Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Life Lately

I just got home from a weekend away with these three ladies, and goodness was it fun! This was our first getaway without kids, since kids. It felt so strange and amazing to sleep in, complete conversations, go to lunch in the middle of nap time, and make spontaneous decisions on what we wanted to do. Our hubbies are our heroes for letting us slip away for the weekend!

Getting wild and crazy one night ;)

Andrea took this picture so we could laugh at the hilariousness that was me making guacamole before dinner one night in a really cheesy shirt I bought earlier that day. I bought this sleep shirt because it was SOOO soft, but the words say, "Reality is my fairy tale." I joked that I couldn't pass up the comfiness or sale but probably wouldn't be snapping any selfies in my "my life is perfect" shirt... so Andrea thought this moment was a fitting time to snap this pic. (i.e. I am a nerd who brings all of the ingredients to make guacamole in a hotel room on a girls' weekend... one of many reasons why my life is OBVIOUSLY a fairy tale) 😜

Matt CRUSHED being Mr. Mom for the weekend. It's a pretty awesome feeling (for him and for me) to know that the kids' normal routine of having me home can be completely changed for a few days and yet they didn't skip a beat. At their ages, and considering the number of waking hours they get with Matt during the work week, that is a big deal! It shows how intentional he is when he is home. I didn't get one call while I was gone and knew that that meant they were a-okay without me. Made this mama-heart happy! The four of them were waving me in from the end of the driveway (and Ryan was showing me his boo boo on his toe) ;) when I got home yesterday. Such a sweet welcome-home!

This little lady is 11 months old today! This has been such a big growth month for her. I can't wait to write her monthly post later this week and reflect on how much she has changed in 30 days. It's hard to believe we'll be celebrating her ONE year birthday next month!

And that big boy on the left- all the heart eyes for him and his sweetness toward his sister. Last week, Matt and I took the kids to Publix and got Ryan his first cookie from the bakery, and wouldn't you know he turned right to Natalie to give her the first taste?! His exact words were, "Do you wike it, Nonni?! ...She wikes it!" Such a sweet boy!

We got snow/ice for a few days and this Little Miss found herself the perfect setup for eating it. ;)

And Ryan (and Tal) loved sliding on the ice on the porch outside of our bedroom.

Bundling up for the snow!

This thin layer of snow/ice lasted for maybe a day, but it sure was a pretty view while it lasted!

Watching the two of them play together is one of our favorite things. And it's a pretty new thing that they don't need us right there to play- so for Matt and I to stand back and have a conversation in the kitchen while they play together is pretty great.

We did some furniture shopping and are chipping away at one of our January goals of beginning to fill our house! These two little ones did so great on our most recent shopping trip. And my parents were so helpful to meet us there to help keep them entertained!

That happy little stinker was giggling away at me while I cleaned up her pee pee puddle from the floor. She is the funniest little thing!

My sister was so sweet to pass down her Pottery Barn chairs that her boys used growing up, and we got new covers with Ryan's and Natalie's names on them. Ryan LOVES his and has big aspirations for Natalie to sit next to him in her chair, but so far, this has lasted for the 3 seconds it took to snap a quick pic. ;) Girlfriend much prefers being on-the-go.

Working out with daddy :)

Matt took Ryan to see Sing and he loved it! ...even more than his smile (if that's what we call that) shows. 😜

Making strawberry and blueberry pancakes with my cooking buddy

Over the school break, we met one of my former teacher friends (who's taking the picture) and two of her daughters for doughnuts one morning- love these girls so!

Sweet boo.

This girl cracks me up. That big grin was pre-pounce on sleeping Tally. It's like she turned around to let me in on her plan. ;)

I never knew about the best-nine pictures until this year and loved that they let me look up the ones from last year too! So here's a look at our 2015 and 2016 best-nine from Instagram. So fun to look back on these memories!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Workin' It Wednesday: Managing Life & Goals

Well first of all, I have to start by saying that Monday night was kind of a big deal in our house. My Clemson Tigers won the National Championship IN THE LAST SECOND of the game, and I am still on cloud nine celebrating the victory.

Ryan and I took a special trip to Dunkin Donuts to celebrate yesterday morning because donuts felt like an appropriate breakfast the morning after your team beats Alabama and becomes #1. And donuts and orange make us happy. :)

Today, I am linking up with Mix & Match Mama and a Little Bit of Everything to share my New Year's Goals. 

At the beginning of each month, I share my goals for the month, but I've been thinking about broad goals for the year as well, and I have two simple words and goals for 2017 that I want to share today.

As we announced recently, 2017 is gonna get crazier in our house in the best way!

And as much as I LOVE being productive, accomplishing goals, having an organized house, preparing tasty meals, exercising during nap, and trying my hardest to stay awake after the kids go down to have some quality time with Matt, I want 2017 to be a year marked by GRACE and PRESENCE.
More than DOING, in 2017, I want to BE. I want to soak in the days of (almost) 3 itty bitties at home. When Ryan asks for us to drink our milk and coffee on the couch and watch a show while Natalie's napping, I want to drink my coffee and sit on the couch and watch a show with him, despite that fact that a show feels like the perfect break to get things done.

When Matt suggests watching a movie after the kids go down and I'm thinking about the laundry I could fold or the clothes I could steam while the movie is on, I want to sit with him and watch the movie and just sit with him and watch the movie.

Ryan will be starting preschool in September (3 months after our next baby arrives), so for 3 days a week, another adult will be teaching him and influencing him and making memories with him. These next 6 months are my undivided time with him. And when he is gone for those 12 hours each week, that time at home with just Natalie and our newborn is sweet time for me to be intentional with her while the new baby sleeps (that's how I'm hoping it plays out anyway- hah!).

So 2017 feels like an extra important year for being PRESENT.

Which is why it is going to be a big year for giving myself GRACE.

As I mentioned at the top of this post, I am a DOer. I feel energized when I am checking things off of a list. And boy do I love a good list.

But let's be real. I have no idea what my routines will look like come June, and how long it will take to even feel like there is a routine. I will most likely get behind on sleep, exercising, laundry, cleaning, and dinners will involve the crock pot and take-out more for a stretch, so making up recipes (one of my favorite things) will move to the back burner (you like that pun?!) for a little while.

And the best part is, I really am ready for it. I am going into this year prepared and excited for the craziness that God has blessed us with. Three babies in three years for two parents who wondered for stretch if our future family would ever be made up of biological children. God is pretty amazing isn't He?

So 2017, I am claiming PRESENCE and GRACE over you! I will pray daily to BE more than DO and to BREATHE when I feel guilt over something as silly as an overflowing laundry basket.

Thanks Shay and Erika for helping me be intentional with my thoughts for 2017! Don't forget to check out their goal posts from today here and here

And if you're new to this space, you can keep up with us here:

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Chicken Pot Pie

This is such an easy weeknight meal that has great flavor. The honey butter biscuits give a subtle sweet taste to compliment the other flavors in the dish. I think you and your family will really enjoy this meal!

recipe adapted from here

2 tablespoon butter
2 chicken breasts, frozen or thawed
Chicken Stock
2 cups frozen vegetable medley (mine had corn, carrots, peas, green beans and Lima beans in it)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp curry
1/2 cup shredded parmesan (I used Locatelli)
S&P to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper)
1 can Grands Honey Butter biscuits

Place chicken in crock pot and cover with equal parts chicken stock and water (I used about 3 cups of each). Cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 4-5 hours. Remove chicken and tear apart with two forks.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat.  Add in shredded chicken and all remaining ingredients except biscuits.  Heat through about 5 minutes.

Spray baking dish with cooking spray and add mixture to dish. Top with biscuits.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until biscuits are brown and chicken mixture is bubbly.

Remove from oven and serve.


Monday, January 2, 2017

January Goals

First of all, I wanted to say THANK YOU for your sweet words on Facebook and Instagram about our growing family! If you missed our 2016 year-in-review post where we announced that we're expecting, you can check it out here.

I really love January. I love the fresh start of a new year, I love taking down Christmas decorations (am I allowed to say that?), and I love getting everything CLEAN for the new year.

There's quite a bit that I plan to dive in and accomplish this month, so here's to healthy kids, healthy me, and the 2nd trimester. Because even though I love December, it kind of kicked my booty this year.

Plan Natalie's 1st Birthday Party

Girlfriend is turning ONE on February 17th! Man this year has flown by fast. For Ryan's first birthday, we hosted a party at our house, and I really put all of my creative energy into making it a special day for him. We all know I am not the craftiest person, but I feel like the first birthday deserves all the brain-stretching creativity I can muster. An entire year of life- such a huge milestone!

Create 2017 Photo Calendar and Photobooks

I made a Shutterfly calendar for my mom and sister for Christmas this year, but I never got around to making one for us, so I'm hoping to tackle that early this month! Then I also have 4 photo books I'd like to knock out (which is making me think my goals should stop at 2 for this month):

Natalie's first year
Natalie's newborn pics
Natalie's birth story
2016- Our Year in Review

Begin Planning Our Family Vacation

Every year, we take a family vacation to a new place. Matt and I went lots of places before kids, but since having kids, we've visited Turks & Caicos with Ryan and Maine with both kiddos last year. We've thrown out a couple of location ideas but haven't made any final decisions yet, so I'm hoping to get going on that this month.

Share 3 New Recipes

I've recently made three new recipes that I want to share with y'all, so be on the lookout for these this month:

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Chicken Pot Pie
No-Bake Butternut Squash Casserole

Workout 3x's/week during nap

I feel so much better when I make a habit of working out, so I'd really like to make the most of being able to plan time for it in these next 6 months before our routines get a little more crazy come June!

Finalize Living Room Furniture

So it turns out furniture shopping with two little ones does not make for the easiest decision-making environment- ha! BUT, we think we have narrowed down what we want for our living room and are making progress on our kitchen table too. This may or may not be evident in pictures I post on Instagram, but the furniture from our 3 bedroom bungalow in the city did not go far in our larger, suburban home. And while the space for running around and playing hide-and-go-seek has been super fun, I'm ready to feel like we are actually living here permanently. ;) So fingers crossed we can place a furniture order this month!! Cause I might just bring out my happy dance if we do.

Okay, that's all for January! Or maybe I should say that's a ton for January and I'll be giddy if I really get it all done.

Happy New Year, friends!!