Happy Halloween

Happy halloween from my little corner of the world to yours!

We took the kids trick-or-treating for the first time this year. I would say it was mildly successful. Connor just wanted to sit in the wagon and eat all the candy and Isla, well she got a hold of a piece of candy and actually ate through the packaging to get to it. We gave up after a few houses and went to my in-laws so they could see the kids all dressed up. And I am pretty sure Connor had way more fun handing out candy at their house than he did trick-or-treating himself. Either way, my wagon of monkeys looked pretty dang cute.

When I first put Connor's costume on him, I asked him what monkeys ate. His response? Food. He was correct with that one! Such a cute kid...that moves so freaking fast and refuses to look at a camera, making it impossible for me to get a decent shot of him. That wagon shot up there, want to know how I got it? Ian was playing peek-a-boo with the kids right behind me and it worked. Oh, and they were strapped in!

Isla was a little more willing. Or maybe its just that she can't move quite as fast! That and the fact that she was totally into playing with the pumpkins.

Isla's costume was a gift from a former co-worker when I was pregnant with Connor. Want to see him in it on his first halloween? I knew you would! Check him out here.

Hope you had a great halloween. And if you have a stash of candy at home, don't eat it all at once. You don't want to get an upset stomach...that's my tip of the day!

Digging a Little Deeper

During my formative adult years, a friend/mentor came into my life for a time and influenced me more than I ever think she will know. She is a couple years older than me. When I met her, I saw her as cool, on fire for God and always down to have a good time. Besides the fact that we wasted countless work hours chatting it up (and drinking red bull!), those hours could arguably not be considered wasted...they were teaching me, shaping me into the person I would become. That girl taught me to pray like I never knew how, to believe with all my might and to love with every ounce of my being. 

I remember being on a work trip with her in Chicago. Every single homeless person we saw, she stopped and gave money to. I was flabbergasted and asked her about it. She told me it wasn't up to us to judge the person's heart, but to help how we could. To this day that has changed me. But it has changed me in more than just words. The actions I have done because of those words have changed me. I remember giving my leftovers to a guy in Santa Monica and him opening it and eating it with his hands. It was pasta. I literally started to cry. The guy was starving with thousands of people walking in front of him and not even caring. 

More recently, I bought a guy a sandwich at McDonalds after asking him if he was hungry. Again, he wasted no time eating it. And again, my heart broke. Both these instances involve food. You see, the hubby doesn't like me giving away money. Do I still do it from time to time? Yes. but when possible, I do try to meet the need. 

A lot of the time there are homeless people hanging out by the grocery store I shop at. I have given them food before. A few days ago, I needed to run to the store and pick something up. On the way in, I noticed a homeless man sitting off to the side, so I picked up some bananas for him. When I left, I ran over and gave him the bananas and talked to him for a second. And honestly, when I got closer to him I couldn't tell if he was homeless or not, but after offering him the bananas, I couldn't back out of it. When I was driving away, I noticed he was eating one and that reassured me. But the scenario can't escape my mind of his daughter or someone coming out of the store and discovering him eating bananas and wondering how the hell he got them! Oh well. Even if he wasn't homeless or lacking food, at least he got a snack!

And as embarrassed as I felt for having possibly given a dirty and scruffy yet non-homeless person food, I am not going to let that stop me. I am going to keep on giving. 


Lately {in photos}

1. Trying to get a shot of my wiggle worms
2. Playing
3. Walking with Memaw (my mom)
4. Fall fun
5. Birtie Botts Beans!!!
6. Park fun
7. Pumpkin painting
8. The stomach flu came for a little visit
9. Isla's response to her Papa blowing her kisses
10. "Camping" at REI
11. At the train station waiting for uncle
12. Uncle arrived! 

Isla {1 Year}

Weight:  20lbs, 15oz 
Length:  30 inches 

Walking across the room
8 teeth
Holds the phone to her ear and says "hello"

I'm a little late on this one, but I am guessing Isla won't care.

Now that Isla is pretty much exclusively walking, she is definitely out of the baby phase. And for some reason, it weirds me out seeing this little person walking all over. I am not sure why. It's like she shouldn't be able to do it yet. Maybe she is growing up to quickly for my comfort...I feel like a broken record with this one. Even though she can walk on her own, it is really cute to watch her take someone's hand finger and walk around. I also have to be more careful now because she has also seemed to gain more of an independence in the house and wanders into other rooms and gets into things. Now is when the real fun begins! 

Isla's hair is now long enough for pigtails. Having never done pigtails before, I never realized how hard they are to do on babies. That fine hair combined with a wiggly head and an oh so tiny hair tie makes for quite the situation. Thankfully, I seem to be quickly getting the hang of it and Isla sort of seems to like getting her hair done...such a girl! After playing around with Isla's hair for a few days, I decided I prefer the look of one pigtail (I guess a ponytail) off to the side. I know, you guys all really care about these details! And speaking of hair, Isla loves brushing her hair. She takes my brush and does it after I brush mine in the morning. It is really cute and something I don't remember Connor ever doing...another reason I think gender really is ingrained in us. 

Food wise Isla will eat pretty much anything and everything. For a while now I have only been feeding her table food (i.e. no baby food) and it works really well. She eats what we eat and she feeds herself. We have started giving her silverware, but she still just bangs it on things rather than trying to eat with it. Isla is still nursing, as I mentioned in this post, and I don't know how long she will go for. I have started to introduce her to cows milk. She seems to like it and will drink it, but only if it is in her brother's cup and she takes it from him. Who knows what that is about?! She also got a hold of some orange juice the other day and I have never seen the girl drink so fast in her life. It was funny and I am sure like liquid candy for her. 

Sleep wise Isla is doing well. She had a difficult time a couple weeks ago when she was sick, but she is doing good and only getting up about once a night. Usually it is around 5-6am, but sometimes she will wake up more around 2am. Either way, I nurse her and she goes right back to sleep and generally won't wake for the day until about 8:30am. It is nice to finally seem to have a good nighttime routine and no longer have chaotic nights. Isla is still taking two naps a day, but seems to be transitioning over to one. The only thing is, on the days that she only takes one nap, she is definitely DONE by bed time and that makes the evenings a little tricky. 

Its fun watching Isla's personality grow and develop. I look forward to what type of person she will become. Hopefully she still won't be throwing herself on the ground when she doesn't get her way as an adult. I kid. But it is funny to hear that many people seem to have way more trouble with their girls having temper tantrums than their boys. And we definitely have a drama queen on our hands. She is either all smiles or all drama. Last week we were out as a family and she had a meltdown of ginormous proportions. As we were walking back to the car, we passed a bench with some people on it. A guy sitting there said "hi baby girl". Isla stopped crying and smiled. As soon as we were passed the bench, she threw herself back again and continued her tantrum. Like I said, drama. But I love my little girl, drama and all. She just adds a little extra stress spice to my life this way! 

Bookshelf Organization {My House}

I am not a fan of clutter. I know that may come as a shock to anyone that has been to my house in the past say three years. With kids come clutter. I blame them. But I really don't like clutter. When we bought our house, I instantly didn't like the bookshelves that surround our fireplace. They were just screaming to "catch" things, to become a sight for sore eyes. 

At first I took the approach of keeping them empty because I thought it would be way to busy to have things on them. Then Ian took over the shelves by the front door. They became his dumping grounds for anything and everything. To deal with this, I threw a bunch of books on the shelves. I was glad to have the random stacks of paper gone, but still wasn't thrilled with the bookshelves. 

I forgot to take a before shot, but this gives you an idea of what I was working with. Random crap everywhere. 

I kept trying to think of ways to help the shelves. My biggest idea was painting or decorating the wall behind them somehow. Then a couple weeks ago I stumbled across an article about organizing bookshelves in Better Homes & Gardens (It may shock you that I get this magazine, but it was a free subscription so I signed up) and it reignited my flame for doing something with these bookshelves. 

Literally a day later, my favorite organizing blog - I Heart Organizing - did a whole post on organizing shelves. It was then and there I decided I needed to do something about the shelves. 

Basically I started turning books on their sides and stacking them and looking for things around the house to set on the shelves with the books to make it look cool. I am very happy with how it turned out. It looks so much more put together. 

And I like that some sentimental things are able to be on display. I don't have many sentimental things in my life, so its nice to see some of the things that I do have. 

And another angle of the bookshelves all done up. I seriously love looking at them now. They make me happy...and make me feel like a semi clean, organized and decorative person!


P.S. Sorry for the crazy bright shots. I swear I didn't use a flash. Our windows face the wall and apparently on bright days, look like a flash.

Pumpkin Patch Fun

I can't believe that halloween is almost here and we have only been to the pumpkin patch twice this year! I love the pumpkin patch...uh, I mean, my kids love the pumpkin patch. To be fair, they really do. But I really do too. There is something about the festive atmosphere. The piles of pumpkins everywhere. The pennant flags blowing in the wind. The animals in the background. The dried corn pit. I just love it all.

Of course, just like every other public place out there, the pumpkin patch is a lesson in sharing. After discovering last year that other moms would bring toys for their kids to play in the dried corn, I stepped up my game and started bring toys this year. The problem is, other kids want to play with the toys too. Sometimes it is fine, other times it is disastrous. And I always forget to wear the proper shoe attire to climb in the corn after my child and let me tell you, that corn hurts.

We did have a fun time today though. And it went well. No major meltdown when it was time to go. There was some eating of the dried corn on Isla's part, oh and a bite of a gourd...but how could she resist, right?! And Connor was oddly fond of the port-a-pot sinks. What really helped is my parents were there with us today and down to let my kids both go in whichever direction they want to go. That's a little bit harder when it is just me and there are two of them. Crazy kids with crazy wills!

I am already starting to mourn the end of the pumpkin patch season. I better sneak in another trip or two before it is al over!

Dr. Talbots Diaper Rash Ointment {Nuby Product Review}

Did you know that not all diaper creams are made equal? So call me stupid, but it took me almost 3 years of being a mother and a super bad rash on Isla's part before I figured this one out. But to be fair, I am not a daily diaper cream user. I am more of a use it when there is a problem mom. 

It was a bad rash and I wanted to do all I could to make sure it went away...fast. Every time I changed Isla's diaper, she would scream. It was sad. But when I would put on the Dr. Talbots, she would stop crying. It was like it made her feel better. That's when I decided to compare diaper rash creams and discovered that they are not made equal. Most creams are just a skin protectant and contain zinc oxide. But Dr. Talbots takes it one step further. Not only does it contain zinc oxide, but it also contains peruvian balsam, an antiseptic/tissue repair. And after dealing with this bad rash with Isla, I am a believer. I also now am a believer in researching everything! What's the point in using a product when it won't even help?!

Dr. Talbots is a light brown color and has a bit of a smell to it. Not a bad smell, just a smell I can't put my finger on as to what it is. Maybe a little medicinal? But the thing I like is that it isn't crazy oily and sticky like other diaper rash creams I have used, making application much easier. And of course, it goes on the top of my list for easing Isla's pain and making her stop screaming at the top of her lungs during diaper changes! And for any of you cloth diapering mama's out there, it is not cloth diaper safe. I used a fleece liner while using it and that worked fine for me. 

You can purchase Dr. Talbots at BuyBabyDirect.com. $6.99 for the 4oz tube. I would also suggest keeping your eyes peeled on Nuby's Facebook page in case they give it away again. I won a tube on there a few months back. And it's definitely worth having on had for those really bad diaper rashes. 

I did not receive any compensation for this post, although as part of the Nuby Mommy Blogger program I may receive items to sample or review. 

The Ups and Downs of Parenting {two}

The thing about toddlers is in one day they can manage to make you laugh, cry and ram your head into the wall. Sure, that may be a slight exaggeration, but you get when I am saying.

For the past while, Connor has been having a really hard time getting to sleep. We are talking, up until 2am, wanting to hang out with us and drive us insane type of hard time. But it seems we have turned a corner. Now he stays in his room. So much better. And is starting to be asleep by 10pm. While in his room, he usually just reads. And when he reads, he reads the stories out loud. And it is freaking cute..."Are you my muder? No, I is not your muder." Seriously. Too freaking cute.

Then there is Connor begging to take a bath with my parents dog. When we they concede, he happily sits there washing the dog. And when it is over, he is just as much sad as she is happy that the bath is over. Again, too freaking cute.

It's all the little things I have to remind myself of when Connor has stepped on Isla's hand for the fiftieth time that day or gone crazy and had a meltdown in the middle of a store or dropped my iPad because he wanted to hide the fact that he was touching it when he wasn't supposed to, or...you get the picture.

Being a parent of a toddler is hard. And I want to be the best parent I can be. I want to have patience and grace at all times. That's hard. It's hard to keep my cool in the middle of chaos. But I want my kids to look back and remember the good moments with me. Not the moments mom lost her cool over something as little as milk all over the wall.

Child's Play

One of my favorite times as a parent is watching Connor play. I love watching him when he is up close to his toys and just playing. He will lay on the ground with his face a mere inch or two away from his toys and push them back and forth. I love studying his face as it is all serious while he is doing this. I wonder to myself what he is thinking. I love watching him make little scenarios and listening to him talk them out. One of his favorites is putting cars on the train track and hitting them with his trains. This isn't something Ian is fond of, but it sure entertains me.

Its a great joy to me that Connor enjoys the simple things in life. He can have hours (okay, maybe not hours) of entertainment just with dirt and a shovel. This means he can shovel dirt all over his toys, then wash them off, then do it all over again. I realize this is a pleasure that he won't have forever, so I want him to enjoy it while he can.

And I certainly get enjoyment out of watching him play. Its relaxing. Its refreshing. There is something about the way a child thinks that is so amazing. It is unfiltered. They do what they want and don't care what others think. I love it. It allows me to reminisce on my childhood at the same time and I like that.

Lately {in photos}

1. Isla and her bear
2. Blue mouth!
3. Isla's first pigtails
4. Isla playing
5. Connor helping mom with Isla's birthday cupcakes
6. Connor and Uncle Jeremy (my brother) in their Giants shirts
7. Isla stuck
8. Isla's last bath before she turned one
9. Out for a walk on a nice fall day
10. Early morning playtime
11. Isla loves her some apples
12. My own sarcasm makes me laugh

Everybody Knows It

The iPhone is the new mirror.

I hand it to my little girl with the camera facing her when I want to entertain her. She looks at herself, then turns the phone around to see how she is seeing herself. It is cute. And every once in a while, she manages to take a self portrait. I die. I know, something only a mother could love. But come on, I know you are loving it too.

I mean, most of the time, my camera roll is just filled with artsy shots of the ceiling fan, so whenever I see that chubby little face, my heart melts.

Isla's First Birthday Party

Yesterday we celebrated Isla turning one. Even though I am not a party person and was just throwing her an itty bitty party, I still wanted it to be fabulous. I asked one of my friends to help make a shirt for Isla. Not only did she make Isla a shirt, she quickly made a matching skirt for her while I stood there and drooled stared in amazement. She swore it is super easy. I was super impressed and Isla looked fabulous for her big day. Oh, and I made Isla a matching little headband...it is amazing what one can do with a glue gun!

Poor Isla has a cold and was woken from her nap early by all the party preparation commotion. She wasn't her normal happy self and I was afraid that was going to be how she was the whole time. Thankfully she quickly got into the party spirit...except when I wouldn't let her crawl around yet because I didn't want her to ruin her outfit at the beginning of her party!

Another talented friend made Isla's cake. And I made cake in a jar for everyone else. I felt fancy because I actually went to a cake store and bought one of those frosting bags and tips. But basically all I did is make cupcakes, cut them in half, dropped in the bottom, squirt in some icing, put in the top, squirt in more icing and topped with sprinkles. I like how they turned out. Thanks for the idea pinterest!

 Isla actually seemed to enjoy opening her presents. Of course, Connor was probably still more into that part than she was. And she did have a bit of her own party with the tissue paper after the presents were all opened. That being said, she still really seemed to enjoy her presents. Her favorites were a ride on shopping toy and a little teapot that talks.

 After presents was cake time! Isla instantly went for the cake, no problems there. But I had to put a little bit in her mouth before she realized that it could be eaten and not just played with. The whole time Isla was going at the top of her cake, Connor was pulling the flags off the front and eating them. Isla actually ate hardly any of her cake. She really was more interested in playing with it. But Connor, he certainly enjoyed his fair share of it!

It was a fun party celebrating our little girl turning one. She actually went down for a nap while the party was still going. So, the rest of us sat around, drank some coffee and enjoyed ourselves.

Happy first birthday to my beautiful little girl! 

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