Christmas 2015

We had the best Christmas at home. We had a houseful of guests, good food, too many sweets and presents galore. It was so nice having my parents and younger brother in town to help us celebrate. We also had my aunt and uncle and Justin's mom and her friend in town for Christmas dinner. 

The girls played with new toys all weekend while the grownups drank festive cocktails and played board games. It really was the best. Leighton could not have cared less about opening gifts. She was all over the place. Big sister, on the other hand, had no problem helping everyone open their presents. Towards the end, she was more into playing with the new stuff. 

Our guests left yesterday and we welcomed snow today, which made for a relaxing Monday at home. We managed to sneak outside for a quick romp in the white stuff before everyone got too cold.

Per the usual, I took a million pictures and decided to post them all in an attempt to relive the last 5 days. Hard to believe the holiday season is winding down. Gracyn keeps asking if it's her birthday now so we at least have that to look forward to coming up in a few weeks!

merry everything.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! It's Christmas Eve! We are frosting cookies, drinking cocktails and getting ready for the big man in RED to visit tonight.

Before I go stuff my face with even more holiday baked-good deliciousness, I wanted to share a few free Christmas printables I've come across lately. Some are new and others are older. I hoard free printables like it's my j-o-b but pretty much never print them. I need to just take some time one day and send a bunch off to the printer to have for next year. I'm working on a gallery wall for our upstairs hallway and I'm thinking of putting a few frames up for prints that I can switch out throughout the year. You know, keep it festive no matter what month it is!

via Oh So Lovely Blog

Audrey from Oh So Lovely offers a TON of freebies on her site and they are all amaze-balls. Go there now! Vanessa shared this one and I'm in love. After I saw it, I spent far too long browsing around Kristin's blog and found some of her other great freebies. Like this one and these. This deer silhouette is pretty fantastic, as well. Basically, just give me allll the buffalo check and deer heads.


This merry+bright one is simple and I've been kind of loving anything gold these days (like this one), which is weird for me. I'm usually a silver kind of gal. Also, you can never go wrong with chalkboard prints, am I right?!


I hope you and your family have a wonderful and joyous holiday!

Leighton's Birthday

We celebrated Leighton's birthday at home as a family last Thursday and then headed to Tulsa to spend the weekend with Justin's family. We had a small little joint party with aunts, uncles and cousins. Our nephew, Ruger, turned three earlier in the week so there were presents and cake for everyone.

She was a trooper hanging out all day with just one short nap but it was so good to see some extended family and celebrate. We threw in our first round of Christmas while we were there too. Frozen everything has invaded our home but the girls have been entertained with their new toys all week.

So stinkin' excited for Christmas Eve and morning with these sweet girls!


Leighton :: One Year

Happiest of birthdays to my baby. Sweet Leighton Lynn, you are O N E year old today. Holy moly. This is the big time. Daddy and I were talking last night and we decided we don't really know where this last year went.

I remember you being born like it was yesterday yet you grew at lightning speed and here we are. Celebrating your FIRST birthday!

You fit right into our family from the beginning. Gracyn loved you from day one and every day since, I've been in awe watching you two together. A little sisterly fighting has started as you like to take toys from Gracyn (and vice versa) but still. It's the best. My mama heart is overflowing with love for you sweet girls and I don't know how we got so lucky.

I remember those first few six months where you gave us hell each night but I'm also counting my blessings because I know it could have been much, much worse. A switched flipped in you around 6 months old and ever since, you've been a breeze. Now, if we can get you to stop waking up at midnight every night, we'd be golden!

Everywhere we go, people comment on your big blue eyes. They really are piercing and so beautiful. Your hair is starting to come in and lighten up a bit. We might have another little blondie on our hands.

You have 9 teeth as of yesterday when your first molar popped through. I expect the others any day now. Your poor gums are swollen and you've been gnawing on your fingers for quite some time now.

You L O V E to eat. Man alive, I've never seen a little girl eat so much. If it's in front of you, you're eating it. I don't think we'll have any problem ditching your bottles as you can't be bothered to finish one anyway. You'd much rather be moving around.

Speaking of moving, you are RUNNING around the house these days. You picked up on the whole walking thing so quickly. G's new favorite game is "tag" and you're often left chasing after her. You play hard, too, and have had more than your fair share of run-ins with the coffee table. You don't like to listen when we tell you "no" and you become very sneaky when you try to crawl up the stairs.

You are in to EVERYTHING, which is new for us. Your sister never bothered with the Christmas tree or dog food. You, on the other hand, are curious about it all. If the dog's water isn't put up, you are splashing around in it the moment you wake up. I find ornaments around the house all day long. You climb onto the fireplace time and time again.

Your fake laugh is good but your real laugh is better and I live for your hugs and "kisses" every day.

I'm so excited to celebrate you today. We'll have cupcakes and presents once daddy gets home, along with a party this weekend with our family in Oklahoma. Christmas next week will also be epic. You've been such a joy this first year and I cannot wait for what comes next.

Happy 1st Birthday, baby girl. We love you like crazy.

Gifts That Keep On Giving

Another gift guide?! I know, right? But hear me out. Anyone else falling victim to last-minute Christmas shopping? No matter how much I try to plan and make my lists, I always find myself falling behind. Here we are, basically O N E week until Christmas and I still have things to do and gifts to get for peeps on my list.

I'm a big fan of reading gift guides put together by other bloggers. But those last-minute gifts always get me. My shopping days are limited, shipping times are running out and I don't want to just buy something on a whim. I want my loved ones to actually enjoy their presents, after all.

The big-ticket items are great, sure, but I also like giving gifts that have long-term value. Things that my dear friends and family could use for months {or even years} to come! As I scoured the interwebs for ideas, I am across so many great subscription boxes and monthly programs that you can gift to someone on your list. And to be honest, I wouldn't mind snagging a few of these for myself. So, if anyone still needs to buy a present for me, please keep reading.. ;)

For the mama, sister, and girlfriend on your list... 
So many bloggers rave about Stitch Fix, where you can sign up to have online personal stylists pick out clothing and accessories and have them sent to you for a styling fee every month. You decide what you like and/or don't like. Pay for what you keep and send the rest back. I've been on the fence about trying it myself. Another option is Golden Tote, which might be at a slightly lower price point.

Another one I've seen circling around blogland is RocksBox, which is a subscription box for jewelry. You essentially rent pieces for a monthly fee. You're able to exchange the pieces as often as you like or purchase the ones you love. I'm not a huge jewelry-wearer but I know a few ladies that might love it!

Another idea? Magazine subscriptions. My mom renews my PEOPLE magazine every year for my birthday. I love her for it. I really like PEOPLE magazine and have for years! I love getting the mail on Fridays 'cuz I know PEOPLE will be there. I'm a freak, I know. But, find out what her fave magazine is and gift it. She'll love ya for it!

I'm also on the fence about getting a Fitbit. I probably need one and I think it'd be a really good gift as a form of motivation. You can download the app and connect with your friends or others who have a Fitbit to help keep you on track regarding those new year resolutions we all have...

For the men, boys and gents in your life...
My hubs has used Dollar Shave Club for awhile now. He loves it and I love it because it saves tons of money. Have you seen how ridiculously expensive men's razors are!? I mean, I know I'm cheap because I buy the 10-pack of disposable razors to shave my legs, but spending $15+ on a S I N G L E razor is bananas. So, for a couple bucks a month, Justin gets a box of blades sent to the house for a nice clean shave. His face is happy, and so is our bank account.

Sock 101 (a Kansas City company!) offers a sock-of-the-month subscription starting at $11 per month so you can keep your man stylish without breaking the bank. Another good one is the Craft Beer Club because getting alcohol delivered to your home is just plain awesome. Mantry delivers manly food like bacon spread and pepperoni which is basically speaking my husband's love language, so we might have to check that one out for sure.

For dem babies, toddlers and kids...
The Honest Company offers several bundle packages that you can get on a monthly basis. Kiwi Crate sends a box every month filled with things to promote creative learning. We're not into Legos yet at our house but for a monthly fee, you can rent sets from Pley. The thought of losing those tiny parts just about stresses me out but I was reading on their site and I guess they don't charge you for "normal loss." There is no guarantee, however, that you will not step on those tiny, painful pieces of plastic.

Bluum is one that I do want to try. It's tailored to mamas and babies, based on your child's developmental age. Their products seem useful and purposeful, making sure you get the best bang for your buck.

For everyone else...
Who doesn't love getting cards in the mail? Sign up for a monthly subscription through Hello Happiness Card Co (Kansas City!) and start spreading the love. Getting their cards in the mail would definitely put a smile on my face.
Find a local photographer in your area and take advantage of some professional photos. If you're local to Kansas City, check out KCMB's Guide to Family Photographers. Purchase a session for a friend or family member {or yourself!} and enjoy the pictures for years to come!

Have you tried any of these programs? Any that I should add to the list or check out?!
Happy gifting!

Christmas Day-o-Fun!

We had a full, full day this past Saturday. I'm exhausted just thinking about it and looking at these pictures again. SO MANY PICTURES. Poor iPhone quality and all. I have a problem. I posted several of these on Instagram (again, it's a problem...) but wanted to recap our day here, too.

Our morning started with a visit with the big man himself. Santa! Kansas City Moms Blog hosted a Morning with Santa at a little boutique in Brookside. It was such a cute setup.

Gracyn had never met Santa before but she was sooo excited. Leading up to the actual meeting, that is. As soon as it was our turn, she freaked. She is so shy when first meeting someone new, add in a beard and funny red outfit and she was done.

Leighton? Leighton-badger don't care. She was all, "Santa? Yeah, I know him."

We met our besties at the event and ended up spending the whole day out on the town. Gracyn cheered up once we grabbed coffee (for the adults), fruit and juice. Sitting on a patio at 10:30 in the morning in the middle of December? I couldn't believe it. 

By the time we meandered towards downtown, the babies were hungry so we grabbed lunch at Blvd Tavern. Not the most child-friendly place but they had a couple of high-chairs and cold beers so we were all set. They didn't seem to mind the trail of cheerios left behind either... ;)

After lunch, we headed to Crown Center and Union Station to experience everything decorated for Christmas. I had never been down at Christmas (blasphemy, I know. Especially having lived in KC for over 6 years now...). It was so fun to see the giant trees and everything decorated for the season.

no nap? no smiles.
my best attempt at getting a photo with my girls...

To take a break from the crowds, we snuck out the back of Union Station and hit up cocktail hour at Grunauer. Das Boot was calling our names! They kind of gave us the side-eye when we waltzed in with 2 strollers, 3 kids and 4 adults longing for a drink. They were kind enough to let us sit on the closed patio (again, 60+ degrees in December!) so the kids could run around.

It was getting dark so we marched back through Union Station to see it in all it's glory. Seeing it all lit up at night was even better.

We dropped the strollers off back at the car and walked through the Crown Center District, also adorned with thousands of Christmas lights and the Mayor's Christmas Tree. 

My favorite picture from the day. Minus the crying Santa pics. Because those are always pretty good... ;)

Kansas City has a free holiday trolley that runs downtown. It takes you around to four different stops so you can see the lights and some other attractions they have going on those nights. Gracyn thought she was Daniel Tiger and Leighton was mesmerized by the light stick. 

We took the trolley to Power & Light to see {another} Santa and his reindeer. Live, actual reindeer. It wasn't Rudolph, much to Gracyn's dismay, but she still found them fascinating.

By 7:30 or so the girls were starting to meltdown. We fed them one last time and headed home. They were such troopers all day. We hadn't planned on being gone from home for so long but we had such a fun day. Kansas City does not disappoint when it comes to the holidays and I'm so glad we finally made the time to experience a little bit of what our city has to offer!