Friday, March 30, 2012

Dear Kole

Oh my sweet little Kole.  You are two years old today buddy!  It's hard to believe - the last two years have flown by so quickly.

I was just bringing you home from the hospital admiring your perfect little head and features and thinking of how you were just all boy.  Even as a newborn.  And so incredibly perfect.

And now in the blink of an eye you are suddenly a toddler.  An adorable, active, mischievous, cuddly, smart, (did I mention active?) toddler.  You are still all boy and I have loved experiencing parenting all over again in a different way.

Things you are loving right now...

-Trains, cars, blocks, and puzzles.
-Dumbo, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and The Wiggles.
-Opening and closing the garage door (we do this multiple times every day).
 -Opening and closing bedroom doors.
-Walks with mommy in the stroller.
-Eggo waffles, pasta, sweet potato puffs, and strawberries.

-Doing laundry.  It's your favorite thing!  Probably because we do so much of it together.  :)  You love having the warm clothes tossed on you.  You pull me into the laundry room all the time and lead me to the dryer so I'll open it and throw the clothes on you.  Sometimes there isn't any clean laundry to fold and you get so upset.  Luckily this isn't the case that often!
-Bedtime - you have always been such a good sleeper Kole.  You give me no problem at all when it's time for your nap/bedtime.  When I pick you up and say it's time for bed you cross one little hand over the other arm.  Your sign that you're ready to wind down.

-Cleaning and taking photos with mommy.  Since you're home with me all the time you get a taste of my world every day!  We clean a lot together.  You love it and are always such a huge help.  :)

We take photos for the blog and you have become such a ham!  I love it.  

You have a special way of making my photos much more interesting.  :)  

-Your pacifier.  You only use it when you sleep and once in a while if you find one laying around the house.   I need to get rid of it soon.  Waiting for the right time and frame of mind for that one!
-Reading stories with mommy in the rocking chair (favorites are Wheels on the Bus and Good Morning Good Night).

-Playing with your sisters.  It always makes me laugh the way you park yourself right in the middle of things when they are playing.  You like to feel like you are a part of the action!

-Stacking blocks and doing puzzles with daddy.  You love it when daddy comes home from work!  You run and hug him and he scoops you up and then you won't let him set you down.  :)

-Playing at the park.  Actually playing around the park - in the trees, bushes, and parking lot.  You basically go everywhere you're not supposed to go.  Of course.  :)

Things I want to remember...

- I love how social you are Kole.  You always look at us right in the eyes to make sure we are watching you.  Sometimes you take your little hands and move our faces right in front of yours.  It's impossible not to smile when you do this.  You like our full attention.  At all times!
- You are such a mommas boy and follow me around everywhere!  We do everything together.  Everything.  You cry when/if I leave you and aside from babysitters once in a while I don't leave you much!  It's pretty rare to see one of us without the other.
-I love the way you take us by the hand to guide us to what you want.  You aren't talking much yet Kole.  Well, you "talk" all day long, but only say a couple of real words.  We've started some behavioral and speech therapy and hope that it helps.  I have gone from totally stressed out over this, to not worried at all, to worried that I should be more worried!  Time will tell how big of an issue this is, but deep down I know that you will be just fine.  I think you just like to do things on your own time line.  And stress your parents out in the process.  :)
-You are such a problem solver.  Even though you don't talk I can always tell how much you understand.  Your little wheels are always in motion and you surprise me daily with how smart you are and how much you are learning.
-You are extremely cuddly!  It's one of my favorite things about you.  You love to hug and snuggle in close to me.  At night we read stories and you let me rock you.  I close my eyes and try to hang on so tightly to those moments.  I focus on what you smell like and how it feels to hold you close.  I know our rocking days are numbered and they are moments I will never forget.  

Juggling life with you and your sisters has been a challenge for me the last two years.  There have been times, especially during difficult moments, that my mind has wandered back to the days before you were born when things were calmer, more orderly, and overall just easier.  And then I immediately get a lump in my throat at the thought of my life without you in it.  Deep down Kole I always knew I would have a son someday.  I always knew you were meant to be a part of this family.  And yes, you are in a busy stage of life.  You climb on things you shouldn't, pull your sisters hair, dump food all over the kitchen, and scream when you can't do exactly what you want.  Sometimes throughout the day you make me feel frustrated, upset, and overall just tired.  But you also have a smile that lights up the room.  And a personality that is impossible not to adore.  And often throughout the day you also make me feel happy, loved, and overall just incredibly grateful.  I am so grateful for you Kole.  We had a scare soon after you came into this world and throughout that whole experience all I could think about was how much it meant to me to raise you and your sisters.  To be here with your daddy to see you become an adorable, active, mischievous, cuddly, smart little toddler.  I thank God every day that I'm still here and that our scare didn't happen before you were born.  I thank Him every day for you Kole.  You are so special to me and I love you more than words can express.  Happy birthday sweet boy!



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Hutch

Sharing a few pics of my Spring Hutch today!  I didn't change much.  Just moved a few things around and added some greenery.  

See the pitcher in the pic above?  It was a Home Goods find for $12.  I love it.  Then I decided I loved it even more when I was shopping in Anthropologie the other day and saw this oh so similar pitcher for  $28.  :)  Isn't it the best when that happens!?  In fact, I was feeling so good about the money I saved on my pitcher that I decided I had more to spend in Anthropologie.  Basic math, right?  Isn't it the best when that happens too!?  ;)

 I even found a new home for my little birds.  They love this Springy time of year! 

 They also love my Home Goods wanna be Anthro pitcher.
In fact, they're having a friendly little conversation about it right now.  

That's a wrap on my Spring Hutch post!  

BTW - It's just short of a miracle that I was able to take these pictures.  A certain someone was all too willing to help with my photo shoot...

Ok.  Now that's a wrap.

Happy Spring everyone!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kole's picture spotlight

My baby is turning two this Friday!  Kole is my last baby and when he turned one I was extremely emotional.  In fact, I cried so much that Kole had to take over my blog to write his own birthday post.  ;)  This year I feel like crying too.  Tears of JOY!!  Ok - in all seriousness I am so sad to see my baby getting bigger.  But at the same time I am so happy to leave the year of the one year old.  Next to newborn land it is my least favorite stage.  Yes, one year olds are absolutely adorable.  They have to be.  It's the only way their parents can survive them!  :)  I actually love age two - still adorable but more talking and understanding and the ability to entertain themselves for longer than three seconds.  I have yet to find anything "terrible" about age two so this year I say bring out the birthday hats!!  

So for the month of March I took down Ellie's birthday spotlight...

and put up Kole's.  I sat down at my computer one night and thought I'll just take a few minutes and round up my favorite pictures of my little buddy.  An hour later I had around 40 pictures that were all my favorite - no joke.  So I carefully narrowed it to 20.  Then finally narrowed it down to 12.  This kid may be the third, but if you saw the amount of pictures I've taken of him you'd never know it! 

  I also added a couple of pictures with me in them.  Because, well - March is my birthday month too.  And let's face it, Kole and I are pretty much a package deal.  You don't find one of us without the other.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Organized Bathroom Drawers

Sharing my bathroom drawers today!  The master bathroom is one place that can get unorganized in a hurry, isn't it!?  I've had my bathroom drawers organized the same way for the past ten years and I LOVE my system.  Love it.  Every once in a while I clean the drawers out and maybe move things around a bit, but the system stays the same!  So I present to you my beloved system... just in case you want to make it your system too.   

I use these Rubbermaid interlocking drawer organizers from The Container Store in all of my bathroom drawers.  I always buy mine at The Container Store, but every once in a while I see them at Target.  I love them for several reasons.  I love that when they are put together they fill my drawers almost completely maximizing every ounce of space.  I love the way they link together creating one complete unit full of lots of mini compartments.  I love that they are cheap to buy so I can replace them if/when they start looking dirty.  And I especially LOVE that I can create so many different configurations with them making them work for me and my specific needs.  Want to see what I mean?

Here are just a few ways you can organize these fabulous compartments!  If I didn't have three little people who constantly need my attention I could have created and photographed different configurations all. day. long.  Aren't they fun!?  Mix and match - match and mix.  Everything links together.  So many different sizes.  So many ways to organize your things.  I can't exactly explain the happiness I feel when I look at the picture above.  Like everything is right with the world.  :)  

I keep our most used bathroom items in a cupboard on the wall (deodorant, hairspray, etc.), but everything else I use daily goes in my bathroom drawers.  Here's how I have my organized configurations configurized.  (I'm so happy about this post that I'm making up my own words.  Although Kenny would tell you that I tend to make up my own words regardless of my mood.)  

Top drawer is where I keep my make-up and hair brushes (nice and clean now!).  Razors are in the back so that little fingers can't reach them.

I have two of the mini organizers inside of a larger organizer to separate the girls elastics (because half of the time I end up doing their hair in my bathroom) and my beloved cherry ice chap stick - which I can't live without and keep in stock at all times.  I can't find it anywhere I regularly shop so my mom buys it for me in Utah.  Every time she comes to visit she brings me some to replenish my stash.  Love my mom.  Love cherry ice chap stick.

Second drawer holds other odds and ends.  Toothbrushes, some hair accessories, Q tips, and shampoo samples (because I'm always trying to find my favorite).  Yes I wear contacts and yes I realize that is an insane amount of extra contact containers.  Ha!  I get a new one every time I go to the eye doctor and I suppose I could get rid of a few of them.  But I don't.  Because I have room for them and I love the color green.  I also keep a sticky pad and a pen in this drawer because when I'm taking off my make-up at night I ALWAYS think of something I need to remember to do the next morning.  It's so handy having a notepad and pen near by to jot yourself a little note before bed.

For my third drawer I use two of the largest organizers.  This drawer holds my headbands and is also a random catch all of for extra stuff.  

My fourth drawer contents tend to change.  This is where I like to keep my curling irons and blow dryer.  But when I have a child under age 3 in the house my fourth drawer looks like this...

The idea is that while I'm getting ready in the morning Kole has his own stuff to play with in the bathroom (and curling irons are out of reach).  Of course he'd much rather reach into my drawers to play.  And who could blame him?  Why play with a train when dental floss is so incredibly interesting? 


In the mood to organize your bathroom drawers?  Just a few tips...

1-  Dump out all of your drawers (I like to grab a towel or sheet to dump everything on).
2 - Get rid of anything you aren't using.  (If it's a maybe I might use this someday item... toss it!)
3-  Assess what you have and put things in categories.
4-  Buy/find/create organizers that maximize your space and work for your needs.

5-  If your organizers don't fit your exact drawer dimensions and you want to keep them from sliding around in the drawer, use Velcro to hold them down OR stuff a few paper towels in the back of the drawer.  Both methods have worked for me!
6- And if your organized drawers make you so happy that you want to take pictures of them to share with other people who love to organize as much as you do?

Then slap your hair back in a pony tail, stand on a chair (to get the best view possible), and have at it! 


Have a great week everyone!

p.s.  You can see how I organize my girls' bathroom and hair accessories here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My little helper

Happy Friday everyone!  I don't have time to post much - we have been busy this week working on our landscaping plans!  I'm so excited to have a yard.  My kids have way too much energy and need a place to burn it off!  We've also been busy this week organizing and decorating.  

And by "we" I mean me and my little helper.  

This boy has mad vacuuming skills and can clean out a closet like no one's business.  

The two of us have lots to share next week! 

And in case you're wondering, I am thinking about renting Kole out if you need a little work done around your house.  He doesn't charge much.  Just give him a vacuum or broom and maybe a few fishy crackers. Then sit back and watch the magic happen!  


Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Clean brushes and blog headers

How often do you clean your hair and make-up brushes?  I was flipping through a magazine last week and came across this little article...

It says you should wash your brushes out every two months.  Oops.  I think I may have gone a bit longer than two months in between washings.  (Maybe two years?)

So I immediately cleaned the hair out of my brushes and let them soak for 10 minutes in warm water with a little shampoo.  

Then I figured while I was at it I'd clean my make-up brushes too.  Those I actually DO clean every couple of months.  Just rub a little shampoo into the brush and they clean up beautifully.  Nothing like starting the day with clean brushes!  Thought I'd share in case there is anyone else out there who (like me) needs a nudge to clean out their brushes.  :)

Oh!  By the way... I've had a lot of questions lately on how I make my blog headers and buttons for the sidebar of my blog.  I explained it a while back in this post:  BLOG HEADERS.  Aside from explaining how I create headers you can also take a look back at all of my headers I've created since I started blogging (I just updated this post).  Except for my Winter 2011 header.  It's lost somewhere on my computer and it's driving me nuts that I can't find it!  I'm off to continue hunting it down.  I don't handle things being out of order very well.  :)  Anyway - clean your brushes and make a blog header.  Or don't.  Either way - have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Buttons and a Carpool Party

Hi everyone!  Popping in quickly to share two new buttons I added to my sidebar...

I finally got around to adding some links so you can follow me on Pinterest or see what people are pinning from my blog.  (Click on these buttons on my sidebar if you're interested.)  It's so fun to see what people are pinning from my blog.  It's never what I expect.  Some of my most popular pins have been recipes.  HA!!  Who would have thought...   


Gotta run.  My day to carpool.  Gearing up to listen to Party in the USA over and over.  That's right.  It's a party when you enter my van.  And you better believe that I'm rocking even harder than all the girls.  (I added that song for the 2nd graders but truth be told, I like it as much as they do!)  My kids aren't old enough to be embarrassed by me yet so I'm living it up while I still can.  I added my tunes to the sidebar.  Click on Party in the USA.  Go ahead.  You know you want to.  That's right.  Hands over your head.

(nodding my head like yeah... moving my hips like yeah...)  

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Let's talk jeans

Alright ladies.  Let's talk jeans!  If you've read my blog for a while you know that I have a minor (ok - major) obsession with designer jeans.  Kenny gave me my first pair for Valentines Day four years ago and I've said before that if he only knew what he was getting himself into he would have opted for chocolate instead!  :)  Since I started writing my Fashion Friday posts, I've have received many e-mails asking me jean related questions (mostly regarding designer jeans).  I'm certainly not claiming to be any sort of jean expert, but I'm happy to share my favorite designer jeans along with a few overall jean tips I have learned along the way.  Fun!!

First of all I just want to say that I know not everyone is in a place financially where they can afford to buy designer jeans.  When Kenny and I were living in Virginia while he was going to Law School I was working three jobs (teaching school, tutoring kids after school, and working nights at a clothes store in a mall) just so we could pay our bills and keep our debt down.  We would go grocery shopping late at night and see the "Night Help Wanted" sign on the grocery store door and he'd tease me about applying because who needs sleep and I could sure use another job.  I know.  Hilarious right?  At least he amuses himself.  One morning my $5 eye liner from Walmart broke and I totally started bawling!  I knew I'd have to wait a week until I got paid again to get new eyeliner.  So yeah, even though I'm not there now, I've been in a place where $200 jeans would have been out of the question.  And I don't think that you have to have $200 jeans to look good.  Hardly.  BUT.  If you are in a place financially where you can splurge on something for your wardrobe and you are like me and live in your jeans, I do think that designer jeans are well worth the money.

So what's so great about designer jeans that makes them worth the money?  Try a few pairs on and you'll quickly find out.  Great material with just the right amount of stretch.  Designer jeans are tailored to fit your body so much better than regular jeans.  The bottom line is that they accentuate the good and improve the bad!  And if you find the right pair for your body, you will look so fabulous in them that you will never want to take them off!

Here are my favorite brands of designer jeans (click on each link to check them out):

7 for all mankind  
These are three different styles of Sevens.  The the pair on my right was my first pair of designer jeans.  I've had them for almost four years and they still look good!  Sevens are my favorite designer jeans and the reason I love them so much is because they work the best on my body type.  The pockets always have fun designs and they are flat which helps minimize the booty.  Which is good for me.  And for my booty.  :)


Hudson's are another great brand and they are extremely popular.  They are known by the flap button pocket on the back.  These seem to be a great pair of jeans that look good on almost anyone.  They sit at a good place on your waist, the low pockets are flattering (they practically cut your booty in half!) and the boot cut at the bottom makes your thighs appear thinner.  Always a bonus, right?


The material used for Paige jeans is incredible!  They do NOT feel like jeans at all.  So soft and comfortable and they fit your body like a glove.  I have worn my dark denim Paige skinny jeans more than any other pair this winter.  They go with everything!  Paige jeans sit a little higher up on your waist so you aren't dealing with that annoying low rise.  I don't think Paige jeans make you look as fantastic on the back side as the two brands above, but they do have a flattering fit.  And like I said, they are super comfortable.  (**Side tip: A dark denim wash like this is extremely slimming!  A must have in your wardrobe - especially for Fall/Winter.)


Joe's are another great brand of designer jeans to check out.  I couldn't find a picture of me in my Joe jeans, but I have this pair of Joe capris that I LOVE and have lived in every summer for the past three years.  Another brand that fits like a glove and are extremely flattering.  (**Side tip for capris.  They can make you look short which isn't good, especially if you already are short like I am.  :)  Look for a pair that sits not too far up from your ankle and wear them with a heel or wedge - something that gives you some height and you'll look longer and leaner.)

True Religion

True Religions are another really popular, fun brand.  I don't own any True Religion pants, but I do own this pair of True Religion shorts.  Definitely the most expensive pair of shorts I've ever bought.  Definitely worth every penny.  I have had these for four years!  And have lived in them in the summer time.  I'm thinking it's time to replace them, but they have been a great summer staple.  When I tried these on I hadn't looked at the price tag.  I saw my thighs in them and thought I am SO buying these! - then I saw the tag and gasped out loud.  But it was too late.  I'd already fallen in love.  My thighs had never looked so thin!  Notice the way the wash is darker on the inside and outside of my thighs.  That and the thick stitching - which is signature True Religion - creates the illusion of a thinner thigh.  I'll take it!  :)

Now True Religion are actually NOT great jeans if you have a booty.  Their huge signature pockets accentuate the butt so they are a great jean if you have a flat butt.  I really shouldn't have bought these.  But like I said, I fell in love with my thighs!  So I try to only look in the mirror in the front when I'm wearing these shorts.  ;)  

Another fun, popular brand.  No picture to share, but check out the link to see their fun looks for Spring of 2012.

There are so many amazing brands of designer jeans.  The ones listed above are just the brands that I have grown to love.  If you have another brand that you love, please share in the comments!

A few other jean related questions:

Any ideas on jeans for those of us who don't love the ultra low waist?

I would recommend trying Paige and Joe's for a higher waist line.  I have also heard of jeans Nordstroms sells called Not Your Daughters jeans that have a higher waist line.

Any ideas on where to find jeans for less?  

If you really want a pair of great fitting jeans, you are going to have to pay a bit more for them.  One brand of jeans that aren't quite as expensive that I love are called Silvers.

I bought this pair at Nordstroms and they were around $70.  This picture is from 2009 and I still love these jeans.  In fact, I wore them so much I wore a hole in one of the knees.  :)  Another tip for finding jeans for less is watching for sales.  I buy most of my jeans at Nordstroms and I have found some great deals during their big Anniversary sales.  My skinny Seven jeans that were regularly around $180 I bought for $100 during a sale.  Now that was a happy day.  :)

Do you ever get your jeans altered and does it look weird if they have to be hemmed?

This is a GREAT question!  I have had almost every pair of these jeans I shared altered!!  YES!! Alter your jeans!!  Most designer jeans are made super long so you find a pair that fits you great in the front and the back, and then you get the length altered.  I know.  It costs another 15-20 bucks, but when you are spending that much on jeans, what's another $20 to make them fit you perfectly?  I have also had MANY jeans altered in my waist.  I find a pair that is flattering for my butt, and then have them taken in at the waist if they are too big there.  You don't need to wear jeans that fit you great in one area and not the other.  One of Stacey and Clinton's biggest tips on TLC's What Not To Wear is to ALTER YOUR JEANS!  You can take them to any tailor's or in stores like Nordstroms, they have a tailor who works at the store that will do it for you.

**A few tips - When you are having the length hemmed, make sure to try them on for the tailor wearing the shoes you plan to wear most of the time with the jeans.  In the picture above, these shoes are NOT the ones I had on when I got these jeans altered and you can tell the jeans are a bit too high for them.  Jean length should barely touch the ground in the back.  This makes you look taller and leaner.  So I have different pairs of jeans that go with different shoes.  Another tip is to WASH the jeans once before getting them hemmed so that they don't shrink after you get them just the right length.  Also, regarding designer jeans, it is always better to buy them a bit snug (try on a size smaller than you normally would).  They stretch a lot when you wear them so it's best for them to be a bit tight at first.

Where can I find cute, stylish plus size jeans?  

Try Not Your Daughter's jeans.  I know they have them at Nordstorms and they come in all sizes.  I have heard great things about them!  I'm hoping to try them on sometime soon!

What are the most flattering, slimming jeans in your opinion?  And do you think women with a little thicker legs should wear skinny jeans?  If so, how do you think is the most flattering way to wear skinny jeans?  

The most flattering, slimming jeans for me are Sevens, but that's obviously not true for everyone.  If you are ready to spend a little money on a great pair of jeans I would recommend trying on LOTS of brands.  I seriously try on so many pairs when I'm looking for new jeans.  Each brand and style fits differently and you'll never know what you look the best in until you try them all out!

Good question about the skinny jeans!  Skinny jeans DO tend to accentuate your legs and thighs and to be honest, when they first came out I swore I'd never wear them for that very reason!  But even if you think your thighs are too heavy for them, I'd give them a chance.  If you find a good pair that fits you well, skinny jeans can often be even more flattering than bootcut.

Another tip I've learned is to pair skinny jeans with some bigger boots.  The boots help even things out and you aren't seeing the jean tapper so small at the ankle which can make your thighs appear larger.  In my opinion, that is the most flattering way to wear skinny jeans.

When I was pregnant with Kole I bought two pairs of jeans (one skinny and one boot cut) and the skinny jeans ended up being WAY more flattering than the bootcut jeans.  I always paired them with boots and even though my thighs were getting bigger by the minute, the skinny jeans still looked better.  :)  (If you're pregnant, you can read my tips for maternity clothes here.)

How do you keep your jeans looking crisp and wrinkle free?
I never dry my jeans in the dryer.  I always wash them on cold and hang them to dry.  As far as wrinkles, I can't help you with that one.  I have three kids and avoid ironing at all costs.  My clothes are never wrinkle free!  :)

Oh my goodness.  That turned out to be a book.  If you stuck with me through that post you are a champion.  Or just really bored.  ;)   If you have any other jean tips to share, please do in the comments!  Also, if you have any other jean related questions I'll answer those in the comments too.  Now go spend a fortune on jeans and look fabulous!  You're worth it!!

 (Just don't tell your husband you heard that from me.)