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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tess 2nd Birthday Slideshow

Today our sweet, precious Tess is TWO!!! We are in denial mode around our house. Britt's first words this morning when she woke up were "I'm sad that Tess is two, she's supposed to be a BABY" I agree! She holds all of our hearts and we love her so much and love getting to celebrate her all day long!!!

Every birthday I put together a slideshow for each child that covers the entire year. I LOVE doing these and out of ALL the ones I've made over the years, Tess appreciated hers this year more than anyone ever has! She was ALL about it at her party. Didn't care about gift opening. Didn't care about going swimming. She just wanted to watch her video. On the one hand it makes me feel good b/c she loved what I put together, on the other mayyyyybe she just loves watching herself haha

Here's her 2nd Bday Slideshow!

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We are enjoying loving on our TWO year old today!!! Hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend :)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Kye Monthly Summary: May

This is Kye's monthly post from May!

We went to the dentist this month for both Kye and Britt. As usual, Kye did a great job. They had to do another X-Ray because at his last visit they didn't see some of his back teeth in his gums and had some concerns whether or not he had them. This X-Ray reveled that he does have them so no worries there. He has a SMALL jaw and the hope was since he's losing teeth a little older than his peers that maybe it'd give time for his jaw to widen up some. We'll see. Cavity free and no concerns! 

The end of 1st grade was really hard for me emotionally for some reason??? It was tougher than the beginning of the year for sure. I feel like Kye is just growing up SO fast on me and I'm not ready for the days of turning and waving goodbye to fade away. I'm thankful when I posted this on IG that a TON of mama's said their older boys all still look for them and hug and kiss on them. Crossing fingers that Kye will be the same way!

He had SUCH a great year and LOVED his teacher! He also really enjoyed Discovery (gifted). He went to gifted 4 days a week but will be doing all 5 this school year. Zach had the same teacher as a kid that Kye has for Discovery which is really neat! I loved these end of the year notes he wrote for his teachers:

Every afternoon Kye gets off the bus and I wait for him either on our porch or out by the road. I love how he races to see me and if the girls are sleeping we will sit outside together and it's usually his most talkative time of the day. Typically he'll get chatty with me when I tuck him into bed at night too, but I'll take as much one on one time with Kye as I can get!

With Zach dealing with his back pain and having his surgery this month, Kye was a HUGE helper. We went to Aunt Karen's to celebrate Mother's Day with that side of the family and Kye ran some errands with me to grab goodies to bring (at that point in life, no way was I making anything!)

I also let him have a night where he could eat whatever he wanted for dinner. I told him it was a "Man Night" (Back Surgery Mama is a COOL Mom for sure). He picked every detail of his meal and here's what he picked: gatorade, 3 slices pizza, 1 yogurt, a breadstick, 2 breakfast casserole muffins, and some chips. Healthy ;)

Kye also decided this month that one of his summer goals was to have a lemonade/candy sale. He went through ALL of our candy and sorted it into bags to sell! 

This boy always amazes me! He and Zach do a Bible study each night and he decided, on his own, to write himself a note about repenting. He said it's a reminder to himself. He carried it in his pocket for a good while and even now, 2 months later, he has it sitting on his shelf where he can look at it right when he wakes up in the morning! 

The bugs and critters age is def here. Kye is all about helping save little animals he finds in the pool basket and doesn't hesitate to hold any little creature we find! 

For Christmas I really want to get Kye a legit camera. He has had this camera since he was 2. He carries it around ALL the time and constantly takes pictures with it. It cracks me up because it's such a reflection of myself. The kids are SO used to me always having a camera and taking pictures all the time that they think it's normal. Kye took so many pictures one night at CFA haha!

When summer started I bought Kye a big book to work through and planned to have him do some pages from it every day. He loathed that thing. I didn't want to spend my summer dealing with that. It's summer. Let him play and have fun and not work through some workbook, right? Kye LOVES to read. As in he reads over an hour every day. I'd probably not be exaggerating if I said it's closer to 2-3 hours a day. We have to literally tell him to stop reading. Why force him to do a workbook he doesn't like when I can just let him read, which he loves?!?! We also have some math apps on our iPad that I let him play to keep those skills up (Extra Math I think it's called? The teacher from school sent home a request early in the year for us to download it. I believe they can see his results at school too). 

With all the picture taking Kye started doing we finally uploaded all of his pictures off the camera and onto my computer. I jokingly said he should start a blog like I have and he jumped on that so quick! Since he doesn't sleep anymore most days at nap, we both have some blogging time together. It's set to private so no one can see it other than some close family but it's hilarious. It's pretty much just captions of the pictures he takes. One post was several of me and he kept saying "Doesn't she look so tired?" #truth

Once Zach got back to the world of working he had to go out of town for a few nights. The kids and I had the idea to alternate nights and let each of them have a "Mommy Night." Kye's night was first and he got to pick what we did together. He chose for us to play Wii. There are a few games he's allowed to play, but only if playing with us (Mario Kart, Tiger Woods Golf, NCAA football, Wii Sports and a Toy Story game). He chose the Toy Story game and I got kinda into it haha! I forgot how fun games like that can be!

More About Kye in May:

  • At his class party at the end of the year I saw that as all the kids got their food Kye bowed his head and prayed for his before eating. He was the only child to pray for his food and it made me SO extremely proud! 
  • His teacher also read a book of little stories that class wrote about her at the end of the school year and she then revealed who wrote which story. Kye's said "She loves me because I love Jesus and I love her because she loves God too" How precious is that?!?!
  • As I mentioned, he loves to read and he came downstairs one morning and said "Mom. My book is so good that I was crying!"

I couldn't be prouder of this kid and more pumped to have him home with me all summer!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Keeping Kids Clothing Organized

Today is Pinterest Day with the lovely Babywise Friendly Blog Network Ladies! Our topic is household organization. I love me some organization. Everything has a place and it makes it SO much easier to tidy up around the house when everyone knows where everything goes!

With back to school around the corner I thought a post about kids clothing was in order. I am a quantity over quality person when it comes to clothing. I shop cheap (as in 80-90% of my kids clothes are from consignment sales) but I shop a lot. Everything my kids own typically costs $10 or less but they have a closet FULL of clothes. I can't resist a good deal ;)

Here are some of my tips for keeping kids clothing organized:

  • Have a Laundry Day: I know a common thing that is said about moms is that we're always doing laundry. Not this mama! Mondays are my laundry day. I do ALL of my laundry that day (I read somewhere that it actually helps with energy costs when you do loads back to back?). As I unload the dryer I organize the clothing but where it goes. Each of us have a laundry basket that I lay out on the floor in the laundry room and toss the items into the appropriate basket as I unload the dryer. I go ahead and turn things right side in (my SIL keeps her stuff inside out for some reason? Drives me crazy haha) and lay them in the basket. Then on Tuesday I take each basket to the room where it belongs. It takes me just a few minutes to unload the basket and put everything away! Easy! My husband handles putting away his own laundry but I do everyone elses ;)
  • Don't Hang it All: I only hang shirts and dresses. Each of my children have a storage shelf with cube type containers in their closets. These are the perfect size for baby leggings, shorts, bloomers, even shoes. As they get older I continue to use the bins for play clothes, jeans, etc. I keep all the bigger kids' shoes and such in drawers! I'm ALL about some storage!!! My middle daughter's bed has ammmmmazing drawers under it that are perfect and so easy to just toss all of her shoes in. My son has bins in his room for shoes and it's just not as easy as the drawers (nor does it look as neat). I also don't fold stuff too much? I just toss underwear in the drawer. Same with PJS and leggings. I lay skirts and shorts flat but don't overly stress it. 
  • Keep the Tags On: I know people like to wash things before their kids wear them but after baby #1 I quit doing that. Washing things tends to make it look worn and taking the tags off instantly decreases the resale value of the item. It ALWAYS happens that a baby or child won't wear something before they have outgrown it. You can make a lot more money selling an item new with tags than used without!
  • Don't Iron: I know this isn't really an organizational tip but I NEVER iron. Like ever. Dove Wrinkle Releaser is AMAZING. Our dryer also has a "rapid refresh" setting so we will spray the wrinkle spray on then toss things in the dryer and majority of the time all the wrinkles are gone ;) The only real thorn in my side are the collars on my sons shirts. So annoying! Other than that I avoid buying stuff for my kids that will get very wrinkled (Like ruffles. Who needs ruffles!?) and am able to save a TON of time and energy by not having to iron! 
  • Wash What They Wear: I know sometimes kids only wear things for a brief period of time, but it's WAY easier to just toss anything they wear into the dirty clothes bin. That way it ensures if they don't ever wear it again that it's clean when it's put in storage. It also keeps from having piles of random clothes laying around. At bath time in the evenings we toss the kids' dirty clothes into the hall way then I simply scoop them all up after I tuck them in for bed and put them in their proper bin in the laundry room (our oldest obviously takes his own clothes to the laundry!). I'm always mindful to set aside stained items to treat before washing!
  • Shop Ahead: When there are deals I ALWAYS buy future sizes. I keep a tub for each child with their next size up items in it. It's a huge blessing because when they do move up in size I'm not having to scramble to the store and aren't stuck paying full price! 
  • Closet Dividers: For babies I LOVE the size dividers for closets! I know I tend to buy whatever is on sale, which means often buying sizes my babies can't wear yet. It makes it so easy to keep the closet organized by knowing which size is what (and it helps make sure that things get worn before they are outgrown!)
  • Group By Clothing Type: I find it easiest to sort my kids clothes by the type of pieces. My son has a drawer full of plain shorts, another full of pattern shorts, and a third filled with athletic shorts. In his closet he has a dress shirt section, a golf shirt section, a graphic t-shirt section, an athletic shirt section, and I have it organized with a short sleeve/long sleeve area. For my girls it's the same way...tanks, tank dresses, short sleeve shirts, short sleeve dresses, long sleeved shirts, long sleeved dresses. It keeps things running smoother when things are easy to find!
  • Store off Season: My son's closet is large enough where I don't have to store any of his clothes when seasons change but my daughters's closets are smaller. I keep a large clear tub in each child's closet. I will pack up things that are clearly summery (things with shells on them or surfer designs etc) or clearly winterish (snowflakes, Christmas attire, etc). I will also use the tub to store future sizes. 
  • Keep it All: I know a lot of people sell all their kids clothes as they outgrow them but I'm team #keepitall until you're done having babies. My girls were born in opposite seasons (July and December) but the clothes have still worked out great! I store all my kids' clothing in large tubs in our attic and am careful to organize them by size. I really like this system as when my younger daughter moves up in size I just get out that tub and am good to go!
  • Pack Up As You Go: I know people take time and go through ALL of their kids clothes at once to pack it up, and I do have to do that from time to time. But for the most part I just pack things up as I go. If I notice a shirt looks a little short, I know to go ahead and put it in storage on the next laundry day. As I look through their closets to pick out their outfits (nope, my kids don't pick out their own clothes) I will also grab anything that looks too little to pack up! By always keeping an eye on sizing it makes it easier to keep a well organized closet filled with clothes that actually fit!
  • Sell Smart: Now that we are done having children and know that we will have a boy as our last child (we're adopting!) I'm selling ALL of the girl stuff that my youngest daughter has outgrown. If you have a local kids sale in your area, then they are a great option for reselling kids clothing! I plan to also post mine on FB for local friends to come look through before I sell it in the consignment sales. Washing everything, ironing when needed, and including as many pieces as possible really help to boost the sales of the items you have. Making outfits with the pieces, including bloomers/bows to girl items, etc. I try to take VERY good care of my kid's clothing so I will be able to resell it when they outgrow it (For us, it's going to be helpful towards our adoption fund! But I've met moms who paid for entire trips to Disney World off the money they make at the kids sales!).
  • Keep Special Pieces: My mom did an awesome job at keeping pieces of my clothing from childhood. I've loved doing recreation photos with my girls! However, she kept too much stuff. I learned from this and am packing up 2-3 pieces from each size that were special or that I have some cute pictures of my girls wearing. I will do the same for my son once our last son starts growing out of things! I have a tub for each daughter, as well as one for just general girl items. Since they did wear many of the same pieces it'll be nice to have a neutral tub that they can both use when they have children of their own. I also thought if they don't have daughters, it would be just as neat for their nieces to wear some to do comparison pics! 

What are some of your organization tips? Be sure to visit all the Babywise Friendly Blog Network Mama's today to see all of theirs!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Family Fun: May 2016

This is a summary of our month of May! It was not a super fun month. Lots of heartbreak, pain, and recovery. Just a tough month for our entire family as a whole. 

We spent a good bit of time leading up to the surgery at dr visits. This visit was where we went over the MRI results and found out Zach did legit need to have the procedure done!

I lived off MCD icee coffee ;)

Zach's pre-op day fell on the same day that Chicken Salad Chick was giving away chicken salad to all the moms. Um. I wasn't about to miss out on that! I dropped Zach at the hospital and went to get my free food #priorities

Poor Zach was confined to the bedroom for 10 DAYS leading up to surgery. By the end of the 10 days he couldn't even get from the bed to the chair anymore but for the first several he was able to get back and forth so he could have a variety in his sitting position and was able to eat more comfortably! The kids and I attended a Mother's Day dinner at Aunt Karen's and they sent him home some yummy steak :)

We had a good set up! I kept him loaded up with water and gatorade (I remember from my days in the bed after my foot surgery that I was always so thirsty!), had a "snack bucket" filled with his favorites in case he got snacky between meals and had all of his meds along with a log of when to take what! 

The kids were a HUGE HELP! They loved taking turns taking Daddy water and food and visiting with him when he wasn't in too much pain. Britt had such a happy heart about it which made me very proud!

It was a month where I tried to be the best I could for those who needed me. Along with Zach, it was also extremely important to me to be there for Casey. Casey is more than just my sister-in-law or my friend, she's truly "my person" and I'm honored to be there by her side when she's hurting, just as she's been there by mine many times over. We both have decided that Arby's Orange Dream shakes are a must have during any sort of healing process. YUM.

The combo of me being all about some Fitbit step maximization and Zach needing to rest worked out well as we took a LOT of walks! The weather was beautiful (not too hot, yet) and Tess especially loves walks. I'm sure it's because she's the only one not technically walking ;) 

Sweet girls holding hands!

Playground fun!

Every single thing Kye does, Britt will do it too!

Attempting to take a group pic and Britt kept taking up the whole shot hahaha

This is my favorite picture. I may not look cute or whatever but this is what motherhood is to me. My babies smiling and happy and I can just see the love and joy in this shot! 

Watch out when we're out walking...we may just add random children to the mix. Hilarious that I've only met their parents like twice and their kids ended up coming on walk with us and going to the playground with us haha! Guess it's a benefit of neighborhood living!

She loves the playground!

Sweet Carter even got in on the walking fun!

One night we busted out some candy and popcorn and watched my absolute favorite childhood movie: The Wizard of Oz. CLASSIC!

We also lucked out and our neighborhood had a community wide garage sale on the weekend Zach was bedridden. We had a great time riding around to all the sales and I found SO MUCH STUFF. We got an awesome old time popcorn maker for $4 and it works! It was a good chance to meet a lot of neighbors and the kids really had a great time! 

Sweet cousin time together!

This month was also Robyn's birthday (along with Katie's and Rachael's...I always laugh that I have so many super close friends with bdays in May!)

I mentioned a few months ago that I found MY American Girl dolls from childhood in my attic. I sent them both in to the American Girl Hospital. Y'all. I was BLOWN AWAY by their service. They called me and said that both dolls were in excellent condition. They said they could replace their heads but that they felt it'd be better to just mend them as it would keep them original quality (Samantha today isn't the same exact way she was originally, and my doll is the original. I also guess they have changed their hair since then so the hair would feel different). It cost WAY LESS than I'd anticipated and they shipped them back wearing adorable little hospital gowns, with socks, and hospital bracelet and even a get well soon card and certificate! I'm putting up the red haired doll until Tess turns 5 but am eager to give Britt the Samantha doll for her birthday in Dec!

Casey made a super cute board for Mrs Charlotte for Mother's Day and came by and got all of my kids hand prints. I really love hand printed stuff and have done it for gifts before but never for myself. HINT HINT to anyone reading who could possibly do something cute with the kids hands for me (like ya know my husband haha). 

Tough times are when we realize how many blessings we have. May was a struggle month for many reasons but it made me appreciate my babies even more than I have in the past. We are SO BLESSED and I'm so thankful to get to be Zach's wife and their mother!

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