Training Wheels For Good Habits

One thing this mama can’t seem to figure out is why some days flow so flawlessly from the get go – while others feel like a train wreck by 8am. Did we all get more sleep? Was our environment more peaceful? Less cluttered? Did I spend more one-on-one time with the kids? Were we on a stricter schedule? Were the kids better listeners, or was I more patient? Was it something I did? Was it the weather? Was there a full moon last night? Did I drink more coffee?

I don’t know if I’m imagining things but I can’t seem to nail down why some days I feel like I could handle five more kids, while other days I question if I’m even cut out for motherhood. For real, though. Why are some days so pleasant and the next day I’m praying for any sort of lifeline just so I can catch a quick break?

While I don’t have the complete answers to all of my burning questions, I recently discovered one AMAZING new piece of technology that has seemed to make a HUGE difference in helping our days flow more seamlessly.

Octopus watch by Joy

I’m super excited to share with you the Octopus Watch by Joy. Octopus Watch is a children’s watch that alerts them of specific tasks and reminders throughout the day. I simply downloaded the Octopus app on my phone and paired it with each of my kiddo’s fun little watches. Then, via the app, I set up different “reminders” for them throughout the day.

For example, at 7:30am their watch will vibrate for a quick second and a dog food bowl will show up on the screen reminding them to feed the dog. At 8am a breakfast bowl will pop up and let them know it’s time for breakfast. 8:45…a heart reminding them I love them. YES, I still tell them I love them a thousand times a day, but if we aren’t together – I hope it brings a smile to their sweet face.

It’s funny how when their Octopus Watch reminds them to brush their teeth at 8:30pm they jump right up and do it. BUT it takes about 10 reminders and several moans and groans when mama asks. I’m certain that the watch has given them a sense of independence. It allows them to feel more grown up and responsible for the tasks they need to complete.

Having reminders set on their watches has also helped this (some days) frazzled mama stick to a schedule. When we have a set time for breakfast, lunch, checking the mail, nap time, etc., it forces us to stay on task. Rather than say, “I’ll do {this or that} in just a few minutes” and then completely forget or push it back an hour, I’m more apt to get breakfast on the table when the kids remind ME that it’s time to eat. Sometimes the day gets away from me when I’m in my “mom-zone,” and I lose all track of time. I’ll be completely honest and admit that these watches have made a positive difference in my routine too.

Training wheels for good habits

The Octopus Watch by Joy has provided them with “training wheels for good habits.” Maybe we don’t need to do everything the same exact way every single day. However, I love that it helps them feel like they are responsible for completing the task. I know this new watch is going to be a home run especially when the school year rolls around again. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, I’m definitely not wishing away sweet summertime yet. It goes far too fast, but thanks to my tiny little time tellers – I always know what time it is. 😉

If you would like to try out the Octopus Watch (available HERE), use code “threelittlelights” for a sweet little discount (offer valid through June 30th!).

Apparently it was doughnut time!

Jake’s Golden Ticket

Imagination is such a vital part of childhood. It allows children to escape reality and go places they’ve only dreamed about – maybe even places that don’t even exist!

There is one movie I recall watching as a child DOZENS of times that did nothing short of explode creativity and inspire imagination. Any guesses?!

OF COURSE it’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! If you’ve never seen this movie – I don’t know if we can be friends. 😉 KIDDING. But you should definitely see it.

The story of Willy Wonka and his magical chocolate factory allowed us to enter a place where things that didn’t even exist EXISTED. It took us to a place where the snozzberries taste like snozzberries(so they tell us), and you might even turn into a giant blueberry from chewing a piece of Wonka’s special bubble gum(poor Violet!). Everything was brand new and mind bogglingly fascinating.

Invention, my dear friends, is

93% perspiration

6% electricity

4% evaporation

and 2% butterscotch ripple

-Willy Wonka

So when Wonderbly released “The Golden Ticket,” I knew it was going to be a must have for my kiddos (and me!). Like the movie, it introduces us to many sensational new creations and takes us on an adventure of unimaginable experiences.

When we open up this story – we just can’t put it down. And I’ll be honest, I love it probably just as much as the kids. It takes me back to my own childhood when it was so easy to imagine that this was all so fantastically REAL. I especially love the questions and thoughts that my kids ask after their journey through the chocolate factory. Their observations are much like mine when I was once so little too.

Another one of my favorite things about “The Golden Ticket,” is the ability to personalize it with your own child’s name! I WISH you could’ve seen Jake’s eyes light up as we read his name throughout the story the first time. He couldn’t believe it was written just for him. As the oldest child, he often gets over shadowed by his little siblings, but I love how special this story made him feel. The smile on his face and the wonder in his eyes as we read all about Willy Wonka’s Factory was absolutely priceless!

If you’re new to Wonderbly, you should know that all of their stories can be personalized for your own children! The stories are engaging, and the illustrations are stunning. These books make such wonderful birthday, Christmas, or other “just because” gifts for the special little ones in your life!

Go HERE for $7 off your purchase at Wonderbly! Tell them I sent ya. 🙂 I know you and your kiddos will love these wonderful stories just as much as we do!

Lollies and Lace Feature: Messes & Motherhood

Lollies and Lace has long been one of my favorite shops to purchase sweet dresses for Tay. Not only is every piece SO adorable and unique, but the quality is second to none. If you haven’t heard of Lollies and Lace yet and you have a little lady, you are definitely going to want to check out their stunning collection! There are so many fun and playful pieces that you will want to see.

As a long time fan and buyer of Lollies and Lace you can imagine how honored (AND over the moon!) I was when Nicole asked me to share a blog on motherhood to be featured on their site. Of course I agreed to contribute a blog!

Nicole is such an inspirational mama, and it has been SO wonderful getting to know her! Although she doubted herself at first and was faced with many trials, she pressed on to pursue her dream. I just adore the story of how Lollies and Lace came to be, and I know you will too. Read the full story HERE.

Like I said – if you’ve got a little girl who loves playful and fun, modest and comfortable clothing, you’ll want to check out Lollies and Lace. You won’t be sorry!

Click HERE to read my “Messes & Motherhood” blog over on the Lollies & Lace website.

Below you will find a few of my favorite pics of Tay in her gorgeous “Cassidy Off-White Lace Dress” which can be found HERE.

When you look at a field of dandelions, you can either

see a hundred weeds…or a thousand wishes.

 

 

Not A Perfect Mother

Can I tell you a secret?

I’m not a perfect mother. I could tell you a thousand reasons why. And then I could tell you some more. I try to do my best, but it never feels good enough. All too often I compare myself to other mamas who seem to have it all together – and I, very clearly, do not.

I’ve got stains on my tee shirt, and my eyes are beyond tired. I haven’t showered in a day or two (or three…sometimes). The clothes that I used to wear – well they don’t fit anymore. I’m often impatient, and I snap too quickly. I get frustrated when things don’t go my way, and I usually set my expectations too high. Many days are long and lonely, and sometimes I question if this will ever get any easier.

And did I mention?

I don’t read enough.
I don’t clean enough.
I don’t exercise enough.
I don’t cook enough.
I don’t know enough.
I don’t eat healthy enough.
I’m not organized enough.

I could go on, but I’ll spare you.

I know I’m not a perfect mother, and I know I’ve got a lot of things I need to work on. However, I also know that God placed these sweet babies in my arms for a reason. He chose ME – with a plan and a purpose.

As their mama…

I will fight for them when no one else will, and I will cheer them on – even if I’m the only one cheering. I will protect them when they need protecting, and I will pray for them on my hands and knees. I will teach them courage and how to stand up for what they believe – even if they are standing alone. While they are still little, I will encourage them to pursue their passions – even if others laugh at them. I will teach them the value of a heartfelt apology, and that “please” and “thank you” are still kind words. I will love them with all that I am and encourage them to grow in their walk with the Lord.

One day they won’t want me to catch them at the bottom of the slide, and they won’t need me to push them on the swing. The day will come when I’ll no longer need to kiss their owies, and they won’t want to dance with me in the kitchen. Eventually they won’t need me to tuck them in at bedtime, and they will be too embarrassed to hold my hand. All too soon their chalk art won’t cover the driveway, and they won’t give me a hundred dandelions a day. Soon I won’t be able to scoop them up in my arms, and I’ll miss their sweet giggles as they run through the sprinkler. One day, their room won’t be cluttered with toys – it will be empty.

I don’t want to take another second for granted. They will slip through my fingers all too quickly, and I will be begging for just one more day like today. Just one more kiss. Just one more bedtime story. Just one more dandelion. Just one more hand hoId. Just one more snuggle. And just one more dance.

So for now, I’m going to hug them a little tighter and hold them a little longer. I’m going to soak in these precious days with them – even the ones that feel like an eternity. I will give them an extra kiss any chance I get, and I dance with them whenever they want. I’ll read another book, and rock them to sleep another time. I’ll wipe away their tears, and encourage them to try again…

Because right now they are here in my arms. I know that all too soon I will blink, and they will be grown and gone. Although some days I feel like a failure in my own eyes, I need to remind myself that I AM enough. I’m not perfect, but I’m exactly who God created me to be, flaws and all. He knew I would make mistakes and fall down, and that I wouldn’t be perfect. But He also knew that I would need these sweet children and that they would need me. They will always be my precious babies, and I will always thank the Good Lord for choosing me to be their mama.

Explore Sawyer

When I think about my childhood, I love to remember the endless summer days. I spent nearly all of my time outside: running, playing, exploring, imagining, dreaming, and swimming. At the end of the day my hair was full of sand, my feet were dirty, my skin was sun kissed, and I sure slept well. I am fortunate – I was blessed with a very happy childhood. I treasure the many unforgettable memories that I made running barefoot every day. I miss those days when I didn’t have a care in the world and time didn’t seem to matter.

Now, as a mama – I absolutely love watching my own babies relive those sweet memories that I often long for. They spend almost all day outside, and they sure are filthy when they come in at night. But I love it. It is my hope and prayer that one day they will look back and treasure these precious days of childhood – just as I do.

Sawyer is a children’s brand of clothing named after the one and only Tom Sawyer – a perfect picture of adventure and a “quintessential youth explorer.” I love that I can clothe my kiddos with a brand that encourages kids to grow and learn through play and exploration of the world around them. They emphasize the importance of connecting with nature and realize that “valuable life skills are gained by learning to pick oneself up and try again.”

The nostalgia of childhood all comes rushing back when I see the awe and wonder in my children’s eyes as they explore the wild. I’m so grateful that I can witness these priceless moments of exploration and discovery. For in these moments, I know they are making sweet memories that will last a lifetime.

Hopscotch Avenue

Hopscotch avenue

I recently discovered Hopscotch Avenue and their “Woobies,” and I couldn’t be more excited to share more about these with you today.

First off, Hopscotch Avenue is an up and coming company (est. 2017), creating boutique quality baby products RIGHT HERE in the USA! I came across Hopscotch Avenue on Instagram while browsing small shops. Their products stood out to me right away. As you will see – the goal of their products is to “make life as a parent a bit easier and help others along the way.” I already know that their Woobies and wet bags are going to make life for this mama much easier!

What is a woobie?

A Woobie is designed like a burp cloth, but it is so much more! Sure, it can be used as a burp cloth – it is a generous size to catch almost any size spit up. It has a handy loop attached making it simple to roll up your Woobie to contain any messes before tossing it in your diaper bag or wet bag. Woobies are also perfect for tummy time, bathing, changing, and SNUGGLING.

Each Woobie has a pocket – perfect for storing and keeping pacifiers, small teething toys, or other necessities safe and protected. How many times have I dug through the diaper bag or my purse searching for a pacifier?! WAY too many to count. With the Woobie, I know right where to find that darn pacifier. The pocket itself is easily my favorite feature of the Woobie. It will save me (probably) HOURS of digging and searching for a pacifier when we are out and about.

There are many beautiful colors and patterns to select from when choosing your Woobie. Each Woobie is backed with organic bamboo – making it ultra absorbent and easy to clean. It actually gets softer with each wash! No harmful chemicals or finishes are used on the Woobie – it is 100% eco-friendly!

Hopscotch avenue gives back

“Hopscotch Avenue was driven to existence on the premise of helping others, and this is why we choose to give back a portion of every sale. We are committed to helping families with sick little ones, warrior babies, preemies who arrive a little too soon, angel babies, and those who arrive as a different kind of perfect.” #HopscotchFor Humanity

I don’t know about you, but I love supporting a company with a good heart and a good cause. If you or someone you know has a little one or is expecting, Woobies make the perfect gift! I’ve got a couple of little ones due in my extended family this year, and I know one thing for sure they will each be getting (but, shhhhhh….). If you are like me, always looking for ways to simplify parenting, do yourself a favor and grab a Woobie (or two, or three…). You’ll be so happy you did!

Hopscotch Avenue also offers wet bags for soiled Woobies or clothing. Check these out too! ^

Instagram: @hopscotchavenue

Website: www.hopscotchavenue.com

 

Easter Basket Finds 2018

One of my favorite things to do every year is to put together an Easter Basket for each one of my kiddos. I’m a planner at heart, so I love getting ideas and finding unique things that I know they will love. Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite Easter basket finds for this year and where you can find them too!

For the BIG BROTHER…

My five year old son, Jake, is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS building or constructing something. He loves to work with his hands and is always busy creating. Someone recommended “Iggy Peck, Architect” so I checked it out on Amazon and fell in love. The story of Iggy Peck using his creative mind to construct things from a young age reminded me EXACTLY of Jake. For his Easter basket, I went with the “builder’s dream” theme. As I said, the book and “Big Project Book” pictured here are both from Amazon, and you can find them HERE. The #demoday hammer and metal DO GOOD WORK sign are both from Magnolia Market (along with the contractor pencils). You can find the sign HERE and the hammer HERE. The Contractor stencil is from daddy’s desk (shhhhh….). I think this builder’s inspiration kit will be perfect for my little contractor in training. 🙂

FOR THE BIG SISTER…

Awhile back on Instagram, I shared a post on my daughter Taylor and a shirt she was wearing that USED to be a dress she wore often. She has been wearing the said shirt/dress for almost three years now, and I often wonder what we will be able to turn it into next. So when I came across the book “I Had A Favorite Dress,” I knew it would be perfect for Tay’s basket this year. The story of a little girl having a favorite dress and it eventually becoming a scarf (…and everything in between) seemed oddly familiar. This was another Amazon find (Amazon has some awesome books, FYI!) and you can find it HERE.

If you aren’t familiar with Maileg, you ought to be! I am new to the whole Maileg line, but I learned of “little sister” mouse through a group on Facebook that I am in. There are many characters in the Maileg line, and lots of accessories to go with them! I ordered “little sister” mouse from boutiquelittle.com, and can find yours HERE. The tiny little ballet dress is from the same site, along with MANY other fun accessories! If you’ve got a little girl who loves dolls and pretend play, I highly recommend Maileg!

I finished off Taylor’s basket with Skye the Mermaid from Cuddle + Kind (pictured above). Each Cuddle + Kind doll is handcrafted by incredible artisans in Peru, and the purchase of each doll provides 10 meals to children in need. Tay has been eyeing up this mermaid for quite awhile, so I thought this was the perfect occasion to gift her Skye. Find Skye HERE.

For the baby brother…

This is Easton’s first Easter. I wanted to find a few special and unique things for him that we can save for him as he grows up, and hopefully he can pass these things onto his own children some day. I’m probably overly sentimental, but I save a lot of my kid’s special toys and/or outfits in hopes that maybe they will be in the hands of my grandchildren one day. One thing I like to do when I gift them a special book, is to write a short message on the inside to them and date it (YES – I know this probably devalues the book, but to me it’s worth it). I know I won’t save EVERY single book we ever own – but I want to save the ones from special occasions for sure. “Cat & Bunny” was, of course, another Amazon find, and you can find it HERE.

Next, I picked up Wyatt the Fox from Cuddle + Kind. Being from Minnesota, this “lumberjack” fox was the perfect find for my little man. I’m pretty sure Easton has the same exact outfit as Wyatt, and you will probably see it sooner than later. 😉 Grab your Wyatt the Fox doll HERE.

I have recently become obsessed with Bannor Toys, so I was super excited to grab this adorable wooden camera for his Easter basket this year (find it HERE). The cactus teether is from the Itzy Ritzy line at Target, and when you have a teething baby – any and all teethers are welcome in this household.

I’ve got a few finishing touches to add to their baskets (like maybe a few treats!), but I just wanted to share with you these fun items I found for them this year!

I hope you, my friend, have a wonderful and blessed Easter with family and friends celebrating the true meaning of Easter, our risen King! May we not forget the blood shed on the cross that day and God’s great love for us. We love to celebrate and take part in the Easter festivities, but we also take time to remember what this day is really all about. I hope and pray the same is true for you. 🙂 Enjoy your holiday! Happy Easter! <3

XOXO

Talking ‘Bout My Girl

Our threenager, Taylor, is a girl of many expressions, and she keeps our days interesting, to say the least. She’s full of sugar and spice. First she’s sour, then she’s sweet. She takes care of her baby dolls with such TLC,  but she can also take down her big brother in a wrestling match. She’ll go from playing barbies in her bedroom to racing cars with her big brother without missing a beat. She’s a country girl, and she loves tagging along in the woods with her daddy; but she also loves twirling in her girly dresses and all things pretty. She’s got a big personality, and I love watching it develop more and more each day.

Just recently, I was trying to capture a few photos of Tay wearing a couple pieces of beautiful jewlery she received from The Orchid Fox, and she had me rolling with some of her silly facial expressions. These photos are just too good not to share. So, here I am sharing some of her best shots along with some of her silliest. I hope you get a kick out of them, just as I do

Enjoy! XOXO

Jewelry: The Orchid Fox (@orchid_fox_)

Bow: Wunderkin (@wunderkin_co)

Top: Matilda Jane Clothing (@matildajaneclothing)

Boots: Smallwood Home (@smallwoodhome)

Leggings: Gap Kids

Master Bedroom Makeover: REVEAL

Nearly two months ago, we  demo’d our master bedroom and began a project we had *hoped* would go quickly and smoothly. It went smooth for the most part, but much of January and February were spent fighting various strains of illness in our household. Needless to say, progress took longer than we were hoping. But alas, the room is complete, and I’m thrilled to share with you what we’ve been up to. Better late than never, right??

As you will see, we made quite a few changes. We started by putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls (Benjamin Moore, Gray Owl), followed by all new trim and (drumroll please)…SHIPLAP. If I said I wasn’t completely obsessed with shiplap, I’d be lying {thank you Joanna Gaines}. If I could shiplap every wall in our home – I probably would! With this makeover, we decided on just two walls of shiplap – one with vertical shiplap and one with horizontal.

We built our home just three years ago, but with three kids and a dog – our carpet had seen better days. I cannot even tell you how excited I was when my amazing hubby agreed to tear out the carpet and install burrow oak hardwood floors, even though it meant much more work for him. He is so amazing and put so much time and hard work to make my dreams come true. 😉

Without much further ado, I’ll let the photos below do most of the speaking. You will see I kept our quilt (because I still LOVE it – you can find it HERE) and our nightstands (from Hobby Lobby); but we changed out the majority of our light fixtures, I painted our dresser, and we added a BARN DOOR! Have I said yet how amazing my husband is?! For real, though. I really do appreciate him doing all of this in the very little amount of spare time he has!

For BEFORE photos, click HERE.

Master Bedroom: AFTER

You can find our semi flush ceiling light in-store at Menards, OR a similar one HERE, and our wall sconces HERE. 

Our sliding barn door was made locally by a friend of my husband’s, and it is exactly what I wanted! Find the large, distressed “Family Tray” online HERE, and the beautiful “Fresh Joy” mugs HERE.

Another huge thanks to Joanna Gaines for my love of stacked books. I pick up old books at yard sales or antique shops any time I can find them reasonably priced. The clock is from Hobby Lobby, and you can shop the “Queen Anne’s Lace Pitcher” (pictured above) online HERE.

Another one of my favorite new pitchers, the “Fresh Joy Pitcher” (pictured above), can be found online HERE.

I was thrilled to “win” the antique chair pictured above at a local ladies’ event. It was just what I was looking for to fill this little corner of our bedroom, and it was perfect timing. The quilt above is ED by Ellen Degeneres, and the large, hand blown glass lantern can be found HERE. It’s such a gorgeous piece and I love changing it up seasonally! The lantern comes in three sizes.

I had been on the lookout for a small ladder, and I have to give a shoutout to my mom for finding this one for me at a local repurposing shop. It’s just what I was looking for! The “good morning gorgeous” and “hello there handsome” signs are from Hobby Lobby. Here you will also see a glimpse of the dresser I painted white, and my husband added the new hardware.

MASTER BATHROOM

In the master bathroom, we finished one wall with vertical shiplap, and we continued the paint color in from the bedroom (Benjamin Moore, Gray Owl). We also added a new light fixture above the mirror that can be found HERE.

My husband built the beautiful, industrial shelving after I showed him a photo of what I wanted. I should never doubt his skills. 😉 The sign and the & on the top shelf are, of course, another Hobby Lobby find. I also sort of have a thing for vintage Ball jars. I have a cupboard full of them, and I hoard them! You never know when an occasion may arise where you need 27 Ball jars, am I right?!

The rotating memo board above is one of my favorite pieces. One side is printed on, as you can see, with the verse, “Be filled with fresh joy from the Lord. Isaiah 29:19” What a beautiful reminder for us each day! The back side is left blank and can be used as a chalkboard or a magnetic board, since it’s metal. The “Fresh Joy Rotating Memo Board” can be found HERE.

And just because I can’t say enough about how great my hubby really is…

 A few photos of our project in Progress…

My man hard at work…isn’t he cute? 😉

Our five year old, Jake, loved “helping out” on this project. He loves all things construction related, and he’s definitely following in daddy’s footsteps! One of his favorite lines comes from Chip on Fixer Upper…”It’s demo day, baby!” 🙂

Easton @ Eight Months

Today officially marks Easton’s 8th month of life. It was an exciting last month with him officially sitting up on his own and learning to scoot – he hasn’t quite mastered the crawl. I know that him becoming more mobile means more work for me and babyproofing, but I really love this stage.

I love that he can entertain himself a little longer and can scoot around to watch his siblings play. I can’t wait for the day he can run and keep up with them. Although they smother him with their love on a daily basis, he is their biggest fan and he loves the attention. He also just started giving “kisses,” and this mama will take as many as he is willing to give. 🙂

The past month also held his first ER visit for a respiratory infection. Although it gave us a little scare, we were thankful it wasn’t anything more serious.

Each day he is getting more and more fun. I love his sweet baby giggles when we tickle under his neck and those big, gummy smiles first thing in the morning. I love the way his chubby little legs kick as fast as they can in the bath tub and how is eyes light up when he sees daddy come home after a long day of work.

The past month held several new and exciting “firsts,” and part of me just wants time to slow down – babyhood goes by far too fast.  He’s growing rapidly and changing a little every day. Even though it is bittersweet, I absolutely love watching him grow, and I cannot wait to see what the next month has in store for this busy little boy.

I love you so much, little buddy! Cheers to 8 months, and here’s to another exciting new month full of many new firsts! XOXO