Nov 29, 2016

keeping up with the comptons

Thanksgiving with our families was so wonderful, and felt a little more relaxed than the past few years, and I hope that during this Christmas season we can keep that same slow, intentional rhythm we had magically captured around Thanksgiving.  Days are good now that Cameron is home and I really can't complain.  I feel a little shell shocked from Cameron being away for so long still, and am still trying to get into a good routine, but he is so patient and so helpful, and we can let go that the house isn't always spotless or dinners are not always perfect in exchange for us all being together.  Although we are unorganized in our schedules and routines right now, the relief that we have him back is all we feel.  When he is home, everything is as it should be.  I couldn't be happier that we are all together during the holidays, and there is something about having our new baby Jonah here, and us enjoying Cameron who's been missed so much, and Cohen and Elliot who are the funnest little boys in the world, I just feel incredibly excited about it all!

We picked out a white dipped tree last week that looked like it was straight out of Narnia, and decorated it with wizard of oz ornaments, pine cone roses we collected from a nearby tree, and our special keepsake ornaments we give each other every year.  We are slowly sprinkling twinkle lights and holiday cheer all around the house, and the boys are buzzing with holiday excitement throughout the day.  Cohen even had us make him his own Christmas sweater the other day, he wanted a snowman and octopus pirate who's ship crashed onto an island where a treasure chest was, haha, so we got some felt and hot glue and brought it too life, he didn't want to take it off!  Oh they want to do it all.  Watch every Christmas movie, see lights every night, hang lights on our house, bake cookies.... but I really want the boys to remember what Christmas is all about this year.  The night in bethlehem story in itself is such a magical one, and we plan on sharing it with the boys all season long.  One year we had all of the cousins do a manger scene, I really want us to do that again!

I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays so far! It's not even December and I am happy to be at the very beginning, I plan to soak it up every bit of the way!

(baby wrap c/o Solly Baby)

Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust

Nov 23, 2016

Tips on Having a More Minimalistic Home

It's late afternoon and I am looking around the living room, and through the archway into the kitchen, and I say out loud "why do we have so much stuff!"  The boys have been slowly bringing toys from their room into the living room to play all day, and shedding clothes and costumes onto the floor.  Crayons and paper also litter the floor as well as throw pillows and blankets.  A box from an opened package and a dozen baby toys and four baby "stations" and maybe a few rogue fruit loops too.  This may not seem like a huge amount but in our tiny home, it feels like it!  I know there are those who love having a lot of possessions, and a cart full of products, but I crave minimalism in our home.  I wasn't always this way, as I am a very sentimental person, keeping middle school notes and concert tickets, and I am still that way, just more selective and organized in storing them.  It's weird but I love imagining that if we ever move, it would be the easiest thing, because we wouldn't have a ton of clutter to move.  No attic full of boxes or basements full of storage, knowing that alone makes me sleep better at night for some reason.  I love knowing where every item is in our home, and opening its drawer to find it with more negative space than full, and see it there, in its home.  I love opening the boys closets to see uncrowded clothes rack, full of our favorites, our go to outfits.  I love looking into the bottom of their closets and seeing nothing but the old wood flooring, and looking at the top and seeing just a few uncrowded items.  I love opening the fridge and seeing it clean, organized, and up to date.  I like knowing that if you open any drawer or closet in our house, it will be sparse and organized.  All year I have been minimizing our possessions and trying to purchase smarter and less.  I always have a box in the mudroom were donations go, and get a kind of rush when I'm cleaning a room and find something we can get rid of, instead of piling it a toy box or something.  I said that I have been doing this a year and I didn't think it would take that long, but now I realize it takes a few steps.  For example. the first time I "purged" my kitchen I got rid of obvious things, like broken or chipped dishes and Tupperware, and left what I thought I needed.  After a few months I purged again and got rid of half of what I had left before.  Finally I did it again recently and really realized what I needed to keep, which wasn't much at all.  My counters looked uncluttered and pretty, and functional, because all that was left was what we actually use and I got rid of any extras.  I kept the high quality items, and the things that brought me joy, and let go of everything else.  I did the same three step process with our clothes, and you get pickier with what you are keeping each stage.  I promise, it won't work if you only do it once, you will keep way more than you need!  But before this turns into a "how too" which I may be unqualified to give (I haven't even finished reading "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up" for goodness sakes) I will tell you how I am going to handle this mess.  I am going to look around make the boys pick up the high quality or favorite items on the floor and put them back in their place, and when they do that, I will take the happy meal toys or random broken pieces of toys, and but them in the donate box.  I will throw away the trash and put the baby stuff in its basket that stays in the living room, and consider if we could donate a throw pillow or two (they mostly get used as toys somehow) and when tomorrow comes and the boys do this again, everything I see on the floor will be only ones that bring us joy, that we would miss if they were gone, ones that we remember why we brought them into our home and what their purpose is for.  This has been my way all year and still mystery items make their way into the house and need to be shown the door, because I truly believe in only owning what brings you joy or that you would miss.  As Christmas approaches, we find ourselves adding so much more heaviness to our homes, even if we try our best not too, so here are some tips to lighten up the weight of your home before the holidays, and even some ideas you can consider down the road.

2. If you are having trouble making up your mind on keeping something or not, hold it to your chest, close your eyes. Does it bring you joy? If no, say goodbye.
3. Purge in steps, if you can space it out three times a year, try that.  You will be surprised what doesn't make the cut at the end that did at the beginning.
4. Do mini purges everyday as you clean. If something comes across your path that you don't see use for, put it in a designated box, and at the end of the week, donate it.
5. Buy LESS! Buy BETTER!  Instead of going to Ross or Forever 21 and spend $70 on a trendy pair of pants and a few cheaply made tops that caught your eye, invest in a few quality items each season as you need them while staying in your clothes budget.  Do it with intention, and read reviews. By next season you will probably still be reaching for those same quality and worn in pieces. Also, hold out for something unique that catches your eye that you truly truly love, and you don't already have one of.  Even at the thrift store, be extremely picky with what you bring back to live with you, even if its a dollar. Imagine looking in to your closet and seeing only your favorites, your go to's, your staples.  I notice that women who I truly find to be stylish typically will re wear the same pieces over and over, just in different ways and it always inspires me.
6. Get rid of duplicates, keep the better quality one, and put it in a place where you will always know where to find it.
7. Don't go to the store and leave with things you didn't go for just because they are on sale, always have a list of items you need and when you happen to see they go on sale, buy them then. I have a list on my phone of things to always look out for, that we need, but am waiting to find them at a good price! Cameron knows all about my list haha.
8. Sort through mail everyday, shred what you don't need to archive, keep monthly bills together and discard them as soon as they are paid.
9. Unsubscribe to magazines and to emails you don't want to receive any more, so we are not waisting paper and space and time.
10. Clean out your fridge once a week and take inventory of what you have and need restocked.
11. If clothing is stained or fits poorly or you haven't worn it in a year, say goodbye. Have a space for a few sentimental clothing pieces that you don't wear on rotation, for example, the dress I wore in my engagement photos, my mom's vintage work suit, a too small concert tee Cameron bought me 6 years ago, I have a place for these special pieces in the storage closet.
12. have only one set of extra linens for each bed (I have one winter set and one summer set for each)
13. The less toys your kids have the less time you all will spend cleaning up.  Just keep their favorites, and the less plastic, the better.  Don't purchase toys that come with many pieces, and get rid of things as they break or games that are missing pieces. Purchase LESS toys and especially less plastic toys to reduce waste and clutter. Instead consider giving them gifts like annual passes to the kids science museum or zoo, book subscriptions, or gift cards to their favorite place to eat!
14. If you wouldn't buy it now, don't keep it.  You probably won't use it again.  Learn from your mistakes and buy smarter!
15.  Don't crowd your home with furniture, give it space to breath, it will make your home feel bigger and cleaner.  Bed frames that don't need box springs look so simplistic and pretty and you won't have four or five huge boxsprings in your home you do not need.  Buy furniture that fits the size of your space so it does look so crowded.  Arrange electrical cords so that you can't see them peaking out from under the tv stand and hide them behind the wall if you can.  Don't have anything that you don't find to be useful or beautiful to you! Look around you and if something is bugging you, take care of it.  Your home is your sanctuary and you want to look around and see what you love, and be able to find what you own when you are in need of it!

There are so many inspirational blogs and books about minimizing, so if you are feeling a little inspired from this a quick pinterest search will give you even more wonderful ideas!  I know I am the happiest when our home is relieved of a bunch of junk, when we buy less and bring in less, and take pride in what we do have!

Gosh I am such a messy writer, thank you for stopping by and reading.  I am going to spend the rest of the day cooking for Thanksgiving tomorrow and getting the house in order, I love starting off a holiday with a clean home, other than the work I have to get done Cohen is home this week and we are really enjoying these slow cozy days.  I am so excited to visit with our family tomorrow, and plan on wearing the most unflattering pants imaginable and eating whatever I want (peace sign emoji, turkey emoji)

Happy Thanksgiving Back! (laughing emoji) #youvegotmail #okimdone

Oct 17, 2016

some days it's hard to get one good capture on my phone, other days you take so many good ones that you just need to dump them all on your blog so you will never forget each moment.  we went to the pumpkin patch with my mom, sister, stepsister, and my cousin and her baby boy the weekend.  we were all dressed for a fall day, which the day started out feeling like, and by the time we were there it began feeling like a hot summer day.  i ended up taking off jonah's little outfit because it was just so hot, and i think i had my hands so full with all of the boys that i didn't even pay attention to the weird looks we probably getting!  elliot was beyond happy about the exciting things around every turn, swings, slides, corn beds, play houses, and tractor rides.  cohen was cracking me up giving me his modeleque poses everywhere, like that photo below, and was most excited about being our corn maze guide and the petting zoo.  The boys even rode ponies, that was my favorite part of all.  Jonah was just happy that he had his thumb to suck, and liked the powdered sugar from my fried oreos.  

days like these really make me miss their dad, because they are happy times and i wish that he was a part of it, he makes everything more fun anyway.  of course i have my hands full these days, but my family steps in when they see me going under, and they lighten my load as much as they can, giving me a mental break, which in turns makes me a better mom when i return home to single parenting.  i am so grateful for my family, on both sides, for all of the help they offer me, and for my church friends that have reached out to me as well, offering their help and letting me know they are thinking of us.  my family really helped me this weekend, so thanks you guys, thank you for giving me a little break on saturday, for not rushing me home, for bathing my boys and giving them medicine for their runny noses, for doing their laundry and taking them on walks, for planning a fun day at the pumpkin patch, and giving me an excuse to wear a little make up and an actual outfit for two days in a row, and for making me feel kind of like myself again.  this was supposed to be about the pumpkin patch, but looking at my happy boys in these photos just makes me want to say, thank you, over and over again.

happy fall everyone, and here's to setting down your troubles for a moment and making some good memories instead.

Sep 6, 2016

What's in my diaper bag

I get some kind of thrill with posts like these that let you peak into what someone carries in their bag.  I can't remember which one but there is a celebrity gossip magazine that always has someone sharing what is in their bag, and I love reading it!  So this is like a mama edition of that, so while a few of these items are for me, most are for the boys!  
Never have I ever had a proper diaper bag, probably because I have never liked the way they looked.  With Cohen I just threw things in a cute book bag and carried a changing mat inside that carried diapers and wipes and other changing neccessities.  It did the job but I never felt organized and it was always so hard to find what I needed at the bottom of the bag.  Well, I finally joined the ranks of the organized moms with their properly waterproof lined diaper bags that I envied when @Pacapod reached out to me and let me choose one of their gorgeous luxury diaper bags.  I chose this one because it reminds me so much of the vintage camera case I already have.  I never have seen a diaper bag that I liked before this one!  It's so gorgeous and has character and is something I am proud to carry around. love love love it!
(above two photos)
Here is what I carry in the big front section of the bag.  A pair of sunglasses for all of us, (cohen has his in his backpack so they are not pictured). Elliot loves wearing sunglasses and loves these one his aunt Kate got him.  @beaba_usa sent these blue ones for Jonah from France and they are so cute on him and protect his eyes from the bright sun.   I always carry a pair of socks in case his feet get cold, I love these fox ones from @monsterbunnyboutique! I also always carry @MoonriseCreek's all natural miracle salve which is good for burns, bug bits, and scrapes. It comes in handy with all three boys!  A paci clip is a must, I have never lost this paci because it is always clipped to his shirt or swaddle, I love the ones by @everlittles and @lovedbysophiaclair.  (I lost hundreds of cohen's paci's because I didn't have one of these!) I love these natural pacifiers because they are made from all natural rubber and are molded in one piece so there is no cracks where bacteria and dirt can reside. The rubber is pure from the hevea brasiliensis tree and are softer than silicone. You can find them on amazon!  I also carry a few teethers for Jonah to naw on, his favorites are the sophie giraffe and her elephant friend, the coated wooden duck, and the rubber teething bracelet from @mamaandlittle.  I also keep my favorite bottles of @moonrisecreek's aroma therapy with me, because I am addicted to them and are so calming, I find myself applying it all throughout the day lately, but one of my favorite times is listening to music while sitting in the carpool line to pick up cohen from school.  Moon dance and dirty hippy are my favorites (elliot loves the smell of pauchuli it turns out!) I use their all natural lip balm and plumping lip serum as well.  I also always have to have hand cream, @tubbytodd sent me this all natural one to try and I love it.  I  always keep a swaddle in my bag, as well we a cotton cloth diapers I use as burp clothes. One more thing, a couple of books are a must, especially for elliot! We like this above one by jimmy falon and I also throw in a touch and feel farm animal book for good measure!
(below photo)
I always keep an @OatMama lactation granola bar on hand in case I get hungry, this one is pumpkin pecan! I love keeping a couple of baby bonnets in the bag as well, this one from @rainpeople is perfect because it has a little visor for sunny days. The muslin swaddle was sent to Jonah from the sweet people at MORI (@babymoriuk) and I use it for a blanket for him as well as a nursing cover for me. 
 So in the back of the bag there is another compartment, where the pods are located.  What makes Pacapod so cool, is the changing pod and feeding pod located in ta separated part of the bag.  They are two pods that each like a mini diaper bag!  You can even remove them and attach them to their stroller with the little strap that is attached to them. The red feeding pod is insolated so in it I carry their snacks, drink, and also any medications they need, (also a thermometer, nail clippers, gripe water, etc).  In the changing pod I pack diapers, wipes, A&D ointment, and also a simple white onesie and leggings in case he needs a change of clothes! These leggings above where a gift to Jonah from @mikimiette and they are so soft. 
These boys being patient while I spill out the contents and make a mess on my bed, Elliot loves any chance he an get to hold his baby Jonah.
Madison Luxury Diaper bag in tan c/o Pacapod

 So I probably left out a few things, like my big ole bottle of water with lemon, but these are defiantly my favorite things to carry with me at all times!  I love filling our bag with natural mama and baby products and beautiful little treasures.  I want everything to be beautiful, and when I peak inside my bag, I love everything I see!  What are some of your must have items for your diaper bag?

Jul 5, 2016

Fourth of July

  I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July! This year we had a cookout at our house and we kept things simple with the classics, hamburgers and hotdogs on our new grill, watermelon, blueberry pie, sprinklers and a waterballon fight with family.  The boys lasted in their matching outfits just long enough to snap a pic, and then they stripped down to swim shorts and Jonah to a cool tank top for the rest of the day.  I wore my thrifted red gingham dress I found at the thrift store last summer, and when I found it there I said "this would be a perfect dress for independence day."  The boys got to watch some fireworks with Cam while Jonah and I stayed home to nurse where it was quiet.  It was such a fun day, our first big holiday as three!