#Momlife Fall Faves

It’s now the second official day of Fall. It may be hot as ever in good ole’ Oklahoma but we’re ready to get in the spirit. Bring on the pumpkin flavors, cool morning air, and sweet, sweet layers. As we head into the new season, I’m pretty thrilled to get to shop for “normal people clothes”. I can’t tell you how much joy I got out of cleaning all the maternity clothes out of my closet yesterday. See ya elastic waste bands and tent dresses! I’m definitely nowhere near my pre-baby weight and the old skinny jeans won’t be zipping anytime soon but I’m on my way. For now, I’m loving all these fun accessories that are bringing the 90’s back in full force…

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Black Chokers– so hot right now! Put it with any outfit to make yourself feel hip and with it!๐Ÿ˜‰ I love these two from Zara but Forever 21 has so many great ones, all about $4 or less- can’t beat that!

Backpack Purses– Yes! A style that totally works with momlife. It leaves your arms and hands free and gives you lots of space for lipsticks, diapers, and snacks.ย  Love the plum tone of this suede one from H&M.

Fall Lipstick Shades– Pretty lip colors are a great way to feel pulled together on the days you go without a full face of makeup. Mac is still my go-to lipstick brand! (Shades pictured: Diva and Whirl)

Booties– I love having a pair of ankle boots in a neutral color because they can be worn so many different ways. Pair them with some rolled boyfriend jeans or a dress and tights. ASOS has so many great ones that are flat- major win for moms who don’t do errands in heels (do they exist?)!๐Ÿ˜‰

Leather Baseball Hat– I just love this one because it adds a little style to such a casual accessory. Perfect for a day when dry shampoo isn’t going to do the trick.๐Ÿ˜‰ ASOS has a few great options. Check H&M and Forever21 for some pretty suede ones too.

 

Our Happy Camper is 3 Months Old!

This big boy is growing up so fast! img_5132He is the sweetest addition to our family. I don’t remember enjoying the “newborn phase” as much as I did this time around. The third time around definitely brings a more relaxed parenting style. I didn’t get caught up in the worry the way I have before. I was able to rest and enjoy him, soaking up his tininess while it lasted. He’s grown so much and is coming to life like crazy.

Our favorite thing is talking back and forth with him. He gives us the sweetest little coos and smiles. I can’t wait for the giggles to come. He loves the bathtub and is perfectly content to splash and soak forever. He also looooves kisses, especially on his feet. He thinks its so funny!

He is Emmy and Tuck’s favorite “toy”. They love entertaining their baby brother with singing and dancing.๐Ÿ™‚ Emmy makes up the sweetest little songs for him and is constantly reminding him, “everybody loves you Crosby..” Tucker copies what I say and it cracks me up. He’ll say, “goodnight, sweetheart! I love you baby boy.”

We can’t get enough of this cutie and we’ll keep him forever!๐Ÿ™‚

 

Poopy Pants + Poison Control

I’m sitting here pondering life lately and man has it been a trip. We have been going through transitions galore ever since Crosby was born. I’m so thankful this baby sleeps soundly through the night because all of a sudden our big kids don’t. Emmy’s now sleeping without a pull-up so she gets up about ten times to use the bathroom before finally falling asleep at 11 pm (eye roll). Tucker is now potty-trained and in a big boy bed and that has been quite an adventure (prayers appreciated).

The other night I heard some talking in the middle of the night (2:45 am) and opened my door to find Tuck standing there with a giant foam sword in hand talking to Emmy. My jaw hit the floor as I tried to understand what the heck was going on. Emmy explained that this was the third time Tucker had woken her up to play. OMG! We put him to bed and warned him not to get up again (he did). I have a massive bruise on my shin from stumbling back to bed in the dark and I’ve cleaned up so much poopy you wouldn’t believe.

He’s done so well with the whole potty thing except for when it comes to #2s. He’s gone on the toilet a handful of times since we potty-trained him. But for the most part he keeps going in his pull-ups after nap or in the morning before coming out of his room. It’s so frustrating and we’ve tried so many incentives. We currently have a pair of Dinotrux at home on our fireplace mantel. He gets to play with them as soon as he poops on the toilet. We’ve had all the conversations to be had on the topic and explained things a hundred different ways and he still just surprises me with another poopy accident. UGH! Seriously, I’m so open to ideas if anyone has any for me!

Matt went on a birthday trip for his brother and left me with these three for four days. It’s honestly gone pretty smoothly until I found Tucker chowing down on a bottle of melatonin tablets this morning. AHHHH!!! All he could tell me was that he ate a lot of them (and that they tasted good). I promptly panicked and dumped out the bottle to count out how many were left and try to guess how many we’d used already. I figured out he’d had 11 tablets at most! Oh my WORD! I called poision control and they assured me he’d be sleepy but fine. THIS KID! He spent the rest of the morning like a little drunk man falling apart over everything, rubbing his eyes, and staggering around.

As frustrating as all this potty training, parenting, and poison controlling is, I’m so grateful I’m their mama. I was rocking Crosby tonight and just started talking to Jesus about him. I felt my eyes well up as I thanked the Lord for his life and for entrusting me as his mother. This role is such a responsibility and honor. I never want to take it for granted. I love being mom to these three and want to treasure this stage, poopy accidents and all.๐Ÿ™‚

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You’re off to great places!

You’re off to great places, today is your day, you’re mountain is waiting, so get on your way!ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย ย -Dr. Suess

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A new school year is upon us and these two were more than excited! Norah started 1st Grade in mid-August and Jonah had his first day of Pre-K today. We are so thankful for their sweet school and all the beautiful families we get to do life with!

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This is the first year that Norah will go to school FIVE days a week. This is a huge adjustment for our family and we feel so grateful for theย time we have had with her! Norah couldn’t be more excited about seeing her friends “almost everyday!”

We were so thankful that Mimi and Pops could come see her off! Gram was out of town for Norah’s first day, but she bought Norah’s doll a matching school uniform. Norah dressed “Cora” and posed with her doll all morning.

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FIRST DAY!!

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Her ownย desk๐Ÿ™‚, old friends, new friends and a dream teacher. We love Mrs. Lewis!img_6576

After school, we celebrated the epic day by visiting the Butterfly Exhibit at the mall. All three kiddos LOVED it!

And… then, after 2.5 weeks of waiting… it was JONAH’s turn. He asked every day how many more days he had to wait and last night, when I said, “Zero! It’s tomorrow!”, he shrieked, “I hope I can even sleep tonight! I’m prettttty excited!”

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We have the sweetest friends- they have walked through valleys with us and seen us through the greatest joys. This morning, they showed up with donuts and encouragement and giggles. All to celebrate our amazing Jonah-man! I am so thankful for the Rivs!

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Jonah had zero hesitation about his first day. He walked past the receptionist and said, “Hi Mrs. Hjelm!” and in his classroom he marveled over all the brand new school supplies that were just for him. Before class started, he made sure to say hi to his sweet friend and say, “Your bow looks beautiful today!”

Jonah’s teacher, Mrs. Lincecum, is pure joy! She is kind and patient and loving beyond words. We couldn’t ask for a better teacher to introduce Jonah to school.

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We’re ready for you 1st Grade and Pre-K!

Watch Out Pre-K… Here Come Emmy and Tuck!

img_4544-1 And so it begins…My sweet 4 year old doll baby heads off for another year of Pre-K! She bounced out of bed this morning and could hardly wait to strap on her Lion Guard backpack and join her class!img_4536-2And this rascal is SO pumped about being a big boy and getting to be dropped off with sissy. He kept telling me, “and Mommy’s going to leave and Daddy’s going to leave and Crosby will go home and I will stay with sissy!”๐Ÿ™‚img_4534-1I have to say I’m actually pretty excited too. As a kid I always LOVED school. I could hardly wait to be old enough to ride the bus with my big sis. I was in love with my teachers and studied their every move. I am thrilled my kids get to experience the same. Summer has been a blast but I think we’re all craving a little more structure in our week. They’re both going to grow up so much this year, which is pretty bittersweet. img_4540-1Tucker has never been to MDO or school of any kind so this is a whole new world for him. I think it’s going to be a big growth experience for him getting to make his own friends and learn to follow instructions. He’s most excited about rest time on his new Spiderman napmat. haha!img_4539-1The kids will be going two days a week this year which will give me some days alone with baby Crosby. I’m looking forward to spending that quality time with him as he’ll change so much in this first year. It’ll be nice to slow down to bond with him and also get those errands done that make buckling and unbuckling three kiddos not worth it.

One of my favorite parts of school days are our car rides together. I always pray over the kids and talk with them about having eyes for people that need God’s love. I love to hear them confess God’s word over themselves. This morning Emmy wanted to lead Tuck in some good things to say and it was pretty much the sweetest thing I’ve heard, “Tucker, say: God is with me. Say : Today’s a good day!”๐Ÿ™‚ It definitely gets everyone’s day started off right!

^^ Front door photo-shoot is totally necessary on the first day of school! Looking forward to hanging masterpieces on the fridge and hearing their favorite songs from music class.๐Ÿ™‚

Outfit details for those who’ve asked..

Plaid Dress- Forever21, Kitty-Cat High-Tops- Old Navy, Tuck’s T- Next Direct, Jeans- H&M, Burgundy Sneakers- Target๐Ÿ™‚

 

Bring on the Super Hero Underpants

WE DID IT!!!

We finally got Tuck in underpants.

I am learning these milestones go a whole lot smoother when the kids are ready for them. Remember that post I did about finally getting Emmy to sleep through the night without a pull-up after months of waking up to bring her to the potty. I spoke too soon. Ha! We ended up giving up and going back to pull-ups out of pure exhaustion. Well a month or two later she started waking up with dry pull-ups every morning. It was something she did all on her own when she was ready to. I kind of wish we never wasted waking her up and would have let her figure it out in her time.

Because potty training is my least favorite part of parenthood (except for sick babies- that’s the ultimate worst) I was not wanting to do it with Tuck until he pretty much begged me. haha! Then it dawned on me that he’s starting pre-school in mid-September and should probably not show up in a diaper. So, we picked last weekend to do our bathroom bootcamp. It is probably the least fun couple days of the year but it works. I’d rather do that than draw it out for weeks and months of training. We used this book again but didn’t follow it as closely as I did with Em. Matt and I took shifts this time to give each other a break from spending hours on the bathroom floor “listening for tinkles”. I seriously feel like it’s all about letting them have a couple accidents on the wood floor before it “clicks” and they get it. Tuck’s doing better than Emmy ever did mostly because he’s older and has a better understanding of what’s going on. He also waits longer between potty breaks and can hold his bladder better. He loves potty treats and is so proud of himself!

We got our first epic #2 in the toilet yesterday! He hasn’t had an accident since day 2 of potty training and is telling us when he has to go all on his own. Our next hurdle is going to be getting him to sit on the big potty and quit being scared of falling in. Right now he’s going in a little Elmo potty and I definitely don’t want to be cleaning poopy out of that so we’ve got to conquer this fear.

If you’re wondering if your child is “ready” for this life change, this book gives a helpful checklist of ways to know:

  • Does my child urinate a good deal at one time rather than dribbling throughout the day?
  • Does he often stay dry for several hours? (Emmy never did and I think that made it a little trickier)
  • Does he have enough finger and hand coordination to pick up objects easily?
  • Does he walk from room to room easily?
  • Can he do the following ten actions: touch his nose, eyes, mouth, hair, sit down on a chair, stand up, walk to a particular place, imitate you playing patty-cake, bring you a familiar object, put a familiar object with another?

If they’re 20 months old, they can probably do all these things and are ready. My personal advice is to enjoy the ease of diapers and wait as long as possible.๐Ÿ™‚ Changing diapers on your own terms is kind of easy when you compare it to rushing to a public potty with someone who gave you about 5 seconds warning before going.

 

Life’s a Beach with This Babe…

img_3595Oh my goodness, I love this boy. He is pure sweetness.

Life with three has beenย surprisingly great! I prepared myself for a whole lot of chaos and nonstop busyness so may be this is just less than I expected. I feel like having him has caused us to slow down more and enjoy just being home with each other.

The kids have been super understanding of my time nursing Crosby. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pull it off this time with so many little people needing my attention but it’s really worked out. They’re old enough to get the concept of having to wait and be patient. Emmy is a huge helper and can get most things on her own or help Tuck with what he wants.

Crosby is pretty content most of the day with his fussy times usually coming around nighttime. He seems extra hungry in the evenings so we’ve supplemented with formula a few times. I love that he is willing to take a bottle in case we question if he’s still hungry or want to let someone else feed him. I’ve never been “good” at breastfeeding in the past. With Emmy it was the root of some postpartum issues and she was just never satisfied until we switched to bottles. With Tucker, I tried not to put any pressure on myself since I didn’t want to go back down the “baby blues” path and I knew the formula worked really well with Emmy. I switched after a couple weeks and was glad I did. With this being most likely our last baby, I was hopeful for a longer and better experience breastfeeding. I’d never experienced that “bonding aspect” that mothers rave about. This time I’m actually finding myself enjoying it and feeling happy about it. Crosby is already WAY faster than my other kids ever were. It usually takes me about 30 minutes give or take a few to nurse him. My other kiddos always nursed for a full hour and it wore me out! I think the secret to my success so far has been not stressing out about it. I used to get so concerned about my milk supply, and pumping, and how much did they get, and am I full or not, etc… This time I don’t let any of that bother me. I take it day by day and if he still seems hungry we can always do a bottle. I’ve just completely taken the pressure off and it’s working. He’s growing and happy and that’s all that matters. I’m not sure how long I’ll end up nursing but I feel proud of myself for making it this far!

My only hang-up is the weight loss. I know LOTS of women who say nursing made them shrink and I can’t tell you how much I wish that was the case for me. So far Angie and I just didn’t get those genes. We both feel like we get the opposite effect of just being hormonal and hanging onto baby weight no matter what we do. I’m trying to stay positive and continue to eat healthy and work out and just wait it all out. It’s so disheartening to see the same number on that scale morning after morning when all I want is to get back to zipping up jeans and put these maternity pants away for good! Patience. Angie’s been a great encouragement during this time, reminding that I’ll wish for these days back and to be patient with my body and myself. If I’ve learned anything in motherhood it’s that it all goes by so fast so I know she’s right!

As far as sleep goes, this kid is a rockstar! He is now sleeping about 9 1/2 hours straight at night. He usually does something like 10pm- 7:30am. We haven’t really done Babywise this time even though it worked wonderfully for our other kiddos. We stopped waking him to eat during the night around 2 weeks old and by 4 weeks he was doing 5 hours and just kept stretching it longer and longer all on his own. This last week I’ve started noticing he’s already doing the eat, wake, sleep cycle for the most part. He naps in between each feeding and sometimes skips his nap the last time before bedtime. I never take note of how long his naps are or tried to feed him at the exact same times. I used to be very scheduled but I think it’s just a third kid thing where he rolls with the punches and we have too. I’d be back on the Babywise train in a heartbeat if he wasn’t sleeping at night though! I’m a big believer in healthy sleep for baby AND mama.

We’ve been loving seeing more and more smiles and coos lately. He’s usually his happiest in the mornings. I’m SO excited that he’s interacting more and know it only gets better and more heart-melting from here. Every little smirk makes us all fall more in love with him. I think I kiss him about 1,000 times a day. I just love his soft baby cheeks and fuzzy little head. He is precious!

Mr Miles: Month EIGHT

Eight is sure to be great!๐Ÿ™‚

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This month has been the season of eating. Miles loves pureed baby food, not the kind Mom makes, just the good ‘ole store bought Plum pouches. ย He loves all the flavors, but is especially fond of sweet potatoes. We keep trying to introduce finger foods, slices of fruits/veggies, chunks of banana, etc, but Miles just gags or stares at his food-filled hand. Someday, he’ll catch on… but for now, we just keep trying.

Miles sleep patterns this month have been pretty spotty. We’ve never had a schedule, but he has been an amazing sleeper since the first early weeks. He took me by huge surprise, when he decided this was the season toย wake andย nurse in the middle of the night. Seeing as this is our last baby, I’ve taken the lack of sleep with much less frustration than I would have in the past. Many nights, the quite cuddles and coos remind how grateful I am for God’s goodness. This boy truly is the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Babbling, babbling, babbling. ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย I.love.it.

Hearing sweet “words” come out of this little one’s mouth gets me giddy about the funny sayings, baby talk conversations and cuteness that is so near. Miles loves to say, “bababa” or “wah wah ba da”.

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Miles also loves touching faces. He giggles at wiggly tongues and twitching noses. His favorite faces to grab are his brother’s and sister’s. Every morning, they get on the floor with him and he reaches for their cheeks, almost in an effort to pull them in and hug them. It is priceless. Little hands with so much to discover.

He still isn’t on the go or even pulling up, his bottom is where he is most content. He reaches for toys, but doesn’t care to put much effort into anything that is beyond his reach. He recentlyย startedย to notice the intrigue of the iPhone…maybe this month will bring us more excitement in this movement arena?

We doย seem to be in the beginning of a growth stage. Our little guy (only 16lbs 4oz) is trying to transition to two naps, he’s far more aware of his surroundings and he has reached the age of wanting Mommy. If I’m near, if he hears my voice, if he hears his brother or sister call for “Moooommmmy!”… than he wants me. His whiny half cry is a sure sign that only Mommy can fix his frustrations.๐Ÿ™‚ Not going to lie, I kinda like it.

I am beyond thankful for this happy, go-with the flow little man. He still falls asleep in the car, on a boat or in his Daddy’s arms. He can do with a 10min or 100min nap- whatever that day’s activities allow. He LOVES his siblings, loves to be outside and loves the bath.

Every stage with Miles is treasured. Iย am so grateful!

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Prepping for Preschool

This year we’ll have TWO kiddos in preschool. How crazy is that!? I am honestly so excited about school starting. I don’t know if that makes me a “bad mom” but I really am ready for it. Emmy LOVED school last year and it brought some needed structure to our week. It gave me some alone time with Tuck and a break from refereeing them. She learned so much and always came home with the coolest projects and songs. She bounced out of bed on school days and was sad to say goodbye at the end. This year Emmy and Tuck will both be going a couple days a week. I plan on using these days to run my errands, hit the gym, and get in some quality alone time with baby Crosby.

In honor of the countdown til Summer’s end, I’ve rounded up some of my back to school favorites for the kids…

  1. Thermos Funtainer Water Bottles– These are annoyingly expensive but so worth it. They’re the only ones that actually keep water cold and are leak-proof.
  2. Sectioned Tupperware– You can buy an 8 pack on Amazon and make your life a lot easier. We use ours all the time! Avoid all the ziplock bags and leaky fruit with these handy gems.
  3. Playground Worthy Shoes– So I don’t like to compromise style for functionality. It’s an issue in all areas of my life. Ha! But, I think Natives and Converse accomplish both goals. They both look great with anything and can be easily cleaned up after a recess run.
  4. School Clothes– May be this is a whole other post but if you’re looking for something different, check out Next Direct. They have some great options for boys and all the things that come in three or five packs are amazing. Great quality clothes at pretty affordable prices. Forever 21 has kids clothes now too! They start at 5T and so far I’m loving some of their girl pieces.
  5. Backpacks and Nap Mats– When it comes to these I let the kids pick out whatever they want. I don’t love any character clothes and if we get them they’re usually reserved as jammies. So, the kids had a blast picking out Paw Patrol, Lion Guard, and Spiderman swag for their year. I just figure it gets them excited about school so why not!?๐Ÿ™‚ We picked up these essentials at Target and Amazon this year. school essentials

Party Animals Slip N’ Slide Bash

img_3344I wasn’t sure we’d end up having a big birthday bash for Tuck this year with Crosby being so little. I went back and forth on what to do for him until Matt had this grand idea for a giant slip n’ slide down our back hill. I welcomed the idea of him taking on the entertainment portion of a party and I am SO glad he did!๐Ÿ™‚ He ordered a 50 ft slide off Amazon and made his own sprinkler system from PVC pipes. He ordered a slingshot and loads of water balloons. He went ALL out and the kids had a blast!

img_3335I did a little bit of a party animals theme and just went nuts with colors. I wanted it to be everything Tuck would love and light up seeing. His only request was green cupcakes so we asked Jess (Lauranne Cupcakes) to make it happen. They were perfect! I hot glued some party hats on these dollar animal toys from Walmart. The kids played with these things for an entire day- I swear it’s the cheapest toys that they love the most. It doesn’t take much!

I ordered a bunch of these colorful honeycomb balls and attached tissue tassels using hot glue and fishing wire. It added some pops of color to the backyard and really made it feel like a celebration. img_3337

This photo booth was so much fun to dream up. I found these animal photos on google, changed them to black and white, and had them made into engineer prints at Staples. Matt built this awesome PVC photo-booth base and wrapped it in a painter’s drop cloth to make it a little more sturdy against the wind. I’m excited that I now have a base I can reuse over and over again for future backdrops. I taped the engineer prints together with a cute pic of Tuck in the middle and gave everyone party hats made of decorative paper and tissue tassels.

img_3240After working on this huge backdrop all day long, Tucker found some of my burgundy lipstick and colored all over it. Cue the tears. Ah motherhood… I did my best to cover what I could with white out but decided to just see it as him adding his personal touch to his party.img_3353

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The backyard is definitely my favorite part of our house so it brings me so much joy when it’s being used and enjoyed. The kids were having a blast exploring the wooded hill, swinging on our giant web swing, running wild, and sliding over and over again. Makes my heart sing to make memories like these out back. img_3357

Dads rule! It was just precious to see the dads get out there to make this slide even more fun for their kiddos. Lots of spinning and throwing and speed racing. The best part was when Matt came flying down way too fast, and landed on the flagstone, nearly soaking one of the mamas. haha!img_3364

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I think Tucker had about 4 of these cupcakes by the end of the party. He just kept sneaking them or stealing bites of other people’s. This boy looooves treats!๐Ÿ™‚img_3361

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img_3343Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate sweet Tuck. He had the best day and was on cloud 9 having fun with y’all! It was such a great day we’ll remember forever. Lots of giggles, squeals, and happy faces. Now I think we need to plan an adults slip n’ slide party!๐Ÿ™‚