Strawberry Picking

I kept thinking about going blueberry picking one last time before the season ends, but it turns out I waited a bit too long. I kind of knew I was. It has become so popular in our area now that the farms are usually completely picked within two weeks. But, the silver lining was, I found out they had tons of strawberries waiting to be picked. I called Ian and begged him to come home early from work (which I never I decided it was okay to do this time) and he did.

Because we got there in the middle of the afternoon, and it was rather warm out, we had the place to ourselves and that was totally divine. I could let the kids wonder without worry. There were ginormous, sweet strawberries as far as the eye could see. We ended up picking over 9 pounds worth. Strawberry picking is so much less labor intensive than blueberry picking!

^^ This picture reminded me of when we went strawberry picking in Scotland when Connor was a baby. There is a picture of me holding a strawberry the same way.

Connor ate way more strawberries than he picked. We had to stop him from eating them because he was chowing down like crazy. After eating a couple, Isla happily picked them and put them in her bucket. In fact, she got so excited every time she saw a strawberry "I see a staberry mama!"

^^ Isla is always copying Connor. When she realized he was holding his bucket up, she had to hold her's up as well.

We will definitely be strawberry picking again next year. These are the sweetest and juiciest strawberries I have tasted in a very long time. They are washed and cut and chilling (literally) in the frig...the perfect snack! I also mashed some up and have them freezing in popsicle molds. I figure they will be the perfect snack for the kids, given it is supposed to be 106 today! 

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Connor: You love orange soda out of a bottle. I don't know where you got that from, but anytime we go somewhere with orange soda in a bottle, you zero in on it and ask for it. And, of course, I can't resist because it's orange a bottle. And we don't come across it that often anyway. 

Isla: You are all girl! After you got red chapstick all over your face and hands, you threw a fit when I threw it away. 

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

I really can't believe we are half way through the year! I have so enjoyed this project, taking pictures of the kids and just documenting their life week by week. 

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11 Years

We got married when times were simpler. Back before crazy pinterest weddings. Heck, we got married before digital photography was the thing. We have the ginormous wedding album to prove it. And the totally and completely staged pictures inside the album to prove it too. I remember back when we had only been married a couple years and people would say things like "you are newlyweds still" in a tone like "you don't understand". I didn't understand what I do now, but my love for you was no less fierce. It was different. Seeing you cradle and play with our children causes my love for you to soften (not lessen, but soften in a good way). Staring at you at the dinner table while our kids cause utter and complete chaos and only being able to speak to you with my eyes has caused my love for you to grow, not lessen. You are in this crazy life right beside me. I can't imagine anyone else in the world better suited for me than you. 11 years in, I still feel this way. In fact, I feel it more so. And, I have a feeling that 60 years in, I will feel it even more so.

I hope you know and understand how much I love you Ian Grimbleby. I hope you see it in every dinner I make, in every load of laundry I do, in every roll of toilet paper I put in your bathroom. Because I see your love for me when you take the kids and let me sleep in on a Saturday, when you rub my back and when you get the oil changed on my car. All those little things we do every day are love. Selfless acts of love.

I love you Ian Grimbleby both selflessly and selfishly. You are an amazing person that I feel privileged to be living life alongside. Here's to many, many more crazy, beautiful, amazing years together!

Looking back through the years...6 years, 7 years, 8 years, 9 years and 10 years

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An Ode to My Nose Ring

1/3 of my life. ONE THIRD OF MY LIFE! I have had you around for a long time. We got off to a rough start, you and I. My body worked overdrive and covered you (and the stud in you) in skin, on our first night together. I remember the horror upon discovering this the next morning. I also remember being provided numbing medication while they dug that stud out. One would think I would have given up on you then and there. But you and I had come that far, why not stick it out? Over the years, I have decorated you in different ways. There was the lightning bolt, the simple silver stud, the big purple stud, the diamond stud and, as Isla would call it, the "bracelet in you nose". 

I've walked with you for so long, I forget that people see you as something crazy to have. You have been my accessory in business suits and in the delivery room of both my children. You adorned my nose when I graduated college and when we bought our first house. You are like a dear friend and are there for me when I nervously play with you. We've walked a lot of road together, you and I. 

I've wondered before at what point I will get "too old" for a nose ring. And, to be honest, I never thought something like a nose ring would define me, but it kind of does. It tells a story of who I was and who I have become. And I'm not ready to give it up. Maybe I will at some point. But not today. And maybe, just maybe, I will be that grandma rocking the nose ring and people will be able to tell I grew up in the 2000's when that type of thing was "cool". 

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A Glimpse into the Life of Connor

Connor enjoys quiet time before bed. It always makes me laugh that he will happily play, for as long as we will let him, quietly in his room before bed. Call it bedtime avoidance, but I am a sucker for it because I love seeing this kid's imagination at work. This was the scene one recent night.

Minion pajamas for the minion fanatic. 

Lego playing. 

That's the bat cave right in front of you. He has never seen Batman before, but has gotten into him. 

His sister's minnie mouse taking part in his Lego play. 

Floral sheets because, well, his mom is cheap and he only has one set of sheets (they were dirty). 

You can see a previous glimpse into Connor's life here

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Crazy Isla Sleep

^^ How do you falls asleep with a mop on top of you?!?

If you follow me on instagram, you already know that Isla falls asleep in interesting positions. She falls asleep out of her bed more often than she falls asleep in her bed. And, more often than not, the positions she falls asleep in leave me laughing...or scratching my head. It's gotten so interesting, I gave her sleeping positions their own hash tag #crazywaysislasleeps. And people seem to keep questioning how this happens, so I thought I would explain.

When Isla was in a crib, I would put her in bed and let her put herself to sleep. Switching over to a toddler bed, she didn't seem to want to just go to sleep, but wanted out of her bed to play. I quickly discovered we had two options. One, I could lay with her until she was asleep. Or, two, I could let her do her thing and put herself to sleep. Enter her falling asleep in every which way unknown to man. And, it works well for us. As long as Isla ins't over tired, we put her in her room and she plays until she is ready for bed. Generally, she is asleep by 8:30pm. And, almost half the time, she actually crawls into her bed to go to sleep. But, out of bed sure makes for some good pictures!

^^ Who doesn't like falling asleep with a good book?!

As you can tell, this isn't really a traditional bedtime method. But, I am one of those parents that does not only what works for our family, but what works for each kid. And, for Isla this works. So I am down with it.

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 Connor: He went to his first ever VBS this week. A couple of his good friends were in his class. He liked going. On the last day, he was supposed to dress like a pirate. This is what I came up with. Even though he doesn't look excited, he actually thought his headdress was cool, so it was a win for me. 

Isla: More often than not, she doesn't go to bed in her bed. I love that on this particular night, she fell asleep completely curled up in her chair. 

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

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A Beautiful Moment

Do you ever have something happen and it feels almost too good to be true? Like you are in a movie or it is completely fake? That's basically what happened a few days ago when Isla and I spent some time wondering around a garden. The sun was setting. She was enjoying picking flowers. I was enjoying watching her, enjoying the peaceful moment. She was being so insanely cute. It was kind of the perfect moment...that lasted half an hour!

Eventually I decided I wanted to cement the moment in forever and grabbed Isla to take a picture. What then followed was me making faces and her trying to copy them. It was really cute and super entertaining too.

I really am amazed by this life I am living. Sure we have struggles, just like everyone else. We deal with temper tantrums and toddlers that don't want to use the potty. But I choose to look at this life of mine through rose colored glasses. I choose to see the glass as half full...heck, I actually see it as overflowing. Even on the hardest days, I know my life is amazing. I also know that in the not so distant future, these kids of mine will no longer fit on my lap. They will no longer want to make silly faces with their ole mom. So, for now, I leave the house dirty and I enjoy the moments of lego building, book reading, backyard playing. Because, before I know it, it will just be a memory.

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Kids Apps

I have to be honest, the real reason I am writing this post is I feel we are in a rut with apps for the kids, so I am hoping that by sharing some of our favorite ones, you will return the favor and tell me some of your favorite kids apps.

We don't have very many apps for the kids. I really never remember to search for them, so the ones we have usually come about via recommendation, though I have found a few by myself. I am cheap, so most of the apps are free.

These apps are listed in no particular order. I did try to rate what age I think they are appropriate for, based on how often my kids play with them. Connor seems to be outgrowing most of our apps, so I am on the market for some that are appropriate for 5 year olds, if you have any suggestions. But, here are our current favorites:

1. Lego Duplo Train (free) - This is a pretty simple app that allows you to build a train, then drive it around a track, pick up loads/people, etc. It's simple and basic, but fun for kids that like trains and duplos. It is good for ages 2-3.

2. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox ($1.99) - This app has memory games, puzzles, counting and more. I like how its educational and fun. But, expect to get some of the sayings stuck in your head. I would say it is good for ages 2-4. 

3. Despicable Me: Minion Rush (free) - What respectable Despicable Me fan would be caught without this app?! I must admit, Connor is WAY better at it than me and gets mad when he needs help and I do worse than him. Whoops! Isla is just starting to play with this app, but doesn't know how to use it. She usually just stares at the dancing minion on the main screen. I would say this app is great for ages 3 and up. 

4. Easy-Bake Treats! (free) - This is a fun app where you mix, bake, decorate and eat things like cake, cupcakes and cake pops. Both Connor and Isla like this app. This app is really great for all ages.

5. Bible for Kids (free) - I really, really like this app. If you want your kids to learn about the bible, this is the app for you. It tells the bible stories in book format and shows pictures. It tells the bible just like it is (and, well, the bible is rather violent) so be prepared for some interesting questions. This app is great for all ages. 

6. Little People Learning Market (free) - This is a fun app that helps kids match things (grocery shopping via a picture list) and also uses colors. It must be entertaining because both Connor and Isla like it, though Isla now plays it more than Connor. This app is good for ages 2-5. 

7. Little People (or Fisher Price) really has a few great apps, especially for young children. Two of our favorites when the kids were young were Animal Sounds and Laugh & Learn Shapes & Colors. Very simple, just tough the screen to make it do something. But, be prepared to have annoying little kids songs stuck in your head! These apps are good from the time you want to introduce electronics to your kid until about 2.  

8. Zoo Train ($1.99) - This app has a few different activities in it. There are simple puzzles, letter matching, shape matching in the form of building a railroad and train building. Isla really enjoys this app a lot. Connor did, but has outgrown it. I would say it is great for ages 2-4. 

9. Elmo Loves ABCs lite (free) - We have the free version of this on our ipad. There is a paid version for $4.99. As far as I know, this app is only for ipads. It is a really neat app though. It (obviously) focuses on the abc's. Kids can trace both uppercase and lowercase letters. There are little Elmo video clips that come on when the kid gets a letter correct. There is also is a coloring portion, like a coloring book for the ipad. Both Connor and Isla enjoy this app. I would say it is good for ages 2-5. 

What are your kids favorite apps?

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Father's Day

Last year I started a tradition of taking pictures of Ian and the kids on father's day (you can see the pics from last year here). I liked it so much, I decided to do it for mother's day too. I just think it is a fun way to document our family growing up. I am a sucker for picture comparisons and it is an easy way to watch the change happen from year to year.

Our father's day was pretty chill. We went to church, had lunch at In-n-Out, then headed home. The kids "helped" Ian wash his car, then we did some yard work. We finished off the day with dinner at Ian's parents house. It truly was a nice and relaxing day. 

I am into mother's day and father's day gifts reflecting the kids that give the gifts, so we don't do anything big. This year, I took some pictures of the kids and framed them for Ian to put in his office at work. I also took Connor shopping for Ian and he picked out water balloons. And Isla painted him a picture. I guess we are low key about holidays like this. 

I framed the three pictures together in that order. I really like how they came out. I actually got together with a friend to take the pictures and I think it was more fun that way. Things are always more fun when friends are involved, right?! It was just nice to have company while taking the pictures and having other people help trying to get your kid to smile too. 

I didn't write anything beautiful, meaningful or sentimental on facebook or instagram for father's day, but that doesn't mean that I didn't care. My dad means the world to me and is an amazing man. My father in law is someone who I highly respect and look up to. And my hubby, well, I just think he is the best. So there you have it! 

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A Book for the Moms

I've read my fair share of parenting books since joining the "mom club". All of them were regarding rather practical things that I was looking for advice on - sleep, health, vaccinations. So, Kathi Lipp's new book I Need Some Help Here was new territory for me. It's a Christian book dealing with the shortcomings of parenthood...or the shortcomings of our children, however you would like to look at it. 

This book was so good, I read through it in about 24 hours. It is one of those parenting books that I found myself shaking my head in agreement at numerous times. It's a very truthful, relatable, encouraging, inspiring, helpful and practical book. It covers a variety of issues you will face as a parent, from temer tantrums all the way up to dealing with children on the cusp of adulthood. I have a feeling, I will wear my copy of this book out rereading it through my years of parenting that I face. 

The book is covered in real and helpful tips for dealing with kids (and ourselves) in various situations. And, my personal favorite, at the end of every chapter, Kathi included prayers to pray over your children and yourself. Sometimes I feel like I don't know the words to pray, so I like that there are prayers to help get me started. 

If you are going through (or have gone through) hard things with your kids, this is most definitely the book for you. And, as moms, we have all gone through hard things with our kids! 

I Need Some Help Here, by Kathi Lipp, is available at major booksellers, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble

I was provided a complementary copy of this book for my review, but all my opinions are truly my own and are honest.  

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Fashion on the Fifteenth

A fashion post on father's day?! I know, it's weird. But, we all wear clothes whether it's father's day or not. So there you have it. 

I've been working on both mixing and matching random clothes as well as trying to feel ok about wearing shorts that don't go down to my knees. This outfit happened to check off both categories. Not to mention that it is super comfortable, easy to wear and totally washable, making it the perfect outfit for a mom of small children. 

After having temps up in the triple digits for a bit, we have dropped back down into more springish weather. I was pretty excited because it meant I could try layering my new to me sweater. I wanted to mix up prints and thought the polka dot shirt would make the perfect combo with the stripes and it totally did. Even better, when it was hot in the middle of the day, I could take off the sweater without feeling like I looked plain because I was wearing polka dots after all! 

Sweater: Forever 21 (thrifted)
Shirt: Urban Outfitters
Shorts: Forever 21
Shoes: Target

I have to admit, both pairs of my "fun" sandals (i.e. not flip flops) from Target last year are already falling apart. Now I realize that I wear them all the time, but I am still a little sad because I really liked both of them. I guess that means it is time to hit up Target in search of a new pair! 

Don't forget to head on over to Two Cent Sparrow to check out the other lovely ladies participating in fashion on the fifteenth. Or better yet, why don't YOU participate?

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