Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! Can you believe that this is the last Friday in August? Today has been the perfect day at home for us, the kind of laid back day that we really need before all of the new routines start. This morning the kids played outside, while I harvested tomatoes and spaghetti squash, while wearing my first sweater of the season. It was absolutely glorious to be out there with the kids, and experience a few of the first signs of fall.

By next Friday, we'll have our first days of kindergarten under our belt. We'll have made it to our first MOPS meeting of the year and we'll have experienced Paisley's first preschool orientation. It's a crazy and wonderful time of year. You'll have to forgive me, but I get really excited about fall. So brace yourselves, lots of fall talk and pumpkin things will be happening around here.

Here are a few of my favorite things from the week:

Favorite Etsy Item:
These chicken decals from Fresh Eggs Daily Etsy Shop. I want these for my chore boots!

Favorite Facebook Post:
Jen Hatmaker's post to parents of adopted/fostered children. While this doesn't directly apply to us as a family, I thought it was just brilliant. Go take a look.

Favorite Instagram:
This chore idea from JoAnna Gaines. I'm loving how functional AND cute it is!

Favorite Video:
Can we have more good news like this, please? So funny!

Favorite Random Funny Thing:
Favorite moment of the week:
Sitting in a parked car, sipping milkshakes with this kid, after kindergarten orientation. Favorite moment for sure.

Have a great weekend! What are your plans?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blog Forward Challenge #3 By Zone Perfect with a GIVEAWAY!

This year, I'm happy to welcome Zone Perfect to the blog. Every few months or so, I've been writing on some of the prompts that they have provided and today, I'm also doing a fun giveaway, provided by Zone Perfect. As always, these opinions are all mine.

Next week my first born starts kindergarten. When we school supply shopped a few weeks ago, I couldn't even believe that I've entered that phase of Motherhood. I am one of those Moms now. The ones with the supply list, the ones with the backpacks, lunch boxes to keep track of and lunches to make. Gosh, I hope I don't forget to make his lunches!

All kidding aside- the year is flying by and as you know, this year,  I've partnered with Zone Perfect. With their help, I've set goals, written them down (read my first post here) and quarterly, I'm going back over those goals, reviewing them, celebrating accomplishments and getting inspired to get back on track where necessary.

With school starting and other fall activities beginning, I feel like this is the perfect time to re-evaluate goals, find new routines that set us up for success and dive into the things that make us feel like we're really living the way we want to.

One of my biggest goals for the year was to feed my family healthier meals. Our garden has helped a lot with this and another thing that I've loved are the Zone Perfect bars that are specifically designed for kids. Each bar contains 5 grams of protein so, my kids actually get FULL and they aren't asking for more food 10 minutes later!

To celebrate fall, new goals and fresh, new routines, I have an exciting giveaway for you all!

Zone Perfect is offering one of you the all of the well being essentials.

 Pedometer, tumbler, lip balm, hair ties, hand sanitizer and a box of Zone Perfect bars. I've seen inside the box and the bars are the Kidz Zone Perfect bars, which happen to be my favorite!

To enter, use the rafflecopter widget below for multiple entries, or if you'd prefer, just leave me a comment telling me what you like most about fall and new routines.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kindness and Patience: Words of wisdom from the guy at Costco

We went to Costco today, just for the normal stuff- frozen chicken, bananas, cottage cheese, grapes, socks, oh....and samples. We ate samples and I must say that for being at Tuesday, at 11am, the samples were dang good.  Pepperidge Farm cookies, pumpkin spice pancakes, chips- just to name a few. Yes, my children distributed a wide variety of delicious crumbs throughout the store well before we reached the checkout line.

Our normal routine is to celebrate a successful trip with hotdogs for lunch and so, like every other person on their lunch break, we got in line.
3 hotdogs please.

Judah gets his own lemonade.
Paisley wants to get her own, but I know how that'll end so, I give her the job of gathering straws.
I get a diet coke.

We sit down, far away from the umbrellas that cover the tables. My kids like to spin those umbrellas and although some people might not care if their kids spin and eat, I find it rude so, we just try to steer clear of them.

I eat the hotdog and Eliza, who wiggles on my lap eats the bun. Judah and Paisley eat, sip lemonade and look longingly and the kids sitting by the umbrellas, spinning them without a care in the world.

We talk about the big poster on the wall. The kids talk with their mouths open, but this time I decide not to say anything.

The lady next to me tells me that I have my hands full. She's eating a huge slice of pizza and I'm tempted to tell her that she has her hands full as well, but that wouldn't be very nice, now would it. Honestly, I know she doesn't mean anything bad by it. Remember when I wrote about that here? Most people use the "you have your hands full" as a conversation starter, because they can't think of anything else more obvious to say. And yes, it's true, I DO have my hands full.

I finish my hot dog quickly, since I'm eating only the dog part and giving Eliza the bun and as I sit there watching the kids eat, I notice a man watching us, smiling as he eats his lunch. When the kids wiggle, he cracks up a bit. It makes me realize that they really NEVER hold still.

They wiggle, he watches. He smiles, but it doesn't seem creepy.

The kids decide that they'd rather finish their hotdogs and lemonade in the car and so, we wrap them up, put Eliza back in the cart and get in line to show our receipt.

Just as I get to the front of the line, the guy walks right up next to me. 

He looks at me, his hotdog in one hand and his drink in the other. With our shoulders almost touching, he says "Major props to you, Mom! It's really all about kindness and patience isn't it?"
I look at him surprised and say "Wow. Yes, it really, really is.You're absolutely right."

He stands there for a moment and tells me that kids really respond to it. 
That we all have our moments, but that kindness and patience are where it's at and that he can see how kids acts differently when treated with kindness and patience.

He tells me I'm doing a great job and then he goes on his way.

We walk forward two steps, Judah accidentaly trips Paisley and her lemonade splashes all over the floor. I look up and see a friend from church. We stop the line of customers trying to leave the store, with our slippery lemonade pile.

They bring paper towels. We apologize and then we head to the car and I tear up a bit- not from the lemonade, but from what that guy said.

Kindness and patience do NOT always come easy to me. Just this morning, I freaked out about how I don't want to do the same thing all over again. I didn't want to clean AGAIN for it to get all messed up AGAIN. I didn't want to do laundry AGAIN for there to always be more and I was JEALOUS of my husband who gets to go to work and be with adults.

But, then we go to Costco and a nice stranger caught us having a good moment and he was brave enough to say something. I'm thankful and it makes me want to be brave. It makes me want to always try to be kind and patient, even when it's the last thing that I'm feeling.

He probably has no idea how badly I needed to hear his words.

A few photos from our life lately:

Perfecting the cannon ball.....

 Beach swims before bedtime.....

  "That was scary!!! One more time!"
♥ Angela

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Weekend Shenanigans

Honestly, I was scared of this weekend. Scared of it. I was happy for my husband and supportive of him going to our church's men's camp out, but I was freaking out inside at the thought of solo parenting all weekend. It's funny how you can genuinely want someone you love to go, get filled up and have that great time and at the same time, you can be totally dreading it! Heck, I'm the one who signed him up to go!

The thing is that being alone basically just scares me. I'm a girl who craves quiet time, but can't stand being alone. I've always felt like loneliness is the worst feeling in the world- maybe that's why I so desperately never want anyone in my life to feel it.

Friday morning I kissed him goodbye and mentally jazzed myself up for a weekend of single parenting. We would go and do lots of fun things. We would be outside lots. We'd explore, eat ice cream, buy pizza, cook very little, do very little laundry and basically have a little stay-cation of our own. We would make it fun!

Friday morning, we headed out to Padilla Bay and went to the Nature Reserve. This place was so neat! It was our first time being there and I was so impressed with the activities that they have for kids.
 After spending some time inside the center looking at the aquariums and doing the activities, we walked down the path to the beach.
The big kids had the best time on the beach and we would have stayed all day except Eliza was really fussy. She wants to be big like her brother and sister and when she can't do what they're doing, she gets grumpy. It isn't easy with her right now when we're out, but I remind myself that it won't always be this way. Next summer she'll be 2, Pais will be 4 and Judah will be 6. Right now, 1, 3 and 5 is NOT easy, but it's still worth it to go out. The funny thing is that although she was on my back fussing almost the whole time, I'm still so glad that we went, the kids only have positive memories and I'd do it all over again.
 Down at the beach we saw lots of shells and of course, Judah climbed, since that's his thing.

Saturday morning I woke up early, baked Pumpkin Muffins and then we packed those into a little picnic to take out to Cranberry Lake. My mom joined us for the hike and it was an absolutely perfect time.
The lake was full of frogs, really BIG frogs and the kids had the best time sitting and watching them. On our way back, Judah and I ran the trail. Eliza was on my back in the ergo, so as I ran, I held onto her really tight. Running and smiling at him was the highlight of my weekend. I forget that his love language is quality time and that it's those little things that really bond us. 

When we reached the end of the trail, Eliza was laughing and Judah and I were out of breath with red faces and huge grins. I told him that I want this to become a new thing for us- running trails together. It's the coolest thing to see little glimpses of how cool he's going to be as he gets older. I never wish the days away, but it makes watching him get older not so hard, when I discover those new things that we'll be able to do together. 
 Our weekend went much better than I expected, but I'm so happy to have my husband back. It's the little things like just having him here with me that are so comforting.

Today we did a few things outside. Paisley and I harvested some garlic and planted spinach, cilantro and onions for a little fall garden.
The pumpkins on the fence are starting to turn orange and in the mornings when I go out to feed the chickens, the air feels a bit different. Summer went by faster than ever, but fall is full of so many good things so, little hints of it coming are welcome.
To wrap up the weekend, we took dinner to the beach. These simple moments with my family are my favorite. Sometimes I have to say no to other things in order to be able to do these sorts of things, but it's so worth it. This is what feels right for the end of August. We need many more dinners at the beach before it starts raining again.

This might be my most squinty photo ever, but doesn't Eliza look JUST like me? And her baby hands and the way they're folded? I can barely handle the cuteness!

So, what did you do this weekend?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Favorites

A listy-list of random favorites from the week. Happy weekend, friends! Go do something fun.

Favorite New Source For Coloring Pages: has a HUGE selection of free coloring pages and the bonus is that the kids can color them on the computer and then print out their masterpieces if they want. These sheets have been really great for helping Judah learn basic mouse/clicking skills.

Favorite Clothing Discovery:
I think each of my kids needs one of these. Sound of the wild. Yep, we're a little wild up in here.
The Level Collective is an independent ethical clothing label about DESIGN | ADVENTURE | CHANGE. I love what they're all about.

Favorite Blog Post:
The Bully Too Close To Home By: Hands Free Mama. I don't even know what to say about this one. She flat out knocked it out of the park. I literally haven't been able to close that tab since I read it. It needs to be a daily read for me, as a Mama who struggles with perfectionism. 
Favorite Chore Chart Idea:
So, something happened this week. Amazon had a killer deal on Laminators and I ordered one and then shouted about it on Facebook, because I tend to do that when I get excited about something. What can I say- I'm a passionate girl. Anyway- my friend Margy told me about these chore charts and most likely they'll be the first thing I laminate.

Favorite Quote of the Week:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday Letters

Dear Judah,
I know I've been randomly running up to you lately and hugging you extra tight. I just can't help it. Kindergarten will be starting soon and I'm so very aware of how you won't be home with us everyday. There's no doubt in my mind about how well you're going to do. You're ready for this and I think I'm ready, too! Those random hugs and squeezes though? Well,  I don't think they'll be ending anytime soon. Mama's crazy about you.

 Dear Eliza,
You're every good thing, packed into one little person. Don't ever change a thing about who you are. Keep dancing, singing and playing with Tupperware. I like you.

 Dear Husband,
Thank you for understanding me enough to know that I need moments of silence to thrive. Thank you for making these moments of peace possible and allowing me to escape from time to time, since our home is basically everything besides quiet. 
Dear Penny,
You follow us around the yard like a dog and you lay crazy large eggs every morning. Basically, you're the ideal chicken. Keep up the good work, girl.

If you haven't entered the giveaway yet for The Next 1000 Days, go enter now! This book is beautiful! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Special Giveaway: The Next 1000 Days

My 3rd child, my baby, who's turning into a big girl. She's running now and everyday, she has new words. You'd think that after 3 kids, I'd be used to the way a baby transforms from a little person who solely depends on you, to a brave little soul who wants to explore the world, but I'm not taking it for granted- not one bit.

Everyday, I'm just as amazed with the way she's changing, as I was a first time Mom. Sure, I might be a bit more relaxed, but I'm just as thrilled, watching her grow as I was with the other two. Being her Mama and discovering who she is, is such a joy. I don't want to ever forget her firsts, our inside jokes and the things that make her laugh.

When she turns 2, I'll start recording all of her special moments, her drawings, her favorites and our adventures in this beautiful book, The Next 1000 Days. This beautiful companion to the best-selling The First 1000 Days journal (over 50,000 copies sold) helps parents capture the precious ages between two and six. From losing a first tooth to the first day of school, Nikki McClure's beautiful paper cut illustrations celebrate all the special moments. Parents can also write and draw with their child to help bring these years to life and preserve them for all time.

Nikki McClure is known for her intricate and beautiful paper cuts. Using an X-Acto knife, she cuts her images from a single sheet of paper, creating a bold graphic language that translates the complex poetry of motherhood, nature, and activism into endearing graphics. One of my favorite things about Nikki is that she lives in Olympia, WA. I have a big soft spot in my heart for local artists and authors.

To enter to win one of these beautiful books, scroll to the bottom of this post.  

I'm excited to be partnering with Sasquatch Books , a local company based in Seattle WA. Together, we're excited to give you the chance to win one of these books!

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below for a bunch of different entries OR just leave a comment saying hi and that you'd like to win the book! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bravery in Motherhood and a Padilla Bay Ladies Hike

It was only a few days ago, I walked into our bathroom and saw what I've been seeing far too often lately- potty on the floor. My son and I well, we've been having this recurring conversation about the absolute first thing you need to do when you go into the bathroom. Say it with me now, step number one is TURN ON THE LIGHT. For some reason, we've regressed in this “turning on the light” area and on this particular day, I was once again greeted with potty on the floor.

As I gathered some paper towels, some cleaner and kneeled onto the floor to clean it all up, I felt anger welling up inside of me. I wanted to yell about how sick and tired I am of cleaning up potty, but I didn’t. Instead I cleaned in silence and right there in the bathroom, I felt God telling me that right now, cleaning up that potty mess, without freaking out was what bravery looks like. In that moment, that’s what bravery looked like for me. Most days I try to be brave, but bravery for me might look different than what the world would expect bravery to be.

See friends, the world tells us that bravery is doing that big thing that everyone can see, but I don’t think that’s always it. In Motherhood, I think bravery is doing what’s right even when no one is looking. It’s cleaning up that mess for the 115th time, with grace, instead of yelling. It’s smiling when a smile doesn't come naturally and it’s choosing to do what’s right, even though you might be the only one who ever knows.

You might think you’re not brave, but you are. Bravery sometimes looks like putting your phone away for a few hours and choosing to look into those little eyes. Bravery is allowing yourself to say “No” to bigger things that everyone else seems to be doing, in order to say “Yes” to those little things that you know your children need.......................................

Come on over to All Mom Does, to read the rest of this post and join the conversation.
Yesterday we had our third monthly ladies hike. This one was a bit easier (like TONS easier) than our last adventure at The Oyster Dome. The trail at Padilla Bay was 4.8 miles long and it was perfectly sunny, with a light breeze. Can you say ideal? It really was quite perfect.

The trail is flat and wide. Before the summer's over, I think this would be a great place to take the kids for a family bike ride. Getting outside and doing these hikes with friends has been such a fun adventure. I feel like there are endless spots that I'd like to explore in this area and there's nothing better than doing it with a group of friends.

So, tell me about your weekend. What did you do? What was the best part?


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