Friday Wrap: Catching Up

Yes. Hello, glorious weekend. I’m so happy to see you again!

We survived the first week of school, which included soccer practices and tons of projects at work. Thank goodness National Pinot Noir day was squeezed in there.

Brandon and I felt like it was our duty to oblige, and we had a nice evening catching up and sipping on a glass of Pinot from Oregon. We also had fun reminiscing about our trip this past fall. #wannagoback

oregon wineAnd speaking of catching up, I thought I’d share a few updates with you this week.

{ONE} The Olympics

Remember when I mentioned that my niece’s boyfriend was diving in the Olympics? Well, he jammed it out. He advanced all the way to finals. (In fact, he placed third in the preliminaries.)

When it was all said and done, he placed 5th. It was so exciting and we are all so proud of him!


This was a screen shot I took during finals.

Ipsen rankings

This shows his rankings from the prelims. See him there at third? BTW, the diver from China ended up winning gold.

This has been a great Olympics all around. We have so many amazing athletes representing our country. I hope you’ve had a chance to watch at least some of the inspiring races and performances.

{TWO} Front Door Decor

With the Olympics winding down and back-to-school gearing up, I decided to change up the front door. Here’s a little snapshot of what it looks like these days.

front door decoration

You may remember this chalkboard from the girls’ birthday? I thought it would be fun to pull it back out. I mean, it’s a chalkboard! 😉

{THREE} Buddy Bracelets

Last week I talked about surprising the girls with mom/daughter bracelets. Here’s what they look like. So far we’ve worn them every day!


The set only had one bracelet that said “daughter”, but Avery really wanted the one that said “love” anyway. Thank goodness it all worked out. #twinproblems

{FOUR} Fresh Flowers

When we got back from our trip to South Dakota, all of the flowers in our hanging baskets had dried up like raisins. I tried to strategically place them near our sprinklers, but the heat was just too much. I dumped the plants and have been staring at empty coco liners for weeks.


I finally filled them with some heather, which should be perfect this time of year. They can stand the heat and have delicate purple flowers that look so pretty on the back porch. I recommend them if you need to fill in a few spots in your garden.

{FIVE} Food & Fitness

Back in June I started a little health kick, which has been more of a shuffle at times than a true “kick.” As an update, I still like the 7-min workout, and have tossed in a bit of walking and jogging when I can. But I haven’t been as committed as I’d like, so I’ve been toying with the idea of challenging myself in the kitchen – my favorite room in the house.

I’m curious if changing my diet can really make an impact on my energy levels, skin, and love handles (which I don’t love).

Fast forward to this week…


I had one of those serendipitous moments when my friend, Allie, asked me to join her in trying Whole30. Initially, the sound of it scared me, because I have to give up cheese, chocolate and wine. But now that I’ve been reading the book, I’m excited to give this a shot.

We’re in the planning phase now, and are going to officially start on Aug. 29. If you’ve gone through this, please tell me how it went and if you have any tips for me. I have a feeling I’m gonna need some support! 😉

That’s a wrap, my friends. What have you been up to? Give me a shout as you enjoy this awesome weekend.




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Back to School Pep Talk: We Did It

Yesterday was the first day back to school for my 13-yr old and 10-yr old twins, which means I have an 8th grader and two 5th graders in my house. How did we get here so fast?!

back to school

All smiles – so far!! We had to do separate pics because of different start times at school. Also, Evan’s pic was taken after school. Long story, which I’m about to divulge.

For our first morning of school, I had visions of waking up super early (which already makes me laugh), getting dressed, braiding the girls’ hair, and then making a solid breakfast of sausage, eggs and toast before proceeding outside for our traditional family first-day-of-school portrait. Then Brandon and I would both escort our children to their schools and lovingly say our goodbyes and collectively pray for smooth sailing on this awesome first day of school.

Are you laughing with me, yet?

Here’s how it went down…

Brandon gets up super early to help get Evan ready for school. He’s in cross country this year, which means he needs to report to school at 6:30 am. SIX THIRTY. That’s way too early for this mama bird.

When the girls get up, they’re not very hungry. Too early to eat. Protein shakes in the blender it is. They want to do their own hair and don’t feel like braids. Clara leaves it down and “flowy” and Avery, my little sporty spice, throws it up in a pony and calls it good.

Meanwhile, Brandon is back from taking Evan to school. I ask how it went, and he explains Evan didn’t want to take in his school supplies. No one else seemed to be walking in with large shopping bags, so he ditched them in the car and walked into school. When Brandon rolled down the window to see if he at least had a notebook and pencil, Evan shot him a desperate “OMG, please don’t talk to me in front of all of these kids” look. So Brandon rolls on – chuckling and wondering if he’ll EVER get those supplies to school.

I make lunches and nearly forget to toss in a love note. The girls are busy making a game time decision on their outfits. They both change shoes, and Clara swaps out her shirt before jetting out the door – with their dad.

After all of the commotion, I wasn’t ready for work, yet. I give my hugs and kisses at the door, feed our zoo of animals, microwave a frozen breakfast sandwich and shove it in my mouth on my way out the door.


Now that I’m sitting still, scrolling through all of the back-to-school Facebook posts, and texting my close friends to see how they’re holding up, I’m able to reflect on my own morning. It was super hectic, and certainly didn’t go as planned.

But, we did it.

And all five of us – plus a dog, rabbit and fish were all surviving just fine. I decided to look back at last year’s post to remind myself of how the first week of school went that time. It was pretty much the same, but with a teething, potty training puppy. What were we thinking?!

I guess the lesson in all of this (for me) is to keep embracing this messy, imperfect, and lovely life.The journey is far more interesting when I allow myself to laugh, cry and wonder along the way.

I’m also reminding myself of this golden gem…


{source} And boy do I love those monkeys.

And this is especially important for all of us mommas to remember this school year…

Here’s to a great school year – for all of us. #letsdothis




How to Beat Summer Boredom

According to the Farmer’s Almanac and other trusty sources, today is pretty special because it’s not only a full moon (the strawberry moon, to be exact), but also summer solstice. Yay for summer!

Apparently the last time these two occasions landed on the same day was nearly 70 years ago, so enjoy that little piece of trivia.

Now that summer is (officially) in full swing, and we’re experiencing the longest day of the year, I thought I’d share an activity I started doing with my kids.

My intention is to keep them feeling motivated, so summer boredom doesn’t set in.

While a little boredom can be good…

I also think it’s helpful to provide some guidance every now and then so total chaos doesn’t ensue. That’s how I landed on this simple activity.

I decided to ask four questions each day.

{One} What can you do to learn?

{Two} What can you do to help others?

{Three} What can you do that’s active or healthy?

{Four} What can you do that’s fun?

We found these to be the most well-rounded questions that spark all kinds of ideas and support good habits. We also think it’s funny that it spells LOAF. With that said…

Our no-loafin’ list has included these activities.

{Learn} Going to the library, reading, researching places to visit on our trip to Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills, and running a lemonade stand.

Side note: Lemonade stands are full of life lessons…making change, marketing, balancing supply and demand. All good stuff.

{Others} Helping each other slather on sunscreen, taking a baby gift to our next door neighbor, giving fresh flowers to a stranger at our campsite, and feeding the ducks behind our house.

{Active} Making healthier choices with snacks, drinking plenty of water, swimming laps, running, biking around the neighborhood, and taking our puppy Leo for a walk.

{Fun} Having lots of sleep overs and play dates, going to the Farmer’s Market on the weekends, playing games at the pool, going to movies, swinging in the hammock, and camping!!

During dinner, we check in to see how it’s going. Have we been able to answer our questions? Whatever is left on the list provides ideas for what to do in the evening.

Now, this isn’t a mandatory list of questions. I didn’t want this to become a chore. We simply use it as a guide to help answer, “Mom, what can we do now?” And hopefully prevent, “…I’m soooo bored.”

So far it’s working, although it’s only just the beginning.

pineapple with sunglasses

Stay cool! {source}

What are some things you’re doing this summer to stay busy and have fun?



A Thankful Thursday

Hello, friends. I think I’m going to start writing about the things I’m thankful for each week. What better time to start something like this than the month of Thanksgiving, right? I appreciate all of the blessings in my life, and I know you do, too. So I hope you’ll join me by either adding comments on the blog or sharing on your social channels. Use #ThankfulThursday or tag me so I can see your posts!

Here we go…

Love Notes

I spread out a few of my faves for you to see.

Today I’m feeling thankful for all of the treasures my kids give me. I recently opened the drawer to my nightstand, which is where I keep my kids’ love notes and trinkets. I decided to read through all of their handwritten messages and sort through the beaded bracelets, knitted pouches and tissue-paper flowers. One of my favorites is a mason jar filled with “hugs.” My daughter Avery made this and told me she poked holes in the top like a saltshaker so I could sprinkle out a hug when I needed one (which is every day from that sweet thing).

I still have notes that date back to my son Evan’s first words. I love how sometimes I’m taller than a house and have flowers growing in my hair, and other times I’m bald wearing a triangle dress and square shoes. As I sort through all of these notes, one thing is clear. No matter how I look or change on each paper, I’m loved equally the same. It’s amazing how you can literally feel someone’s love jump off a page.

I wish I could keep every single drawing, but if you’re a parent you get it. The volumes of notes can get a bit out hand. You have to pick and choose the keepers and pray your kid doesn’t see the leftovers in the trash.

I’ll never forget when Avery found one of her drawings in the kitchen trash. When I saw the look on her face, I felt like crawling into the can right next to that crumpled up piece of paper. Needless to say, I learned to dispose of any “leftovers” discreetly and directly into the trashcan on the side of the house where no one ever goes (other than my husband Brandon, and he’s in this thing with me). I also learned not to feel too guilty about tossing things. I found a great quote that helped put things in perspective…Gratitude Quote

While I don’t have to keep everything my kids give me, I do need to take time to appreciate each and every item.

It’s important – and enough – to be grateful.

I’m thankful for that lesson, and it certainly helps when it comes time to weed through papers and make a quiet trip to the side of the house. At the end of the day I know I’ve given proper hugs and shared my deep appreciation of their love – which lives far beyond my nightstand drawer.