We got in with time to get settled then headed out for a bite to eat, we got to Deschuttes Brewery Public House just in time to get a great table and the beginning of the Broncos game. Their food/menu ended up being one of the best for what we saw at other breweries and we enjoyed our time in the hoppin' joint.
Friday we had plans to drive out to the coast so we were up and at 'em early. We went to Mothers Bistro for breakfast, it was a cute setting with chandeliers to die for. The wild salmon hash and crunchy french toast were highly recommend and DEFINITELY lived up to the hype, such great flavor!! 
We were only a few blocks away from the river, so we walked over to check out the view. The air was crisp and felt wonderful, as we mosied through the morning hustle and bustle.
On our way back to the hotel, we grabbed some Blue Star donuts and Stumptown coffee for our trip out to the coast. Yum and yum!! Another definite must if you're ever in town.
We were about 30 minutes outside of town (on the 90 minute drive) when a dash light came on and we soon found a nail in our tire.. Thankfully we were able to find a relatively close place to switch rental cars and be on our way again. It was a blessing in disguise, as we arrived in Cannon Beach after the lunch rush, pulled up to the Wayfarer Restaurant, requested the best seat in the house, and were greeted with the. most. amazing. view. of Haystack Rock - one I had been wanting to see for years..!! It was simply breathtaking and had me a little emotional as we were finally there, a place I had wanted to go to for the longest time and now we were sitting, enjoying a lovely lunch together, with the most spectacular view..!! Bucket list item, checked off the list!!
It happened to be high tide, which was fine, the water as rough (and cold!). The beach was gorgeous, the wind was strong. We walked around, took a few pictures (even in the most direct sun, harsh conditions), and just enjoyed being there. It was hard to leave, I kept turning around to take in the view, one last time.
It was such a gorgeous place!!
We also swung by Pelican Brewery's local pub in Cannon Beach for a cold one, then headed back to Portland. Cannon Beach was a cute, quaint little beach town, it would be a perfect place to spend a relaxing weekend!!
That night we hit up Oven and Shaker for pizza, drinks, and people watching. We went with the spicy salami pizza - it had just the right amount of spice mixed with a honey drizzle that actually, totally worked!! I'm already a sucker for pizza, but this one was DELISH!!
We stopped by Fat Head's Brewery on the way back for a few samples (and more people watching). Although not native to OR, it was worth the stop if you've never tried their stuff.
Although Haystack Rock is hard to top, some of the most beautiful (and yes, delicious) things, still to come - to be continued..

Painting Pumpkins

Thursday, October 27, 2016

After checking out Meghan's post, 'How to Host a Pumpkin Painting Party', I was inspired to let the kids dip in some paint and beautify some special little pumpkins.
This was, by no means, Pinterest-worthy, like Meghan's; and by 'party', for us it was more of an 'after-nap activity'. Either way, it was a hit with the kids and I loved watching them in action!!
After Homegirl's party, the table was already covered with paper so I figured it was a perfect time for the activity. Equipped with some dollar store paint and brushes, we stripped the kids down and let them go to town.
Their personalities took over - Harps grabbed a brush as soon as she was able, dunked it in the paint, and started swiping away on her pumpkin!! Tyson made sure his pumpkin was turned the right direction and started dipping, mixing, and creating his masterpiece.
Special thanks to Grandma Stacie for the perfect little pumpkins!!

A Puppy Party: [Homegirl Turns Two]

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

This past weekend we had the most perfect, simple, little puppy party for Homegirl. The gift we ordered for her didn't make it in time and I almost forgot to make a cake, but it all worked out just fine and we had a great time with family.
Since Homegirl loves to pretend she's a puppy, we decided that was a cute and fun theme for this year's celebrations. We, of course, started the day with a traditional donut birthday breakfast!!

Those sweet eyes, that button nose, the whispy hair, and her plump cheeks have me smitten as can be and constantly mesmerized; she's rough and tough but so adorable and sweet!!
The super-soft and loveable puppies from Ikea were a MUST, then we got a few other puppy-themed supplies from the Dollar Store. 
Did I mention, simple..?!

I made puppy chow, filled another dog bowl with Reese's Puffs cereal (to look like dog food), and had Scooby Doo graham cracker bones to snack on (but then kinda failed to take pictures of everything, oops).
Cousins and their puppies!!
Good heavens, I love this girl!!
The day was easy and full of sweet moments and memories..

A sweet little face covered (from cheek to cheek, and nose to chin) in chocolate frosting, because she ate her donut from the top down..
The spontaneous 'happy birthday, Harper!' from Tyson throughout the day (and how he asked if 'her name was still Harper' and if she could 'talk now?', you know cause she's two..?!
The sweetest, 'wwwwoooooooooww!' each time she'd open a gift.. 
The way she laid out and cozied up with her new pillows from Grandma..
Her first princess stuff - jewelry..!! Helpful big brother checking out said jewelry and putting it all on for her.. 
The way she kept shaking her head to feel her new clip-on earrings shake..
They way she blew out her candles with ALL her might..
How she'd crouch down and check out the little faces and floppy ears on her new puppy boots..
Her tiny little voice saying, 'gank-goo' (thank you), when someone would tell her 'happy birthday!'..

I still can't believe our little girl is already TWO!!
Happy Birthday, Harper Ann - we love you so much!!

A few favorite Homegirl posts:

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Annual Birthday Questions: [Homegirl Turns Two]

Friday, October 21, 2016

..And just like that our little Harper-noodle is turning two..!!
This weekend we'll celebrate our favorite little sister, the one who can burn your soul with her stone-cold stare, then a second later melt you into a puddle with her hugs, cheek kisses, smiles, and giggles. She's our little sour patch kid and has brought so much spice to our family.
It's also time we start annual questions with Homegirl; it's a fun way to document what she's into, (eventually) see how she'll respond, see some favorite pictures from the past year, and have a fun little peek back on how she is at these ages..

(This year we'll be answering for you since I can't imagine you'd have much interest in this for now.. Plus your response to most things these days is, 'NO! Gank-goo...' (No, thank you.). Sour. Patch...)

What is your favorite color?
Yyyyyyellowww!! - Everything is yellow. And all shapes are 'trrry-angles!'. You don't identify/know all your colors but you can sort shades and match like a pro.
What is your favorite toy?
The obvious little sister answer is, 'anything your big brother has'.. but really you're not that into anything in particular. You love anything you can tuck under your arm and carry around or grip in your little hands and take with you wherever you go.
What is your favorite stuffed animal?
Anything you can get a hold of and you squeeze next to your side in the corner of your elbow, choke-holding the animal as you continue to run around and play. Right now, you sleep with a light-pink little stuffed pig, you affectionately call 'piggieeeeee!'
What is your favorite thing to sleep with?
Along with aforementioned piggy, you sleep with your little square purple pillow that Grandma made you, an a+a swaddle blanket, a wubbanub, and a regular/plain pacifier.
What is your favorite fruit?
Any fruit, usually, but depends on the day. This is definitely your favorite food group. But no skins, please. So high-maintenance, so cute..

What is your favorite cereal?
You like most all dry cereal, I think you call any/all kinds 'cheee-ose' (Cheerios).

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Bacon! And fruit, any kind of carb, especially if it's sweet.
What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
Oh, you are a stubborn, picky eater!! You live off milk and carbs, and chips. You'll eat a cheese quesadilla, lunch meat, pizza, sometimes.. You have a new-found LOVE for sour cream..

What is your favorite dessert?
Any kind of dessert is your favorite dessert, and of course you ALWAYS have room for dessert.
What is your favorite drink?
'Milkeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!' You'll drink water too.
What do you want to eat for your birthday dinner?
You'd be good with just some cake, but we'll probably have a pizza party since you're like your momma and always down for that.
What is your favorite animal?
Puppy. You love to get on all fours and pretend to be a puppy, even down to crawling up and licking us. 'RRRRRRRRRUFF!'
What is your favorite book?
You've really started to sit and flip through books on your own. You'll sit in your room and pull out each one from your basket, flipping through each page. The way you hold your fingers to flip the pages is the cutest. Your favorite are books with flaps, you're known to rip a few off here and there..
What is your favorite song?
Anything Tyson sings is your favorite song. You'll quiet from a tantrum, calm down in the car, and stop crying whenever you hear him sing. Literally. It's my favorite thing. You've also started to fill in words when we pause, the first was to 'Yankee Doodle', singing with Daddy, and it melted my heart. Your little singing voice is the sweetest.
What is your favorite game?
Peek-a-boo - the way your little hands cover your eyes then enthusiastically fly into the air as you holler, 'PEE-A-BOOOO!' and the occasional little sneaky-peek from your eyes between your fingers makes it my favorite game too.
What is your favorite tv show?
You aren't particular and will watch anything, as long as you are sitting RIGHT beside your big brother.
What is your favorite movie?
See above - anything, as long as you are sitting RIGHT beside your big brother.
What is your favorite thing to do outside?
Especially right now, you LOVE to pick up crispy leaves, crunch them in your little hands, then throw them and pick up another.. Or, crunch them up in your little hands and keep them there until you get inside and then leave a little leaf-crumb trail behind you..

Who is your best friend?
Oh, no question - Tysie, Tyson, brother. You love that boy something FIERCE.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Haha, a boss..!! You WILL be whatever you want, and you'll be it with passion.

Happy 2nd Birthday, noodle!!
We love you so much, Harper-girl!! You bring SO MUCH joy, sass, and silliness to our family. You've got us all wrapped around your fingers and we wouldn't have it any other way. Looking forward to another always-interesting year with YOU!!
Daddy, Momma, and Tysie