This week was the first in a long time where we had some productive days. Like I actually went to the grocery store and made some dinners. And both girls aren’t coughing. And staying indoors hasn’t resulted in meltdowns. And I’m finally getting around to posting Christmas. So yeah, bring on the prospected ice storm, weatherman. You can’t bring us down. Santa might bring Leah down, but she’s safe for another 11 months.

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I don’t know about any of you and the holidays, but it was a serious blur for me. A beautiful, magical blur; and a lot of that magic this year has come from our little Leah. I was having some serious Mommy guilt about having Leah born so close to Christmas. (Like I could’ve planned that or something, right?! 😛 ) Since we had seen all of our extended families so close to the holidays, we decided to forgo throwing Leah an actual party. I know it’s ridiculous, but not having a first birthday party kind of bothered me. But then her day came (December 27th) and we were all tucked away at home– just us four– and it felt pretty special to me. The hustle and bustle of Christmas and traveling and shopping and cooking had all settled and it just felt right. We were in our PJs for most of the day, were all super tired, and ate leftovers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’m not sure if Leah will be jazzed about this arrangement for the end of time, but she seemed pretty happy this time around.

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Derek has traveled a lot more this year for work. Which meant a lot less sleep for me. Which meant I wished so badly to like the taste of coffee. Which meant I better come up with an alternative form of caffeine that wasn’t unhealthy for me. And thankfully, I found my drink of champions: hot chai latte with unsweetened almond milk and cinnamon. But we had some problems: spending $4-something on a drink everyday at Starbucks wasn’t making me feel great and ordering something so specific was making me feel ridiculous. So one day I got chummy with the Starbucks gal and she told me a little secret: the chai latte mix is this exact mix and I could make it at home myself with just a microwave and a frother. AND THEN I found out it’s sold at Costco in a three pack and I pretty much felt like I won the lotto. So I honestly don’t need anything this year. But if I were to want some things (in no particular order), these would be my top 8 picks:


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Another winning feeling was when Derek realized that his work trip this week will grant me “companion pass” for all of 2017. That means I can fly anywhere he flies next year… for free! So you better believe we’ll be planning a lot of three day weekend trips with (and possibly without) the girls. So if you have any ideas on some fun, quick trips, let us know. This Mama’s ready for a vacation! Have a great week, friends.

(You can also find similar Gift Guides here and here.)


Hellooooo, friends! I am still here. I know you don’t believe me. But I am. I’ve been glued to the computer screen hitting all the online deals and I can’t believe it, but I’m pretty much done with Christmas shopping. (Although it’s come at a toll: dark(er) circles under the eyes and lots of chai lattes.) I enjoy shopping local, but it turns out that lying in my pjs at 7 PM with my laptop is pretty awesome too. And shopping without two kids climbing in and out of the Target cart is also a huge plus. Here are some of my favorite finds for the season:


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Yes, the gifts are more toward the “little girly” side, but that’s all I know! Not sure if the knit mermaid doll (#1) would be more for me or for the girls. Can’t handle the cuteness! I’ll be back tomorrow with a MAMA Gift Guide. You know, so you can figure out what to buy yourself too. 😉



Mya loves all living things… including bugs. I don’t know how it happened with me as her mother, but she has no fear of any insect or arachnid. A couple months ago we were at a nature presentation at Fat Brain Toys and Mya was front and center the whole time. She jumped with excitement to hold the tarantula and grinned from ear to ear while the snake slithered up her arm. At the end of the class, Scott the naturist mentioned that the Leawood Nature Center at Ironwoods Park offered birthday packages and the thought of not having her party at our house seemed pretty magical. I got Mya’s overeager approval and called to book a date. Best. Decision. Ever. Also to make it easier, we just sent the invites via email. The “nature” theme gave me a good reason to incorporate one of my favorite illustrators– Charley Harper.


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Mya just turned 4. FOUR. But more like 4 going on 34. I swear she is more mature than I at times. The other day in the Costco parking lot, I was wrangling Leah because I guess she wasn’t as impressed with the bulk deals. Mya looked at me and calmly said, “It’s okay, Mama. Take a deep breath and don’t worry. Enjoy the beautiful day.” I mean, really? How did that come from such a little person? Granted, she’s not always that calm and collected, but she constantly amazes me with moments like these.


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Guilty of posting this many weeks after Leah’s actual 9 month milestone. (#whatelseisknew ?!) Also guilty of swiping a pair of Mya’s capris and giving them to Leah to wear as pants. Because my girls are basically the same size. So there’s that. And on top of Leah growing like a weed beautiful flower, she’s also become super active. This now makes our monthly photo sessions pretty tricky to capture her lying on her back… and not eating the wood heart plaque, or attempting the downward dog, or wrapping herself up in the blanket backdrop.


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Am I lame for admitting this?: I have a coupon folder. I keep it in my car console and grab ’em as I need them. Another truth is that I seem to only use the ones for Bed Bath and Beyond (because they never expire) and I’m sure I have a hundred of them. I pass them out to other customers as we wait in the check out line. Buuuut other coupons that I appreciate receiving are free 8″x8″ books from Shutterfly. They usually expire before I get around to making one, but not this last time! This time Mya and I had a plan: Mya chose what play things were special to her, we staged them, and she photographed them to make an “I Spy” (or in her case, a “Mya Spy”) book. And I love it so.


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These monthly Leah posts are the only thing keeping me somewhat up-to-date on here. Hopefully you’re not getting tired of them! 😛 This last month was the first time I recognized Leah having her own little sense of humor and feisty side: Mya was brushing her teeth on her stool in front of the sink and I was holding Leah behind her. Leah turned off the light with her left hand, then pulled Mya’s hair with her right hand. Mya said “Ow, Leeeaaahh!” with a smile and turned on the light. Leah then looked at herself in the mirror and laughed. Then Leah again turned off the light with her left hand and pulled her sister’s hair. This sequence happened three times. It would’ve probably gone on longer, but I didn’t want the laughs to turn into a Leah fist full of Mya’s hair.


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Mya had bird camp last week, which means they made some bird crafts, listened to bird calls, read bird books, and sang bird songs… which– for all of you who know Mya just a little bit– couldn’t be more perfect for our outdoorsy girl. It seems Mya’s birdie obsession started even before her first birdday party! (Ahhhh– looking back at those pics, I canNOT believe how much my girls look alike!) So in the spirit of the bird, I must share some bird finds and a fun story with you guys…


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

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Leah turns 7 months TODAY! That’s right. I’m actually posting on her month birthday… instead of two weeks after-the-fact. Nevermind there hasn’t been any other activity on the ol’ blog since her last monthly check-in. Too many summer activities I guess… and I’ve been a bit preoccupied kissing this girl’s big cheeks and rollie pollie legs. #priorities #momlife


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Leah turned 6 months (yes, my jaw is dropped) last week and she brings us more and more joy each day. Currently, Mya is training– yes, “training.” not “teaching”– Leah to shake. Like a dog. So there’s that. I can’t figure out if Mya’s feeling deprived of not having a canine friend or if she really does not discern the difference between training a dog to do tricks versus teaching her baby sister new things. Leah does drool a lot, though. So– in Mya’s defense– it can get confusing.


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