Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Meet Kona

Let me introduce you to Kona, my third child! He is also know as Kona Bear, Kona Doodle and Koy ( that is what Jaxson called him before he could say Kona). We got Kona about a year before Jaxson was born. Let me tell you the story of how he came into our family.

We had discussed getting a dog numerous times before, but hadn't settled on what kind of dog. We knew we wanted a puppy we could train and a breed that had a good history of interacting with children. We knew we wanted to have kids soon, so we had to keep that in mind. One day, Brandon came home with the idea of a Labradoodle. I was like What? Did you just make that up? I was a little skeptical but another guy at the station hadn't recently gotten one and brought her in a few times. Brandon instantly fell in love with her. He had seen an ad in the paper for a breeder in our town and they had a litter. I saw the price and my jaw dropped! I didn't want to pay that much money for a dog, but I had to admit, they were pretty adorable.

I reluctantly agreed to go see the dogs. We initially thought we wanted a female but as soon as we walked to the kennel a shy little male walked over to us and laid his paw on my lap. I began to pet him and soon enough he climbed right into my lap and never left the whole time. I like to think that he chose us. Needless to say, I couldn't leave without knowing he was ours. We paid the deposit and came back a few weeks later to get him.

He is the most loving, patient, loyal, kind-hearted dog I know.  I am pretty sure he thinks he is human!
This what he looked like when we first brought him home!

With Jaxson
A couple Christmas' ago. Had to get all my kids in the picture!

Her favorite place to snuggle
Kendra prefers if Kona wears her bows. :)
perfect pillow!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tag! You're it!

I have seen this fun game going around the blogosphere for awhile now and I am so excited that Catie over at Tales of a Real Housewife tagged me!

The rules are pretty simple; just post and answer the questions listed and tag a few people in your blog to answer some of your questions.

Catie's questions for me:

1. What do you order to drink at Sonic?
I have never been to a Sonic before! We don't have one nearby.
2. What is your favorite movie?
Hmm... this really depends on my mood. I love movies like Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma, but I also really enjoy thrillers too!
3. What is your favorite color?
Any shade of pink... but I tend to gravitate toward black and gray in my clothing.
4. If you could have any animal for a pet, what would it be?
A monkey
5. What is your favorite flower?
I love Orchids and Lilys
6. If you could go anywhere, where would it be and who would you go with?
There are so many places I would love to go. It has always been a dream of mine to spend a few months traveling through Europe and of course I would go with my hubby and kids!

So, here is who I am tagging:

Kerry @  It's the Little Things

Chelsea @  Feels Like Home

Tabitha @  Diva to Domestic

Jennifer @  I wanna Feel That Fire

Here are my questions for you ladies

1.) How do you take your coffee?
2.) Favorite weekend activity?
3.) Most treasured memory from childhood?
4.) Do you have any nicknames?
5.) What is your bedtime? 
6.) Favorite pizza toppings?

Thanks for playing along!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Self,
Stop beating yourself up ALL the time!! The things you say to and think of yourself you would never ever say to anyone else. So, why do you say it you? Yes, you are still carrying around some extra weight and are very self conscious about it, but you can and will do something about it. Stop dwelling on the little things and start looking at the big picture! Learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes. Life is full of mistakes, you should know that by now. Use those mistakes as learning experiences and move on. You give such fantastic advice to others; it is about time you start following it.

Dear Kona,
I am sorry you had to take the back burner once the kids came along. I could never ever ask for a more patient and loving dog than you. You are the biggest sweetheart and silliest dog I know. You don't even think you are a dog. You are so loyal and protective of the kids. You have endured endless hours of ear tugging, tail pulling, treat stealing and being ridden as a horse. I promise we will get back to our regular walks soon.

Dear Jaxson,
We may be right at the end of the terrible twos and fazing into the trying threes. We have had some rough days, lately. Momma is still trying to get a handle on all of this. So, please bare with me as I try not to loose my patience. I love you more than words could ever explain and am so proud of all the new things you are learning and doing.

Dear Kendra,
You are really starting to find your voice and have no problem asserting yourself! Nearly everyday you are surprising me with brand new words. A few from this week are shoe, nose and even Zumba! You are a little spitfire and so full of energy. Thank you for being such an awesome sleeper. :)


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Budgeting Failure!

Another one of my resolutions this year was to really sit down and go through our finances and pinpoint where all our money is going! I used to pride myself on being really thorough and organized.... well not anymore. Let's be honest here. We live on one income and it is not always easy.

I will be the first to admit that I have a bit of a shopping problem. Now, when I was working full time as well, this wasn't much of a problem. It was no biggie to drop a little bit here and a little bit there. Now, it's a huge deal if I am not conscious of every penny! Of course, that is fine and we all have to make sacrifices and these are sacrifices I gladly and willingly make.

However, as the end of the year approached I noticed our savings beginning to dwindle more and more. With Christmas and birthdays and vacation things got a little out of hand and I decided I needed to sit down and get it back on track. Now, before we just made estimates of what we thought we were spending on groceries and entertainment and so on. I sat down today and went through a suggested budget on Dave Ramsey's total money makeover site. It was such a helpful tool to give me good guidelines. I felt like these were realistic numbers for us and something we could really do if we stuck to it. I like the idea of using envelopes and keeping a pre-determined amount of cash in each. When it's gone it's gone! I don't know about you, but when I have to hand over cash and not a debit card I have a much harder time parting with it, and think twice about what I am purchasing.

So, with a plan of action in hand I headed over to Mint.com (which is amazing, as well). You link up all of your accounts and it creates a budget and categorizes your spending. Let's just say that what I thought I was paying for groceries was WAY off base. You know a few trips here and there really add up! I was shocked! I realized now that this is going to be harder than I thought. Sure, I have a budget that I feel will be workable but when I actually see right in front of me how we have been spending our money the last few months I am very disappointed. I know we can do so much better.

So, I drew up a budget with a little bit of wiggle room and I am hoping that we can stick to it. I really like the idea of cash envelopes and think I will implement that into how we pay for things. A few months ago I surrendered(on my own!) my credit card over to the hubby because I don't even want the temptation in my wallet. I really want to pay down our debt and build up our savings!

I will have to let you know how it goes! What are some of the ways you budget or do you have any good tips for me?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Splish Splash!!

Well, it's back to rain up here in the Pacific Northwest. I can't say that I am surprised and to be honest, I enjoy it more than the snow.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that one of my resolutions this year was to  slow down a bit more and take time to really enjoy the little moments. I want to say "yes" to my kids more  and "no" a lot less.

So, in an effort to enjoy a simple pleasure today I bundled Jaxson up in his rain gear and we headed out to find the best puddles we could to splash in ! Let me tell you, he was so excited! Normally I am shrieking at him to stop because he generally finds the muddiest puddle and soaks himself when we are trying to get into the car.  He couldn't believe that I was actually giving him permission and encouraging him to do so.

I may have joined in too! :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

There is something about a big pot of chili simmering ALL day that makes it feel like Winter.I love Sundays when I am curled up inside watching football while it is stormy outside and the aroma of dinner is wafting through the house all day. Here is my favorite chili recipe and it is pretty simple ( I love simple).

Here's what you will need:
  •   1 lb ground turkey ( or ground beef, if you prefer)
  •   1 can black beans
  •   1 can kidney beans
  •   1 pkg chili seasoning
  •   1 15 oz. can mexican style stewed tomatoes
  •   1 15 oz. can whole kernel corn
  •   1 5.5 oz. can V8 or tomato juice
* I prefer a really  thick chili,so I usually add an extra can of beans, either kidney or black, whatever I have on hand. :)

Go ahead and brown your meat and then it is as simple as throwing everything into the crockpot and stirring it together. You can cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6.  I like to add Tabasco sauce to mine for extra flavor but because we have little ones I don't mix it in beforehand.

That's it! Enjoy!

Linking up today!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Seven Sins Survey

Linking up today over at Whispering Sweet Nothings. Such a fun little survey.
seven great things in your life.
1.My kids!
2. My loving and supportive husband.
3.A great group of friends who are always there for me.
4. Planning a mini getaway with the hubby soon.
5. My family.... I have incredible parents and in-laws!
7. A comfortable, happy home that is all ours!

seven things you lack and covet
1. More time to myself
2. A better relationship with God
3. Height ( I'm not even 5 '1)
4. A fitter, healthier body
5. another baby :(
6. More patience with my loved ones
7. A college degree or technical degree... some sort of degree. :)

seven things that make you angry
1. When people cut me off
2. Any form of child or animal abuse.
3.Narrow mindedness of any kind
4.Judgmental people
5. Loud chewers (it's a pet peeve)
6. My son's back talking
7.  The basic lack of respect that seems to be so prevalent these days.

seven things that you neglect to do.
1. work out :(
2. floss daily
3.read or watch the news
4. Give my dog enough attention
5.  Spend time with my friends
6. relax!
7. Organize

seven worldly material desires.
1. an Ipad
2. New bed and pillows
3. a kitchen remodel
4. New wedding ring..... quite a few of my diamonds are loose and or chipped.
5. A walk in closet
6. New wardrobe for new closet :)
7. hmm.......treadmill?

seven guilty pleasures.
1. Pinterest
2. Starbucks Peppermint Mochas
3.Hershey's special dark candy bars
4. Coach purses 
5.Reality t.v.
6. Mexican food
7. Facebook.

seven things you love about love
1. The inside jokes that only a history of being together can bring
2.Finishing eachother's thoughts and sentences
3. Being best friends.
   4. Creating life together
5. the memories
6. Pet names.
7. Being a team.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow Day!

We went all the way across the border to Whistler to play in the snow and this is what we were greeted with when we made it home! We have had more snow falling here the last day and a half then we did the whole time we were up in Whistler!

The kids are loving it! Good thing we had just bought a sled.

I love the beauty of the snow, but after a few days being trapped inside, the novelty starts to wear off. I am extremely uncomfortable driving in it because I have so little experience. So, until the weather warms up this is where we will be. Staying in, sipping hot cocoa and hopefully I will get some cleaning and crafting projects done!

Joining in the hop today!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Our Trip Recap

My in-laws have a timeshare condo up in Whistler, B.C. and were able to book 5 units so alot of our family could make the trip together. We are so incredibly grateful that they included us. We had never been and we definitely plan on going again.

Whistler is a little resort village a few hours North of Vancouver, B.C. and only about 3-4 hrs from us. It is such a beautiful place and nestled at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains where they have some of the best skiing and snowboarding in North America. I was blown away at how far some people had traveled. Everywhere we went we were meeting people from Australia. Apparently this is a popular destination for them. Whistler also was the host to the 2010 winter olympics.

Neither Brandon or I have ever skiied and didn't have time this trip (let's face it, it is too hard with two little ones) but we want to now! I was in awe at the beauty of this place. 

Here is a recap of our trip (in photos)

They still had up Christmas lights and it was beautiful

This was where the Medal's ceremonies took place during the Olympics
Kendra's first time seeing and playing in the snow!
He LOVED it!
First time sledding!
She was so mellow
He preferred laying. I promise his head wasn't dragging!
Sledding with Daddy
On our way up the Gondola
Let me just say that heights and I are not friends but I knew this was an amazing opportunity and I would be bummed if I didn't force myself to go. It is the world's highest gondola and was built specifically for the Olympics. I believe at the highest point the elevation is over 6200 ft. You take a gondola up the mountain and then hop onto another one that takes you from Whistler's peak to Blackcomb's peak. Yes, it was amazing and breathtaking but scary. I did much better than I thought, until... on our way down the mountain we halted to a stop and didn't move for five minutes. Let's just say I had a minor panic attack and it was a good thing that we had a gondola to ourselves and no one had to witness me crying.

I just love this pic!
No evening in our household is complete without wrestling Daddy.

This trip provided us with a lot of firsts for the kids; first time out of the country, first time sledding, first time ice skating for Jaxson (he didn't like and didn't do it long enough to get pics), first time for hot cocoa and caramel apples and first time on a gondola. We had so much fun and made so many memories!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Whistler. B.C.

Right now, my family is sleeping and I am staying up to watch the snow softly fall. My family and I have traveled across the border and are staying five days in the ski resort town of Whistler, B.C. This is our first trip and although we don't ski or snowboard we are having fun shopping and taking in the sites.

Tonight, upon leaving the restaurant after dinner we were greeted with lots of snow! Kendra's face lit up with a mixture of joy, awe, and confusion. She has never seen snow fall. She was enchanted! Although, it was getting close to winding down for bed we decided to bundle them up and go play for a while. It was so fun to see.

Tomorrow, we have plans to go ice skating for only my second time and Jaxson's first time. I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

So, another week has come and gone and I only managed to capture a few of my outfits and I still do not have a new camera! I really need one ( hint hint... hubby or mom! ) . With that said, I have kind of been a shopping fool as of lately. I also have garbage bags full of clothes that I have been hanging onto for far too long... let's face it, I probably will never be a size 4 again :(. But, beings that it is a new year I feel the need to declutter (is this not a word?) and simplify my life a bit.

Shirt: Marshalls, Jeans: Big Star via Nordstrom Rack
Shoes: Payless shoe source!! Cami: American Eagle

This is the first time wearing a cropped shirt... I feel like it almost widens me too much. What do you think?

   Shirt: Wet seal (recent b-day gift from hubby)
   Pants: Banana Republic (thrifted)
   Necklace: Wet seal clearance rack

Sweater: Marshalls

Jeans: Macy's
Boots:Madden Girl via Macy's and I love them!!

I realize the quality here is terrible and I am beginning to sound like a broken record when it comes to that... but please bear with me! Someday soon (I hope) I will be getting a new camera! :)

Linking up with all these lovely ladies today!


pleated poppy

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Peek into our House

Some of my favorite blog posts are those that include pictures of people's houses. I drool over the interiors and love to see people's design style. So, it comes as no surprise that I love HGTV!  I thought that I would give you a little glimpse into some of the rooms of our home (the one's that had just been cleaned!) I love decorating and especially doing it on a budget; it is one of my most favorite things to do.

Here is our living room. I absolutely love this couch....but so does the dog! I have to fight him for space! The blinds are actually bamboo blinds... they were a little spendy but so worth it. I love the look of them.

Here is our mantel. Notice the baby gate...there is exposed brick around it. On our list of things to do someday is to remove the woodstove and put in a gas fireplace. I love wood stoves but this particular one wasn't maintained by the previous owners.

Here is another view of the mantel.... you can actually see the ladder bookshelf in this one. I seem to have lots of empty shelves so certain little hands don't pull all my things down. :)

Here is our kitchen. Let me tell you that this was almost a deal breaker for me when we were looking at this house. We already knew that we had to paint the entire interior, exterior, change out light fixtures, replace the furnace, replace the roof, and lay down new carpet. Phew.... I wanted a kitchen that I loved! Now, I have learned to live with the cupboards (they just aren't my style), but the counter is horrible! It is white and so incredibly porous. The minute you drop something on it you better be prepared to scrub it. I don't know how many stains we have all over the counters. They always look dirty and no matter how much I scrub them, they never come off! So, hopefully this spring we will get new counters. Cupboards might have to wait until next year.

This was one of the reasons we got the house; the backyard. It is quite large for being in town ( the lot is on a third of an acre.). It is fully fenced and had a fire pit (which we have used once).
I just love looking out the window and seeing the family of squirrels that live in the trees.

The dining room... pretty self explanatory. Also, doubles as my office/crafting area.

Here is our photo wall in the hallway. I like the black frames but I also want to incorporate some canvas into it as well. The family decal I picked up at Dollar Tree!

That is all the pictures I have for now. I don't want to show you the kids' rooms as they are now... what a disaster!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Trying to Find a Happy Medium

Naps have long been a nice little "break" in the middle of my day.  By break, I mean cleaning up all the toys, emptying and loading the dishwasher, switching the loads of laundry, folding the laundry and maybe if I am lucky sitting on the couch having a snack and watching some of my recorded shows! 

Lately, Jaxson has been putting up a fight. He is getting to the age where he is starting to phase out of napping and I am not sure who is fighting it more; me or him! In all honestly, yes I love having a break where both the kids are down and napping... a little bit of me time goes a LONG way in recharging my batteries. However, I realize it may be time and so I have been trying to keep him up in hopes of him going to bed at a decent time. He doesn't seem to require near as much sleep as other children his age.

Up until the last few months even when taking his nap he would go down between 9 and 9:30.... I know it's a little bit late but for us it just worked. However, most recently when he takes a nap he will fight going to bed until after 11 sometimes! For awhile I thought it was just a phase but because it was becoming too regular I tried to limit his nap time. I would put him down but wake him up after an hour. This just always backfired on me. He either wouldn't get up at all or would be a zombie for a few hours then get his second wind and want to stay up even later. So, I tried to cut out naps all together. That works till about 6:00 pm when he is falling asleep at the dinner table. It is a struggle to keep him up! So, I tried just putting him down a little before seven thinking he would sleep all night.... boy was I wrong! He got up between 3 and 4 am everytime! He just doesn't sleep!

So, I either fight him to go down for a nap and he stays up till 11 pm or I make him skip nap and he gets up at 4 am! What is the lesser of two evils, here? I am trying to find a happy medium and I am really struggling here. This momma needs some sleep!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

So, today I am linking up for the first time to do my midweek "confessions".

- My kids have had mini pancakes or french toast sticks way too many days in a row now for breakfast!

- I  had a few too many drinks on NewYear's Eve ( and I said I wouldn't but a few too many for me is about three!) and spent my birthday with a headache

-My house appears to be free of all the Christmas present clutter.... just don't look in any of my closets.

- We are watching Shrek for the second time today.... and it is only 9:15 in the morning

- My hubby has only worked 2 1/2 days in the last three weeks and I am soo ready for him to go back tomorrow.

- I made a menu plan and rocked it and then never stuck to it!

What are some of your confessions?!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This is what I awoke to this morning.........isn't this just the sweetest face? It never gets old. It doesn't matter how tired I am, just seeing her smile and giggle up at me melts my heart and gets me ready to face the day!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year and Happy Birthday (to me)!

Well..... our plans for New Year's changed when our babysitter came down with food poisoning . Brandon and I and some friends were planning on going out.... but instead he stayed home and rang in the New Year with the kiddos. I went out with a few friends. At first I wasn't sure how much fun I would have but I had a blast! I missed my hubby, of course, but it was nice to be out with the girls! We started off the night with a good dinner and a few glasses of wine. By the end of the night we had made our way to a dance club where we ran into more people we knew!
I tried to keep the drinking to a minimum because I didn't feel like spending my birthday hungover! I rarely dance and I confess I have no rhythm but I had fun attempting to dance. By the end of the night I had to kick off my heels.... this momma isn't used to being out in clubs till two am! It is a rarity for me to go out like this...... I didn't even do it much before we had kids, but it was  a nice change and a fun way to spend the last night of 2011.

No, not some random guy! He was the best man in our wedding and a good friend of hubby's and I
When the countdown began it was extra special for me because I am not just counting down to a New Year but I am counting down to my birthday! So... another year had come and gone. My birthday was spent in a low key manner. I slept in, watched football (my Seahawks lost ) ate delicious red velvet cake the hubby made, and spent time with family. I got some pretty amazing presents too. Of course, I forgot to take pics, though.

 Wishing you all a blessed New Year!