That rug really tied the room together | Warming up our home with Rugs Direct

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Rugs Direct, a specialty online retailer of decorative area rugs, but all opinions expressed are my own.

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When we moved into our home, it was covered in baby blue shag carpet and like two inches deep! The previous owners had already pulled up a lot.. but it was still all over. We’re talking in the closets, on the stairs, channeling that blue song from the early 2000’s kind of feels. But under all that shag were gorgeous hardwood floors in immaculate condition! We quickly learned though, that all of that hardwood made for a loud, echoey, and cold space. Not just temperature cold, but there was something missing.

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We started adding rugs, but discovered that we were getting the wrong rugs for us. I remember our first was this thick black and white rug that was just felt too intense for me. As our tastes changed and we added more babies, we got more of a feel for what we liked and wanted in our space. We liked pretty, but we also needed to start focusing on the practical.

The Pahls Family

The Pahls Family

I originally learned about Rugs Direct through Instagram. I entered a giveawayand won! That’s one of the best feelings! It was a lovely rug which we got questions about all the time. I’ve linked it here . It didn’t take long for me to learn that I needed less. The rugs we bought at first were bold and had a lot of colors and contrasts. I learned that I wanted something more simple for our space. Something that would add warmth, would be easy maintenance and give off the cozy feel that I want people to feel in our home.

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We have this area in our bedroom that kind of feels like a walkway. And it felt so empty. I knew I wanted a rug that was thick, with lots of texture, and neutral colors that would go well with our bedroom. We had a different rug in this spot previously that was pretty, but just did not fit in here. I gifted it to a friend and recently visited her home and it looked amazing in her hallway! Side note: If you’re no longer feeling your rugs or other decor, but they’re in good condition, gift them to friends! It’s such a fun feeling to change your space and get to help someone change theirs at the same time! I love seeing items we have previously loved being loved by someone new!

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Anyways, I saw this one and knew it was the one. Our bedroom has so many warm creams and beiges that it needed something that would match, but not be the same colors. This rug has cooler yellow and sage tones which compliments the wood floors, oatmeal bedding, baskets and leather in our room. It warms up the space so well and made this area feel so much more cozy! I love getting out of bed and walking on it. The textures are so nice to me.

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Bohemian Collection by Safavieh

This particular Bohemian collection is an all-organic, biodegradable and recyclable, hand-knotted in India, and harvested only from Cannabis Sativa (commonly known as the true hemp plant). It’s a quickly renewable resource that excels in length, durability, anti-mildew and antimicrobial properties. So, she’s pretty, but also really  kind of amazing thinking about how much work has gone into such a piece.

The Pahls Family

We have several Jute rugs in our home, and while I love the look of jute, you know the cons if you have one. They’re beautiful and durable, but they stain easily, shed, and are pretty dang itchy. I have found that they work best in high traffic areas like a landing or an area like an office or under a bed where you can see them but not have to sit on them necessarily. They add such a warmth to a space, but are not great if you’re going to be spending lots of time sitting and playing on them.

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We originally had this beautiful bleached Jute rug in the girls’ room, and while I loved the look of it, it just wasn’t cozy to sit and play on. The girls spend so much time in this space and every time I would sit t play with them, I would think about how uncomfortable it was and stand up to find my clothing covered in jute fibers. We needed something much softer and that wouldn’t shed on us.

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Confetti Rug by Colonial Mills

I stumbled upon this Confetti Rug and loved it! It had that beautiful braided and classic look of Jute, but it’s made up of chenille and cotton. It’s so soft and the textures, colors, and oval shape are the perfect compliment to the girl’s room. The soft chenille fibers, soothing colors and reversibility really makes this an amazing rug for a nursery or child’s room. I’ll say that again, this bad boy is reversible! I maybe spilled a cup of coffee and while I got most of it out, I went ahead and flipped her upside down and now she looks brand new!

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They had several colors, but this one had sweet pops of this gorgeous tan and it instantly made me think of our 3 year-old daughter.

The Pahls Family

Our home is made up of lots of neutral colors, with layers of whites, creams, wooden tones and, in one room in particular, LOTS of oranges:D If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that our 3 year old loves the color orange like her momma loves the coffees.

The Pahls Family

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I had originally picked out this rugfor our school room, but it only took about a week with it in that space to realize I had these rugs in the wrong rooms. I switched them and moved the Confetti rug to Ada’s room and it fits this space perfectly!

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Did I mention how well it softens the sounds of towering blocks being knocked down:D

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I’m no genius or interior decorator… But here’s what I’ve learned about rugs. Get what you like and what works for your home. Get a rug that makes your space feel how you like it. Sometimes we’re quick to get a rug because we see someone else have it on social media, which isn’t necessarily wrong, but be sure to invest in what you really like and what’s most comfortable for you and your family!

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Get a rug that is both pretty AND practical! We learned this the hard way! Norah and Charlie, our two oldest, wanted a super fluffy rug. The first one we got was synthetic and had such a strong and overpowering chemical smell, we felt sick and had to send it back. So research the materials and make sure you’re ok with them. We then returned it for the fluffiest white wool rug I could find. And it was beautiful… But NOT practical! That thing was soft, but it swallowed up little toys and barbie shoes and I probably stepped on a sharp little something hiding in its untamable mane every day. Also, no matter how much I vacuumed, that stuff collected dust bunnies, seemed to multiply like bunnies, and there were wool clumps all over our home! And I’ll never forget finding an orange crayon that had made it’s way to the bottom, been mashed up, and melted, and well… that was not a rug we were able to gift:D

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I have learned what kind of rugs I want in our home. Something with neural colors and made with mostly natural materials, that can be cleaned easliy and hide coffee stains well, that is soft and enjoyable to play on, run on, wrestle on, maybe even make some babies on:D  A rug has a classic and timeless look, but doesn’t need to be combed or deshedded like a dog, that is friendly to our vacuum, and where lots and lots of memories can be made!

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There are so many different kinds of rugs and rug shopping can be overwhelming! I’m currently trying to choose a few more and it has literally taken me months to decide:D However, I hope you found this to be helpful and I am happy to answer any questions if you have any! I also have a giveaway happening right now on INSTAGRAM you can be a part of. Head on over for more details and maybe win a rug of your own! Thank you friends for being here and reading, and thank you RugsDirect for helping us cozy up our home!

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Several Photos in this blog are by Bethany Meysenburg andKaleyFromKansas.

Hacking laundry with Whirlpool

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(Disclosure: The following post was sponsored by Whirlpool. I received product and compensation, but all opinions expressed are my own.)

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As a home-educating mother of 4, it feels like we are always on the go. Did I mention our four children are all little ladies under the age of 7?! If you have children, you know this means that they each wear about a load of laundry a day:D  I absolutely love our days at home, but I am also all for the little life hacks that can save time and simplify our lives right now!  I’m not sure if it’s I’m still recovering from the holidays or it’s just this season of life, but it definitely feels like there is more to do and less time to do it. Anyone else? Is this just part of motherhood? Anyway, I was beyond stoked when we got the new Whirlpool® Smart Front Load Laundry Pair with Load & Go™ XL Plus dispenser a few months back.

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The features are beyond cool! For example, The Whirlpool® Smart Front Load Laundry Pair with Load & Go™ XL Plus dispenserallows you to pre-load detergent and fabric softener for up to 40 loads, meaning you can skip a step with this beautiful, time-saving feature! Being able to pre-load our detergent and save a little time is so lovely!

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Plus, many of these features make it easier for the girls to help me. They think the touch screens are the coolest thing, and they aren’t wrong. The imagery makes it easy for the girls to follow directions and they truly enjoy helping with the laundry as much as they can!

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The girls have truly enjoyed helping me with laundry since we started using our Whirlpool washer and dryer! We can save our favorite settings, and I can simply have the girls push the onscreen button, which they get so excited about,  and it’s that easy to get our laundry started. We are truly grateful for this beautiful washer and dryer and wanted to share a few personal time-saving laundry hacks that we’ve adopted to help make laundry as enjoyable as possible.

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TIP #1: MAKE YOUR LAUNDRY SPACE COZY

If you know us, you know we like to re-purpose as much as possible. I’m a little too short to comfortably enjoy having our washer and dryer stacked, so we have ours next to one another. We had an old door laying around in our basement when we moved in and decided that it would make the perfect table top to help store baskets of our laundering goods and give us a better place to fold laundry. I topped the table with an old linen shower curtain that we had. You could also easily thrift something similar, or even use a sheet or table cloth. This doubles as decor and also provides a clean and washable surface for the table. Any other friends have a creepy basement laundry room? It’s the only space we had washer and dryer hookups so we’ve done our best to make this space cozy and try to keep anything we may need for laundry in this space so we’re not having to run up and down the stairs each time we do laundry.

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That leads me to what we keep up on our table top. Baskets, always baskets! They make for the prettiest storage and, again, can easily be thrifted. We keep our detergents, softeners, stain treatments, our DIY fabric refresher and all of our dryer balls here in baskets on our little homemade table.

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Also, wool dryer balls:  another beautiful, non-toxic, time-saving laundry hack I hope you’re using! They speed up the drying time, soften clothing naturally, are hypoallergenic, and because they cut down on drying time, they save you money. I’m not actually sure how often you’re supposed to change them out, but I give mine a good wash with towels every 6 months or so and they’ve held up for several years!

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TIP #2: DIY LAUNDRY REFRESHER

Another fun laundry tip is you can add your favorite essential oils to the balls to make your laundry smell delicious without having to add any toxins to the mix! I love using lavender & citrus oils!

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I store our essential oils for laundering in pretty thrifted crocs as well. I store our laundry balls in pretty thrifted glass vessels as well. To spruce up our basement a bit, I put some fresh lavender on the top of our washer and dryer. Not only does it smell good, but helps this creepy basement feel much more cozy! 

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I mentioned above a DIY laundry refresher! Sometimes our laundry just smells musty. I feel like our towels and linen napkins get this way especially. I mix white vinegar and a couple drops of my favorite essential oils and add about 1/2-1 cup of it to our laundry to keep our laundry smelling fresh! We also find that this helps soften our laundry. To treat stained linens, I use the pre-soak feature on our Whirlpool and pre-soak linen items in 2 cups of vinegar for 30 minutes. Before I tried this hack, I could never get stains out of linen and now when I do this , stains come out easy peasy!

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Also, one of my favorite things about the washer is theFanFresh® option! If you know you won’t be able to switch laundry right away or want to start a load and go run some errands, Fan Fresh modekeeps clothes fresh for up to 12 hours so you can finish the laundry when you’re ready and avoid that musty smell that occurs when the laundry sits wet too long. This is just genius and I’m convinced a mom must have come up with the idea! 

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TIP # 3: STORE YOUR SOCKS

Another time-saving hack we have adopted is collecting and storing all of our socks in a big bag or basket. We put all of the clean socks in here and then while we watch movies, we all pair them up together as a family. It makes it a fun family responsibility instead of another boring, tedious chore.

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We are so grateful for our Whirlpool® Smart Load Laundry Pair Load & Go™ XL Plus dispenser and the sweet, sweet time these innovations save us. If you are currently on the hunt for a new washer and dryer, we would highly recommend this set!

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To learn more, visit https://www.whirlpool.com/laundry/washers.html#load-and-go.

Bathroom Fun

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This morning Norah came into our room to check herself and her outfit out in our stand-up mirror, as the girls usually do. As she stood in front of the mirror, I noticed her  step back, cover her mouth, and start to cry. I asked her what was wrong and she began to pull on her shirt, like she was trying to make it longer…She said, “This shirt. This shirt. It was just too big on me a little bit ago and now it’s almost too small.” She began to cry pretty hard so I had her come sit with me so we could talk about what she was feeling. She shared how she felt really emotional about growing and didn’t know quite how to explain it but that it was weird because she can’t control it and it’s just happening too fast… And then also that this was one of her most favorite shirts and it’s not going to fit her for very much longer. (Insert all of the sobbing emojis here). I told her that it was a strange thing to grow and change, but also how wonderful it is that God designed our bodies to work and grow and change in the ways He did. I also explained that it is ok to feel new emotions about the changes. I explained to her that as a lady, our bodies get to go through so many amazing changes and, although it can seem weird at times, it’s such a beautiful thing and that this means she is healthy and her body is doing what it’s supposed to. Guys, this motherhood stuff is RICH! It can be hard and messy and weird, but man… It’s the coolest thing!

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this girl. so, so, so special!

A few weeks ago my friend Meggan came over to snap some photos for a collaboration I was working on. I loved them so much that I decided they needed a place here! When I look back to this time in our lives, I’ll have memories of all of us crowded in our bathroom.

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There is so much about this season that I never want to forget… Elastic bands all over the floors no matter how many I pick up every day, thrifted step stools all over the place, a counter top forever covered in kid’s toothpaste and mom’s bath salts, a bath mat that seems to never be dry, antique kitchenware from the girls’ play kitchen that double well as bath toys.. And one mirror that everyone is trying to use at the same time:D These are truly the days. I already miss this time in my life.

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Her and her little tongue 😀

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one of my favorite mugs made by my husband and a spot in the corner that I’ve had to repaint several times due to water damage from splashing babies.

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they copy me so much right now. they’re interested in most things that I am. they love watching documentaries and home birth videos and staging photos and taking photos and reading with me, and I love listening to the conversations they engage in when we’re out and about. they call people dude and it’s so wonderful and convicting at the same time, watching them want to be like me.

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if you look closely to the right, you’ll see a teeny glimpse into the girl’s trashed bedroom. there’s also a HUGE pile of laundry out in that hallway that we maybe had to move because it was blocking every doorway when Meggan arrived. a reminder that behind every beautiful photo, there’s a mom struggling with something and a laundry pile in every room.

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I don’t want to forget these sweet pigtails

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so many heart eyes

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using my makeup brushes to put on lotion:D which reminds me, it’s time to get some new make up brushes:)

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I maybe thrifted another adorable little step stool yesterday and Chris was as excited about it as he is every time a new blanket or pillow joins our family:D  When your husband tries to enforce a one-in-one-out policy for your chair/stool, you know you might have a problem:D 

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Thank you so much for capturing these images for us, Meggan. This is such a special time in our lives and I’m grateful for these memories frozen in time:D

Our little basic sets were gifted from ShopARQ and FinandVince 😀

Something for everybody; a little holiday gifting guide

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Hey guys! We recently had the honor of sharing a little gifting guide with our friends @finandvince. You can find that post here, but I decided to share a little more detailed gifting guide here. I’ll share what we like to gift the girls, one another and loved ones.

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We have 4 lovely little ladies under age 7. We want Christmas to be magical for them, but not be strictly about stuff. We practice the giving manger in our home and look at December as a beautiful month to remember how to serve one another well. I love spending December baking more, making more crafts together, and finding fun ways to love people. Along with this, when we do gift, we want to try and gift things that are both pretty and practical. My husband emphasizes things should have form and function. Our older girls are developing new, and rather strong opinions, as they grow and we want to respect their personal styles & interests as we gift. We really like the the idea of gifting a want, a need, something to read, and wear. Here are some gifts that meet this criteria,  have been a success in the past, and that will be gifted this year!

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For the savvy…. Do not be afraid to thrift toys for gifts. Some of our most treasured toys have been thrifted and are being so well loved. That baby carriage was $3!!! Thrift stores are magical places where you can find so much unique goodness! Plus you can thrift throughout the year and gift it at Christmas. Almost every piece of the girl’s Christmas set we gifted them last year was thrifted and so beautiful! I think the most expensive thing I got was $.29 so you can really make magic happen when you thrift for the goods!

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For the artist: Amazon has some seriously amazing art supplies. We have some favorite shops that also sell wool roving and beeswax crayons and molding sets. I’m going to come back and add some links to our favorite shops a little later:D We go through so many crayons and paint that Christmas is a great time to restock those supplies!

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The girls love matching with one another! We’ve adopted a tradition that came from my husband’s childhood of gifting them new jammies every Christmas Eve. They get to open them and then wear them all day Christmas! We spend our Christmas Day serving and enjoying one another. We make everyone whatever they want for breakfast, enjoy this big ol’ feast and open presents and play and I just love it so much!

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These photos are like a year old already! HOW?!

Pajamas kind of meet a need, a wear, and a want, so they’re a great gift! We have gifted them sets from @happyhannahs, @finandvince, @thesimplefolkco,  @chasingwindmillkids, @shoparq @jamiekay and this year we’re gifting them hot pink butterfly thermal sets from @garnethillpics and extra little thermals for the two littlest who want to live in pajamas lately. Fin& Vince thermals are so nice and cute enough that we can throw on a coat and boots and leave the house in them!

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Because our girls are so close together in age, we like to invest in quality gifts that can be enjoyed and passed down to one another. I don’t want to collect a bunch of little plastic things that will break easily but want to invest in well-made, heirloom quality toys that will be enjoyed for years. Some of our favorite toys are wooden stackers, puzzles and blocks. @woodenstory @grimms and @thewoodenwagon are some of our favorite shops for these! Wooden toys hold up really well and, let’s be real.. they’re beautiful😊  Even when their room is destroyed, somehow wooden toys thrown all about are still lovely!

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Books!! We love gifting books! Personalized books, i-spy books, and book series make for really fun gifts. Something I have learned in a family of book lovers is that books can be expensive! I enjoy thrifting books and using thriftbooks.com because you can find gently pre-loved books for incredible prices!

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We also want to gift memories, so games that we can play together as a family are a great investment! We love gathering around a table and playing Uno, pass the pigs, go fish and lots and lots of memory games! My ideal evening is pizza, lots of pillows and blankets, cuddled around our ottoman, playing games together. The girls have learned to talk some pretty serious smack and it’s just one of my favorite ways to spend time together.

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Something fun this year will be special slippers. The girls have been asking for slippers for quite some time but I couldn’t find any that I liked as much as they did. But! We recently found some really fun boiled wool slippersfrom @garnethillthat are cute little animals and such a fun addition to their matching jammies! This might sound lame, but we always gift the girls a fun new toothbrush. Honestly, they’re usually more excited about this than any of their other gifts ☺️

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When gifting to our friends and family, Chris and I love making one-of-a-kind gifts in large batches so we can spread the love as much as we can. We’ve made salsas, breads, body scrubs, bath salts, lip balm, hair balm, boot balm, bears balm, body balm… basically all the balms😂 we love gifting items that we have handcrafted with love and it’s so fun collaborating with my husband for these little projects. I don’t have any pretty pictures of stuff we’ve gifted.. so you just have to trust me:D 

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Chris and I have mixed feelings about gifting things to one another for the holidays. We both always tell each other we don’t want anything, then surprise each other with something sweet and sappy, and then each year say we’re really not doing anything for each other, and then decide we want the girls to see us gifting to one another, and so the cycle continues:D

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This year, I’m gifting the girls and a few friends some extra little goodies that our friends @beekman1802 sent plus over two try. A few face care products for mom and some  fun body butters to share! The girls are very much into body care items and doing whatever I do lately.  I’m gifting them and some of my lady friends the fragrance free pure goat milk body butters. Things like these make such fun stocking stuffers and sweet little gifts.

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Welp! I hope this was a helpful gifting guide and that everyone has a lovely holiday season full of peace, rest, and joy for you and your family! ❤️  Gifts are cool my friends… But people are so much better! Love your people well and have so much fun!!!!

(Disclosure: Some of the items featured in the post have been gifted and/or sponsored, but all opinions expressed are my own. )

Photography featured in this post from @amandapahls, @kaleyfromkansas and @megganharrisonphotography.

 

A few things I don’t want to forget about right now

One of my friends, MegganHarrisonPhotography asked if she could come over and try out her new camera lens in our home. I’ll be honest. I totally forgot about it, definitely didn’t bathe, the house wasn’t clean or put together and I didn’t have any expectations about what she might capture… But man, I am seriously so grateful for these captures. This stage of motherhood has been so interesting to me. I’m learning so much about myself and who I am as a mother and home educator and friend and wife and all the things. I am so grateful that I get to be home with these girls and very grateful for these little moments that might seem mundane, but are truly so full of magic! 

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Our first born. I can hardly believe she’s this grown already.

 

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We got a record player and there’s just something magical about it. Norah puts on a different record almost daily and it’s become a fun family thing. When we travel, we try and find a good record store and pick something out together. Chris and the girls often come home from coffee shop dates and it’s just something that’s become very special in our home.

Norah’s taking 7 very seriously. 

Norah asked me the other day if I thought she would look like me when she grew up. Before answering, I asked what she thought about maybe looking more like me when she was older. She took a deep breath in, pulled her hair to the side, looked in the mirror, breathed out, looked at me and said, “that would be so great.”😭😭😭😍😍😍I’ve never felt more beautiful in my whole life😭

We were driving as a family a few weeks ago and Norah asked me what my name meant. I told her ‘worthy of love’. They asked Chris what his name meant and he said virile. Norah then proceeded to tell me that her name meant napkin, Charlie’s meant towel, Ada name meant tissue and Frankie was “scrunchin, wait scroungey.. OH! squeegee!”  I laughed out loud and asked Chris where they came up with such a thing. He let me know that he’s been telling them these are what their names mean for a few months😂😂😂 #winning😂😂😂

The girls all still love wearing their favorite colors: Pink, blue, orange and grey. These colors make me so happy now.

Frankie and Ada are in love with dresses with pockets. They request to wear a pocket dress daily:D

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I joke that Norah is like a little mommy, but she truly loves us all so well and has such a beautiful heart. I love seeing the creative ways they serve and love others.

 

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We went to get blood work for my whole October fiasco a few weeks ago and decided a stop at Red Robin would be a good idea. We don’t go often, but when we do, they each get a balloon and these things stay inflated for weeks!

We’re still having lots of dance parties, doing funny workout videos together and Chris and I love getting to introduce the girls to new music. They’re favorite songs/ bands right now are , Aladdin soundtrack, zombie from the cranberries, John mark McMillan, what does the fox say, Allen stone, thunder from imagine dragons, gummi bear, señorita, BABY SHARK, bird machine, oldies, bird is the word, bombaleo, look what you made me do- and Frankie singing this is one of the funniest things I’ve ver known. She repeats the lyrics but delayed and totally monotoned. its so funny!

Charlie and Norah have been what I will call sassy. They have grown up so much the last few months.

Frankie is in the repeat stage and the things she chooses to repeat and her timing brings us so much joy.

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So many times during the day, the girls ask for a hug or for me to pick them up. I try to always do it. something so simple, but memories I will hold so dear.

Frankie’s favorite song, ‘5 little monkeys jumping on the bed’. When it comes on she’s screams, “This is my tadert song!”

A few weeks ago Chris and I were putting Frankie to sleep and she kept doing monkey impressions. She would almost be asleep and then she would say, “Monkeys do dis” and shake her little body and make little monkey noises and make a monkey face. Chris and I couldn’t stop giggling. 

Norah and Charlie surprise me with breakfast in bed every couple of weeks. It’s so precious. They always include their sisters and make their breakfasts when they do this.

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Ada sneezed this a few week ago and Frankie said, bess you😍 it melted all of us! Frabkie, “I lub my bading soup” on repeat and now asks, you love my bading soup? Her bathing suit. Her and Ada put their suits on most days. Ada and Frankie change their outfits at least 4 time a day. 

When Frankie says basket it most definitely does not sound like the word basket. Ie: I want my batshit.:D 

I weened Frankie on her birthday, September 20th. I nursed her for her morning & afternoon nap and then told her we were done. My heart hurts a little still and she’s still asking to nurse daily. She still asks me if she can come in when I hold her and that means she wants me to wrap her all up in my shirt. This is the longest I haven’t breastfed since 2012.

MHP_3981MHP_3986Frankie started saying dangit and growls at everyone at the table for meals because she knows it will make her sisters laugh real good. She loves making them laugh. 

Frankie has mastered responding to my favorite question: What comes before part B?! PART A!!!! When I ask it all the girls yell, “PART AAAA”, and it assures me I’ve at least taught them something:D

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We were driving to get pick up our favorite Italian take out and Ada started singing that song, “Up down funk you up” and totally nailed the f word every time. Chris and I laughed pretty good. That song will always make me smile now.

Frankie started saying “iontknow” when we ask her questions with the funniest little attitude 😂😂😂  It’s one of the best things I’ve ever heard.

The way Frankie crawls up onto our bench to get into her bed. Something about it melts me.

I made the girls little lavender pillows and they’re all still sleeping with them.

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Frankie says “heh heh” just like a Simpsons character when something funny happens.

Charlie will quietly sneak away while we’re watching a movie or playing games and come back with a glass full of ice and water and the biggest smile on her face. It’s her way of saying, “I love you” right now and it’s so sweet. 

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Frankie talks more than any two year old I’ve ever known. She repeats us often and her voice is so dang cute. She has a little cold right now and it’s even cuter than normal. She’s super cuddly and loves snuggling but has never liked her legs covered.

Charlie gave Ada a haircut that required her getting bangs to “fix” the situation. She was made to have bangs I think. Ada loves her having bangs and tells people her friend Hannah made them for her.

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Our dear friend Hannah gifted the girls with kinder eggs and these were the little toys inside. They’ve all been wearing them as earrings since.

Right around 7pm every night, Frankie gets this second wind and gets super hyper and so funny! That usually tells us it’s time to dance or play tag or hide and seek. We’re really into hide and seek right now and it’s so fun!

Ada has started making up songs and parody’s and recently sang a song with the lyrics, “1,23, it’s time to sh&t”😂😂😂😂😂Chris and I laughed so hard! 

Frankie has started coming up to us, randomly hugging us, and saying,” I wuv you. I wuv you iso much, mommy. You wuv me?!”  😭  It melts me every time!

Ada and Frankie want to be sung to every night. We have a handful of songs they request every night. ‘Jesus loves me’, ‘Apples and bananas’, ‘God is so good’, ‘I like bananas’, ‘Twinkle twinkle’, ‘Abc’s’, often a remix of the last two, ‘He’s got the whole world in His hands’, and ‘Jesus loves the little children’ but we had to add the color orange to make the lyrics, “orange, red, yellow, black, and white” per Ada’s request. We often have to add pink, blue, and grey as well:D

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I’ve noticed I have less and less photos of Charlie lately. She loves spending time alone, creating art, making sculptures out of found goods, and collecting treasures to store in special places in her room. When you walk by her room, she’s usually creating something. She loves putting on puppet shows, telling stories, and is truly so creative. She really enjoys ‘I Spy’ books. I ordered her a bunch and surprised her with them and she was so stoked! School comes super easy to her lately and her sweet little 5 year old self is excelling past a 3rd grade reading level. I just love getting to know her more.

Every time Charlie prays, she asks for God to heal all the people that are sick and hurting.

All of us ladies still fit in the bath together, but barely.

Ada and Frankie both call,”Cat in the hat’ ‘Hat in the Cat’.

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If I sit down with a drink or food , this is code for , ‘mom has drinks and treats for us’. 😀 This morning I made an egg and sat it down on my desk for it to cool while I ran up to find the girls’ coats… I came back downstairs to see Frankie covered in my egg and exclaiming, “mmm, you egg good, mom.” It never makes me mad.. just sometimes a little extra hungry.

Frankie calls the girls, “guysh” and is so in love with her older sisters!

The first thing the girls want to do when they put on anything new is show their dad.

When Frankie wants you to lay by her she says, “youwannlaywithme?” and taps the pillow next to her and says “hereygo”. She also started taking her diaper off whenever she fills it… so probably we’ll start potty training soon.

Norah wants her ears pierced and she’s in a making jewelry and fake nails stage:D She has been wearing a lot of my clothes and it makes me so happy.

Frankie likes to kick for fun and will randomly approach people with a “Hiya!” and a chubby little kick. She also hisses at the girls when they tell her no to something and its SO funny! They always start laughing and it’s just so cute!

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I’ve started making sure I always have a glass of water on our nightstand, as it never fails that 1, or all 4, will make it to our room asking for water during the night.

We watched Little Women for the first time while Chris was out of town recently and sobbed. I love being apart of this girl gang. We realized that the girls’ age gaps are the same as the girls in the story and that one of our best friends who we keep trying to get to move in with us shares the same name as the house help in the story. But seriously Hannah, the basement is ready for you. 

Frankie so concerned about owies, especially when others get hurt. “You k?!” she asks?

Chris learned how to fishtail braid from our local hair academy and is so much better than me. These girls don’t realize how good they have it.

We were cleaning up the girls’ rooms and Frankie found Norahs old pink flip flops. She put them off and didn’t take them off after that😂 Fipfop she calls them and is so proud of them! She sleeps in them she loved them so much!😂

We told the girls to put away their flip flops while cleaning and Ada replied in the saddest little voice, “I don’t have any flip flops”. Chris and I decided to change that. I took her to Old Navy and we found this lobster pair for $1 that she freaked out about. She wears them with socks and tights daily:D I told her once my dad wore socks with flip flops. She asked me if she looked like her Grandpa Ricky. Having her talk about my dad is incredibly special. They never met him, but I’m so grateful for the memories I get to share with them. She’s also been sporting the, ‘two different boots on the wrong feet’ a lot lately.

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This landing never isn’t covered in boots or coats or piles of random toys… It’s accidentally become a catch-all spot and while we probably need a better system, I still don’t want to forget this.

There’s a lot more. I try to take daily notes because I don’t want to forget these tiny details that make right now so special. I love being a mother. I hate that I can suck so badly at it sometimes. We’re all learning together.

Make a joyful noise

This summer I had a fun opportunity present itself. I was put in touch with a local vocal instructor as she was looking for a local blogger to check out her classes. I am always looking for fun classes for the girls to try out and happen to dabble in the blogging, so it worked out just right! We talked about the classes that were going to be offered over the summer and I got so excited when she said she was teaching a Greatest Showman vocal class! The girls are obsessed with ‘The Greatest Showman’, so much so that we dressed as the crew for Halloween this past year! 

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Maybe not our best..but with little moneys and what we had.. we made it work and the girls were so pumped!!!

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the class, but I signed Norah and Charlie up and was so happy I did. We want to let the little ladies experience lots of different things to help them discover what it is they love and the explore the gifts they’ve been given.  They had been showing lots of interest in singing and I am happy to share that they truly had a blast!

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Side note, have I mentioned lately how much I love Norah and Charlie being so close I’m age?! I’ve always loved it, but now it allows them to be in most of the same classes and is just so cool to me! They’re basically inseparable and it’s very special to me that they get to enjoy so many awesome things like this together! Sisterhood is the coolest thing! 

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I got emotional thinking about the two of them and how it almost always feels like they’ve had one another. I had to find the very first time they met, and my first photo with both of them, right after our home water birth with Charlie. It was the most special moment!

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Like… I can’t even…this moment was so special. Norah was instantly in love and Charlie was just born into such a cool relationship.

Okay, so let me tell you a little bit about the class and why I am happy we enrolled the girls! Melissa Burrows is the owner of Joyful Noise Studios and has been a licensed Kindermusik® educator since 2009 along with teaching private piano and vocal lessons. She teaches music at our local Classical Education Center and is very passionate about what she does. It was easy to see upon first meeting her that she loves what she does, and that excited me. 

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As a home educator, it’s important to me that I give the girls opportunities to socialize in different atmospheres, with different peers, instructors, and influences. I found a lot of comfort in knowing that they were being taught by someone who genuinely cares about what they’re doing.

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The more research I have done, the more I discover that the benefits of music are truly transformational. Chris is currently teaching Norah ukulele and it’s so exciting thinking about where their passion for music will take them. They’ve been talking a lot about forming a band like the Cranberries and are already staring to write songs. One of the things they have been doing since they were old enough to sing is making parodies out of their favorite songs and it will always be one of my favorite little things they do.

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“The study, practice and discipline of making music gives the brain a complete workout.  When you sing or create music, we use all the parts of the brain: left, right, front and back.  All these parts collaborate.  Which is something very unique!  To access the benefits of music one does not need to be an artist! Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than those without musical training.  Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory.  Research has shown that after two years of music class the brain has large improvements in processing speech and reading.  Beyond all the brain science music is fun and is an easy way to challenge the mind and bring joy!”-Melissa Burrows.

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These are just a few reasons that enrolling the girls into these classes seemed like a great idea! The girls met for an hour each week and it was so fun listening to the girls practice their little vocal warm ups and songs they were learning throughout the week! I also didn’t mind the little weekly break to grab coffee and thrift with the younger ladies.☺️ They practiced and practiced and celebrated with the most darling recital at the end of the Summer where Melissa had all of her classes join together for the Greatest Show (pun intended:)

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If you are on the hunt for vocal classes for your littles, I highly recommend Melissa and her classes at Joyful Noise Studios! We also tried one of the family Kindermusik classes that was so fun! Chris got super into it and I know the girls loved it!

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Melissa is accepting enrollments now and offering $15 off any class when you enroll using the code, AmandaPahls.

Thank you for giving us this opportunity, Melissa, and we look forward to more classes with you! 

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“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.”-Plato

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Chris and I could not stop laughing at the girls on stage. They were being so sweet and goofy and maybe still need a few lessons about what not to do when on stage:D So special getting to watch them perform what they had been practicing though!

Disclaimer: This post was made possible thanks to Melissa Burrows and Joyful Noise Studios, but all opinions expressed are my own.

That time Madewell accidentally changed my life

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About a year ago I received the sweetest surprise package from our friends at Madewell. It was a beautiful wooden box containing a lovely red floral scarf, a timeless white tee and THE PERFECT denim jacket.I was so excited and grateful and honored to be gifted this, as I was a new appreciator of the Madewell goodies! I have slowly been building a capsule wardrobe with Madewell pieces being my staples. Everything I own from Madewell is so comfortable, so flattering, and well, made very well ☺️

The only problem with this surprise gift was that the shirt and jacket were a size small and I was wearing large, or more commonly, an XL. When I went to try the jacket on, I couldn’t even fit my full arm through the arm holes😂

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I was still very thankful that Madewell gifted me such a sweet gift, but thought I should probably go ahead and gift the shirt and jacket to a friend since I couldn’t fit into either. I asked a few of my small sized pals if they wanted the goods and they all said the same thing, “save it and maybe you’ll fit back into them one day!” I listened, but wasn’t quite convinced I would ever really get to wear them.

My first pair of Madewell shoes and they do not disappoint ! These Frances Loafers are SO comfortable!!!

I was pregnant and breastfeeding without a break for the last 8 years! I have absolutely loved it! Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, growing, nourishing, teaching, and raising our daughters… This is my greatest joy!  However, I suffered a serious back injury that caused great pain and rendered me unable to be very active while I was pregnant. I picked up some poor habits and developed a bit of apathy in regards to myself over the past few years and I hadn’t even realized I had gained so much weight or become so out of shape. I didn’t have much energy. I didn’t like how I felt or how my clothing no longer fit. I decided I was ready to make some changes; not just for my benefit, but for the benefit of my daughters and husband. I wanted them to have a healthier version of me.

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I told my husband and a few friends that I was going to fit into that Madewell jacket and, although I really meant it, I eventually just put the box of goods up on my closet shelf and honestly forgot about it.  Fast forward to late June and something started stirring in my heart. Our babies were no longer babies. I was beginning to think about weaning Frankie, Chris and I had agreed that our family was most likely complete, and most of my wardrobe had become too tight to wear. I knew I needed to make some changes. So I did. 

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Wait, what is this? Is this Jurassic Park? Is that Laura Dern? What is happening?!

I’m going to tell you guys something only a few people know about…The year was 1997. My favorite movie Jurassic park. I was obsessed with this film and when I envisioned myself as a grown woman, wife, and mother, I envisioned myself as a bruenette Laura Dern in my high waisted denim!

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I mean… 1.) Jurassic Park is my all-time favorite movie! 2.) I just wanted to wear mom jeans and look for dinosaurs:D

When I entered adulthood, the high waisted jeans I had dreamed about wearing had gone out of style. When they finally came back I met them with a strong-willed mom pouch that had no time for pants with real pockets or buttons😂 I know this sounds so silly, but it was like a real thing to me. While I was loving growing and nourishing our babies, I had stopped nourishing myself along the way.  It occurred to me that only I could make the changes I wanted to make. And dangit! I wanted to feel comfortable in those mom jeans!

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I pulled out that Madewell denim jacket and decided that was my goal. I was going to wear that jacket and was going to Laura Dern the heck out of the highest waisted mom jeans Madewell had to offer (which are these 11” high waisteds if you’re curious😂🤘).

I started July 1st. I was around 190 lbs,  wearing a Madewell size 31 jean and they were TIGHT! I want to add here that there is nothing wrong with the size you are wearing if you are comfortable and healthy.  I just wasn’t happy or healthy where I was and I needed change. Some of my friends were also beginning some self-care journeys.  Seeing their results, along with their encouragement and motivation, helped me so much in getting started and sticking with the changes I have made. Community is so helpful!

When I got these pants, I couldn’t even button the bottom button! It felt amazing that I could button them to the top!!!

I decided to start with a low carb/clean eating diet, incorporating meals from whole 30, and cutting out processed foods, bad sugar, carbs that weren’t properly fueling my body, and the booze. I started drinking kombucha daily and adding more fermented foods to my diet. When I would crave sweets, I would eat a spoonful or two of RX vanilla almond butter and found that adding a little bit of heavy whipping cream to my afternoon collagen + bone broth protein filled coffee helped me from eating junk. I still do this and crave it and look forward to it! Also, I add citrus essential oils to water in the mornings and evenings and that really helps satisfy my cravings. There were very few days I would “cheat”,  but I allowed myself lots of treats that tasted good and wouldn’t hurt my progress. Honestly, I would google “whole 30 approved version of whatever I was craving” and learned how to make many of my favorite things in a way that benefited my family and I so much more!

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Norah always checking to assure my crinkles were still there.

Week 1: I lost 7 pounds and my clothing felt looser. I didn’t take before photos or measure any of my inches, but I could already feel a difference in how I felt and how my clothing fit. I ate a variation of eggs, veggies, and proteins for breakfast and lunch. I continued making most of our favorite meals, but substituted zucchini noodles and squash for regular noodles. I replaced breads I would normally eat with more veggies and lettuce wraps. It almost felt too easy. Giving up the foods I once ate daily didn’t feel like much of a sacrifice at all. I reduced my portion sizes but never counted calories, carbs, or macros because I’m too lazy for this stuff. I mostly just paid attention to what foods made me feel the best and added more of those. While I added these, I also removed the foods that made me feel not so good.

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The first person who said anything about me losing weight was our oldest daughter. She walked into the bathroom one morning and said, “You look smaller, Mom!” I explained that was something that sometimes happens when you give your body what it needs. Then my husband started commenting on the changes and my friends and acquaintances began motivating me more and more. Others were seeing the changes I was feeling and that was super encouraging!

Norah often comments about different ways my body is changing and asks regularly that I please don’t lose my crinkles. She has been one of my biggest supporters and reminds people when they comments about my weight loss, that I might be skinnier, but I’m also healthier. She maybe also said something along the lines of, “Wow! those used to be so round and big. Now they just kinda hang there, huh?”:D So… #balance #yep #thanksgirls #truth

At the end of month 1, I was down a surprising 28 pounds and my jeans were so loose I got to thrift some belts!!! 😳😳😳😳

I was in it! I felt energized and pumped up and ready to keep going!

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Matchy sets from our friends at Shop ARQ

I started working out almost daily in August and just felt SO good!!! My sister in law introduced me to the beach body workouts and I started doing the Real Time 21 Day Fix Lives and loved them! I’m doing the extreme version right now and look forward to them! I’ve tried lots of different workouts and have learned to do what I like and not try to do something that I hate because someone else is doing it. Actually, that’s one thing I have really learned in the last few months. You need to do what fuels YOUR body, what makes YOU feel well, and gives YOU positive results. Once September rolled around, I decided it was time to try on THE jacket. I honestly didn’t even think it would fit, I just wanted to see if I could tell a difference in the way it fit.

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GUYS!!!!!!

And with legit tears in my eyes right now, I am here to tell you, IT FIT LIKE A GEM! 😭 It was loose even! The jacket that I couldn’t fit more than a forearm into, FIT! AND the white tee that legit looked like a child’s small on me when I first tried it on, is now a loose  tee and it just feels so good!

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Thanks for capturing this hair flip, Morgo.

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I was feeing SO good but, October was a weird month. I passed out, my face caught my fall, and suffered a concussion so I couldn’t work out like I had been. I couldn’t look at screens or do much and felt pretty lethargic most of the month. I continued to eat clean and decided to have some blood work done, as I was concerned about what might have caused the passing out and wanted to make sure my lifestyle changes hadn’t caused it.  All my blood work came back as ideal as possible and I got the go ahead to get back to normal! Also, probably my favorite jeans ever!

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Every time I wear this jacket I feel like I have superpowers. That sounds dramatic, but it reminds me that I can do hard things! And also THESE JEANS!!!

Now, I want to emphasize again that I don’t think there is anything wrong with being in a size large or extra large or any size where you feel good and healthy… But I wasn’t healthy. I felt miserable, was growing more insecure, felt tired, and lacked the energy I wanted. Today, I look different, but I FEEL so different! I have energy, I feel strong, I can do legit push-ups, I feel healthy, have no back pain, and am officially down FIFTY POUNDS AND SIX JEAN SIZES!!!

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I thrifted this Madewell Cardigan but here is something similar!

Guys! LIKE, our 7 year old is 50 pounds just to put how much weight that really is into perspective!! 😳  While this journey isn’t as much about weight or sizes as it is about health, I went from a size 31 to a size 26 and a L/XL to a XS/S simply by making some healthy lifestyle changes. I feel so grateful! I can play with the girls so much more! I can jump on the trampoline more, wrestle around more, and run through the house more! And Bonus! I‘m even better at hide and seek as I can comfortably fit into smaller spaces now:D It’s really the little things that feel like huge victories to me! And also, maybe I can share a few tops with our 7 year old now. In all seriousness though, I get a little emotional thinking about all of the girls and I sharing our clothing with one another a few years down the road and want to remain in a state of health that allows me to do that… Some days I still can’t believe I get to mother these 4 beautiful daughters ❤️

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I  want to add that while I made some big changes, I’m not a crazy person. If we want pizza and beer, we have pizza and beer. But I still find ways to make it healthier and realized I don’t need 4 pieces of deep dish and 4 wings and four breadsticks and half a growler of IPA at one meal to feel satisfied. 😂. I’ve actually stopped drinking almost entirely, and for me, that’s another big success. Another story for another day, but a really cool thing.

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I truly feel capable and confident in ways I have not for years.

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I have more energy to do every day things and just that alone feels so incredible! Also, a thrifted bodysuit from Madewell that I could live in!

That was a really long way to say, THANK YOU MADEWELL for accidentally triggering something incredible for me. Thank you for new self control, new goals, new perspectives, the ability to wear more of what I enjoy, and the gift of feeling well (AND ALSO that high waisted denim)!!! It feels SO good! I am just so grateful to everyone who has helped me!

 

 

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Grainy photo but a funny story and the most artsy self portrait I have of myself. I’ve been laughing with friends, joking a lot about how I feel like you can see more of my French heritage now and then also I got a turtle neck after telling friends a week prior I would never wear a turtleneck… So one of my besties documented this moment for me… The moment I felt very fashion and turtlenecky. This friend also had her friend from France tell me I looked very French over FaceTime and it was so funny and I’m just really grateful for my friends who have laughed with me and helped take care of me and truly helped me reach my goals!

Thank you for real to Madewell for helping make my wardrobe dreams come true and to all of our friends and loved ones for all of your kind words and encouragement! I am grateful to be feeling so well!

Disclaimer: Many of the clothing pieces featured were gifted from our friends at Madewell or thrifted, and I have tried to link all of the pieces in the post for you! All of the opinions stated here are my honest opinions and I wrote this blog as a way to share some of the changes I have been making and to thank Madewell for partnering with me!

This is a first

DSC_7482We have found ourselves in a new place and I don’t really know how to feel about it. Chris and I found out we were expecting our first child in December of 2011. Norah was born and our lives were forever changed in the most wonderful ways! Six months after she was born we found out our sweet Charlie was on the way. Then fast forward to her being a bit older and we discovered Ada was on the way, and then since we had this system nailed down, we found out we were expecting while Ada was mastering walking. I think. Is it terrible to say I can’t actually remember if Ada was walking or not when we found out. I should know this:D #mombrain. Anyways, I have been pregnant and/or breastfeeding without a break for more than 7 years now!!! And I have LOVED it!!!  And I don’t know that I’m ready to be done. But there is a reality that we might be.

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My thoughts exactly, Frank:D

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I really wish I would have documented breastfeeding more, but just never really thought or remembered to do so as much as I wish I would have. I don’t have many photos nursing Norah or Charlie and I hate that! Breastfeeding, for me, has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I was so fortunate in that I got to exclusively breastfeed the girls for their first 6 months of life and then continued nursing until the next baby was due. I was extremely blessed in that I didn’t have the difficult time breastfeeding that many of my friends have had. It came to me like a second nature, I loved it from the very first time, and I never experienced any kind of clogged ducts or mastitis or really even sore nipples. They all basically self-weaned and was just awesome! Aside from Ada thinking a pierced nipple might be a cool idea while she was teething, it’s been a really enjoyable, more so magical, kind of thing for me.

DSC_7485I have actually mostly always looked forward to the girls waking up at night. Night time nursing was this quiet time where nothing else in the world seemed to matter. It was just me and our baby and I loved it so much. I have been able to nurse Frankie the longest, and while I have loved it, I know our time is coming to an end because no baby is due.. and she’s almost 2… Plus, maybe she’s been the most demanding and is still wanting to stay up all night partying and binge drinking…And momma is tired. And we miss our bed being our bed. So, send all the weaning tips my way!

DSC_7591This is the first time we’ve made it to the weaning stage not being due with our next or already nursing a newborn. The first time in almost 8 years where my body is about to be completely mine. And it kind of hurts way more than I thought it would. I’m not growing a baby and I’m not sustaining one’s life with my body and it’s seriously SO weird. I think I’ve kind of been thinking maybe we aren’t actually done having babies, but then maybe we really are…or maybe we aren’t… or maybe we are… or maybe we aren’t… This is kind of what I go back and forth thinking all the time now.  Either way,  there is a reality that I am almost done breastfeeding… for now… or maybe forever. Even if it doesn’t feel possible that we’re really at a place where we could be done, we might be.

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Anyway, knowing that this season is coming to an end, I needed to document a few things. One of my all-time favorite photographers, Bethany Meysenburg, came and spent some time with us and documented me in my favorite element. At home, with our family, nursing from room to room, hanging out with the little ladies, just my absolute favorite! The girls are more so little ladies than the little girls it feels like they were yesterday. They are growing and changing so fast. It’s amazing watching their personalities develop, but I would be lying if I said I’m not emotional about how fast it seems to have all happened and is happening.

DSC_7596I don’t really know what else to say except, thank you so much Chris for choosing me and giving me the most incredible gifts I have ever known. Thank you to our midwife who became family to us and gave us some of the most incredible experiences of our lives.  Thank you to our friends who joined our family, and thank you for sharing your gifts with us, Bethany… Also a quick shout out to stretchy pants and push up bras:D

(Warning: These are breastfeeding photos so some of these photos contain slight nudity. I tried to make sure I didn’t post any that would make anyone too uncomfortable, but I also wanted to share the special bond that I don’t want to censor.)

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Thank you so much for capturing these very precious moments for us, Bethany!

A few shops we love that are featured in these photos.

Frankies tunic & bloomers- BloomHandmadeCo

Frankie’s Button Up Vest- LittleCottonWood

Norah’s Dress- Fin & Vince from BarbaAndRoo

Charlie’s Dress- JuneIsleClothier

Ada’s dress- Roaming Threads

Frankie’s & Charlie’s Bows: KDBird

Ada’s Bows: CraftedAndCo

Momma’s Clogs- LottaFromStockholm 

Black & White Striped Pillows: ChapelAndCo

Table Runner- NotPerfectLinen

Momma’s Bedding- Parachute, MaeWoven, TheCompany Store

Diaper Bag- Josefina bags

Linen Nursing Cover- VeniceAndJune

Norah and Charlie’s Bedding- SchoolHouse

 

Getting Cozy with Garnet Hill

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If someone told me I had to pick out one outfit to live in and then also told me to fill a basket with a few necessities, I can tell you right away what both would be!  I would pick leggings, a pretty sweater, house slippers, blankets, pillows, coffee, and more baskets😂🤘 Basically, my mom uniform is a real thing and it consists of leggings, slippers & a pretty sweater.

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Being home the majority of my time the last few years, I have really started understanding what makes me feel cozy and at home… And I have no shame about it! Homeschooling the girls has been one of the greatest things I have ever known! Being home so much has made me take notice to how my environment affects Chris, the girls, and I and our days and has kind of forced me into new habits, new routines and even a bit of a new aesthetic. 

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When I feel cozy and comfortable, but also put together, I truly function better. I feel more relaxed, our days are smoother and it’s just so nice!

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So, with that being said, we have partnered with our friends over at GarnetHill to share with you a few of our favorite things that have helped us stay cozy at home!

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1.)  Them leggings though! I never knew how much a person could stretchy pants… Until I was pregnant for 6 years😂🤘  but for real, a nice pair of leggings are a staple for me and these are perfect! 

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2.) A pretty sweater to make me feel more fancy when living in the stretchy pants. Do you guys know about cashmere?! I didn’t, and now that I do, I’m obsessed! SO soft and cozy! But like, it’s even softer than you’re thinking. It’s like wearing a baby sheep… but without all of the judgement and inconvenience that would probably come from wearing a baby sheep😂 I have a few cashmere pieces from Garnet Hill and I bet I will have more one day☺️ I also like the fit of this sweater. It’s a bit oversized so it helps hide the last bit of my mom pouch that doesn’t seem to want to leave, plus, I’m still breastfeeding and this one is super easy to get access to them goods☺️🤘 I’ll link the products featured here at the end of the post🙌

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3.) House slippers. I never knew the goodness of slippers before this stay at home business… Now I have a couple pairs and they’re basically the equivalent to business socks for me. You know if my slippers are on, I’m reporting for duty, or most often literal doody😂 Remember how I don’t get out much…☺️  Just let me have these mom jokes☺️😘 But for real, I feel so cozy and ready for the day in my slippers! 

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4.) Did someone say waffle weave? 😂 Can you even have an Instagram account without some pretty white waffle weave something? 🙈 This merino wool blanket is my new favorite! When we go to watch a movie or cuddle up with a book, it’s the first blanket the girls grab! So, so, so soft… We’re talking that baby sheep softness over here again! 

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5.) Pillows! If you know my husband, you will know we disagree on very few things. But pillows are one of them. He thinks less is more, and I think fit as many pillows into each living space as we possibly can and then add a few more😂. It’s a problem, but he still loves me ☺️ We, and by we I mean the girls and I, and not Chris, 😂 are loving these gorgeous 26×26 big ol’ down pillows!!! I have them on our couch and chairs and bed and enjoy them so much! Chris will learn to love them too, I’m just sure of it.☺️

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Anyways, what is your mom uniform? What things make you feel cozy at home? Should we start a recovery group for pillow and blanket addicts? Thanks for reading friends!A864FF3D-86DC-4D19-89F0-51D0EE2E24A4

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📷 MegganHarrisonPhotography

Garnet Hill products featured:

CashmereCroppedSweater

GreenCottonKnitLeggings

Slippers

WaffleWeaveMerinoBlanket

EuroPillowInserts

(Disclosure: this post was made possible by Garnet Hill, but all opinions expressed are my honest opinions)

Straighten Up: A Smile Update

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It’s been about a year since I began my smile transformation journey with a local dental practice, New Horizons Dental Care with Dr’s Kate and Guy Gross. The first part of this process involved doing a Virtual Smile Consult so we could create a game plan, getting an implant where I had a tooth pulled and starting Invisalign.  I have been asked several questions about Invisalign, so I thought it would be a good time to write a little update and share my experience thus far for my friends who might be considering trying these bad boys out!

I understand that everyone’s smile and situation is different, so I am simply sharing what my personal experience has been like. So, if you want to sit down and dig your teeth (pun intended) into a story all about my mouth, you are in for quite a treat:D

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First, let’s talk the good stuff! I am super impressed with how fast my teeth have moved and how convenient the Invisalign trays have been for me. I’ll explain more about what I mean by convenient in a moment. I have trays on both the top and bottom and only needed 13 trays up to this point and I only wore each tray for about a week.  I am in my final tray and we’re leaving this tray on for awhile to assure that my stubborn snaggle tooth, whom I introduced you guys to in my first blog post about this little journey, stays safe and snug in her new place in line. Sometimes with

While Invisalign trays aren’t completely invisible, they’re not big and in your face like traditional braces and I like that. They didn’t feel weird or embarrassing to me except for a few times which I’ll touch base on in the cons section. When I say they are convenient, I mean that I really enjoy that I have been able to take them out when I eat, drink something fancy nice, enjoy a meal and conversation with friends, and most importantly, when I make out with my boyfriend, aka, my husband. We’re married, get over it:D When I talked about getting braces he maybe, for a lack of better words, begged me not to get metal braces…So, I guess in a weird way, I can thank him for this experience too.

Also, when I had traditional braces about 10 years ago, I was often in a lot of pain. Whenever they got tightened, my whole face seemed to hurt for days. I haven’t experienced discomfort with my trays like that at all!  The trays feel a bit snug when I put in the new one each week, but never hurt like traditional braces did for me. The first week I had my trays in,  my gums and lips felt a little sore getting used to their new roommates , but after that first week, everything felt fine. Virtually no pain is a huge pro to me!

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I’m wearing my trays in all of these photos, and you can hardly see them! Also, rockin’ them mom nails:D

Without a doubt, the greatest benefit I have experienced up to this point, is a boost in confidence about my smile. When I started looking through photos to share with the dental team at New Horizons in the beginning stages of this process, I realized I never looked at the camera when I smiled and most of my smiles were with my mouth closed or looking away from the camera. I don’t even think I realized just how self conscience I had become about my smile and lil ol’ snaggle tooth until I realized I was always hiding it.  While my smile journey with New Horizons isn’t completely finished, (you can read more about what we’re doing here) I feel significantly more confident than I did 4 months ago.

Also, there have been a few unexpected new habits that I have formed because of Invisalign which I’m finding to be very beneficial.

1. A dramatic decrease in my daily coffee coffee and snack intake.  I personally don’t like taking the trays out often during the day and you should take them out when you eat you drink anything besides water so they don’t stain.  So, I have my coffee in the morning while I allow my trays to bathe in a warm, effervescent bath of denture cleaner and, most days, that’s it.:D  I home educate 4 daughters under age 6, so obviously there are days where the trays come out more for me to down an extra cup or four of the life-giving nectar that is caffeine, but for the most part I’m grateful for this unexpected little change. I started working out again, and that paired with less snackage during the day has me back in my pre-pregnancy pants!!

2. Better oral hygiene. I can’t stand the trays or my teeth feeling dirty, so I’m brushing and flossing much more regularly than I was before I got my trays, so double success!

3. Another thing I have enjoyed is having my teeth protected at night. The last few years I began grinding my teeth while sleeping, and I feel like the trays have been protecting my teeth and preventing me from damaging them anymore through tooth grinding. So, another unexpected benefit from Invisalign trays.27B60015-0728-400C-97DA-E9B14E64837E

Ok, cons. While the cons list is short, I’ll share a few things you might want to consider when deciding between traditional braces and Invisalign.  With Invisalign, you are kind of your own boss. You have to wear your trays for the recommended amount of time every day, keep your trays clean, and take care of them if you want them to do what they’re made to do. I’ve read about many people not wearing their trays like they’re supposed to and then not having the outcomes they wanted. So, as long as you are prepared to take care of your trays and wear them as you’re supposed to, they work great!

Another thing I have experienced is a cute little lisp when I have my trays in:D Although, in some cultures, lisps are considered very endearing, so maybe not a con at all:D… Also, if you know of any cultures where lisps are considered endearing, would you let me know? I’m asking for a friend:D

nh8So, while there are still some changes we will be doing to enhance my smile, I feel like I have benefited tremendously from Invisalign and that I could happily recommend them to those who are wanting to straighten their teeth and avoid traditional metal braces.  I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to work with Dr. Kate, Dr. Guy and New Horizons and look forward to sharing all of my before and after treatment photos on the next blog I share with you guys! I am looking forward to feeling even more confident about getting in front of the camera more! Thank you guys for reading along and I look forward to answering any questions you might have that wasn’t covered here.

To read more about Kate Gross, DDS visit her blog here: www.drkatetalks.com . To see what and Guy Gross, DDS can do for your smile, check out the Smile Virtual Consult here:  https://www.smilevirtualconsult.com/dr-guy-gross/

(Disclaimer: This post was made possible by Dr. Kate, Dr. Guy and New Horizons Dental Care, but all opinions expressed are my own honest opinions.)