Thursday, November 16, 2017

Where We Are Today

This little blog has turned into such a great scrapbook for my life. When I started "blogging" years ago I really had no idea what I was doing. Let's be honest, I still don't. I've never blogged for "readers" or "followers" ... like to know it and linking to make money has never been my jam. Quality photos are a luxury around here, not a necessity. Formatting, spelling, grammar errors - yep they're all still here. And honestly, I'm a-ok with that. Because the more I blog, and the more I link back to passed memories, the more I am so thankful I'm doing it. For myself, and my family ... I love having both the photo to look at and my interpreation of what and why it took place.

I've been quiet around here the last month or so, because there has been SO much happening so fast. Life is legit a whirlwind and I'm just trying to keep up - one day at a time. I've got posts from Halloween I have yet to hit publish on (and hope to do so before Christmas rolls around), I've got some big updates on the house I'd love to share, I'm hoping to bring everyone up to speed on all things medical soon, and sprinkle in a lot of the in between life stuff too. And I'm so thankful I have this little space to remind me of all the things I have to be thankful for. All of the memories I've shared with everyone I love so dearly. And all of the blessings The Good Lord has bestowed upon my life.

So, while I work to put together some blogs about the past month or so, today I thought I'd check in and do a quick - Where We Are Today - at this time in our life. Beyond the pictures, and beyond the silly stories or the what we did this weekend - but really - where are we, as a family, in our lives. Because if it's a scrapbook, an update of what's happening behind the scenes deserves to be noted too.

Lainey // The littlest of the clan, and arguably the happiest, is all about family, friends and Mickey Mouse. You can find her waking up with the best bed head in the morning - throwing all of her blankets out of the crib with the toddler rail - excitedly squealing for someone to come and get her (or often being way to big of a little girl and walking all the way downstairs herself and crawling into our bed to wake us up), so she can put her paci back in the bowl and start her day. She heads downstairs for snuggles and always requests Mickey be turned on the TV. Within 15 minutes, she's made her way to the kitchen and is demanding breakfast or a snack. And then she plays, or joins along in the routine (preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays) and everything in between until her 1.5 hour midday nap after lunch. Post nap she's ready for another snack and is back to playing with her babies ... putting them to bed and "changing" their diapers. If a door is open she's running outside, and if there is a pile of dirt she dives right in (literally). You have to watch her around anything that COULD be edible (read the fine print - just because it isn't edible, doesn't mean it CAN'T be) because if it can fit in your mouth Lainey will certainly attempt to eat it. She follows her brother around for a good remainder of the day and keeps the whole family laughing until it's time for bed. Food, fashion (ha!), all the fake makeup sessions and Mickey Mouse keep her going and as long as she's got her family and friends she's pretty content.
Bennett // Ahhh the smart one in the family. This little man is a 40 year old trapped inside a 4 year old's body and he's a force to be reckoned with. This mister starts his day with a mix of needing to be coaxed out of bed with promise of something sweet for breakfast, and/or on his own ready to take on the world if he went to bed early enough the night before. Pending which side of the bed he wakes up on, he's either ready to chat and watch some morning cartoons or you better stay out of his way - there typically is no in between for him. He's off to school Tuesday through Friday - although getting him to share many details about his day can be a bit of a challenge. But, his reports from his teachers/friends/and other mama's let us know he's totally killing it. When his little sister naps he can't wait to get his hands on an iPad for his quiet time and would play it all day if we would let him. He loves to recite movie quotes and has a memory sharp as a tack. On the weekends you can catch him playing midfield on some sports team, and looking for his buddies to wrestle with. He has the best stories, loves to incorporate some form of potty talk (preferably poop) into any conversation and you can always count on him to keep his sister out of harms way. He also told the entire family last week he intended to marry his mommy - so his heartthrob status is currently through the roof. He prefers a smaller circle than his sister, but if you're in it - you are IN IT and that's exactly where we all want to be!
Katie // I'm currently the one multi-tasking my way through life. I'm at that phase where my foot is halfway in one door, while halfway walking out of another. Three days out of the week I'm momming so hard -- the taxi cab to and from school, the meal maker, the boo-boo kisser, the story listerner, and the referree. The other two days I'm juggling between finding much needed "me" time and putting on my working girl hat. Please note however, my mornings ALWAYS begin with my husband making me coffee - and no matter how many years I plan to check-in like this, that will always remain the same - I am still NOT a morning person.  I frequent meetings for various family business things and I'm taking the photography hobby a little more seriously. I drink coffee atleast once a day (most days twice and occasionally three) and enjoy a glass of Pinot Noir on some evenings. I go through weird phases of being completely normal and fine and then sheer panic about my health. My Aunt constantly reassures me, I'm building a lot of character through this journey - so maybe one day I'll figure out what the purpose of that "character" is - but for now I'll continue to take it moment by moment.  My extroverted-self wanting all the friends all the time heart (ahem, my Lainey-ism) is slowly converting to more of a Bennett circle as I'm coming to the point in my life were friendships mean so much more than surface level - and I am so thankful for the friendships and relationships I have that continue to lift me up and bring me true fulfillment.  I'm working hard on my relationship with the Big Man Upstairs and learning that all of those other things I "need", I really don't. Life is slowly falling more into place, the kiddos are getting a little more self-reliant and I'm starting to see glimpses of my pre-mom self shining through :)
Shane // Ahh so much I could say about him from my eyes (all the heart eyes), but this is about him, so I'll move on. Shane is working his tail off in the beer biz. He's all things beer, all the time and he's feeling really fulfilled in his professional life. He's up early and home for dinner (most of the time) and his kiddos absolutely cannot wait to give him the world's biggest hug the moment he walks in the door. He's healthy and fulfilled, but life has been hard on him the last couple of  years. All of those closest to him have walked some pretty serious trials and tribulations, and he's had to remain super strong for everyone else. He's a walking Jana Kramer song lyric of being a boy and becoming a man - and while that sounds super cliche it's also super true. He's gone from a hot-headed boy to a cool and steady handed man, and it suits him really well. He's got most of it all together ... but if you ask him to pack the kiddos a lunch you might have a melt down on your hands. When he's not hustling beer, he's being super dad and giving the best advice about "being tough" while coaching Mr. B in flag football, or getting even further wrapped around Lainey's finger. You can find him playing the tripping game most nights with the kiddos in the basement and he's the fearless nightly leader of bath and bedtime. If there's one thing he knows better than beer, it's the written text from cover to cover of "Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, and The Kissing Hand". He's the world's biggest optimist with lofty business dreams and a fierce love for his people. And we simply couldn't love him more.

As we head into a week of Thanksgiving - I'm so thankful. Thankful for our family and the three people I get to call mine <3 What an honor and a blessing.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Lainey's Birthday Letter ~ Age 2

She's Two, She's Two - Our little Lainey Bug is TWO! Popping in today to honor our little tradition of birthday letters to my littles.

Previous Letters to Lainey:

Lainey Lou,

Lou Bugg, Nainey Girl, Lou, Elaine Louise, my sweet whittle baby girl ... I LOVE YOU! I love you, I love you, I LOVE you. You are the biggest spunk of bright energy I could have ever imagined and you sweetheart, you are truly the apple of our eyes.
I'm having trouble wrapping my head around you being two years old. Not because of the obvious "time has flown by, how are you so big, where did the time go, etc <all of those are true too>", but more because I honestly cannot remember nor can I imagine life without you.  You beam with love and happiness always and it is such a bright spot in our lives. You have never met a stranger and make everyone who meets you smile. You are a total goof and keep up laughing constantly. You have complete disregard for authority and do anything and everything your way. It is no secret you run the show.
Little lady you entered our lives when things were quiet (relatively speaking). And from the moment you started to actually wake up life got a lot less quiet. We began questioning everything and life was spiraling quickly - and yet through it all - there you were. The bright spot. The littlest spunk that ever was and the one that made every single part of it worth walking through.
I could have told you when I began having children with 100% certainty that I would be a boy mom. I would have a little football team and it would be all I ever needed. But then here you came. With a full head of brown hair that the nurse quickly adorned with a pink bow and I knew right then and there my younger self had never been more wrong. I needed you sweet thing. I needed you more than I ever knew and I am so thankful God gave you to me. Being your mommy is SO. MUCH. FUN.
All of your sass, all of your spunk, all of your drama ... every single piece of your personality is my favorite. You are the perfect mix of silly and sweet ... you'll fake an injury one moment to get everyeone's attention and then laugh scream and run the very next.
You love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and simply cannot get enough of Mickey on TV or your iPad. You literally eat EVERYTHING - the pantry is your favorite room in the entire house and if you had it your way you'd have noodles, hot dogs, cheetos and cookies for every meal -- probably mixed together. Your favorite outfit is a pretty dress paired with tennis shoes and a high ponytail - because duh, a little girly and a little tomboy is the perfect combonation - and it couldn't make me prouder.
You are absolutely SMITTEN with your big brother, Bubby. And he prefers you call him Bubby over Bennett -- and corrects you when you say his real name. The two of you play hide and go seek almost daily and you make sure if you get a snack you always grab one for him too.
You have your daddy completely wrapped around your finger, and you're probably his biggest fan. Him coming home at the end of the work day if you favorite part of the evening - a close second to shaking your booty in the bathtub and running naked baby through the house until we catch you.
You still sleep with your paci and request to pick out which one you'd like before bed everr night. You're very paticular about your blankets when we put you to bed and always have a different opinion on if you will sleep with a stuffed animal and which one it will be.
You've had a big year sweet girl! Soon after your first birthday we packed your bags and vacationed in New York City for the first time in November. After Christmas we packed everything once again and moved to a new city in December. January was a bit of a blur. It was a rough month of everyone (except you). You seemed completely unphased by the move and as long as you had your family with you - you were per usual, happy as a lark. You started regularly rocking ponytails and went to the circus. Aside from not sleeping (which continued for the better part of 5 months due to the sleeping arrangements of the new living conditions) you were settling into your second year of life just fine. 
Come April, we packed our bags once again and celebrated LIFE and HAPPINESS at the happiest place on earth. You made it all the way to Florida to see The One and Only Mickey Mouse at Disney World. My favorite memory of you from the trip was watching you dance and wave during the parade as Mickey walked by. It really is magical. As the months turned warmer and summer snuck in - you packed your little backpack and headed to summer camp with your brother.  No tears from you at drop off - you couldn't wait to explore a new place with new friends. My social little butterfly :)
In the midst of summer and truly the hottest week of the year, we all cheered as we'd survived a 6 month renovation project and FINALLY unpacked our bags inside our new home. Once again, you seemed unphased. You loved the new space, when right back to sleeping like a champ in your big girl room (and is it ever a big girl room!) and settled right in with your best people around you as though nothing had changed. As one final hoorah of summer, and a farewell trip to your uncle Max we packed your bags AGAIN in early August and took you along for a fun getaway to Chicago
Once we returned home we dusted off that little backpack at the end of the month and packed it up once again as you officially started Preschool two days a week. And, as no surpise you LOVE it. You walked in the first day like you owned the place and love to come home and tell us all about your "fwiends". We rounded out fall with some apple picking, pumpkin picking, and halloween festivities ... but quickly turned the calendar to celebrate our little gal turning TWO!
So, on your second birthday I'm praying for you little bug. Praying for your spirit - that is always shines bright. Praying for your future - that it is filled with happiness and goals that you work hard to achieve. Praying that the bond between you and your brother always remains strong. Praying for your future friends - that they lift you up and not tear you down. Praying for your family - both the one we share and the one you may one day have, that you know happiness health and wholeness all of your days.
You're the apple little Lou. The apple of our eye and the best daughter and sister we could have dreamed of.
So keep leading the way little lady ... because you my sweet have some big awesome things ahead of you!
And yes, shake that booty when it's time to celebrate - because life's no fun when you take it too seriously!
Signing off as your biggest fan with the most love for you in the entire world,
The Proudest Mommy, The Luckiest Mommy, Your Mommy

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pumpkins Scream in the Dead of Night

"This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Pumpkins scream in the dead of night
This is Halloween, everybody make a scene
Trick or treat till the neighbors gonna die of fright
It's our town, everybody scream
In this town of Halloween!"

Happy Halloween everyone! We're having a big ole' time here in Kentucky. Bennett's off to his very first "field trip" permisssion slip required and all -- to Trick or Treat at the nursing home down the street. Then the kiddos have their Halloween parties at school, followed by Trick or Treating with friends in the neighborhood tonight. 

In Halloween spiritn - I thought I'd share our pumpkin carving adventures on the blog today. We carved pumpkins last week and without a doubt, we always have "This is Halloween" from The Night Before Christmas playing in the background. Carving pumpkins transports me right back to childhood every year, and I totally love it. The gooey pumpkin guys, the arguing of what looks better and how to make it look "right", and always being just a tad bit disappointed your pumpkin didn't turn out as grea as you imagined it in your head. All things I love :) I've got pumpkin carving posts that date way back and you can catch up on those events here:
I mentioned last week I made a yummy caramel apple dip for my gals night pumpkin carving and hilariously we never actually carved pumpkins. We all were so engrossed in chatting, eating apps and drinking wine that not a single pumpkin was carved. We did however, manage to find some pumpkin stickers (thanks mom) that saved the day - so it wasn't a total loss. 

Real carving did take place on family pumpkin night however, and the kiddos were super pleased with their creations. First up - say cheese!

Followed by ooey gooey pumpkin guts!

And then - interpreting their wants and ideas. 

And finally a self-timer photoshoot with the completed punkins!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

What's Up Wednesday: October 2017 Edition

So apparently, this blog is basically now only for checking in on the last Wednesday of every month to recap you on everything we've done for the past 30 days. Geesh! I've got so much going on these days and this poor little blog just hasn't made it in my top 10 list even though I so desperately want it to. My goal is to work a little from bed each night, but by the time I crawl into the covers I'm either so ready to turn my brain off and watch mindless TV or I'm asleep before I begin typing - there seems to be no in between.

We are full force immersed into "the blur" phase of life (side note, if you're emotional today, I warn you do not click that link and read about that dear momma's sweet spot. But if you're up for it - read on, because it is a healthy dose of reality for us momma's that are 100% IN THE BLUR) and there are many of days I'm just out here on my island looking inland yelling S.O.S., but the waves seem to loud for anyone to hear. However, in that blur is a big heaping messy pile of life and we continue to dive in head first. Constantly curating new memories, adding things to an overly crowded schedule, all the while balancing a good home life balance and working side by side with my hubby to enjoy our children. It's a tall order, but I'm used to snagging the Venti at Starbucks ... so I'm getting along just fine.

Anywhoodles, without veering too far off course, let's get right down to it shall we? Here's What's Up Wednesday where I write about these topics:
What We're Eating This Week: Soup! Fall is in the air full force, brisk breezes, a cool chill - all the things. So we've busted out the big ole' soup pot and are adding all the yummy things to it! We also were munching on the leftover Caramel Apple Dip recipe I shared earlier this week too :) YUM!
What I'm reminiscing about: Last year's Halloween :) I've said it before, but I LOVE making my kiddos Halloween costumes. Last year was so special because Bennett was simply HUMPTY DUMPTY obsessed, and this year that phase is WAYYY long gone and it makes my heart ache a little. He was so big and so small at the same time. It was a great Halloween memory and I can't wait to have another one in the archives this year. Time to get to burning my fingertips with hot glue! HA!
What I'm loving: Family photo season! I love love love fall family photo sessions. Yes, the outfit search is daunting. Yes, the "smile like you love me" threats are real. Yes, you're full on sweating by the end of it. Yes, most of the time they are a hot mess and close to zero of the images turn out ... HOWEVER - I still love it. I love having the photos to look back on year after year. I love watching our styles change. I love seeing the kiddos change. I love the time together and the laughs we have at breakfast or dinner afterward. I opted to take photos of my littles myself this year and booked a simple mini session to get the "one" shot for the Christmas card :) and if all else fails - I took a selfie of us all before the shoot!

And bonus - I'm getting to photograph a bunch of other families this year too -- and sharing their photos is also something I love. <3

What we've been up to: More like what have we NOT been up to. Gosh, EVERYTHING! Pumpkin patches, birthday parties, family gatherings, sports games, play dates, school open houses, all of the above! ... To name a few ...
The kiddos had their 6th month check up at the dentist and both passed with flying colors!

I took them to Target to let them pick out a treat for being so awesome and they landed on robes and slippers and it made me laugh hysterically that this was their choice.

When Papaw has extra time at lunch he pops in for a quick treat drop off and Mario Kart race and the kids are LOVING having them so close.
 We seem to find ourselves in the car a lot lately.
 And we've been celebrating our boys in Purple! They clinched the Eastern Conference Title and we're now in the quarter finals of the playoffs. We had a huge celebration on the field after last week's game and it was such a fun time.

The birthday brigade rolls on and this little fella makes his rounds to all of the parties.
And Shane's cousin Mary came in from Seattle and stayed with us this past weekend and it was so good to catch up!

What I'm dreading: Still November. November is going to be a HUGE visit (PET scan, CT scan, MRI of the abdomen, MRI of the brain, blood work, derm visit) THE WORKS. And there are a couple of really subtle spots they've been watching for a long time and we think this visit will kind of determine a decision one way or another (if they've changed). Sooo ... while it's still a while away - I'm dreading it. It's been heavy on my heart. We actually had to visit Nash just this week because they found a couple of other things we had to deal with before the scans (WOMP) - but all is looking to be a-ok at the moment. Plus, while we're away and receive pictures like this is makes it seem a little better :) I promise I know everyone an update on this topic - and plan to do a full write up post the November visit.
What I'm working on: Halloween costumes and Lainey's birthday party! The kiddos helped me mail the invites last week and Lainey was so excited to see a party piece all her own!

What I'm excited about: More fireside chats! We built our inaugural fire last week and everyone LOVED it! Hubs and I sat outside and chatted with a cool breeze in the air while the kiddos played. It was the best family night and I look forward to many many more before the first snowfall lands.

What I'm watching/reading: I actually just wrapped up GirlBoss on Netflix. It's the loose retelling of the gal behind the web retailer: NastyGal and I really enjoyed it. It was super light hearted and really easy to watch, plus I think the actress is super cute. I'm a little stuck on Game of Thrones right now and need to push through - but see above intro for my TV thoughts ... so there's that.

What I'm listening to: I'm still trying to finish my audible book, China Rich Girlfriend. I think I'm really close to being done, but I just can't seem to finish it. I really really like it - but devoting time to finally check it off the list has been a challenge this month.

What I'm wearing: FALL CLOTHES! Hoodies, booties, and fall galore. YAYYY! My uniform is back in action. Lainey also busted out a new wardrobe and has officially hit the "I need all new clothes" phase because she is growing like a weed!
What I'm doing this weekend: We've got a fun weekend planned! Our niece and nephew are staying with us Friday night while their parents jet set to California. Saturday we're toying with a quick trip to Lexington and making a Keeneland stop and if we feel crazy even going to the UK/UT game. Or, we may find something to do during the day at home on Saturday and go to the LCFC tourney game here in Louisville - so many options :)

What I'm looking forward to next month: Lainey's 2nd birthday party, all the Thanksgiving feasts and a quick trip to Chi-town, some plans to get underway at the studio (more to come at 11), and the kickoff to the holidays! I love this time of year!

What else is new: The kiddos really seem to be settling in. School is in full swing and they are right in the middle of the action. Our besties brought a new baby into the world, LEO, and we had some fun times with our man Charlie while his momma and daddy were at the hospital.

 Bennett showed us around his school at their fall open house and we meet with his teachers for conferences in a few weeks. Most notably, he's one of the smallest in the class :) hah!

 And speaking of his school - we had a super fun play date with his buddies at the park this passed weekend and while the dirt and chocolate wouldn't come out of our clothes - the kids had a blast.
And that's what's up around here this Wednesday - see ya next month!