Thursday, July 20, 2017

Engageversary

Five years ago on July 20, 2012 my best friend walked me behind the UGA chapel to the chapel bell and asked me to spend the rest of his life with him. 
I am so thankful for the way the Lord has written our story over the last five years. I couldn't imagine living this life with anyone else other than Adam. 
Happy "Engageversary", Ad!







Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Favorite Podcasts

This summer I have really gotten into listening to Podcasts. I listen a lot in the car but I also listen almost daily during nap time while I'm trying to get stuff done around the house. I thought I would round up my current favorites and ask for more recommendations from you--so if you have any others that you listen to let me know so I can add them to my list!


This one is pretty much a given. These girls are amazing. I feel like every other podcast I listen to disappoints me a little because they will never be as good as Risen Motherhood.  Some of my favorite episodes are:

*Ep. 04 | Resources to Teach Your Children About Jesus
*Ep. 09 | Social Media, Comparison, and Motherhood
*Ep. 15 | When Quiet Times Aren't Quiet


This is one of my favorites for road trips, mainly because they are mostly an hour long! I love this podcast because of the real conversations with influencial people. I love getting a more indepth view of someone that I already "know" through social media. I have also discovered some really amazing people that I didn't even know existed before hearing them on The Happy Hour. Some of my favorite episodes are:

*Happy Hour #82: Shay Shull
*Happy Hour #118: Emily Ley
*Happy Hour #126: Sazan Hendrix
*Happy Half Hour #28: Shay Shull
*Happy Hour 137: Lauren Scruggs Kennedy
(There is also an episode with her mom that I really want to listen to!) 


This is one that I randomly found through Pinterest but I am SO glad I did. Nicole and I had been having this conversation about the word "blessed" and how it really bothered us with the way that people throw the word around so casually without really understanding the meaning of the word. The Upside Down Podcast addresses this same conversation in one of their episodes and it was SO good. Here are a few of my favorite episodes:

*Episode 03- Hashtag Blessed
*Bonus Episode: All About Adoption
*Episode 22- Social Media in an Upside Down World


This is one I just started listening to recently thanks to Nicole! I have only listened to a couple of their episodes but they are so great. Over the last couple of years Adam and I have been on serious mission to simplify our home and life in general. I wouldn't say we are minimalists but we are definitely headed in that direction. Not necessarily minimalists for the sake of having less stuff but more so for the sake of having only meaningful things in our home/lives. This podcast addresses so much of that and it has been really great for me to listen to and hear people who just "get" it!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Q+A [part 2]

Yesterday I answered the first round of questions and today I am back to answer the rest! It's fun to hear what you guys have questions about and have loved sitting down to answer them. This second round ended up having much longer answers so bare with me as you read through them ; )

1. Any tips for transitioning from 1-2 babies?
I got this question a lot! When I got pregnant with Shep Bennett had just turned a year old (he turned one on Dec. 4th and I found out I was pregnant on Dec. 31st). I was never really that worried about having kids close in age but for some reason a lot of people around me were haha! When Shep was born Bennett was 21 months old. Having two kiddos in diapers and two under two was not nearly as bad as people had made it out to be. I actually love that I had my kids close in age. I think the biggest thing for me when I had Shep was being okay with receiving help from people. At first I felt guilty for spending so much time with Shep snuggled up on the couch while everyone else was tending to Bennett but I realized that that's what I needed to do in the beginning. After a couple weeks I was able to ease into taking care of both of them full time. We kept Bennett's schedule as normal as possible (he still went to daycare 3 days a week when I was home on maternity leave) and I think that helped him a ton. With him being so young I think he had an easier time becoming a big brother and having to share his mommy because he didn't really know any different. Of course there are times where it is overwhelming to have two little ones but overall it has been great!

2. Where did the boy's names come from?
Surprisingly coming up with names is something Adam and I really struggled with during both pregnancies. Anything I liked he hated and vice versa. For some reason I always wanted to have a name picked out before we found out the gender so that I would immediately be able to call them by name. With Bennett we went back and forth a lot on his name. Finally one day I was looking through a Pottery Barn Kids magazine and saw the name "Bennett" on something. I asked Adam if he liked it and for the first time he actually said yes! It just felt right and we both loved it. We thought it was original since we had never met any other Bennetts but of course as soon as he was born he had 2 Bennetts in his church class and 2 at daycare ha! We still love his name though and it fits him perfectly! 

When it came time to pick a name for Shep we had thrown around some different names that we liked for both genders but never really fully decided until after we found out he was a boy. I remember sitting in the waiting room after our ultrasound while we waited to see my midwife and I looked at Adam and I was like "we have to pick a name now!" I just had to call him by name!! We both knew we had always loved the name Shep (first time I heard the name was from one of the founders of Vineyard Vines, although people like to ask if he is named after Shep on Southern Charm....negative ha!) but also knew that wasn't a "proper" name. We loved the idea of giving him a strong Southern name and using Shep as a nickname. The name Harrison was something that was also on our list so we decided to just combine the two. We know he may hate us later on for going by his middle name but we think Shep is perfect for him.

3. What is your skin care routine?
This was also something I was asked about a lot, which made me laugh. I do love taking care of my skin and it's something I actually do a lot. For starters I only wear make up if I absolutely have to. I also always wear SPF moisturizer whether I have on makeup or not. If I did wear makeup during the day I ALWAYS take it off ASAP when I get home. I use a Makeup Eraser to take off my makeup and I swear it's the greatest thing ever. I used to use makeup remover wipes but I never have to buy those now! As far as washing my face, I use my Clarisonic Mia in the shower a couple times a week with face wash. I actually don't have great skin so this is why I'm so crazy about taking care of it. I break out easily and have oily skin. That's why I like being pregnant so much because my skin actually looks great haha!

4. Any tips for pregnancy?
In the spirit of full transparency, I'm not exactly the best pregnant person. I didn't work out, I probably didn't drink enough water, I didn't give up caffeine, and I certainly didn't take my prenatal vitamins as much as I should so I don't have many tips in that area. I did however take a lot of naps! I think for me just being relaxed and not stressing about things really made a big difference for me. 

5. Do you have any tattoos?



I do! I have two. The first one I got on my wrist when I was 20. My brother and I got matching ones, "family" in cursive. The second one I got with Nicole. We had both been in a really rough season (her dealing with infertility and me dealing with our miscarriage) and we both wanted to do something fun that would help us remember this particularly rough season. We both felt like our relationships with Jesus had been strengthened so much by the trials we went through and the words we had inked into our skin were representative of that. So one random weekend in October of 2015 while Adam, Bennett, and I were in Mississippi we made it happen! ~Fun fact: the font of my tattoo is the same font I use for my blog name~

6. How do you budget being a teacher and having 2 babies?
I'm sure it's no surprise to y'all but teachers aren't exactly rollin in the dough. My husband works in non-profit ministry so he certainly isn't either. Which is why budgeting and staying on top of our finances is something that we are really serious about. We currently use the Every Dollar app to budget and it has been a game changer for us. We track every single dollar that comes into our account and every dollar that goes out. We know exactly how much money we have in different categories and it really helps us to maintain our budget, as well as save as much as possible. We also get our side hustle on constantly ha! I love selling stuff on our local garage sale Facebook pages and we both use apps like Ibotta to earn extra money. We have definitely embraced a more minimal lifestyle since having kids and have had to really prioritize our spending. I actually love the way we have simplified our lives and don't feel like we've had to miss out on anything because of it. We definitely can't go out and buy whatever we want or take extravagant vacations right now but we know we are building a financial legacy for our family that will outlast any temporary material object. We also feel very passionate about living a debt free life. If we need to put it on a credit card we probably don't need it. That's not to say we have never or will never use one it's just not something that is a part of our every day spending habits. I'd love to do more posts about this topic since it's something we really enjoy so let me know if you'd like to hear more in depth about it. 

If you made it this far, thank you for reading! Also, thank you to those of you who took your time to ask these questions. I have really loved being able to connect with all of my readers on a more personal level : )

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Q+A [part 1]

A while back I made an Instagram story asking for any random questions people might have. I got a ton of questions and then never sat down to actually answer them SO I went back to IG to see if there were anymore questions before I finally got around to doing this :)

1. Is your new house in a neighborhood or on land?
We are building in a neighborhood but our house will sit on almost 2 acres. It's out in the country which we are so excited about. Our anticipated closing date is November 2nd. We're excited to be moving in right in time for the holidays!

2. Will you still live in Athens once you move?
We are actually moving out of Athens to the next county over. We will be in an amazing school district and we will be about 10 minutes from the new school I'll be working at. We will also be closer to my parents and to the lake so we are super excited about the relocation!

3. What kind of car seats do your boys have?
Both boys have Maxi Cosi Pria 70's (currently 20% off at Nordstrom). We LOVE these seats. They are super comfortable and easy to install. They are bulky so if you have a smaller car (even a smaller SUV) they probably wouldn't work well, especially rear facing. We luckily have captain's seats in the middle that we can move back so Shep can rear face and not have to move the front seat up a ton. 

4. What kind of car do you drive?
I drive a GMC Acadia. I love this car so much! We have had it for about a year and a half and I never want to drive anything else. It's the perfect size! Three full rows with tons of room but doesn't feel as big as driving a Tahoe (which is what Adam drives). 

5. Do y'all want more kids?


Right now, no. In a few years, probably so. I know Adam is fine with having just the two boys but he also knows my desire to have more so we'll continue praying about it and see how our family grows from here. I definitely think adoption is something that we would consider when the time is right.

6. How did you potty train Bennett?
I definitely do not think I am a potty training expert by any means BUT I was surprised with how easy potty training went for us. For one I waited until I knew Bennett was ready. It was never something I forced on him. We have had a little potty in his bathroom for a little while and put him on it but never got very serious about it until this summer. When I decided to go for it I knew it would be hard work. I read a few different methods and just kind of meshed them together for what would work for us. For the first 3 days he went completely without pants, no underwear, no diaper, no pull up (except during nap/night time he would wear a pull up). He wore a bigger shirt that covered him up and we just went about our day as usual. I put him on the potty every 30 minutes for the first day and then gradually increased the time between each trip. By the third day he was waiting 2 hours between trips. Each time he sat on the potty he would get an m&m. This was huge motivation for him. We stayed home pretty much exclusively for the first week with the exception of a couple necessary outings. By the end of the week he was able to wear underwear all day without accidents. As long as I stay on top of him about it he does great. We are still working on him wanting to go #2 on the potty. He is not quite sure about that yet and doesn't want to sit long enough for it to come out. I know he will catch on to it when he's ready. For now I just encourage him to sit longer each time until he eventually poops. We are still doing pull ups during nap and nighttime and don't see that changing until he is much older and consistently staying dry at nap/night time.

7. How do you meal plan?
Adam is the cook in our family. I am not very good at it and don't really enjoy it and he is really good at it and enjoys it so it works for us. We plan meals together every Sunday for the upcoming week and always grocery shop on Sundays after church. We have a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market that is actually really nice (not like regular WM at all!!). We shop there so we can use the Wal-Mart Savings Catcher App. Another awesome app we use is the OurGroceries app. Adam and I can add things to our combined list throughout the week and then on Sundays when we shop we know exactly what we need. We used to meal plan for the entire month and would have certain types of meals on certain days (Monday=pasta, Tuesday=chicken, etc.) but we have found it much easier to budget when we shop weekly.



8. Do you still use Moms on Call?
YES!! I am a MOC freak. I love it so much and refer to it for EVERYTHING. We currently use their baby+toddler combined schedule and it works so perfectly for us right now. I love that I always get two hours of uninterrupted time during the day when they are BOTH napping at the SAME time! I have the books downloaded to the Kindle app on my phone and probably reference it once a day for something. I use the Moms on Call methods for everything from sleep training, to feeding, to transitioning out of the crib, and everything in between. For us, structure, stability, and routine have been instrumental in raising our boys. 

Thanks for sending so many awesome questions, check back tomorrow for part 2! If you have any other questions you want me to add leave them in the comments :)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Shep [10 Months]


Sweet Shepy is 10 months old! I can hardly believe we are so close to his first birthday. Time slow down!! This past month we have seen a huge developmental leap with Shep. He is moving all over the place and really starting to play with Bennett. Their little relationship is so cute. I sold a ton of our baby stuff this month and while I'm glad to have less things taking up space in our house it truly makes me sad that we don't have a need for it.. for a while anyway :)

Weight/Height: 21 lbs, 28 1/2 in.

Hair: blonde!

Clothes: Mostly 12-18m and some 2t



Diapers: Size 4

Sleeping: Shep sleeps a solid 12 hours each night and naps twice a day usually for about an hour and a half-two hours each time. He's a great sleeper!

Likes: EATING, playing with Bennett, playing in the pool, oh and did I mention EATING? Ha!


Dislikes: Not much makes this sweet boy mad. Even with two teeth popping through up top he has still be the sweetest baby.

Eating: Shep has 2 bottles of formula a day, one in the morning and one at night. He has two sippy cups of formula during the day, one at 10:30 am and one at 3:30 pm. He has breakfast at 8am, a snack at 10:30am, another snack at 3:30pm, and dinner at 5:00pm. Needless to say, our boy eats non-stop. He loves every single food we give him and yells for more when he is finished!


Milestones: Shep is walking everywhere with his walker. It won't be long until he is walking on his own, which I am not okay with!!

Baby Items We Can't Live Without: Space saver high chair, Fisher Price walker, and toys!


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What's Up Wednesday [June 2017]



[WHAT WE'RE EATING THIS WEEK]
With me being out of town all last week and eating out a ton more than I normally do I have enjoyed eating at home almost every meal. Adam and I did sneak away for a little anniversary dinner celebration. We ate at the restaurant we ate at the night we got engaged so it was super special :)

[WHAT I'M REMINISCING ABOUT]
My trip to Mississippi last week! Shep and I had the BEST time with Nicole, Campbell, and Crawford! We missed Adam, Bennett, and Tyler but it was so fun to have our three littlest babies together for a few days.








[WHAT I'M LOVING]
I have been super into podcasts lately. I listened to them the entire way to and from Mississippi. My favs right now are Risen Motherhood, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, and boring but...I've been loving the Dave Ramsey podcast, ha!

[WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO]
Potty training! We have been holed up at home for the last little bit and so far so good! I'm definitely no expert, and we haven't barely left the house yet, but I'm glad he's catching on. 



[WHAT I'M DREADING]
Nothing really right now..other than cleaning up the massive disaster of toys the boys are currently creating ha!

[WHAT I'M WORKING ON]
I've been trying to go through all of our stuff and make keep, donate, sell piles before we move. My mom and I are having a garage sale this week and then the remainder will be donated. I am excited to move with just the things we need! We're still in our house for a few more months but while I'm home for the summer I figured I'd get a head start on everything.

[WHAT I'M EXCITED ABOUT]

This next school year I am changing schools yet again! This time though I am finally exactly where I want to be and don't plan on leaving anytime soon. I am super excited to get in my classroom and get everything organized and ready for back to school. Fully enjoying my summer home with my boys right now though!

[WHAT I'M WATCHING/READING]
I've been watching Southern Charm (Charleston and Savannah) but the seasons ended last night, Counting On, and the Today Show (loved seeing Shay and Kennsington on there earlier this week!). Surprisingly I haven't really been into the Bachelorette this season..way too many other shows going on and just haven't had the time. 

[WHAT I'M WEARING]
Let's be honest, I'm basically living in my Lululemon track shorts but when I get "dressed up" I have been loving THESE shorts from American Eagle with cute tops. 

[WHAT I'M DOING THIS WEEKEND]
Our town is having fireworks Saturday night so we will definitely spending a lot of time downtown this weekend. I'm sure we'll have dinner somewhere and let the boys run around and play. Our church is currently taking a summer sabbath so we don't have church for the next two weeks. If the weather cooperates I would love to have breakfast downtown Sunday morning.

[WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH]
This probably doesn't sound very exciting to most people but I am super excited about July because Adam and I reconfigured our budget and found some areas where we can significantly cut back and it just has me excited for the potential to save more $ and continue paying off debt (dang you master's degree student loans!)

[WHAT ELSE IS NEW]
Shep is on the move! He is pulling up on everything, cruising along the furniture, and walking with his walker. I know it won't be long until he's chasing his big brother around everywhere! 

[BONUS: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOURTH OF JULY TRADITION]
We typically spend the weekend at the lake, watching fire works, and dressing the babies in their best red, white, & blue. I'm interested how Shep handles fire works. Bennett loves them but Shep has never seen them before so we'll see! 

and a little patriotic throwback for fun! I can't wait to see Shep in this jon jon this year!



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Shep [9 Months]

Our sweet Harrison Shepard is NINE months old. I am forever wishing he would quit getting older. He is mama's little baby and I do not want that to change! I cannot believe how close we are to his first birthday and that I am already having to think about that. This has been such a fun month with Shep. He has learned so many new things!

Weight/Height: 21 1bs, 28 1/2 in

Hair: Our sweet Shepy is starting to get a lot more hair! He's so cute with his bed head in the mornings.


Clothes: Mostly 12 month

Diapers: Size 4

Sleeping: Shep usually goes to sleep around 6:45pm and wakes up around 7:00am. He takes 2 long naps, one in the morning and one after lunch time, then he takes another shorter one in the late afternoon sometimes.


Likes: Shep loves playing with his toys, snuggling with his mama, and laughing at his brother.

Dislikes: Someone not coming to get him out of his crib the second his eyes open in the morning ;)


Eating: Shep has four 8oz bottles/day, 1-2 jars of baby food, and finger food snacks. He has started weaning himself from his bottle and is wanting his sippy cup more during the day. He loves to eat but I am having to be very careful about what I give him because of his dairy and soy allergies. We are going to do a full food allergy evaluation at his 1 year appt. so until then we will just stick simple foods. So far he has been enjoying bananas, steamed carrots, and some bread!

Milestones: Shep is officially crawling and pulling up! He has 2 (bottom) teeth and working on his top 2. I have also been working with Shep on baby sign language. He has "more" down perfect!


Baby Items We Can't Live Without: I feel like we used our high chair a lot this month. Shep is starting to eat more finger foods so he is sitting longer in his seat. He drinks his day time bottles/sippy cups in his high chair. We also pulled out a few of Bennett's old toys and Shep is loving them, especially the "mobile office" as we like to call it ; )


Friday, May 26, 2017

Shep [8 Months]

I've had this post sitting in my drafts pictureless for a few weeks so now that I actually have a second to work on blogging I figured I better get this one up before Shep turns 9 months old!

 I feel like every month I cannot believe he's getting older. I want him to stay a baby forever! It's funny because a lot of people say that they don't baby their 2nd child as much but I am the opposite. I baby Shep so much and am really emotional about him getting older. We celebrated Shep's 8 month birthday at the beach this past weekend (same place BT turned 7 months!)



Weight/Height: Not sure. We go back to the dr next month for his 9 month check up.

Hair: Still growing!! He has a few pieces that stick over his ears and curl up and they are the CUTEST.

Clothes: 9-12m

Diapers: Both boys are in size 4 (which is hilarious to me...)



Sleeping: Shep had a couple rough weeks of sleep this month but is thankfully back on track! He is sleeping a solid 12 hours each night and naps 3x/day. His morning nap is usually an hour and a half, his mid-day nap is usually 2 hours, and his late afternoon nap is usually a cat nap about 30 minutes.

Likes: Playing with his brother, playing on his mat with all his toys, sleeping, and snuggling!

Dislikes: Not being able to crawl yet! It drives him nuts. He is SO close but just hasn't quite figured it out.



Eating: Shep has four 8oz bottles and baby food 3x/day. I haven't tried any table food with him yet but I'm sure we will soon.

Milestones: Shep has started pulling himself up to his knees in his crib. He is also able to go from his stomach to sitting. I know crawling and pulling up are just around the corner.

Baby Items We Can't Live Without: Play mat and all his toys!


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Shep [7 Months]

Shep turned 7 months old on April 7th! We had the best month with Shep. He is growing so fast and seems to be learning something new every day. He probably had the best month of his life thus far, as he was healthy the entire month (including eczema) !!

  

Weight/Height: 20lbs, 27in 

Hair: Still growing some hair! It's all blond and seems to be thin (don't think he got my thick hair like Bennett..)

Clothes: Shep is wearing mostly 9-12m with some 12-18m in shirts (#BigBelly).


Diapers: Size 3 but can wear 4's too (found that out when I ran out of 3's and put one of Bennett's 4's on him...so we might just move on to 4's so the boys are in the same size)

Sleeping: Shep is FINALLY sleeping 12+ hours. His eczema has cleared up SO much and I know this is the reason he is finally sleeping well. He is starting to teethe some so I'm sure there will be more sleepless nights in our future so we are enjoying the sleep while we can!


Likes: Snuggling with mommy, his lovie and blanket, playing on his play mat, watching his brother do anything!

Dislikes: It's so hard for me to ever think of anything Shep dislikes...he's that happy!


Eating: Shep has four 8oz bottles a day and eats baby food 3x/day. I will start introducing some finger foods soon!

Milestones: Babbling and making lots of noises, first beach trip, sleeping through the night (for the first time since he was 3 months old!!!!)



Baby Items We Can't Live Without: Bibs, play mat, boppy, exersaucer, lovie/blanket, sophie the giraffe (or any other teething toy).



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Homemade Baby Food

Before Shep was born Adam and I talked about making his baby food. It was something both of us thought would be fun but also would help save some money. Once Shep got here and we realized all of his allergies it was a no brainer for me to make his baby food at home. For one, I would know exactly what I was feeding him and two, it would help offset the outrageous cost of his hypoallergenic formula.

We started with squash and then moved on to pears, sweet potatoes, apples, and bananas. I've had a few people ask how we've made certain things so I thought I would just put a few of them in one post. As I make things I will add them here.

So far, squash is the most time consuming to make. It's not hard just takes a bit longer than the other foods so far.

This weekend I made some apples so I thought I'd share the process and explain the steps that go into making baby food at home.

Equipment needed:
Blender (we use the Ninja blender that comes with Nutri Ninja cups)
Ice cube trays
Freezer size Ziploc bags
Small containers (I'll show the ones we use below)

Making apples is one of the easier foods to make and takes very little time.

I start by putting a pot of water on the stove to boil. Then I peel and core all the apples. I use anywhere from 5-7 apples.


Then I cut them into chunks and put them in the boiling water, covered, for 6-8 minutes.



While the apples are softening I will usually put in a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher, etc. just to pass the time. I try to make food during nap time so I can do other things while I'm making it and not have to worry about the kids needing something.

Once the apples are done I drain them.


Next step is to use the blender to puree the food. We have been using the Nutri Ninja cups that came with our Ninja blender and they have worked great.

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Once everything is blended up I just fill up a few ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap, and put them in the freezer.

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I let them sit over night and then move the cubes into freezer size Ziploc bags. Here's an example with some other food I already had in the freezer.

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Every night when I'm getting the boy's stuff ready for the next day I will take a few cubes (usually 2-3) and put them in containers for the next day. I pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds to thaw them and then store in the refrigerator.

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Honestly, it's so stinkin easy and saves SO much money!!