Monday, September 18, 2017

Swap Party- A fun girls' night in!

This past Friday was one of my favorite girls' night out get togethers. It was Swap Party night!

For those who don't know what Swap Night is, don't worry. I didn't either until I went to my first one last November. Essentially, it is a night out with your girlfriends where you get to "shop" each other's clothes and accessories. Our group changes hostess responsibilities because it is quite the undertaking. You invite whoever you want. (Although I think if it gets too large it would be too overwhelming for all involved. You'll see why as I continue to explain.) Then, if you plan to attend you drop your swap items off at the hostess' home. Our group's rule is that you have to have at least 10 items to swap. It can be more. But all items should be in good condition. It isn't just the closet clean out that you may take to the donation spot in your town.

It's the items in your closet that you've loved but don't want to wear as much anymore. That item you got your family pictures in so you feel like it has had it's time. The fun accessory that you loved for a season but you've moved on from--whatever.

The hostess collects and arranges the items. At this past swap she had tops and dresses and such set up on clothes racks sorted by size; jeans, shorts and bottoms arranged by size laid out in another room, and accessories in one final room. Are you all seeing the genius of this night?? There were literally racks of clothes to choose from!!!

We all show up and eat, drink and "browse" that first hour.  Now- the first time I went, I was naive.  I browsed but didn't really try a ton on. I thought I knew what I liked or what would look good. This is my third or fourth swap and let me tell you what I've learned:

**Try on all the things.  Sometimes what looks ok on a hanger, looks GREAT on! Sometimes what says XS on the tag actually fits you like a dream. It is the weirdest thing how you can have all different shapes and sizes in a group and EVERYONE leaves with something! Seriously! It is like "Sister of the Traveling Pants" kind of magic.

**Take photos. Those items that you are crushing on? Take photos. When the actual picking begins, it can be hard to remember all the things you really loved and you don't want to forget. Remember you just tried on a million things so having a little photo roll to scroll back through becomes helpful.

**Be strategic.  That one thing you love but no one else really cared to look at? Don't pick that first. Because chances are no one else will pick that. Pick that one item you love that three other people like. Be sure you get it! ;)

So after we browse and try on, we draw numbers.  Here is why I say keep your swap party small-ish. At this last party we had eleven gals that could come.  You draw numbers 1-11 (duh) and then choose items based on your number. So number one has first pick and so on.  Then we work our way back down. So number 11 picks last, and then immediately picks again as we count down 11, 10, 9 etc. So being first or last is kind of a perk because you pick twice in a row.  You can see how this can take some time. So having 25 gal pals might sound like a blast with lots of things to choose from, but it would be a LOT of waiting around and, not to mention, a lot of inventory for the hostess to go through and organize.

We do several rounds of choosing. As we start to weed our way through our top picks we retry on things we might have missed as we wait. We pull things out and suggest them to a friend. Basically we keep going until people are kind of over what is left. Then we have a short free for all where we all grab anything we think we might want to have. I mean, free clothes so why not?

After the free for all, that's it! You have a full bag of items new to you that you get to go home with. I've gotten scarves, sandals, jeans, tops, dresses- sometimes with tags still on! (You all know that buyer remorse of getting something home and then going to wear it and not really loving it...but also never returning it. Swap it!!)

I think most girls would love a swap night with friends. It really is so, so fun and one of the events I most look forward to. Everyone that comes feels the same too. It is like a holiday we get so excited!

What are your favorite girls' night events?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Weekend Recap: Birthday Edition

It was such a FUN weekend as we continued to celebrate Hudson with our family! The older I get the more I appreciate our close family and how much it has grown as we (siblings) all have gotten married and had kiddos together. 

On Friday, I was busy making Hudson's cake and Andrew was busy putting together Hudson's big birthday present. We had gotten him a big Star Wars figurine set for his birthday Wednesday as something to open but his BIG present was a trampoline. We couldn't wait for him to see it.

A nod to Star Wars Episode III when Anakin and Obi-Wan are fighting. We added dry ice under the top character to make it "smoke" since the cake was supposed to be the burning planet. 

That afternoon after Hudson got home, Andrew's best friend from high school stopped by and hung out for awhile. I made dinner and went to drop off some items that I had sold from our closet clean out and donated the rest. 

I made this chilli. I was nervous about not having any beans but the flavor was yummy and all the veggies gave it the heartiness I love about chilli. 

After dinner and baths, the boys and I were settling in for the night to play and hang out. Andrew has been itching to be outside so he invited our good friends down for a fire. Mind you, it was super windy and cold on Friday but these guys are all hunters so they layered up and didn't even care. Our friend, Matt, and his wife just had a baby a month and a half ago. His wife, Kim, was out with a friend so I got to spend some snuggle time with sweet Caroline and my boys while the dads were outside. A little later, some other good neighbor friends stopped by. My friend, Jenny, and two of her kiddos came in to play while her hubby joined the other dads, And Kim showed up too. 

I seriously love that we have such great friends that live just down the street. After they all left, I got the boys settled down for bed and since Andrew and Matt were still outside, I totally relished the me time and took a nice, hot shower and read before bed. 

Saturday morning was pretty lazy. We had a family breakfast and hung out. The boys played. I did some laundry. We picked up the house after lunch while the boys jumped on the trampoline for awhile. They didn't last too long since it was another windy, chilly day. 

Hudson's face cracks me up. 

Three little ducklings all in a row. 

Hudson's party was at two and all our family got to come. It was super simple. Playing with his cousins, presents, cake and ice cream, more play. Their giggles and squeals are the very best. 

Hudson wanted to wear his Jedi costume for the party because, "it is all Star Wars, Mom."

Sweet cousins.

I love this sweet face! 

Saturday evening after everyone left we picked up, had dinner and relaxed a little bit before bed. Our kids were so tired with all the fun and no nap. Gabe fell asleep within 2 minutes after putting him to bed. #sosweet 

Andrew and I vegged out and watched Girl on the Train. I loved that book so much. I liked the movie enough but will always love books more than the movie version. {Except for the Notebook. That movie was magic!}

Sunday we slept in a bit. Andrew had to drive to Oklahoma Sunday since he had an early meeting today. I serve in First Kids at our church every other Sunday during late service. So we spent the morning together before leaving for the day. 

After church, the boys and I took my mom to lunch after church. Her birthday is today so we wanted to spend some time to celebrate her. My boys seriously adore their Gammy. 

After lunch we went to Target. The boys needed to pick out their Valentine's for school and Beau wanted to look for a toy. He even had brought his own money. We didn't find it so it looks like Beau will be learning about the magic of Amazon later today. Ha! 

When we got home it was way past nap time and the day was beautiful so we changed and went out to play. We jumped and jumped and jumped. The boys thought their mama was pretty cool showing them some jumps and teaching them "crack the egg". 

We also went for a bike ride/walk to stretch our legs and soak up the sun. 

When we got home Hudson's friend from school and his dad pulled into our driveway. They had seen us walking and were gassing up their Polaris and Jordan suggested asking Hud to go for a ride. Well, of course the little boys didn't want to be left out. So the three boys took off with Jordan and his dad for a quick ride. They were too cool for school! 

We had a low key night after dinner and an early bed time since they were wiped after a busy weekend. 

We are definitely ready for Daddy to get home this week. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday Favorites {2-3-17}

Is it just me or did this week FLY by? I can't believe  it's already the first Friday of February! I am busy today working on Hudson's cake for our family party tomorrow. I am hoping to share it with y'all next week. Fingers crossed it turns out like the plan! Ha!

{O N E}
So I am still going with my healthy eating plan and goals to be my fittest by my 30th birthday. I am a water drinker. It isn't hard for me to drink water all day long. I never have liked soda. And although I always spice up my water with lime or lemon ALWAYS, I decided to get on La Croix train. I purchased a couple of flavors to start. I went with lemon, because, I already know I like that flavor. And I also got Cherry Lime.

Y'all, I don't like it. So technically, NOT a favorite. What are your favorites?? Help a girl out!

{T W O}
This is Us. Who's watching?? Who was majorly let down this week when it was supposed to be on and then was just NOT??!!! You can not show me previews that I fully expect to see in one week and then nothing! It just is not ok, NBC! 

But seriously, I love Jack and Rebecca. I love the peeks back into their growing up years. I love Randall. I am uber intrigued in Kevin's (who's character I feel has very little depth right now) past relationship that just came up.  I am obviously riveted by the adoption plot line and the challenges that adds to the family dynamic. 

Is it my favorite show of all time? No, not even close. {Side note: Parenthood fans can we all rally for one more season. BRING IT BACK!!} But Jack and Rebecca are probably in my top favorite TV couples of all time for sure.  

{T H R E E}
Our family got a pool membership as a family gift for Christmas. We are super excited. The boys (and this mama) have tons of friends that are also members. It is minutes from home. And I just can't wait to create those memories with my boys like I have growing up spending days at the pool. 

That being said, I've been thinking swimsuits. We'll all need a few because we'll be going so much. I have always been a BIG advocate of wearing a bikini if you want. Kids, no kids. Stretch marks or not. Just owning your own skin. However, I am feeling like this may be my year to go to a cute one piece. I am not decided fully yet. And of course, my feelings my change once I lose some of my winter fluff and get some color. Pass the self-tanner, please. 

These are some of the suits I am loving right now. 

Isn't this suit so pretty? I love the mesh detailing. It is a fun touch that allows you to show some skin without really baring it all. I also love that it covers the backside well too according to reviews. 

Clearly, I am taking the term one-piece and gravitating from the traditional sense. I don't need to be completely covered. I still want to get a great tan. And this cute, cut out suit delivers. Support with a halter top. Completely covered so I can move around and the high waisted bottoms cover that tough to tone area.

Typically, I stray away from a tie bottom because, well I am no longer in college. But, these are a more substantial bottom in my opinion. And the high neck halter with all the detail just makes the suit. I feel like it adds some sexiness without being overt and I can totally swim and play with my kids in the pool without any wardrobe malfunctions. #winwin

I love the high waist of these bottoms and the cute scallop detail on the top. I don't have a super long torso so not sure how this one would look on me but I feel like the coverage is right in all the places I want coverage and is totally a bikini I can rock as a mama without feeling too much like a "mom suit". 

{F O U R}
Purging. It has been happening around here. It all started with looking through my closet for an upcoming swap (more on that some other day). Well, once I got through my closet, I decided to go through all the closets. Then our storage area. And toys. And DVDs. It felt so good to have these piles of things leaving my house. I typically do this every few months when I get the itch to de-clutter. I have found that we always have "stuff" we aren't using/wearing/playing with. No one even misses it when it's gone and because of this, my house never feels over cluttered or full. I think we can all really do without so much more than we think.

That's all I have for today! I have a cake that needs finishing! Better get to it! Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Big 6

Oh my word...SIX! Six years since I got to experience for the first time the best role I've ever had the honor of having.

Hudson has taught me so so much! I have loved this last year especially! Seeing your kids really start to become their own person, getting sneak peeks into what's to come because of how they are being shaped and what they are learning now; it's humbling, cool, and so so fun.

Here are SIX things I love you about you, Hudson Andrew!

{O N E} 
You are a wonderful big brother. 
Being a big brother is a tough job. We expect a lot out of you. You were our first kiddo and so we learned a lot about this parenting thing with you. You saw our first successes but so many of our first failures. Because we've learned with you, I *think* we have learned a few things about parenting that we know better with your brothers. You are our support in making this family stick. You are patient with them, even when it is hard. You teach them so many things; not only what you are learning but through your actions they are learning how to be a good person. Even as we talk about growing our family, your questions, excitement, apprehensions--- they all point to what a wonderful big brother you are.

{T W O}
You are smart. 
You amaze us, little one! You are curious and inquisitive. You think differently, thoroughly, abstractly. You are learning and doing new things all the time that make us say, "WOW!" I know with that big mind you've been given God is going to use you for great things if you follow him. I pray you always ask questions, seek answers and truth and never limit yourself. 

{T H R E E}
You are hardworking. 
You try new things, Hudson. You started playing on a soccer team a year ahead and it has never intimidated you. No matter if the kids are bigger (sometimes MUCH bigger) you go right after the ball and work with your team. Seeing you practice for t-ball, or soccer...or learning to ride your bike without training wheels-- you don't give up. You want to do it right and you want to do it well. That hardworking attitude carries over to so many parts of your life and it makes me so proud. I hope you are never afraid to work hard for what you want; to put in the effort. 

{F O U R}
Your sense of humor. 
You crack us up lately. You are starting to become such a big boy that joking around with you has become even more fun. You are witty and quick. When you get tickled, your big, belly laugh makes us all join in! 

{F I V E}
Your love of Jesus. 
Oh this makes me so proud! I love that you love Jesus. You want to know more about Him. You love to learn His word and go to church. I love your questions about who He is and your faith (even though you sometimes ask me questions I don't really have the answer to). Your faith is so big and I pray that it continues to grow.

{S I X}
You are a great friend. 
You want everyone to be included. You are kind to others. You think about them and genuinely care. You make friends with ease and are accepting and inclusive.

We love you, Hudson Andrew! Happy 6th Birthday! 

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!