Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Saying Yes...

Mondays around here are pretty busy. However, since Christmas break ended and school started back up, our Mondays seem to be busier than ever! I don't know if it is just the nature of things starting back up or what but goodness! It's been a lot.

Here is how yesterday morning went:
5:30 wake up and have my quiet time
6:15 get ready
6:45 unload dishwasher, start laundry, wake the boys

Then all of the busy, crazy chaos of getting them ready and Hudson off on the bus. As his bus leaves, our speech pathologist is arriving for speech therapy with Gabe. Gabe wraps up speech at 8:40 and I get the boys loaded in the van to take Beau to preschool.

Run back home, switch laundry, pick up from the morning, take Gabe to a well-child check and leave with enough time (barely) to spare to get to preschool pick up on time.

We had to swing by the post office before going home and then I knew it would be a quick rush of lunch and clean up because I had a meeting with our EI case worker about Gabe transferring to the school district for speech.

When days are like this, I like order. I like to keep as much in my control as possible because, well...there isn't a lot of room for error. I don't want to be that person constantly running behind. I want my kids to understand the preciousness of other people's time and respect that. I like to cross as much as I can off my to do list in a day because the list is always getting more items added to it.

So as we pulled into the garage from our post office errand and were unloading and Beau was telling me about his day, my mind was a bit focused on what was coming up next. The boys were unbuckling their carseats and Beau asked, "Mom, how 'bout we play outside while you make lunch? How 'bout that?"

It wasn't super warm and it was a tad windy. But the sun was shining. I weighed my options and realized, saying no really wasn't going to make that much of a difference. So what if the boys were eating when I had a meeting with our EI worker? So what? My hectic day shouldn't always dictate my response to their requests.

As the boys ran around back to play for a bit before lunch (which they finished before my meeting and actually got to go back outside to play during my meeting), I realized I need to be more intentional about saying yes. So often I say no to things that really don't matter. But the yes, they do.

The boys were so excited and happy to be out. They played well and so needed that sunshine and fresh air. After nap and snack when Hudson got home, we went out again to play. It was amazing in all the busyness of the day how that one answer affected not only the boys, but my attitude.

This year I am going to work on saying yes more than no. Working to pause and soak up the little moments of the day with my boys and husband instead of rushing to cross just one more thing off my list of to dos.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Weekend Recap {1-30-17}

The weekend just went way to fast! It was a pretty uneventful weekend but as I wrote out our February family calendar and looked ahead to March, I will take these quiet weekends as they come!

{F R I D A Y}
Friday afternoon Andrew and I took Beau and Gabe with us to get fingerprinted and our applications all turned in for our foster to adopt process. It was quick and painless as expected but so exciting as the fingerprinting and background check are what typically takes so long to get processed. Physicals are getting turned in this week and then we can move onto more meetings and our classes.

After a week of travel and busyness, I was so excited to have a date night. Both Andrew and I's moms helped us this week while I went to do some work and Andrew was out of town so for Friday we hired the boys' favorite sitter. She is a senior in our community and just a sweetheart. We appreciate her so much. Finding a sitter who loves your kiddos and your kiddos love is one of life's little gifts, am I right?

Andrew and I got to go to dinner and enjoy conversation completely un-rushed and uninterrupted. Then we went to see Hidden Figures. Y'all, it was SO SO good!! I highly recommend going to see it. And honestly, we will most likely rent it and let our boys watch it, it was such a clean, appropriate movie. And Hudson is also all kinds of interested in space.

{S A T U R D A Y}
Andrew spoiled me completely and let me sleep in until almost 8 o' clock! It was heaven. I got up and went downstairs and the boys were all drawing and coloring (apparently, they drew pictures all night with our sitter..we had tons of sweet "presents" from them when we got home). Andrew picked up donuts for the boys and then they just continued playing ALL morning. Not a fight or squabble. I changed sheets, picked the house up and just was lazy. I did not get out of my pjs until I realized it was time for me to go to my hair appointment, aka the best day of the month!!! 

I ran to the store to pick up a few things and then came home and played with the boys while Andrew went fishing. I sent Hudson to take a shower (who was still in his pjs!) while I fixed dinner because Hudson and I had a date at our community club's Mother/Son Event. It was Luau themed and so so cute. Lots of games and snacks and sweet time with my biggest boy. I just love him to bits! Five has been my favorite year of is! 

Everyone still in their jammies at three in the afternoon. 

Lots of the games had you competing against your kiddo. Seriously so cute and fun! 

Building a "sand" castle

One of the games/events was hula hoops. This kid was a STUD. Seriously!!! I was so impressed! 

{S U N D A Y}
We went to church, had lunch with my mom and chilled all day in between loads of laundry. It's not even impressive enough to blog about. Just another day together. 

This week we have a special boy's birthday so I am sure that will be the highlight of our week! 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Favorites {1-27-17}

I am so excited to see this Friday finally here! It has been a busy week made busier with Andrew being gone all week and tonight is date night (WAHOO!) so it is just going to be a great day!

Bonus favorite: My kids reactions when Daddy gets home. 

 Here's a peek at what I am loving right now.

{O N E}
I have heard that mauve nails are all the rage right now but I am just really a fan. Mauve is just not a color that screams, "Put me on your nails!" What color is screaming that at me right now? GRAY! It is light and neutral and just looks so good! Essie has some awesome shades of gray too!

{T W O}
We had a bedroom redo that we wrapped this week and there were SO MANY things I love that we got to incorporate into her space. A favorite was this great bedding from IKEA. The pattern is subtle. The fabric is super soft. And the button detail is so perfect! The price point for this bedding is a steal for the quality too!! 

This stock photo does not do it justice but I'll have to wait until after the room reveal to share more. 

{T H R E E}
Kindergarten is a favorite most weeks around here because I just love seeing how much Hudson is growing in what he is learning. He is a really bright kid and is naturally inquisitive and drawn to learning. Since the beginning of the year he has been a "brave" speller sounding out words and now he is reading everything. 

This week I got a big kick out of a paper he brought home. Last week was another crazy week schedule wise so for the first time, my kids had cereal for dinner. I made it a real treat buying kinds I never buy and letting them have at it! Clearly it made an impact on Hudson! 

Five Captain Crunch <3 

{F O U R}
A friend has been doing Whole 30 and sharing some yummy recipes. I NEED to get myself on a better nutrition plan since the holidays and have been doing OK buuuutt, still allow for indulgences whenever I feel like it. So this week I sat and planned for the whole 30 days and am on Day 3 today. I am excited to challenge myself, try some new recipes and hopefully feel great (and shed a few pesky pounds!!). Anyone a Whole 30 graduate? 

{F I V E}
I have been doing my best to really stay on track with our budget. We have big goals this year as we want to get rid of debt, do some major renovations to the house and of course, foster to adopt. However, there is the CUTEST little boutique in town who gets new items weekly (if not more often) and when I was on the site this week, I saw they still had this top in my size and just felt like...meant to be! 

There items are always the best and the variety of styles is always awesome.

Image via

That's it for today! It's date night tonight, a hair appointment tomorrow {PTL!} and my Mother/Son event at Hudson's school tomorrow night. Should be a great weekend! 

Linking up with 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Entryway Redo

I have had a plan for our entryway for well over a year. But between life, crazy work schedules and just other things coming up (Hello, new air conditioner!) we just hadn't gotten around to it. So when Christmas time was approaching and Andrew's work schedule finally slowed down for the year, we tackled our entryway. I couldn't love how it turned out any more! 

Our plan was to get this done over Christmas break since Andrew had some time off. Well, the week before Christmas (Friday the 20th to be exact) Andrew and I had a date night and went to dinner. At dinner we thought, why not get all the things we need tonight? So we headed to Lowe's to grab our materials. What wasn't on the agenda was terrible weather and it was sleeting/icing and so the ride home with all the supplies was a little interesting. 
He's a keeper. 

Don't all date nights look like this? 

Our plan was to shiplap our entire entryway and convert our entry closet into an open closet with a bench. Shiplap is a simple way to make a statement and is a really affordable update. We had already measured our space and knew we wanted our boards 8 inches in height so the task was simply to find quarter inch plywood and have the fine people at Lowe's rip them for us. We also got some trip pieces to help finish off the space, supplies to build our bench, paint, and some odds and ends that would be needed for the project. 

The next morning we emptied the closet, took out all the junk coats, and took the base trim off. Andrew marked where the studs where on each wall so when we got started, we weren't constantly searching.  

Since we have angled ceilings that go into our cathedral ceiling in the living room, we started our first board at the top of that angled wall BEFORE it angles. {In essence, where the board would meet the corner of the connecting walls and the ceiling without needing to have an angled cut made.} We then lined up with our first board all the way around to give us a starting point to go off of. We did one more row all the way around before going back to the first wall and completing it. 

To create the spacing in our shiplap we used nickles. We also use an air nailer with staples to attach our wood to the wall. The project went fairly quickly. We had to make several cuts on the two walls with the door and the closet because the boards were too long (obviously) which was probably one of the most time consuming parts. We had interruptions that Saturday (going and picking up the boys from my parents and hanging with them) and on Sunday was my family's annual baking day for the holidays so that day was pretty shot. With that being said, by Sunday evening, all the wood was on the walls and on the wall inside the closet. See---QUICK! Sunday night I filled the staple holes with putty and then sanded everything day so on Monday I could paint. 

We put two coats of white semi-gloss paint on our shiplap and our trim. We used the same paint on the bench Andrew built as well. To give our entryway a POP, we painted our front door and sidelight black. I just love black interior doors! 

By Tuesday evening the shiplap was done, the trim was back in place and all that was left was to rehang the decor that had been on our entryway wall previous to the project. 

We were so happy with how it turned out and to have it all done before Christmas was even better! 

We have about a million and four more projects to do to make this house our forever home but we'll get them all one day! 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Weekend Recap

Another weekend has come and gone! We had a really uneventful weekend for the most part. Nothing on the agenda which was nice because the weather was BEAUTIFUL so we got to enjoy it!

Saturday morning I totally slept in. I didn't here our boys get up. Typically Gabe will come into our room and wake us up or get in bed with us a few minutes before we start our day. He must have gone to Andrew's side and they got up together. When I got up, the crew was eating chocolate chips pancakes Andrew had made and it was 8 o'clock!!! I made myself some breakfast and then we packed up the car to head to a local conservation area to enjoy the day.

Hudson rode his bike and Beau and Gabe switched between riding in the stroller and running. We walked around 4 miles. We saw so many people out and about and it could be my imagination because I was in such a good mood, but people were just the friendliest!!

We got home and had lunch and the boys were worn out! They all went down for a nap and while they slept I got a little work done, Andrew ran a quick errand and then I made a quick trip to the nail salon. When I got home, Hud and Beau were awake and out playing. They were riding bikes and roller skating in our cul-de-sac. As Andrew and I were out watching them, some other boys from the neighborhood (a few streets over) came by and Hudson recognized them from the bus. They all went to the back and played on our swing set. I got a little emotional because I realized that simple act is just another reminder that Hudson is getting bigger, learning new things and getting so independent.

Later, our sweet neighbors and their littles came out later too. They have two kids right around the same age as ours so I can not wait for warm weather and slower schedules of no school!

Saturday night I went to a friend's house. She lives two streets over in our neighborhood.

{Random side story-- When I taught first grade, I taught with three other teachers. Three of the four of us all live within the same subdivision now. Another of my best friends from teacher lives just across the main street (walking distance). And Lacy's, whose house I went to Saturday, husband I grew up together. I prayed for adult meaningful friendships our first year of marriage and talk about God blessing us abundantly!!!}

She was having a sign party. Our friend Emily creates these awesome wood signs and in the last year started hosting private classes for you to create your own. I have done two others and they are so much fun and just a great girl's night! Plus you leave with some new decor for your house!

This was a custom piece I had her do for me last fall. You can check out more of her work here. <3 Parenthood!

Sunday was a busy morning of double church. Both Andrew and I had to serve in the kid's area so we all went to big church and then the boys went to their classes while Andrew and I served. They were so good being at church all morning so we rewarded them with Mexican for lunch. (Ok---maybe that was a little bit for us, too!)

Then it was football watching, nerf gun wars, some reading and getting ready for another busy week.

We may not have done much this weekend but it was a pretty great one. It's back to cold weather today but I am now more than ready for spring and summer!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

BIG Day for the Bruce Brood

Yesterday was such a big day. We have had such a busy week that I planned for Friday to not be too full. 

In fact, I took full advantage of a new(er) service our Kroger is offering called ClickList. You shop for your stuff online and then the store has shoppers to put it all together for you, bring it out and LOAD it! I don't mind going to the grocery store and my boys really have never complained and are really good, even when I go to three different stores! But the option of being done with grocery shopping, including coming back home and putting it away in less than 20 minutes is a tad appealing. 

Andrew had been on the road or had late nights all week so yesterday he took an office day but was on a conference call most of the day while working. There isn't much to take advantage of in that situation BUT it does allow a person to be home during nap if mama wants to go run. And this mama did!! 

In small group we are doing the study Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I've been reading the book along with our group study and it is so so good! I really love all of his work. (His book You and Me Forever is a MUST READ for anyone married!) Well this week was talking about keeping the cross in our minds. Not just something we take for granted. I love that and found it especially challenging and convicting. So on my run, I spent some time in prayer. Praying for my boys, myself as their mother, my role as a wife to my husband. And I was praying, intentionally, about the cross. And it's gravity. And it's significance. And I had these thoughts...that there was nothing too ugly for the cross, no sin to big, no person to far from it's redemption. 

They were pretty powerful thoughts coming off of also praying for our country along with so many yesterday. I found that so comforting. The redeeming power of the cross is for everyone. 

I continued to pray and pour my heart out before God. I felt Him so near to me. I walked the last half mile home and felt His peace and presence. 

There was comfort in that. Because yesterday was a BIG day. I had been a little on edge all morning, putting away groceries, picking up the house, my mind going over a list of questions, because yesterday, we met with our case worker for the first time. She came to our house yesterday afternoon and Andrew and I began the first step (of many) in becoming licensed foster parents. 

It is surreal. This thing Andrew and I have talked about for a couple of years now. That we went back and forth on. That we spoke to others about. That we prayed about. Taking this first real step and knowing that we have no idea what is on the other side of this journey--completely surreal. 

Before our meeting, Hudson got home from school. We did our after school routine: going through his back pack and folders, asking about his day, his brothers smothering him with their chatter, and settling into snack. I felt convicted to take some time to pray though. Before she showed up, our family huddled on a couch and we prayed for this journey. For God's guidance, grace and wisdom. 

I don't know what the next few months will bring (besides questions and answers as Andrew and I learn more). But I do know that stepping out in faith will be the greatest thing we do. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Long Weekends Are My Favorite

I was one of those moms absolutely not ready to send the boys back to school when the end of Christmas break happened. I loved our break. I love having them all home all day. I love the relaxed days, no real set schedule and just being able to hug on them anytime I want.

Which is why I made sure I was well aware of all the long weekends that were coming up that we could all look forward to until Summer break. We were all pretty happy to see that school would only be in session for one full week before having our first three day weekend of 2017.

Friday after Hudson got home from school we loaded up for haircuts. Andrew had been meaning to take the big boys for awhile and something always came up. I was going to just take them but he insisted. Well, by Friday, it HAD to happen. And after a busy week we all loaded up for the outing. While Beau was getting his haircut, Andrew and Hudson decided that leftover chicken taco soup wasn't going to cut it for dinner and suggested picking up a movie and eating out. I was going to protest but since their plan still left me out of cooking up something on Friday night, I gladly went along.

We took the boys to barbeque and picked up Storks to watch together. While the kiddos took a bath before movies, I whipped up some Rice Krispie Treats and Oreo balls per the kiddos request earlier this week. (We were SUPPOSED to get a terrible ice storm all weekend and so I had asked for some snacks/treats they'd like to have if we were going to be stuck all weekend. The storm never happened here, thankfully!)

There is nothing better than being all snuggled up watching a movie together with your freshly bathed littles. And the movie was pretty cute too!

Saturday morning the boys requested pancakes before running errands. Andrew had some returns to make from our entryway project and I needed to exchange a Christmas gift for Gabe.

After our errands we headed to Grandma Jo's.

Andrew and I are both pretty blessed to have our grandparents still healthy and close by. On mornings when I need to volunteer at the boys' schools or have something come up, they are my go-to sitters and my boys LOVE it! Andrew and I both have some amazing memories with our great grandparents and love that our boys are creating memories with theirs.

Grandma Jo is Andrew's grandma and she is simply a gem. She and Andrew's grandpa are just the sweetest and going over there is always so nice. She is a hostess through and through and she loves through acts of service--mainly cooking and sewing. She has sewed up lovies for my boys and nieces more times than I can count. Her desserts are divine. And I feel like she has a wealth of knowledge that I just try to chip away at because, I am not even close to her domestication level!!

Andrew had some fish he wanted fried up and Grandma Jo is always happy to do that for us. Andrew's parents joined in and we spent a big chunk of our day around Don and Jo's kitchen table, our boys being doted on and spoiled and our bellies being filled! Definitely a reminder to slow down and enjoy the simple times.

We went to church Saturday evening since we could and after putting the boys to bed Andrew and I had our first date night of 2017. One of our goals this year was to be more intentional with our time together. When we first started talking about adopting, one of the reservations Andrew had was that having four littles would make making time for our marriage more difficult. One thing I believe strongly in is that my marriage comes first, before our children. That can never suffer just because we are in the throes of child-rearing. That being said, getting OUT of the house often can be hard to juggle and can get expensive. (We love our sitters and want them to keep coming back so we pay them WELL! At least, I hope they think we do! Ha!!)

We decided to have two official date nights a month. One date IN and one date OUT of the house. We took time to plan them, what we do, and even set the dates on the calendar for the first three months. (I'll be sharing more of our date ideas soon!)

Saturday our planned date was homemade margaritas and doing a puzzle. It may seem lame but it was seriously one of the best nights we've had in awhile. Our margs were SUPERB and the quiet activity of the puzzle let us relax and talk and just "be" together.

I seriously recommend this date night AND this recipe for margaritas. (The original version can be found on the Pioneer Woman blog. I tweaked this version for our needs...halved and a little less tequila)

Homemade Margaritas
6-7 fresh limes squeezed (should make about 7 ounces of juice)
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of silver 100% Agave tequila
6 ounces of Cointreau
Simple Syrup
Lime Wedges
Rim Salt

Juice your limes. Mix your juice, water, tequila and cointreau into a pitcher.
Using a lime wedge, "wet" the rim of your glass and dip it into the rim salt. This step makes it. Pour your mixture into your glass over ice. Add a little simple syrup to sweeten it up a bit (not much is needed) and give it a stir. And for an extra little kick, go ahead and squeeze a lime wedge into the glass.

On Sunday we got to have an awesome lazy day since we did Saturday night church. We slept in, had a yummy breakfast, Andrew and I both got a run in and some errands done plus our food prep for the week! And the boys got to stay in the jammies and play all day. It was glorious!!

After the boys woke up from nap, we changed them into real clothes and loaded them up for some family fun. Just a short drive away is a pizza place and bowling alley that our kids love. It was so much fun watching them play the game and just having a ball.

On Monday we didn't get to sleep in too much. Gabe has speech therapy on Monday's in the morning. His SLP is wonderful and we just love her to bits! After his session we loaded up and headed to my parent's house to meet my nephews. On Andrew's side, we have two nieces and a nephew. On my side, we have 4 nephews (and another niece or nephew on the way). Needless to say, there is always a lot of activity when we get together. The boys (all under the age of 5) definitely wore each other out playing! We headed home for late naps before I had a meeting with a client.

Today was back to business as usual. Until the next long weekend!

Monday, January 16, 2017

To a New Year...

Two weeks into 2017 and I am already excited about all the possibility that this year holds. 2016 was a great year for our family, filled with wonderful memories and special times together. But as much as I love looking back, I love looking forward even more.

Gabe ended 2016 with a 6 month progress check with both therapists.  Our main purpose of therapy was to get Gabe talking. When we began the process in July, he was quiet all the time: during play, during play with others and only had a few words. There were some serious concerns the first few months of therapy as to why Gabe was lacking in just this area. We had him assessed for a tongue tie in October to discover that he had not only a tongue tie, but a lip tie as well. We've really seen progress and his latest report showed quite a large jump in growth. Although his articulation is still not strong, he is gaining new words, phrasing and becoming more confident in trying to speak! This was such a HUGE blessing. We still are nowhere near where we want him to be, but we are hopeful that progress will continue. We are so proud of him!

Another exciting adventure for our family is the beginning of the process to adopt. As a family, we came to the decision that we felt called to add to our brood through the process of foster to adopt. Through prayer, conversations with Andrew, talking to some couples who gave us so much insight into their own personal experiences, we feel ready to take those first steps. We are meeting with a person who specializes in licensing and will begin soon our classes. It is a step of faith and one into the unknown but one we are beyond excited to take! 

And if three boys and the potential of another weren't enough, I am pretty ecstatic to be teaming up with a friend on a new business venture. Making a house a home is something I love. I appreciate that your home should be a place you love no matter the size, budget, or style. To get to make that a reality in the lives of others on any level is extremely exciting. We have already begun working through our first trial clients and it has already been so much more than I imagined! 

Here is looking to all that 2017 has to bring!