January 3, 2014

Um, it's January?


It’s no secret that instagram has killed my blogging. It is so easy for photos and quick updates that it has made me lazy lazy lazy. I am glad to have that daily record of our lives to look back on, but I do miss writing and this is my space to do it. So here I am! Happy New Year!

Our holidays have been fun and exhausting. Sleep round these parts is, to put it delicately, not good. Mila has had back to back to back colds and is now getting two molars and four canines at the same time. Most nights Ryan ends up falling asleep in her room with her. Hey, whatever works. At least I get to sprawl out in the bed? Lily on the other hand was sleeping great, but finally (at 3 ½) realized that she can get up and leave her bedroom in the night. Fancy that. She is really so good though, she just comes to our room and pats me. After I jump out of my skin she puts her little hands up and with her tiny voice says “It’s just me. Lillian.” She is very serious about making sure I’m not afraid. Just Lillian. I tried bringing her into our bed (for the first time in her life!), but she was too restless and has way too many bony joints for my liking. She would prefer I come back and lay with her in her bed until she falls asleep. This is all fine with me as she has a full size very comfy bed. Sometimes her bed is too comfy and I fall asleep there for a couple hours before sneaking out and cursing all the squeaky floorboards like I did when she was an infant. Sometimes I get stressed because I have trouble falling back asleep, but I know it won’t last forever and I kind of love snuggling her crazy bedhead.

Besides our midnight shenanigans, things around here have been pretty rosy unicorn rainbow sparkle-factory-esque. Three (and ½)  and 1½ are awesome ages. Lily is rounding the corner out of the boundary-pushing phase and Mila is entering the crazy walking/talking/belly laughing/growling phase. Is that not a normal phase? Well it is around here and it is super cute. They are so fun and love playing together. Lily gets upset when Mila doesn’t understand what she wants to do and I often hear her yelling “EMILIA!” trying to get her attention. Poor Mila has no clue her name is Emilia so this is not super effective.

Mila is honestly the most affectionate kid I’ve ever seen. So many unprompted cuddles and hugs and kisses. Oh the constant kisses, I just melt a thousand times a day for that girl. She is suddenly obsessed with dogs. It was one of her first words, but recently “dog” has become “DOGGIE!” followed by huge dimpled grins and giggles. She has about 5 different stuffed dogs now and can be seen carrying between 1 and 3 dogs at any given time.

Lily has grown so much just since starting preschool in September. She still needs about 5 minutes to warm up to new people/places, but then she is off making friends and introducing herself to people. Oh by the way, she is Lillian now. We still call her Lily, but they call her Lillian at preschool (there is another Lily) and now that is how she refers to herself. She is so smart and is such a sponge soaking up knowledge and asking questions about everything. I can’t tell you how many times a day I say “I don’t know, let’s look that up.” Thank goodness for iPhones. What did parents do before the internet? Make things up? Maybe that is why I don’t know this stuff…

I was about to finish off this post with some holiday pictures and then realized, I’VE DONE STUFF TOO! Oh yeah, me. I am training for a half marathon! I ran one half marathon right before I got pregnant with Lily and I haven’t run much since, what with all the baby creating. My sister is a running rockstar and has been incredibly patient, willing to run veeeeery slowly, and the most excellent cheerleader as I begin my long road back to being fit. I've been at it a few weeks now and I already notice the difference in how I feel both physically and emotionally. I am meant to be an active being.

And now for pictures. Try to guess how my kids feel about Santa.

November 15, 2013

Freshly Picked Moccasins Review and GIVEAWAY!

 Update: This giveaway has closed and the winner (Instagram user @ttapiatt) has been contacted. Thank you to all who entered! If you didn't win, don't fret! You can get your moccs at a discount with Freshly Picked's Black Friday sale, watch their website for details!


I have been a huge fan of Freshly Picked moccasins since they started popping up on stylish kiddos in my instagram feed a couple of years ago. Susan started this business as a young mom with a small budget and big ideas. Now her shoes are seen on celebrity kids all over the pages of US Weekly, so I have to say when they were not only willing but excited to work with me, I was over the moon!

I chose to review the smoke colored moccasins because I have a thing about grey, plus they go with everything, but there are SO many colors to choose from and fun seasonal releases all the time. I NEED THEM ALL MAKE THEM IN MY SIZE!

Stefanie, who has been my contact through all of this, was so helpful with sizing (see there printable sizing chart) and gave great recommendations so I ended up with a pair that fit my sweet Mila with room to grow!


I know I am biased on how adorable I think my children are, but look at her little feet (nom nom nom). These shoes seriously live up to the hype. They fit great, stay on, are durable and adorable. Apparently they are also comfortable because I keep finding Mila trying to put them back on by herself.

All of this is to say we loooooove them and I wish wish wish I could win my own giveaway, but alas that is unethical or something. However, YOU can win your very own pair of Freshly Picked moccasins in your choice size and color. There are five ways to enter and you can do any and all of them!

1.     INSTAGRAM. Follow @thecurlycues and @freshlypicked on Instagram. Repost the giveaway picture from my feed (you will know it when you see it), tag @thecurlycues and hashtag #freshlycues. You do not need to comment here that you have done this. If you have followed me, tagged me, and used the hashtag, I will see your entry. Enter this way once a day if you like!

2.     FACEBOOK. Follow The Curly Cues on Facebook and leave a comment here on the blog telling me you have done so.

3.     BLOGLOVIN. Follow The Curly Cues on Bloglovin and leave a (separate) comment here on the blog telling me you have done so.

4.     FRESHLY PICKED WEBSITE. Visit Freshly Picked and leave a (separate) comment here on the blog telling me what color you want to get if you win!

5.     TWITTER. Follow @thecurlycues on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (please include a link to this blog post). You do not need to leave a comment here, if you follow and tag @thecurlycues in your tweet I will see your entry. Enter this way once a day if you like!

Phew, that was a lot! This giveaway will run through Friday, November 22nd at Midnight. Enter away, and good luck!

*Freshly Picked provided these moccasins for my review free of charge. All opinions are 100% my own. Duh.*

November 8, 2013

Finding My Way Back

I’m feeling…good. Like really good. I feel content and motivated, like I can see where I want to be and I am figuring out how to get there. I am starting to realize that I have felt stagnant for the last oh four years or so. Not that I wasn’t growing and changing as a person becoming a mom of one and then two. It is probably the most I have changed in my whole life, but all of that change was sort of not by choice I guess. I had to go through those changes. I had to learn how to be a mom and provide for my family and keep everyone alive and fed and generally happy and thriving (with LOTS of help from my husband and family). But the ME that I had been working on for the 28 years prior to that was, for lack of a better term, on hold. My house was only clean if someone was coming over. I ate what I could find and whenever I had time to find it. I exercised only when the stars aligned to make it so easy I couldn’t help but go. My house, my body, my life was consumed by pregnancy and nursing and fitting in the essential things like sleep and (to a lesser degree) showers. I was treading water, just trying to stay afloat. I don’t mean to paint a picture of desperation. I was hibernating with my little crew. They are only so little and so dependent for so long and luckily I have a very wise mother who reminded me that laundry can wait (while kindly looking the other way from my messy kitchen, or even *gasp* cleaning it!) but tiny sleeping babies only want to be held and snuggled for so long. So I held, I snuggled, and I put everything else on hold.

Fast forward to now. I have a 3 ½ year old and a 15 month old. I am just over a month out of completely weaning Mila and I think that was the final hurdle (not that it was a hurdle at all because, just like Lily, she could have cared less and I was all WAH!) My house is still a complete disaster, but I can see the light. I’m coming out of the baby fog. We have only ever planned to have two kids and even though it makes me sad to give away old clothes and toys and various baby-containing contraptions, it is also so freeing. I could still use a little more time in my day to get everything done, but I can sense it in my reach. I am ready to clean and organize and exercise and feel good and accomplished (outside of crazy cute baby creating, which I’m SUPER accomplished at already.)

I guess sometimes I see other people and they seem to have it all together, but I know that while they have it figured out in areas where I am slacking, I'm just oblivious to the areas they feel are lacking. Ok, that rhymed. What I mean is that maybe they have a clean house, but their snuggle-o-meter is way low. I got one up on that! My girls are so fun right now and I am doing a good job of looking at them and being thankful for where we are. I miss the sweet squishy babies they were, I’m excited for the fun crazy kids they will become, but I’m just enjoying who they are right this second and that is so good. Things are good and they are only getting better.


I can't complain.






October 23, 2013

Fall


The PNW has been KILLING IT this fall. Cooler temps and lots of sunshine have lead to two of my favorite activities: leaf crunching and pumpkin patch-ing. Lily had her first preschool field trip to a local pumpkin patch, which was also MY first field trip in like 13+ years (old.) Highlights (according to Lily) included the popcorn we ate before we left and the cows pooping. I guess I have her 4th birthday party planned…

Without further ado, this is how we do fall.

{Stinky.}



Dear October, I love you.



October 9, 2013

Pumpkins in the Sun (and a Giveaway!)


Last weekend we had the most amazing sunny fall day, so I decided it was the perfect time for some outdoor (less mess for me) family pumpkin carving! I was lucky enough to be sent this awesome pumpkin carving package from Pumpkin Masters. The whole kit is valued at $35 and if you make it all the way to the end of this post (you can do it!), you can win one too!

 

We have used Pumpkin Masters products for carving in the past and have always had great success (as great as it gets with limited artistic skill), but this kit included some tools that none of us had ever used before. They also included some flashing LED lights to put in our carved pumpkins, a much easier (and safer) alternative to a candle.

My dad went with the basic carving kit that we have all used in the past and was pretty proud of his ghost.

 

I used the pumpkin shaving technique, which was harder than I imagined. I figured it out about halfway through the design, unfortunately, that left me with a slightly wonky owl. I will definitely do this one again now that I have the technique down. This is a good option for carving pumpkins early because you don’t hollow it out and it should last longer before becoming a squishy putrid mess.

 

Mila had a great time chasing bugs and eating leaves. When I say “no! yucky!” she laughs and puts them in her mouth. Awesome.

My mom unknowingly chose the hardest kit, which uses punches to cut holes into the pumpkin in various designs. This process would work best on a pumpkin with a thinner shell (not sure how you can tell that before carving). She got about halfway through her design and the side caved in! She also had trouble getting the chunks of pumpkin out of the punches. Once she decided to freehand her design and space the holes further apart, the pumpkin held up and I think her design turned out to be one of the best despite a frustrating start.

 

Ryan and Lily used the kid’s carving kit and ended up with the winner of the evening in their creepy cat. It was fun because even at 3, Lily could really help. Unlike the other kits that use tools to poke holes in the pumpkin to mark your pattern, the kid’s kit uses a crayon, so she could do it herself! She really liked participating in the actual cutting (with Ryan’s help) and thought the insides were “stinky”.

 

We had so much fun carving together and I know each year will be more exciting as the girls get older and more creative with their pumpkin designs. We will definitely be using our Pumpkin Masters kits year after year. 

 

If you use a Pumpkin Masters Kit this Halloween, you can also enter the Pumpkin Masters Carving Contest! Share a pic of your carving via Instagram or Twitter with #PumpkinMasters2013, submit via the Facebook app, or send via email to: social@pumpkinmasters.com to enter for the chance to win one of six prizes, including $5,000 for the Best Pumpkin. The contest is on now and runs through October 31st! 

 

Use the rafflecoptor entry form below (it is super easy, you can sign in with facebook!) to enter to win the exact kit we used! Giveaway runs through Sunday night (10/13) at midnight! If you don’t win, all these products are available at your local grocery, drug, and craft stores, and nationwide at Target and Walmart! Happy carving!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

October 4, 2013

Walla Walla


This last weekend Ryan and I headed across the state back to our Alma Mater, Whitman College, for Ryan’s ten-year reunion (HE IS SO OLD.) Walla Walla holds a lot of fond memories and a few not so fond memories (but those are fuzzy anyway) and it is always exciting to return to the place where we met (roughly twelve years ago. WE ARE SO OLD.) 

It has been nine years, two kids, one house, one car, one wedding and two jobs since I graduated, but every time I go back it feels the same. I do, however, find myself looking around and saying: “who the hell are all these people?” It is quite possible the youngins saw me staring at them in confusion and assumed I had wandered away from my nursing home in a fit of dementia. 

Regardless, it was a lovely weekend with lovely people. I did lots of super grown-up things like going wine tasting, spending $60 on a sweatshirt, and going to bed in a NyQuil haze at 9:30pm (thank you sinus infection.) Ryan may have done some less-grown-up things like playing beer pong at a frat house until 3am, but what happens in Walla Walla… ends up on my blog.

  (This is actually only eight years ago, but it was the oldest picture I could find because we DIDN’T HAVE DIGITAL CAMERAS BEFORE THAT. old.)

 (In 2013 you can take wine tasting selfies without shame. Or just with a little shame if you prefer.)

 I think we have aged…gracefully…





October 3, 2013

Blog Button

I made a new blog button!

Does anyone use blog buttons anymore?

If yes:
The Curly Cues

It's also over there in the fancy sidebar thing if you ever need it ----------->




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