Friday, September 22, 2017

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday! I have soooooooo been looking forward to this weekend because...IT'S MY BIRTHDAY WEEKEND (my birthday is technically Monday)! Hooray! We've got some pretty incredible plans that require me to go pack my bags so I'll get down to it...(apologies in advance for the rambling...I'm a little overexcited today).
one. If you follow me on Instagram you are aware of Caroline's latest sleep regression (Probably not the appropriate term. That's what I'm calling it anyway). You know, the one with the fear of the purple cat hiding under her bed at night?

Side note: I figured out where she got that's from Brown Bear Brown Bear! So I burned all 3 of our copies. Damn you, purple cat looking at me!
Anywaaaay, I posted on my insta-stories about our Zarbees Melatonin gummies and received SO many messages I had to take it down! haha. I got overwhelmed, sorry! And sorry if I didn't respond. But I'm responding now! To answer everyone's question -- YES! THESE WORK! We are on week 3 and Caroline is falling asleep faster now instead of singing and destroying her room for a few hours AND she's sleeping through the night. Although, now that I just wrote that she's guaranteed to be up all night tonight. Amazon prime these immediately.
two. After running out of my favorite Clinique Moisture Surge my friend Laura told me I needed to try Neutrogena Hydro Boost! Her dermatology nurse friend recommended this drug-store hydrating gel to her, claiming it's just as good as some of the super expensive products out there. Anyway, I started using it a few weeks ago and am seriously impressed. If you suffer from dry skin like me, you must must must try this gel cream out. I've also read that Neutrogena Hydro Boost ($14) is a major dupe for the Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion Moisturizer ($58). 
three. Every Friday Caroline has ballet and show & tell at preschool. She lives for Fridays. Anyway, there is seriously nothing cuter than watching her pick out her item on Friday mornings to bring to school. Two weeks ago she brought her record player to show off, and last week she was suuuuuper excited to share her makeup kit with her classmates. This age y'all...killing me.

four. On Monday we celebrated McKinsey's 30th birthday (as well as the arrival of her baby boy McCoy)! She's in the black shirt, and yes, it is super unfair that she had a baby two weeks ago but looks like she was never even pregnant! Her mom hosted a martinis & munchies get-together and it was the most fun way to kick off the week! 
five. Something life changing happened to me this week!!! I was offered the amazing opportunity to review 2ULaundry. So, for the first Sunday ever Matt and I did ZERO laundry. Instead we stuffed our dry cleaning, laundry and hang dry items in a few bags and set them on our porch Monday morning for pick-up. On Tuesday evening our clean clothes were delivered back to our porch! I was blown away by the one day turnaround, the cleanliness, the perfect folding of our clothes (including the fitted sheet I tossed in there), the very reasonable pricing ($20-30), the customization options (detergents, etc.) the ease of scheduling, reminders and status updates (done through texts) and the friendliness of my driver who took so much pride in his job. Will I use this service again? YES, especially for our dry-cleaning and all my pesky wash & hang items I rarely wash! The dry cleaning prices are super competitive and run cheaper than our dry cleaner down the street (and now our clothes wont sit there for weeks before I remember to pick them up). Anyway, if you're in Charlotte (includes Waxhaw, Matthews, Huntersville, Balantyne, and more.), Fort Mill or Atlanta, you can read about how the services work here and find the pricing here. Of course I have an amazing referral link for ya too (win-win for us both). Click here to save $15 off your first laundry or dry cleaning order.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

First Day of Fall || Pumpkin Dip

Tomorrow is the first official day of fall and as always I love to re-post my favorite fall recipe -- pumpkin dip! It blows my mind how my original recipe post from 2012 is still the #1 result for pumpkin dip recipes! You can find the printable version of my recipe here.
Caroline made our first batch of pumpkin dip last weekend for a Sunday Funday at Lisa's house. I always forget how unbelievably delicious this dip is. As Caroline and I were pulling out the ingredients for the dip I decided I'd let her pour it all in the mixer together...
And to practice for her future cooking show I took a ton of snaps in SnapChat and loved them so much that I saved them all and uploaded them to iMovie. It was super easy to throw together and is a video I'm so glad we'll have forever!


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Toddler Talk

One of my favorite parts of each day with Caroline right now is the first few moments after she arrives home from preschool and begins to recount every good and bad detail of the day with the most animation. She must stand to tell the stories as she is usually too excited to sit, her tiny hands waving around wildly, her dramatic facial expressions rapidly changing and she talks a mile a minute in the sweetest little voice. She is seriously so much fun. Oh, how I love this age and wish I could bottle it up! Anyway, some really funny things Caroline has said lately...

After noticing the pages were torn out of a library book in Caroline's room...
Daddy: Hey, where are all the pages to this book?
Caroline: Oh, they are in the toilet.
Daddy: Why are they in the toilet?!
Caroline. The trash can was full. 

Running into the living room with a cookie to find Thomas...
Caroline: Hey Thomas! Daddy has a surprise...for not you! (laughs and runs away)

While standing by as I reprimand Thomas for digging through the trash can...
Caroline: Yep! That's a "no ma'am," Thomas!

While exiting Caroline's room after scolding her to go to sleep for the 2387234 time...
Caroline: (sobbing) You are NOT being my best friend right now!!!

While buckling Caroline into her car seat and realizing she didn't brush her teeth...
Mommy: Hey, did you brush your teeth this morning?
Caroline: Yes!
Mommy: It doesn't smell like it. I don't think you did.
Caroline: OK, I didn't. But I brushed them yesterday!

Oh, and I'll just leave you with this snapshot from Caroline's recent productive nap ripping up dollar bills she was collecting in her wallet from Grandma...

Find more Toddler Talk here.


Monday, September 18, 2017

5 Tips for Two Under Two

One of the most requested topics I regularly receive from readers is how we managed two kids under two years old. It's taken me forever to write this post because truthfully I have no idea how we did it. It was such a blur. Our first year with two kids 14 months apart was our hardest and most exhausting year ever, especially with Thomas’ eyes. It was a year filled with coffee, tears, wine, lessons learned and lots of snuggles. Parenting is hard. And to be honest, we are still in the trenches. Although we no longer feel like we’re drowning in spit up, blowouts and doctor’s appointments, the survival mode and challenges are different now (hello toddler sass, tantrums, nightmares, etc.!). But you know what? I would do it again and again a million times over. And I wouldn’t trade our age gap for anything.

So at your request, I thought I'd share the top 5 things I've learned that helped us survive (and continue to survive) two insane little people who have endless energy. 
Disclaimer: Even though I've been doing this mommy thing for a little over three years now, I still have no clue what I’m doing most days so take ALL this with a grain of salt! Seriously.

5 Tips for Surviving Two Under Two

1. Surrender expectations and learn to let stuff go. It took me awhile to give myself grace but once I did our world changed for the better. For me, that means being fine with serving cereal for dinner...several nights in a row, handing the iPad over to decompress in another room, leaving dishes in the sink overnight and allowing the stacks of laundry to pile up on the dining room table. It also sometimes means sometimes missing daycare events due to work travel, bringing store bought cookies to the bake sale, forgetting water play day clothes and not attending every classmate's birthday party. I had to learn the hard way that I just can't do it all. And that is OK.

2. Find your mom tribe. I honestly couldn't imagine going through mommyhood without my best mom friends, especially the more seasoned ones who have "been there, done that" and always know the best remedy for diaper rash, the trick to hiding vegetables in meals, potty training advice and more, like way more. I've leaned on them during my toughest parenting days and celebrated the victories together too. But what is most fulfilling is having their kids grow up together with mine. Over countless kid & parent play dates I have watched friendships grow not only between our children but our husbands too. And there is nothing cooler than that! Find a community that will lift you up, let you vent and encourage you when the days are hard.

3. Get outside. Fresh air work wonders for me when I'm feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, have run out of patience or can't stand to hear one more episode of Caillou. Even when we're not in the mood to go outside or the task of getting the kids out of the door seems daunting, we power through. And 99% of the time we are thankful we did. This can be a walk down the street, a trip to the playground or even just opening the backdoor and letting the kids go wild with water balloons while relaxing for 3 minutes in a lawn chair.

4. Splurge on a nice concealer. Seriously, you've earned it. If you don't already use it, you need to buy this magical NARS concealer (color: vanilla). It's creamy, smooth and can cover even the darkest under eye circles.  

5. Be Nice To Your Husband & Put Your Marriage First. I saved my #1 tip for last -- another lesson learned the hard way. There will be plenty of grumpy mornings when you're both running off just a few hours of sleep for days on end. Having even a three minute uninterrupted adult conversation over two screaming toddlers is near to impossible. Spending quality time alone together seems like a distant memory and at times it may even feel like you've forgotten about one another. If you don't have family nearby, find a great babysitter. And use her often. Carve out date nights and even overnight trips. I know it's not inexpensive and the cost adds up quickly, but it's your marriage -- invest in it because it's worth it.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

2nd Annual Football Viewing Party

Over the weekend we had a few of our friends over to watch the Ohio State v. Oklahoma game on the big screen and let our kiddos run around. This is actually Matt's party of the year and it's the one he gets most excited preparing for. Last year we kind of blew this shindig out but since planning events weeks in advance is not in the cards these days we decided last minute to invite the usual suspects over for a casual last minute party.
Matt got serious about improving the projector screen this year and doubled it in size using pvc piping for the frame, a large tarp and 3 yards of white fabric (instead of our king bed sheets -- hallelujah). Our mini projector has been one of our best and most fun purchases. 
Game snacks!
The girls in their matching Cecil & Lou dresses (monogrammed by Sara of course)!
As always, the kids bounced the night away in the bounce house.
Anddddd game time! 
The game may not have ended well but the party was a success!


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