Get ’em while they’re hot!

2 Jul

These envelope clutches are new the Courtney Bock Designs lineup (among literally HUNDREDS of new items in a myriad of colors, prints, finishes and materials – including JEWELRY!) and have been a huge Summer hit! I’m placing an order today, so this is a public service announcement to anyone interested in receiving a clutch in the next two weeks to get those orders placed by TODAY AT NOON!

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Here is the link to order

MOOTD – A Family A Fair

1 Jul

Once a year, our church hosts a community service at the county fair grounds. It’s ALWAYS been a fun event with great music, tons of people and the smell of nasty farm animals. What could be better, I say!?! Yeehaw and amen and all that.

So Sunday morning was the big fair day (A Family A Fair as the church’s creative people dubbed it in all their creative geniusery) and I knew I should wear something that was verrrrrry flexible. Last year, the weather was a million degrees and people were dropping like flies, and this year there was rain and gloom in the forecast. Bearing in mind how schizophrenic Indiana Summer weather can be, I wore this non-maternity sundress and threw on a jean jacket in case it actually wasn’t a steaming inferno of elephant ear and manure combustibility.

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Dress: Free People Sunshine Benji Linen Dress (Unfortunately sold out – I purchased this last summer while still working off some baby weight from my last pregnancy, so it’s larger than my normal dress size which works great for me now. Also, it was $13 – holla).

Jean jacket: J Crew Nolita Jacket

Shoes: Report “Cobb” Silver Slingback Sandal

Earrings: Francesca’s Whimsy Dangle Earrings in Red & Navy (similar here)

Purse: Tory Burch Dipped Canvas Tote (similar here in yellow)

The outfit worked great and my only complaint is that I was slightly limited in bending over to keep Navy entertained by fetching toys from the underside of his stroller without flashing the entire bandstand (something I highly discourage, especially when the occasion for the gathering is, y’know, church). Otherwise, the jean jacket with lightweight dress was a perfect combination. Speaking of jean jackets, I obsessed over the purchase of this particular jean jacket. OB-SESSED!!!! As long as I can remember, a good jean jacket has been an important staple in my wardrobe. I’ve always wanted a fancy schmancy designer jean jacket like this one from Hudson but could never really fork up the dough for the big names. I purchased a Gap jean jacket earlier this Spring in hopes that I would like it enough to make it my new staple, and I hated it. Loathed it. Shoved it away in my basement for the next yard sale and moved on to this J. Crew style. The thing with jean jackets is they have to be perfectly tailored so that they don’t look dated. They can be PERFECT for over dresses or skirts, but if they are too boxy or unstructured, they just look like you saved the one you had in the 90’s and busted it back out because, “Hey, it’s a jacket made from jeans… Check!”

FALSE!

Make sure if you’re going to try to wear this style that has been around for the long haul that you’re wearing the most current FIT of said style so that you look current. The J. Crew jacket was by no means cheap, but people who know me know my love of J. Crew and I had some gift card money laying around that was begging to be used for this item. Hence, the story of how my jean jacket came to be. Aren’t you glad I have a whole birth story for my jean jacket purchase? The next step in jean jacket insanity would be bedazzling it, but I have to draw the line somewhere.

So much is wrong here...

So much is wrong here…

For hair (which I mentioned in my last post as an equally important part of your wardrobe as the other elements) I went with a low braid. Something that, as a former short haired gal, I was never really able to bust out of my hair-do arsenal. If you’re going to wear a braid, keep it loose and voluminous. You want that height around the top of your scalp so you don’t look bald from the front and you want it loose so you don’t look too equestrian. Not that there’s anything wrong with rocking the horseback rider hair…. I mean… if that’s your thing. I’m a newby to the single braid, so I don’t have much input on it yet, but I think today it was a success, and certainly held up throughout the 15 minute rain shower that christened the congregation during the sermon.

And on an unrelated yet amazing note (literally) I will conclude with a video of my beautiful and talented sister singing the closing song at the fair. She rocked it. I got all teary eyed and gospelly while taking this video from the front row like a total stage mom. Enjoy!!

J Crew Factor Sale – 50% off!

1 Jul

Did you know that you can shop the J Crew outlet online? Is that not the greatest news you’ve heard since you last heard great news!? I know.

Well, right now through July 7, everything (EVERYTHING) is 50% off of the already lower factory prices. And if you’re a mom, they have kids’ clothes on the factory website!! I LOVE shopping for Navy at J Crew, but never do it, because hello… it’s J Crew and he’s a toddler boy and that is an insane waste of money. But when the t-shirts are just $13, I can justify the splurge.

Here are a few things I am grabbing for post-pregnancy with the sale:

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For Navy:

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For Stockton:

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There is no coupon code necessary, just head over and shop!!! You’re welcome 🙂

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MOOTD – Wedding outfit

30 Jun

Since there’s absolutely no hiding this bump now that I’m 6+ months pregnant, I decided to start a new section on ye olde blog – a “Maternity Outfit of the Day” (or MOOTD as I will henceforth be calling it) section ((you’re going to fall into one of two camps about that – either bored out of your gourd or  remotely excited to get some photographic outfit ideas for dressing your bump, of which there should be way more on the internet because dressing a bump is HARD, Y’ALL!)). So without further adieu and introduction, here is my first official MOOTD:

I wore this outfit to a wedding last night in Indianapolis, and it was really the perfect dress for the occasion and for my stage in pregnancy. I bought it early in my pregnancy knowing it would be a home run for all the weddings and dressy events we had ahead of us, for a number of reasons. 1) The length is perfect for a growing bump, which always makes things ride up shorter and higher than intended, 2) it’s STRETCHYYYYYYYY (angels singing), and 3) it’s not maternity (which means it’s actually a little flattering and in-style, as opposed to typical maternity clothing which is frumpy and inevitably has a lame drawstring belt around the top of your belly). Another reason that made it particularly perfect for this event was that we had to ride 6 hours in the car round trip, and it was comfortable enough to wear the whole time without having to bother with a change of clothes. Winner! And even though I have worn it to a few events already this summer and am starting to get slightly sick of it, I was able to accessorize it a little differently this time which made it feel fresh and different.

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Dress: Anthropologie’s Frenchstripe Column Dress

Shoes: Steve Madden Purple Pumps (Similar here) c/o my sister’s closet

Purse: Tory Burch Robinson Envelope Clutch

Jewelry: Target Multi Strand with Beads Necklace and Target Double Drop Purple Earrings (Note: I changed into the linked jewelry AFTER taking the photos… I realized moments before jumping in the car that I had the purple jewelry to perfectly match the purple pumps so they didn’t quite make it into the final photo).

Here’s a photo of Stockton and I at the wedding WITH the correct jewelry on and enjoying a gawgeous evening out on the canal by the Indiana State Museum (awesome venue, by the way).

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We have already attended 2 out of 3 weddings this summer that are on the schedule and I wore this dress to both so far. Since it was a different crowd at both weddings, it wasn’t an issue to repeat the dress. As you enter into your pregnancy, I HIGHLY recommend looking at your calendar for the next 9 months and really analyzing your need for clothing;  seasons you’ll be dressing for, occasions you’ll be dressing for… Even though the dress was slightly pricey at the time, I knew I’d get my money’s worth out of it, not only WHILE pregnant, but AFTER pregnancy too. That is, unless I wear it so much while I’m pregnant that I just have a total mental block against wearing it post-pregnancy (WHICH REALLY HAPPENS BY THE WAY!). Hopefully I can get over the mental block, though, because by buying clothing that really grows with you, you’re stretching your dollar so much more.

Here’s some other tricky advice you can take to the bank with you while pregnant: you can really make the most out of your pregnant look by playing up the parts you can control the most, which are your hair and accessories. Stockton bought me the gorgeous evening bag for Mother’s Day and I use it at every opportunity. It adds a level of non-maternity style and distinction to my outfits and plays up my love of beautiful, fashionable items even when I can’t necessarily wear all of the beautiful and fashionable CLOTHES that I want to wear. The shoes were also a fun pop to draw the eye away from the bump. If you are comfortable and able, I think all pregnant women should rock the high heel as long as possible. It improves your posture, makes your legs look great and you will carry yourself differently than if you clomp around in flip flops the whole time. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for flip flops, but remember to play up the parts you can still control: shoes, purses and jewelry!!!!! And like I mentioned before, don’t neglect your hair. Some women have their most beautiful locks while pregnant, and even though you’re tired and feeling ugly and not really in the mood to fuss with ANY part of your look (trust me, that was me during my first pregnancy) you will ALWAYS look 100% more polished and finished if you have done your hair in a deliberate style. Even if that’s a ponytail! Be deliberate about your hair and it will work like an accessory to complete your look. I used this updo tutorial by Kate from The Small Things Blog and again, it was a perfect hair style for our circumstances. I didn’t have to worry about it falling flat during the 3 hour car ride, humidity didn’t make anything get frizzy or unkempt, and it didn’t add more unnecessary volume to my body/face the way a curly or voluminous hair style could do.

So there you have it! MOOTD #1 for your enjoyment. Feel free to pin it, share it, use it and copy it if you are so inclined. Like I said, dressing a bump can be really hard if staying stylish and creative are your goals, so I hope this new series can help to encourage women who are in my shoes to try new styles and get outfit inspiration to dress your bump!

The time we accidentally ended up on national TV

15 Mar

I’ve spent the last week jet setting between Phoenix and LA for a mixture of family time and girl time with a couple friends. The reason? My good pal Kat conjured up a few Ellen tickets for Christmas and invited Lisa and I to be her sidekicks on her journey. Y’know, because we are obviously her friends who have the best dance moves. This is important criteria for going to Ellen.

We all met in LA late Saturday night and hit some major shopping and sight seeing on Sunday. We estimated that we walked eleven thousand miles. Except that whenever we wanted to go somewhere new, everything was 2.5 miles from wherever we currently were, so in case you want to get anywhere in LA, it is my experience that you have either a 2.5 mile walk or a 10 mile drive (because cabbies are crooks).

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Sunday night as Kat, Lisa and I were sitting in our hotel chowing on some room service (because that’s what sleep-deprived moms on vacation really want if you know’m’sayin), Kat got the suckiest of sucky calls straight from Sucksville, USA. “Ellen is sick. The show is cancelled. We can try to get you tickets for a show in the future. What’s that? You all have 9 kids and 2 fetuses between you, hindering a future trip to LA? And also, yeah, NO MORE MONEY!? We’re so sorry. This is only the second time in 10 years she has cancelled her show.” OK I paraphrased a bit, but that was the general conversation that the producer had, basically with herself because Kat was too stunned to really reply much besides, “But, but, but….” So let me set the scene a little more for you. Kat & Lisa each have 4 kids. Both of them have 10 month old twins. Their husbands had to take time off work to fill in the roles of Mom in each household. Kat just moved into a new house a week ago. We bought our tickets in January. Lisa’s pregnant. So am I. I flew out to Phoenix on a hellcious flight with Navy (and Stockton thank God!) to get Navy to my in-laws’ where he would be cared for while I went to LA since Stockton had to work in Arizona that week. So, in short, the masterminding and logistics behind coming to see Ellen were NO SMALL TASK. Having it cancelled the night before was nothing short of crushing.

The next morning, we decided we would make lemonade out of lemons and spend the day mostly hanging out by the pool. Why not?! We could still relax and have a great vacation without going to see Ellen, and we were going to make the most out of things. Turns out Kat went to college with a fancy-schmancy producer in LA. He got her the Ellen hook-up back at Christmas, and was super bummed for us that it was cancelled. He then called someone ELSE he went to school with who is a fancy staff member on the Ellen show and basically, because of this trip, ALL MY KIDS ARE GOING TO DEPAUW! The Ellen staff member felt our pain and called us out for a special private tour around the Warmer Brother’s lot and Ellen’s private studio. For cryin’ out loud I got to go in Ellen’s closet!!! Now there’s a collection of trousers, blazers and chuck taylors for ya…

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The personal tour was WAY more awesome than simply going to the show. We saw so much behind the scenes stuff, and had a really awesome time with Jill, the staff member giving us our tour. Also, Bethenny Frankel was the guest that day and meh. Didn’t miss her.

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And OH I forgot to mention… When Kat’s buddy originally called us when we were back at the pool ready to catch some rays all day, he told us that since he’s the master of connections and knowing the right people, yeah we were going to be VIP guests at the “After the Final Rose” live taping following the Bachelor finale which JUST SO HAPPENED TO BE THAT NIGHT. WHAT THE WHAT!? There was jumping and screaming next to that pool that would put a Bieber concert to shame, mm-k? So immediately following our PRIVATE tour at the Warner Brother’s lot, we cabbed it over to the studio where the Bachelor would be taping. And then we cut the whole line because we were VIP, DUH. But really… I mean, getting the tour of the Ellen studio would’ve been enough to make us happy! Then we got tickets to the Bachelor but not just ANY tickets, these were VIP TICKETS! Like, huh!?!!?!??!! Our luck had f’sho turned around.

Once we got through the gates, we were basically informed that for the next few hours, the studio was our playground. We met & chatted with Chris Harrison, saw 4 of the former Bachelorettes walk in (also met them), were treated SO WELL by all the crew members, and just generally had a freaking blast.

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me and bachelorettes

If you caught the show, you might’ve seen a few camera angles including the 3 of us as well as me looking like a doof answering Chris Harrison’s question during his “Ask the Audience” segment. I haven’t watched it yet, and I’m sure when I do I’ll cringe, but it was so fun to be a part of a live show that SO MANY people watch. My Facebook was blowing up that night.

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If you are ever feeling down and need to hear from some friends (and strangers), I highly recommend going on the Bachelor… but maybe just as an audience member and not a contestant. Just sayin’ – it doesn’t always work out.

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The trip went from being great to seriously amaze-balls (right, Lisa?). I have to give Kat a HUGE shout out for even inviting me on this crazy amazing trip in the first place and also for being a Depauw grad because that is where it’s AT! Such an awesome weekend that will go down in the books. Our 15 seconds of fame, and it was awesome.

My first handmade purse

8 Jan

I gotta be honest… for all the handmaking of things that I do, I really am finnicky about “handmade” and “homemade” accessories. I HATE when things look crafty, and if I think someone can pick me out in a crowd and say “Oh, she probably made that purse herself” then I’m instantly disinterested. So when I stumbled upon the tutorial for this purse style online I thought, hey that doesn’t look TOO homemade, maybe I’ll give it a go. And, voila, I did.

Their Version

Their Version

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My Version

Mine turned out slightly smaller than it was supposed to, which bums me out, and is totally because I’m a dumbo and made a mistake halfway through. BUT if you’re not an idiot and can follow instructions better than me, here is the tutorial!! Since it’s not my original design, I’ll never make it for resale, but it’s really quite simple. I’m timid with regards to purse patterns, so if I say it’s simple, you can count on the fact that I’m not pulling your leg.

For me, this will probably not be my purse, but I think it’s a cute tote, and God knows I need a million of those for miscellaneous stuff. Plus, its expandable thanks to a couple snaps that make it about 3″ bigger around the top for big items. I see this tote going with us to the library, the grocery store, vacations, etc. Let me know if you make one – I’d love to see!

While I wait

6 Jan

Hello. It has been 76 days since I last blogged. Glad we got that cleared up.

My embroidery machine has taken a dump on me. Which is like a baker whose oven died. Or a singer who loses her voice. Or an architect whose ruler is crooked (hi Dad). Basically, it leaves me with all of the knowledge and ability and none of the tools to do my job, and BOO! It has been acting a fool since around November, which is CRAZY-VILLE TIME in the manufacturing and retail industries, so you can imagine that my usual level of neurotic was basically untethered and out of this world. Stockton was all, “OMG someone kill me” and I was all “OMG I’m going to kill someone” so we basically had to keep our distance from each other for a good, oh, 6 weeks or so. We’ve reintroduced ourselves since, and turns out, we still really like each other now that the holidays are over. How about that!

But that machine… damn it, that machine. It is in the sewing machine ICU right now, at a repair shop that LOVES to take their everlovin’ sweet time and pretend they have a monopoly on machine repairs and parts and so they make my life a living nightmare while my possessions are in their possession which tend to make me act possessed. You follow me?

In the meantime, in between pacing and calling them 25 times a day, I have been busying myself with some projects (both personal and professional) that involve SOLELY my good old fashioned standard sewing machine. It’s been fun. It has kind of been like reuniting with an old friend and being like, Oh wow, I forgot how much fun we have together, we should totally try to see each other more than once a year. You know those friends. Where a well meaning “let’s get together tmrw” text turns into a 3 hour coffee date followed by 2 hours drinking wine and before you know it you’re trying to remember all the Italian you learned in college and then carry on a conversation at Bar Louie near a weird Russian guy who you think might be checking you out, so you speak only broken, intro-level Italian, and basically you just say a lot of “I would like the Carbonara, please” and “where is the bathroom” because it’s all you remember. Hi Jen 🙂 Happy birthday, by the way!

This is the beginnings of a quilt I’m working on. For who? Ehhhh not sure. Will it be for sale?? Mayyyybe. Is there a chance I just might end up keeping it??? Probbbbbably. But mostly because it’s going to likely resemble a bad acid trip once it’s done and I don’t know how big the mind-altering quilt market is. I mean, we shall see. In the meantime, this is the first stages, and I guess therefore, a “Sneak Peek”. The finished product will be a staggered herringbone layout, made of all random girly fabrics (finished size will be for a twin bed). DSC_0489

It’s good to be back to blogland. Happy 2013.

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About Pics (CBD)

1 Dec

about pics

One of my hats

22 Oct

I’m reminded today (as I OFTEN am) of how much life changes when you have a little one. Things that used to be important, really aren’t all that important anymore. I will turn 25 in two days, and you know what? I really don’t care. It’s like, the least big deal of all time. Especially because my baby is sick. It’s the most heartbreaking thing to see your child crying all day (no really… all. day.) from discomfort; looking up at you with these eyes that just say “Mom, what’s wrong? Make it stop!” And if I could, I would. I just wish I could.

Saturday night I was suddenly and violently afflicted with The Flu (dun-dun-DUUNNN!!!!) and hoooo boy, it was a doozie. So much that Stockton (wisely) spent the night in the guest bedroom (wrapped in a sleeping bag, Godlovehim) so that I could thrash and wince and get up 20 (at least) times without disturbing him, or him, me. It was officially the worst night ever, and I don’t hesitate to say that it was worse than giving birth to Navy. And I didn’t have the WORST delivery ever, but it certainly wasn’t a cakewalk. At least that had a very happy ending.

So the rest of the weekend was spent mostly with my head in the toilet while Stockton played Mr. Mom and slowly watch Navy deteriorate from his own bout of The Everlovin’ Relentless Flu. That poor little bug. By the end of the day, Stockton looked like he’d been beaten by a shovel and he kept reiterating how sad it is to watch your child get sick and not know what’s happening to them or why. And really, nothing you can do to stop it.

Today, Stockton had to go to work and luckily, I was “well” enough to manage Navy here by myself. But that poor sweet boy spent the entire day either sleeping or moaning and groaning, nearly inconsolable during all of his waking hours. So by the end of the day, it was me looking like I’d been beaten by a shovel (and feeling similarly).

Over the last 48 hours, while I sat there sick as a dog, I kept wanting to pray that the Lord would rid me of this sickness, restore my health and help me to “feel better” but then I felt too guilty to pray for that!! It’s just the FLU after all. I kept thinking about all of the people who have cancer and spend days, weeks, months just as sick as dogs because of their chemo drugs and the disease that their body harbors.

Then today, as I was praying for Navy (because I do not feel too guilty to pray for others, just myself) I also prayed for the babies who are terminally ill, or who are fighting unknown diseases, and who are possibly suffering from the treatments that ravage their little bodies. I prayed for their mommies (and daddies) who hold their crying babies every single day and do everything they can to comfort their children when there is really nothing that can be done. It’s defeating (and again, my kid just has the flu). It’s heartbreaking. But it’s what you do when you’re a mom. You just don’t have a choice in the matter.

As I was holding Navy this evening, I kept thinking about what a hard weekend it’s been.  I don’t often say things are “hard” because I think it’s kind of a ridiculous description. However, this weekend and the flu that came with it was just… exhausting. Ravaging. It took everything out of us all and its work, I’m afraid, isn’t quite over. So even though my job as a mom doesn’t involve balancing budgets, solving complex problems, dealing with employee issues, or making sure my business is profitable, it is indeed frickin’ hard. You can’t even be sick by yourself. It’s all about your baby. It’s all about your family. They need you even when you are at your worst (and I’ve confirmed now that there are definitely no sick days when you work this job). It’s all a part of wearing many hats, right? It’s also the stuff that people take for granted. That people minimize. That people who are “too cool” and “above” the simplicity of mommyhood downplay and find irritating and uncouth. And that’s ok. I know what I’ve got, and even when what I’ve got is a sick little baby who cries for his mommy to take away his ickies all day, I’ll take it. I’ll wear my hat even when it’s covered in puke. That’s what mommies do.

Remembering the days

16 Oct

The days are long but the years are fast? I overheard some mentor moms at our first MOPS meeting this morning commenting on how quickly kids grow up (perhaps the biggest cliche of all time, but indeed, word up, ’tis TRUTH) and one of them used this saying, and it prompted me to take a time out today and try to bookmark life as it races by me, often unnoticed.

Navy is 10.5 months old now. We have such a busy season ahead of us that it seems like I have the entire Fall scheduled out right up until Christmas. Among the crazy, fun, whirlwindy festivities that are going on are the following: a new opportunity with MOPS started for Navy and I today at church and has been a big project to lead up to; next week I turn 25; also next week, I will jet set over to Rome to spend 4 days frolicking around with my sisters; a few days later, my book club and their families will be joining us at our home for a Halloween party; a few days later, it is my turn to host our monthly book club; in November, we will be traveling to Phoenix to spend a week with Stockton’s family and celebrate Thanksgiving; also throwing 1 of 2 little birthday parties for Navy while we are there so he can celebrate with his west coast family; once we get home, it’s almost December, and Navy’s real birthday is upon us (how in the..?!) followed by all of the Christmas festivities that regularly happen, and all of this while entering my “busy season” for work. I don’t even think that paragraph is grammatically correct, but I’m so bleary just thinking about it, I am not going to bother to fix it. That’s about where I’m at with things currently. So a pause is in order.

Now, among the crazy, fun whirlwindy things I want to remember about this season of life are the following:

-As of yesterday, Navy has started feeding himself with a fork (and he has yet to stab out either of his eyes, so SUCCESS!)

-Before he eats, he waves his fingers around and stares at his plate like he’s casting a spell on his chopped vegetables before he commits to eating them.

-We play this seriously weird game where he bites my nose and I, in return (in an embarrassingly annoying voice) say “DON’T BITE MY NOSEEE!” It’s complex and highly developed. And if you think I look and sound stupid, I don’t care because he loves it, and it’s often the highlight of my day. *This is one of those things that when you’re cool and single and kidless, you never imagine your future and think, yeah, THAT is probably going to be my life someday, and I’m going to LOVE HAVING MY NOSE EATEN BY A BABY. Like, huh?!

-Navy can be sensitive and is very independent. I blame the fact that I work from home and he has learned to play by himself as a result. It doesn’t bother me that he’s independent, but I want him to be OK with other kids, too. And I don’t keep him in a bubble (he goes to the church nursery and spends lots of time playing with his cousins during the week) but there just aren’t all that many opportunities for him to interact with other kids his age. I’m hopeful that since we’ve begun MOPS there will be more excuses for me to get together with other moms and therefore give him the chance to play with other kids his age.

-Navy is also super rough and tumble at times. The other day, he was climbing around the high chair and slipped and totally cracked his gourd on the tile floor. Bracing myself for the tears, but giving him his space to determine his reaction, I was surprised to see him just pull himself back up and keep climbing. He surprises me like this all the time. When I expect him to cry, he doesn’t, and when I expect him not to cry, he does. I can’t keep up with that boy.

-Often in the mornings, I bring Navy into our room after his morning bottle and we just cuddle and say hi to Daddy. He loves our time together as a little family and I know we’re spoiling him with this undivided attention, but I hope even when we have eleventy kids, we still all hop in Mom & Dad’s bed in the morning and give each other good-morning noogies. It’s kind of a warm-fuzzy time of day.

My house is a mess, I have orders to fill, my head is pounding, the laundry is overflowing… But I just didn’t want this day to slip by without jotting down these “isms” of our family. Because I know that this is just a snapshot and if I don’t take it, I may never remember these fleeting moments.