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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

This past week was a tough one to put it mildly. Thursday (October 19th) was the 2nd anniversary of my brother’s death. (Anniversary is a weird word to use because I like to think of anniversaries as happy times). Anywho, Corey and I drove to San An]]><![CDATA[tonio to spend some time with my sweet Momma at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort. We’re definitely Hyatt people – all their resorts are adult + kid friendly. There’s a ton of stuff to do, and each resort is always in a gorgeous and reflective setting. Perfect for a very pineapple trip.

Corey was very excited to see his Noni – he’s actually cheering for her in this picture “Noni! Noni! Noni!”

hyatt regency hill country resort

We had a beautiful balcony where Corey could run around + Mom and I could sip cocktails. The view was perfect.

hyatt regency hill country

 

Big Guy saw the AAASSSTTTRRROOOOOSSS (hooray for the World Series!) on the TV in the bar at the hotel. We had to go in for dinner so he could watch the game. This guy loves him some Astros baseball.

That hat though… Mr. Cabana Man.

hyatt regency hill country resort

It was definitely a somber, reflective trip for us. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it any other way though. Lots of memories, tears, laughter, and missing my brother + daddy like crazy.

hyatt regency hill country

On our walk Thursday morning, we saw two cardinals. I’ve said this before, and it may be weird to you, but I really believe that birds represent loved ones. Jimmy’s high school mascot was a cardinal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been missing him and not moments later, I see a cardinal. I never see them when I’m just having an ‘ordinary’ day. My mom and I took that as a sign that he was with us on our walk.

hyatt regency hill country resort

hyatt regency hill country resort

Corey was mesmerized by this rabbit. This guy was brave – we walked within a couple feet of him and he just gave us the stare down. Brave Little Bunny.

hyatt regency hill country resort

At the end of our walk, we walked by this gorgeous tree where dozens of birds + squirrels were eating (the resort lays feed out so you can watch them chow down). All of the animals ran away as we approached except for this dove. Like I said, I think birds represent people. Guess who this one is. The day my dad died, my mom, aunt, and I all saw doves in different places. My aunt is frequently visited by a dove on days when she’s feeling very blue. I’d like to think this portly, tenacious dove was my daddy. The sign says it all, too.

hyatt regency hill country resort

As a dose of humor, I’d like to show you proof of Corey’s current shoe obsession. He really digs my heels.

hyatt regency hill country resort

On our last night, we bravely decided to take Corey to the resort’s fantastic upscale restaurant: Antler’s Lodge. We were a bit early, so Corey got to stare at all the golf carts and yell at all the golfers as they were on the driving range. I’m sure they just loved his enthusiasm…

hyatt regency hill country resort

Noni + Grandbaby

hyatt regency hill country

My snuggly little man. He was the great distraction + source of ‘busy-ness’ that we needed.

hyatt regency hill country resort

In an unrelated note – I did get to wear some of my favorite new pants on the trip. These babies are wicked comfy. Case in point: I loaded the car, gave Corey a bath (all thanks to him playing with his poopy diaper – gross), drove 3 hours, unloaded everything, and walked around the resort. Felt like I was wearing leggings all day instead of jeans/pants. Definitely a winner! Gotta find the positive even on bad days, right?

Wit & Wisdom Ab-solution Stretch Twill Skinny Pants

wit & wisdom ab-solution stretch twill skinny pants

On the drive home – all I’ve gotta say is praise the Lord for DVD players in cars + Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Three hours is a long time when your toddler won’t nap in the car.

road trip

I hope y’all had a great week!

Oh, and GO ASTROS!!!

Pumpkin patches + adorable kids – is there anything better? I think not.

pumpkin patch

Definitely not.

corey douglas

Corey’s school puts on the most adorable pumpkin patch every year with themed pumpkin displays, a slide made out of hay, and even a bicycle ride. It’s adorable! Just look at that sweaty little man trying to pick up all the “bigg puunnkiiinnnns!” He kept saying, “I stwong Mama!” Gahhhh. I just love that kid + this time of year. Simply the best!

corey douglas

Now, if only Houston would jump on board. This friggin’ weather is ridiculous. 87 and feels like 98 with humidity. Gross. At least the puppy and the kid enjoy it!

corey douglas

There was ONE day this week that was actually cool enough to dress “fall” like. I grabbed my leggings and plaid shirt faster than Lucy swipes the football from Charlie Brown.

fall outfit

I wanted to share a few of my Fall Favorites on this Fabulous Friday the 13th! I like alliteration, can you tell? 

Here we go!

Favorite Side Right Now: Cauliflower Rice 2.0

cauliflower rice

We had it this week with a little Taco Tuesday Bowl – ground beef taco meat, roasted veggies, avocado, tomato, cilantro, and slow-simmered black beans (recipe coming soon). The whole bowl was only about 470 calories and still super filling + delicious.

taco tuesday bowl

Favorite Nail Color Right Now: Dark Hunter Green – like almost black. I’ve found that pure black looks pretty boo-boo on my skin, so I went for a dark green and I love it! I’m still all about that dip manicure, too. It lasts forever (even with all my cooking, dishes, LAUNDRY, and everything else). I also think it’s a lot better for your natural nails than gel manicures. Try it if you haven’t yet!

dip manicure

Favorite Clothes Right Now:

These jeans are everything (okay, they call them pants, but whatever… to me they’re jeans). They don’t stretch out too much throughout the day, and that ab-solution band really holds and tucks things that need holding and tucking if you know what I mean. Plus, they come in some super cute colors!

Wit & Wisdom Ab-solution Stretch Twill Skinny Pants

ab-solution stretch twill skinny pants

These fellas are worth the money. They hug places that need to be hugged and still feel super comfy. I wear these bad boys with the Target t-shirt below as my daily Mom Uniform. They still makes me feel cute while being able to be functionally mom-ish.

Madewell High Rise Skinny Jeans

Madewell High Rise Skinny Jeans

THIS T-SHIRT RIGHT HERE! I can’t even. The v-neck is a great length (not too high and not so low that you show your goodies when you bend over for that dropped bunch of Goldfish) plus the sides and back are great lengths, too. I love to wear mine with the jeans above, but also with leggings.

Target Mossimo Short Sleeve Relaxed V Neck T Shirt

Target Mossimo Short Sleeve Relaxed V Neck T Shirt

Favorite Movie Right Now:

(No explanation needed – it’s awesome + Corey loves it)

it's the great pumpkin charlie brown

Favorite Halloween Garb Right Now: This adorable shirt from Magpie’s Gifts in Cypress. Baseball tee + Halloween + the word Y’all. I’m sold.

magpie's halloween shirt

Music class is always fun with this chubby bunny. No idea why my face looks like a hot mess, but he’s too cute. I had to share his joy.

corey douglas

Have I mentioned that my kid is IN LOVE with his music teacher? He literally stares at her like this for the ENTIRE music class. It’s adorable, but also, dude I’m paying for you to sing + dance. Not drool over your teacher.

corey douglas

Okay, I forgive you. You cute.

corey douglas

What are YOUR favorite things for fall (or in general) right now? 

Cheers to the weekend, y’all!

friday the 13th meme

   We’ve kept it pretty low key the past week plus since this poor guy has had a tummy virus. Obviously, it’s not getting in the way of his mood or his appetite, though! I sure do love dem cheekies!

corey douglas

Also… no one mentioned “stool samples” whenever I signed up to be a Mama. Gross. I’m a little emotionally scarred from that… endeavor. I’m gonna need more hand sanitizer and a big glass of wine to erase that memory.


I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting to get this friggin’ bookshelf for Corey’s playroom for LITERALLY almost a year! IKEA had been out of the color I wanted that whole time (down here in Houston anyway), so I thought I’d visit the Dallas IKEA. Fate had a different plan… while we were up in Dallas, they ran out of the freaking color of shelf I wanted.

ikea

How. Neat.

It was time to just get a different freaking color bookshelf. I couldn’t handle the playroom being unfinished anymore (OCD problems). So, I grabbed my poopy toddler and threw on my “getting it done” Mama shoes and headed down to Houston’s IKEA.

RANT TIME

**Can I just say, IKEA, that you SUCK when it comes to helping moms navigate your maze of a store. I didn’t have but ONE person offer to help me with this big bama.

He weights 70 pounds, and this Mama had to hoist it onto the cart by herself [with said poopy toddler] and traipse alllllll the way through the whole store. It wasn’t until I got outside that a nice fella who worked for YOU, IKEA, offered to help me get it in our Suburban. I’m just saying… And no, I don’t want to drop my kid off at your in-store daycare, thanks. You need to make your shopping experience accessible for everyone, including me and my poopy toddler.

Mama out.**

ikea kallax bookshelf

I actually put this big fella together all by lonesome self. My poopy toddler was there to supervise and cheer me on. [He now says, “Good job, Mama!” in his own little way. Adorable. But still poopy.

The one thing I will say for IKEA is that they’ve invented this little black plastic thingy that holds the little tool thingy that comes with all IKEA furniture. No more scars from having to turn and turn and turn that little tool while it digs into your skin. Well played, IKEA. But I’m still mad at you.

ikea

Did I mention this big guy weighs 70 pounds? I feel like one Bad Ass Mama.

ikea

Here’s the finished product! Yes, yes, I know. I’m missing a friggin’ bucket. Did I mention my poopy toddler? I’m sure I’ll find this lost bucket somewhere very intriguing in a few months. Until then, I bought another one because it bothered me too much (OCD problems again).

KALLAX Shelf Unit

Pillowfort Striped Fabric Bin – Large – Gray 

ikea

Okay, one more positive thing for IKEA (still mad at you)… I got a ton of great dishes for next to nothing. That kitchen section would be the death of my credit score except that these little babies cost less than $8 each! Score, baby.

Also – they’ve got some awesome picture frames for just $1.

ikea

So, real life moment. I had major plans to whoo my man with a roast chicken + mashed potatoes on Friday night. He’d had a long week – half in Houston and half in Dallas – working his adorable hiney off. So, I wanted to be all Barefoot Contessa and have a yummy, comfort food-y type meal on the table. The mashed potatoes were amazing [seriously… amazing], but the friggin’ chicken wasn’t cooked all the way. The recipe was delicious (as we found out a day later), but we ended up eating some chicken sausage instead of the chicken I’d been working on for two days. That’s life though… A for effort?

standard grill million dollar chicken

Happy Monday, friends!

monday is a mullet

Eh hem. You see this mess? DO you SEE this mess? This would be my little angel baby dumping his plate and throwing the unwanted (green peas) bits onto the floor so that Penny would eat it all up for him. Real cute.

Y’all to be real, ever since Corey started his preschool twice a week, we’ve noticed a huge change in his… let’s just say behavior. We’ve had tantrums, screaming, hitting (people and objects), yelling, “No!”, time outs, and well… you get the idea. I don’t know if he’s picking this up at school, but it is NOT my favorite thing.

terrible twos toddler

Have y’all experienced this with your kiddos? Corey used to have bouts of rough times, but this is getting pretty consistent. I’m hoping this is a short-lived phase. Mama’s running out of wine.

Anywho…

WHY DO I EVEN GO INTO TARGET!?!?!? I know what’s going to happen… I’m going to buy a ton of stuff I don’t need but WANT SO FREAKING BADLY! Guhh. I definitely couldn’t pass up these two Sandra Boynton Halloween books. Way too darn cute. She’s got the BEST books for babies and toddlers.

target halloween

No holiday or season can be complete without a themed wine glass. Just sayin’. Thanks to my bestie for this sweet birthday gift – she knows the way to my heart. (PS – definitely poured this glass immediately following the above mentioned food throwing.)

halloween wine glass

You gotta love a good ole comfy dress that you can throw on while rangling the toddler and slopping on some make up. This one is a cheap find (about $25) and is fitted through the arms and chest, but flowy at the waist and legs. I don’t know why, but I love when a dress is comfy + still attractive. It’s really easy for these kinds of dresses to quickly turn towards a Mumu-esque situation.

Old Navy Jersey-Knit Swing Dress for Women

old navy striped dress

So y’all know I love me some Crock Pot Wednesday. I also love me some freezer-friendly situations. I also reallllly like easy but still yummy weeknight meals. This shredded chicken covers all my loving bases.

It’s super simple and gives you healthy, cooked, shredded chicken that’s ready when you are.

crock pot shredded chicken

I just grab a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts (the big ones, not the chicken tender size) + 2 cups of chicken stock. Turn the Crock Pot on high, throw everything in, and cook for about 4 hours or until the chicken shreds easily. You could also leave it on low for about 8-10 hours depending on how much chicken you’ve got. Just make sure the chicken is almost totally covered with stock.

crock pot shredded chicken


Crock Pot Shredded Chicken

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chick stock

Place the chicken in the bottom of a Crock Pot. Cover with chicken stock. Cook on high for 4 hours (or low 8-10) until chicken shreds easily with a fork.

Remove chicken from Crock Pot and shred. Store in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.