March 28, 2013

I Gave in to Character Clothing. And I Don't Care.

At the risk of sounding snotty, I've never been a huge fan of character clothing. It just tends to be a bit cheesy and not necessarily "stylish". Or so says the old me. I'm here to testify that times...ohhh how they've changed.

It all started with potty training. Of course I bought Manny some Cars and Thomas undies, and he was thrilled. At that point, he was at the age where he was really starting to "have a voice", to put it delicately. And by "have a voice", I mean it was impossible to get him dressed without a wrestling match if it's not what he wanted to wear. So the characters began with the undies and some pj's, and then a new character shirt here or there. And suddenly, it seems the character shirts have taken over his closet. If given the choice, it's what he'll always choose to wear. And most days? I let him.

I dropped Manny off at Mother's Day Out the other day wearing the Cars shirt in this picture. When he walked in the room, 4 of the little boys stopped what they were doing and said, "Wow, look at Manny's shirt!" And Manny beamed from ear to ear, so proud of his "Dinoco McQueen" shirt, as he calls it. When I picked him up that afternoon, he was still talking about his shirt and how cool the boys thought it was. Who knew a little t-shirt could bring this much joy?!
We had to make a stop that afternoon at Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. As we were walking past the children's clothing, he spotted the swim trunks he's wearing in the picture above. When he saw them, I thought he was going to stroke out. He started stuttering, "Mama, mama, mama - look look look! Mama - look! Dinoco McQueen! Nemo! Buzz Right Here! Cowboy Movie! Mater! Mama loooook!! I wanna take back home. Come on. Let's get those shorts mama. Manny take back home! Thank you mama. I love you mama!" Please note - the thank you and I love you comments came before we'd even picked them up. This kid knows how to butter me up. 
Of course the second we got home he had to put them on. Then he comes marching into the room and announces to me (and Bebe Sawyer), "Hey guys, look at me!!" He was giddy, to say the least.
The purchase of these shorts officially sealed the realization of: he's won. This is not a character shirt - this is a character explosion. And I really just don't care anymore.

So my kid might not always be the best dressed. But you know what? The joy on his face makes it all worth it. And that's not to say if you don't dress your kids in character clothes you're a bad parent. Not even close. I won't even get into the judgement I've seen fly around on how other parents choose to dress or not dress their kid. When did it become such a battle? Do what's right for you and don't let someone else's preferences make you feel any worse (or better!) because you do something different. We are talking children's clothes here people. Stop caring. Stop comparing. Just dress your kid. Preferably in some pants at least, as mine isn't wearing any 97% of the time.
My point in even posting this is I've had some people ask me if I was embarrassed to embrace character clothes given their "stigma", or just my thoughts on character clothing in general. So it prompted me to share my "evolution" on the matter. 
Ultimately I decided - now that he's asking? And now that he has a voice? It's only fair to honor it at times. No, he doesn't wear character clothes everyday, despite how it might look at times. I draw boundaries when they are necessary. But for the most part, I figure - hey, he's little once. Let this be a reflection of who he is in this season. I figure it will be fun for him to look back on pictures and see some of the character shirts he's wearing, and recall those were his favorite things at the time.

And maybe it's just me, but it seems some of the character clothing is getting cuter? Old Navy and Target I think have the cutest options...but it could also just be that I'm seeing it through different eyes now. And those would be Manny's. :)

March 25, 2013

Manny at 2.5

Dear Manny,

Well you've been 2.5 years old for a couple of months now, and you are growing and changing with each passing day. I've been meaning to write down some of the funny things you say and do, because one thing is for sure - it's never a dull moment with you. :) As challenging as this age can be at times, it's also pretty darn fun and I want to remember all of your little highlights from this age.

You absolutely love to do puzzles. You blew me away one day several months ago when you pulled out a 24 piece puzzle I'd bought at the dollar spot and worked it fairly quickly. Ever since, puzzles have become your "thing". You have about 2 dozen puzzles and are always asking for more. Your favorite to work by yourself are the 36-48 piece ones, but you also have a couple bigger ones that we work with you. You and I work puzzles using a different method, so we don't work all that well together. :) I prefer to complete the border and fill it in, where you like to piece groups together. So you get upset with me if I start making the border first. We are learning to work together.

You call us Babe sometimes, probably because that's what Daddy and I call each other. But more times than not, you've taken to calling us Sarah and Patrick. Pretty sure it sounds like I'm a psycho kidnapper when we're in public and you call me Sarah and I say, "Call me mommy! I'm mommy, remember??"

You are quite the observant little cat and notice everything everywhere. You can spot an animal or car anywhere. A lot of times we'll be shopping in a store and you'll point one out, and I have to search to find the one you saw. You even have a keen eye for feminine hygiene products. One day we were walking in Target and you loudly announced, "Hey, it's mama's! The green ones!" Sure enough, you were pointing to the right kind. Frightening. Nothing gets past you for sure!

Which brings me to...your boots. Oh the boots. You have become one with the rain boots I got for your Halloween costume. You wear them daily, most of the time just with your underwear. Anytime I say we're getting ready to go somewhere, you say you're going to get ready and will come out in your boots and underwear only. I'm trying to teach you about appropriate attire for public places, but you haven't quite grasped that yet.

You love playing basketball, which you call back-e-ball, and hotball, which is your name for football. When you're playing your "sports", you usually ask to wear your back-e-ball shoes, which are your Converse. We also have a version of baseball we play where you get the plastic frying pan from your kitchen, and I throw you a little ball to hit. It's pretty fun and I think you'd like a t-ball set. I'm still a little nervous to get you an actual bat though. Bebe Sawyer might not ever be safe again with that around.

You love anything to do with animals. You often like to pretend to be a camel, hippo, rhino, or horsey. You make all sorts of funny noises while doing so, and assign a role to Maeva usually too. You like to be the giant hippo, and she's the baby hippo.

Speaking of Bebe Sawyer, you are SUCH a great big brother to Maeva. You still call her Bebe Sawyer the majority of the time, but sometimes will call her Mayba. You like to play alongside her and she just laughs and laughs at your craziness. You have been wanting her to crawl for awhile, and now that she finally is, I think at times you wish she wasn't. She has a tendency to automatically go for your toys. And whether you're playing with them or not, you suddenly take an interest in them and have to go claim them. It's quite the ongoing battle around here. You do take pretty good care of her though. One day I had to take a quick shower, so I set Maeva in our room with some toys and you were just running around doing your thing. I got out of the shower to hear you saying, "Open up Bebe Sawyer! Oh no! You're a mess!" I look into our room to see you feeding Maeva yogurt. You'd even brought wet wipes and were trying to wipe her face off as you were making quite the mess. 

You love for me to sing songs to you at bedtime. You typically request Twinkle Twinkle, Jesus Loves Me, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and This Little Light of Mine. Sometimes you'll ask for the Horsey Song, which is "Little Red", but I try to avoid that one as it gets you excited...not exactly a soothing bedtime song. You sing all the time too, and there is nothing cuter than hearing your little voice singing a song while playing or riding along in the car. 

From time to time, you randomly break out in Jingle Bells. Typically it's when you're excited about something. But sometimes you're just running around playing and will start shouting, "Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells!" Not the whole song, just that part usually. And recently, you've switched it up a bit by singing E-I-E-I-O! For example, you'll ask if we can go to the park. I say yes, and you'll shout, "Yay! E-I-E-I-O!" while running around.

Though I never thought the day would come, you are potty trained for #1 and #2. It's funny because when you have to go #2, you always close the door. If I happen to be in the bathroom too, you always tell me "Get out, mama. Go, go." And if I forgot to close the door on the way out, you kindly remind me. You are such a big boy now!

Some tidbits & things you like to say:
--"I want moose peanuts!" This is in reference to the peanuts at Santa Fe Cattle Company. You call the longhorn on the sign a moose, and you love the peanuts there. So you named them moose peanuts. Anytime you spot that restaurant you start shouting for "Moose peanuts!!"
--"Manny soooo tall!" (while standing on anything)
--When you want me to hold you, you say, "Hold you. I want mama's hold you!"
--"I want giant banana/giant pizza/giant water!" (for when you want more of what I gave you, or for me not to cut it up.)
--You call stools towers.
--You often call yourself Super Manny, and love to run around in your cape and mask. You have officially entered the superhero/batman/spiderman/superman loving phase.
--"I'm a boootiful boy!" Sometimes you add that you're a boootiful princess too. So yeah. 
--"Mama, what time is it?" Not sure why you care, but you ask that. A LOT.
--"I want Manny's moosic." (when we're riding in the car and you want me to turn on your songs)
--"I wanna mark, set." (when you want to play one of your favorite games, where I say, On your mark, get set, go! and you run a "race")
--One day I asked you to get mama a tissue. You came back with my tennis shoes, saying "Mama's tissues!" They do sound alike buddy. I can understand the confusion.
--"Hey guys, look at this!" or "Hey guys, look at me!" usually followed by a "stunt" of some sort.

As is evidenced by this "little" update, I could go on and on about you. It's hard to believe that in less than 2 months you will be 3 YEARS OLD! I am realizing that the days of you wanting to cuddle up on my lap are numbered, and it makes me so sad to think of that. But, I'm trying to soak up the times you do want to cuddle in between your shenanigans and tantrums. You make us laugh all of the time and I wish I could just record you all day long, in a non-creepy stalker mom way of course. I love your spunky, silly personality and am so thankful that God created you, the perfect little boy for our family!

I love you baby boy!

March 21, 2013

Thursday Randoms

--I love stationery. Like love, love. So when I heard of this site that makes it easy to have personalized email stationery - and trendy styles at that? Of course I couldn't wait to give it a try. It's called Meeble Mail, has some free options, and is incredibly easy to personalize a design. And they give a great (easy) tutorial for how to insert it into your email browser. Once you set it up, it's just a simple click to add it into your email each time you want to use it. I also like the fact that it displays the same on your phone (this is a screenshot from mine) or computer. They have a small selection of free templates, but several really cute styles for less than $3. Some free options I like are here, here, here, here, here, and here. I thought I'd try out the free version for awhile to see if I'll actually use it before buying a custom design. But I definitely think it's a fun touch and always love to share sites like this when I find them. Has anyone else used this before?

--My friend Miranda told me about her Eye-Fi SD card awhile back, and I finally ordered one last month. A wireless SD card...who knew?! Their site explains the product like this: "Eye-Fi memory cards use built-in WiFi to simplify photo capture, sharing and organization." Simply put? A lazy girl's dream come true. I'm not sure why, but it seems like such a chore to me to actually get my cord out and plug it into my computer. But with this SD card, it uploads your pictures to your computer wirelessly! (You can also set it to upload them to other online places for back-up.) I'm hoping this will help me do better at taking pictures with my real camera.

--I've mentioned in the past that Manny loves to wear MB's headbands. One day I posted this picture on Instagram, and April made the brilliant suggestion to buy Manny a sweat band to wear.

And yesterday when we were at Target, I finally remembered to pick one up. Naturally he immediately had to put it on, and kept shouting, "Hey guys, look at me!" He was quite proud.

Of course it was only a matter of time before Maeva girl got to try it out. It actually comes in quite handy keeping her bangs out of her face!

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--If you read via Google Reader, by now you've probably heard the sad news that come July 1st, it will be no more. I've started making the switch to Bloglovin' for my blog reading and think I'm going to like it. If you want to follow along via Bloglovin', just click the button above. 

--And finally, yes, we did make a trip to the mini-zoo. It was a smashing success, with only one small hiccup when Manny asked where the giraffes were. But overall, a good time was had by all and he left a happy customer.

Happy Thursday, friends! :)

March 20, 2013

A Day at the Park

Yesterday we thought it'd be a good idea to go to the zoo. Unfortunately we didn't think that through as it's Spring Break and apparently everyone else in Oklahoma City thought that was a good idea too. As we approached the zoo and the traffic all but came to a dead stop, I started getting concerned. Then when I saw police directing traffic? I knew it was over with. The masses of people crossing looked like a New York City crosswalk, I kid you not. But a little voice in the backseat encouraged me to press on. And when I say "little voice", I mean the barking commands of the dictator known as Manny. We finally found a parking spot in the north 40. Then I sat there, numb. Dramatic, you say? Yes, of course. But the last thing I felt like doing was hiking up (yes, it was going to be uphill) to the zoo pushing that beast of a double stroller and fighting crowds all day. So begins the dance of trying to convince Manny the zoo is overrated and there are far better things we could go do.

I knew Megan was also going to the zoo with her family, so I called her to see how bad it was inside. Turns out they were just pulling in too. Which was kind of ironic because I can't tell you how many times I've met Megan at the zoo, and she's always there like 5 hours before me waiting since I'm habitually late. Needless to say, they headed on in but we skipped out. Since Gabi was with us, I figured I could distract Manny enough with other activities such that the zoo would be a distant memory. After a quick stop at Chick-fil-a, we made our way to the park with only a few dozen mentions of the zoo in the meantime.

At the park I experienced what I'd like to call a life-changing moment. Did you know these swings can hold 2 kids?! When I saw this being done my mind was blown. I always thought there were leg holes on both sides just so kids could face either direction. And who knows...maybe a 2-seater is not the true intention, but I'm here to tell you it sure works great! The kids absolutely LOVED it. They were so cute and MB squealed and giggled the whole time.

I still get a little nervous anytime he wants in the "big kid" swing, but he loves it so much...regardless of the little scowl you see here.  He takes swinging very seriously.

I loved swinging with MB. She was just SO happy and I really think she would've stayed there all day just chilling. 
Of course the fact that cousin Gabi was there made the park a thousand times better. MB & Manny always have the best time with her.

And on the agenda for today? What I like to refer to as a trip to the "mini zoo" aka we'll be visiting PetSmart. We'll save the real deal for another day. :)

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March 18, 2013

Harlem Shake & Other Cousin Fun

We spent this last week up at my parent's house hanging out with my sister and her kids. It was a little cah-razy, but of course we had lots of fun! 
One night we were sitting around talking and my sister Jenny was showing us some Harlem Shake videos she did with her class. The kids were acting wild (as usual) and she was like - why don't we try one with them? I thought it'd be hard to do, but apparently I'm out of touch and there's an app that makes it simple. It's called Video Star and you can record it and add the music over it afterwards. It took her like less than a minute to put it together after she recorded it. I love this video so much. Manny was throwing a fit at the beginning, thus why he was covering his head with his shirt. It turned out pretty funny regardless. :)

Of course any time spent at Mimi & Papa's wouldn't be complete without a trip to "the farm". The kids are obsessed with that place and are always overly eager to help.
My mom got the kids some cute carrot bubbles, which of course were a hit. Unfortunately as soon as I went outside to start taking pictures of them, the battery died on my camera. I'm so bad at remembering to charge it regularly.

Manny absolutely loves loves loves Ellie, my sister's oldest daughter. Pretty sure he idolizes her. She is so sweet with him and tolerates him chasing and calling for her all day long. I caught this picture of them taking a break while playing outside and it was so precious. 

And then we have Maeva and Zeke. They are so funny together. Zeke is kind of sweet on Maeva and lets her crawl all over him or pull his hair while he just sits there and smiles. I've never seen either of them act this way toward anyone else so it's really cute to watch them interact. Crazy to think they are almost right at a year apart, and in less than 2 months Maeva will be one and Zeke will be two!

On Thursday we swung by my sister-in-law's house for a bit to terrorize hang out with them for a bit. Of course Manny had to get a moped ride from Laci. It was quite a visit, to say the least. Oh these kids are wild. Sorry Tonya. :)
And to end the perfect week, we brought Gabi home with us while she's on Spring Break!! Even Maeva is cheering about this. We always love having Gabi here and are looking forward to a fun week with her!

And while I'm thinking of it, I thought I'd share about an exciting event coming up! I've mentioned before that my parents have an amphitheater. Well on April 19th, they are going to be having a concert there. The Kings and Queens Tour featuring Audio Adrenaline, Group 1 Crew, and a few other awesome bands will be part of it. I'm so excited - I've been a huge fan of Audio Adrenaline all the way back to middle school church camp days - Big House hand motions anyone? And now I love their newer stuff too, and particularly the cause of this tour. If you're interested, go here for more details or to purchase tickets.

Happy Monday! :)

March 15, 2013

Weekend of Fun

The first weekend in February was a busy one for us. I'm part of an organization that had their annual fundraising gala on that Friday night.  It was a lot of work to prepare for, but we had so much fun and it was great to get out for a night with friends!
In a shocking turn of events (sarcasm font) I wore a chevron sequin dress. I found it at White House Black Market, and it was actually on sale, which made it even more perfect.
My best friend and her husband came as our guests, and we had so much fun! One our good childhood friends was also there with his wife and it was a total walk down memory lane. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.
The next morning we rolled out of bed bright and early and headed to Dallas for my niece Olivia's 4th birthday party. Thankfully it was a pajamas and pancakes when I say rolled out of bed, I'm not joking. ;) My sister did such a great job with all of the decorations...I really loved this theme and the colors she used! 
The kids had so much fun at the party. I think Manny's favorite part was the pinata. I was about to faint the whole time he was swinging that bat though. He was so intense.
Livvy was such a sweet birthday girl! Manny didn't mind being one of the girls as usual, and had a blast chasing them all around.

Not sure how this happened, but at some point Patrick decided to push MB around in the little shopping cart. She absolutely loved it. Such a sweet little peanut. :) It was such a great weekend that seems like forever ago...seriously need time to slow down just a tad please!

March 13, 2013

MB on the Move!

While these pictures aren't of Maeva girl on the move, they were taken the same day last week that she officially started crawling! (Read: an excuse for me to share some cute pictures of my little lady.)
It was really out of the blue, and it's still a pretty "rough" crawl. She kind of does a hop with it. In fact, when she first started doing it, Manny said, "Look mama! Bebe Sawyer's a kangaroo!" Then started hop-crawling along with her, and called her the baby kangaroo and he was the giant kangaroo. :)
It's still weird to me to see her moving around, even though she is 10 months old. Just doesn't seem possible she's that old already!

We're both pretty shocked this day has already come. ;)

March 12, 2013

The Proof is in the Pin: Volume 7

And now the moment you've both been waiting's time for our monthly Pinterest check in! 
Pin #1 - The Easiest Burlap Wreath You Will Ever Make: I pinned this solely based on the word "easy". Those pins always suck me in. Unfortunately many times the word "easy" gets lost in translation. I haven't read any other burlap wreath tutorials so technically I don't have anything to compare it to, but I would say this one is pretty darn easy. Unfortunately I'm a super literal direction follower, so it took me a few passes at it to get the burlap scrunched in there right. I didn't make mine as full as hers, but I knew I didn't really want it that way anyhow. I added a little bit of chevron (shocker) burlap ribbon around it, as well as a wooden initial I painted and a few flowers I picked up in the scrapbooking section at Hobby Lobby. I was pretty pleased with how it turned out in the end. I would definitely check out her tutorial if you're in the market for a burlap wreath - just don't give up if it takes you a little time to get the method down right. Or it could just be user error and everyone else will fly through it. (likely)
Image via Dashing Dish
Pin #2 - Crispy Baked Parmesan Green Bean Fries: I have been trying to get back in the habit of cooking more, and my meal planning board has helped a ton thankfully! Silly as it might sound, I'm finally getting more confident in trying new recipes so have been pinning a lot of food lately. I'm really bad at making sides though. I feel lucky to get an entree cooked most days. So I've been keeping my eye out for easy sides in hopes of changing that. I pinned these because they sounded super easy, plus healthy - another thing I'm trying to stick to. It really is such a simple recipe and will be a regular staple in our rotation. Go here to check it out. 
Pin #3 - Crockpot Whole Chicken: My best friend told me about this pin she'd tried and loved, so I had to track it down on her boards and pin it too. We eat a lot of rotisserie chicken and this is a great subsititue for it. It was so so so easy, healthy, and delicious! (and yes, it was totally falling off the bone - could barely keep it together to get it out of the crockpot.) Definitely a winner and for sure repeat in my book. The recipe can be found here.

That's all for today! If you've done anything lately you discovered via Pinterest, feel free to blog about it (whether it turned out good or bad!) and link up below. Happy Tuesday! :)

March 11, 2013

Maeva Beth {8 & 9 Months}

Dear Maeva Beth,

Another 2 months have gone by in the blink of an eye, and I just can't believe how fast your first year is blowing by! In just a couple of days you'll be hitting the 10 month mark, so, as usual - I thought I'd write a little recap of months 8 & 9 before that gets here. I actually didn't get any 8 month pictures of you. Well technically I did, but none of you with your "8 month" sticker. I figure you'll be fine, and I have to say I'm pretty proud of myself for not getting upset that I missed the sticker photo op. Pretty sure life will go on. :)
You had your 9 month check-up on Valentine's day, and we learned you are growing just a little bit! You weighed 18 pounds, which is the 47%, and you were 26 1/4 inches long, which is the 9%. I knew you were a short little thing because you're still in mostly 6 month clothes. Your head measured 17 inches, which is the 33%. You just seem like such a little peanut to me. I know you're not exactly tiny, but you certainly don't seem like a big 9 month old! In my eyes/head, I see you as around 5 or 6 months. 
You are getting so many teeth! You have 4 on the bottom and are working on the 4 top teeth. You like to chew on everything! You are rolling everywhere to get what you want, but aren't all that interested in trying to crawl. You will get up and rock around, and even do a little downward dog action but that's about it. You are definitely our laid back little princess.
I left you for the first time overnight this past month, and it was hard on us both. You basically refused a bottle, but you did sleep through the night for your Meme. That was very nice of you and I'm not bitter at all. Ahem. We'll not discuss your sleeping habits at this point. I will say you have had an awfully rough winter with sickness and colds, so fingers crossed once all that'll be sleeping like a baby. Which, truth be told, is the stupidest saying ever. Exhibit A: YOU. And I say that in love. :)
You still make this shocked expression all the time, and people get the biggest kick out of it and ask how we make you do it. Really no clue. It's just something you do when you're sitting there. You also like to twirl your hands and feet around in circles. You kind of look like an octopus. :)
Manny is still so in love with his Bebe Sawyer. He's started calling you Maeva some finally, and even sissy, which totally melts my heart. Sometimes I'll leave you with daddy and take Manny places, and the whole time he asks where you are and says we need to go find you. He loves having you around...let's hope it stays that way for awhile, though I'm concerned once you officially start crawling we might be in trouble.

Manny wanted to join the fun of monthly pictures and begged for a sticker. I finally got him one, and then he wanted to sit in the "picture spot", which is the side you were on. For whatever reason, you didn't want to move to the other side and melted down. That would signal the end of our photo shoot.

It was hard to find a good comparison picture for you and your brother as he was quite on the move when he was 9 months old, so taking pictures was a tad difficult. I am not looking forward to that stage with you!

You really are the sweetest thing sister. People are always stopping us and commenting on what a happy and beautiful baby you are, and of course...I couldn't agree more. You light up when you see Daddy, Manny, or me enter the room and it's just the sweetest thing. You are such a blessing to our family!

I love you baby girl!
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