Friday, June 15, 2018

Life Lately

Hi, Guys!
    Can we all get an AMEN for summer?! I feel like with AJ gone for AP grading, my 3 work days last week (2 for a conference, 1 for a team planning day), NOW the summer can officially begin! Here's some pictures documenting our life lately. I just adore this season of life we are in----SAVORING is the name of the game!

 -Hadley's Day! We celebrated Hadley's birthday on Wednesday. I knew the day would be sort of an emotional mine field and as I went to bed that night I was thankful we had made it past it. BUT.....despite the sadness and sense of loss, I really wanted to be intentional about celebrating Hadley.  So many of our loved ones reached out that day and it meant so much to us. We wore our  Baby Bow Bash shirts, and picked out a pretty flower arrangement and baby angel statue for the cemetery. We introduced Hank to the book "Princess Baby," and continued the tradition we began last year of having a birthday dinner at Buca di Beppo.
We only light this candle on June 13th. It's her special birthday candle. 

Here are just some cute shots of Hank lately, for my own memories' sake!
There will come a time when Hank maybe won't want to dress preppy---But for now, mommy says YES! Ha! 

This boy is a drooling machine and every.single.thing. goes in his mouth. I picked up this "Munch Mitt" from Target recently. He likes it! 

My teammate Kim and I at a Teacher conference Monday and Tuesday
I saw an activity idea on Pinterest to tie a balloon to baby's foot. Hank had a great time with this! 

I tried this funfetti cheesecake crescent roll recipe last week. YUM! But lots o' sugar so this weekend I'm cooking up some chickpea blondies for a sweet treat. 
First time in the pool!

Remember how one of my summer goals was to clean all closets and drawers? Done and done! This is the donate pile. Next task: "Space Bag" all of Hank's  3-6 month clothes. 

Daddy's home!! We missed him!  
I want to wish a Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. I'm so thankful for  my own wonderful dad, my caring Father in Law, and my darling husband. Dads rock! 

Cheers to a Fabulous start to summer!!

Savor Your Sparkle,

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Happy Birthday, Hadley

Well, it's here: Hadley's 2nd birthday. I can hardly believe it. If you want to read the whole Hadley story from the beginning, all the posts are gathered here.

 I could write and talk at length about baby loss, faith and grief, medical jargon, mother/baby care, anxiety during a rainbow baby pregnancy, mothering after loss etc. (and hey, if you want to talk about any of that, seriously, reach out to me. I am here for you. I mean that). Hadley taught me and lots of people in our circle of family and friends many lessons. But today isn't about any of that stuff. Today is just about her. It's not a time for me to make connections, create meaning or even ruminate on the past.

Today is simply a celebration of my daughter, of AJ's daughter, of Hank's sister, of a niece, a granddaughter and my Princess Baby. Hadley Grace Steele, I am fortunate to be your mama. Thank you for meeting us all even for a short while. You are remarkable and we all love you very much.

Happy 2nd birthday, baby girl.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

That Time I (almost) (not really) Saved The Day

I hate bugs, guys. Like really really hate them. I have quite the extensive Burt Bee's lip balm collection but that doesn't mean I can tolerate the little jerks. I have one of those bright yellow bee (or wasp? who knows?) traps in the backyard and recently while lamenting the fact that I'm "not catching any bees" AJ's mom asked why I was catching bees and how good they are for our flowers. Yeah I know, I know, if bees go extinct I can no longer indulge in my beloved avocado toast, enjoy the 3 pack of honey from Costco, and pretty much all fruits and veggies will be gone. I know. But still....I hate bees (and actually all bugs).

This dislike of insects goes way way back. When my dad was driving me home from college (so I was 22, keep that in mind), I screamed bloody murder on a bridge somewhere outside of Couer d'Alene because I thought a bee landed on my arm. When my dad pulled over, relieved I was not in fact dying, but irritated that I  caused such a ruckus on a bridge with him operating a vehicle, I admitted that maybe it was just a shadow? I wasn't sure, but I swore something was flying! I asked my dad to search the car to make sure it wasn't lying in wait as evil bugs are known to do.

When AJ and I first got married he finally understood my fear of bugs. I don't think he believed me that once I found a moth in my apartment and when it was time to go to sleep and the little bugger still could not be found and disposed of, I slept in a hoodie with the hood on (in the summer) so you, know, there was less of my skin exposed that it could land on. I'm crazy, I know.

Well, fast forward to last week. AJ was out of town all last week doing AP grading so Hank and I were holding down the fort just the two of us. All was well and good....until Friday afternoon. I had just picked up groceries from Smith's (I am obsessed with Clicklist) and Hank cried the whole time I was unloading the car. I held and rocked him as I put frozen and refrigerated items away (the rest could wait until after naptime) and then....then....I saw it. A bee flying around the kitchen!!!!! I dropped a few choice expletives but tried to keep my cool for Hank. If you're not a worrier like me you might be thinking, umm, seriously? Kill the damn thing and move on. And looking back now, in my bee-free house, I can see that yes, that would be the rational thought. But when it comes to bugs--- rational I am not. My inner monologue went something like:

-Why is this happening with my hubby out of town?
-I've never met the neighbors across the street but I see they are out in their lawn. Think they'd come kill a bug for me? No! Bad idea, I should come over with sugar cookies, not a hit on an insect
-It is way too hot out to wear a hoodie all night if it's not caught and I need to cover maximum skin surface area
-Two words: My. Girl. Yeah, that movie where Macaulay Culkin dies from a freaking bee sting. What if Hank is allergic and I don't even know it?

So I did what any modern American woman would do when faced with a situation where her baby needs protection: I texted my husband half way across the country that's what.
In full disclosure, here is our actual text convo:
AJ calls Hank "Munch" FYI 

I knew what I had to do. I put Hank up in his crib, turned on his lullabies (he did not need to bear witness to the amount of profanity I knew I was about to unleash on my unwelcome house guest) and he fell asleep. I closed the door to his room in case I couldn't kill the bee and it flew to his room and violently stung him and I would officially be the worst mom in the world.

I pulled my hair back (somehow I felt like I needed my full peripheral vision for this task) and armed myself with The Very Hungry Caterpillar since it seemed like the heaviest board book we had. Once I got downstairs I located my target. I approached it slowly and realized smashing it with the book might take more courage than I could currently offer. I reached for my secondary weapon choice: A bottle of Windex. I took aim and then.....
it flew away by another window. Ok, ok, I regrouped and said, "you're going down, you *!*%! piece of &&%$^*" (yes, out loud).

I proceeded to attack with the Windex but when it landed on the couch, I decided to trade out my Windex for Febreeeze. I was not about to coat all our upholstery in Windex, what am I, a monster?
I proceeded to follow and spray that thing around for about 10 minutes. I felt like a damn warrior. Not today, bee. NOT. TODAY. Finally, I pelted it over and over with Febreeze until it met its untimely demise on the window sill. I shot it a few more times just to make sure our tormentor was done.

I felt legit bad ass. I am woman, hear me roar! I am protector of my turf, fierce, mama bear, warrior queen, if you will. But as I got closer I realized it was.....

just a fly. A BIG fly, but still, just a fly. But that did not stop me from relaying the whole story to AJ along with this picture:

Sometimes we take our warrior queen mama moments when and how we can get 'em.

Friday, June 8, 2018

A Touch of Whimsy

Summer and spring fashion is speaking my language with the additions of fun frilly details, embroidery, ruffles, and extra flourish. I am HERE FOR IT. This spring I purchased a shirt with a side ruffle and the dress I wore to Hank's child dedication had big bell sleeves. Since then, I've seen ruffled and tied looks everywhere! You know how some seasons all the clothes just seem blah? This is not that season! So many fabulous things!
PS) Wasn't it sad to hear about Kate Spade's passing this week? Her designs epitomized "style is fun and whimsical" for me. Such a tragedy.

Here are some finds I'm loving:

From Downeast. A tie, stripes and a ruffled sleeve? Triple threat!

From Gap. Who couldn't use some coral and ruffles in their summer?
I adore this bright whimsical tee from J Crew

I love a belted summer dress. This floral print is too cute. This is LC brand from Kohl's 
I had this in my shopping cart on QVC, I love the sleves and how it looks like Lily Pulitzer and it sold out before I could buy it!
I am obsessed with these teardrop cork and gold fleck earrings. I wear mine all the time. They are from Brinley and Co  and I want pretty much everything from her shop

I found these cotton shorts at Nordstrom Rack and I just needed to get them! I love the little scalloped detail. AJ thinks they look like pajama shorts, lol. I assure you they are REAL, like wear outside shorts but they are comfy like pajama shorts. 
I bought this at Downeast a few months ago, I love the ruffle detail
I love the LulaRoe Maurine dress.....I especially like the lace sleeved ones. I haven't bought one, though, because I think the $74 price point is high #bargain shopper

I LOVE this blouse from Old Navy: blue and white stripe, tassels, a billowy sleeve. I haven't clicked "buy" because off the shoulder shirts introduce a whole manner of bra issues. Right, ladies?

How perfect is this tassel necklace from Laura Cox Designs? This is totes on my wishlist

I started following a company called Seriously Happy Tees on Insta and their stuff is just so cute! I need this tee!

I love all these looks!! Happy shopping, dressing, and putting together looks. Isn't it fun being a girl?

Savor Your Sparkle,

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Summer's Here!

Summer's here and the livin' is easy! After a busy and fun few weeks this school year officially came to a close. We have some fun plans to visit the Oregon Coast, take plenty of naps, go on lots of hikes and walks, grill dinner often, swim as much as we can, and read good books.

June always brings up some mixed emotions for me because June 2nd 2016 was the day I entered the hospital in pre-term labor and on June 18th, I officially became an angel mommy. Packing up my classroom for the year and field day always brings up memories for me. It helps to visit my Hadley girl and look back on our amazing Baby Bow Bash event last June to celebrate her first birthday. In some ways it seems like decades ago and in other ways it seems like just yesterday I held my baby girl.

I put together a little list of summer goals to keep me on track. But make no mistake, this is the SOH (Summer of Hank) and I am so darn happy about that.

1. Read: I'm not setting a particular book reading goal but I do have some great reads piled up next to my bed and my hold list from the library seems to grow daily. There's nothing quite like extra reading time in the summer (pool, green grass, and icy beverages simply add to the experience)! Check out my 2018 reads so far here

2. Try new recipes: I love experimenting in the kitchen but the end of the school year got busy (Papa Murphy's and frozen TJ's meals, anyone?) so I can't wait to get back into the cooking groove. It's not exactly a recipe, but I saw an image of a Greek yogurt banana split on Pinterest and made one the other day. So yummy. I'd love to go the Farmer's Market and create a whole meal with my finds.

3. Stay Active: I'd like to continue going to Boot Camp classes throughout the summer and stay active by swimming, hiking, and walking. I'm in the mood to move!

4. Introduce Hank to fruits and veggies: We are still just feeding Hank 2 small portions of rice cereal or oatmeal each day but I've got green bean, sweet potato and carrot baby food ready to try this month. I can't believe what a big boy I've got now! It is such a blessing watching him grow and change.
Bibs I can rinse in the sink are a game changer 

5. Clean out our closets and drawers and take it to Savers: I love a good purge session--clean (and organize!) all the things!
major closet envy

6. Get a Massage/Facial/Lash Lift: I need (errr, want) to pamper myself and these items have been on my list for a while! Ready to get blissed out!

7. Take Hank to the Zoo and Aquarium: Hank is such an observant little guy and I think he might like to look around at some cool stuff!

8. Finish a TV series from the beginning: I'm about a dozen or so episodes into the show Younger and I'm really liking it. Not quite sure it'll be my "show of the summer" but it's promising!

9. Celebrate Hadley's Birthday in a meaningful way: I have some ideas about how to celebrate Hadley's 2nd birthday and while it is a hard day, I am looking forward to spending quality time with family that day remembering her and celebrating her.

10. Connect with Friends: Life gets busy and I want to make an intentional effort this summer to connect and spend time with friends.....a walk in the park, a coffee date, or even a phone call, I just want to make friendship time a priority.

11. Browse Teachers Pay Teachers for some new classroom goodies: Around mid-July I start thinking about the next school year---what worked last year, what new things I want to try. It's nice having the summer to reflect and research new ideas.

But most of all....I want to savor every second with my little family.
He held my hand during his nap today and I had to snap a pic of the moment! 

Cheers to sunny days, flip flops, and umbrella drinks!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Memorial Day Weekend

Hi Pals,
   It's THE LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL! I'm pumped for summer fun with my two guys but this school year has been so great too. I was nervous about it because this is my first year at this school, and I found out we were expecting Hank about a week after I accepted the job, but now here we are and it all worked out. This weekend was a whirl-wind. We had fun with family, relaxed and celebrated.

On Friday AJ's mom and I took Hank to Cubby's for dinner and he sat in a high chair for the first time! He did so great and is getting so big! I went to bed early and Saturday morning AJ went to pick up his brother Matt at the airport under the guise of a coffee run. AJ's mom had NO IDEA Matt was coming into town and it was such a fun surprise! About an hour later, AJ's dad arrived from Oregon. AJ, Matt and I headed to Ikea and a few other places Saturday afternoon. That evening we went to my family's house for dinner.

Big boy! 

AJ, Hank, Grandpa
On Sunday we ran some random errands and Susan and I went to see Book Club (it was cute---they don't make many true chick flicks these days it seems and we enjoyed it). That evening, per Matt's request (and no objections from any of us), we picked up The Pie for dinner and took Hankers on a nice evening walk.

I was so grateful to have an extra day off this weekend. I know the day is primarily for military heroes who gave their lives for our freedoms, but it's also a day to remember and honor all of our loved ones. I woke up with Hadley on my heart. After the Boot Camp Memorial Day outside workout (it kicked my butt in a good way), we went to visit our first born. The cemetery was crowded and we met the wife of the man buried not far from Hadley's spot. We talked for a while and she told me her grandkids love visiting "the baby's spot" (Hadley's) and love to play by her. That warmed my momma heart! I can't wait for summer afternoons on a blanket with Hank visiting his big sister.

Monday afternoon AJ and I indulged in a glorious and necessary TWO HOUR NAP (thank you Jesus for grandparents) and then we had my family over to celebrate Memorial Day and Susan's birthday! We grilled flank steak and had corn on the cob, pasta salad, fruit salad, and a birthday berry trifle for dessert.
I created this signature drink---raspberry lemonade, sweet riesling, and lime garnish. DELISH! 

I'm so thankful for a beautiful fun-filled weekend.

Have a great week!

Savor Your Sparkle,