. . . for Lauren and Lauren: November 2014

November 30, 2014

Top Five

dress: old navy   boots: dsw

1. Comfy outfit.  Sweater, leggings, boots.  Clearly a good choice for Thanksgiving meals.  

2. Cutest little Thanksgiving guest.  Last year was really fun, as it was our first Thanksgiving as a family of three.  But this year was even more fun, as Addilyn is so much more aware of things, gets excited and I'm sure it will keep getting better and better! 

3. Turkey Trot.  I've always wanted to do a race on Thanksgiving and was so excited when my sister said she'd do it with me.  It was freezing cold and after we picked up our packet, we went back to the car until the start of the race.  We joked how we should just go out to breakfast instead.  I'm really glad we didn't!  It really was the highlight of my day and so fun to do together.  I'm pretty sure we'll do it again next year.  

4. Fun with nieces and nephews.  I LOVE this week because it means lots of time with my family.  I hadn't seen my sister's kids since the summer and I couldn't love them more.  They are adorable, so fun and I love that Addilyn can say their names and loves playing with them.  

5. Horse riding.  This was probably the highlight of Addilyn's day.  My dad takes her out to see his horses all the time, but this was her first time really "riding" the horse.  This picture is my new favorite.  

And it wouldn't be a holiday post without a flashback to last year.  Never ceases to amaze me how much and how fast she is growing!

 Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!
Image Map

November 25, 2014

happy thanksgiving

I often take for granted all the blessings in our life and we are undeserving of all of them.  But God is so good and we have countless things to be thankful for this year.  For Chris' success in his job, the blessing to be able to stay home with Addilyn, family that lives close by, a happy marriage, a house we love, and our sweet Addi Jane.  

I am loving time with family this week, as my sister and her family, and my grandma are in for the week.  I plan on soaking up all of it.  Our Thanksgiving day, meals together, cutting down our tree, decorating for Christmas and spending time together.  

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Image Map

November 24, 2014

Family traditions and cozy mornings

sweatshirt: hanes   flannel: old navy   jeans: kohls   boots: amazon 

Fall and Winter traditions are my favorite.  My family is full of traditions and I love it.  Every year the day after Thanksgiving we go get our Christmas tree.  My whole family goes to the same farm we've been going to for years and cut down our own trees.  We take a tractor ride out to find a tree, cut it down and then eat homemade donuts there.  That day we spend time together, decorate the tree that night and eat deep dish pizza.  It is my favorite day of the year.  

When I got this Hanes sweatshirt in the mail I knew it'd make the perfect outfit for getting our tree. I'm layering it over my comfy flannel tee and new winter boots.  This sweatshirt is perfect because it's soft, has no annoying tags, is warm but not bulky and is only $12, so super affordable.  I also think it will be perfect to get it monogrammed and plan on sending it to my friend to do so soon!  With Hanes making fleeces for the whole family, the adults and kids could wear them to cut down our tree and be comfortable all day in them.  They come in basic colors and fun bright ones too! 

Hanes also sent me this zip up hoodie and I love it.  Like the other one, it's soft and cozy and perfect to wear with leggings and a long tank top.  

I've always been a homebody and have appreciated time at home together, but since having Addilyn I appreciate it even more.  I love weekends and the mornings are my favorite.  Since it's been cold Chris and Addilyn will make a fire together and depending on how well Addilyn slept the night before I will stay in bed a little longer.  I love coming out to the living room with them sitting on the floor watching the fire.  Spending cozy, slow mornings at home together has become one of my favorite things.   What makes it even better is to be in cozy clothes!

Hanes also sent Chris some sweatshirts, which he was thrilled to get something for him from my blog.  He's wearing this hoodie, and they also sent him this pullover and this zipup.  They come in lots of different colors and are super comfortable.  It'll also be perfect for him to wear to get our Christmas tree, and I'm sure he will wear it a lot!  They also sent this hoodie that I was hoping Addilyn could wear but it was way too big.  It's really soft and I love that it doesn't have any tags on it.  And I'm definitely putting it in her bin for next Fall when it fits! We attempted a family picture but Addilyn wasn't too cooperative so she's out. :) 

Hope you're enjoying some cozy moments at home with your family this holiday season!   

Image Map

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

November 23, 2014

Opposites eat

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target. All opinions are my own.  #TargetWedding

I know I shared many times that Chris and I couldn't be more different.  In our personalities, our tastes and many of our opinions.  This is even true in the kitchen, although thankfully I've come a long way since our marriage.  I now love fish, sushi and even slightly spicy things thanks to Chris.  If it were up to him everything would be doused in the hottest sauce imaginable.
One time in Mexico he took a taste of hot sauce at some sample store and was honestly squatting in the store, sweating and crying.  Yet said it was delicious.

Speaking of opposites, I'm sure like most men Chris could care less about the set up of Thanksgiving meal and decorations.  I on the other hand love decorating for seasons and special days.  If I could pick something new off of the Target registry to prepare for hosting Thanksgiving dinner I'd pick a new set of dishware, as we still have the ones we got ten years ago.  Chris on the other hand cares way more about the cooking part and would pick a new Calphalon stainless steel pan. 
Being opposites we have to compromise a little in terms of cooking.  My speciality is more in the baking department than in the cooking (again, opposite of Chris), but it's hard to find a dessert that we both love.  I often volunteer to bring the dessert, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls is perfect because Chris loves the salty peanut butter and I love the sweet chocolate. 

recipe and image from six sisters' stuff

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
16 oz. peanut butter
3/4 cup butter (softened)
3 3/4 cup powdered sugar
12 oz. chocolate chips (melted)

Mix the peanut butter, brown sugar and powdered sugar together.  Roll into 1 inch balls.  Place the dough in the refrigerator until cool.  

To melt your chocolate I've used two pans to make a double boiler, with water on the bottom and the melted chocolate on the top.  Dipping things in melted chocolate stresses me out because I feel like if you don't go fast enough your chocolate will harden, but this way it stays hot and melted the whole time! 
Dip the balls into the chocolate and set on wax paper to cool.  Keep in the refrigerator or even the freezer to eat later.  Serve it on a cute fancy new dishes and you're good to go! 

Being opposites does make us a good team.   He can cook the main dishes, adding spices to make them tastiers.  I'll bake dessert and set up the table.  All we need is some music playing on a Sonos Play wireless system.  Agreeing on the music may be an issue, but I think I win as Christmas music is a definite must on Thanksgiving!

Target registry makes is easy to get everything you need for your Thanksgiving meal and all holidays!  Tell me your favorite Thanksgiving dish in the comments below and you could win a $25 Target giftcard!  

Giveaway ends one week from today and winner will be picked randomly and contacted by email so make sure to leave your email address in the comments! 

Thanks for entering and Happy Thanksgiving!

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED and winner has been contacted.  CONGRATS Sara Howland!  

Image Map

November 20, 2014

Our front door

hello sign for front door

I shared this picture on instagram and a few of you asked about the wreath I made.  I LOVE our front door.  Painting it was the best decision.  It was kind of a pain, but cheap and completely worth it.  I love our front door and think it makes a huge difference in the look of the front of our house.  

My friend has a die cut machine and cut out the hello sign for me out of black vinyl.  I looked at a few tutorials on pinterest for the wreath and pretty much followed this one.  I had some jewelry wire I just used at the beginning and end of each burlap roll.  I used 2 1/2 rolls of burlap.  I bought those two little Christmas floral sticks and just stuck them into one of the loops and used wire to tie them at the top.  I thought it would take a long time, but probably took about an hour.  

burlap wreath
burlap wreath
That O is driving me a little crazy and needs to be moved up a bit!  
hello front door

I think I'll keep this wreath up for a long time and just change out the floral part for the seasons! These would probably be a good Christmas gift to give someone too, and cost under $15 to make. 

Image Map

November 19, 2014

In numbers

top: c/o sheinside    scarf: discovery   boots: discovery

TWO days in a row I wore this sweater

THREE days until my sister and her family gets here for Thanksgiving.  

FOUR. the number of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins I ate in one day last week.  

FIVE. the number of healthy days Addilyn has had in the last three weeks.  She always gets colds and it makes me dread this winter.   Last winter was rough and I'm worried we'll have a repeat.

EIGHT days until my favorite day of the year.  The day after Thanksgiving when we cut down our Christmas tree. 

FOURTEEN the high temperature yesterday.  I am not ready for freezing winter to start already. 

I was going to attempt to count the amount of Gilmore Girls episodes I've watched last week but that'd be a waste of time.  It's a lot.  It's so convenient to watch episode after episode on netflix, especially on my Intel tablet before I go to bed.  I'm already sad about finishing them all, which I'm sure will happen soon.  

Image Map

November 18, 2014

Things that make me cry . . . .

I should make a disclaimer that I promise I have weeks where I don't shed a tear.  Multiple weeks actually.  Then out of nowhere one thing leads to another and emotional overload.  Last week was proof: 

Hearing Christmas music in Target. 

Frustration over Addilyn's sleep struggles and the fact that she is sick again.   

This video of a dad who took a 15 second video clip of his daughter from birth to age 14.  

Feeling lonely and overly sensitive in regards to current friendships. 

Looking at these pictures of Addilyn, and thinking about how much I love her.  

This blog post sharing 35 moms bragging about their awesome mom skills.  

The rockettes dancing on the today show.

Yep.  Tears.  Real tears.  Clearly I am extremely excited for Christmas this year.  

Now give me something somewhat irrational that made you cry recently.  

Image Map

November 17, 2014

A special tee from a special boy

tee: LCF Threadz (Liam's Cancer Fund)   moccasins: freshly picked 

I've said it before but I truly mean it, that one of the best things about blogging has been meeting others and getting to know them.  I am often amazed at how many awesome woman there are out there, and in the last year feel like I've met some really amazing moms.  Moms that are strong, talented and sweet.  Dawn is one of them.  I commented on one of her instagram pictures saying how cute one of the shirts she made was and she messaged me that she wanted to make one for Addilyn. And I love it and can't wait for Addi to wear it on Thanksgiving day.

I figured we'd try the shirt out and take some pictures, so that I can share with you a little about Dawn and her family.

Dawn began her shop LCF Threadz in 2010, when her son Liam was diagnosed with cancer.  (You can read the story here.)  Spending more and more time at the hospital and at doctor's appointments hooked up to an IV, regular clothes got in the way and wearing just a onesies in the winter wasn't practical. So Dawn began making baby legwarmers for Liam.  Then several friends wanted pairs too.

Dawn was a former teacher, but quit as she needed to be with Liam as he was going through treatments.  She started her shop as a way to make some money for the hospital bills.  Sewing became her therapy.  She started learning to sew other things like carseat covers  and then soon started doing personalized shirts like the one she made for Addilyn.  She sets aside a profit from those sales to donate to CureSearch and uses the rest to pay for Liam's medical bills, who is currently doing great!

Dawn also has a daughter who is close in age to Addilyn, and I love following along with their family.  Plus Dawn is a marathon runner, which makes me love her even more.  I love sharing the word about Mom's shops, but especially ones that help support a need that I can't even imagine going through.

Dawn thanks for sharing your story with us!  You are such a strong, amazing mom to a super special boy! (And a your sweet Aubrey too!)  Thank you for the adorable shirt.  I LOVE it.

Check out Dawn's etsy shop here and facebook page here!  She has the cutest Christmas pjs and does lots of custom orders too!  

November 16, 2014

Mixed Emotions

I remember a lesson I would teach my third graders about mixed feelings.  We'd spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year talking about feelings and the importance of learning how to recognize feelings and be able to vocalize them.  There was one lesson where I spent time explaining how one event can bring a mix of feelings.  

How you could be really excited about something, but also anxious.  The start of the year can be exciting, but also nerve racking to be in a new classroom, with a new teacher.  Christmas can be something you look forward to, but maybe it's the first year without a grandparent around so it makes you sad too.

October 30th is a date that I will always remember.  It's the date we had our embryo transfer and got pregnant with Addilyn.  I shared this picture on instagram and wrote a little about my feelings for that day.  

I've gone through plenty of phases where it's been hard for me that I didn't get to get pregnant the "normal" way. That it involved medicine, shots, doctors, appointments, waiting and waiting and so much praying. But there is something special in that this day two years ago we saw our Addilyn as a tiny tiny dot magnified by 500 and witnessed even more so that God can do miracles. I'm teary eyed this morning as I think about where we were two years ago today. Praying that we'd get to meet this baby nine months later. October 30th will always be a reminder of a God's faithfulness and answered prayers. Extra thankful today for our miracle

The night Chris and I were talking about that date and he asked me if we transferred two embryos that day.  We did, which means only one of our babies made it.  Not that I forgot it, but I was mostly celebrating that day as it brought us our baby.  But it is hard to think about that fact that we had two babies.  To think about what our other baby would've been like.  If we would've had another girl or a boy.  If he or she would've looked like Addilyn.  I really can't imagine my life with twins, but everytime I see pictures of twins on instagram or facebook, I can't help but think about how we should have twins.  

I think about the other three embryos we also lost and how we have four little babies that we didn't get to meet.  

We're quite undecided as if we'd pursue IVF again, as there are so many hard things about it, but I also can't imagine not having any more babies.  Thinking about how we lost four babies in that process makes it so hard to think of doing that again.  

It's weird to have two such opposite feelings about the same event.  I celebrate October 30th as the day we saw Addilyn as a tiny dot that grew into our baby girl.  But I also feel sad thinking about the tiny dots that were our other babies.  

Sometimes I'm afraid that I shouldn't feel sad for those babies.  We have a perfectly beautiful and healthy baby girl.  Some people go through years and years of infertility and never get their baby. Minus my one which ended in an early miscarriage, they probably only lived a few days or a week or two.  I never saw them on an ultrasound or felt them move in my belly, but they were our babies. Our babies that we saw as tiny little dots.  

Life is messy and emotions are conflicting and sometimes the same thing can make you happy and grateful, but also sad.  I remind myself often that God used that experience to change me and grow me and I think He will continue to do so with whatever is in our future. 

Image Map

November 12, 2014

Weekend at the cabin

Last weekend Chris and I went up with some friends at their family cabin.  The cabin was almost five hours away and in the middle of nowhere.  I debated quite a bit about going, as I was worried about the long drive with Addilyn and her sleeping in a new place, when we already struggle with sleep.  It's really easy for my personality to come up with lots of reasons not to do things, and just stay home because it's easier.  I know motherhood will continue to teach me to be more flexible and I am learning that I don't want to miss out on experiences because it's a little harder.  

And Addilyn did great!  We left Friday evening and stopped for dinner and then drove the rest of the way.  We came back Sunday night after dinner at the cabin and drove the rest of the way.  Minus about 30 minutes of tears both trips she did great, and slept a good part of both ways.  

The cabin was really in the middle of nowhere.  It was a two mile drive just down the driveway to the house.  There was this huge stone fireplace and tons of windows that overlooked miles of woods and a little lake.  It was beautiful.  We brought lots of food, snacks and even made a few crafts while we were there.  We also spent some time outside wondering around, which Addilyn loved.  

 How she really feels about double kisses.
And my absolute favorite picture from the trip.  

It was so nice to have all that time together, and while I missed my daily episodes of Gilmore Girls it was a nice break from technology too.  It was relaxing and fun and great reminder for me to say yes to things!

Image Map