Friday, September 4, 2015

Oh heeeeeey, first day!

Ooooo happy day!
Yesterday Jaymi's boys and Logan started back to school, and as you can see, we were devastated.

This year, we were nothing but smiles all around on the first day! Much has changed since I dropped Logan off at Mother's Day Out for the first time two years ago. Come kindergarten, I can promise you I will be singing a different tune though.

This morning went great! We were all up early and ready to leave way before it was time to go. (This NEVER happens at our house.) Logan's clothes were ironed, his lunch was packed the night before and we arrived at school on the dot of 9 a.m. What I'm saying is, we have basically peaked for the year. It's all downhill from here.
Logan loved his first day and had lots to say about it. His favorite thing was playing with the toys, and he couldn't stop talking about how in the lunchroom they have to set their lunch boxes under their chairs. "Can you believe that?!?" he asked me. 
I am so excited for him- I think he's going to have a great year, and I just love his teachers! He is at the same school, but this year will be his first official year of preschool (rather than Mother's Day Out) so there will be quite a few changes. Since Everett was born, I've picked him up every day at 12:00 so both boys could nap at home. This year he will be staying at school until 2:00, and they no longer nap. In addition to chapel time and music, this year he will go to science class and "movement" class. He gets to eat in the lunchroom this year and play on the big playground now, too. They also start doing more school stuff with the kids, which I know he is going to absolutely love.

I was thrilled when I picked him up this afternoon, his teacher said, "He is SUCH a sweet boy! He was so well behaved." These were the exact same words his teacher at museum school said over the summer, and as a parent that is a huge relief to hear. I know this deep down, but over the past six months I've often wondered if we derailed.

And then there's this monkey...
It will be fun to hear what his teachers say about him one day! I'm sure it will be great things, but very different kinds of great things than his big brother. 

When I took this picture he was sitting on the kitchen counter eating a snack with me. All of a sudden he stood up on top of the counter and said, "Flip!" and bent over like he was going to do a roll right off the island! You can see I'm grabbing onto one of his legs and his shorts, just in the nick of time. I'm probably the least nervous mom there is, and still, this one gives me mini heart attacks at least twice a day.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Clean Up Your Life In < Than 5

You want to know what's almost as much fun as running around stores with your soon-to-be-husband scanning things you want other people to buy for you? 

My new favorite app. Meet THINK DIRTY. (If you think your husband's eyeballs won't pop out of his head when he sees that app on your phone, think again.)
With Think Dirty you can scan barcodes on cosmetics and personal care products around your house to see how they rate on the dirty factor. The cool thing is, you can click on the rating and it tells you exactly what's in the product and why it's bad.

"This info can be hard or impossible to find, since many products don't include ingredients listings (they aren't required to by the government, and claim 'trade secrets' are more important that you and me knowing exactly what's in the stuff we slather on our bodies every day). Products that aren't ingested aren't held to the same standards as food or drugs, and many of the chemicals used in everyday products have never been tested for safety..."

It's addicting you guys! You start scanning and you just can't stop. It's surprising what's toxic and what's not. 

This one killed me. Mrs. Meyers! Total greenwashing on this company's part. BOO!! And Aveda?!?! Not Aveda with the water wells in Africa and what not. I thought Aveda was so clean. But no.
Another one that got me was Johnson's-- the baby wash was a 9 and the baby shampoo was a TEN!!! (HERE is an interesting article on Johnson & Johnson worth checking out.)

If it makes your head feel like this, then read on:

The problem becomes two fold:

1) Most of us don't have a personal money tree (and do have somewhat of a conscience), so dumping our entire collection of beauty products and replacing them with cleaner alternatives isn't an option. 

>>Instead, try switching out one or two things a month or gradually over time as things run out. If you swap even two products total, it's better than what you were doing before isn't it?

2) We want to use stuff that works.

>>Below I have hilighted three companies {though there are many} you can check out. Most of these companies have products that work well, cost about the same as the stuff you're already buying and offer a return or exchange if you don't like their products. What's to lose??

To date, Europe has banned 1,100 chemicals in cosmetics; the Food and Drug Administration in America has banned only ten. 

Here are some companies worth checking out:

Check out my friend Laura's page for Ava Anderson Non Toxic

Check out my friend Whitney's page for Beauty Counter.

Check out my BFF Jessica Alba's page for The Honest Co. 

Young Living also has a variety of personal care products- leave a comment and I can give you more info.

>>My last and final factoid: Seriously, peeps, if you do nothing else check out your sunscreen and your deodorant. It's not pretty. (And kindly don't spray your Banana Boat spray within breathing distance of my babies at the pool. Mmmmmk, thanks!)

No guilt. No judgement. We're all just trying to get by and do the best we can do at the time. XOXO

As always, this post is not sponsored and solely represents my own opinions. Should Laura or Whitney want to throw me a free sunscreen or moisturizer, I wouldn't hate it. =)

Graphics Source: Google and Think Dirty

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Logan's Lingo: A Furry Friend

Here are some 3.5 year old funnies as of lately.

-We were driving in the car listening to Taylor Swift's Bad Blood. "Mom," he piped up from the back seat. "This is the sickest song I ever heard!!" I have never felt more like I was raising a 15 year old.

-Knock knock jokes. Allll the day long. About 60% of them make no sense at all. Logan loves him a knock knock joke.

-I used to tell him I loved him to the moon and back. Now he has reversed it back on me and tells me, "Mom... I love you allll the way to the moon and alll the way to the sun, and allll the way to 'The' Rosemary Beach and alllll the way to the Texas "Tech-t" game and alllll the way to the woods." 
Those are some far away things! That's alotta love!

-The other day he had a doctor's appointment, and I told him he wasn't being left behind at home with Everett. "That's a relief!" he said.

-I thought it was SO sweet he asked me to wear a certain dress and my hair curly to meet his teachers.  He loves this one purple maxi dress in my closet that I never think to wear. Almost every day he examines what I have on and tells me how pretty I look or that I'm "way too pretty," I can't say I hate this. ;)

-I thought it was also sweet, he was talking about Everett and said, "Mom, if we didn't have a baby, I would be sad and I would want a baby just like Everett." 

-He loves watching YouTube videos about monster trucks. He can tell you the names of over a dozen Monster Jam monster trucks (something foreign to me before having a little boy) and all about each truck. Today he wanted me to make a video of him talking about all of his monster trucks and the attributes of each one. He lined them up in rows and carefully described each truck while I recorded him. When we watched the finished video he was tickled and said, "That's adorable!!"

-On Sunday night we were driving home from having dinner at Andrea & Chris's. He was examining the little blonde hairs on his arm and announced to us, "Well... I'm gettin some fur guys. That's because I'm growin up." I haven't laughed that hard in five years.

Monday, August 31, 2015

"All I Do Is Win, Win, Win..."

Life with three boys equals a lot of time spent on courts and fields of all types.
Drive. Focus. Determination. Go Orange Dragons!
Saturday morning was Logan's first soccer game! From the pictures, it looks like it went pretty well. In reality it was pretty much less than stellar. 
He's been sooo excited about all of his soccer gear and counting down the days until his first game. Then, naturally, the first game rolled around and his socks felt too itchy/it was blazing hot/sunscreen got in his eyes/the coach chose another soccer ball for the team to use instead of his. All the makings of three year old worst case scenario. I'm sure game #2 will be better. You just never know what the day will bring when you're raising a threenager! 

Nick also had a box at the Rangers game for his work this weekend. We took Logan and met some other families there and had a great time!
Logan had napped that afternoon (always a key factor in behavior for him) and was just in the funniest, most fun mood. He LOVED watching the game and eating all the junk food, and we had a blast with him!
There was another little boy named Jack who was Logan's age, and they were our entertainment for the night. Chris Farley (Jack) and David Spade (Logan) had us all in stitches during the last part of the game. They were being hilarious and feeding off one another, and they knew it. 

Jack's unintentional pose... I just had to. 
While we were at the game Andrea & Chris baby-sat Everett for the first time. Judging by the fact that he woke up the next morning asking for them instead of me or Nick, it's a safe bet that he had a blast being spoiled by his aunt and uncle.

We also went to watch Nick's softball game, and the boys had fun cheering for Nick and playing in the dirt. Of course, Logan had to wear his cleats, too.  

On Friday morning Logan had meet the teacher at his school. For about three days Logan had been asking me if I would wear this particular dress and wear my hair curly when we went to meet his teacher. When I walked out in the living room wearing the dress, the way his little eyes lit up and he kept circling me saying, "Mom! You're so pretty! You're way too pretty!" touching my dress-- I told Nick, sorry but you don't stand a chance against Logan. Little boys definitely steal their moms' hearts!
Later we went back to school shopping, and Logan insisted on trying his clothes on in the dressing room and of course, was so particular about everything we bought. Long gone are the days of smocked jon jons and here to stay are the days of Under Armor and Nike.
Under Armor, Nike and sports.... I am living the boy mom life!

Monday, August 24, 2015

TCU Music & Other Adventures

Thanks for all of the comments about three year olds and sleep! It's nice to know we're not alone and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

My favorite comment was from my grandma Scat who texted me and said, "I read your blog and it reminded me of someone I know that now has two boys... Had there been a blog back when, your mom and I would have written the identical words. Just chill out and be patient, you will survive and one day wonder where the years have gone!! I just let you get up and eat Fruit Loops-- it worked!" It may just come down to Logan and I eating Fruit Loops together in the middle of the night. You never can tell.

I feel like I should make a PSA at this point in time. Do you guys use rinse aid in your dishwasher? Just like, regular old Cascade Rinse Aid that you pour in the slot that isn't used for dish soap? I feel like I have spent all these years of my adult life missing out on one of life's best kept secrets. We got a new dishwasher last week because our old one caught on fire. That's another story for another day, but if you didn't think dishwashers could catch on fire, I'm here to tell you otherwise. I spent eight painful days feeling like this:
So finally, the guy from Lowe's came with our new dishwasher and as he was leaving he said something about the rinse aid. I didn't know what he was talking about, and he looked at me like I was crazy. He left me with a small sample bottle, and I'm telling you- game changer right there! It's the little things, right? But really, our dishes have never been cleaner. You pick up a plate or a fork, and it's almost like you are blinded by the shine and sparkle. I'm sure replacing a 12 year old dishwasher had something to do with it, but I'm giving most of the credit to rinse aid. Seriously, were we the only people not using this stuff? This is me now:

Today was Everett's first day as a student at TCU!
Eighteen years went by in the blink of an eye!
He is about two weeks shy of the age cut off from going to Mother's Day Out this year, so I wanted to think of a couple of fun things to do with him while Logan is at school. I ended up enrolling him in a music class at TCU, which will work perfectly because he and I can go to that every Monday while Logan is at Museum School down the street. Today was Everett's first day, but Logan doesn't start for a few more weeks! I was cracking up because it's just a regular Music Together class like they have almost anywhere, this one just happens to meet at TCU. But you have to register through the TCU website, and Everett got a student id number and everything. I think it's going to be a lot of fun!

After music we went up to Nick's office to have lunch. As we pulled in I was thinking how much easier it has gotten doing this with two kids. I remember the first time I brought both boys to Nick's office Downtown, it was totally exhausting. I felt the same way the first time I took Logan to visit as a baby, too. Parking and walking and schlepping all that gear... it just goes to show, things get easier and we get better at being moms. 

In Nick's office Logan found some putter covers and slid them on his feet like little elf booties. Nick loves when we come and dismantle his office. 

A stunning family picture- definite framer
And this was Everett when we got home. He has never once done this in his life. I picked him up from his carseat and he was still snoring with his head bobbing as I carried him to his room. Being a college kid is tough work!

This past weekend was easy breezy, which was a nice change of pace. Other than church, spending some time with Al & Teri, and going to the Vestal's to swim and barbecue we didn't do much of anything. 

We did have to tell our beloved baby-sitter Emilee bye, as she left to go back to College Station on Friday. I am equal parts happy + excited for her/ sad for us. 
The boys and I walked down the street to say goodbye and drop off a little gift for her, and I came pretty close to tearing up. She has really become like an extension of our family this summer rather than a baby-sitter. 

Hand delivering gifts in his Corvette = future heart melter

We had a strange cool front that blew through for a couple of days at the end of last week, so we spent lots of time outside! It was great!

Everett is making some big progress with walking, he is now standing on his own and taking several steps. I would say for sure he will be walking any time, but we've been saying that for about four months now so who knows! I'm so proud of the progress he's making!

My twin cuties!!

All day I've been thinking about my teacher friends out there (and my mom starting her 27th year of teaching!!) and all the moms sending their kids back to school. I have so many girlfriends whose kids started kindergarten today. I am just loving all the back to school pictures!! Each new school year is such an exciting milestone!

B&W Images Source: Google Images

Friday, August 21, 2015

Love, Two Tired Parents in TX

I'm just going to be honest. God has smite me once again.

Did you guys ever watch Super Nanny back in the day? Nick and I used to love that show. If not, here is the premise:

Supernanny is a reality TV program about parents struggling with their children's behaviour. The show features professional nanny Jo Frost, who devotes each episode to helping a family where the parents are struggling with their child-rearing. Through instruction and observation, she shows the parents alternative ways to discipline their children and regain order in their households.

So it would be like, a Tuesday night or whatever, (of course this was pre-kid days) and Nick and I would cuddle up on the couch and pop some popcorn and watch Super Nanny. "Oh! I can barely even watch this!!" I would say. "These poor train wreck families! These horrible parents! These ruined children!" 

Then Nick and I would proceed to blame the parents and say judgmental things and give all sorts of advice to the TV, because CLEARLY we were awesome parents before we had kids.

So here's the thing. I'm pretty sure now, we could actually be on Super Nanny. Like no joke.

Parents who are struggling with child-rearing? CHECK
Attempting to regain order? CHECK
Struggling with child's behavior? CHECK

I've said it a million times, I'll say it again: THREE YEAR OLDS ARE NO JOKE.

I have a feeling if I were watching Super Nanny in present time, I'd just nod my head in understanding. I would maybe even get a pen and paper and take notes. N'ary a judgmental word one would pass by my lips. (Okay, well maybe a few, because some of those parents were just BAD, but that's beside the point.)

We are struggling SOOO much with Logan's sleep right now. It is a total beating.

We do all the things. Every single one of them. I've watched the experts' videos online and reread chapters in parenting books and most of all, just sat and talked to Nick about what to do and thought and prayed about it. I have a freaking college degree and part of a Master's degree in KIDS for goodness sake!

So mostly, we do what all the books say, when they come out of their room at night to calmly walk them back in without saying a word, to put up a baby gate if they keep coming out, have a structured routine.... yes, yes we do that. We literally do all of that.

We've tried discipline. We've tried being more compassionate and giving more cuddles. We've tried tweaking schedules. It probably sounds like what we haven't been is consistent, but I'm telling you, that's not it either. We've tried something for a while and when it hasn't worked, we've reevaluated and tried something else. What we've been is professionals at this thing. What we have NOT been is successful.

It's been a host of sleep issues in the last six months really, ever since he decided napping was optional. The one at hand is Logan coming out of his room 15 times when we put him to bed at night with every excuse in the book and more recently, having playtime in the middle of the night. We have found him twice in the past week just playing in the middle of the night. Downstairs, every light in the house on, iPad and toys out... WHAT ON EARTH??? Who knows how long he's even been awake? So we told him we would have to put a baby gate up to remind him to stay in his room, and sure enough, he figured out how to jimmy it open. Now, we have to figure out how to get smarter than that.

The problem is that, like most 3.5 year olds, he's no longer napping every day. The interesting thing is, on the days when he takes a nap, he sleeps great at night. (And he is about 1000x more enjoyable and decent of a human being to live with.) But on days when he doesn't take a nap, that's when our problems arise. So clearly, it's an issue of being overtired, but try as I may, I've learned you simply cannot force a person to nap.

I can be sure he stays quietly in his room for an hour- he will do that every day- but as far as falling asleep goes, it's dicey.

So, to all the parents and children featured on Super Nanny, I send you my deepest apologies and condolences and I just want to say, I'm right there with you. My kid is officially THAT kid sometimes (a lot of times), just like your kid was once, and it sucks.

Super Nanny, we will fly you back across the pond tomorrow and pay you in golden rupees if you can help this mess of sleeping situation that is our house.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

IKPi Weekend 2015

One of the highlights of my summer was the annual IKPi girls' trip this past weekend!
IKPi (Pronounced Eye-Kay-Pie) is my group of college roomies/sorority sister BFFS. Last summer we went to the coast after Natalie had just had Christina and we were all kind of stunned and hurting everything felt so raw, and so when I came home, I sat down and wrote a post about our group and what we mean to each other. I won't go into all that again, but you can read it HERE if you missed it last summer. All that to say, these girls are my people. They get me and know me like only a handful of people on the planet do, and we have such a unique bond I am forever grateful for. Liz wasn't able to make it this weekend, and we sure did miss her!

Anyway, several years ago after all the weddings and bachelorette parties died down, and we realized we weren't getting together as often anymore, we decided to make an annual IKPi weekend in August. The first year we invited husbands and kids, and suffice it to say, that was the first and last year of that nonsense. Oh we had a great time that summer, no doubt about it, but there are just too many other needs to attend to when it's not just girls. Not to mention, there is a certain level of transparency and honesty that gets sacrificed when boys and toddlers get thrown in the mix. We wised up, and now we go away from the husbands and kids for a girls' only weekend. I look forward to it all year long!

This year we went to the hill country (or the wine country, as Erin called it) to visit Jenny and see her new house! Natalie and I left around lunch time Friday and arrived at Jenny's that evening. 
REUNITED!!!! {Minus Liz- we really, really missed Liz a lot.}
We wasted no time getting right to it- chips, dips, drinks and girl talk!

We ordered dinner at a local Italian Restaurant that night and spent the evening hanging out around Jenny's kitchen table.

Later, Erin and Casey disappeared and reemerged with a surprise performance for us all!
In college they were Kappa Pickers, which is our sorority's singing group. They wore overalls like this ^^ and sang catchy little tunes during rush week and for men's fraternity rush and events on campus. 

The big joke is, I tried out for Kappa Pickers and am maybe the only person in the 100+++ year history of Kappa to be cut. HA. HA. Yep, I literally have the worst singing voice on the planet. Even Erin and Casey couldn't save me. They all love to give me a hard time about it, but I'm not bitter at all. Not one tiny bit. ;) 

So anyway, Erin and Casey dusted off their overalls and did a whole surprise performance for us, kazoos and all. We were just dying laughing! Casey even had a set list in her pocket written in Erin's handwriting from years ago. I'm pretty sure that would be called an artifact by this point. They did a great job, and DEFINITELY still have it! They could go rush some Sigma Chi boys next week, no question about it. 

After that we put on our pj's & horse heads, and Jenny pulled out our IKPi DVD. Senior year she didn't have finals and she spent hours and hours that week compiling all of our pictures (printed pictures out of albums, of course), scanning them, and making this DVD set to music. It's like all of our college memories in one spot and just the best treasure!

Saturday morning Casey manned the "caffeination and hydration station," as she called it. It was much needed.
Then at 10:00 we loaded up in the limo Jenny had arranged to take us on a tour of the wine country. The fine Texas wine country.

Gnomes for all!
The scenery is just gorgeous there! It is nothing at all like Dallas/Ft. Worth or Houston. For some odd reason it wasn't stifling hot and we had a nice breeze, and it was just the best day!
Me, Jill & Casey- Team Blonde
Erin, Jenny & Nat- Brunettes & Redheads
Jill & I
Erin & I- seriously look at that background!

So we spent the afternoon doing lots of this--
And this--
And of course, some of this--
"And now I've seen it all," the limo driver declared when we pulled out the horse heads. Shenanigans aplenty, always.

Around 5:00 the limo driver dropped us off at a cabin on the river where Jenny's boyfriend Chad and his daughter were staying for the weekend. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing in the river and eating delicious BBQ Chad had picked up for us.

Saturday night it was back to Jenny's for more of the usual- snacks, card games, drinks and girl talk.

While I was gone Nick stayed with the boys and definitely polished his Dad o' The Year trophy. Seriously, he is just THE best. He is an amazing dad, and I am so appreciative that I can leave on girls' weekends and not even have to think twice about leaving the boys. (Although come football season, things will get pretty Even Steven around here.) This was the first time I've left the boys for an extended amount of time and not felt like I had to write out any notes or a schedule or leave milk in the freezer... I can't tell you how great it felt to just pack a bag and go!

On Saturday Nick took them to the aquarium and met his family for BBQ that night.
On Sunday he got everybody up, dressed, and out the door for church and lunch. I have to admit, I was highly impressed by this move. 
It was a great weekend for all parties involved. I was so sad to see it end, but also so excited to get home to my boys!