Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday Favorites - July 1

Happy Friday, friends! This week has been another great one.  Lots of sweet time together and lots and lots of fun!

Like always, Erika, Narci and are are hosting and to join in all you have to do is grab our graphic, link back to one (or all!) of us and share!

The boys went to camps at MCA this week and little sister REALLY wanted to tag along.  :)

Luke went to school in the morning and Mason went in the afternoon which made for some really special time for Griffin with each of her brothers.  She and Mason had LOTS of imaginative play time (seriously, they're the sweetest little kitties and doctors EVER) and Luke read her DOZENS of books every day before rest time.  Watching the dynamics between her and her brothers this week was a FAVORITE for sure.

Aside from the sweet sibling time, each of the boys had their FAVORITE week of the summer so far participating in camps at school.  Luke was in his element ( haha - get it??) at Science camp.  His first grade teacher ran the camp and they did so many fun experiments!  They made lava lamps, catapults, iron goo, and film canister rockets to name a few.  She also incorporated several engineering labs which Luke blew out of the water (the picture below is his clothespin/popsicle stick structure holding up all that weight... apparently they ran out of things to put on top of it and it never broke).

Mason went to art camp in the afternoons and he had a blast tie dying a shirt, making crayons and learning about textures.  He was the youngest kid there and he felt like a total rockstar hanging with the big kids.

Look at him in his new FAVORITE shirt :) 

Mason still takes a nap in the afternoon about 50% of the time (GASP! Yes... I have a 5-year old who still naps.  Our PreK and Kinder classes still have nap time as well, so he's in good company) and since his camp was in the middle of our normal rest time I had a pretty tired little guy on my hands a few afternoons.

In fact, on Wednesday afternoon I had THREE sleeping kids in the back of my van after camp pickup and so I stopped by the club to see my FAVORITE iced tea enabler, grabbed a bag of popcorn and drove around listening to music for about 45 minutes.  It was fantastic. 

Griffin's FAVORITE part of camp?  Picking up her brothers. :)

Another FAVORITE time this week was surprising this boy with a late night trip to get ice cream.  Mason and Griffin were home, we finished playing a game with Dave and I asked him if he wanted to go get a cone.  "NOW?!?!?!"  :)  It was 9:30 and the grin on his face was priceless.  We had the best conversation and it was just such a sweet time with him in the parking lot of Braums :) 

We commemorated it with his FAVORITE snapchat filter and laughed hysterically for way too long.

My FAVORITE brand had their sale on sale earlier this week and I grabbed this cute tunic.  The floral print is my FAVORITE and I love that I'll be able to wear it with skinnies and wedges or as a dress (probably with an extender or one of these) underneath.

Please pardon my "I just spent all morning outside with the kids hair" :)

And if you order from the sale, you should probably just add these to your cart.  I ordered them (in a size up) and LOVE them!  The green color is my FAVORITE.  And they're under $30 right now!!!

And how fun are THESE??? I think they'll be a FAVORITE with dresses and pants when we get back to school.

Griffin found my old digital camera in one of the last boxes I was unpacking a couple of weeks ago and it has been her FAVORITE thing to play with.  I think she might have observed me take a picture or two (thousand) in her day :)

I wear a lot of hats in the summer, but hate that a lot of my sunglasses don't fit under the brim.  Dave informed me that that's the price you pay when you wear sunglasses bigger than your face (thanks, Dave!) but guess what - I found a pair that works!!!  And they're cute even not under a hat :)

See! They fit!!!  And they're still giant - Win! Win!

(Also - this is the coverup I talked about a couple of weeks ago - I'm still loving it!)

I was in my coverup and hat because the boys and I were headed to a birthday party at the pool.  Two of our FAVORITE things!  Griffin stayed home with a babysitter and it was so fun to see these two play and swim together. 

Happy Birthday to one of our FAVORITE friends!!!

After cake, the sun started setting and it was time for the dive-in movie!  Cookies and popcorn and Finding Nemo!

While the boys and I were hanging at the pool Griffin was home with one of our FAVORITE girls :)  I mean - the BEST babysitters leave you polaroids on your fridge, right!?!?   We joked that we needed to work on GG's selfie angle :)

Griffin seriously had the best time.   Headbands, PJs, listening to music in McKinley's car (parked!!! hahaha) and she even braided her hair like Elsa!

FAVORITE girls!!! :)

I get asked often about what I do with all of the kids school work and while I do have a box of things from Luke's first year of school I have been shoving it all in our entry table for the last year and a half or so. hahahah  

Before we moved I purged A TON of it (if it doesn't have a handprint, an original drawing or some sort of creative writing it it doesn't make the cut. hahahaha) and the rest of it went in this rolling crate that I've been putting off going through and sorting.  Earlier this week Luke wanted to look through it and so he reached FAVORITE child status by sorting it into piles by year!  Let's face it - he remembers WAY better than I do when and who did what so it was a win-win.  It got sorted and he got to look through the bin of stuff he's been dying to get his hands on.


I saw this this week and it's totally a FAVORITE ;)  Sign me up for 1-3, please.

This weekend is one of my FAVORITES all year!  The fireworks, the parade, the red, white and blue!  We get in tons of time with family and friends and it's just the best!

Here's my FAVORITE picture from last year...

I hope y'all all have a wonderful holiday weekend!!!  See y'all next Tuesday for Show and Tell Tuesday... we'll be sharing about our "tribes".  I have a pretty fabulous one and I can't wait to read about all of yours.  

Happy Weekend!

PS - This post contained affiliate links which means that if you clicked on a link and made a purchase I may receive a small commission. THANK YOU!!!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Potty Talk

Y'all.  I feel like Dave and I have reached a HUGE parenting milestone.  HUGE.  

We have successfully potty trained all three of our kids.  Yes, ma'am.... all of them.

Let's dive right in - and here's your warning - this post is going to contain gratuitous use of the words poop and pee.  It is what it is. ;)

When Luke was 2 Dave and I did what any "eager beaver parents" of a newly two-year-old do and we jumped on the potty training train.  We bought a bunch of Hot Wheels cars and a fancy new potty and set our kitchen timer for every twenty minutes or so and started "potty training" our baby.  He was a quick learner and pretty soon he was totally trained when it came to pee.  Pooping was another story.  We're talking a story with multiple chapters and volumes.  YEARS worth of writing.  It was torture for everyone.  Looking back we can see what a HUGE mistake training Luke so young was.  He wasn't ready - we took him so often that he never really had a chance to understand the "feeling" of having to go.  He just happened to be at the potty so often that he would go. 

We've always joked that Mason runs on #masontime

He does things (like walking) when he's good and ready and he really can't be persuaded or bribed into doing things.  It's an admirable quality for sure.

In the Summer of 2013 I was on summer break, felt like I was hitting my stride as a mommy of three and I was ready to potty train two-year-old Mason.  Mason had other ideas.  I gave up for the summer and thought that we'd try again in August when things got back to "normal" and we were back in our routine. Miss Lisa was on board and we tried EVERYTHING!  Both of us would literally sit him on the potty at least 6 times a day and encourage him to try.  He would consistently tell us, "it's too hard".

Not wanting to turn him off to the whole experience I would back off and then attempt again a few weeks later.  I offered to buy him toys at Target, we had a bowl of M&Ms out and ready and he even got new underwear.  I tried to get him to "water the flowers" outside, we did pull-ups and he went pantless for 3 days - nothing.  He was TOTALLY not ready.

Fast forward to the summer of 2014.  He was three and it was a full year after I thought he would be potty trained.  At this point he could explain to me in a complete sentence that he would NOT be going pee on the potty.  #masontime

I had almost given up home of him EVER being trained until one morning in July.  He walked into our bedroom, hopped up onto the bed and literally announced to Dave and I that on "this day" he would start peeing and pooping in the potty.  And that he did. No joke.

Last summer we thought that Griffin was ready to try potty training.  She had just turned two and  showed some interest so we bought her the underwear and it literally went nowhere.

This entire past year she's shown off and on interest, we'd sit her on the potty and she would say "it's not working" :)  

Our babysitter would take her and she would occasionally go, but nothing consistent.  We didn't worry about it, having seen how easy it was for Mason when he was ready and so we backed off.  A couple of weeks ago GG started getting out of the pool and going to the grass to pee (#bigbrotherproblems).  We knew then that she understood the feeling and so we set off to Target to pick out a new pink potty.

We made a big deal about the potty and that was it!  She hasn't had a single accident in two weeks!

On the very first day I would ask her if she needed to go potty and she would sweetly reply, "no" and then excitedly announce later when she did have to go and it was then that I knew that we had waited until the right time.

We put a pull-up on her for naps and bedtime and most days she wakes up dry from her nap.  I think twice she's pooped in her pull up before we took it off (right when we started training), but other than that it's been easy!  We started on a Friday and she ran errands with us on Saturday (and told us she needed to potty at Wal-Mart) and she told her Sunday school teacher she needed to go the next day as well.

We keep the little potty downstairs and I picked up a second one to go outside as well.  With it so close by we don't have to scramble to take off her bathing suit, dry her off and rush her to the potty inside.  When she's upstairs she can use the big potty on her own.  A fringe benefit of training later :)

It was painless and easy but I really believe that's only because we waited until she was ready.  We watched for her signals and didn't try to push her (we provided opportunities for her to go, but didn't force it when she wasn't interested).

We are so so so proud of our girl!  And for the first time in EIGHT YEARS we're not buying diapers!  #allthepraisehands  We're buying Pull-Ups for night time, but still!

I wanted to share my experiences with potty training to encourage y'all in listening to your kids (and your instincts!) and not being intimidated or pressured into parenting decisions.  By friends, by books, by the internet or by strangers.

There is NOTHING more humbling than being a mom.  For reals.

When your 5-year old loudly asks, "What are all those bumps on that boys face" while you're standing next to a sweet teenager with acne.

Or when you have to throw away a pair of poopy underwear in the Chick-Fil-A bathroom (while wrangling a toddler and having a newborn strapped to your chest) as another mom watches you and shakes her head in disapproval.

Or when you answer the door holding your newborn and realize that your boob is out.

Or when your toddler has a complete and total meltdown in Sam's and you literally strap him into the cart and laugh/cry while you finish your pizza (and nurse a baby) because what else can you do.

Or when your three year old is running around your house in a diaper and people comment and tell you how "behind" they are because they should be potty trained by now.

Along with being a humbling experience, being a mom has taught me to trust myself.  To trust my instinct and my gut.  Nobody (no matter how many kids of their own they have, how well intentioned they are or how much of an "expert" they consider themselves) knows your kids as well and as intimately as you do.  I've made tons and tons of mistakes in my time as a mom, but listening intently to my kids and their needs and readiness has never steered me wrong.

If you're in the throes of potty training... solidarity sister.  This too shall pass :)

If you're looking ahead and thinking about potty training... trust me, it's not as awful as you think.

If your potty training years are behind you... CONGRATS!  We can start saving our diaper money and putting it toward braces :)

Happy Thursday, friends!  Thank you for walking alongside me in this whole mommyhood thing... for the community, the advice, the ENCOURAGEMENT!  Y'all are the best. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Come On In - Luke's New Room

One of the main reasons we decided to start looking for a house was because as great of an experience as having the boys share a room was, they were more than ready for their own individual spaces.  If I had to referee one more argument over who was touching who's rocks and/or Lego Bionicles I was going to scream. hahaha

I told him I was taking pictures to put up on my blog and he's excited to show off his space ;)

And here it was before!  How bad do I wish I had a wide angle lens right now :)
The colors in the listing photos looked navy and orange, but I think they lightened the pics quite a bit because in reality those stripes were red and black (the bedding was black check to give you an idea of the color difference.).  Also, the bed that looks like a queen was actually a twin.

I took a panoramic pic last night to try and get a better comparison.  Welcome to his room on a regular day :)

The bed is the same one he had in the old room he shared with Mason the console table used to be in Griffin's room and the shelves I picked up at IKEA.  If you don't mind shelf brackets showing, I can't say enough great things about this option for shelving.  The white shelves were $10 each and the brackets were $2 (I think... maybe $3).  Either way, the project was under $50 and gave Luke TONS of space to display Legos, books and other toys/projects.

Luke's biggest request with his new room was a desk and places to display all of his Legos.  His wish was our command.

So.  Let's talk Legos.  I have a love/hate relationship with them.  

I love the hours that he spends in creative play. 

I hate that they're everywhere.

I love that he's using his imagination and engineering skills.

I hate that they're everywhere.

I love that they're amazing quality and all my kids love them.

I hate that they're everywhere.  

Right now he's super into Bionicles which he has proudly displayed on the table :)  I have no system for organizing them.  We used to - but the boys play more "creatively" than they do with sets so they jumble all the pieces together.  Now they're just in big bins.  UGH!

Luke's other request for his room was a solar system.  WHAT?!?!  

I teach with an amazing co-worker, Mrs. Boese, and she loves talking science with Luke.  We stopped by her room after school to talk to her about making his own solar system and what was hanging in her room??? DOZENS and dozens of planets!  The 8th graders had to make planets as a project and after the kids who wanted to keep theirs took them home, Luke got to go in and pick his favorite for each planet!

We used command hooks and clear picture wire to hang them and he is OBSESSED!

If you're looking for Luke, he's probably sitting at his cute blue desk building something or working on a dot-to-dot.  ;)  He loves dot-to-dots right now and they're super impressive.  The bulletin board was an afterthought, but I'm so glad we added it in.  He hangs his drawings and pictures and other fun things on there and I love seeing how proud he is of his work. 

EDITED TO ADD:  I found his desk online HERE!  And it's under $50 and comes in multiple colors!!!  There's a clear top, black top, blue top and PINK top!

The plant in the corner is a fiddle leaf fig I found on sale at Home Depot.  It is looking pretty rough, but I found a cute basket for it and I'm going to attempt to nurse it back to health.  Luke's room gets great sun in the morning and we're crossing our fingers that he still has the plant (and it's touching close to the top of the shelves) when he goes off to college :)

Another solar system project over his closet doors :)

He is LOVING the Magic Treehouse series!

and yes, that's a giant tub of Legos at the foot of his bed.  I'm eyeballing this trunk, but am waiting for it to go on sale before taking the plunge.

I found the circle shelf at Homegoods (my go to place for decor) and love what he picked out to go on it (I added the plant - hahaha)

 The anywhere chair has reached it's last leg, but it's still crazy comfy.  Maybe he'll keep this until college too :)

Since Luke doesn't have a dresser (he wanted the desk and the console table/shelves and I let him make the call... the dresser for his room is currently in our garage. hahaha)  I picked up a storage container with drawers to hold his things that I would normally put in a dresser and decided to hang all of his t-shirts that I used to have in his dresser.  So far it's working out really well!  (the drawers under his bed have Lego projects and pieces - they're taking over our life). hahaha

The boys picked out bedding for their new rooms and I loved their choices.  I'm not sure how long he'll want superhero sheets, so I'm embracing it while I can. 

Thanks so much for stopping by!  :)

PS - this post contained affiliate links which means that if you clicked on a link and purchased and item, I may receive a commission.  THANK YOU!!!