& the weekend | v. 4

*I realize it is now Wednesday (and even warmer!) and we’re halfway to the next weekend, but I’m hitting Publish anyway.*

What you see below is not fake news. It was, in fact, 60 degrees here in Madison.


We’re having a stretch of record breaking temps so you as you can imagine, the entire state was outside over the weekend. Many people probably wearing shorts because… Wisconsin.


No shorts here. But we did have our share of outdoor time.

Unfortunately it started with a trip to the clinic because these sweet boys of mine just weren’t getting better & I needed a little peace of mind.

I consider this trip “outside time” because I forgot the stroller so we had a toddler-led, leisurely walk into the clinic. Theo wasn’t wearing shoes because we didn’t have time to get them on before leaving annnnd we were 15 minutes late anyway.

A one-time steroid was prescribed to help clear the boys’ croup. But my super sleuthy ways of hiding the crushed up pills in a smoothie did not work so we just continued on with two raspy, coughing, runny-nosed toddlers who now seem to finally be turning a corner.


Nonetheless, we did not let the croupiness keep us from having an enjoyable weekend.

The boys’ Aunt Lexi & Uncle Adam came for a visit, so J and I got to run errands & have a lunch date, while the boys entertained Lexi & Adam!


Sunday involved beer brewing, a visit from Grammy & Grampy, and a trip to the park.


Naturally it’s supposed to snow next weekend so we’ll be back to the usual February in Wisconsin programming.

& some random catch up.

Despite my best intentions, I never seem to complete a blog post. I have about 47 drafts from the past year, but it seems I never take the time to turn them into worthwhile posts. For instance, I’m finally hitting publish on this post, which I started writing two weeks ago.

But I always love going back to read my random thoughts from months/years past, so sometimes it’s nice to come here & just word vomit, ya know?

Speaking of vomit, when I was here last, we were a week into the stomach flu. While Theo & I never truly got the stomach flu, we did have a general stomach ick going around here for like two weeks. And now we’re on week two runny noses, congestion, sore throats, & coughs. Germs are so cool.

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Jessica’s post really gave me the boost I needed to finally do some toy consolidation/storage  in our house. It had been on my mind for awhile, but I just couldn’t see past those primary-colored toy storage bins. Those are great for daycares, kids bedrooms, toy rooms, etc. But our living room is our toy room so I needed something that wasn’t a total eyesore. The toys are eyesore enough! I had no intention of trying to hide the fact that toddlers live here, I just wanted it to feel more peaceful once the boys are in bed each night.

It’s been about a week and we’re loving it. A small change, really, but it’s made a huge difference and the boys don’t miss a single one of their toys that have taken up residence in the basement.

This wicker chest was available in three sizes at Home Goods. Aesthetically speaking, I wish I’d have gone with the medium size, as it would just look better in that space (and cover up that outlet) but it’s really nice to only have enough small toys to fit in that chest. A select dozen or so books, flash cards, cars, are in the basket by the fireplace. Obviously we still have some bigger stuff out in the open but it doesn’t even bother me now that there’s so much less stuff strewn everywhere.


Scooters, their teepee, & some bigger, (unpictured because currently in use) toys are stored over in the corner by the dog toys.

End of the night cleanup has been cut down by like 10 minutes, which doesn’t seem like a lot of time but TEN MINUTES of cleaning up toys is a lot of minutes.

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A popsicle can pretty much solve any problem around here lately. I stumbled upon these Disney Frozen mini popsicles at the grocery store and they are an absolute HIT in our house. They are small, so they don’t melt down the boys’ arms before they finish them. And since the boys actually sit still while consuming them, I have like 4 minutes to get something done.

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Let’s see, something not toddler related… I finally did one of those paint nights. You know, when you get together with girlfriends to drink wine, but also paint something for your house so it doesn’t seem like it was just an excuse to have a drink or two? Anyway, a group of us Madison Moms Bloggers got together at The Wild Dandelion last week and it was so much fun! The whole “paint on a board” idea is really just more my style than the canvas paint nights that are also pretty popular.

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Local Madison area peeps
– I highly suggest The Wild Dandelion if you’re interested in doing something like this. Heather, the owner, is awesome!

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I have zero inspiration when it comes to meal planning lately. Justin is no help with dinner ideas. The boys might love something one day, but hate it the next. So I feel like I’m constantly shopping, prepping, cooking, cleaning up & doing dishes, and maybe half of the people in our house are actually eating and/or enjoying what I’m making. Am I alone in this? Please tell me other moms feel this way too! And that it will get easier and that it’s a phase and it will pass?!

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Sadly, a tropical destination vacation is not in the cards for us this year. We really wanted to take the boys to Mexico but we just couldn’t find the deal we were looking for, and since we hope to buy or build a new home within the year, we couldn’t justify going super over budget. When I say “we”, I really mean Justin, because I would absolutely go over budget just to get away for a few days. But since I would be doing most of the work to get everyone ready for the trip (passports for the boys, finding a travel-friendly double stroller, finding warm weather clothes in the dead of winter, packing, etc.), I agreed on account of eliminating some unnecessary stress. So I find myself living vicariously through Timehop, which is currently chronicling the month I spent in Mexico, on a solo(ish- I had visitors) journey, NINE years ago.

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That said, I’m really looking forward to the warmer temperatures expected around here this week. I might even get to crack a window and set some of these germs free!

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Bonus photo of Nolan showcasing his favorite part about the new toy chest. 0.2 seconds before falling off of it and onto his face on the hardwood floor.

::insert eye roll emoji here::


*also working on a redo of that gallery wall above, hence the current lack and strange placement of photos.

Happy hump day!

& I don’t even know.

Eating nachos at 10am is a totally normal Sunday morning thing, right? Because that’s what I found myself doing this morning and gosh, I would really just like some normalcy this week. I was so exhausted by the time we put the boys to bed Friday night that I didn’t even have the energy to make or drink a much-needed and well-deserved cocktail. It’s been a week here, friends.

I put the boys down for a nap this morning, even though they don’t take morning naps anymore. It was partially because they needed it and partially because I needed it. Because after this doozy of a week I was just looking forward to a leisurely Sunday with shared parenting duties, as weekends should allow. Maybe a solo grocery shopping trip, some food prep for the week ahead, stuff like that. But just after midnight, Justin woke up with the stomach flu…

But let’s back up to Tuesday afternoon when Nolan started vomiting. A lot. The dog ate it. Theo played in it. I wore it. I was home from work because it was too icy for my mom to drive in that morning. I also had to miss work Monday (but worked from home) because we were iced in at my parents’. Oh, and I also had to miss work Wednesday (I normally don’t work Wednesdays but was trying to get in some hours since I had to miss Monday & Tuesday) because I didn’t want our nanny to be exposed to the stomach flu & I felt like I was coming down with it too. Ohhhh, and I also had to miss my scheduled work-from-home hours Thursday because 2/3 of our daycare provider’s kids were sick. Friday was somewhat normal. I was absolutely beat, but I got a lot accomplished. Nobody was sick, and everyone got to where they needed to be for the day. I made dinner. Everyone ate and kept it down.

Saturday was sorta normal too, except Nolan was super fussy, then ended up being awake most of the night. Theo slept through the night (which is unheard of) and then took a 3 hour nap (also never happens), and is currently napping again (NEVER happens) so with any luck he’s sleeping off any chance he has of getting this flu bug.

I suppose I might even start vomiting at some point too, huh? Not that it matters. Moms don’t get sick days. My husband was in bed for 19 hours straight, minus getting up to barf, but if I get sick I’m sure he’ll just go to work and I’ll just have to mom and be sick at the same time. That’s how it works, right?

Okay, my bitterness is starting to show. My exhaustion. My defeat. My NEED FOR A VACATION. It’s showing, isn’t it?

What I came here to say is that we had a yucky week. A week I’m not sad to send off. But it could be worse. It could be SO MUCH WORSE. We are, despite this double round of the stomach flu, healthy. We are happy. We have a roof over our heads. We have clothes on our backs and food in our bellies (some of us more than others). And even in the midst of the crappiness of our week, there were shiny moments.

I washed all the bedding, hung some pictures, and cleaned two rooms. All in the same day. Nolan had to test out the fresh bedding for me.

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I sort of accidentally agreed to renew my HelloFresh membership and a box showed up on our doorstep Wednesday. We had this yummy beef stir fry for dinner Friday night and I was reminded of just how easily these meals come together, no matter how intimidated I am.

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We’ve been talking about vacation a lot. And it got the best of us yesterday. A late lunch of Coronita and nachos was necessary. Obviously these were pretty good since I had them (albeit a much smaller version- and no beer, but that would’ve been a good idea) for breakfast again today!

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Nolan was so happy to see Theo when he woke up from his nap, that he basically forced his Cheerios on him. Theo isn’t one to say no to Cheerios, so he ate them while half sleeping. It was probably a lot sweeter in person than it is appearing in this photo, huh?

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And lastly, Nolan was looking just so sweet in his grey knee socks & Packers jersey combo!

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And you know what, there were so many other shiny moments I didn’t catch on camera. We’ll get over this flu bug. Life will continue as normal some day soon. I’m sure of it. Heck, we might even get to go on that vacation. I’m choosing eternal optimism in my head, even if I’m not really showing it right now. Tomorrow is a new day!

& a photo an hour

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve attempted to do one of these posts. Usually by hour two I forget to take pictures but somehow I remembered today! Our days at home aren’t glamorous but they are full of love and laughs!

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six. The boys are still asleep & we have a verrry flexible agenda today so snooooze! I really only set an alarm because I noticed the “Bedtime” feature the other day & figured I could at least make an attempt to follow a more regimented sleep schedule, even if it is completely dependent on two others sleeping in the next room. Normally I just get up when Justin leaves for work a little after 5:00, or wait for my tiny human alarm clocks to wake me.


seven. By some miracle, they are still sleeping. Coupon sorting, Cartwheel checking, Target listing. And of course, coffee!


eight. My peace was interrupted about 45 seconds after taking that photo above. Then it was onto breakfast, and shown here, post-breakfast teeth brushing!


nine. Playtime! Pants optional. Also it looks like Nolan’s legs/feet are detached from his body. He’s sort of half lying on me, while all of his lower body weight is on his hip. Does that make sense? 😂


ten. Target trip! Stole this awesome Starbucks idea from Amber; whole milk blended with ice, topped with a little whipped cream. Keeps them happy the whole trip!


eleven. It’s about a five minute drive home from Target. Nonetheless, Theo fell sound asleep on the way home. Removing his hoodie & shoes, the dog barking, Nolan screeching with excitement upon seeing the dog…none of it even remotely roused him. So he took an early nap while Nolan & I hung out for a bit. He “helped” me put away our Target goods. He also wore this bucket on his head for a solid hour.


twelve. Is there anything better than organizing your fridge after a shopping trip?!


one. Of course Theo woke up about 40 minutes after I put Nolan down for his nap. Since he slept through lunch, we heated up leftovers & snuggled in the chair while he took like two bites.


two. More playtime! I did a lot of kitchen cleaning & organizing today so I can’t say I was the most involved mom, but their giggles & running around assured me they were having a blast despite me being a little busy.

three. Up to no good! Don’t let the sitting & “relaxing” fool you!


four. Watching dad put salt down on the icy sidewalks! Yes, by this point we’ve given up on pants.


five. Shepherd’s pie & Brussels sprouts + mushrooms for dinner.


six. Bath time!


seven. Boys in bed at 7:15. Workout (T25 Speed 1.0) done & Shakeology down the hatch juuust before 8:00.


eight. SVU!


nine. Help! I’m stuck on the couch & I can’t get up! Instagram, Chicago P.D., pup snuggles.

ten. While brushing my teeth I realize I may not have done so at any other point today. Oops? At least the boys brushed their teeth twice?!


10:39pm -editing & hitting post on this, I imagine I’ll be asleep before 11:00. 🙂

& the holiday | 2016

I know I’m not the only one who, year after year, says they’re going to get their holiday shopping done before December, yet is scrambling to find those last few items on December 23rd.


I know I’m not the only one who, year after year, thinks “I don’t have much to do, I’ve got this!” in regards to shopping, hosting, etc., yet hasn’t even started the dessert when her in-laws arrive for Christmas Eve dinner.


And I’m definitely not the only one who, year after year, looks so forward to Christmas, and then finds herself in disbelief on December 26, thinking “is it over already?! How did it go by so quickly?!”


So just like that, another Christmas has come and gone. I’m feeling a little sad that it’s over, but also fortunate that we got to spend quality time with so many people we love. With the actual holiday falling on Sunday and all of us off work Monday, it felt as though we got a bonus holiday, which we spent nestled in at my parents’ house. It was the perfect end to a semi-chaotic couple of days, and even weeks leading up to the big day.


The boys were spoiled this year but you know what? That’s okay! They are sweet, and (mostly) well-behaved, and so very loved. We’ve got a great tribe, that’s for sure.


Until next year, Christmas!

& a Christmas cocktail | Mistletoe Mule

You know what happens when you don’t drink for the 30 days leading up to Thanksgiving?

You think about drinking, that’s what.

You think about mixing cocktails with the booze bottles that have collected dust on the bottom shelf of your pantry.

You literally salivate each time your husband pours himself a beer to enjoy on the couch after the kiddos have gone to bed.

At least, that’s what I did. And then when THE DAY came, the day when my self-imposed, 30-day, no-drink ended, I realized I like the idea of drinking far more than the actual drinking.

But, I did come up with a drink idea or two. And it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t a) test the ideas, and b) share them with you!

Hendrick’s gin was, very unfortunately, one of the aforementioned bottles that has been neglected over the past couple of years. We used to be pretty tight, me and Hendrick’s. In fact, my pal Erin and I once did a little drink series that featured Hendrick’s gin a time or two. But that was before kids. And I don’t think either of us get the opportunity to mix up a cocktail as often as we used to. But that certainly doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate them like we once did!

Anywayyyy, let’s get to this recipe, shall we?

As the name might suggest, it’s a little spin on the traditional vodka-based Moscow Mule, with a Christmas twist! I used to pretty much exclusively drink Hendrick’s in the summer because of its light, cucumber flavor, but with Christmas tree shopping on the brain last week, I realized that I’ve long been ignoring the juniper flavors that are so perfect for Christmas time! And in addition to the booze bottles gathering dust, I had some copper cups that were begging to be used. So there you have an entirely too long story about the inspiration for the drink, and now I’m finally getting to the actual recipe. Short stories have never been my thing.


You’ll need:

  • Hendrick’s gin
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • cranberry-pomegranate juice (I actually used this cranberry extract water & it was really good!)
  • ginger beer (not ginger ale)
  • fresh cranberries & rosemary for garnish, optional
  • ice, crushed preferred
  • copper cup, also optional, but recommended

You’ll do:

  • Fill copper cup (or drink vessel of choice) to the brim with ice
  • Add 2 oz. Hendrick’s gin
  • Add 1 oz. cranberry pomegranate juice
  • Squeeze in juice of 2-3 lime wedges, to your liking
  • Top with ginger beer
  • Stir (with rosemary) and drop in a few cranberries
  • Enjoy!

 

12/15/16 EDIT: When I was enjoying one of these last night, I suddenly remembered that Erin created a very similar cocktail. I’m pretty sure I even watched her concoct it on Periscope (does that still exist??), yet I didn’t think of this when I was dreaming up my version. I didn’t think of it when I mentioned our cocktail series up above. I didn’t think of it when she commented on this very post. Nope. I thought of it last night, which I’ve now come to realize is exactly one year after she posted her recipe. So I’m going to blame it on a latent memory from this time last year. A time of my life in which I was suffering from a “condition” I’ve affectionately dubbed “extreme sleep deprivation due to two babies who think nighttime sleep is optional“. I guess the silver lining here is that perhaps there are other memories tucked away that might surface sometime soon? But mostly I just feel bad for basically copying my best blog pal without even realizing it. You know what they say about great minds though! Cheers!

Hot Mess (Twin Toddler) Mom Truths

I’m a hot mess mom. I could try to blame my kids but the truth is I was a hot mess before children, I just get to add (twin toddler) mom to the title now so it seems more legit.
I’ve accepted that I’m never going to be the mom that has all of her shit together. Like, ever. I own it. You’re welcome.

Truth 1 | You’ll often have to decide which is more important; showing up on time, or showing up with clean teeth.

Truth 2 | You appreciate so many aspects of your new car, but mostly the giant cup holders so you don’t have to go from regular mug to travel mug. WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT? And who can honestly have the foresight to put your coffee in a travel mug BEFORE your coffee?!

Truth 3 | Sometimes you wash and/or dry the same load of laundry a couple (few?) times for various reasons that mostly explicitly include not wanting to fold and/or put away the clean stuff.
Truth 3.5 | Your spare bedroom may or may not actually just be a place for all of the clean laundry you don’t want to deal with.


Truth 4 | Your house is never cleaner than the few minutes right before guests arrive. You do your absolute best speed-cleaning when guests are coming. Anyone who shows up unannounced? Welp, they just get to keep ringing the door bell until they realize you’re not going to answer, even though they can hear you in there.

Truth 5 | You absolutely spend unnecessary money on groceries at Target because CONVENIENCE and COFFEE. Sorry, but spending an extra 10 cents on a loaf of bread is SO not a big deal if I can get Starbucks, dry shampoo, and an adult coloring book that I’ll never use, all in one stop. It’s about birds and stones when you’re a hot mess, no?
Truth 5.5 | Sometimes, if the line is really long at the Target Starbucks, you swing through the nearby drive-thru Starbucks on the way home. Because what is even the point of leaving the house if you don’t get iced coffee with the good ice??

Truth 6 |Sometimes you all wear your pajamas until after lunch.

Okay, more often than not you all wear your pajamas until after lunch.

Truth 7 | You may be a hot mess, but the love you have for your children is deeper than anything on this earth. Maybe you’re scrambling to pull dinner together at the last minute every night. Maybe you should’ve washed your hair three days ago. Maybe you could’ve cleaned the bathroom during nap time, rather than Pinning things you’ll never do/make/eat. Maybe you could do all of that. But it wouldn’t change the way you feel about your kids. And it probably wouldn’t make them love you any more than they already do.

Because a hot mess mom loves her kids the same way she does everything else. Off the cuff, on the fly, with reckless abandon, without planning, without thinking, without reservation.

She loves fiercely.

She loves honestly.

She loves just like the rest of the moms. Even the ones that wash their hair every day.