It’s that time of year…I officially packed up winter coats and snowpants.  I am still hanging on to mittens and hats, because Iowa weather can change 60 degrees over night.

Time to move sweaters over in the closet, and put tees and tanks front and center.  And the biggest closet space saver, switching boots out for sandals!  That is why it is the perfect time to shop Shopbop’s sale!

I came across an article that was promoting helping in the foster system.  It acknowledged that not everyone is called to open up their home to a foster child.  But even without taking a child in, there is SO, SO much you can do.

When I first welcomed little one in my home, it was hard.  Even though it wasn’t a “newborn”, we still welcomed a new child into our home.  I was given just under 24 hours to run to the store and get diapers, food and milk.  I went through HJ’s old clothes that “might” fit him (since I didn’t know his size), and threw them in the wash.  I put sheets in the trip and pulled out age appropriate toys.  A neighbor has kind enough to loan me some “toddler proofing items”, and another foster family gave me their baby gate.

I was also lucky enough that my community has a foster organization called Kaden’s Kloset.  I was able to go there and get a high chair, car seat, a few toys and clothes.  They even gave me a first night bag with pajamas, a stuffed animal and some diapers.

I felt ready with all the necessities, but trying to get a hang of a new schedule took a few more weeks.  I don’t think I cooked for 5 days.  I had a confused child who needed extra focused attention for a while.  I had a 7-year-old who was suddenly learning to be a big brother in a span of a day.  And as a mom of 2, I felt like my life was in chaos.

I even called a house cleaner.

Besides all the essentials new foster families might need, they also need things like your typical new moms do.  Volunteer to bring dinner, come over and hang out, offer to take the older child for a while.  My hardest things to get under control were meals and house cleaning.

After about a month, I felt like we were on a good, consistent schedule.  But then come other things… like out growing clothes :).

I was also lucky enough to be put in touch with an amazing photographer.  She recently took professional photos of little one, so I can give them to his mom for a Mother’s Day gift.

And I have met fantastic foster families that help with babysitting when I need it.

It truly does take a village to raise a child.

It’s December.  I mean, I am sure you knew that…but seriously.  How is 2016 almost over?  I am still writing 2015 on things.  Even HJ mentioned how fast the past year went.  Usually by this point, I have posted gift ideas, and deals from various places.  This year, it completely slipped my mind.

I keep meaning to post HJ’s annual interview, but keep putting it off until “maybe tomorrow”.

I am hoping my time off over Christmas will help me officially feel caught up on life.  Which sounds silly since I have all my Christmas shopping done, decorations out, and cards sent (for weeks now).  But it’s little things like, “Oh my gosh why are there so many clothes on my bedroom floor” and I keep forgetting to grab light bulbs at the store, so the mud room is pretty dark.  Also, my tv remote has been broken for three weeks.  Three weeks.  We have had the tv on the same damn channel for 3 weeks.  I have been to a store numerous times since then, but just forget to grab one.

Last week, I finally ordered a remote from amazon…and got an email today that something happened to the package while in route and they will reship soon.  (I wish they would say what happened, it has to be a good story.)  Looks like we will continue to watch channel 7 for a few more days.  Plus, once I get the package I am sure I will realize it needs remotes and have to get those at the store (which means I will continue to forget for a few more weeks).

I have also recently realized there are some days where cooking dinner just isn’t going to happen.  Like on Mondays.  HJ has a lego group that meets from 6-7.  There is no way I can pick him up, get home, cook, eat and back to school by 6.  So I am one of those moms that lets him eat a lunchable for dinner now.  Which is kind of silly since he doesn’t even like cheese.

On that note, cooking for a kid that doesn’t like cheese is weird…because I love cheese.  He also doesn’t like potatoes or eggs.  In the last year, he finally decided that pasta was ok…as long as there is no cheese.  However, he loves vegetables.  The kid ordered edamame for dinner before.

Anyone who has seen HJ since March knows this, but he hasn’t had a haircut.  I convinced him to trim his bangs once, but otherwise it has just been growing.  It was finally at ponytail length last week, and I got him to get it cut.  Just a trim!  To shape it! (actually the elf got him too) As soon as he agreed, I raced to a salon.  And he got it cut…I mean slaughtered.  You guys, he looked like Lloyd Christmas.  If you don’t know who that is, google it quick and come back.  We both cried.  I took him to a friend to try and salvage it.  It’s still not good, but better.  No pictures…he won’t let me.  But that pretty much guarantees I won’t force him to cut it for years.

That is all I will ramble on about for now, but I am hoping to get back into my normal routine soon.  Promise.

 

In case you were wondering, the countdown is on at our house.  33 days.  That’s it.  Which means, shopbop’s sale is here at the most perfect time!  From beautiful jewelry, cozy pajamas, and gorgeous bags, you can’t go wrong with a gift from Shopbop.

On my wish list, a Marc Jacobs handbag, a cute and casual top, and cozy pajamas.

The sale is going on now until 11/29 at 11:59 PST.  Make sure to cross some items of your list!

 

white-lace-red-roses-box-e1416272216252-414x414The best way to start the holiday season…with a GIVEAWAY!  (And yes, I am decorating this weekend for Christmas)

You know I love subscription boxes.  Clothes, makeup, jewelry, it’s always fun to receive a box full of goodies.  And now, there is a subscription services for lingerie.  Theenclosed.com is an awesome site, where you can pick your style, and they will surprise you with beautiful (or cute…or sexy) lingerie.  You can even gift a 1, 3, 6 or 12 month subscription.

Want to win a free gift from The Enclosed?  Leave a comment on this post! To receive another entry, tweet at me that you “want to win The Enclosed Giveaway”.  And a final entry?  Leave a comment on the instagram post about the giveaway!  The winner will be drawn at random on 11/14/2016.

 

**This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal**

In October, I took HJ out to get his 7 year pictures completed.  For the first time, we thought we would also try and include the dog.  I was nervous for a few different reasons: HJ’s hair is so long you can hardly see his eyes; negotiating him to wear jeans; if the dog would stay calm enough or be bouncy; me and my self esteem.

I was almost nervous to get the photos back.  But then I did, and I was/am SOOO happy with them!

This year, Lynn from Grace Captured took them.  She was fun to work with, and did an amazing job.  Just look…

untitled-5 untitled-50 untitled-79-copy untitled-92-copy untitled-9 untitled-14 untitled-18 untitled-28 untitled-36 untitled-59Oh, my little pumpkin is just so cute :), I even like his hair!  If you live in the Cedar Valley area, I highly recommend Grace Captured!

Past Photo Shoots…

Age 6

Age5

Age 4

Age 3

Age 2

Friday was HJ’s birthday.  One he has been counting down for months.  So, we had to make sure he had the best day ever.

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He woke up to a room full of balloons, and got ready for school.  We swung by dunkin donuts for a chocolate sprinkle donut..best breakfast for birthday kids :).  He walked to school with a container of cupcakes to share with his class, and it was only a half day of school.  At noon, I picked up HJ and his friend.  We went for Happy Meals, and played outside in the perfect weather.  Then, we had to pick up the cake for HJ’s party.  The bakery is ran out of a home, which is on a farm.  The farm has lot, and lots of cats.  So we stayed to play a while.  img_6956

Then, it was time to head off on our next adventure…Chuck E. Cheese.  The boys burned through their tokens in less than 30 minutes.  HJ opted to save his tickets, and did not take home a prize.

img_6963After that, we went to a park to burn off any energy that was left.

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We came home to get ready for HJ’s family party.  His nana, papa and great grandma were coming over for dinner and cake.  He picked out dinner, edamame and taco pizza.  Then, opened up his presents.  After presents, came cake.

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Safe to say, he was ready for bed shortly after.  We had a great day celebrating my favorite boy in the world!  Happy Birthday, sweet boy!

Hey Chicago what do you say Cubs are gonna win today:

“Hey HJ, do you know the cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908?  That is 108 years ago!  That’s older then nana, papa, even great grandma!  If they win tonight it is a huge deal!”

HJ looks at me with wide eyes. “Oh my gosh!  How old are the players?!?!”

He definitely thought the players from 1908 were playing last night.

Back in 2001, I went to my first pro baseball game.  I had an internship in Chicago, and a group of us went to the cubs game.  Half of our group was from England and Scotland.  They knew nothing about baseball.  We were trying to explain strikes, balls, etc.  And other fans kept looking at us with amused expressions on their faces.

I can’t imagine the fun that city is having today!

I’m not going to lie, I already have a handful of Christmas presents.  I usually start shopping in September.  And there may have been a few days where I have thought I really want to put up my Christmas tree.

So what a perfect time for Shopbop to have an amazing SALE!

You can’t go wrong gifting a beautiful, versatile handbag.  Or a beautiful necklace.

This sale goes from today until Friday, so make sure you don’t miss out on a fantastic way to save!  And if you are wondering what to get me for my birthday in a few weeks…I love Kate Spade.

after side

My neighbor had a friend getting rid of a dresser, and I was lucky enough to snag it up.  Looking at it, it was just fine on its own. But I can’t but help re-do things.  Even perfectly “fine” things.

I started by staining the top a deep cherry, and painted the sides a plain white.  The drawers are where things got crazy.

I took all the drawers out, and removed the knobs.  I picked out “Divine Pond” during a target run for the darkest color.  The bottom drawer was painted.  When I was sure I liked the color, I added some white to lighten it up a bit.  Then I painted the next drawer.  I continued that process until the top drawer, making sure the color changed ever so slightly to give the ombre effect.  Once that was dry, I screwed the knobs back in.  I love how it turned out, especially considering it was free!  I had all the supplies except for the paint from target, so the project was completed for less than $10.

Here is a little side by side comparison:

PicMonkey Collage

What fun projects have you all been working on?