Thursday, April 28, 2016

Utah

A month ago (sheesh, I'm obviously on top of my blogging), we spent a morning at the Utah State Capitol building.  The grounds are beautiful, covered in cherry trees that were in peak season!  Perfect place for a picnic & bike ride.  Side note: ignore how off my white balance is in these photos. The sun would briefly peek out and then hide behind the clouds the next minute.  It was a tad bit infuriating, and needless to say, I was never on the right setting when the moment needed to be captured.  Now, let's carry on...


That morning, I took a few moments to reflect on our time here in Utah.  We've lived here for over 3 years now, which is the longest we have lived anywhere since college (2 years in Delaware, 1.5 in Arizona, and 1 in Seattle).  We've really put down roots.  In our neighborhood.  In our community.  In Liam's school.  It's been a wonderful place to raise our boys!  We've taken full advantage of the outdoors and everything this big city has to offer.


So how could we ever leave, right?!  The thought actually terrifies me.  I can't imagine not walking outside in the evenings to our neighborhood full of children.  Or not having my close group of stay-at-home-mom friends that fill my mornings & afternoons with playdates.  On a daily basis, no joke.  I seriously freak out if I don't have plans scheduled for the next day.  I'm part of a wonderful little tribe, and I just love raising our babies together!  And I love how close we live to the mountains.  And the zoo, museums, aquarium, etc.  What would I do without it all?  The thought of starting over somewhere sounds exhausting & lonely.


But... as much as our friends feel like family, they are not.  I recently took Liam to a school friend's birthday party, and I was nearly in tears watching this girl with all her cousins, aunts/uncles, & grandparents there to celebrate with her.  My kids won't have that.  There will be no family at Finn's party.  And family is so so important to me; it's extremely difficult to live away.  I know that Conor & I have always made the right decisions for our family, and that we have had many adventures in our time away.  But I still ache to move back home, and that ache will always be there.  We don't know how much longer we'll stay in Utah, or even when/if/where we will move.  The uncertainty is tough on me.  I'm a planner.  I want our forever home, and I really want that before Liam starts 1st grade.  So we have exactly 2 years to figure that out!  Unfortunately, Conor & his job aren't necessarily on that same timeline.


This post was a whole lot of rambling.  But really, I was just trying to say that "hey Utah, we kinda sorta love it here."  So for now, we enjoy our city near the mountains.  But that doesn't mean I'm not hoping & praying that a day comes (along with a job opportunity for Conor), that I can say we are moving back to Washington!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spoil HER

I love putting together gift guides!  Especially when it's practically a list of my favorite things as well as things I've been eyeing.  I think Mother's Day is the perfect time to celebrate those special women in your life with a little something extra.  It doesn't have to be anything big, just something that is thoughtful.  What I really want for Mother's Day is a spa day!!!  A morning full of champagne, a long hot shower, & a massage.  I've been particularly exhausted lately, so it would be the perfect pick me up!  We'll see if anyone is listening...

Onto my few ideas:


1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 .

I hope all my fellow mothers are going to be spoiled!  And I'm especially excited to see more of these posts pop up, because I'm not sure how I would ever shop if not for other bloggers!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Randoms

It's been forever since I put together a Friday post, so I have all sorts of randomness saved up!  
Let's get right to it... 

-ONE-
I have been eyeing this floral Anthropologie swimsuit for weeks.  The price was the only thing keeping me from the purchase.  Finally I had talked myself into the $100 price tag, but no... no... that's just for the bottoms!  The whole suit goes for a whopping $210.  So sadly, I will not be sporting this bikini this summer.


-TWO-
I often mention how wonderful this blogging community is, but it has only gotten sweeter lately.  There are four other girls that I text with daily, and who have truly become some of my bestest friends.  They get me, accept me, love me.  They make me laugh way too hard!  But most importantly they are so supportive & caring, and they check in on the harder days.  March was a pretty tough month; one where two family members passed away and a potential cancelled visit from my parents was looming.  But one morning I was surprised by some fresh flowers delivered to my door along with some witty poetry!  My day was made!  Love you Erin, Sara, Desiree, & Liz!!!


-THREE-
I have been making these three ingredient biscuits on a regular basis, and they are amazing!  So easy (as in easy enough for me to whip up before a playdate) & so tasty.  Sometimes I add a few fancy ingredients like an herb & honey, but that isn't even necessary.  What is necessary is using a fun shaped cookie cutter to really wow everyone.  Who doesn't want butterfly shaped biscuits?!


-FOUR-
We all know that Instagram is my preferred social media platform.  It's where I engage the most and definitely where I share the most pictures.  And today, I have a new account to share that you all need to follow...  One of my childhood friends bought a sprinter van with his (now) fiance, and they are traveling the country and documenting their adventures.  For a glimpse at their simple & tiny living as well as gorgeous locations, follow them at Van Ventures


-FIVE-
Sara & Laura got me hooked on the Missing Maura Murray podcast, and I can't get enough!  I have no theories, but I need answers!!!  I will say, it's completely worth listening to, but it is not necessarily a well put together podcast.  But you move past that, because you get so captivated by the story.


Well that was just a little bit of everything now wasn't it?  
Hope you all survived Monday!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Weekend Recap

We had another busy weekend that just felt like the epitome of spring.  Gorgeous, yet windy, weather and all sorts of activities.  Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a funk that I really couldn't shake until Sunday afternoon.  I'm not sure if it's the sleep deprivation, the missing family, or just being a bit of a hormonal woman, but sometimes a patch of rough days hits me.  Regardless, we ended on a high note, and it's back to happy Laura now.

So our weekend... I had book club Friday night (we read The Life we Bury) where I had 4 kid free hours, two massive sugar cookies, & plenty of wine.  Plus all the lovely girl time that always seems to be needed, since I live amongst boys. 

Then Saturday our kind neighbors invited us to join them at the tulip festival.   Liam loved following around the older girls, constantly checking his map, and smelling all the pretty flowers.  He's at his happiest just being outside.  Finn enjoyed the view from my back but also wanted in every single water feature we came across.  Ponds, fountains, waterfalls.  I definitely have another water baby on my hands.  I have learned to carry plenty of extra clothes for him!




Saturday evening I took Liam to a classmates birthday party.  It was my first of the kind, and I was super nervous & anxious about it.  I didn't know the mom at all, and I'm actually really shy around strangers.  Liam fell asleep on the drive to the party, so he was a hot mess upon being woken up.  Nothing like meeting new people while your child is crying and sleepy.  Luckily, I did have one mom friend there, so that helped to fill the silence in some of those more awkward moments.  I know that this is just the beginning of these types of events, so I really need to get used to it.

Sunday was our best day!!!  Conor had purchased a t-ball set for Liam in anticipation of him joining a league this May.  Why yes, yes we are the parents that practice with our kid beforehand.  Liam loves everything about it, which is exactly what we hoped for.  He takes his gear very seriously and is always wanting to play.  He takes instruction quite well and really tries to listen & improve.  We went to a nearby park and played for hours.  He would hit a couple balls and then run the bases.  He was so so tired, but would only sit down at a our picnic for a few minutes before hitting the field again.  Sometimes practicing without us.  He would tell me "one more bite, and then I'll be up at bat!"
 


Finn was content to crawl around in the dirt and chase down a baseball every so often.  Another boy who is just happy to be in the outdoors.  Conor was in heaven too, reliving the "glory days."  I couldn't help but smile nonstop seeing all my boys out on the field together.  I am always surprised by how quickly Liam is growing and what he is capable of.  He is fast & strong.  And his hair just happens to flip out perfectly underneath his baseball cap, which is about the cutest thing ever.  Number one fan right here!



Now that ski season is over, bring on the t-ball.  
Which will obviously included lots of sunflower seeds & peanuts for me!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Toddler Boy Swim Style

Liam is already asking when the water park will be open, and I'm dreaming of the days of splash pads & outdoor swim lessons.  Finn is already such a water baby just like Liam, so I know our summer will be full of all sorts of wet fun.  We'll even be sneaking off to my parent's lake house for a couple visits, and will surely be in Flathead Lake with Conor's family as well.  I simply cannot wait!  Here are some of my favorite looks for the toddler boys right now:

1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 .
Now off to find some short short swim trunks for Finn that will show off his glorious thighs!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Stitch Fix #14

And so continues my strange love affair with Stitch Fix.  I just can't quit it!  I mean it love it, I really do.  A box of clothes shows up on my doorstop, and I can never wait to just tear into it.  Sometimes I'm ecstatic about the pieces, sometimes I'm devastated.  I've had some awesome fixes, and some real real terrible ones.  Yet, I keep going back for more.  This was fairly good fix, with the keep item being in top my 5 favorite Stitch Fix items ever!  Here we go:

 BRIXON IVY Pinson Drape Cardigan
This photographs beautifully, let's start there.  I've seen it all over Pinterest and had been eyeing it.   The neutral colors are perfection!  Except it was much different in person than I was expecting.  Rather thin, short in the back, and just a bit "meh."  So I didn't keep it.


Loveappella Hannelius Crochet Detail Knit Top
Again, I feel like this photographs well, but I really hated it.  The body was loose fitting, but the arms super tight.  The knit is loose, so it's see through and requires an under layer.  I had asked for a warm weather fix, and this would not work for Spring or Summer in Utah at all.


Skies are Blue Emmitt Knit Maxi Dress
I loved this dress! It fit perfect, was actually a good length for a maxi, and the blue & whites stripes were so my style!  Unfortunately, It was a bit dressier than I was wanting a maxi to be.  I need it to be something I could wear to the park or out to playdates on a daily basis.  The fabric just made it a bit too fancy.  Plus the neckline wasn't stretchy, making it nearly impossible to nurse in.  But ladies... everyone needs this dress!!!


Skies are Blue Prime Tunic
I wasn't so sure about this when I pulled it out of the box, but once again, loved it!  It has some great length and would actually probably pair better with leggings.  It's also super flattering, so that's a big win.  However, plaid just doesn't yell Spring & Summer.  I knew this would sit in closet for months.  Come September, I'm sure I will regret sending this back, but I wanted to free up the closet space for the current months.


Loveappella Malbec Elbow Patch Knit Top
I love everything about this shirt.  The muted navy colors, the baseball tee style, the elbow patch, the super soft fabric (Loveappella stuff is always super soft)!  I will say that the arms are a tad short, but that didn't bother me.  I will probably have them slightly scrunched up most of the time anyways.  I have worn this way practically nonstop since it arrived!

Overall, a pretty darn good fix!  Stitch Fix keeps stringing me along.  I'm hoping my next fix will involve more summer pieces, because the warm weather is here to stay!  If I haven't convinced you to try this service, just once, do it!  Finally do it!  And use my referral link, because then you are helping my shopping addiction, and you'll get to keep seeing these obviously non-awkward fashion photos!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Weekend Recap

Take me back!  Initially the weekend called for tons of rain, so we made a super long to-do list and planned to finish off a bunch of projects.  Well, turns out there was no rain, and our to-do list didn't see much action.  Instead the days somehow disappeared without us even having a moment to stop & rest.  Regardless, it was a pretty stellar weekend with my boys!



Saturday, I planned a little day date for Liam & I.  We went to the Children's Theater again and saw Amelia Bedelia!  Those were some of my favorite books growing up, so I was pumped for the show.  I knew there would be lots of physical humor, which seemed perfect for Liam too.  I had big plans to read him some of the books this past week, but we never made it the library, womp womp.  So it was all brand new to him, but he was into it!  He snuggled up on my lap for the whole first act, which was simply the best!  I still love that closeness and will be devastated when his growing body barely fits on top of mine anymore.  We snacked on the bag of suckers I brought and took in the silly atmosphere.  During intermission, we popped in the soda fountain for some coconut macaroons!  Really this date was all about some of my favorite things apparently!


The weekend was full of beautiful sunsets, so we made sure to take an evening walk to enjoy the blossoming cherry trees.  I want them to stay in bloom all Spring, but I know their days are limited.  I'm been blowing up the 'gram with a ridiculous amount of cherry tree shots.  And don't even think that I'm done yet!  Can't stop, won't stop!



Sunday we had to make the big decision between skiing or a baseball game...  Baseball (minor leagues: Salt Lake City Bees) won out since the mountains haven't had any new fresh powder.  We were joined by friends, so Liam stayed busy the whole time running around & playing catch.  We also sat in the grass where beer drinking, relaxing, & kid watching is easiest.  Finn was just happy to be outside and scavenged for peanut shells.




 So our to-do list sits for another week.  I'm not sure if it's just the current stage that both boys are in right now, but I really feel like there is not enough time for everything.  Not even close.  I'm having to adjust my priorities and just enjoy where we are and what we can do.  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Spring Things

As I am getting more & more experienced with my camera, I find that I am using photography in a big way to capture my boys' childhoods.  It is such a perfect & artistic way to storytell, without all the words.  I too often have posts that I want to write, but that never come to fruition.  Perhaps because I'm exhausted in the evenings (when I write), or that my mind has been racing with all things motherhood all day, and the words just don't come.

So this post is just a quick catch up of sorts.  These are a few of my favorite pictures from the last couple weeks.  Well actually they are my second favorites, because my best work always hit the 'gram, and I try not to double dip!  

Our weather has been warming up, and we are outside more than ever before.  Each week we are bound to visit various parks, the zoo, the aquarium, the children's museum, the gardens, & the aviary. Salt Lake City has a lot to offer, and we experience it all!  Our evenings at home are some of the best too! Liam is constantly on his bike (he's ready to upgrade from the balance bike to a pedal bike), & Finn is climbing our front steps nonstop.  Conor built us a corn hole set, so lawn games have really kicked off this Spring season.  









Don't be surprised if you start seeing photo heavy posts; I can't resist!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Finn: 11 Months Old


We still have a month until this sweet boy turns 1, but I feel like the baby in him is officially gone.  He's this new, strong-willed boy who has an opinion about all sorts of things and knows what he wants when he wants it.  He understands us, and slowly we are understanding him too.  This month brought lots of growth spurts and new skills, which aged him far too quickly for my liking.    

Eating: Raspberries are by far the favorite, with blueberries a close second, followed by applesauce.  I craved fruit my entire pregnancy with him, so this totally fits.  He seriously eats mostly fruit (other than breastmilk of course), but at least tries other foods.  He sampled some asparagus the other night and seemed to be into it.

Allergies:  Big news here!!!  Finn is over his dairy allergy! I think...  He is at least tolerating the dairy that I eat now.  We are still waiting a little longer to introduce dairy straight to his system.  But let me tell you how amazing that first piece of cheese was after 3 months without it!  I'm still planning a post all about this; I just simply need to find the time to get it down in words.  But of course, as we let one allergy go, another pops up.  It seems that Finn may be allergic to grass.  This doesn't surprise me since all last fall he would have slightly red and watery eyes when we were outside.  Now that he is crawling around in the grass, it gets all over him and flares up his eczema pretty quickly.  The good news is that Finn doesn't seem that bothered by it, and after a bath at the end of the day, his skin seems to go back to normal pretty quickly.  We are going to keep an eye on it and see how he does as Spring continues to blossom all around us.

Sleeping:  He's consistent, but the nighttime is not amazing.  As I have shared before, it's what I expected, and most of the time I manage my sleep deprivation just fine.  He typically sleeps from about 8:00pm to 7:30am, but wakes frequently to nurse or snuggle (probably 5-ish times per night).  The cosleeping makes this a breeze, and we easily both go back to sleep.  He still naps twice a day (Liam hung on to two naps until he was 18 months), both about 1.5 hours if we happen to be napping at home.  But typically one nap is on the go, these days and sometimes both.  I don't really plan our day around his nap schedule, he just gets one when he can!

Likes: Balls.  New obsession.  He is perfectly content to throw a ball, chase it down, repeat.  He is proving to be my little athlete already.  Still a lover of animals, especially dogs (which may have been his first word after mama & dada).  He gets so excited when we go to the zoo, farm, aquarium, aviary, etc.  I can feel his little body just start wiggling, kicking and reaching out pointing as soon as he spots a new animal.  He also seems to also be enjoying Liam's wrestling sessions a tad more, but only for a short amount of time.  It will be so interesting to see my two boys play together as Finn gets bigger & stronger.  He loves dancing, and will instantly start moving when he hears a good beat.  He's a big lounger, especially in his highchair, just sitting back with a foot sometimes propped up while he eats.  And one thing Finn really does NOT like.... being tossed in the air!  I think it's one of the joys of being a baby, but no.  Finn grips our shirt as tight as possible and gives a look of shear fear.  Hopefully he gets a bit more adventurous soon if he thinks he's going to keep up with his climbing jumping big brother.

Milestones:  Lots of talking this month!  I thought Liam was quite the early talker, but looking back at his updates, he hadn't started this early.  Finn has the beginning sounds down for at least 20 words, and is always trying to repeat us.  Some words are much clearer than others.  But he does have a few definite words: dog, ball, & more.  He also says oh, whoa, & wow, but I'm not quite sure those count. And on top of all this chatter, he is standing!  He has no problem getting into a standing position and will do it nearly all day long and is gaining balance more and more each day, but he has still yet to take a step without a firm grip on our hands or whatever furniture is near by.  Liam was already full blown walking by this point, so I'm feeling a bit antsy for Finn to be as well.  So many new developments, along with two new top teeth, may have contributed to the poor sleep, but I'm not convinced!

Nicknames: Finnier, Finnaroo, Finner, Finny, & Huckleberry.  These are seriously all the names that Liam uses for him.  I'm anxious to see which one really sticks over the years.

I love the boy that Finn is becoming.  He has the same sweet demeanor as Liam, but in no way has the same gentle spirit.  Finn is our bulldozer.  He crawls on top of everything and is always determined.  He's animated with his hands and his loud voice.  He is a lover & a smuggler.  He is especially fond of his daddy.  He nestles his head right into our chest and just melts our heart whenever he's feeling bashful or sleepy. Life is good with this boy, and things haven't gotten to crazy for me with all the testosterone in the house. At least, not quite yet!

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