Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award

Awhile back, one of my favorite bloggers, Elizabeth, nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.  Now, before you get all impressed and feel the need to congratulate me, it's not really an award.  It's more like one of those chain email questionnaires that got forwarded back in the day.  Nonetheless, I was honored that she wanted to learn more about me (thanks, Elizabeth!) and happy to answer a few blogging-related questions!

Here are the rules for this award:
1 // Provide a link and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award.
2 // Answer a few questions about yourself.
3 // Nominate 5-10 blogs that you love.
4 // Include the award logo within your blog post.

Here are the questions Elizabeth asked of me:

1 // What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
There isn't much I want to "accomplish" with my blog.  For me, blogging a way to document my life, journal about my thoughts, and record milestones for my babies.  And that's it, really!  My goal has never been to attract a bunch of followers, be the most popular blogger, or host giveaways...and I am a-okay with that.  Blogging is truly a hobby, something I really love doing, but mainly because I love sharing my life with others!  It's therapeutic, makes for a good scrapbook, and forces me to reflect upon my daily occurrences.  Except I don't like to use the word "force" because I truly do enjoy it!  Now, I will say, my blog has opened doors I never thought possible.  I have connected with so many people through blogging and made a number of blogging friends (who I would love to meet in person)!  It was also because of my blog (and their blogs) that I met two of my good friends right here in KC!

2 // What have you learned about blogging since you started? 
I'm not sure this qualifies as 'about blogging' but I've learned a lot about photography through blogging.  I'm constantly inspired by others' photos and my ongoing goal is to improve upon my photog skills!

3 // Provide a link to your favorite blog post.
I mean, how do I even pick a favorite??  I'm a sucker for birth stories, for which I have two of (Brantley | Holden), pregnancy announcements are always fun (also two: Brantley | Holden), then there was the time I blogged about our prayers being answered when Brantley's hydrocephalus normalized five weeks before he was born and the time I reflected upon that a year later.  But then I love the less serious posts, like birthday parties and my favorite things posts, I enjoy recapping our vacations, I love my year-end reviews, and there was the time I talking about breastfeeding and how it failed me big time.  Like I said, how do I pick just one??

4 // Have you made virtual friends because of blogging? Have you met them "in real life"?
Yes and yes!  I feel the biggest connections with the bloggers who have kids around the same age as my own and bloggers with either Iowa or Kansas City connections.  Some of my faves have both the kids and connections!  I met up with Brittany earlier this year after following her blog for nearly three years and I hang out with Vanessa on a pretty regular basis, as we live only a few blocks from each other!  There are quite a few other bloggers scattered across the country who I would love to meet!

5 // Does your family read your blog and if so does this affect what you say or how you say it?
Well considering one of my sole purposes of blogging is to keep friends and family updated on our lives, I hope they read it!  I know my mom and mother-in-law both read it occasionally.  My Aunt Debi and Grandma are probably my biggest fans!  I feel like I'm pretty true to myself and have nothing to hide, so knowing my family reads this has no effect on what I say!

6 // What's your favorite thing to eat and drink in the summer?
I love me some grilled food!  Ribs, steak, kabobs, summer fruits and veggies...summer eating is just so much easier.  And prettier!  My favorite summer drink is probably a Blue Moon (with an orange slice), but that's true year round!

7 // Are you a nail polish fan?  If so, what color and what brand are your favorite?
My toes are almost always painted--something bright and seasonal.  My fingernails, on the other hand, go in phases.  Typically, I like more natural colors for my fingers, but I'm not opposed to a little color either!  (Right now, I have a Barbie-doll pink on them!)  I love OPI.  It's a bit more expensive, but I feel like it goes on the smoothest and lasts longer.  I maybe buy 5 bottles all year, so paying $9/bottle, doesn't break the bank!

8 // What is your go-to meal for dinner?
One of my specialties is fish tacos.  They are de-lish.  Better than any fish tacos I've tried at restaurants.  Try them--you won't be disappointed!

9 // What is your favorite holiday and why?
I love Christmas--with the 4th of July coming in a close second.  I think the reason I love Christmas so much is that it's a whole season and not just one day.  I love all that it entails--the decor, the shopping, the food, the meaning behind the holiday, the activities, the music, the magic.  I mean, what's not to love really?  I love the 4th because it brings such happy feelings of summertime, hot weather, good food, fireworks, and freedom.  I love both holidays for very similar and very different reasons!  Luckily they are spaced pretty evenly so I get to celebrate a favorite holiday every 6ish months!

10 // What is one piece of advice you would give fellow bloggers? 
Make your own rules!  You don't have to blog every day.  Posts don't have to "go live" every morning.  Blogging isn't all about being the most popular.  And at the same time, be your own person.  Form your own thoughts and ideas and opinions and blog posts.  Although flattering, nothing is worse than being imitated and copied all the time.

Now for my nominations, I'd like to nominate these bloggers.  I'm lucky enough to call the first five my real life friends, and consider the last five my blogging friends!

1// Brittany @ Just Another Day in Paradise
2 // Vanessa @ Sunflower State of Mind
3 // Erin @ The Hyde's
4 // Jana @ Just Jana
5 // Katie @ All Betts Are Off
6 // Ashley at Everything's Hunky Dorey
7 // Courtney at A + Life
8 // Ashley at Words About Waverly
9 // Traci at The HALLway Life
10 // Staci at Miss Bloody Mary

Here are your ten questions if you choose to participate :

1 // When and why did you begin blogging and what do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
2 // What have you learned through blogging?
3 // What five words do you think your readers would use to describe your blog?
4 // What is your favorite thing to blog about?
5 // Provide a link to your favorite blog post.
6 // Have you met any of your "blogger friends" in real life?
7 // Does your family read your blog and, if so, does this affect what you say or how you say it?
8 // Do you think you'll still be blogging in 5, 10, and 20 years?
9 // What is your favorite season and why?
10 // What is one piece of advice you would give fellow bloggers?

What's Up Wednesday!

It's that time again!  Time for another edition of What's Up Wednesday.  The final What's Up Wednesday of my summer break, which means you might not see another one until things calm down around November-ish. :)

Considering Craig is in Orlando for work and Brantley is in Wichita at his grandparent's, Holden and I are just eating whatever we can find this week.  Last night, for instance, I had some egg rolls I found in our freezer and edamame, and for lunch yesterday, I had leftover cheese and chocolate-covered strawberries from my Bachelorette watch party the night before.  For Holden, that means PB&J, turkey cheese roll-ups, fresh fruit, and applesauce pouches. ;)

Two years ago today, we were in Destin on one of the best family vacays ever!  Take. me. back.

It was also around that time I got pregnant with Holden.  Which just seems crazy to me because, even now at 15 months, Holden still seems so young!  (Alas, when Brantley was 15 months, I was three months along and making our good news public!)

I mentioned before that Brantley is in Wichita this week.  I'm loving that Holden gets to experience life as an only child, even if for a short period of time.  I love that my focus and attention is on Holden, and only Holden, and I think it's safe to say he loves being the one and only, as well.  I also love the peacefulness around here!  No arguing, no fighting, very little whining, and far fewer toys scattered across our floor.  And I can actually form a thought in my mind without " this...Mommy....No Holden!!...Will you help me?...I not see it...Mama...Mama...Mommmmmmy!!!"

Summer!  Just really trying to live up these last couple of weeks of summer before reality sets in again two weeks from today.  Yikes.  Last week consisted of a trip to the splash park, a visit to the fire station, and afternoon ice cream at Freddie's!

The craziness that is the first few weeks of the school year.  It's downright exhausting.  And even more than that?  Setting my alarm again every day!  Ugh.

Getting caught up with my blog!  I still have a list of posts I want to accomplish before school starts!  Brantley's 3-year update, our visit to a Wichita wildlife park, some summer photos that never made it on here, etc.!

My new iPhone!!  I was eligible for an upgrade in June and finally cashed in on the iPhone 6 over the weekend.  Three reasons I wanted a new one: 
1) More memory; Mine was always full.  I quadrupled my gigabytes from 16 to 64!  Hallelujah!
2) A better camera; I don't always like to lug around my big camera, but my iPhone 5 camera just didn't cut it when it came to photo quality.  The 6 has not disappointed!
3) The touch ID to unlock the phone.  Call me lazy, but I hated having to type in my passcode all the time. 

So far, I have no complaints about my new phone!  It's faster, it solves all of the above problems, and the best part--I got rid of my ugly Otterbox and ordered a prettier case for my new one.  Speaking of, Society6 has the best cases.  Ever.  Care to guess which one I ordered?  I'm pretty excited for it to arrive!!

Reading this.  A book dedicated to the Royal's amazing comeback in last fall's AL wildcard game.  You know, the one where they were down four runs in the 8th, yet somehow - unbelievably - won in the 12th.  Anyway, this book is a must-have for all you Royal's fans out there!!  I'm still mad at myself for going to bed in the 8th inning....

And watching (speaking of the Royals)....this play.  Amazing.

Also, pretty excited for Bachelor in Paradise to begin this Sunday!  Seriously, reality t.v. doesn't get much better than this show!

Country tunes on our new Bose Bluetooth speakers.  I love that I can listen to local radio (I'm weird and like local radio) and Craig loves that he can listen to iTunes radio without many commercials.

This outfit.  Even though this photo was not taken today...

Our family will be under one roof again tomorrow!  On Friday, we are going to our old neighbor's house for dinner and on Sunday, we have a 3-year old's birthday party.  Pretty low key weekend with just enough social events to look forward to!

I hate to say it, but I always look forward to back-to-school time.  The newness.  The excitement.  Fall.  Football.  Fashion.  Fun stuff!  Yesterday, I added my work schedule, as well as the Iowa, KU, and Chief's football schedules to my calendar, which always makes me feel organized, happy, and excited about this change of seasons.

We've only been in our house for a few months, but I was already itching to update the decor in our first floor bathroom.  I was tired of everything brown and wanted to freshen it up with some bright whites!  Two new bath towels (not pictured) + a new hand towel + a glass vase + fake flowers + a floral looking candle holder = a $28 bathroom makeover!  I love it and it was just as I had envisioned!

  A lot of things.  Mostly, the laid back schedule and flexibility of our days and spending so much time with my boys (duh).  I've made some great friends this summer, so I'll also miss the regularly-scheduled social outings with them.  And on a more selfish note, I'll miss the 2-hour span of "me time" during the boys' naps.  It's been so nice having that time to blog (among other things) and I've really enjoyed documenting our summer that way.

Linking up with Shay @ Mix & Match Family and Mel @ The Larson Lingo

Lake of the Ozarks 2015

It's been just over a week now since we returned from our annual Lake of the Ozarks trip with my family.  Since Craig and I celebrated our anniversary the same weekend my family headed to the lake, we held off on going until Wednesday and then we stayed until Saturday.  The story is the same as it is every year, but the kids continue to grow!  I don't have a ton of photos, but just enough to remember our trip this year!

The annual "our car is full" photo

As he does whenever we're around my family, Brantley loved his time with Kellen.  Poor Holden was the odd man out again, but soon enough, Baby Madden will be older and he'll have a buddy of his own.

Our days were spent primarily at the pool.  The lake dock is just not ideal with kids this age.


Evenings were spent at the park. 

I did a little hammock swinging with the babe.

And of course, it wouldn't be the lake without watching the sunset at least once.

On Friday night, we went to our annual dinner spot, Paradise.  However, Holden had the meltdown of all never before in his life has he acted that Craig asked for his meal to go and took it (along with a screaming Holden) to the car.  I was disappointed because I had planned to get a family photo on the dock near the water (at the restaurant), but I quickly realized that wasn't happening.

After a somber dinner, Brantley and I headed to our car to find Holden still crying like no other.  He screamed for the next hour or so and then all of a sudden, he was over it.  And thankfully, we did manage to get one decent family photo later that night.  

Earlier in the night, we got our annual family photo by the resort sign.

And that concludes yet another year at the lake!  To see previous years, follow these links: 2013 | 2014

Summer Photos - Week 9

The dog days of summer are here.  Which means running through sprinklers and eating ice cream is only necessary!