Monday Moments of Gratitude - July 25, 2016

Monday, July 25, 2016

I'm so happy you're here!! 

I'm making a point to post on Mondays about moments I am grateful for in the past week. We can all use a little more intentional thinking about things we're grateful for. With that said, I hope you'll continue to join me in gratitude on Mondays :)

I am going to try my best to keep this as positive as possible. Today marks my first day back at work after a year home with my littles. 
I'd be lying if I said I didn't have mixed feelings. I work with some amazing people who I've missed while I've been off and I am looking forward to having regular adult conversations during the day; however, all the good things about work don't quite measure up to how much I know I'll be missing my littles. I'm anxious about settling into this new 'normal' and finding our groove, which I know we will but there are things I look forward to. I already anticipate picking them up at the end of each day and I am going to do my best to treasure our precious time together.

Here are some things I'm grateful for:

A great daycare - last week we started the transition to daycare and I can't tell you how much I'm comforted knowing both my kids are so well taken care of when they're not with me. Mini-me readily verbalizes how much she likes daycare, her teachers and all her friends and the things she learns just blow my mind. Little man obviously can't tell me how much he likes it but I can see from the pictures they send me, his demeanor when I drop him off and pick him up and how his caregivers talk about him. Honestly, having my kids in such a wonderful place is my saving grace as we make this transition.

Maternity/parental leave (that doesn't suck) - You want my unsolicited opinion? Too bad, you're getting it anyways. My American friends get such a crap deal around parental leaves. I think it speaks volumes when so little importance is placed on the forming of relationships with new family members. Someone ought to sort that out... sadly, I don't think either Donny or Hillary are the peeps to do it. 
ANYways, I'm so grateful to live in Canada (that's a whole other post) and particularly that we get a year off to focus on our new family members. Sure, there have been highs and lows this past year, but I'm certain that any challenges or struggles we've gone through would have been amplified to a degree I don't even want to consider had I been working at the same time.
Props to you moms (and/or dads) who go through all this WHILE working. You're rockstars!

kisses for my little birthday boy!

so much to do but we'd rather play! Oh how I'm gonna miss this everyday! We might have to institute a 15 minute playtime when we get home (before I get to making dinner, baths and bedtime)

An awesome birthday celebration - my little man turned one on Saturday and we celebrated with a baseball-themed party with all our friends and family. It might not have been a Pinterest-worthy party but it was perfect none-the-less. Oddly enough, I stressed the least about this party than I have any other party and guess what? It was still AWESOME. Note to self: don't get stressed party-planning, as long as you have food, no one really cares lol.
Little man got spoiled and we now have a whole parade of cars and trucks that he's been playing with nonstop. I think he's just happy he has something that's not pink or Frozen-themed to play with (it's rough having an older sister lol).
I still can't believe my baby boy is a one year old. He's technically a toddler now **sheds small tear** 

Me and my baby... he's clearly more excited about his new car than snuggles with mom.

one year chalk collage
how AMAZING is this sign?! My friend Kirsten (Sweet Cheekers Designs) created it for me and I had printed at Costco! She made one for Annabelle's birthday too! An amazing centerpiece and great keepsake.

first birthday baseball theme

family time - ya, I'm full of cheese this week, blame it on my going back to work. We did an early birthday party for little man (11am) to accomodate his nap schedule (would be kinda awkward if he was sleeping the whole time) and it worked out AWESOME!! Our house was empty by 2pm and our guests AND us still had most of the beautiful day to enjoy and that's exactly what we did.
We chilled in the sunshine, ate some of our mounds of leftovers and naturally opened ALL the new toys and tried them out (because... obviously).
Sunday was spent soaking up more family time and getting a little prep done for the week. We had lunch out, did groceries (which is always more fun as a family) 

BLOG FYI - this is very likely going to be my only post this week as I'm showing myself a little grace while finding a new groove. I'm hoping that if I have some spare time I can actually catch up on some reading/commenting. 

What moments are you grateful for this past week? Linkup your gratitude posts below!!

Linky Rules:

  1. Link to your specific blog post (not your blog's main page). 
  2. Please link posts related to gratitude.
  3. Check out as many links as you can.
  4. Not required BUT I would love it if you link back here.

To Oliver on his first birthday

Saturday, July 23, 2016

to my little man who is one today:


One year old.

In so many ways it feels like it was just yesterday when they placed you in my arms for the first time and yet my heart feels like it's been forever since your place in it was claimed.

In such a short time we've been through a lot. All-day "morning" sickness, thyroid issues (thanks for that) but you graced with me with a fairly quick, albeit late and induced, labor and a speedy recovery. The first few months of us getting to know each other were filled with puking (you), crying (both of us) and lots and lots of baby-wearing (due to the crying). It was not easy but we finally found our groove when you were about 5 months old and we sorted out your issues with dairy and got you (and therefore, me) sleeping more.

I remember fretting how I would ever find room in my heart to love another child the way I love your sister. I also remember the instant you were placed in my arms and the palpable feeling of my heart growing, expanding, to make room just for you. You just fit, as though your place in my heart and our family had always been there and we were all just waiting for you to arrive, before you were even a thought.

And here we are.

My handsome boy, my smiley little guy is one.

You're happy most of the time but you've got a temper to be reckoned with. You are busy, my gosh you're busy. I think you're trying to keep up with your sister most of the time which is probably why you took your first steps just before you turned 11 months. For the record, you're now pretty much running.

You're reckless. You've fallen over and over again but you try anything again and again and you want what you want right when you want it. Your determination is both frustrating and admirable.

The love between you and your sister takes my breath away. You've always looked at her different and with such adoration that I can barely capture it in words. She has always made you smile when it seemed no one else could. But be sure, it's reciprocated. She's so proud to call you her little brother and when I picked her up from daycare yesterday I was told that she talked about you and your upcoming birthday ALL day long. I hope this bond between you lasts a lifetime.

Lilo, your dog, has a special spot in your heart. You're usually pretty gentle with him but even when you're not, he tolerates you better than he does anyone else. You two have a bond that's so sweet to witness.

It's funny, you're a terrible teether but then so rough and tumble. You lose your mind teething but then smash your face off the floor and shake it off in seconds.

You are sweet. My gosh you're sweet. Your smile and laugh have the ability to melt my heart in a matter of mere seconds. Your curious grin and up-to-no-good raise of the eye brow render me helpless. I know you can be trouble, but it's of the best kind..

I sometimes feel guilty about our first 4-5 months together. I loved you so much and wanted to make everything okay but, at the time, I had no idea how to do that. I was finding my way as a mom of two, trying to entertain your sister and make you happy (which was seemingly impossible). While I wish we had sorted things out sooner, I am also very grateful that the last 7-8 months have been full of smiles, trips to the park, laughter, sunshine, reading stories and happiness. I'm confident that we made up for our rough start by filling our days since with joy.

My sweet boy, my Ollie bear, happy birthday. You are the cutest, sweetest, most wonderful little boy and I am blessed, truly blessed, every single day to be called your momma.

Love you,


and here's a little photodump for good measure:

summer style - floral skirt

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Morning lovelies!! Alright, technically it's 8:15pm on Tuesday night (ya, I love me some last minute blogging) but you're reading it in the morning, so work with me here.

I've been in the throes of back to work prep which has included both my babies transitioning to daycare and me not knowing what to do with myself... wahhhh. Yes, I know, way worse things going on in the world but this is my current struggle.

I took to the mall last weekend to try and freshen up my wardrobe and while I won't be wearing this exact outfit to work (the top is a little too casual) I'm most definitely adding this skirt to my regular rotation. LOVE it!! Joe Fresh for the win!

Also, kinda super proud of myself for actually following the Blended Blog's Summer Style method! Go Team!! Do I get points for this? No? Fine.

Anyways... cute skirt + comfort to the max = true love

floral maxi skirt

floral maxi skirt

Shop the look - FYI that's my actual skirt just in a different color. The color I'm wearing is still available. It fits true to size.

the blended blog summer style

Link ups: The Pleated Poppy//Pumps and Pushups//Mix & Match Fashion// Get Your Pretty On//Shopping My Closet//Sincerely Jenna Marie// Jersey Girl Texan Heart//Sydney Fashion Hunter

**this post may contain affiliate links so if you click and/or purchase I may receive a small % so thanks for that!**

Monday Moments of Gratitude - July 18, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

I'm so happy you're here!! 

I'm making a point to post on Mondays about moments I am grateful for in the past week. We can all use a little more intentional thinking about things we're grateful for. With that said, I hope you'll continue to join me in gratitude on Mondays :)

This past week marked my last full week home with the kids. Starting this morning they begin their transition to daycare and a week today I'll officially be a working mom of two. YIKES.

We're prepping for a new normal around here and I think it's going to be interesting... but as my anxiety grows, I'm reminded how fortunate I am to have had a year home with these two little people. 

Prep yourselves for some sappy posts coming your way in the not-so-distant future lol 

moving on.... (for now)

Here are a few moments from this past week that I am grateful for:

Daddy and the kids - I loved Mr. B before we had kids (obviously) but my goodness, watching him play with the kids just melts my heart. He's the guy who's down on the floor in toy room, the guy who lets his daughter pretend to paint his face, the guy who never says no to giving a piggy back ride. No wonder their little faces light up like Christmas lights every day when we walks through the door after work. 

painting daddy's face... obviously

Shopping... with help - I love shopping but I love shopping even more when I have really good help (read: NOT my 3 and 1 year olds). Saturday I did a little shopping and since I was attempting it solo, I opted for the next best thing to a real-life personal shopper - not one, but two, assistants by text. Thanks Deena and Christy from me and my closet... Mr. B and my wallet are less enthused about your support :)

in the end, this was in the "no" pile but good thing I didn't have to decide myself

Spur of the moment - I mentioned in a previous post how I'm not the most spontaneous person... well, sometimes unplanned plans are the best ones! Saturday I went and got my hair done and my hairdresser and I decided to grab a drink and some food after. Then, I got home and my neighbors were over (they have a little girl the same age as mini-me) we ended up making a night of it having a few drinks, playing board games and chatting while the girls had a sleepover/movie party in the living-room (which involved no sleep, in case you were wondering).

sooooo good

also sooooo good

Back to work prep - so the shopping mentioned above probably counts for this but I also went to this place called Olivia's Freezer and prepared some freezer meals for my working-mom self. My friend Trina came with me and we had so much fun. It was a great girl's night out AND productive because we both went home with tons of food. I can't wait to eat all the food and do it again next month!

Little moments with the kiddos - I'm trying to soak it all in and despite our being stuck in the house the bulk of the week, we had some pretty good moments. Like when Annabelle fell asleep on my lap. Or when Annabelle was showing me her yoga moves on the deck. Or Oliver's giant smiles as he played happily outside. Or when Annabelle wanted to take another selfie (lord help this child when she gets her own cell phone). 
Sometimes it seems the world is going to implode with all the negativity and hate. I find myself getting so bogged down by the weight of all the things I have little control over. It's been crucial to be able to look at my life, these precious people I'm surrounded by, and just remind myself how lucky I am. 

And yes, I let her snooze for a little before flopping her over on the pillow. I mostly just wanted to enjoy the quiet snuggles :)

Not quite sure what this move is called but I'm pretty sure she nailed it.

that face!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look at that smile!! Love this girl

Truthfully, I'm struggling to remain positive when my babies start daycare tomorrow... when I start to see them less and less each day BUT, as I said in the beginning of this post, I'm so grateful so this past year and all the time we've spent together and I know, I KNOW, that we will all look forward to our precious time together.

Have a lovely Monday and a beautiful week 


What moments are you grateful for this past week? Linkup your gratitude posts below!!

Linky Rules:

  1. Link to your specific blog post (not your blog's main page). 
  2. Please link posts related to gratitude.
  3. Check out as many links as you can.
  4. Not required BUT I would love it if you link back here.

Irresistible Me - hair extensions review

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I have always wanted to try hair extensions so when Irresistible Me contacted me to try their remy clip in hair extensions I was pumped. That was probably the fastest I've responded to a review request.

The hardest part for me was picking the color. I opted for the silky honey blonde 20" 200g extensions and crossed my fingers it would match.

before and after irresistible me hair extensions
before and after
totally worth the 10 min it took to put them in!! 
I'm still impressed with how close the color is

My extensions arrived and I was thankful that there was a sample in a sealed packaged to ensure a proper match. If the sample doesn't match, you can send the rest of the extensions back and try again. Luckily, perfection! Apparently the extensions can also be cut and colored the same as your normal hair so if the match isn't exact, you can take them with you to your stylist. I haven't tried this but I like having the option.

braid - irresistible me hair extension
channeling my inner Rapunzel for mini-me and plus, I've kind of always love side braids but mine never looks cute

I've NEVER used extensions before but I was very surprised how easily they just clipped in. I should have probably watched an extension instruction video or something, but I think I did pretty good for a first-timer!

The hair feels and looks just like my normal hair. I don't know what I was expecting, I guess maybe more plastic-like? Nope. Because they're made with human remy hair, you literally cannot tell the difference.

irresistible me hair extension - honey blonde
and this is what I look like with crazy long hair, so fun

I walked downstairs after putting them in and Annabelle gasped and said "mommy, you look bea-U-T-ful. Just like Rapunzel". So obviously she's giving them a two thumbs up. Hence the braid, I had to do that for little miss.

braid - irresistible me hair extension
she was so excited, I had to let her in on the pics... and then she wouldn't look at the camera... naturally

I haven't tried curling them yet but I've read they curl really well so I'm kinda pumped for some long curly locks.

I'm trying not to sound super cheesy and overly excited but I'm really pumped to have these in my closet (that's where I keep them) because, unfortunately, I have super fine hair that lacks volume in the worst way. These extensions are perfect for adding a little something and I love that I can quickly put them in for a cute side braid (my normal side braid is skinny and sad), fun up-do or just some added length.

irresistible me hair extension - honey blonde
I couldn't stop touching them lol

Maybe I'm still a kid at heart who just wants to play dress up, but these are all kinds of fun and I know they're going to get lots of use... now, I just need to schedule a date night so I can try them curly!!

If you're looking to give extensions a go, give Irresistible Me a try!!

braid - irresistible me hair extension

Have you ever used extensions?

black and cognac for summer

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hi friends! Remember the time I managed to get my stuff together and actually take some non-cellphone pics?! Ya, that happened. Well, for like 5 minutes, but that still counts... right?!

They aren't awesome but they're not selfies in my bedroom mirror, so there's that.

Up until not that long ago I thought black and cognac didn't match. This was super sad because I bought stellar pair of cognac boots and wasn't really sure how to wear them. I remember doing a style challenge and I was supposed to wear cognac boots with black pants and thought "but, that doesn't go" but I tried it anyways, I'm brave like that, and it's my new fave ever since.

Here's some easy and super comfy looks with black and cognac I've been wearing lately:

how pretty are my flowers??

So the Blended Blog is doing a Summer Style series which I have clearly not followed AT ALL... BUT, I still think the format is awesome and I'm totally keeping the graphic to help me get dressed when I head back to work in less than two weeks (**small silent tear rolls down my cheek**).

Monday Moments of Gratitude - July 11, 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

I'm so happy you're here!! 

I'm making a point to post on Mondays about moments I am grateful for in the past week. We can all use a little more intentional thinking about things we're grateful for. With that said, I hope you'll continue to join me in gratitude on Mondays :)

Here are a few moments from this past week that I am grateful for:

What moments are you grateful for this past week? Linkup your gratitude posts below!!

This past week was a challenging one for me. Some of the many tragedies taking place around the world weighed heavy in my heart. It still and I continue to hope and pray for the change and love and kindness the world so desperately needs right now. Having said that, this is why I started this series. It's so easy to down in the pain of the world or get swallowed up by all the negativity and hate. We need to be reminded, to remind ourselves, that there is goodness, kindness and love in the world.

So here's some happy I found amidst the heartache.

Being silly - little man thought this was the most hilarious thing, which naturally had me smiling too. Later that day Mr. B had mini-me up on his shoulders, little man on mine and we chased each other around the house all laughing until we couldn't breathe. It was silly and awesome. Maybe not the best way to gear up for bed time but whatever.

piggy back
that face!!!

Friends - "I get by with a little help from my friends" could not be more true than this week. First, there was a visit early in the week with one of my besties. She's one of the most genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and truly has a soul that just makes me feel more at peace. PLUS, she brought the most delicious butter tars of life!!!!

butter tart
this picture doesn't do it justice... excuse me while I drool remembering this goodness

I also have some pretty amazing friends I've met through blogging. These ladies inspire me and center me at times when I need it most. They understand not only my blog and social media struggles but my challenges as a mother as well as someone who wants to see change in a hurting world.
This past week some of these ladies made me laugh, some made me cry but all were there in just the way I needed them to be. 
In case you're wondering, the internet is NOT the most kind place to find a home so it's pretty important to have some amazing people in your corner. I'm so grateful for the people I've found and who I call friends. 

this still makes me laugh so much! thanks Abbie

SLEEP - I'm not a good sleeper. I can't even blame the kids for the current lack of sleep. Or maybe, maybe my body is so used to not sleeping because of the kids that even though they're sleeping, I still can't. Whatever the reason, I don't sleep well and I'm tired a lot. According to my fitbit I average just under 4 hours a night (ew)... so ya, tired. Okay, the good bit? After a rather exhausting week my kids napped at the same time two days in a row AND so did I!!!! I rarely nap, I always feel I should be doing something else but this week I knew I needed it so I took it and it was fabulous. 

toddler napping
I don't think I looked quite this cute during either nap but we can pretend

Family time - we had a busy but amazing weekend and pretty much all of it was spent together, as a family. Spending time with the people I love the most in the world recharged both my heart and soul. It was everything I needed right when I needed it.

dressed up toddler
little miss thing all ready to head to the BBQ festival downtown

baby eating fresh BBQ corn
fresh BBQ corn is sooooooo good

after being caught in the rain
obviously we got stuck in the rain leaving downtown. Annabelle thought it was funny... Oliver, not so much lol

toddler with butterfly painted face
Mini-me had a big weekend - first time getting her nails painted AND first time getting her face painted. Cutest little butterfly I've ever seen!

It's been a tough week, things might get tougher so I'll challenge you to remind yourself of the things you're grateful for and the reasons you do the things you do. xo

Linky Rules:

  1. Link to your specific blog post (not your blog's main page). 
  2. Please link posts related to gratitude.
  3. Check out as many links as you can.
  4. Not required BUT I would love it if you link back here.

kids and technology plus KidloLand app review

Thursday, July 7, 2016

I like to think I'm not that old and that my kids are growing up in a similar time.

Reality couldn't be further from the truth.

As a child, Nintendo literally blew our minds. We watched tv, of course, but there was no Netflix and on demand shows. We had to wait every week, that specific time slot, to watch our favorite show. You got one episode and had to wait another week.

I didn't have a computer in my house until late high school and didn't get a cell phone until grade 12.

Imagine what kids now would think of that. 

Things have changed a lot.

Initially, pre-kids, I thought I'd try and resist some of the technology available. Right. I was such a great parent before I had kids lol. Weren't we all? Now, my 3 year old can grab her dad's cell phone, type in his password and find youtube to bring up cartoons. Ya, I just admitted that.

I've already caught my nearly 1 year old (small tear) with either of our cell phones and trying to tab his cute little chub fingers on different things.

When my daughter requests a specific episode of Dora from Netflix, I realize that we are so far gone past sheltering our kids from technology.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's not a techo-free-for-all around here, but we, as parents, are learning that we kind of need to embrace this age of technology and wise about what we allow our kids access to.

Take my iphone for example, I have access to a TON of apps for kids, so many that I usually find it too hard to pick and app to download (and often have too many pics of aforementioned children on my phone to be able to download more stuff... note to self: clean out phone).

Like I said, my kids don't have open access to my phone but there probably isn't a mom or parent out there that can deny their phone has come in handy in some pretty clutch situations. Basically any situation requiring stillness for any length of time is a handy time to bust out the kid apps on your phone. I'm thinking of times I've been stuck waiting at the doctor's office, a bridal shower (where my toddler decided lunch service was a good time to do laps around the table - better believe I was thankful for my phone then) and even some long-ish car rides.

When I was approached my KidloLand to review their app I was initially hesitant mostly because I didn't want to lose space on my phone. Confession: I have zero kid apps on my phone because I always make Mr. B download them (because I take too many pictures and have issues deleting them lol). I talked with Mr. B about it and he urged me to try it. Always the voice of reason. HA.

Old McDonald for the win!

What is KidloLand?
An app available for iOS and Android via Google Play Store, iOS or Amazon Appstore. It's targeted to kids under 5 and has 300+ nursery rhymes, songs and 100+ educational activities. Songs and games help kids learn ABC's, animals, fruits and veg, shapes and more.
The app is free to download and you pay for different packages or you can purchase a yearly subscription that allows you access to all current and future packages (because they're always adding new stuff). 

Okay, so I got a free subscription and access to all the packages to try it out. I'm going to be brutally honest for a second (cause that's how I roll these days) when I first looked at the app I was overwhelmed (I still kind of get overwhelmed with what to pick for the kids). There were so many sections and each section you pick what to download before using it. I also had a panic attack thinking I needed to download everything and I'd lose precious space on my phone for my kid's cute mugs. Thankfully, you download one thing at a time and you can delete files once your kids are done with them (whew).

ya, that's the possessive "you're not taking this yet" face

More honesty? Okay, when I first saw the cute and colorful animations I didn't really think it was something my kids, especially my Dora and Paw Patrol-loving toddler would like. I also wasn't sure what she'd think of some of the old school nursery rhymes (that I surprisingly remembered the words to and some, admittedly, I've never heard before). Um, she LOVES it. Seriously, she busts a move to the songs and can't get enough of the nursery rhymes. It's actually kind of adorable. Plus, she loves that some of her favs are on there - I'm talking about you "Itsy Bitsy Spider".

I told my contact at KidloLand that Oliver was probably too young to show much interest in the app as he doesn't seem to be overly interested in the tv. Ya, the little monkey proved me wrong and fast. I had my phone out and he got super fussy early (like, way too early) in the morning. I didn't want him to wake his sister so I got out my phone, he sat for a good 10 minutes watching different nursery rhymes before he decided to try and taste the app (aka eat my phone). If you knew Oliver, you'd know this certainly says something about the app because it's usually about 3 seconds before my phone (or any phone for that matter... or anything really) is in his mouth. Well played KidloLand. Well played. **no, I didn't get a picture, because Mr. B was in bed and Oliver was... well... on my phone and all**

pigtails made possible by Kidloland

In short, KidloLand gets a thumbs-up from this tired momma! Just this morning Annabelle sat quietyly listenting to Humpty Dumpty and Old MacDonald Had a Farm while I brushed her hair and brushed her teeth. If you have a 3 year old girl, you know darn well what a task these things can normally be.

Friends, I'm not saying shove technology down your kids throats or have them watching tv or on phones all the time but there are times where it sure it helpful. It's those times it's great to have something that not only provides entertainment and holds their interest but is also educational too. If you're looking for an app for you under 5 child(ren) this one is worth checking out!