Thursday, November 19, 2015

Brunch for Baby

One of our favorite things to do as a family is "brunch." We refer to it as "Hobbit Breakfast"
and it usually, especially takes place on Sundays in our home. Bella was born on a Sunday.
I feel like God knew she should come in on the Sabbath.

Cheerful, sunshine glory -
she's our Alleluia, deep rest, skip to Church and run down the aisle girl.

Our little pancake. Our little bacon. Our little syrup. We take turns lavishing sweet names on our
baby girl as we gather Sunday after Sunday to brunch, to take her in, to breathe deep and just BE alive
together. The boys especially love our nickname game for Bella... "our little coffee creamer!"
I will never forget these days. They are everything.

And so it just made sense to ring in her first year with a "Lady Bella Brunch".
Full of her favorite fabric flowers, Curious George, warm syrup and a pancake bar!!!

Thank you, Jesus, for our Sunday baby.
We love you, Bells. XO.

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

My Favorite Part of Homeschooling

When we first started homeschooling, I was telling my husband every other day that we should
start looking at potential schools for our children because I just couldn't do it. "I AM FAILING."
No one listens to me. Everyone laughs hysterically when I make letter sounds. They just want to do math
all day, every day. We can't even pray without someone needing to pee. He's touching me. I'm hungry.
Baby's crying. Don't move. "Ok, we're done with school for today." I gather whatever morale I have left and go nurse Bella in a secluded room with the noisemaker
on HIGH. Take it from here, Wild Kratts?! That'll be acceptable on a transcript, right?
Elementary school of Netflix. Check.

So one morning, about two weeks in to this whole fiasco of bright ideas about homeschool Kindergarten
lessons plans and legit schedules, I had an epiphany. Possibly a conversion. Maybe both?!
An epiphersion.

We don't teach our kids at home only to imitate everything they do in the system. We homeschool
to give ourselves and our children the FREEDOM to learn, explore, create and be at their own pace,
in the environment we think is best for them at this time. Amongst other things of course.

I decided to quit saying "NO" to my children's cues
and let them lead and teach me (teaching them) instead.

You want to do math all day?
You want to cut straight lines until we run out of paper? Great.
You want to play outside? I'm coming too.

Obviously this is all within reason and their general safety. The other day Judah told me he had
an "idea" and asked for all the pillows in the house and a tube of caulk. Apparently he had a vision
of a "giant pillow" he could use on the trampoline (this is what I'm dealing with!), but it had to be
massively reimagined and funded by the parent-teacher association of me.

And now it's my favorite part of homeschooling.
Learning with my children rather than teaching at them.
Getting on their level and seeing the world again through the eyes of a child.
Feeling the excitement and wonder and joy of listening and understanding -
of being free to be wild and whimsy.

We felt called, and knew it would be a good idea to homeschool our children this year, but I didn't
see that it was going to be such a gift for me too. I need this as much as they do. Together we are
learning and re-learning the beauty of the world around us -- and all the lessons God has tucked
away for us to turn over, explore, dissect, collect and LOVE. It is good to be little.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How to Change the World

Do you remember when no one had smart phones? Life before Facebook and all the other social media outlets born every 5 seconds? It is crazy. I feel like a successful blogger these days needs to be able tweet while pinning a DIY project they are going to Snapchat about before they post a picture on Instagram for all the whole wide world to catch later on that Periscope dance party that they are blogging about... right now sharing to Facebook. Answer all the e-mails, respond to all the comments, build an online community, stake some territory on the digital frontier,

change the world.

I'm not saying that any or all of this is bad. I guess I am just processing and asking myself "WHAT WORLD" does God want me to change at this exact moment of my life? Where do I fall in? Or where do I fall off? Because I feel like I'm doing more falling off these days. Fall-er off-er. That's me. I used to fight it, but I go willingly these days.

I seriously feel panicky thinking about deleting all my accounts and asking for a flip phone *dinosaur roars* for Christmas, but it's tempting! So I give it up for Lent and fickle hiatuses to remember how it feels to be less connected to the internet and more connected to the world happening around me. Because I still remember life before all of this.

And I crave it. Somehow that makes me feel alien or grandma? Grandma Alien. Seriously, I'm buying rocking chairs for my front porch next Spring and that's where you are going to find me!

Oh no - this isn't a goodbye (again. lol.) or anything like that.

Having babies has changed me. I've struggled for years with letting go of what I think I should be doing to be keeping up with who I was or what I was able to accomplish in college, work, ministry. I've put all this pressure on myself to be a wife and momma AND all those other things I used to be.

I feel like there's so much pressure out there for maintaining your identity. Don't let motherhood change you. You can be a mom and all the other things too. Do more, be more, follow, like, repeat. And you guys, I am tired.

Motherhood has changed me. And that's ok. In fact, I'd say it's good and right and holy.

It's been so relieving to move a little further away from the "outlets" - to even let some things go (RIP Twitter + Pinterest) - and be more present to the community God has placed all around me.

My babies are only little once. And life lately has been busy! The beautiful season of fall is in full swing and we've been celebrating in all the ways! It is fun to have kids old enough to chime in with their own memories and ideas - kind of scary too. Ha. But they are so much fun and such a blessing in our marriage and family!!!

Slowing down for them, for this season of my life, just makes sense. It's not an excuse from the "situation" but an invitation for me. To stop trying to change the "world world" and focus more on the "world" God has given to ME. Just me.

If Facebook forgets me, it's ok. I'm cool with being remembered by three little pumpkin heads in the most important "world" I will ever influence.

I just said "world" a lot. #world

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Kiwi Crate and Craziness

The other day I had just packed my biological sardines into the van after successfully,
not without tears, braving my holy trinity of grocery stores: Costco, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.
I was patting myself on the back real big as we glided onto the interstate; music blaring,
baby sleeping and a whole carton of peanut butter cups in my lap. Life is good.

And then my five year old piped up, "Hey, mom, I gotta pee."

OF COURSE I FORGOT TO HAVE THEM ALL PEE. *bangs head on steering wheel*
But I have peanut butter cups. Angels sing. If only very quietly.

"Like bad bad, buddy!?" I hopefully question.

Next thing I know, I'm pulled over with a van full of children and groceries in the middle
of rush hour Chicago on the side of the road explaining that I firmly believe, with all my
heart, that toddler boys can pee in a plastic water bottle.

We laughed so hard I was crying. I looked at my other son and asked him if he wanted
to take a shot at the bottle. He said, "Um no," in between maniacal bouts of laughter.

"Don't drink out of the water bottle, mom!" was the joke all the long way home.

I feel like this sums up my life right now.

It's just crazy. Two days go by and I think I have a routine down and then BAM -
a certain baby doesn't sleep through the night and I'm making dinner in my pajamas.

My dear sister reminded me, "That's parenthood, Brittany."
And that same dear sister, God bless her, recently sent a KIWI CRATE our way!!!
That was a nice segue, right?! And so nice of her!

It was for Judah's 4th birthday and the thrill was intense. My boys are like *tight*
so the joy was shared all around! They were so happy -- and I was so happy -- knowing that
EVERYTHING we need (down to emergency "back-up" glue) to create a couple really cool crafts
to go along with a theme and story was in that box! I suck at kid craft time. I kissed the box.

KIWI CRATE offers a monthly subscription where a specially curated box full of craft happiness
comes to your house for your little one! Or send it off as a birthday present like my sister did!
Or Christmas present! Or "just because" from grandma!

For us it is also a nice supplement to our homeschool routine!
Where the art department struggle is real.

P.S. Right now you can use code: SAVE25 at check-out to save 25%
on your first month PLUS you'll get free shipping with that! Wha what?!?

This box was a Western theme -- so we made a horse.
Pretty sure my boys named him "Hookey."

My boys also did their first little sewing project! They made these little bags for a
"rodeo" toss!!! SO. CUTE. I am keeping these forever. And will awkwardly give them to their wives
when they get married some day. Ok probably not. HA.

"Buddy, I'm so glad you got a KIWI CRATE," are the words exchanged as this picture was shot.
I kid you not. I am not making this up. Can you even handle this brother love?!

Check it out and always always ALWAYS have your kids pee before a long trip home.
Rookie parents. They get distracted by peanut butter cups.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

ARBONNE || it's a long story

I began my health + wellness journey (it's all the rage) about four years ago.
It was shortly after the birth of my first son and I was suddenly "very sensitive"
to the world around me. My husband began affectionately referring to me as the
"girl in the bubble" around this time as I began to avoid all of my triggers.

It wasn't just food. It was household cleaning products, hygiene products, the clothes
I was wearing (latex), the candles I was lighting in my house, the cigarettes my neighbor
was lighting 20+ feet from the building, etc. My initial reaction was to actually purchase
a giant bubble to live in. When your world is spinning out of control, and you're trying to
figure out how to make a cake with kale flour and scrubbing your toilet with the same vinegar
you make pickles with, you get desperate.

I started with nutrition, but in the past year or so I've been focusing more on household
and beauty products. I was reluctant to give up my tried and true beauty products. And honestly
I couldn't, and still can't, afford to just wipe the slate and start over again.

But when my sister, Nellie, started working with ARBONNE... she lured me in. Like she's a
good saleswoman or something! She's so passionate and dedicated to this company, and I'm
proud of her. I realized it could totally work and be affordable if I just paced myself and
bought replacements for my drugstore brands full of chemicals, preservative, dyes,
fragrances, etc. as they ran out.

And the truth is, I will never go back.
The difference was that obvious.

My eyes are no longer red and puffy.
My skin is softer than ever.
I am getting safe + quality coverage.

Some of my favorite beauty products (left to right) so far are:

CALM Gentle Daily Moisturizer
Make-up Primer (more here)
Charcoal Eye Liner
It's a Long Story Mascara
Dusty Rose Blush

My newest addition being "It's a Long Story Mascara"!!! Waterproof. Lengthening. Strengthening.
It goes on smoothly and comes off easy - not tearing out my eyelashes like some other product I
was "so in love with" before. I never need to reapply and it doesn't leave any "dust" on my
face. Even after corralling babies all day. It basically transforms me into a movie star.

ARBONNE's ingredient policy reads...

"Transparency and honesty. They are the hallmarks of our product integrity. At Arbonne we are continuously improving and evaluating our ingredient policy so we can develop the most thoughtfully designed, innovative, safest products. And we’re always striving to do better. Each and every single day.

We formulate without...

talc | tallow | carbon black | animal products or by-products | parabens | formaldehyde-donating preservatives | phthalates | formaldehyde | alkylphenols | benzene | monoethanolamine | triclosan | synthetic dyes | hydroquinone | artificial sweeteners | artificial flavors | cholesterol | trans fats | mineral oil"

Nellie is giving away one It's a Long Story Mascara to one of my readers this week!
Head on over to my INSTAGRAM account to enter to win <<<

Or if you'd like to join the Arbonne conversation,
catch my sister at
or leave your e-mail in the comments below.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Pirate Party

Judah recently turned four years old!!! I love to throw parties for my kids, and this year
my little guy wanted "PIRATES". He also wanted a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" -
"Batman" - "SpongeBob" - "Goldfish" - and a "Red" party, but I wasn't sure exactly how to
hone in on all of that. So "PIRATES"!!! I'm not Pinterest, son.

In fact, I promised myself NOT to get on Pinterest to plan his party.
Because panic attack. I just created the good old fashioned way, straight from my brain.

And can we all just pause and stare off into the distance together for a minute?
I have a FOUR and a FIVE year old. And an almost ONE year old. What is going on!?!?
I am so thankful for each of them. The adventures of a lifetime.

Especially thankful for my Judah, the birthday man, this month!!!
He brings such a WILD JOY to our family!!! His whole life is a celebration!!!

FLAG: Some old fabric from Hobby Lobby with a skull mask (yes, we literally just had
that lying around) puttied to the front. Tacked to the window frame and fabulous.

TABLE COVERING: $3 brown bag wrapping paper from Target.
We DIY-ed "PIRATE MAPS" as a family!

LABLES: Used a large hole punch and a lighter to make a burnt fringe to layer and label.
Stuck them on skewers and straight into limes.

WINDOW FLAGS: Old red and black cloth napkins from Target tied together.

Nathan made an incredible "Treasure Map" for Judah!!! It took him and his little buddies
on a hunt around the house and yard to find the buried treasure! He is STILL talking about this.

PIRATE GRANDPA: Free. And so fun!

PINATA: Target. Of course.

CAKE: I ended up finding a plain wooden "treasure chest" and "canoe" at Hobby Lobby for super cheap.
Painted and accessorized - I was pretty proud of the results ($3 total)! Found gold (chocolate) coins
and small pirate figurines at a party store. Coconut for ocean. Crushed graham crackers for sand.

PIRATE FLAGS: Found a great FREE print on Google images and resized it before printing.
Cut and pasted to toothpicks.

Such a fun day!!!
So thankful for all our family that came out to celebrate with us!!!
Happy Birthday, Judah!!! You. Argh. Loved.

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