10 Things

Thursday, February 8, 2018

I've been blogging for years but I figured that, if you were new around here, it might be nice to get a glimpse into who I am, a little bit about my life and why I'm blogging.  I love reading these kinds of bullet-point lists cause it gives you a little overhead look into someone's life - so here's mine.

Does anybody have anything in common?  I can imagine that there's quite a few folks that also hate cold weather this time of year, ha!  Share with me! 

Photo Drop + New Fave Product!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I gotta say that blogging feels so strange to me again!  Does anybody else ever feel like they've been ruined for blogs by Instagram?  I remember years back when I loved to read blogs about peoples lives...about their families, their friends, social lives, recipes they liked, places they traveled to....now if anybody blogs it's all about their latest purchases and their "obsessions" and things they love.  

If I'm being honest I'll admit that it intimidates me to start blogging again because that just won't be me.  I'm a city-girl-turned-small-town-mama and the nearest Nordstrom is 3 hours away and I would die of embarrassment to ask a local photographer to take pictures of me around town in fancy clothes...not to mention that I'd likely see someone I know and die of embarrassment all over again :) 

So now that that's out of the way, I can get on with it all.  If you want links to Nordstrom and other fancy stores, you're at the wrong place!  But I'm happy to tell you all about my simple little life!  


First things first - I'm 36 years old and I suddenly am looking at myself in the mirror like...."Hello, who are you, ya old lady?!?"  I have wrinkles and lines!  Ick.  Young girls...it WILL catch up to you so start now with your eye cream and nightly moisturizing!  So I did some browsing on Amazon and found a product that I've been using for about two weeks and I've been really pleased with the results!  This is it: 

I chose it because it is Retinol free, which is hard to find in many anti-aging skincare products.  I didn't want the Retinol in it because studies have shown Retinol to alter DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors.  

Here's my results, just two weeks apart!  Obviously there is no magic product that will completely get rid of fine lines and wrinkles (don't let those Rodan + Fields Before & After pics on FB fool you), but I've been impressed with how things have smoothed out a little.  Bonus, I've also been using it on my hands cause they were looking wrinkly too, and they've definitely improved!  

Here's the link to the product - Baebody Eye Gel 


Here's the "before" shot - I've actually been using Monat (review for that coming soon!) while I don't think it looked terrible, I really wanted to brighten things up a little bit.  

And after!  The natural light outside makes it look a little brighter than it does indoors...I wish I would've went a little lighter on the ombre effect.  Maybe next time.  


Last week we had a beautiful 40 degree day and I was able to get outside for a walk with Harper.  It was amazing.  It was also amazing cause she fell asleep and I wheeled her right into the house in the stroller.  As of this week she's now taking naps (ALL THE PRAISE HANDS!) thanks to a very rough week of cry-it-out.  It was tough but worth it for both of us.  

Snuggling with Daddy.  I took this pic cause seriously this girl fall asleep with anybody else but me.  For me, there ain't a chance of her falling asleep unless I'm feeding her.  But pretty much anyone else can snuggle her and she'll pass out.  It's totally unfair.

Last week I got to see a girlfriend's baby for the first time!  This friend and I go way back and it was so fun to meet her little man and have our babies play together.  He's exactly one month older than Harper and they were just so dang cute together.  She couldn't quite keep up with him...but she tried and it was adorable.

There ya go, my first dump in like two years!  Here's to many more!

Hello 2018!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Hard to believe it's been over two years since I wrote on my little blog here!  Even though blogging appears to have gone by the wayside, I always loved being able to document my daily life.  I can't tell you how many times I've gone back to my old blogs (yes, plural - I've had a few over the years!) to read about this or that - mostly looking back at my pregnancy and monthly stats with Hadley!

Jumping in, we've added a new member to our family!  Our second daughter, Harper, was born in May last year.  We had quite the journey - and story - to her joining our family, which I can't wait to share about.  Otherwise, everything is about the same as it was the last time I wrote, ha!  But I'll update anyway.

Brad is still working in the building industry.  He has developed such an amazing style and has a super sharp eye for design.  He's recently started building his first "spec" house (a house that we'll sell when it's done) and I can't wait to see it when it's all said and done.  It's pretty unique for the area we live in and I think it will sell quickly.  Speaking in faith :)

Hadley is 5 years old and Lord, is she something.  I've never met a sweeter child.  She started Kindergarten this year and even though she complains pretty often about going, she seems to like it alright once she's there!  She's smart as a whip and I'm amazed at how quickly things get pieced together in her mind.  She's still our girly girl that loves to play outside, rough house with her daddy, and now hold her sister (and occasionally boss her around, despite it falling on deaf ears, lol).

Harper just turned 7 months old, I've nicknamed her "bear cub" cause she's just a persistent, temperamental little sweetie pie :)  She's not as chunky as Hadley was (I'm breastfeeding Harper whereas Hadley was on formula), but she's still got some sweet chunk to her that makes her so fun to hold and squeeze.  She is a total - TOTAL - Mama's girl, hates taking naps and has about a 10 minute tolerance for any activity (besides being held by Mom).  Basically she's rocking my world but dang if I don't have this crazy amount of grace and love for her, anyway.

As for me....I'm totally "at home" with the girls now.  I am working a few times a month as a bookkeeper for a local business and am a consultant for Beautycounter, but otherwise my heart and attention is for my girls.  We're pretty involved in our church and I recently helped start our women's ministry, which I never thought I'd love doing but here I am.  They're the most amazing, supportive women and they've made my cold, church-disliking heart love them :)  I volunteer in Hadley's class once a week.  Harper and I visit a local nursing home once a week as well (seriously if you have a baby and time on your hands,  do it!  You would die at how it blesses them).  Otherwise, you can find me cleaning my house or nursing the baby, ha!

I have no clue where this little blog of mine will go, but at any rate, I hope you'll read along!

Current Faves

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Is anyone else (stupid question already) SO EXCITED that spring is (pretty-much-but-still-debatable-where-I-live) here?!?!  I've got my windows open - still no screens on them, ha - and we had our morning snack on the porch today and it was glorious.  I'm sure I would take it for granted if I lived in a warm climate, but I can't help but think how amazing it would be to never have to put on winter boots, scrape your windshield (with a CD case, in my experience) of ice and snow, to be able to walk outside in whatever you're wearing with no thought to the temperatures....

I may not experience that this side of heaven but it sure is nice to dream about :)

In honor of my fantastic mood I thought I would share some of my favorite things right now...

//Short Hair Don't Care//

After yesterday's hideous pictures of my skin situation I figured I would post one where I don't look so atrocious.  Anyway, my lob (long bob) as they call it is growing out and I'm actually really loving it.  It's so fun to do messy waves, spray in some Kenra 25 and go.  I'm torn if I'm going to go shorter now that it's gotten longer...especially because even though Brad never makes me feel badly about my choices, I know he prefers my hair long.  BUT after 10+ years of long hair and five years of marriage, I figure it's my prerogative.  Right???

//Entry Way//

This is our mostly-finished entry way and I love it.  Love it, love it!  I still want to put a few pillows on the bench to shorten the distance between the pictures/mirror and the bench, but other than that it's all done.
I think my favorite piece is the shelf that Brad built using the piping.  It's a trendy look that's popping up all over Pinterest and the blogs, and I'm not sure it will look quite so cool in a couple years....but for now I love it and think it looks so fitting in our slightly-modernized entry.

//Hadley Kate//

I am always lovin' this girl!  She's been so fun lately and is blowing me away with how dang smart she is.  Disclaimer, I have no idea if it's considered "on milestone" or not, it could be completely normal - but there's something about seeing your own child soaking in and retaining information that is just amazing.  But anyway, the girl knows all her colors and shapes, definitely knows her alphabet and we're working on counting to 20 (she's got 1-15 down solid).  She's in the cutest phase right now where if I do anything at all, like give her food/a drink, pick something up for her, wipe her bottom (ha), she'll go, "Thank ya, momma!" Tickles me every time.
It does not tickle me when I have to tell her forty-seven times to pick up a toy or come back here or don't ride your bike into the wall.  We're working on listening the first time and it's been a little tough on both of us...but I'm believing it will pay off in the end :)
And also...even though that hair gives me grief pretty much on a daily basis, I love it.

//Cookouts + Campfires//

Once springtime hits, Brad and I are total outdoor people.  We grill out as often as we can, and now that we have a big 'ol house, we're planning to have lots of people over for cookouts and campfires!  We're starting tonight by having a big group of family over for a cookout since Brad's brother is in town from North Dakota.  We're grilling up brats and burgers and I'm making a big batch of Texas Caviar, and everyone's bringing food and drinks....it's gonna be good!

Rosacea Sucks & An (UNPAID) Review of Rodan + Fields SOOTHE

Monday, March 30, 2015

So.  This is what my face suddenly looked like one day last month:

I've always had a naturally redder complexion, but this was way redder and bumpier than anything I had ever experienced.  Also, the bumps weren't like acne bumps, they were more like a rash.  I tried eliminating a few things from my diet, thinking it was maybe an allergy, but nothing helped.  I was SO puzzled and frustrated cause it literally happened overnight and I had no idea what to do about it.

I did some Googling and saw that Rodan + Fields carried a line called "SOOTHE" that is intended for people dealing with redness.  Taken from their website, it is "clinically proven to reduce redness and irritation in as little as five minutes."  Plus there's millions of reviews (c/o, I might add) online that say it worked SO well to reduce redness and irritation.

I bought some immediately.  And let me tell ya....this stuff ain't cheap.  But I figured it would be worth the cost to try something specially formulated for what I was dealing with.

The regimen for Rodan + Fields SOOTHE is to use the face wash followed by a Sensitive Skin Treatment, and then a Moisture Replenishing Cream.  And finally, in the morning you're supposed to follow up with Step 4, which is a sunscreen.  This is the whole line here:

The upside of using this product is that it didn't ever burn or irritate my skin further; it does seem to be very gentle.  It also made my skin softer and made it appear a little healthier in the places it wasn't so red (which was mostly my cheeks).

But - I tried it for three weeks and the bottom line is that it didn't work at all for me.  My skin was just as red and bumpy when I stopped using it as when I started using it.  So based on that, I'm not sure I would recommend it for others dealing with redness.

Since the Rodan + Fields didn't work, I was fortunate enough to be going home to Illinois, which is where my best friend lives.  The really great thing is that my best friend is a Physician's Assistant, so if I'm home and I need a diagnosis for something (like an ear infection for Hadley or whatnot) I can usually have her call in a prescription.  She looked at my face and immediately said that it was probably Rosacea.

Rosacea, in case you didn't know, is one giant pain in the butt.  It tends to appear in your 30's and there's no cure for it.  It also seems to be triggered by certain things, like alcohol, temp changes or the sun.  It tends to flare up at different times, as well.  I have no clue what triggered mine.

So, point of the story is that Steph (best friend) saved the day by calling in a prescription for Metronidazole 0.75%.

Literally with one day my skin was clearing up.  After using it for two weeks, I'm happy to report a HUGE difference.  Here's a little side-by-side:

I'll be honest, I'm a little worried because the Metronidazole (as with any rosacea medication) tends to lose effectiveness after a while, but the good news is that I'm really only using it every other day, once a day, and it's still working well, so I suppose I could just increase my usage if it flares up again.   Or try a different prescription...but since we don't have prescription coverage (self employed health insurance FTW!) I'm not sure how viable of an option that is, as these scripts all tend to be pretty pricey.

If anyone else has any great tips and tricks to help deal with rosacea, send them my way!!  

And I should add about the Rodan + Fields: I realize that my facial redness was probably due to something entirely different than what it claims to help.  But my opinion is that redness is redness, and it really didn't do anything at all to help with mine, even after reading different accounts online of people with rosacea using it successfully.

Going Home

Monday, March 9, 2015

Since we began renovating homes in the last year, I've been making quite a few more trips to Illinois to visit my family.  Mostly because the name of the game in house-flipping is "Get it done ASAP" and that typically means that Brad is working lots of long hours.  A work day for him usually is 7-7pm, Monday through Friday, plus a full day on Saturday.  If I'm being really honest, it's super stressful for me because Sunday ends up being the only day we really get to see him.  I guess the upside is when you sell the home and make a little money?  We're still working out how to make this whole flipping thing sustainable for the long-term.  I think finding a balance with Brad's hours is the biggest factor.

Sooo....all that's to say is that he works a lot so I survive it by taking trips to visit family.  Hadley and I stay with my dad and are able to visit with my aunts, uncles, cousins and my best friend, and it's really the best time.  I'll take Hadley to the mall to play at the play area, we'll go to some really amazing indoor playgrounds, go to parks and pools when it's nice, and just visit with my favorite folks.

The one downside for me is that it's a money trap!  When you live in a small town whose dining options are limited to McDonalds & Dairy Queen, bar food and a Tex Mex restaurant, it's amazing to get around sushi, Thai food, real Mexican...shoot, even Chilis is exciting.  And there's always the shopping - or really just Target :)

Anyway, I'm at home for a couple weeks and it's really great.  There's something about your own family that is so comforting.  I love my circle of friends and being near Brad's parents but being in your parent's home, in the town you grew up in, is something really special.
We don't have much planned on this visit except that I'm going to see Eric Church in concert next week.  That was a last-minute decision my cousin and I made and I gotta be honest, I'm so, so, SO excited.  He's one of my favorite musicians and I've heard that his Outsiders Tour is an amazing live show.  I'm really disappointed that I won't get to see him with Brad, but it'll be a fun time with my cousin.

Hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Monday Musings

Monday, February 9, 2015

// sick days //

So our family spent the last week or so knocked out with the flu.  Or a really awful cold, not sure what it was.  At any rate, it hit Brad on a Thursday night and by Saturday afternoon all three of us were laid up on the couch.  Coughing, fever, chills, aches...Brad even had a stomach bug to his, poor guy.  I'm just thankful that Hadley really didn't seem to get too sick at all, she just had about a day and a half of being feverish/coughing.  And also need to say that there should be some law that moms aren't allowed to get sick, especially if the kids are sick.  There is nothing worse than feeling like you want to die....and then having to get up and tend to your fussy, (understandably) whiny 2 year old.

// essential oils //

Lately I've really gotten into the essential oil fad.  Just callin' it what it is :)  I definitely believe in their effectiveness and I love that I have an alternative to synthetic drugs/chemicals to treat things now.  I mean, I'm still gonna give Ibuprofen when Hadley's running a high fever - mama don't play with those fevers, sorrynotsorry - but when we were all sick I was using DoTerra Breathe and OnGuard (blends that respectively promote chest congestion relief and immune support), putting Lavender in Hadley's bath and diffuser, and wiping surfaces with Lemon and OnGuard.  I've also been using Melaleuca (aka Tea Tree Oil) for facial cleansing and putting Lavender on some red spots on my cheeks.
My next project is to make some essential oil-infused body butter (using Shea Butter and Coconut Oil) and lip balm.  I've discovered I love making all natural bath products - recently made Lavender Bath Melts and they were amazing!

// foodie //

I've always enjoyed cooking but lately I've been on a cooking rampage.  I don't know if it's cause we got rid of our microwave (I just don't like the radiation aspect...yes, where's my tin foil hat, ha) but in the last month I feel like I can't get enough of cooking new recipes with fresh ingredients.  This recipe for Pasta with Butternut Squash, Spicy Sausage and Spinach is a favorite.

// gratefulness // 

If I had to pick a negative word to describe myself, I could easily say "complainy."  I am just a complainer.  If it's too cold, I'm unhappy.  If I want something I can't have, I'm unhappy.  If a restaurant gives me the wrong food, I'm unhappy.  If someone says something I don't like, I'm defensive and...you guessed it...unhappy.
One of the ways I'm trying to get better about this is by finding things to be grateful for everyday.  Even if it's in small things like, the sun is out!  Or Hadley didn't ask to watch TV for an hour straight! I'm just trying to find the good in my simple little life.  Obviously I'm always so, so thankful for the big things - like our health and a roof over our heads and food, etc - but I'm learning that changing your attitude often means finding contentment in the little tiny things and turning them into big things, you know?
Like right now I'm drinking a Diet Coke after not having one for the last week or so - trying to cut back - and it's really, really making me happy.  And for that I'm thankful :)

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