Monday, September 29, 2014

Currently // September 2014

I've seen the awesome "Currently" link up many times on some of my favorite blogs around the web, but I've never joined the fun. It's been hosted at A Mama Collective, but starting next week can be found at Hannah's Joyful Life.

So, anyway - here's what I'm currently....

Fast asleep during church yesterday.

Thinking about // The 3,000 books that need to be sorted and find a new place to reside in our crammed house. What costumes to make for our family for Halloween. How I need to weed the yard and cut some mega trees out of our fence line. How delicious Lindt chocolate tastes, especially late at night while blogging. How I wish Addie would decide nurseries are okay so I can quit hating them.

Listening to // The Broadway cast recording of Beauty & and Beast. The movie soundtrack to Oklahoma. By Faith by the Galkin Evangelistic Team.

Watching // Anne of Green Gables. It is every single bit as beautiful as I recalled and I feel that all entertainment should be this heartwarming and breathtakingly brilliant. The scope for the imagination in average television is sorely lacking.

Thankful for // A lower-than-expected quote to fix up our roof before winter (such a huge answer to prayer). The opportunity to homeschool my children, even if I have yet to achieve a balance even for preschool. My parents' and in-laws' dryers, since mine is not working.

Enjoying // Sprouted organic cereal (not an affiliate link). Because I'm battling tooth decay (sigh), I'm trying to avoid all grains that are not sprouted because of their high phytic acid content. I enjoy eating healthy veggies and meat, but sometimes...you just need a bowl of cereal.


My resident Luigi.

Photographing // Kids doing cute things. My baby stroller and car seat to sell on a Facebook swap page (the car seat will expire before we could have another baby to use it).

Making me happy // Shopping for food at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. If anyone could inspire these brands to bring a store to my hometown, I would be super appreciative. Right now, I visit on Wednesdays when we're making a trek to our awesome chiropractor anyway.

Okay, so we aren't ALL quite that excited about Trader Joe's shopping.

Loving // That Lincoln has slept in his bed all night more than half of the nights in the past week. The fresh flowers on my table (scheming about buying more). Peach and strawberry smoothies. Blissful, beautiful sleep...which is where I am headed now, friends.

What are you currently up to? I hope you have the loveliest week!

Lincoln: 3 1/2 Years Old


Somehow, I managed to completely miss Lincoln's half birthday this year. I think that means childhood is speeding by too fast, so someone please send a memo to this little man to quit growing so fast already. I know he won't listen to you, but it's worth a try!

I don't even know where to start...it seems like the past few months have held some of the biggest leaps in Lincoln's life. And while that's a good thing, it's just hard to believe how much (and how quickly) he is changing.

Lincoln, you talk so much now. It is a constant chatter - to yourself, to mommy, to Addie, to anyone who will listen - or your toys if no one will. You have a strong opinion about most of the everyday decisions in life (such as when to get in the car, brush your teeth, eat your dinner, put your plate in the sink, pick up your toys) and you're starting to come up with excuses like "I'm busy right now" or "Not yet" when asked to complete a task. You're able to tell us a lot more about what you're feeling - "that makes me sad!" or "I'm fwustwated!" - which is very helpful to us as parents, especially after your speech delays that had us all confused and frustrated at one another when you were younger. One of my favorite words right now is "willn't" - it means "won't." I told Daddy not to teach you the real way to say it.

You are definitely no longer a baby. Sometimes when you're sleeping, I'm reminded of what you felt like snuggled up in my arms as a tiny newborn, but it has gone by so fast. I can't believe it. You're about 90% potty trained after a long struggle (still need to work on nighttime),

You want to help mommy and daddy do everything. If we say no, you cry as though your heart is broken into a thousand pieces.

I didn't think the day would come, but you don't play with cars and trucks the way you once did. Don't take that the wrong way - you still like them, but now there are schemes and plans and adventures happening when you do decide to sit down and play with your overflowing bin of cars. I want to hop back in time for a day and drive cars with you endlessly, mindlessly, for the sheer joy of seeing the wheels turn. I wasn't planning to cry while writing this post...but it's too late, now. I didn't know how much I would miss having little cars strategically lined up across the entire couch for days on end.

You love reading right now. Your favorite books are Berenstain Bears, Little People Lift-the-Flaps, and all of the tiny lift-the-flap board books (especially classics like Two Bad Mice, Peter Rabbit, and the like). I can sometimes find you with a stack of books, just reading to yourself, and that makes my heart smile. Even busy little boys can love reading, buddy.

We started preschool a few weeks ago, and while we may be a few days behind at the moment, you (for the most part) love it. You memorized Genesis 1:1 ("in the beginning, God "macrated" the heavens and the earth), learned to draw 0's and 1's, and love the color blue. Some of your favorite school activities are coloring with markers, playing the apple tree counting game, and putting stickers on your daily chart. I'm excited about homeschooling, because right now you have such an enthusiastic desire to learn.

You are no longer nursing. We hit the milestone of weaning a few weeks before you were three and a half. I had a lot of mixed feelings about it, but I was starting to feel pretty worn down from nursing two kids for almost two years, and you more or less forgot how to latch (which meant it was painful for me). For the last few months, you nursed maybe once every other day or two. It wasn't very difficult to distract you from the idea once I decided that we had probably reached the end. I am proud that we nursed until you were well over three years old, and will never apologize to anyone for it.

You are always up for an adventure, and if mommy gets dressed before 10am, you chirp "Mommy! Where we going today?!" Some recent favorite adventures were to Texas to visit your baby cousin Jackson, Deanna Rose Farmstead this summer, to see your first musical - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Coterie Theatre, and to ride Thomas.

You know all the basic colors and some others like silver and gold. You can identify most shapes without blinking. You can count almost to twenty and recognize at least 50% of the alphabet letters (and know a lot of their sounds - you definitely know the sounds of R, S, and T). Daddy thinks you'll be ready for basic math skills in the next few months. When asked your name, you can recite your full name - but still consistently tell people that your name is Inky. And I love that.

Your favorite TV show right now is The Octonauts, and "Captain Barnacles" is your second identity. You have declared Addie to be Peso, Mommy to be Dashi, Daddy to be Shellington, and mommy's parents (Bun and Pa) to be Kwazii and Inkling. There are some days that both you and Addie only refer to me as Dashi. It's kind of hilarious. Your Sunday School teacher even recently wrote "Captain Barnacles" on the paper you brought home from class. When you got to meet the Octonauts, though, you were scared out of your mind! I love to hear you sing - you know a few real songs, but usually just string words together in song.

You and Addie remain best pals, but now that she's old enough to (sort of) fight back, I am playing a constant referee. You guys are constantly chasing, pushing, poking, sitting on each other...and so on. You also fiercely love each other and can't stand it if the other gets to do something without you.

Your sleep pattern has improved a lot since we started chiropractic care earlier this year. At the beginning of the year, you ended up in our bed every night - usually by 1 or 2am. Lately, you've been sleeping through the night (from about 8:30pm - 7:30am) or at least only waking once or twice - and staying in your room after waking. Until we get you potty trained at night, we'll probably deal with this for awhile. But overall - it's much improved and you are getting better rest.

Food is a battle, unfortunately. After Addie's early childhood tooth decay, I have been extra cautious about what we are consuming and have been watching your teeth for any signs of decay. You have a couple of spots on your front middle teeth that are showing some early markers for caries, and I can't even stomach the idea of going through another dental surgery in our family right now. So you are on a very limited diet of only whole foods with limited grains and dairy, in an effort to stop and hopefully reverse the decay before it progresses into a large problem. You are taking a multivitamin and cod liver oil supplements daily, and don't fight these as much as you did at the start. Eating veggies is a battle, but Daddy taught you "the water trick" (or, swallowing a small piece of food without chewing) and now I can get you to eat a few bites at each meal that way.

You have a mix of clothing ranging from 3T - 5T. Most of the new shirts I'm buying for fall are 5T and the pants are 4T (though they are a little long still). You weigh about 40 pounds and will actually stand on our scale at home now to see the number.

I don't have words for how much I love you, and I hope that you know that even when your frantic, headlong enthusiasm frustrates me or scares me to death.  We're running toward age four at a very unbelievably fast pace, and while I'm so excited to watch you learn and grow and fly...it terrifies me, too. I don't know how to be a four-year-old's mom yet. I guess we'll just take it one day at a time, when we get there.

You're my very favorite boy - and it melts my heart when you tell me that I'm your favorite girl, too. I hope I get the privilege of holding that title for a long, long time, Lincoln.

I love you,
Mommy

Sunday, September 28, 2014

It Started with HELLO...In A Bathroom

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lindt HELLO, but my love for chocolate and all opinions expressed are my own.

You never know when you might meet someone amazing who will end up being a friend that sticks with you all through life. I've shared many times before that I met my husband at a community theatre, but the truth is - he's not the only theatre person who has made a big impression on my life.

There's also my friend, Kayte. I met her at the theatre, too - in a bathroom.

Once Upon a Mattress, 2006

It's true. The first time I ever spoke to this girl was when we somewhat awkwardly had our first encounter in a restroom during the run of my first community theatre endeavor, Fiddler on the Roof. She was playing the violin in the orchestra pit. I was playing a Russian peasant.

We went on to have many amazing theatre adventures together. We were cast as lead (her) and understudy (me) in a show the next spring - that was when our friendship really unfolded, as we both learned the role and relied on each other for hair and makeup help, while inventing many ridiculous backstage inside jokes. The next thing we knew, we had developed this amazing friendship. I talked her into doing hairstyles for my drama student performances (which she's still doing, 2-3 times a year.... over eight years later). We spent hours lying on top of my car in the theatre parking lot talking about boys. We auditioned for another show together and happily played a quirky bird and a sassy kangaroo opposite each other (and it was during that show that my hubby Andrew came along).

Seussical the Musical, 2007.

We found each other through the theatre, but our friendship has way outlasted the time when we were constantly performing in shows together. We were bridesmaids in each other's weddings (that's your cue to say "awwwww").

My wedding, 2008.

Kayte's wedding, 2011.

We might not see each other as often as we like, but we do try to make it a habit to see each other every now and then - whether it's when Lincoln needs a haircut (she's awesome and cuts it for me regularly), or a drama performance, or when I coerce her into being in another show with me (the last time was 2011...we're about due). She also reads my blog, so *wave* HI KAYTE!!!! I WROTE ABOUT YOU ON THE INTERNET. Hehe.

http://ooh.li/d1ac8aa

And all of this, you guys? Was because I said hi to this girl in a bathroom. A BATHROOM. So unexpected...yet so awesome.

http://ooh.li/d1ac8aa

Have you ever been afraid to make a connection with someone or something new because you're not sure how it might turn out? Next time that happens to you, I want you to remember my story. If I met one of my best friends in the world in a bathroom, anything's possible. I even have an idea for you that will almost certainly not fail: go out and buy some of this new chocolate from Lindt and give it to someone new you meet. If we had had chocolate in that bathroom, who knows, we may have just skipped the rest of the show and chatted the night away.

Writing about delicious chocolate is maybe the best job I've ever been given, and it's not at all a ploy when I tell you that this stuff is seriously divine. Available in sticks, bars, and mini-stick (individually wrapped) bags, you can use it to make a connection with just about anyone you encounter. I can't decide which is my favorite - I think it's a toss-up between Caramel Brownie and Strawberry Cheesecake, but the Crunchy Nougat and Cookies & Cream are out of this world, too. It's just darn good chocolate. The surprising fillings are just an added bonus.

http://ooh.li/d1ac8aa


Lindt HELLO is the hip, trendy brand in premium chocolate, that inspires connections and conversations everywhere it goes. Believe me, if somebody asks for a chocolate recommendation, this is what I'm suggesting. It's available nationwide (I found mine at Target)!

You can celebrate the awesomeness without even tasting the chocolate (though that sounds way less awesome than eating all the Lindt chocolate) by entering the Lindt HELLO Sweet Connections Sweepstakes! All you have to do is enter your email address for a chance at great prizes. The sweeps are already in progress, but here are the current and upcoming prizes!

Week 3: Girls Just Want to Have Fun (9/24 – 9/30)
Enjoy a shopping spree with the girls + yummy Lindt HELLO Chocolate!

Week 4: Sweet Staycation (10/1 – 10/7)
Lindt HELLO treats you to a pampered night in – movies, books + chocolate!

Week 5: Besties Reunion (10/8 – 10/14)
Reconnect with your bestie at the spa for a day + Lindt HELLO chocolate to sweeten the deal.

You can find all the rules and submit your entries on the Sweepstakes page.

Kayte! I has chocolate! Come eat it with me!

You can also catch a fun, cheeky "It Started with HELLO" romantic comedy web series on Youtube, with new episodes airing between now and October 9! The series is in partnership with Ashley Tisdale and features couples as they make their first connections - inspired, of course, by the personalities of the new Lindt HELLO chocolates!

Have you tried Lindt HELLO yet? If not....why not? Go grab some, and share it with a stranger. I don't know if I recommend searching for your new best friend in a bathroom, though. I think I got super lucky in that department. 

Many thanks to Lindt HELLO for sponsoring today’s story, and giving my readers a chance to win really sweet prizes! For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy

Saturday, September 27, 2014

39/52



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."
 
Lincoln - he "helped" Daddy mow the lawn for the first time this weekend.
Addie - the sandbox was great fun until they started dumping sand on each other's heads.
 
Linking up at Practising Simplicity.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Living Beautifully - It's Easier Than You Think {#SuaveFamilySelfie Sweepstakes}

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Global Influence. All opinions expressed are my own.

We went to the park yesterday. The weather was nice, we were out of things to do inside, and the park is two blocks from our house. It was really a perfect solution - and I don't know why I don't resort to it more often. Lincoln and Addie were thrilled to be running around outside. They collected sticks, dug in the dirt, and played pirates with a neighbor. Sometimes I just get so caught up in trying to accomplish everything that I forget how magical a simple thing like a park trip can be to a little child.


Life with little kids is a lot of things - busy, hectic, and exhausting at times. It can be hard to remember that all of the little in-between moments - like a snuggle at bedtime or a kiss on a bruised hand or just walking to the park - are the things that we should cherish the most. My family's life is beautiful - and I don't want to miss out on a single awesome moment.
lbx.la/sffs18

How do you appreciate the little moments and live beautifully with your family? Suave has issued a Fall Family Selfie challenge and there's a sweepstakes involved - so you will have a chance to win a $175 Walmart prize pack. Six winners are chosen each week!

Want to enter? Here's how!
 Enter to win a Suave Friday Family Selfie prize pack by snapping a photo of you and your family and posting it to Instagram.
Step 1: Take a family selfie (or just use a recent one!)
Step 2: Post it on Instagram using the 3 hashtags: #suavefamilyselfie #LB2LB #Walmart
Step 3: Fill out this form and submit your Instagram link.
*To get your Instagram link visit instagram.com, log in, and find the link to your photo. It will be in the format of http://instagram.com/p/YOURPHOTOID.
*To retrieve the link from your Instagram mobile app, go to your profile picture on the app, click the "..." in the bottom right hand corner, and then select "Copy Share URL".

You can enter the sweepstakes weekly to increase your chance of winning. And, even better - once you have submitted your image here you will receive a coupon via email for $1 off Suave at Walmart. We always have Suave Coconut shampoo in our house - it smells so yummy!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Global Influence, but all opinions are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy
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