Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April 2014 Goals

8x10 April Goals

Time for new goals!  I love the start of a new month.  Especially April.  I know April officially starts tomorrow, but I need to post Maddox’s 9 month update tomorrow.  The weather is so nice outside, plants are blooming, and it’s time for Spring cleaning (my favorite time of the year).  First up, I took a look at how I did with my March goals.

I definitely think I’m over planning my goals each month.  I’ve always been like this.  I keep forgetting how time consuming just taking care of a baby is.  But I’m okay with not getting everything checked off my list…well, I’m making myself be okay with it…mom first, work second.  On that note, I’ve really been struggling with balancing my desire (and responsibility) to be a good mom and blogging/designing.  I love them all and I’m really trying to grow my blog and shop, but it’s been tough to find the time and energy.  I think that’s my main focus this year.  To gain more balance as the year progresses.  I know it won’t be perfect, but I’m not satisfied with my days right now.  Anyways, I kind of went off on a tangent.  Back to March goals.

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Spiritual Goals - I continued my Jesus Calling study, but found myself doing it at random times of the day.  I don’t like that.  I want to do it first thing in the morning.  I read 50 Shades of They by our pastor, Ed Young.  This was a good book and I think it would be even better for high school students, or younger, who are frantically trying to find friends.  I decided to not host a Bible study this Spring.  I haven’t started the Scripture Memory verse system yet, but I still plan to do this.

Marriage – Woops.  I had to look back on my calendar to see if we went on a date.  Ryan was gone the first two weekends, we were sick the third weekend, and didn’t go last weekend.  We are definitely due a date night.

Motherhood – I was definitely more intentional with Beckham and I notice a HUGE difference in his behavior when I am.  Three years old is definitely the toughest age so far.  I was talking to a girl friend and she said two emotions that surprised her about motherhood were anger and annoyance.  I look up to this girl, so this was a relief to hear.  Parenting…the toughest job on Earth!  I did pump another month, but plan on weaning this month...it may take all month, but I'm okay if I stop pumping.  I created a behavior chart and hung it up yesterday.  I’ll share more about it later…hopefully it works.

Health – Didn’t make it to gym and no eating sugar after 7pm was a joke.  Considering I don’t even eat dinner till after kids are in bed some nights, this goal was not smart.  But I improvised and didn’t eat any sugar late at night when I was working (I actually used to do that).  Health is one of my main focuses next month as you’ll see below.

Relationships – I focused on relationships through many play dates this month vs. a GNO.  We were sick a lot this month so this was actually a good achievement considering the facts.

Business – I added a lot of signs this month.  And did a lot of work on my shop.  Etsy changed some things up a bit so I had to do a lot of research and editing to bring my sales up.  Another blogger will be featuring a sign this week.  If you have a blog and would like a sign, contact me and we’ll talk about getting one to you.  I did complete my taxes, but we have to formally file them this month.

Financial – Updating our budget nightly makes it SO much easier to keep track of expenses.  I also read Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup and I highly recommend it.  She is spot on with her advice and fundamentals.  I also did really good on groceries this month (stayed within our $400 budget).  You can read what we bought this month HERE.

Personal – We didn’t find the exact car (although I'm loving the Honda Pilot), but I have a list of a few of them that I need to go test drive.  I’m dreading this as I hate going to dealerships and dealing with car salesmen.  And I had a me day that was nice and refreshing.

april goals

In April I’m going to focus on 6 things:

1. DE-CLUTTER – I honestly believe the key to keeping a clean, organized house is to de-clutter.  My husband and I differ greatly when it comes to this, which makes it difficult, but I’ll at least de-clutter the things I can.  Spring cleaning will also occur!

2. SLEEP – I say it every month, but I think this is the one thing holding me back from getting things done.  Must.Get.More.Sleep.  I figured if I can get in bed by 12pm, I can wake up at 7:00 (an hour or so before kids usually get up).  This means starting my nightly routine at 10:30pm (yes, it’s long because it involves pumping, washing parts and any dishes in sink, making lunches, shower, cleansing face regimen, and reading in bed). My goal is 7 hours.

3. HEALTH – Summer is around the corner.  Even if I don’t get into a swim suit in the next couple of months, smaller clothing is starting to happen and I must get more fit.  Ideally, I’d love to go to the gym (and plan on it), but if I don’t make it consistently, I at least plan to drink water galore.  Here’s my plan – Drink 16oz first thing in the morning. Drink 16oz before bed (I’m really thirsty at night).  And 4 glasses during the day…I should be able to do this at lunch and dinner.  This is not including any time I work out.  This should also help my energy.

4. READ MORE OF THE BIBLE – I love Christian books, but I need to be careful how often I let them replace reading my Bible.  I have a great Bible and always learn so much when I read.  Ideally, I’d read it after my Jesus Calling devotional in the morning, which is short, but if I don’t, I also like to read at night. 

5. RELATIONSHIPS – Whether this be my husband, my family, or my friends, my goal is to do something…get together!  I LOVE socializing, but really young kids can make that pretty hard, at least doing it frequently.  My most important relationship (other than God of course) is my husband, so this month we are going to intentionally hang out…alone and with our kiddos!  I see my family often and we already have some things lined up this month.

6. MY BLOG – I love blogging!  It’s harder and harder to do these days as a stay at home mom, but I still enjoy it.  Every now and then I debate whether or not I should keep doing it, but then every time I think that, I get an email the very next day telling me how much someone loves my blog (which is always so flattering).  They are random, but something keeps telling me to continue writing.  And I’m glad it do, because I love doing it!  I’ve decided to be intentional with my blog and really grow it, organize it, improve it...make it something you want to read everyday, while still staying true to myself and writing about what I love,
A few specific goals I have for my blog are:
-Add Adsense (look into affiliate marketing)…don’t worry guys, I won’t get “advertise-y”
-Research WordPress and see if it’s a good move
-Organize my Pinterest (Pin daily)
-Revisit old posts (at least once a week) and update the info and add a good graphic if needed.
-Write one financial post a week (I have so many post ideas that need to be written and published)

On that note, thank you guys so much for reading my blog.  And commenting and emailing!  As a blogger, it’s really all about the readers and the community built.  I enjoy this little space!  Speaking of readers, I would love to hear from you and what posts you like seeing or if you have any questions/ideas you’d like me to blog about!  Just comment below or email me (snydersteallall@yahoo.com). 

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All Kinds of Things

Monday, March 30, 2015

Life Lately March Part 2

It’s crazy how different the weather has been this month.  It started off with snow and the last couple of weeks have been really nice, even hot.


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We fed the ducks.  B loved this, but these ducks were crazy.  I’m pretty sure a goose was about to attack Maddox in his stroller before I grabbed him and we ran away.



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St. Patrick’s Day!  My little Irish baby!




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Speaking of baby, or not, look at him “riding a bike.” 



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My looooong time friend, Shannon, came over with her boys while she was here in Texas.  We used to play soccer together when we were 11!




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B got to take home the “class pet” a couple of weekends ago and we took him to get donuts!  I love our donut dates!



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My best friend, Brittany, lives a couple of hours away, but she was in town for a few days and came over to visit!  I love this girl!  Her and her husband are planting a church in Utah!  What an amazing place to spread the Word of God.  She’s so brave and I’m always encouraged after our visits.



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Just two guys in a laundry basket!  Maddox isn’t allowed to do anything Beckham isn’t doing! #eyesrolling 



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Maddox in the grass for the first time.  Of course he ate it like any normal 9 month old.



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I was taking a photo of him in this chair and caught this.  I feel like it needs a caption.  :)



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Beckham went to the dentist for the first time this month.  He was a pro!  I could tell he was a little nervous, but felt proud.


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Just stinkin cute!



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My heart melts when I see them laughing together on their own!


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I posted this on Instagram and compared eating with a baby to dodgeball!  Never realized how spoiled I was to sit in a chair and eat my lunch without someone attacking me.  He ended up knocking my plate out of my hands a few minutes later.  Lunch over.


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This guy turned 9 months old!  I love that he’s getting older!


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Ryan’s cousins were in town for a week (unfortunately for Ryan’s PawPaw’s funeral).  We met them at a big park in Frisco and let the kids play and eat lunch.  Thank the Lord my mother-in-law came…Beckham was all over the place while I had Maddox in a stroller. 



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Later that night we met up at a restaurant with them before they headed back the next day.  The kids were racing outside of the restaurant.  Oh to have that much energy…all.the.time.  They live in Pennsylvania (his cousin is a pastor), so we don’t see them often, but LOVE spending time with them when we can.


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 Hanging outside in the backyard while B plays.  Maddox was super chill with his soccer ball.  Our backyard is our project this Spring and I can’t wait to add some neat things.  


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B has to bring Easter eggs to school this week for their Easter egg hunt.  He was making an assembly line and counting out 12 of each item to stuff in the eggs.  He counted them all by himself…he’s really growing up. 


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Little bit’s first bottle of formula.  I’m only pumping 3 bottles worth a day (he takes 4), so I tried a bottle of formula to see if he’d take it (I’d like to start weaning myself soon anyways).  B never had formula so this is all new to me, but he did NOT like it.  Drank an ounce and that was it.  I feel like he’s saying “Mom, seriously, what is this stuff?”  I’d love any recommendations on healthy formulas…as healthy as they can be.  My freezer milk smells bad to me (it’s 6 months old in a deep freezer), so I’m not sure I’ll use that.  Someone also mentioned goat’s milk.  Anyone heard of that?  We see his doc tomorrow so we’ll see what he says.


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Yesterday our church had lunch outside after service with some face painting and bounce houses.  B was in Heaven.



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Once we got home and M down for a nap, B and I headed to Starbucks for a cake pop for him and coffee for me.  I’m still using all my gift cards, but they’re almost gone :(  I love hanging out with this guy!


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Ryan mowed the lawn yesterday and next thing I know, Beckham runs inside the house to get his lawn mower and do exactly what daddy was doing.  I thought this was so cute.  And I just noticed they have the exact same stance.  Poor kid thinks it’s cute now.  I told Ryan, “Aren’t you glad you have boys that will help you with the yard work when they’re older?”  He said, “Older?  You mean next year?”  He wasn’t kidding.  Oh our poor boys!



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This guy finally fits in the car wagon!  B LOVED this thing!  I can’t wait to take the boys on walks this week.



March was a month of highs and lows.  Ryan’s grandpa passed away, but we have peace knowing he’s sitting with his Father in Heaven enjoying the fruits of his labor here on Earth.  He was an incredible man and a great example for Ryan and I.  He truly had a servant’s heart.


Hopefully I can get around to posting my April goals tomorrow with my March reflections.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Groceries We Buy Week 4


This week was considered the last “week” in our grocery runs, but since we have a couple days next week before April, I’m sure I’ll hit the store for a few items.  I usually shop on Sundays or Mondays so that is usually the start of our Meal Plans and such.  You can read the previous week's grocery posts by clicking on each week below:
Week 1 Groceries
Week 2 Groceries
Week 3 Groceries

Can I first just say that I really don’t see a point in making dinner each night.  I really don’t.  Maddox, especially lately, has been really fussy from 5:00-6:30 and wants to be held.  He used to eat solids during this time while we eat, but he hasn’t been into solids lately.  Obviously this makes making dinner, serving it, and eating it nearly impossible.  Add to that the energizer bunny who is running into all the places he shouldn’t (aka my 3 year old) and it’s really a chaotic disaster.  Every night I ask myself why I even try.  I can’t even enjoy the food when it’s done as I eat it by myself while Ryan and I take turns eating and one of us is trying to keep Beckham at the table.  Anyone else with small children feel the same at dinnertime?

Here is our Menu Plan for this week:

Monday: Burgers, Potato wedges, Fruit salad, Beans
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Sandwich (use leftover buns) with chips
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken Salad (use leftover chicken)…I like a Cobb salad with grilled chicken
Thursday: Steak, mashed potatoes, corn on cob
Friday: Out or Home Dinner
Saturday: Out or Home Dinner
Sunday: Out or Home Dinner
*Home Dinner – This just refers to anything we have around the house (freezer, pantry, etc).

Groceries went well this week.  As of last week, our total so far was $316.06.  This week we went to three stores – Kroger , Walmart, and Sprouts.

Kroger: $5.68
-2 gallons of milk

Sprouts: $12.57
-2 grapefruit
-6oz Blueberries
-6oz Blackberries
-Grapes
-Gallon of Organic Milk

Walmart: $55.96
Q-tips not shown in picture.  As you can see, I have some sweet treats in store for this week!

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Week 4 TOTAL: $74.21

March Total is $316.06 + $74.21 = $390.27

I figure I will have to run to the store on Sunday to grab some bread and baby food so I’m hoping the $10.00 I have left will be enough for the rest of the month.  I love a challenge! 

I hope this has been helpful and interesting to see what another family buys in a month for $400.00.  I’ll give an update next week with our final total spent.  Regardless, it should be close to $400 and I’m pretty pleased with that.

And here was a grocery tip I posted on Instagram yesterday: 
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Beckham sits in the basket part on short grocery trips (or those car parts of the car carts if a longer trip) and he’ll eat his lunch while I shop.  It helps keep him busy for a while.  The best time for us to shop is in between Maddox’s two naps which happens to be during lunch time, so this works for us.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Groceries We Buy Week 3

I’m continuing my “The Groceries We Buy” series and this is Week 3.  You can read Week 1 HERE and Week 2 HERE.  I also have more grocery posts…just look under the Finance tab.

Week 3 grocery budget

I went grocery shopping last night WITHOUT the kids.  Let me just say I most definitely spend more money when they are not there.  I can take my time and I have the entire cart for my groceries vs. a square foot of space. I went to Walmart and I also had to get a ton of other things while I was there so it worked out nice.

I also have a few Grocery Tips for you as well at the end of this post.

MENU PLAN

Breakfasts – Oatmeal, Biscuit Sandwiches, Homemade Donuts, Toast

Lunch – Turkey sandwiches, Smoothies, Chicken Salad, PBJ, Grilled Cheese, Soup, Leftovers

Dinner:
Monday – Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa, Baked Potato, Brussels Sprouts (I also made pinto beans to have for the week)
*I season tilapia with salt/pepper and paprika.  Then grill it in skillet with a little oil until it’s cooked (white inside and flaky with a fork).  For brussels sprouts, I cut in half, mix with olive oil, salt/pepper, a little garlic and then bake on 350 for 20 minutes or so, flipping once).  Picture below.
Tuesday – Leftovers (Fish Tacos, Bean Burritos…I ended up eating 1/2 cup of chocolate ice cream, eggs, and bacon because I had to cook it before it went bad…true story, that was my dinner, in that order…and a Snickers bar at the store) #keepinitreal  It was a LONG afternoon and it warranted ice cream.
WednesdayCheesy Enchilada Rice Skillet (I add shredded chicken to mine…I cook 1 breast in the crockpot with salsa and taco seasoning, shred the chicken when it’s done and add some to the enchilada mix)
Thursday – Leftovers or White Chicken Pasta (we will most likely have leftovers)
Friday – Dinner Out
Saturday – White Chicken Pasta or Out (I think I’ve had this pasta on my plan for 3 weeks now…it’s kind of my back up dish.  I have a homemade one, but this one is a jar of white sauce, shredded chicken, pasta, and any veggies like green pepper, onions, and tomatoes).
Sunday – Home Team (our church group) or dinner afterwards out (I’m not sure yet if we’re eating together or meeting beforehand)
*I like to eat out on the weekends as I like to relax on the weekends instead of cook and clean at night, but it just depends on our budget.

Check out the Tilapia and homemade Mango Salsa I made on Monday (I didn’t use the Fresno chilis and used a red pepper instead of orange)…
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Like I said, I only went to Walmart this week (so far…hope it stays that way).  From last week’s post, we had spent $212.06 on groceries. 

This week, I spent $104.00 (I love an even total)!  Below is what I bought.  I’m not going to lie, I bought a lot of items that were not on the list.  I normally don’t buy as many convenience foods either (baby food, boxed snacks, frozen veggies), but y’all, I just can’t swing it yet with multiple kids.  Beckham wants to snack a lot.  And he eats his meals well, so I think he’s just a growing boy.  He’s not big at all, so I don’t mind if he has a lot of snacks in addition to his meals.  Therefore, I tried to find snacks that are a little more nutritious and not a ton of sugar, but that he can grab from his snack bucket in the pantry (he also loves apple/peanut butter and those Cuties oranges, which he can now peel thank you Jesus, and he will never turn down a smoothie).

Our total for March so far is $316.06!  That means we have roughly $84 left for the the rest of the month.  That will be tight, but we will see if I can stick to our $400 budget.

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Grocery Tip #1: If you shop at a warehouse store like Walmart and are getting more than just groceries, separate your items according to your budget.  For example, last night I had THREE transactions – Baby items, House items (like copy paper and kitchen tools), and Groceries (any baby food is included in our groceries).  This will make writing down your expenses in your budget SO much easier!

Grocery Tip #2: If you use the SAVINGS CATCHER from Walmart, scan the receipt AS SOON AS YOU GET IN YOUR CAR!  That way you won’t forget.  I think they have a set up where you can enter your phone # at the register, but I haven’t tried yet.  If you’re unfamiliar with Savings Catcher, it basically price matches all your items for you so you don’t have to do it.  Double check the stores they compare to, so you can make sure you’re getting deals from all the stores in your area.

Grocery Tip #3: When I come home and start putting away the food, I like to store Beckham’s snacks in his bucket by taking off the tops to some of the boxed items so they store easier.  They even have perforated sides to make this easier.  I also take out the food from the packages (apple sauce, raisins, yogurt – in fridge).  Just makes it quicker to grab throughout the week.
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I JUST now moved his snacks down to his reach.  It’s much easier to tell him to grab something than to stop what I’m doing (usually pumping or with baby) than to get it myself.  Yes, sometimes I have to battle him when he’s not supposed to have a snack, but most of the time he asks before.

Do you have any other tips for groceries?  Or any good kid snacks for a 3 year old?  I’d love to know if you spend more/less than $400.  Hope this helps!

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Life Lately in March (Part 1)

I can’t believe it’s already March 16.  Yet the last two weeks have been really slow (sick, snow, and hubby gone). 

Since we were forced to our house majority of this month, things have been slow paced and it’s been nice.  Most mornings we’ve leisurely woken up, had breakfast (and coffee), played with toys, and watched a couple of TV shows.  We’ve stayed in our pj’s until noon most days (sometimes later). 

Often I feel guilty, and that I need to get them dressed and “do something”, but then I remember, there will be PLENTY of days for rushed mornings when I’m only wishing I could go back to these moments of calm. 

I really do love that I’m able to be home with my boys…I’ll never get these days back.  Ever.  Soon they’ll start school where they’re away from me most of the day.  Then college.  Then they’re married.  I’ll enjoy my slow mornings with just me and the boys! 

The last month for us…


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Lots of coffee at home!


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Made a trip to Whole Foods to get meds and here’s my helper!  Love him!


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A breakfast treat for me!


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PJ’s, bed head, and choosing which gummy vitamin he wanted.  This is a tough choice every day.  He has to look at every color and make his decision.


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Some crazy snow came in to Texas!


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So we built a snowman!  His first one.


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Tacos…easy dinners when dad’s gone!


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I’ve been obsessed with this breakfast lately…biscuit, bacon, egg, and cheese.  So good.


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Reading while they play.


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My mother-in-law watched the boys while I had a little “me time” and I so appreciated this time alone.  She’s been so helpful lately while Ryan finishes up the season.


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I think I have a problem.  Coffee is an experience to me (more than the taste) so the mug is really important.  Anyone else feel the same way?  Please? Help me justify these purchases. :)


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See?  How cute is this mug?!


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The next day (Sunday), we went out to eat at a local pizza place and B had to have rainbow ice cream…his new favorite.


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Then this one got a haircut from Daddy Barber.


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Getting my  hair done and face timing Maddox…with a plastic french fry hanging out of his mouth.  Scary pic up there huh?


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Beckham enjoying “coffee” in his new mini mug!  I love that he loves what I love.


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I can’t even.  When I decorated the play room, I placed this mirror floor level and I’m so glad I did.  Both boys have loved this.


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He really wanted to touch his new baby cousin!  I’m pretty sure he’s thinking, “ooh I’m not the littlest one anymore.”  #babybrotherproblems


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Last Friday, we painted wooden cars!  He LOVED this activity and it was a nice change of pace for him.  He is starting to enjoy coloring and painting.  Finally activities that don’t involve running non-stop.  I love his concentration look.


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Afterwards we went to the library and checked out books and played on the computer.  His book selection process is tedious as you can tell.


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And little man just sat in his stroller and waited…thanks to a paci and Puffs.


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On Saturday, we headed to the donut shop before running an errand.  This boy has a serious love for donuts…and so do I.  Later that day my mom came over and we went to our down town for pizza and ice cream (clearly a horrible diet day for us).  I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures, but it was such a fun day.  It was overcast, my house was clean, the boys were entertained, and I got to visit with my mom!


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Ryan got home late Saturday night!  YAY! The next morning, we headed to church…I love these guys so much!


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I feel like Beckham looks so old in this picture.  Maybe it’s the “skinny jeans”…which I found at a consignment store for $4.00! 


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Then we headed to one of Beckham’s best little friend’s birthday party!  He was in Heaven!


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Finally, we ended the weekend by going over to my brother’s house for dinner.  This is Ryan and B picking up the pizza on our way.  He gets to play with his cousin while we’re there and he absolutely loves it…plus, Ryan was meeting Baby Nolan for the first time!


It was a great weekend.  Y’all, Ryan is officially done with the season and I cannot express to you the JOY I have.  I asked him last night, “So you are coming home after work tomorrow?  Like you don’t have to go anywhere?”  I think it was a longer than normal season because of having two kids, especially with a baby.  I plan on blogging about that as it’s a huge part of our lives so stay tuned.

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