Layers are the secret!!

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Hi friends. I want to tell you a little trick I’ve learned in my years as a homemaker. There are lots of different secrets and tips to make you home look the way you want, but I am going to tell you my all-time favorite recipe for COZY!!

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We have the honor of working with our friends Garnet Hill to showcase the magic powers of LAYERING!!! I like to joke around a lot about my love of pillows and blankets, and also maybe chairs and wardrobes and then also baskets:D  But! there is a reality that I’m super influenced by my environment and when I feel cozy, our days just function so much better.
As the weather is cooling down and Fall right around the corner, this feels like the right time to show you how I try and create cozy spaces with layers.

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I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of typical Fall decor. I don’t think any less of people who decorate that way, but I don’t own any pumpkins or Fall-themed art. Those just don’t feel like us. However, what I do like to decorate with in the chillier months are more pillows and blankets! The only thing my husband loves more than my collection of pillows and blankets is when I add more pillows and blankets:D But for real, decorating your home should be personal. You should create an environment that makes YOU feel HOME!

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STEP 1. Mattress Topper! We have the Garnet Hill Organic Mattress Pad and are really enjoying it! It’s an easy way to add some extra comfort and protect your mattress. And let’s me real… a lot of stuff just gets peed on these days:)  Honestly, I wish we would have invested in a topper the moment any of us got a new mattress.. Still…better late than never:D

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STEP 2. Down Comforter. Theres something magical about a good down comforter to me! They just add so much coziness to a bed and bedroom. Their fluffiness makes me want to jump right in! I also love that they can be all-weather blankets. When I’m cold they keep me warm and when it’s hot, I don’t feel bothered by them.

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STEP 3. Linen Duvet Cover and Pillow Covers– While I will admit, I have to mentally prepare myself, maybe even stretch a little, before I change a duvet cover,  I love that linen bedding only seems to get cozier and cozier with each wash! Linen covers protect our comforters and are easier to wash than essentially a giant sack of feathers, making the challenge of putting a cover on worth it!

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Step 4. Pillows– Pillows might be my love language 😀 They’re a simple way to add depth, layers, and they can easily be changed out and moved around to make way for differnt color schemes and seasons!

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I like to add vintage pillowcases to our bed and Garnet Hill currently has some that I plan on adding to our room soon! This is a fun way to change up the bedding for the seasons or if you just want a simple refresh. Simple changes can make a huge difference!

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STEP 5. Textures. Don’t be afraid to mix and match textures! In fact, you should do this! Layering different textures and colors doesn’t have to be anything crazy. I like bright whites mixed with warm creams and deeper beiges. When it comes to textures, the more the better for me:D I enjoy layering cottons and silks,  linens,  quilts,  waffle prints and knitted blankets together,  and feel like mixing all of these beautiful textiles together makes for such an inviting space!

 

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STEP 6. The power of the throw blanket! It’s something so simple, but such an easy way to add warmth and layers all over your home! You can simply add a throw to the end of a bed for that lived-in cozy feel! Or easily stuff your messes in baskets and then cover that mess with a beautiful knit throw 🙂Even throw one over a chair or chairs to create cozy little nooks around the house.

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Layering doesn’t just have to be for the beds though! We store throw blankets in baskets and crocks and on the chairs and couches and try to create an environment that’s, not only pretty, but invites us to rest. It’s so nice to be able to have blankets close by to snuggle up in as we read our favorite books and watch our favorite movies together.

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Garnet Hill has such a lovely collection of linens, quilts, florals, waffle knits and we truly enjoy adding their cozy touches to our home!

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See?! layers and textures and patterns together can look SO pretty when it comes to bedding!

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A mix of layered make wardrobes look like this!

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And linen closets look like this!

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Another example of how we have paired a Garnet Hill down comforter and Striped duvet cover with vintage and handmade pieces.

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I think that even messes look pretty with the right textures and layers!

Disclaimer: This post was made possible by Garnet Hill but all opinions expressed are our own. Thank you Garnet Hill for helping us cozy up our home!

 

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.

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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 😀

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)

ONE MORE MAKES SIX

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I recently got to partner with the lovely Bethany Meysenburg and Artifact Uprising to bring to life some creative visions Bethany and I had, and I am overwhelmed with gratefulness with the end result!

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Several months ago, I was looking at the ol ‘gram and stumbled upon a crazy beautiful feed! I soon realized that this was a photographer named Bethany Meysenberg and then realized she lived close by!  Bethany’s photos are so moody and romantic and once I realized she lived close by,  I knew I wanted to work with her!  After visiting, we decided to work together as a creative collaboration, and I am so thankful we did!  Some of the belongings that I value the most are the photographs we have been so blessed with by our sweet friends who happen to be incredible photographers and have chosen to bless us with their passions and talents!

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Photos are one of those things that I have learned to treasure so much.  I don’t think I ever thought too much about photography until my father and sister passed away.  The photos I have help me to keep the memories I have of them and even sometimes remind me of a memory I had forgotten or tell a story I still didn’t yet know about them.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetI am able to share photos with our daughters photos of the Grandpa and Aunt they don’t get to meet in this world.  I get to share my childhood and my memories with our daughters so well because of photos! When I say I treasure these moments captured, I truly mean it.  We’ve only done a few family photo sessions and usually only when we welcome a baby, so about every year:D, but I’m going to try and be more intentional about taking and printing more of the daily moments we capture.

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Sometimes I have been teased for taking so many photos, especially of our daughters feet or photos where they’re not facing the camera, but I know all too well that these moments and tiny details that I love so much, might one day be forgotten if not for the sweet photos that I will have to look back on and remind me.

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The way Norah looks at her little sisters, how she takes being a big sister so seriously; Charlie’s pigtails and the way she almost always has a collection of toys, make up brushes or art tools in her hands; The concentrated stare and little tongue Ada sticks out and presses onto her upper lip while reading and building blocks or how she’s climbing on everything lately; Frankie’s itty bitty toes, her dark little locks and pouty lips; The way our girls jump on the bed and dance together.

DSC_9934The way they look at their daddy with this look that lets me know they understand how treasured and valued they are; And the way he looks at them that reminds me just how blessed I am to be married to such an incredible man! Oh, and Chris’ sexy beard and luscious hair that may be receding a bit more each day:D These are things I don’t ever want to forget…

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Maybe one day the girls will look back and think, “I remember you reading us that book mom!”, or “look at dad and that guitar he still plays!”  I want them to have their childhood captured in photos so that they one day can share their childhood and memories of us with their children and grandchildren.

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Because photos are so special to me, I knew I needed to start printing them. I’ve been terrible at this and have felt a lot of conviction to print more photos as there is just something so special about having a tangible photo to hold. There seems to be so much more life in printed photos.  I recently had some lovely prints made from Artifact Uprising and the quality was amazing!  When I saw these new Flatlay Photo Albums , I knew I wanted to get some of our favorite photos captured by Bethany  printed in one of these. And I am so glad we did!!! This book is definitely a treasure! I already am working on another one!

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The girls and I went through it several times and I maybe just wept because I am so thankful for the blessing that these photos and this book are…

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This book is super special. My Grammy gifted this to the little ladies and it is one of the books they always choose when I ask them to pick out a book to read. In it, Grammy wrote a scripture, one she has written in all of my books that she gifted to me when I was the girls’ age.  Proverbs 3:5-6. My mom saved all of these books from our childhood and recently gifted them to me. Another thing I truly treasure!

So, with that, I’ll leave you with a few more photos! If you live in Kansas and are looking for a photographer, please check out Bethany Meysenburg and if you’re looking to get some photos printed, books made or some unique and meaningful gifts to gift, check out our friends at Artifact Uprising!

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Side note: We get asked often about this rug, so I thought I would share about it here.  It’s the Hand Woven Rigo Jute Rug from Plush Rugs. We have enjoyed this rug so much! It’s lovely and sheds much less than jute rugs we have owned in the past. You can click here to see it and here to see more jute rugs similar.

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DSC_9697DSC_9640DSC_0158Here’s a little slideshow that I discovered after inserting the photos above:D!

 

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Also, without printed photos, I wouldn’t be able to share these gems with you:D Think of this as a thank you for reading!

(Disclosure: This blog was made possible thanks to a partnership with Bethany Meysenburg and Artifact Uprising, but every word is my honest opinion.)

3 little monkeys jumping on the bed

You know how sometimes you just have those days where you’re emotional and grateful and looking at your family and wondering how you got to where you are in life?  My Grammy texted me this morning just to share that she was proud of Chris and I and I just wanted to cry because this is the life that I prayed I could have one day but genuinely didn’t think I could have… I don’t deserve it, but I grow more and more thankful for it. Even when I’m tired or stressed or as I listen to our 3 & 4 year arguing over the ideal spot to have their picnic right now… I am just so grateful. The word Redeemed rings in my ears often and when I look at Chris and our daughters, the ring feels more like a shout!

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I’m just feeling extra grateful for that shout today…

My friend Robyn was so kind to do a little extra shoot and capture something we love just as much as baking around this house! Bed Jumping!!! I just had to share these sweet images! Thank you so much Robyn! These are truly the moments I know I will think back on, smile and cry about when they are grown. I hope they will be mothers who will love their children fiercely, that kindness will flow from their hearts and homes and that they will be filled with the joy that comes from watching their babes jump on the bed…and maybe jumping with them when they’re a little less pregnant:D

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Products Featured:

Pajamas: G. Nancy from Baby Donkie 

Momma’s Top: LoveWinnieJames

Photography by RobynBunch

Baking with my babes!

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Hey friends! So, if you have been following me for awhile, you know one of our absolute favorite things to do as a family, is bake together!  When we homeschooled last year, every week we baked/cooked something that coordinated with the letter we were learning that week. It was so fun and it’s so amazing getting to teach them baking skills and introducing them to new foods and such a fun way to incorporate learning into our week!  Some things we made were healthy, some not so much, but all so fun to make together! Cooking as a family is my favorite!  When Dad gets involved I love it that much more!  Chris is an insane cook and these girls don’t know yet just how lucky they are to have a Dad with such amazing culinary skills! #happywife!

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Having a house full of daughters is kind of like a dream come true!  I don’t know that I necessarily ever imagined this, but it is truly incredible!  We joke that we’re going to need to remodel our kitchen soon because our house is full of people who love to cook, including my husband who is the best of the best!  But, we probably really will have to… So, if you want to come help remodel our space, let me know:D

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It is so wonderful watching each of our daughters’ personalities develop, and you can see it so much when we bake.  Norah takes baking pretty seriously and wants to get the recipe right.  Charlie pretty much spends the whole time taste testing anything that falls onto the table and Ada just likes to bang spoons and make messes!

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It’s so fun watching them pick out their aprons, their whisk of choice, choosing which ingredients who gets to put in first and probably most of our recipes get extra eggs because egg cracking is their favorite part, next to dough tasting of course!

When my sweet friend Robyn told me she was flying into town from Phoenix and asked if we would want to do some photos, I knew right away that I wanted her to capture us doing one of our favorite things and do a little baking session! Guys, if you live in the Phoenix area, hit her up for photos!  She does it all and her work is so good! But seriously, she does such a great job at simply capturing what’s happening and makes you feel totally comfortable. So, please check her out if you’re in her neck of the woods! I maybe ugly face cried when looking at these because she did such an amazing job capturing the girls’ personalities and the little moments that make up our time spent baking with one another!

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We usually only get family photos done when we have a baby, so like once a year:D But, seriously, this was such a blessing!  Robyn did a little home session for us after we welcomed Ada and I cherish those moments so much! I knew I wanted to do something to remember this special season with these 3 little ladies before their 4th sister arrives, and this was absolutely perfect!  I am so excited to have those moments as our family of 6 beginning, but this was so very special!

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I imagine what life will be like when they’re in their teens and I get so excited! People make lots of negative comments about how terrible it will be, and I just smile because I know it doesn’t have to be!  I am so thankful to get to mother these ladies and when I imagine those years I imagine more coffee dates, more movie nights, more conversations in our kitchen… I know there will be rough moments, but I know none of those will compare to how wonderful the good ones will be!

A little alliteration for you!  Cooking Chocolate Chip Cookies wearing Comfy Clogs with the Cutest Crew!  See, education, education, education! IMG_6269

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Robyn, Thank you so much for the gift of these photos!  We are truly so grateful!  Check Robyn out at RobynRena.comInstagram and Facebook!

Featured Items

Norah’s Dress: RemieGirl

Charlie’s Dress, which she basically lives in: RyleeandCru

Charlie’s Hair Bows: TheLittleDesignCo

Ada’s Romper: ShopTheRabbitandFern

Momma’s top: LoveWinnieJames

Momma’s Clogs: SandgrenClogs