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Rule #18: Dogs will always steal the focus away from you.

We were getting a little cabin fever after all the Christmas festivities, so we decided to brave the cold + wet weather to take a little adventure in the park. This little fella was all ready and bundled up in his awesome new hat from his Aunt Mo. It’s even got Mickey Ears that flap out into an adorable display of ridiculous cuteness. Ignore that his jacket is possibly two sizes too big.

park adventures

Noni + Her Grandson – “Cheeeeeeeeeeese”

park adventures

These geese conducted their own naval operations and followed us all around the pond. They even braved a Land Assault and almost got Penny a few times. These guys aren’t messing around. My mom had a pretty traumatizing experience with these beasts, but that’s another story for another time.

park adventures

My two thugs.

park adventures

Little thug got tired there and went for a ride on Daddy’s shoulders. Smart thug.

park adventures

Mama Thug + Baby Thug (okay, so my outfit is more like JCrew Prep, but you get the idea).

park adventures

And now we get to the Rule of the Day. Dogs will always steal the focus away from you.

park adventures

See: Penny poised and ready for the attack on the Goose Navy. She’s tough, brave, and ready to defend her family.

park adventures

BAHH! Just kidding…

park adventures

Stealer of the Focus: Exhibit A

park adventures

Exhibit D

PennyStealer of the Focus: Exhibit P (for Penny)

We sat there huddled like that for wayyyy too long to be comfortable. I finally figured out the ole automatic timer on the new camera. It took about 10 shots with 2 seconds in between each. During that whole time, we were completely unaware that Penny’s tail was the main attraction in all of the pictures. Would’ve been SUCH a great picture, too. 

park adventures

I guess this is payback for all of the Christmas PJ’s I’ve made her wear this year. It’s a good thing she’s so dang cute.

Penny

Say it ain’t so. My baby’s all grown up.

Corey's first day of school

Okay, maybe not alllll grown up, but this big man is now going to a toddler preschool program twice a week! I know it’s going to be the best thing for both of us, but ohhh boy my Mama Feels are at high tide right now.

Corey's first day of school

Jon and I also have those weird parent worries: what if he gets picked on? what if he’s not as sweet anymore? what if he gets hurt? will he be scared that we won’t come back?

Please tell me we’re not the only parents to have these fears!

Corey's first day of school

I know it’s just a two day program and lotsa folks take their kiddos to daycare, but it was our first time. It was our first first time – you know what I mean? That’s tough! This little man has been my sidekick for almost two years now – every day, all day.

coreys first day of school

On the bright side, I’m looking forward to all the arts and crafts and macaroni creations that we’re going to get. And ohhh those handprint artwork pieces! Gahhh I can’t wait!

coreys first day of school

This kid has his daddy’s demeanor, so he’s going to be just fine! All cheesy smiles and happy giggles.

coreys first day of school

And if anyone’s mean to him, they’re gonna have to answer to his Mama.

coreys first day of school

It all got real for me when I was making Corey’s lunch that morning before school. I imagined his chubby little fingers nipping at each little (okay, huge) bite while he sits next to his new friends at a miniature-person-sized table. Adorable. And tear-jerking.

Bentgo Kids Childrens Lunch Box

I found these nifty little boxes on Amazon (see link below). The inside section (where the food sits) lifts out and can be frozen the day before to keep things cold. It’s also dishwasher safe (scooore)!

Bentgo Kids Childrens Lunch Box

Blue Lunch Box | Green Lunch Box

The labels are from InchBug, and they’re also dishwasher safe! You can customize them by color, font, and name. We also got some of the orbit labels that fit around his cups for his “sippy” type cups. I’m going to order some of the circular ones, too to go on the sides of his cups so it’s just that much easier for the teachers.

InchBug Labels

Meet Corey’s new favorite toy: the vacuum. I may have caused this little obsession because I let him play with our little handheld vacuum at home. That’s alllllll he played with during Meet the Teacher and during his first day! At least he’s happy, but… Mama’s a little worried he’s going to have some kind of a weird fetish.

Corey's first day of school

He even gave up snack because he wanted to vacuum at his cousin’s house. That’s definitely a first!

coreys first day of school

Do you have any items or suggestions or words of wisdom for back-to-school for toddlers and big kids?

 Prayers for a great year of school for all our babies!

I know that you know that there’s an app for that, but I thought I’d throw even more apps at you to really get you boggled down with more technology. Just kidding – I really love technology and want to share what makes my life easier. I use most of these apps daily, some for over 8 years, and I’ve really come to rely on them for good information and data storage.


Google Photos

One of my (much more tech savvy) friends told me about this app years ago, and I’ve been so grateful to her ever since! In Google Photos, your photos automatically back-up to your Google account. So think, if you lose or break your phone, you won’t lost your photos. You don’t have to pay (unless you have an obcene amount of pics) like you do with the Cloud Storage. All you do is open the app every once in a while and your photos will automatically back-up.

google photos

If you’re concerned about privacy, don’t worry. You can change the privacy settings so that no one can see your Google Photos except you. You can also decide which photos to back-up if you’d prefer to only have a select few. I just love this app because I’m a hot mess. I’ve definitely dropped my phone in toilets, on the hard pavement with no case, and possibly may or may not have ketchup buried in its crevices at this moment. It’s good to know I won’t lose my photos + videos just because I’m a disaster.


Photo Editing Apps

I’m just going to list these because I don’t think they need much explanation. They’re in order of most favorite to lesser favorite:

#1: Tadaa

#2: Afterlight

#3: PS Express

#4: Food Photo Editor

#5: Blur Editor

#6: Layout

Also – any photos edited in these apps will automatically back-up to Google Photos as well.

favorite apps


Lose It

Hands-down my favorite app ever made. Ever. It’s definitely not for everyone. I realize most folks who are trying to lose or maintain weight use My Fitness Pal and a couple of other popular ones. This one has always kept me accountable (when I’m using it properly).

lose it

In Lose It, you count your calories (and carbs, sugar, fat, etc.) for the day. You set your daily calorie goal using their system for your desired results. You can choose from options such as “lose 1 pound a week” or “maintain” or “lose 2 pounds a week”. Whatever floats your boat. Lose It also automatically syncs to your Apple Watch, so your exercises are recorded as well as your steps (if you reach your goal).

lose it app

The reason I REALLY, REALLY like Lose It though is for its customizable recipes + food. You can manually enter recipes and ingredients down to whatever specification you want. For example, when I’m making my Hash Brown Quiche, I weigh the hash browns + cheese down to the gram to make sure I’m on track. That way, I know exactly the calorie count for each slice I eat. They do have foods already entered into the system for you to search and choose from, but I really like having ownership over my recipes.

lose it app


Fitness Apps

I’ll just list these because, again, I don’t know that they need much explanation. In order of most favorite to lesser favorite:

#1: 30 Day Fitness (abs, thighs, butt, total body, etc.)

#2: Daily Ab

#3: MapMyRun

#4: My Trainer Carmen – need a paid subscription, but you can get a free trial – it’s worth it!

favorite apps


The Wonder Weeks

This is a fantastic app to use if you’re a new parent (or doing it for the second or third time and want a refresher) or even if you’re a grandparent. In this app, you get a summary of each “leap” your little one makes. It gives you a forecast for how their moods might be (cloudy + thunder for weeks they may be angry; sunshine for weeks they will probably be cheerful). These are based on two Dr.’s experiences with children and their development.

the wonder weeks

I found that it was about 90% accurate with regard to Corey’s moods and leaps. As a parent, you really get to know your kid and their mood swings quickly. Most of the time, when Corey was about to make a huge mental leap, he’d get EXTREMELY cranky + irritable + clingy about a week before this big leap. My aunt and sister-in-law confirmed their kids did the same thing. I’d look up his leap in this app, and lo-and-behold, he’d be about to make a huge jump.

favorite apps

I liked the comfort of understanding what he was about to learn or experience. This app really breaks down the phases kiddos go through as they’re learning to grasp the things and people around them. It explains why your kid may have irrational fears or anger at certain times (it at least makes you feel like mayyyyyyybe it’s not just you). And please, if you do get this app or one like it, and your kid isn’t fitting the mold to a T – IT’S OKAY! These things are guidelines not rules, bokay? FYI though – only the first 10 leaps are free with the app (got him to 18 months).


Ovia Fertility

ovia fertility app

So, to get really honest for a second, we use this as our “natural family planning” go-to. Birth control makes me a crazy person (well, more of one than I already am anyway), so we stick to the “natural” way. In the Ovia Fertility app, I just track my cycle and enter data to see when we’d most likely get pregnant. It even provides a Fertility Score based on your cycle. We choose to avoid or act on it, depending on our state of mind. You catch my drift…

It’s fantastic because once you enter new data [for example: an ovulation test that’s positive], the app automatically recalculates when you’re most likely to get pregnant. It offers tips for how to conceive such as nutrition, mental health, etc. If you’re like me, you probably googled everything down to the color of paint on the walls that’s best for conceiving. No? Just me? Okay.

favorite apps

It gets pretty exciting when you’re entering data hoping that you’re pregnant. You enter your symptoms (I’m not going into those details – you can use the app to figure those out), and it will tell you if it’s a symptom of early pregnancy or not. My suggestion is to not get tooooo crazy with these kinds of apps. It’s just there to help you keep track – not to tell you how to scientifically make a little human. Guidelines – not rules.


Ovia Pregnancy

ovia pregnancy app

Gaaahhhhh I was so excited to use this app when we finally got preggo with Corey! It gives you a weekly update on the size of your little embryo + symptoms to watch out for. It even tells you what foods are best for brain development, eye development, etc. It’s super fun! BTW – did you know dark kidney beans are really good for brain growth? Just saying. You’re learning from this app already!

I would get giddy looking forward to the weekly update that explained what organs were developing and how big the big man was. There are also tons of articles to research when you’re experiencing a symptom that you’re concerned about. You can get as into the app as you want – all the way down to entering temperature, diet, exercise, and sleep patterns. I didn’t get that into it, but I did enjoy all the features it gave.

ovia pregnancy app

My favorite week in this app was definitely the week they said Corey was the size of a pickle. My aunt decided his name would be Pickle Baby until he was born (we didn’t find out the sex or tell the name until home boy made his debut). We have pickle band-aids and a pickle teether to prove his Pickle Baby Fame.


Pump Log

As the name says it, it’s an app all about breast pumping. I didn’t breast feed Corey; I exclusively pumped. That was my choice, and no I don’t want your opinion. But thank you. This app really helped me learn how much and how long to pump. It even calculated how many ounces I’d need extra in order to quit pumping at my desired time. I liked having the data readily available so I’d know when to start/stop. And to be totally honest, I was in such a mommy fog in the beginning, I’d totally forget if I’d pumped or not.

pump log app


gUnit

gUnit app

This is the app for people who suck at math. Like me. Or it’s for anyone who cooks, weighs, measures, etc. things all the time. When I’m creating a recipe, I like to stick to simple measurements, so I’ll usually convert things from mL to cups and tablespoons and things like that. This app does that for you automatically without you having to worry your pretty little head. I taught all of these conversions, so I should know them by heart. Sadly, there’s just not room for that info in my old noggin’ anymore.

favorite apps

But also – can we just talk about the name for a second? Hilarious.


What are some of your favorite apps and what do you use them for? I’m always on the hunt for something new!

This weekend was a great change of pace for us. Things have been a little hairy these days with work stress and the like. You know – life. No biggie. We still had a great time with friends and family.

Big Man and I took a trip to our]]>

Okay, the big bear did freak me out. OMG the germs. Gahhhhhh.

weekend recap

But look at that face…

weekend recap

There’s great big books for kiddos. Corey’s favorite.

weekend recap

Tons of sensory puzzles – of course, Mickey Mouse was a hit.

weekend recap

We got to try a new restaurant – Peli Peli in Vintage Park – with some great friends. Oh to the Em Gee. Y’all. If you live anywhere near Vintage Park in Houston, you HAVE to go to Peli Peli. We ate off the Restaurant Week menu, and it was divine. Genuinely the best dinner we’ve had in Houston since we’ve moved here. It’s a unique place because it’s South African cuisine. That means it’s basically a melting pot of a whole bunch of different cultures and foods. There’s Brazilian + Indian  + African + a ton of others.

If this scares you off, please don’t let it! Just look at the yummy pictures below!

FYI – their Happy Hour is BOMB! It lasts until 7 at the bar, and you can get some amazing cocktails + appetizers for a really, really good price. We took advantage of the great deals, I assure you.

Breede River Tonic

Indian summer gin + pamplemousse rose + lemon + elderflower tonic + lemon lavender mist

peli peli vintage

Cape Town Cucumber

cucumber vodka + mint + lemon + peri spice rim

peli peli vintage

Like I said, we did the RW menu. This means we got an [amazing] appetizer + entree + dessert for $45. Plus some of the proceeds goes to the Houston Food Bank. Definitely a WIN, WIN, WIN!

Stuffed Mushrooms

peli peli vintage

Bobotie

(basically a South African Shepherd’s Pie – holy. yummo. mcgummo.)

peli peli vintage

Y’all. I can’t even. Lemme talk about this. If you’ve been to a Brazilian steakhouse, you get the idea of meat on a skewer. This is taking it to the next level. Think: tender beef medallions… on a piping hot skewer… with garlic butter dripping down the skewer the entire time you’re eating. Shut your mouth. No seriously. You’re drooling.

Beef Espetada

peli peli vintage peli peli vintage

Short Rib Surf + Turf

peli peli vintage

Gah! I’m so mad. I didn’t wear this dress I got from the Nord Anniversary Sale. It’s gorgeous, but I couldn’t find good shoes to match. It was perfect for this kind of dinner because it gives a lot in the tummy (I mean, did you see those pictures) but it’s also still sassy + sexy. I’m looking for some black shoes just like the ones I’m wearing in the pic. If you know of or see any, please hit me UP!

charles henry nordstrom off the shoulder dress

On Saturday, we got to hang with these two crazies. Their bond is so beautiful. I can’t get enough of their snuggles, but also their quirky way of communicating like the real brother and sister that they are. They love and hate e/o just like any other sibling couple. They do, however, love to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Mommy + Daddy’s bed.

weekend recap

I also got to get my nails did up real purty like. If you haven’t tried the “dip” that everyone is talking about, please do! It lasts way longer than gel and is better for your nails. I got mine done for $45 with tip! Not too shabby.

weekend recap

Also, these jeans are everything plus a side of butter. If you’re looking for comfy + still cute jeans, you need these in your life. Perfect for doing mom things or school things or eating brunch things.

Wit & Wisdom Ab-solution Ankle Slimmer Jeans

wit wisdom ab solution ankle skimmer jeans

And to all my teacher + librarian friends out there:

time to remember

I’m suuuuuper pumped because we are another step closer to being [finally] moved into our new home! Yes, we may have moved in a mere 11 months ago. Yes, we still have a lot left to do somehow. BUT I am enjoying staring at these lovely new ladies that are in our living room.

living room deco

They’re definitely not subtle… but since the rest of our living room is pretty neutral, I thought these could be the real statement pieces in the space. We also got an AWESOME deal on the fabric [click here for details] which happens to be from the fabulous Chip + Jo from Magnolia Homes. You know it’s gold when their names are on it. LOVE them!

living room deco

Jon’s parents were so sweet enough to let us borrow these guys when we had literally NOTHING in the living room to help fill the space. Like… y’all… we used camping chairs for Corey’s first birthday. That’s how sad it was. His parents even let us keep them once they decided they didn’t need them in their back office anymore. Score!

living room deco

These guys just fit so well in the space near our stairs, but the fabric wasn’t exactly our style. So we went through a few different fabrics from Fabric.com and just returned the ones we didn’t want. This website has the best pricing and customer service. Hands. Down.

I think the next step in our living room will definitely be getting some matching pillows to go on our neutral couch/love seat.

living room deco

After a bumpy, bumpy Tuesday [check out this post about the Terrible 2’s]… Corey had a great rest of the week! It’s a tough little  phase, but can I just brag on what this little man did for me this week:

put my shoes back on the shoe rack just because [yupp… still haven’t unpacked from Charleston… whoops] said, “Thank you” and “Bless you” unprompted
and the best one… decided that he loooooves to vacuum!

[sorry so blurry… but oh comma my this sweet boy] Corey

I have a definite new favorite lunch. It’s one of my Mediterranean Turkey Burgers + this Tzatziki + store bought Mediterranean couscous. It’s not only yummy, it actually keeps me full until dinner. I feel like I always make the worst mistakes at around 5:00 when I’m hungry but it’s not quite dinner time. This has kept me on somewhat good behavior this week.

lunch

I’m not sure if you’ve been eyeing that Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but if you haven’t… FOR SHAME! I’ve found a ton of great deals that I’m excited to share with you soon. Okay, I’ll share one now – I love this dress below. The cardholder sneak peek was this week, but the actual sale is coming next week. So get on it, friend!

charles henry off the shoulder shirtdress

charles henry off the shoulder shirtdress

I don’t know about you, but I do love when a Mama goes rogue and tells people what she’s really thinking. I love the Instagram account called the21stCenturySAHM. She’s fantastic. I’ll just let you read her thoughts on motherhood…

motherhood

motherhood

motherhood

Can I get an AMEN?! Happy Weekend, y’all!