Monday, November 28, 2016

Gift Guide: For Him

Let's start with the men, shall we?  They are typically the hardest to shop for!  I'm feeling pretty good about the fact that I'm nearly done shopping for Conor.  Just need a few more small stocking stuffers for him!  And those are my favorites to buy anyways; the small little things that sometimes the most thought has been put into.  Conor has (or is possibly getting) all of these items.  We use the pint glasses & chair frequently, whether it be camping or on the soccer field.  I love that the chair is a love seat.  Snuggles all around!  The Patagonia pullover is the newest addition to his winter wardrobe and is so soft & cozy.  You can dress it up or down!  Magnetic belt, with bottle opener on the buckle (#1) is on his wishlist.  And the magnetic collar stays are way better than the plastic ones that shirts come with.  Just don't forget to remove them before taking shirts to the dry cleaner!

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Now share all your best ideas for the men in your life!  
There are still a few others on my list..

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

On Turkey Day morning we woke up to snow, much more than predicted!  It was rather icy, so nowhere near snowman material.  But exciting enough to stomp around in and make sure the sleds were in working order.  Finn tolerated his hat & mittens just fine, which gives me hope for all future snow adventures.  I cannot wait for a big storm to hit, because sledding is going to be epic this year.  Thank goodness we already have ski helmets for both boys, because I'm sure they will be necessary!

After watching the sun rise, making all the snow upon the houses just glisten, we began our feasting with brunch.  Our neighbors brought over breakfast burritos, while Conor & I served up mimosas and homemade cinnamon rolls.  We made an overnight recipe, which turned out perfectly.  I must share in the future!  We tend to eat Thanksgiving dinner late, so breakfast is always always necessary.   The mimosas were tossed back during parade watching, and right when the buzz was hitting we were ready to get the boys outside again.

We have a tradition to take a long walk each year.  It's nice to have some fresh air & exercise before all the eating.  Finn was being a slow poke, and both boys really just wanted to play in the snow, so it was the shortest walk ever.  But it was also nap time, so no-one was complaining about heading home early.  Conor prepped & cooked the turkey while the boys & I slept.  I seriously woke up at 4pm, with guests arriving at 4:30!!!  But somehow we managed to pull it all together!

I kept the table simple, instead focusing on the food & drinks (priorities!).  And of course, I barely managed any photos, since it was practically dark out by the time I had pulled myself together for dinner.  We managed to snag one family photo, just as the sun was going down.  I always make sure to get a picture of the four of us on each of the big holidays.  I love looking back at how our family looked that year.  How we are changing & growing.  And three out of four smiles is always a win!

The food was delicious; the company better.  I love how our neighbors have become our family here.  I love how we can literally just walk next door whenever something is needed.  I love how well our kids play together, and the friendships forming there.  I missed my family tremendously that evening, but I felt so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful people that are currently a big part of our lives.    

We ended the night with another round of drinks and the game Speak Out (or Watch Your Mouth, same game different versions/companies).  If you haven't heard of it, go to youtube immediately and watch some videos.  It's hilarious.  I was laughing/crying so hard.  This will be a big gift this Christmas Season I'm sure.  "The gift that keeps on giving!"

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Great Salt Lake

Today is one of my favorite days... Thanksgiving Prep Day!  Although over the last few years, it has certainly changed.  And it will probably continue to change, especially while I still have little ones running all around.  The day used to be filled with grocery shopping.  Meticulous lists, hot coffee, lots of errands, lots of prep work.  But with two kids in tow, nap times to work around, and the general chaos that comes with two, I now have to allocate my time far better.  So the grocery shopping was completed yesterday, and today's prep work will mostly be saved until Conor is home from work and/or the kids are in bed.  My big to-do's that must be done by tonight include: pumpkin pie made, overnight cinnamon rolls prepped, & bread cubed to dry out for the stuffing.  Everything else Conor & I can handle T-Day morning.  So I'm actually feeling pretty good about it all!

The bulk of this post has absolutely nothing to do with Thanksgiving however.  Unless you consider this just another one of my recent love letters to Utah, in which I share how gosh darn thankful I am for this place I get to call home.  After living here for nearly 4 years, we finally, finally, made it out to the Great Salt Lake last weekend!

It hadn't been on the top of my list since everyone talked about how smelly, dirty, & nasty it was.  But after following a few local photographers and seeing all the gorgeous shots they got out there, I was getting more & more intrigued.  And then a little photography project of my own (more on this later), finally got our little family out here.

The weather wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, but it wasn't stinky at all!  The sand was soft, and the boys loved it.  It's a long walk from the road to where you get to the actual water, so there was plenty of time for the anticipation to build.  It really is a stunning sight!  Such a unique place!  I only wish we had brought some chairs & adult beverages for the excursion!

And while it may look like we had the whole place to ourselves, it was actually just crawling with photographers and families.  But the lake & beach are huge; everything is so wide open, that you practically feel like it's just you out there.  It's an interesting little place, but I could totally see us coming back.  If not just for pictures.  I've already decided we really need to do a family session here!

This week is such a good reminder to be thankful for all that surrounds us.  The places and the people!  I used to be so embarrassed to tell people that I lived in Utah, but now I'm quite proud of this place!  It has been a nearly perfect spot to raise our family.  And while family isn't too near to us here, we have made plenty of friends & "family"!  So for the second year in a row, we will feast with our next door neighbors, who are just like family to us.  And for them, I am thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Black Tuesday {Freshly Picked}

Holiday shopping is here!  Sales are popping up everywhere, especially for small shops!  One of my favorite (and local) companies in particular is Freshly Picked, and guys... they are having the sweetest sale ever!  Starting today at 10am Mountain Time, everything is 25% off!  Even the new Marketplace items.

While I was already in love with their leather moccs, I'm now super pumped about being able to shop small for other goods right from the same place.  And these baby accessories, decor, & toys are adorable.  Here's a peek at a few of my favorites:

wooden car

modern mobile

blush bow

As far as the mocc colors go, I'm really feeling all the Utah inspiration right now.  I think Finn needs a pair of Blue Spruce & Greatest Snow on Earth this Christmas!

So tell me, who has their alarm set & is shopping the sale?!
I swear you have to have cat like reflexes to get everything in your cart and checked out quick enough.  Oh the anxiety!  'Tis the season!

Friday, November 18, 2016


The stomach flu hit our family (at least the kids only), so last weekend was pretty much a bust.  I feel like I've been taking care of sick kiddos forever and have no idea what actual day it is.  But everyone is on the mend, and the holiday season is practically upon us!  Thank goodness I'll be sneaking out of the house for Book Club tonight!  We're taking some family photos at a Christmas tree farm on Saturday, and then hopefully getting all our exterior illumination up so that we're ready to turn on all those lights after dinner on Thanksgiving.  Here's some fun finds from the week:

Liam is super into Legos right now, so I was pumped when I spotted these Lego gel pens!  They will make the perfect stocking stuffer.  I just know Liam will go bonkers for them!

I'm obsessed with the Meyer's hand soaps, and their holiday scents have been heavenly this year.  Peppermint & Iowa Pine...I can smell the freshly cut Christmas trees now!  I seriously have been washing my hands double time lately, perhaps that is why I didn't get sick!

With fresh Christmas trees on the mind, if you are a family that cuts down your own tree then you need this Christmas Farm book!  It's beautifully illustrated and an adorable story.  This is the new Christmas book that we are adding to our collection this year.

Did you all know that Lululemon has a little girls line, ivivva?!  A store opened close to me recently.  I have two nieces that I think will go bonkers for some athleisure wear for Christmas.  I've already been browsing, and I'm seriously wishing half of it came in my size!

We just put some Cranberry Cider on top!  I thought that flavor would be perfect to kick off the holiday season.  I'm thinking Clove may be another good option once we kick this keg.  I keep meaning to put together a post about our hard cider & ginger beer operation.  We'll see if I ever get around to it!

Wow, that was a lot of Christmas talk!  But it's nearly that time!
TGIF friends!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Finn: 18 Months Old

I haven't done an update on this guy since he turned one!  I'm pretty much kicking myself for not keeping up with Finny better, because I love looking back at these old posts.  And really I need to get better about taking more videos of my boys!  While I have literally hundreds of photographs, the videos (especially those longer than 15 seconds) are in short supply.  And that is where you get to bottle up their sweet voices.  The inflections.  The mispronunciations.  The mannerisms.  The looks.  All those things that I truly hope to never ever forget.

Height:  34.45 in
Weight: 27.7 lbs

When compared to Liam at the same age, Finn is about a half inch taller and 5 (F I V E) pounds heavier.  That's a ton of weight on such little bodies!  Finn isn't really all that chubby, he's just dense.  He is so so heavy, which makes wearing him & carrying him tough!  But he isn't exactly a walk right next to you kind of kid, so yeah...  I get a daily workout in with him.

Finn is my willful child.  Our pediatrician told me that was a nice way of putting it.  He knows what he wants and he wants it NOW!  He gets frustrated when we can't figure out what he wants/needs and will quickly demand "hand" and then lead us to whatever.  He doesn't have much patience, so you better act quickly.  Having to wait 30 seconds while I show my pass to the zoo employee?  Devastating for Finny!  But surprise surprise, I'm incredibly stubborn myself, so he surely gets it from his mama.

While he can definitely be a handful in the moment, okay maybe TWO handfuls, he is equally sweet the next.  He's super expressive & snuggly & squishy.  His hugs brighten my day always.  His smile is contagious; he just exudes happiness when he wants to.  He has this mischievous side that is easily seen in the faces he makes.  He loves to play games.  Get into everything.  And harass the cats.  Or "meow meows."  Most animals are referred to by their sounds (except ducks), and cars are "beep beeps".  He uses two words together often now, although his first ones were "bubble bath" & "garbage truck" (and hilariously like Daffy Duck would say it).

He loves sports, especially football!  He'll cozy up on the couch with Conor for a game, and can already throw a serious spiral.  His body is practically built for the sport!  He also loves soccer, especially when the big kids let him play.  He has mastered his wiggle car and has already started walking with the balance bike.  I'm waiting for him to start gliding any day!  He watches everything Liam does & tries to copy it.  Because of this, he picks up skills rather quickly.  He is strong hiker (refusing the pack these days), but will often get distracted by random bugs & rocks.  He recognizes places we go, and shows his enthusiasm immediately upon discovering where he is.  The farm by our house being one of his absolute favorite places.

So much more to share about this boy!  As any mom tends to do, I could just keep gushing & gushing.  But I already do plenty of that over on the 'gram.  So let's end this Finn love fest with some favorites...

Stuffed Animal: Fox Friend (he has a real thing for foxes)
Book: LMNO Peas (all the pea books really)
Toy: Dyson toy vacuum
Food: hummus
Place: farm
Nickname: Finny

Monday, November 14, 2016

Cozy & Festive

'Tis the season to shop for yourself right..? Wrong!  It's so so wrong.  Yet, I've done a little shopping this week.  I'm starting to compile my gift giving lists; finding that perfect something for all my family & friends.  And sometimes when I start browsing, I start finding things that I actually want!  And sometimes need.  As in, I've been wearing the exact same ski coat since my freshman year of college!  I'm fairly certain it isn't even waterproof at this point.  So I hit our Patagonia Outlet and found myself a brand spanking new coat.  I'm in love!  It's way cuter in person.  And then I needed a new hat, so I could get rid of the same one I've had since high school.  And then I just so happened upon these adorable jammies, which obviously needed to be mine for the Christmas season (way way cuter, softer, & amazing in person).  I'm obsessed; you all need a pair!  And the boots, well the boots are still on the wishlist.  I have an old pair of NorthFace boots that do just fine, but a little upgrade never hurts.

So tell me, who else has been shopping for themselves?  
And what should I be putting on my Christmas list?

*some affiliate links used*

Sunday, November 13, 2016


Soccer season has ended until Spring, and both Liam & I are pretty sad about it.  This was one of my favorite new stages in this whole parenting thing.  I can remember seeing Liam in his shin guards & cleats for his first practice, and I couldn't handle the cuteness.  And how old he seemed.  Somehow time seems to be going by faster than ever!  I kinda can't believe that here we are, with our first baby boy already playing soccer!

He could not have been placed on a more perfect team.  His coach is absolutely wonderful; he's so so patient & always comes up with fun new games to teach certain skills.  And more importantly, Liam seems to love all the boys on his team.  They are group of adorable blondies who like to do spontaneous "kid cheers" throughout the games.  One boy in particular has absolutely no regard for personal space, just like Liam, so the hugs & wrestling is endless between the two.

By the end of the season, Liam had nailed his corner kicks & throw ins!  He typically got a goal or two each game, and always threw his hands up in the air right after - victory!  It was incredible to watch how all the boys improved week after week, and by the final game there was actually quite a bit of passing & teamwork happening, which is quite impressive for a group of 4 & 5 year olds!

While Conor & I were often beaming with pride, the games were also filled with plenty of laughter & a bit of anxiety.  Liam spends plenty of time on the ground...  He quickly learned the art of the "flop"; we're working on that.  Other times, a kid would be all alone, right in front of the goal, and still manage to miss the shot.  Oh the tension, the anxiety!  It's thrilling.  Seriously, 4 year old soccer is thrilling!  I hope to always enjoy Liam's games this much.  And he seemed to love them too!  There was only one game where we played a much bigger, much older (orange) team, and Liam was getting super frustrated with them taking the ball from him when he was near the goal.  I even heard him shout out "Stop it!  Stop it Orange!"  He's even adorable in his most frustrated moment!

But of course, Liam wouldn't be as great as he is without his sideline crew!  Finn wanted on the field most of the time, but settled into our laps nicely as the season wore on.  My parents were able to catch a game, as well as Liam's godfather when he was in town.  Except for one slightly cold & rainy morning, we had incredible sunny weather on those Saturday mornings.  Could not have asked for a better season or a better start to a hopefully thriving soccer career for Liam!

I'm already missing our soccer Saturdays!  Although I know as soon as the snow starts hitting the ground (hopefully this Thursday!), that we will quickly transition to ski season.  But for now, the soccer ball & net is packed away until the ground thaws in the Spring!

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