Monday, March 31, 2014

Mother/Daughter Vacation

Traveling with a toddler is exhausting but spending an entire week with your mom and your daughter is incredible.
Kenley and I got to spend seven whole days in Scottsdale with my mom and we loved every minute of it. Each day was relatively the same and pretty much perfect in my mind....

Kenley would wake up around 6:30am as toddlers do not understand time zones. While sleeping in would have been great, having those early mornings to snuggle in bed and watch Bubble Guppies with my babe was wonderful. 

Once we heard my mom stirring, we would get out of bed and either make a pot of coffee, make a trip to Starbucks or walk up to the club's coffee bar. Then we'd enjoy our coffee and breakfast outside.
Once we were fed and properly caffeinated we would take our family dog, Koli, for a nice long walk. 

By the time we were done walking, Kenley was about ready for a nap, so I'd put her down then assume the position by the pool and there I'd stay until my little love was awake.

Once Kenley was up, she'd join me by the pool where we'd have lunch, play and swim. She was such a fish last summer but for some reason was scared of the pool this time. By the end of our trip she was warming up to it so hopefully this summer she'll be back to loving the pool. 

We spent a couple of our days up at the club's pool and had lunch there as well, of course, Kenley got all kinds of attention. One 4 year old boy named Mason asked if she was going to swim, complimented her hat and then complimented my nail polish - he was a very polite little thing and I loved him.

 After our pool time we'd all clean up and lounge and watch some TV...

...or blow bubbles...

...or play at the dog park...

...or eat cake pops...

...or play on the golf course...

...or meet friendly seeing eye dogs...

...or explore old Scottsdale and find Zoltar from Big and completely freak out!

Other than that, our time was pretty much spent eating!  
I of course had to get In-N-Out {like immediately after landing.}
We met up with my Aunt Sherri {my mom's best friend since 8th grade} for lunch so that she could meet Kenley. We ate at Zinc, which is delicious, and had a wonderful time catching up.
We had drinks at The Phoenician Resort & Distrito {in Old Town Scottsdale}, had incredible pizza at Grimaldi's, and also went to Cantina Loredo, Taphouse Kitchen, got chinese take out {twice}, grilled steaks & veggies and of course had a chips, salsa & guacamole night at home.

It was seriously the best week. It was so fun, so relaxing, so warm, so beautiful and so special to spend a full week with my two best girls.
And now I would appreciate summer hurrying it's little hiney up so I don't lose my tan. 

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

{Guest Mama} Woodland Baby Shower

Happy Tuesday mamas, it's time for....

Here's what you do:
1. Write a post about ANYTHING baby {or pregnancy} related.
2. Add my button to your post.
3. Link your post with the link-up tool found at the end of all of my posts.

So by now you all know that one of my absolute favorite things is throwing parties! I don't care if it's a First Birthday, A BBQ Baby Shower or just a dinner party for a couple of friends...I LOVE to entertain! Today I'm really excited that Jessica is here to share an ADORABLE Woodland Themed Baby Shower - I'm seriously obsessed with some of these little details {particularly the little red birdie in the thermal hat}.


Hi! I'm Jessica blogging over at The Journey of Autumn where I talk about our adventures raising a toddler, my love for throwing a good party and everything in between. Today I'll be sharing the woodland themed baby shower I threw recently.

In November I threw my best friend, Stacy's, baby shower for her soon to be baby Chase. She let me have full reign over the theme and everything else. Naturally, I went wild!

When I started thinking about a theme, I wanted something that was masculine without having blue everything. I'm so in love with all the woodland creatures that have been filling the stores and thought it'd make the cutest boy baby shower theme. I started with this simple and cute invite from Etsy.
My inspiration was rich colors, forest things and of course lots of woodland creatures.

I wanted some simple but good food that would be easy to re-fill and wouldn't get cold.We had some sandwiches, Chick-fil-A nuggets, crackers and dips, pasta salad and other small appetizers.

Some mason jars, washi tape, water and fresh cranberries created the perfect accent to the food counter.

 And a 'moss' ball to go with the theme. A green onion cheese ball covered in parsley. It was delish!

For drinks, I made this drink we always have at family parties. It doesn't have an actual name, but it's just lime sorbet with Sprite poured over it. It's so simple and absolutely delish! It foams up when the Sprite is added which went perfectly with the woodland theme.

We also had a hot cocoa bar! This was one of my favorite parts of the party. I used a CrockPot recipe for the actual hot cocoa. (A note to this recipe, it takes far longer, about double the time, for the chocolate to melt than the recipe actually calls for. I also added more milk because it was too rich.)
I used these super cute tin buckets with chalkboard labels and some glass bowls with chalkboard labels I added. I used them to set out the crushed peppermint, candy canes, marshmallows and straws. There was also whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles, oh my. The cups were just simple ones from Party City so I fancied them up with a fox stamp. It added just a little something more. The birch straws went perfectly with the decor too!

There were two types of cupcakes...lemon with blueberries and red velvet, both with cream cheese frosting. The red velvet cupcakes were made to look like mushrooms by adding white chocolate chips upside down. The other ones were an earthy green with some pine cone toothpicks. We also had chocolate chip cookies and chocolate covered pretzels. Simple but oh so yummy!

I really lucked out in the decor department because all the woodland decor was already out! Most of the woodland creatures were from Target. I also used some burlap, mason jars, kraft paper and bunting leftover from my daughters birthday party.
 I made some bunting of the babies name and another banner with some prints I did. I found a plaid pattern, the deer head and made this 'Oh, Boy' banner. I love how it turned out!

One of my favorite pieces are the baby's initials 'C.P.J.' covered in moss. I bought the moss and cardboard letters at Hobby Lobby and simply glued the moss onto the letters. The best part, these can be used in the nursery too!

As a 'thank you' gift to all the guests, they received a mason jar filled with all the fixings to make s'mores.

I originally got the idea of s'mores in a jar from Jess at Little Baby Garvin. I then added a tag stamped with 'thank you' and tied it on with twine. Another IG friend gave me the idea of adding heating instructions. I printed them on a plaid pattern sheet with some simple heating instructions to make them in the oven if you don't have a fire. Although, a fire is still the only best way to make s'mores!

In all our excitement of the shower, nobody took any other pictures! We have lots of gift opening and not much else. #oops

We had a wonderful time with the mama to be, eating, visiting, laughing and celebrating Mr. Chase. I can't wait to meet my little 'nephew' to be!

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Your Questions Answered {part 2}

Kenley and I are soaking up our last day of sunshine and warmth {wah! don't make me leave!} so I'm back to answer more of your questions!

Carolyn asked: "What is the biggest thing you've learned about yourself in the past 5 years? Is it something you like about yourself or something you'd like to change?"
I think the biggest thing I've learned in the past few years is that it's OK to put myself {and Jason & Kenley}first. I've learned it's OK to say no to plans, it's OK to not feel up for something and it's OK to not spend all of my time trying to make everyone else happy. I think that friendships and family relationships change A LOT as you get older and at the end of the day you need to be a person you are proud of and you need to surround yourself with the people who inspire you to do that. I've learned that I'm a good friend and therefore deserve good friends. I've had a lot of relationships change or fizzle in the past 5 years but the group of people Jason and I have in our lives now will be the people who are in our lives forever!

Kari asked: Okay house question: When you and Jason decide to buy a house or move someday- where do you guys see yourselves living?? (Fingers crossed you say western 'burbs!)
Jason and I love where we are now, so we'll probably look for homes in our current neighborhood. I would really love to move to my home town {which is next door to where we currently live} but Jason isn't the biggest fan of that I guess we'll see. It should be interesting when we start to look for houses to see where we end up...but no matter what you won't be too far from you Kari! :)

Bridget asked: What are yours and J's 10 year goals/plans?
Oh man, 10 years seems like SO far away. In the next 5 years we plan on buying our first home and finishing having our babies so I think the plan for the 5 years after that will be to continue to grow our careers and to enjoy our family! I forsee a lot of sporting events, driving kiddos around and hopefully some fun family vacations!

Dawn asked: "Having been a mom now for over a year, what is the biggest thing that's surprised you about being a mom (something good or bad that you didn't expect)?"
I think the biggest surprise has been how much time is consumed being a ALL of my time. :) It's definitely not a bad thing but I for sure was one of those moms-to-be who thought I'd still be just as social and my day-to-day wouldn't change much. HA! It's funny that even when you have "you time" you are still thinking about your babe. Your entire life revolves around your little human and I just never expected to be so consumed with motherhood - I love everything about it! 

Have a great start to your week everyone!!!

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Why I Want 2 {or more} Kids

Last week both Jessica and Bridget asked me how many kids we wanted to have and I've decided this answer warrants it's own post. Growing up when I'd dream of my family, I always wanted 4 kids. I thought having a big family would be so much fun. I, of course, had all 4 kids named and wanted to have a boy, twin girls and then another boy. Now that I have one, I'm not really sure how many I want. I know we will for sure try for another. If we are so lucky and #2 is a baby boy, I could see us stopping. If #2 is a girl we will most definitely have a third and pray for a son. I guess that's my back handed way of answering "I don't know" how many we want to have. I think it's hard to plan when you will feel your family is complete. Jason and I both really want to experience a baby boy, so that will be a huge factor in how many total babes we end up with.

When you add up siblings, step-siblings and siblings-in-law...I have A LOT of siblings {I count 12, but I could definitely be forgetting someone}. While I'm grateful for all of the family relationships I have, the bond I have with my two blood siblings is something that cannot be described. 
photos by Sara Jayne Photography

My brother is my only FULL blood sibling, meaning we have the same mom and the same dad. He is 4 years younger than I am and he has always taken up a large part of my heart.
Today is actually his 25th birthday! Happy Birthday Natie Pie!!!!!

There is something about being a big sister {or sissy as my younger siblings call me} that puts a level of responsibility on you. I always felt like a little mama to my brother. Though we have great parents and they didn't need my help, I took it upon myself to "take care of him". For example, I taught him 2nd grade math when he was in preschool {yes I take credit for him being so smart} and made sure I was at all of his basketball games, starting in 1st grade all the way through his senior year of college when he invited me to walk out with him on Senior Night {talk about tears & pride!} My mom once told me that the bond my brother and I have is unlike any other because he is my memory. And it's so true. EVERY childhood memory I have includes my little brother and I love that we can reminisce about those days with each other.

Although my sister and I are 12 years apart, we too have an indescribable bond. We may not have the same childhood memories but I remember everything abut her childhood, like how she used to call her boobs "shooby doos" and how I taught her to say her favorite band was the "backsteep boys". She is my little baby and watching her grow into an incredibly smart and beautiful young woman is so special. I am so protective over her, so proud of her and strive to be a good example for her.

So what I am taking a super long time to say is that we DEFINITELY will be having more kids. I pray that God blesses me with another opportunity to be pregnant, but if that's not in the cards we will bring another child into our family one way or another. I want Kenley to have someone to be her memory, I want someone to look up to her, I want her to have a brother or sister or both to stand up with her on her wedding day and I want someone to be her family long after Jason and I are gone. I don't know what the number will be but it will be greater than one.

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