Organized Chaos AKA Family Pictures 2017

Family pictures with young kids is notoriously challenging. No matter the dynamic, there is some level of stress that is associated with these highly coveted pictures! I wrote a post last year about my best family picture success advice (check it out here!) so I am not writing today to give any advice, merely to share the result of the stress. It may take some preparation, work, or bribery (no judgement!), but it is always, ALWAYS worth it. (Husbands, are you reading this?!).

Now please excuse me while I cry over how perfect these came out and how adorable my kids are! You can shop our outfits if you scroll to the bottom of the post. But before you do, check out the cuteness! I mean, I may be biased but…. I am obsessed. Carry on.

Oh, don’t let me forget this. Help me not to forget the squinty eyed smiles, the insatiable desire to be held or the fierce independence and fearlessness (sometimes both at the same time). Let me never forget the giggles, snuggles, and sound of them calling out to mama. I am so thankful for pictures like this to help me capture this beautiful (and chaotic) phase of life!

Thank you to Bekad Scadding for these amazing pictures! Contact her here if you are local. She works some magic with kids (which if you have kids, you know that is hard to do!).

My Outfit:


dress / boots / similar necklace / similar jean jacket

Marcus’ Outfit:

tee / sport coat / similar jeans / chukka boot

Scarlett’s Outfit:

similar blouse / leggings / boots / bow

Levi’s Outfit:

striped thermal / jersey lined chambray / khakis / boots

Eloise’s Outfit:

peplum tee / similar hooded sweater vest / leggings / similar boots 

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Clothes You Can Wear During & After Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a weird and awesome thing. Your body is creating a human, a perfect combination of you and your partner. But all beauty and magic aside, there are aspects of it that are complicated and just plain uncomfortable . Take dressing, for instance; your body will get bigger. Some bodies more than others. Mine was in the latter category, but that is beside the fact…

Pregnancy seems like a long time in the moment, but the reality is that it doesn’t last long. That beautiful, round belly will be gone before you know it. Not a lot of people (myself included!) want to spend a ton of money on maternity clothes. Not that there is anything wrong with maternity clothes, and I believe that certain pieces should be invested in, but they are expensive and an investment for such a short part of your life. So what is a girl to do?

My friend Shelly (isn’t she adorable!) was talking to me about her frustrations with dressing her bump. She is pregnant with her third little girl in three years and is now 25 weeks along. Not only did she not have a lot that fit/lasted from the other pregnancies, but she didn’t want to spend a ton of money on items that would only be worn for a few more months. So we set out to get shopping! I mean, pull my arm 😉

At first I was super excited at the challenge. And then I admitted defeat. Was it really possible to find these unicorn items? And then Shelly tried on a few things and hope was restored! Check out what we tried on and worked for both pregnancy and after. (All sizing recommendations/shopping links can be found at the bottom of the post).

The Choices

First up was this funnel neck tunic. This had a split side hem, which allows for a little more breathing room for the bump. But when worn when not pregnant, it just has the perfect drape! The material is the softest waffle knit, making it a great option for a winter pregnancy. As the bump grows, you can get away with the front getting slightly shorter just by pairing it with a black camisole underneath.

I really want this for myself! It’s so soft and so comfortable. Super cute with jeans like shown here, but also would be perfect for lounging around the house with leggings #SAHM.

Next up was this adorable ruffle sleeve dress. Shelly picked this up and I wasn’t sure it would work, but I was pleasantly surprised! The material is more of a sweatshirt, making it super cozy. It also has the same split-side hem the tunic had, perfect for a little more body grace.

I need more church options, so this is sitting in my shopping cart! Super cute, but also functional. The material would allow me to chase children but look cute and appropriate while doing it!

This tunic is one I have had for a few years and was the first thing to come to my mind when Shelly talked to me about this subject. It drapes so nicely over the bump! I wore this through almost my entire pregnancy with Eloise. You can see it is longer in the back, but is roomy in all the right places.

So my brain can’t do too many things at the same time and I spaced trying this on in the store. But as you can see, of course I own this top! I wear it with leather leggings for a date, with jeans and a front tuck, and I’ve even worn it all the way tucked in with a high waisted skirt. This top is such a great investment!

This dress I know you’ve seen before so I’m sorry (but really, I’m not sorry because you need to buy it!). The ruching on the side of this dress is so beautiful, and it works so perfectly with the bump! It gives just enough room for a growing bump in the most flattering way.

Don’t be surprised seeing me in this dress. Would you just buy it already? I’ll wait for my thank you card in the mail… 😉 It is just such a versatile dress and so flattering.

Shop & Sizing Info

Click on the picture or on the text link to shop!

<<< zing for pregnancy] funnel neck tunic (size up) / leggings (size down) / ruffle dress (size up) / roll tab tunic (size down)/ ruched dress (size up two)/ cardigan<< ick on the picture or the text link to shop! [pre/post pregnancy sizing]

funnel neck tunic (size up) / destroyed denim (TTS) / booties (TTS) similar booties, in stock / ruffle dress (TTS) / roll tab tunic (size down) / leggings (size down) / ruched dress (size up)

So you see, it is possible! They may not last the entire pregnancy (I’m looking at you, month nine), but they can pull double duty for quite a bit. The key is to finding the right silhouette and the right size, and consider layering simple pieces like tees and leggings with open front cardigans (I LIVED in this through pregnancy!).

Did you have any items that you could wear through pregnancy and after the fact? Which item above was your favorite? Share below!

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A Day in the Life of a Stay At Home Mom

Probably my #1 requested thing to write about is our daily routine. It took me a while to find a “normal” day, no playdates or random extra things, and to remember to record what we do all day long! But, I finally had success. So here it is! A day in the life of a stay at home mom. Riveting.

So to give some context, I am stay at home mom of three: Scarlett (4.5), Levi (3), & Eloise (1.5). I also blog, but I would hardly consider that a job. It is a very time consuming hobby. Every day is different, chaotic, crazy, and awesome. Our current routine has Scarlett in school 3 mornings a week, and I recorded our day down on a Monday, a school day. Now keep in mind that not every day is this productive, and I am also working on my “rest” time… so without further explanation… here we go.

Schedule

4:45 Marcus wakeup

4:50 Coffee starts to brew, I “wake up”

5:00 Downstairs. Coffee. Brain begins to activate.

5:20 Child has an accident. Put on clean sheets, put dirty ones in washer. Put child back to bed.

5:30 Workout commences

6:00-6:20 Try and figure out new spin bike with no success (come to find out it wasn’t plugged in well enough).

6:20 Shower (hair washing day)

6:35-6:55 Distribute yesterday’s laundry with child who woke early and didn’t go back to sleep.

6:45 Levi wakes up and helps with laundry.

7:00 Eloise is awake. Get her and everyone goes downstairs for breakfast & get ready for the day.

While kids eat & get dressed, I: unload/load dishwasher, make shake for Marcus, turn over laundry & throw new load in, wipe down tables, vacuum floors, water Christmas tree, do Scarlett’s hair. Scarlett feeds/waters cat.

8:00-8:10 Kids are all ready, they watch a show while I put on some makeup upstairs. Read First 5 Devotional.

8:15-8:35 Coats & shoes on and out the door! Drop Scarlett off at school.

8:35-9:00 Levi & Eloise watch a show while I clean more and do another load of laundry.

9:00 Meet with contractor about basement progress (see previous picture for reference).

9:15 Put more laundry away. Play on phone for 5 minutes.

10:00 Snacktime & post outfit on medias. (Shop this look here)

10:30 Make lunch for the kids.

10:45 Walk to the park. Snacktime for me!

11:15 Park time.

11:45 Kids eat lunch at the park.

12:05 Walk to Scarlett’s school.

12:15 Pick up Scarlett and head home.

12:45 Get mail, then home. All kids go down immediately for naps/rest.

1:00 I get started on meal prep for the week. Put laundry on the line. Another load in the washer.

1:45 Lunch for me!

2:15 Scarlett’s rest time is done. She gets herself a treat (for a good rest time) and I get snack for her. Continue meal prep.

2:35 Set up activity for Scarlett with her letter of the week.

3:00 Chore time while Scarlett watches a show. Dishwasher unload/load, distribute clean laundry, get guest room sheets & wash.

3:45 Levi is awake! Get snack for him while he gets himself a treat.

3:50 Make a shake for myself and take the kids outside to play in the FREEZING cold. I read while the kids play.

4:30 Eloise is awake! Take everyone inside and pop them all in a bath. Blowdry hair, dance party, and distribute/put away more laundry. Put laundry in dryer.

5:30 Dinner prep. Kids read books in the playroom. Set coffee maker for next morning.

6:00 Daddy is home! Eat dinner.

6:25 Daddy takes kids out to pick up ice cream while I stay home. Put clean linens on guest bed, unload/load dishwasher (meal prep day! Lots of dishes!), clean kitchen.

6:45 Upload IG post/Facebook

7:10 Daddy is home with the kids and Frosties. Kids eat ice cream.

7:25 Bedtime routine. Teeth brushed, tucked in, prayer time, and done!

7:40-8:45 Hubby time. Wash face, brush teeth, read a little of the book. Bed before 9! (Definitely earlier than normal. We are both recovering from Marcus traveling all last week!)

Breakdown

This was actually a good exercise for me to be more intentional with my phone time. I’ll admit I tend to mindlessly scroll and I know it takes more time than I realize… I am working on it. But, that I write it out, I realize just how much I do on a daily basis. No wonder why we are tired at the end of the day! Moms, give yourself a round of applause for all you do!

So while I didn’t do everything on my to-do list (didn’t pay a bill, forgot to call pediatrician, never took the laundry off the line…come to think of it, it is still there a day later…oops!), I did get a lot done. I did do FOUR loads of laundry (classic Monday…oof) and ran the dishwasher three times. Both is definitely above average for the daily. Levi also doesn’t normally nap, and Eloise’s naps are usually only 2 hours. See? A normal day still isn’t even a normal day!

As you can see, I wake up really early. And the truth is, once I get my new devotional series chosen, I am going to wake up a little earlier. I will save the “how” for another post, but as a general sidenote, that is how I get so much done, or at least the “me” things. Early waking when you have kids is my key to success. A quiet house, a few minutes alone, it is magical. Coffee, Jesus, and myself.

Shop My Life

Here’s the planner I use, which helps organize things on my to-do list and other scheduling things:

Here’s the book I was “reading” (because you know as a mom I only got maybe 4 pages in):

This is also on my reading list:

My husband and I are also reading this (or more like we read one chapter and haven’t done anything else…but the first chapter was great!)(Also no, we don’t have problems. I just like to read books like this with him):

Shop my look here:

If you have any questions about our daily routine, please let me know! What does your normal day look like? Do you wake up early to get things done, or are you a night owl?

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The Hunt for the Perfect Christmas Tree

One of our favorite traditions as a family is to go cut down our Christmas tree every year. This past weekend we set out the day after we got back from Pennsylvania, ready to go chop down our tree. This is our first Christmas since our move to New Hampshire! We got all packed up, headed on the road to the most recommended cut-your-own tree farm in the area, and decided halfway through to just stop at an pre-cut tree farm. The wind was quite blustery and chilly and we were tired from our Thanksgiving trip, so it felt right. We were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed it since we had been cutting it down ourselves for so many years! The kids had a blast running up and down the aisles of beautiful trees and selecting the perfect one.

We had planned to put a normal size tree in our living room, but we became fascinated with the giant ones because our new home can actually handle it! We ultimately decided to bite the bullet and got a 12 foot one for our foyer. It was a beast to decorate, but so worth it and the kids loved it. Check out the pictures of our day! You can shop our outfits in the widget at the bottom of the post.

You’ll notice Levi isn’t in as many pictures as the girls. It isn’t because I love him any less, it’s because most of his pictures look like this… #onegiantblur

Here she is in all of her glory! I need to fix that garland on the railing, I know. We started decorating with so much gusto and then I lost steam…

Did you get your Christmas Tree yet? Are you team real tree or team fake tree?! I’ll admit I may invest in a fake tree for the foyer and maybe do a smaller real tree in our living room… that thing is FAT!

Shop my outfit:

Leggings (size down) / Hunter Boots (size down) / Pullover (size up) / Button Up (size up)

Shop the kids’ outfits:

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Simple Outfit, Elevated

I was talking to my brother’s girlfriend a couple weeks ago about clothes as we painted our nails (stereotypical girls night?!). She was asking how I choose my style and matured my wardrobe. If you’ve followed here for a while, you know that’s been my theme the past few years (read more here). But now that I look at my wardrobe and reflect on her question, I concluded this: quality over quantity, dressing for your shape, and really maximizing an outfit with what you have. So while I don’t have the most expansive wardrobe or fanciest clothes, I have learned how to be more strategic about my purchases.

I wanted to show you what I mean. Stripes are my jam (again, not a surprise!). So here I have my basic outfit: long sleeved tee, jeans, booties. Then, I added just one more layer to add a bit more interest. I may buy a trendy piece every once in a while, but in general, most of my outfits are combinations of classic pieces mixed together (a capsule wardrobe, I guess you could call it!). Here is what I put together to make a simple outfit a little more interesting! (Scroll to the bottom to easily shop these items!)

Basic

Not a bad outfit on its own! Just not finished. Check out what happens when you add one more layer…

Layer one

See what I mean? It looks like a completely different outfit! Check it out with a different top layer:

Layer two

Crazy, huh?! This is totally my daily outfit as a SAHM #momchic. Now for one last top piece!

Layer Three

 

So it isn’t about needing a whole new wardrobe, it is just being more strategic about your purchases. I challenge you to take a close look at your closet and try some new combinations. You may be surprised! When shopping, try and focus on improving yous basics instead of buying that trendy piece that may not get as much wear.

A huge thanks to Bekah for these amazing pictures!

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