What's Up Wednesday!

A few blogs that I enjoy reading do a "What's Up Wednesday" link-up party on the last Wednesday of every month. I'm playing along this month!

Without any further ado, here's my first What's Up Wednesday post! 

What we're eating this week...
The girls & I pretty much eat the same things every single day for breakfast (cereal) & lunch (peanut butter sandwiches) during the week, but this is what our dinner menu looks like this week: hot dogs/corn on the cob/Arby's curly fries (from the freezer section of the grocery store--we love these!), Pioneer Woman's chicken alredo {recipe found HERE}, and leftover taco soup we had in the freezer from a couple of weeks ago {recipe found HERE}. We usually only need three dinner meals to get us through the week b/c the girls don't eat a lot of what I make for dinner, so there's always plenty of leftovers! For the weekend, we typically eat out/order in one night & have "Daddy Dinner" the other night--this weekend, Derek is whipping up one of his favorites, bacon wrapped chicken on the grill!

What I'm reminiscing about...
I've been thinking about last summer a LOT lately since we're at the one year anniversary of our move to Texas. 

Eating dinner on the floor on one of our last nights in Biloxi...we ate waaay too many meals like this on both ends of the move! ;)

Family pic in front of our new house when we first arrived to San Antonio!
Can't believe how much Hadley has changed since then!

I still remember this day VIVIDLY. This was maybe our 3rd day in the house & Derek's first day to work, so it was the first time the girls & I were on our own in the new empty house. And of course, the power went out for an hour or so and then our smoke detectors kept going off for the majority of the afternoon..it was rough, people!

Entertaining themselves in empty cabinets ;)

It's crazy to think how different life feels now than it did a mere 365 days ago when we first got here. I know I've mentioned it before, but this was such a hard move for us and I can remember feeling like we were never going to feel settled here. Now, here we are a year later really loving our little life in San Antonio & I'm secretly kind of hoping we may get to stay here longer than the two years we were banking on. :)

What I'm loving...
This is the most totally random thing, but what I've been loving this week is baking soda, vinegar, & Lime Away. Weird, I know! ;)  Texas has really hard water, and we're fortunate that our house has a water softener..but it's still pretty bad! Anyhow, I've just recently started tackling little hard water stains that were in our house upon move-in...aka really old, stubborn stains behind faucets, etc. The worst was on the little tray under the water spout/ice dispenser on our fridge. I would use Comet on it all the time to no avail, and then it suddenly occurred to me that it was stained from the hard water, duh! I tried everything to get it off, but baking soda, vinegar, & Lime Away was the magic recipe!!! I've never felt so accomplished in my entire life, ha! ;)  My 21 year old self would be so sad/mortified that cleaning is what the 31 year old me is excited about! ;)  But I know my mom would be proud!! :)

What we've been up to...
This is a pretty low-key week for us, but it's what most of our summer weeks have looked like--storytime at the library, HEB, swimming, and watching Adam & Will while Angela has non-stress tests at the hospital.

Adam was strumming the guitar & Shelby was making up song lyrics on the spot as she sang, it was hilarious!!!

Will adjusting his crown :)

The kids were getting a little wound up, and before I could even say anything I looked over & found Shelby like this. This is one of the many things I love about her--she knows that reading will calm her down, so she'll just grab a book on her own & find a quiet spot when she feels like she needs a minute of quiet.

Here was the chaos that Shelby was needing a break from ;)

What I'm dreading...
Potty training, ugh! Hadley went peepee on the potty for this time this week, and she was so excited! But of course, she's had ZERO interest in going on the potty since then so I'm totally not pushing it b/c the last thing I want is for it to be a power struggle. I know she'll let us know when she's ready to try again, but boy am I not looking forward to that!

What I'm working on...
Maybe we should re-word this prompt to "What I should be working on." ;)  Shelby's birthday is just 7 weeks away, and we have no clue what we're doing to celebrate! We've always done a little party in the past, but we've been toying around with the idea of maybe doing something other than a party this year. Maybe a weekend trip or just something special with a one or two friends? We'll see! We did plan ahead with Derek's work schedule & managed for him to take a day of leave for Shelby's actual birthday! It will be so fun to have Daddy home in the middle of the week to celebrate her!

What I'm excited about...
DISNEY WORLD! We are going to Disney in October with my parents, and we couldn't be more excited! This will be our third time taking the girls, and each time it just gets better & better! Can't wait to see their faces at the most magical place on Earth! And I love that the girls will have experienced the magic of Disney World with their Grammy & Grampy all three times, we are blessed beyond measure!

The girls' first trip to Disney in 2013!
Shelby was 2.5 years old & Hadley was just 6 weeks old!
The girls' second trip to Disney in 2014!
Shelby was 3.5 years old, and Hadley was 13 months old.

What I'm watching/reading...
I don't really have many summer shows that I like, but Derek's been watching the group Naked & Afraid and I have to admit I've kind of gotten sucked into the drama of it all. I mean, seriously--Honora?! We're also still enjoying Shark Tank. And I just finished up my first Elin Hilderbrand book this week, it was pretty good!

What I'm listening to...
We randomly stumbled across a VeggieTales CD at the library a couple of weeks ago, and I checked it for Shelby b/c it had lots of songs that Shelby was familiar with from school (ie Sunday school type of songs). I had no clue this one CD would morph into a full-blown VeggieTales musical obsession. Shelby had never seen or even heard of VeggieTales before this, but we've since checked out almost a dozen of their CDs. If I lose my sanity, this may be why. ;) 

What I'm wearing....
Today I'm wearing a swimsuit & coverup b/c it's a pool day for us! If we're not at the pool, my summer uniform is basically a pair of shorts & a cotton T, a summer dress, or workout attire.

My summertime mom uniform ;)

What I'm doing this weekend...
A few weeks ago, we went to TopGolf with the Goins & Gallimores, but we didn't get to actually play b/c there was a FOUR HOUR WAIT. Derek & I are finally attempting to go again--we've got a babysitter lined up super early on Saturday morning so hopefully we can beat the crowds!

What I'm looking forward to next month....
Enjoying our last month of summer!! :)  And of course, we're anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Goins Family's identical twin boys! 

What else is new...
For the past couple of weeks Shelby has been doing one-on-one swim lessons twice a week with the same instructor we used last summer, and it's going really well! She started doing beginner dives this past week, and it's just so fun watching her progress!


Top Five Friday!

5. Southern Living's Classic Baked Macaroni & Cheese {HERE}
Our entire family is a fan of the good ole blue box of Kraft mac & cheese, but we've been trying out a few recipes here & there to see if there's anything we like enough to start making on a regular basis. We really liked this one!

4. Roomba
I can't remember if I've mentioned this on the blog before or not, but even if I have it certainly warrants repeating! The Roomba was part of our gifts to each other this past Christmas, and we still love it just as much today as we did when we first got it. I loathe vacumming, and this thing is a life-saver!!! Seriously worth every penny.

3. Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!!!
I don't think I've ever paid one bit of attention to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale before, but I LOVE following the Pinterest Told Me To blog {HERE} and she is as loyal to Nordstrom as they come! Anyhow, the sale is going on now, and it's been the perfect way to start knocking out some Christmas shopping! I love trying to shop early, it takes all the fun out of the shopping if I'm stressed doing it at the last minute! I've already purchased 3 gifts and one item for myself from the sale. I'm thinking about getting a couple more things for myself before the sale is over--I love that they have free returns & free shipping, so there's no risk if the items don't work for me.

2. The Beginning of the End of Sippy Cups!
I had been thinking for a while that Hadley was more than ready to start drinking out of an open cup, and we finally gave it a whirl this week & haven't looked back! No spills...yet ;)

We're mainly using the open cups at meal time, and then we still use straw sippy cups for in the car or when the girls ask for a drink while watching TV for example. So we're definitely not completely done with sippy cups (and certainly not done with sippy cups altogether if/when Baby #3 comes along), but I'm excited that the end is in sight for now. ;)  I do not enjoy washing all of those little parts!! 

1. Rotating Toys
I certainly don't do this all the time, but when I do I'm always so glad! Rotating kids' toys is genius! When there's less stuff out, that means less clutter and they'll actually play better with what they have as opposed to just pulling every.single.toy out. I tucked the girls' dollhouse out of sight a few months ago and finally brought it back out yesterday, and the girls haven't been able to tear themselves away from it. Mind you, before I "hid" the dollhouse, it was sitting out in Shelby's room barely ever getting played with! They're loving it now, but I'll plan to tuck it away again soon and bring something else out of hiding!

It's been such a delight to hear the girls actually playing with the dollhouse together. Their favorite things to do are to have the family members take turns sleeping and making trips to the bathroom. ;)  Every time I see them playing with the dollhouse alongside each other, I think of all the summers my sister & I spent holed up in our bedrooms together playing Barbies. I love that Shelby & Hadley will get to have that special sister bond, too!!



Summer Camp, Marvelously Made Style!

We are currently in the midst of our second summer camp session at Shelby's school. The picture below pretty much sums up how we all feel about it!

Shelby had her first week of camp at the end of June, and we're in the midst of her second week now. She has had an absolute BLAST at camp, but it has WORN US OUT! The camp runs from 9am to 1:30pm Monday-Thursday. I knew the 1:30 pickup time would be tricky for us since that's when I'm usually getting the girls ready for their naps, but I didn't think it would be that bad b/c it's only an extra 90 minutes longer than Shelby's typical school day {9am-noon}. Boy, was I wrong! The first week of camp, she practically had a melt down the entire drive home b/c she was so tired and wanted to be in her bed RIGHT NOW. This week has been much better b/c I think she knew what to expect, but it's still been hard on all of us. I race the girls home from camp, and I can usually have them both in their beds by 2:15. Then I need a good 20-30 minutes to collaspse on the couch and completely zone out before I can function again. ;) 

Shelby before her first day of camp--The Great Outdoors!

Totally didn't expect this, but I was so sentimental about packing her first "school lunch!" :(  This was the first time she'd ever eaten lunch away from me in a group setting. I wrote her a note in her lunch box b/c I remembered loving when my mom used to do that for me. I just knew Shelby was going to love having a note to surprse her! When I picked Shelby up from camp that first day, the first words out of her month were: "Guess what was in my lunch box?!" Naturally, I replied: "A note from Mommy! Did you like it??" Much to my surprise, she completely shot that down and said: "No, an ICE PACK! Can you believe it?? I had my OWN ICE PACK!" Who knew an ice pack could be so thrilling?!

While Shelby has been at camp, it's been fun to have some one-on-one time with Hadley. She literally talks non-stop all the time, but with Shelby gone she's been talking my ear off! We've had a lot of fun together!

Swinging like a big girl!

I used to take Shelby to storytime all the time in Biloxi starting when she was a baby, but we haven't gone much since we've moved here b/c the times conflict with our school schedule. We've been going a lot this summer though, and I've been amazed how still Hadley will sit & listen. She loves it!

Shelby & Hadley on the first day of our second camp session, Bubble Bonanza!

I don't even know what to say about their matchy-matchy poses here ;)

Summer camp means epic naps!

The time between when the girls wake up from their naps and when Derek gets home from work usually feels like an ETERNITY to me. It's never my finest hour in the patience department, but I always try to make sure the girls are from their naps by 4ish to get their afternoon "milk & story time," a somewhat healthy snack, some type of activity/playtime, and finally we make an afternoon trek to the mailbox together {aka time killer}. But I wised up after our first exhausting week of camp, and I have COMPLETELY thrown our afternoon routine out the window! They're napping late {4:30-5ish}, and we are spending our afternoons cuddled up on the couch together working our way through some Disney classics that we checked out from the library. :)

Even though our Shelby-girl will be turning FIVE in less than two months, we are immensely grateful that we have another year with her before Kindergarten. None of us are ready for the longer days quite yet! ;) 


On Being A Stay at Home Mama

Last year, Derek's mom gifted Shelby a Pre-K "jumbo workbook." Since there were so many new gifts at the time, we stored it away to be enjoyed later. Shelby stumbled upon the workbook a couple days ago, and we literally cannot pull her away from that thing. She LOVES it! She comes by it honestly though--my all-time favorite pasttime from childhood {other than playing Barbies for hours on end} is playing school with my sister. ;)  Whenever Shelby has a spare minute, she is spending it with her workbook. Anyhow, when Derek came home from work the other night, he walked into the kitchen to find Shelby showing me some of her completed workbook pages. After she showed me a page, I would "check" it for her and put a sticker at the top. She absolutely adores showing off her work to me! Derek about died laughing watching this exchange, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what he found so funny. He looked at me and said: "This is it! You've been winging this whole parenting thing for the past 4.5 years, but this is where you shine!" ;)  For those of you who may not know, I taught Kindergarten before staying home with Shelby, which is what his joke was referring to. :)

Derek's comment really got me thinking about how I am nearly FIVE years into this stay-at-homa mama gig. Five years?! How in the world did that happen? I can't even begin to put into words how much harder being a stay-at-home mom has been than I thought it would be. It is crazy hard, but crazy rewarding. The girls & I went to the pool today with Angela & Casey and their kiddos. In between yelling at kids to stop splashing each other and making sure no one drowned {going to the pool with 6 kids age 5 & under is no joke!}, Angela, Casey, & I were discussing how before having kids we would hear people say things about how parenthood was, but we couldn't appreciate it until we were in the thick of mothering young children. Motherhood is impossibly hard for 95% of the time and amazingly magical for the other 5%, and somehow that measly 5% is more than enough.

But hands-down the hardest part of being a stay-at-home mom for me has absolutely nothing to do with my kids. It's all in my head. Because reading the same children's books over and over and over again and playing "the sleep game" for the umpteenth time aren't exactly the most intellectually stimulating activities in the world, my mind has WAY too much time to wander, worry, and over-analyze every.little.thing. Am I pushing her too hard? Am I pushing her hard enough? Should I sign her up for soccer, or does she need more unstructured play time? I could literally go on and on, but I won't subject you to that kind of misery. As Derek always says when I express some of my craziest worries/concerns to him, it's not very fun to be inside my head sometimes. ;)

I read {THIS} post today, and it reminded me so much of how I feel about being a stay-at-home mama. But no matter how hard or long or trying my days at home with our girls are, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm so grateful to Derek for how hard he works {both at the hospital and at home} to make it all happen for us. "He has no idea how thankful I am to be in a front-row seat for our kids' lives, never missing a day, good or bad, and I'm in that seat because he put me there."


{Almost} Wordless Wednesday: This is What Summer Looks Like!

Wearing Mommy's UGA hat :)

Hadley's first time running through a sprinkler!
{Please excuse the trash cans & diaper pail in the background--these pics were taken the night before trash pick-up}

I couldn't find any pictures on my computer (ugh) of Shelby's first time running through the sprinkler, but thankfully I found where I blogged about it! Here's the {LINK} to a post about Shelby running through the sprinkler a couple months shy of her 2nd birthday.


Summer Reading + Ice Cream History 101

I know I've mentioned this before, but some of my very favorite posts to read on blogs are book reviews! It's so fun to get new book recommendations and to get a feel for what people's reading preferences are--it's like a little glimpse into who they are! Anyhow, since I love reading book posts so much, I wanted to continue sharing more of my "book reviews" here!

While we were at the beach, I re-read the Divergent series & really enjoyed reading them the second time around! Since we've been home, I've read two books that were new to me.

I first heard about this book from another blogger. She likened this book to Gone Girl, and since I enjoyed Gone Girl I figured this would be a good choice for me! I really enjoyed this book! It's got a super fast pace, and I couldn't put it down! Very suspenseful!

I'd never even heard of Donald Miller before reading this book. And this is definitely NOT a book I would ever pick up on my own, but another blogger recomended this one and it sounded interesting enough to me so I thought I'd give it a whirl. This book was just "eh" for me though. It's a relationship-y book--the tag line on the cover is "dropping the act and finding true intimacy." It's not solely focused on your relationship with your spouse/partner, but more on all relationships in general. There were a few "aha" moments for me in the book, but definitely not one of my favorite reads.

I've got a new author I'm looking forward to trying soon & I'm hoping to read another one of the Killing books in Bill O'Reilly's series since I enjoyed Killing Kennedy so much. I'm obsessed with checking books out from the library onto my Kindle lately, so much cheaper than buying them all the time! The only downfall is the wait list for some of the books can be kind of long, but the plus side is it keeps me looking ahead for new books to try!


And this is totally random, but when in the world is Blue Bell coming back to us?!?! Since the loss of Blue Bell, I came upon the strangest discovery. I was on the hunt for Edy's ice cream {before we made the switch to Blue Bell, that was always our go-to brand}, but I couldn't find Edy's ice cream ANYWHERE at HEB or Target. However, I did see ice cream with packaging identical to Edy's, but it was called Dreyer's. I thought it was so weird--how have I never heard of a brand called Dreyer's? And how weird is it that it looks exactly like Edy's but has a name that sounds so similar to Breyers? I consulted my good friend Google and was quite intrigued by the answer to my confusion! Apparently, two guys named Dreyer & Edy originally founded the ice cream company in California. In 1947, the partnership dissolved and the brand became known as Dreyer's ice cream. In 1981, the company expanded and readopted the name Edy's for all marketing in the Eastern US to not confuse customers with Breyers, which was already well established in that part of the country. So all of that to say, Dreyer's and Edy's are the same but Breyers is totally different. I had just never heard of Dreyer's b/c we've never lived this far west before. I also thought it was interesting that on Main Street in Disney World, they have an Edy's Ice Cream Parlor; but on Main Street at Disney Land, it's called Dreyer's Ice Cream Parlor. Has anyone else ever been baffled by this ice cream situation, or am I the only one who finds this interesting?! ;)  Either way, there's your ice cream history lesson for the day! :)


Life Lately

I can't believe I let almost two weeks go by without posting, this summer is flying!!

On June 30th, we celebrated eight years of marriage. In so many ways, I can't believe it's been eight whole years! It still feels like yesterday that Derek and I were doing the long-distance "thing" {he had already moved to Northern VA to attend med school while I was in GA teaching and going to grad school} and planning our wedding, and on the other hand it feels like that was a lifetime ago. Sooo much has happened since our wedding day--we've lived in 3 states, welcomed 2 babies into the world, finished med school & residency, and started a fellowship..whew! Our first few anniversaries were spent taking weekend getaways. This anniversary was spent putting kids to bed early so we could enjoy Chuy's takeout in peace, but we wouldn't change it for the world! On the morning of our anniversary, Shelby came running down the stairs to tell me about the recipe she created for our anniversary cake...talk about melting your heart!!!

Shelby wrote the recipe in pencil, so it was really hard to make out what she wrote in the picture. I tried to darken it some to make it more legible, but I think I might have made it worse..ha! Anyhow, here's the recipe: "Mix it well. 2 eggs, 3 cups applesauce, 100 chocolate chips, strawberries on top"

Another highlight from our life lately has been the Fourth of July! Derek got a whopping FOUR days off for the Fourth, and it was pure bliss! We packed so much fun into those 4 days, but of course I barely took any pictures b/c we were just enjoying it! We went to the children's museum one day, Aquatica (the water park at Sea World--we just got our membership a couple weeks ago, and we are LOVING it!), pool, watched the Women's World Cup, went to Sea World for fireworks, and I even managed to get some alone time one afternoon to do some shopping! :)

Here are a few random snapshots of our life lately, enjoy!!

I love this picture & the next one b/c this is what our life with kids is right now. The girls were taking turns getting on one another's nerves, and I was trying to get breakfast on the table as fast as I could but I had to keep stopping to mediate their squabbles. I was getting seriously hangry by this time and was about to lose it when Shelby asked Hadley to come sit with her while she read her a book. I can't even, the sweetness is just too much!!

I can't imagine anything sweeter than this!
There are no words ;)

We grilled out a couple times over the long weekend. Since we had the grill going, we had to have Smores! :)
Hadley was defintiely a fan!
Shelby loved roasting the marshmallows with Daddy, but she only ate the chocolate ;)
We spent a couple of days watching the Goins boys during Angela's checkups. I loved this picture of Adam & Shelby, sometimes I forget how big these kids really are until I see them in pictures! I still think of them as the little babies that first met at Keesler!

Happy Tuesday, Everyone! :)