When Schools Take the Day Off & Everyone is Sick

By on February 20, 2017

Happy Monday, everyone! We are all home because it is Presidents’ Day and there is no school. Well, the girls could have gone to school since their preschool does daycare on holidays and teacher work days. I was going to bring the girls but Ashlyn woke up with a fever and completely miserable so I figured it was pointless to bring Everly to school when she could just stay home and play with Ace. 

The past week all of my kids have gotten sick so I am sure it is just a matter of time before I get it. First it was Everly on Monday. She woke me up at 5am throwing up on me. Super fun. Then Ashlyn had a fever on Thursday but seemed fine later in the day. Ace had a fever on Friday and after getting medicine before bed he woke up all refreshed and ready for his lacrosse games on Saturday. He played both games and when we got home still seemed good. Well by 3 he was fading fast. He was hot and miserable. 
Sunday Ace was laying around and sleeping all day. His fever had spiked so he just felt super icky. I was glad today was a no school day in case he needed an extra day to rest. He seems good today but Ashlyn came in my bed this morning and was burning up. Poor girl just wanted to be held and lay around. 
I hate seeing my children sick. I think as parents we just want to take it away and make them smile. It sucks seeing them weak and not eating and sleeping.  
I really wanted to do something fun with Ace today since the girls were supposed to be in school but it looks like we will be hanging at home. No biggie. I think we can find something fun to do for the non sickies. 
Anyone else home with their children today? What are you all up to?

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Ashlyn | life

Dance, Girl!

By on January 23, 2017

Friday after school I took Ashlyn for a trial dance class at our local My Gym. I was so excited to get her all dressed up in a tutu and ballet slippers and see her little moves. She has always loved music and dance so I thought this was a no brainer. 

Since Everly isn’t 3 yet she wasn’t old enough to do the trial class with Ashlyn so I figured it was the perfect time to have some one on one time as well. 
Once we got in the car Ashlyn said “Where’s my sister?” I thought it was so sweet and funny that she didn’t say Everly but my sister. I actually asked her to repeat herself because I didn’t think that was what she said. Love their sweet little bond. 
We got to My Gym a bit early so the dance teachers played with her. It was a good way for her to warm up to the place. 
Once dance started she seemed to really enjoy herself. They did simple positions and dance moves then had a play and water break. After that it was back to simple dancing. Ashlyn actually wanted to leave at one point because I think she got a bit bored but then went back to the class. 

I didn’t really feel like it was the dance class we were looking for but I did think it was a good class for children who are more energetic and need that break in between. Ashlyn is my much calmer child and I think she was kind of over it after that. 
When we left I asked Ashlyn if she liked dance class and she said “that’s not dance class”. I was like well, there you go. In the car, though, she did ask to go to dance class again so obviously she is confused. 
I am going to see if I can try out some more places around here. I really loved Ace’s old dance studio but it’s not close by so there is no way that would work for us right now. 
Did any of your little ones take dance? If so what was their favorite dance class? What other classes would be good for a more mellow child? 


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Friday Favorites

By on January 20, 2017

It’s Friday and it couldn’t have come soon enough for me this week! This week was a short week of work and the week prior I only was at work one day since I went on a workshop at the Marine Corps Recruiting Center so I came back to work with a full work load. I am hardcore ready for this weekend.

This weekend I am really hoping for some time to get things done around the house but also do fun things with the kids this weekend. We will obviously be attending the Sesame Street: K is for Kindness event which I am super excited about. My kids are going to just love it. 
As for what I am loving right now I saw another blogger post these and am in seriuos need of them, copper straws! Ashlyn bites all of my straws and either brakes them or they have bite marks on them. These would definitely stand the test of time. 
With Valentine’s day coming out there are a bunch of cute valentine’s ideas on Pinterest but these have got to be the cutest one. Also if anyone needs cute ones that you don’t have to make Target has a bunch of them in the dollar spot section. They also have a lot of cute decor right now as well. 
When I was at the store they also had the cutest romper. I want to get it for the girls but haven’t really put them in rompers since they became potty trained. Would this be too much of a pain? I think Everly would probably be fine since she is very quick with getting changed but Ashlyn might have accidents. Anyone have any experience with rompers after potty training? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
I am just in the beginning process of planning the girls join birthday party. Last year we did tutu theme since it was two of them turning two, cute right? This year I want to do unicorns and donuts. The party will start at 10 and go till noon so I figured that is the perfect time to have donuts. Anyway I am loving all the unicorn ideas on Pinterest (I may be slightly obsessed). I guess unicorn party ideas are popular right now because Target and Land of Nod had some cute party supplies. I really love these plates and goodie bags
That’s about it for now but I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!

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life | The Story of Our Girls

The Story of Our Girls: Traveling to California

By on January 19, 2017

If you are just reading The Story of Our Girls you might want to go HERE to catch up.

After announcing we were having two babies, one by adoption and one through pregnancy we had a lot to get done. Ashlyn was due in less than a month. We still had to complete our home study which is a very in depth process, book our flights, hotels and car for the trip, find someone to watch Ace for an undetermined amount of time and tie up any loose ends here. To say it was overwhelming was an understatement. 
As the month went on we met with our social worker who was absolutely amazing. She made us feel so comfortable and encouraged. I was very nervous by this home visit because she would be the person determine if we were fit to adopt our baby. I remember the night before making sure our house was super clean, every single fire alarm worked and running to the store to find a fire extinguisher because we had no clue where ours was. 
The home visit ended up feeling like we were talking to a friend. She asked us questions about our families, childhoods, school life, friends, how we met and our relationship. She also asked about our parenting style with Ace and how we discipline him. She really loved Ace which was awesome. Overall she said she thought we were good to go. She just had to finish her report and would rush it since Ashlyn was due very soon. 
Branden’s Mom came down to stay with Ace. I remember the night before our flight I was so overwhelmed. I was worried about my friend who was going to make the biggest decision of her life, I was worried about leaving Ace for so long and I was just scared to take this huge step. It’s something I can’t explain. I remember there was an issue with our friends doctor, who treated her horribly and we didn’t know if we should change our plans and come later. I felt helpless, she felt helpless. We decided to still go and hopefully at her next appointment with a new doctor in that practice we would get answers.
We flew to California and got there I believe around 9 something in the morning. We met up with my friend and we both got to see each other with our big bellies for the first time. We had lunch and hung out for a bit looking at family pictures and talking some more. Later in the day Branden and I checked into our hotel and passed out super early. The time change killed us. 
A couple days into our trip out there I went to her doctor appointment with her. Her new doctor was amazing. He said he understood the situation and decided if she hadn’t gone into labor by her due date he would have them set up an induction date, something the other doctor wouldn’t even consider at all. He said he didn’t think we would make it to induction so that made us all feel better. We headed out and waited for our baby. The next day our other friend flew in and that was the best, all of us together. Poor Branden had to be the odd man out. 
The next two days were weird, I wanted to give my friend space and be with our other friend. I also was feeling very stressed about being away from Ace. I wish I could have enjoyed my time in California before Ashlyn’s birth because we did have a good amount of time we could have been doing more. We did drive out to a pier and see the ocean there but I felt like I was in this anxious state because I didn’t know when Ashlyn would come, I felt super out of control. 
The Thursday before Ashlyn’s birth Branden took me out to a pier and we walked around it was nice to just get out and walk around in the fresh air and do something fun. After the pier though I got extremely emotional and started crying. I missed Ace, who ended up getting sick, I felt so guilty. I even told Branden maybe I should fly back to be with him and take a last minute flight when my friend went into labor. The idea of being there another weekend (induction date was that Monday) without her being born and Ace being home really upset me. I didn’t even sleep that night.
At about 5AM the next morning I get a call from my friend saying her water broke! I literally jumped out of bed and was rushing to get ready despite my friend saying not to feel like I needed to rush because she would need to get checked in and everything. Yeah, I didn’t really listen and was all over the place getting ready. Branden got up and got ready. I remember walking to the elevator and looking at him with a huge smile saying “we are about to have a baby girl!” 

It was one of the most exciting and terrifying moments of my life…

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New Year’s Resolutions!

By on December 30, 2016

Can you believe 2016 is almost over? This year truly flew by. I can’t believe Ace is halfway through his first year of elementary school and the girls are half way through their first year of preschool. It has been nice seeing them grow and learn so much these past few months. 

With the new year right around the corner I want to make resolutions that matter. Not ones that are the typical lose 10lbs, go to the gym for a week and forget about it after that. 
After my parents passed away 4 years ago I decided I wasn’t going to let the little things bother me. I wasn’t going to allow minor annoyances get the better of me. I have done pretty well with that. I hate when people complain about things that are truly minor in the grand scheme of things. A car cut you off? Great, move on, you can’t change that person but you can change your reaction to it. 
That being said I want to continue to better myself and help my children continue to be positive little people. I was talking to Branden one day about bringing PB&J sandwiches to the homeless. I am not sure where to go exactly but we do see some off the main highway near our new house. It breaks my heart. I know many homeless people are mentally ill or have fallen on hard times and majority of the time it is out of their control. I sometimes give them a dollar if I have one but I want my children to also appreciate their lives and be people who want to help others. I don’t want them to just ignore the problems of the world.
I have noticed over the past 2 years how sensitive Ace is to others’ feelings. He has a very compassionate heart and I want to make sure I encourage that kindness in him. I also love this about him because it reminds me a lot of my Mom. She felt others pain and hurt so strongly that she always wanted to help others. I have that too and sometimes I think it can be a bit of a blessing and a curse. I want to teach Ace that it is ok to feel for others and empathize with them and help them. I want him to know boundaries with it too. My Mom gave a lot and sometimes I think it was too much for her own good. She wanted to help those who needed to help themselves first.
With all that being said my New Year’s Resolution is for myself and children to give back and help. This world seems to be going through a very scary time and I want my children to be the good in it. I don’t want them to be jaded by all that bad that is happening. I want them to know that they can make a difference. So here is hoping I can help these precious little people give back to those less fortunate than them. 

What is your New Years Resolution?

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Holdays | life

Christmas Eve Recap

By on December 28, 2016

First I am happy to announce the winner of the Blue Frog Apparel $100 Gift Card giveaway, Jamie B! 
Check your email for more information.

It is winter break and it has been wonderful. I am seriously loving this time off. We had a really nice Christmas with family and now the kids have been playing with all their new toys and we have been busy getting the house in order. We still have so much to do since the move so I really needed this break. 

It was kind of a cluster having the last day of work being the 23rd since we were having a party on Christmas Eve. I left work super early to go to the girls’ Christmas party then had a hair appointment. I spent the rest of the night getting the house ready for the party.

Christmas Eve was actually a really fun day. Since we had done most of the cleaning and decorating done prior to that day I was able to really enjoy doing things with the kids. We did some baking, since I am not a great baker we went with the bagged stuff, I’m super classy like that. I used this recipe to make some Sugar Cookie M&M bars. We also made some chocolate chip cookies. It was really fun watching the kids get excited about helping. They are seriously so sweet. 
I also made ziti like my Mom always did for her Christmas Eve parties. I actually got really sad while making it. I just kept thinking about how much she would have loved helping me get ready for the party and if I needed her to help she would have been right there. This year was the first year where it hit me hard on Christmas Eve that my parents were gone. The past 4 years since they passed away have been so crazy and now things have really calmed down enough to make me see the void in a lot of what we do. I try to use that to make these moments more meaningful but it can still be really hard. Ever since they died I have tried to look at how good things are for me despite losing them 9 days apart 4 years ago. I know that there are so many little things in life that aren’t worth getting upset about or complaining about because in the end they don’t matter. What matters are these precious moments with my kids and my husband. The moments with the people who matter most. I just always want holidays to be meaningful to my kids and memorable like they were for me when my parents were here. I always remember helping my Mom get ready for our Christmas Eve party and she would be cooking like crazy and going overboard. She would stress herself out so much but in the end everything turned out perfect. So all this to say that a simple moment of making ziti really brought me back to my parents and for whatever reason those moments make me feel like they are with me. 

So after getting my ziti prepared for later and the kitchen cleaned up I got the kids bathed and I got ready. Ashlyn wanted to wear make up like mommy which I thought was so cute so I put a little eye shadow and lip stick on her. After her and Everly go to play in their room they come back in with lotion all over their faces. Little stinkers said they were putting more make up on. At least I could just rub it in. 

Once it hit 5:30 we were all ready for our guests to arrive. My cousins from Ohio came with their adorably bald toddler Carter. I love seeing her because she reminds me of Everly with her bald little head. His parents, my Aunt Lillie and Uncle Dave, came too. Then the rest of the family came in. It was so nice seeing all the little cousins together. Ace was excited to see his cousin Colton who moved away last year. They are only about 6 months apart so they love when they get to play together. They were inseparable all night. 
Most of the night Ashlyn wasn’t feeling well (which is why she doesn’t have a shirt on, I wasn’t fighting that battle). She laid on the couch watching a movie and was very tired. I felt so bad for her. After my niece Valentina came over all the girls decided it was time to throw tantrums. That was super fun. We had reindeer food from the girls Christmas party at school so I got all the kids to go outside to throw that in the grass. It was a nice distraction for the moment but then the whining began so I had the kids decorate ugly sweater cookies from Trader Joes. They were pretty ugly and no one ate them but after that the night went much better. The kids opened presents and played the rest of the night.  I love having family over for holidays so it was definitely a success.

After everyone left Branden and I got to work on putting the presents under the tree. It was a fun Christmas to buy for because they are each really into their own things. Everly is obsessed with baby dolls, Ashlyn loves Barbies and Ace is into Lego Dimensions. We also got Ace a bike and scooter since he outgrew his old bike. Ashlyn got a doll house and Everly a wooden baby carriage which she decided to carry all around the house. 
Overall Christmas Eve was a really nice night. I will recap Christmas day later since this post is a lot longer than I expected. 

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friday favorites | life

Friday Favorites on Saturday

By on December 17, 2016

Of course I wrote this yesterday and had to finish it today. Whatever I have is no joke. Being sick stinks…

It’s Friday! Not so exciting for me though because I was up all night with Everly while she cried and coughed and I had chills and a sore throat. Seriously I am exhausted and miserable. I just want to go to sleep but Miss Everly is home with me today and even though she is sick she is the energizer bunny. I don’t get it. I am hoping we can both take a nap in an hour or two. 
Now back to some of my favorite things. Since it is so close to Christmas I can’t help but talk about some of my favorite items for the holidays. I got this adorable dress from Target before Thanksgiving and plan to wear it on Christmas Eve. It’s super comfy and flowy so if you plan on going to town on some yummy dessert you are good to go. Speaking of yumminess I am dying to try this Christmas cookie dough dip recipe from Dinner at the Zoo.
This beautiful gold silverware set. I would love to get these for our new house. They are to die for.  They also come in Rose Gold as well.
I am also a little obsessed with this gold bar cart. I really want one for our new dining room. I would love to decorate it for holidays. Loving this look from Garvin & Co. Seriously her home is my dream house. 
So I didn’t get to finish my post yesterday because I just felt too awful. I still feel horrible today but I got to sleep in till 9:30am, thanks Branden, because last night I had a rough night of sleep as did Everly. Her fever final broke though. 
Last night we ended up going to a live nativity with my cousins with the kids. Poor Everly wanted to be held the whole time and I was really tired but we couldn’t break tradition of a night of Christmas fun then Chick-fil-A peppermint shakes. We tried to get a picture of all the kids together and this truly shows how Everly felt the entire night.

But a peppermint shake always helps…

Today she is still feeling terrible and now Ashlyn is coughing which is how Everly and mine started. Branden is stuffy so Ace is so far the only one who isn’t showing signs of being sick. I hope he doesn’t catch it. 
Hope everyone has a great weekend. I am hoping everyone around here starts feeling better by Monday so we can get ready for Christmas! 

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Giveaway | life | style

Blue Frog Apparel $100 Gift Card Giveaway!

By on December 13, 2016
A big thank you to Beth from Blue Frog Apparel for gifting me these adorable clothes. I am seriously obsessed!

  Not sure if you saw this post on Instagram but can we talk about how cute this taco shirt is? It is seriously my favorite shirt Ace has right now. First of all the fabric is super soft and I mean tacos are da bomb! 
I was fortunate enough to get some fabulous clothes from Blue Frog Apparel and I am in love with the clothes. Can we talk about the detail on the back of this Chambray Maxi dress? 

Blue Frog Apparel is also a small boutique run by a local Mom, shoutout to Beth, hey girl! I love being able to support Moms who are running their own businesses. I know how hard it can be to get a boutique up and running so please go check out her beautiful clothing. They aren’t your typical boutique style clothes either. They are fun and functional. Kids can wear these clothes to school or the playground and be comfortable. They are high quality so you don’t have to worry about them falling apart after washing them a bunch of times. 
Then there is this sweet Indigo Heidi dress I put on Ashlyn. I had a similar dress for the girls when they were younger but it shrank up on them so I was really bummed out when they couldn’t wear it again. When I got this one I was so excited to put it on them. Ashlyn instantly loved it so she claimed it. 
So who wants to win their own Blue Frog Apparel gift card?! Beth is giving away a $100 gift card to one of my fabulous readers and the entries are super easy so hurry and enter! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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life | savings | shopping

How to Maximize Your Savings While Shopping Online

By on December 7, 2016


So I am probably the last person to discover Swagbucks but I am obsessed. I didn’t realize you could get money back for shopping online. All these years I spent shopping online and getting nothing back really annoys me, ha! 
After discovering Swagbucks I also discovered Cardpool, a place to buy discounted store gift cards. Combine this with Swagbucks and store’s discount codes you can get serious savings from the stores you are shopping at online. Here is how I saved and earned over $60 at Old Navy.
Swagbucks gives you a certain percent back when you shop online through their site. You just open up 
and click shop then pick the store you want to go to. Super easy. It can vary depending on the season. When I went shopping you could earn 5% cash back. I also had a 30% off coupon for signing up for their email list. 
Next I went to Cardpool to see what type of savings they had on Old Navy gift cards. They had an 11% discount on the gift cards, combined that with the 30% off and 5% cash back I was saving and earning a nice little chunk of money I wouldn’t have had without these nice little options.  I ended up buying three $25 gift cards. I got $75 worth of gift cards for $66.75. I then used my 30% off coupon for my order.


Here is how it broke down.
 Total cost (before taxes):  $93.00
 30% Discount:                  $27.90
Shipping Promo:               FREE
Taxes:                              $3.91
Order Total:                      $69.01
Order earned me $30 in Old Navy Cash 
Savings/ Earnings
Savings from Cardpool Gift Card (11%): $7.59
 Savings from Old Navy Promo (30%):     $27.90
Swagbucks 5% back:                                $3.25 
Old Navy Cash:                                    $30
Total Saved/Earned:                                 $68.74
Total Savings: $35.49
Total Earnings: $33.25
You can earn Old Navy cash up until January 26, 2017.
Free shipping is on orders over $50 and they have a lot of sales going on right now so take full advantage of this. The Swagbucks percentage is also high since it is the holidays so take advantage of that as well. And of course check out Cardpool for any stores you plan on shopping at. You will seriously save so much if you can combine it with other promotions. And honestly even if there isn’t a promotion going on it is still worth it to save money at a place you know you will be shopping or dining at. 
Join Swagbucks!
You Can Get Free Gift Cards For Shopping, Searching and Discovering What’s Online at



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Christmas | life | shopping

Christmas Shopping (almost) Done!

By on December 4, 2016

We are slowly but surely getting ready for Christmas. We bought our tree last week and decorated it on Friday. It was so sweet watching the kids get excited and put the ornaments up. There is nothing better than seeing Christmas from your child’s eyes. 
This post contains affiliate links which means I may make a small % off the sale of an item. This in no way affects you. 

 Of course with Christmas comes Christmas shopping. I really hate putting things off to the last minute when it comes to holidays so I did a lot of my shopping online. I knew I wanted to just get it done as simple as possible.

This year I feel like Christmas shopping was a lot easier than years past. I didn’t want to buy a bunch of stuff just to have a bunch of things for my kids to unwrap. I don’t want that to be the main focus of Christmas for them. I wanted to get them items they were going to really love and use. I have noticed that some toys they love for a hot minute and after that they are over it and they just collect in a basket and come out randomly but aren’t really played with. Super fun when we need to clean up. 
With each child there was something we knew they specifically needed or wanted. With Ace we knew he needed a bike. He is too tall for his Thomas bike he got when he was 3 so that was going to be his main “big” present. Branden actually found a bike someone was getting rid of and painted it, got new grips and put his old seat on it so that ended up being close to free. Score! Everly has now taken over Ace’s old bike so it was just in time. He also is very into LEGO Dimensions. Branden got him a bunch of those since I know nothing about them. Although I did find an ET one I had to get him. I mean how cute is he?
For Ashlyn I found this KidKraft Savannah Dollhouse with Furniture on Offer Up for $50 originally $150. Again a total score for us, if you are interested it is on sale right now for only $89. She has been into Barbies so I knew that was going to be my focus for her. We also got her and Everly the Holiday barbies. I loved that they had a blonde and brunette one. Last year Branden found the Disney Princess pack for super cheap on like a 50% off day at Target so we have that but will probably only take 2 dolls from it and save the rest for birthdays. 
Everly is still obsessed with baby dolls so I wanted to get her a doll diaper bag and crib. Last year we had gotten them the Step2 Love and Care Deluxe Nursery but it didn’t really have a crib area more of a changing table, so I wanted one for her to have for bedtime. She is such a little mommy. She is always putting her baby dolls on pillows and covering them up to go to sleep. She also carries them around on her hip. It’s so sweet. I felt like I was a grandma buying for my grandbabies because I wanted to find a nice doll diaper bag so it would last. This one was seriously so precious to me so I snatch it up. It also has a matching highchair set that I might get her for her birthday. 
We got them some little extras like these Strawberry Shortcake dolls (I just had to!). They actually smell like the ones from when I was a kid. They each got a small lego set since they like to play legos before bed and a lot of outdoor art stuff. These cute LEGO Friends Party Cakes ones were only $3.99. I love these sidewalk chalk paint. I had some for the longest time and we finally used them a couple weeks ago and it kept them busy for the longest time. I also got regular sidewalk chalk as well. We go through them like crazy.  
I did go to Target’s “dollar” section and get some cute things for their stalkings so overall I think we are pretty much finished with them. I still need to get a couple things for my nieces and nephews but they are pretty easy. 
Are you done with your shopping yet? 

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