Sweet Summertime

Summer is (un)officially here! We had a great Memorial Day weekend up in Omaha with our dear friends. The girls ran amok, played hard and only got into a few squabbles about sharing toys with their friend, Harper.

We visited the zoo on Saturday and it was honestly the best zoo visit we've ever had. The crowds were surprisingly minimal and the weather was perfect - cool and comfortable. We saw SO MANY animals out and about, I couldn't believe it. They were close up, too, making it even more exciting when it felt like you could have reached out and touched them. We didn't, of course, but the sloth made it tempting!

We watched Gracyn grow up before our eyes when she went down these giant slides all by herself! The slides are in a cute little park right in the middle of downtown. We spent a little time playing on Sunday morning before grabbing a sno-cone and heading back for much needed naps.

It wasn't raining in Omaha (yay!) so we stocked up on some water toys and let the girls run wild on Sunday afternoon. The water was cold but they didn't seem to mind! I overgrammed the entire weekend (like usual...) but here are a few non-iPhone pictures.

Hope you all had a great holiday weekend and remembered the real reason for the season. Thank you to all those who have served and continue to serve our country so we can have weekends like these!

oh hey, friday! | shopping edition

I love shopping just as much as the next girl and wish I could spend my days walking the mall and spending that cash. But in reality, I'm cheap, we're on a budget and I love a good sale so I was excited to come across some good deals this week!

But first...


Did you see!?! JoJo's Magnolia Collection is available at Nebraska Furniture Mart! I meannnnn, COME ON. I'm in so much trouble.

My love for NFM runs deep, which is sad, but it's so true. Our house could be an actual NFM showroom. When a store gives you an insane credit limit and YEARS of interest-free payments it's hard not to fall in love. I think we've had some sort of NFM payment every month since we've been married because it's just too easy to shop there.

And now they're gonna go ahead and throw JoJo into the mix!? I'm in heaven. And did I mention? Trouble. MUST BUY ALL THE THINGS! ;)

Some of my favorites...

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6


Target is having a stellar sale on summer wardrobe staples. T-shirts for $5? Um, ok. I've kind of been obsessing over all things olive green so I picked up this one the other day. (It's coming up $9 online but it was $5 in store). I have several t-shirts from Target but this one has a really good feel and fit so I went back to pick up a purple one, too.


I also hit up the Old Navy Memorial Day sale this week. Online and in-store. Oops. Their tanks are 50% off so I ordered this peplum cami. I don't own any peplum so it'll either be a hit or a total disaster. We shall see. And because I work out allllll the time (...not.) I decided I needed some new athletic shorts.

The girls scored a few new items, too, because I just can't help myself. This printed tank top is to die for and yes, they'll be matching. #cantstop #wontstop


I don't shop at The Children's Place for the girls very often but they do always seem to have great, basic sandals for summer. I hauled the kids to the mall so they could try on this pair (in white) and then came home to order them each a pair online. The shoes were on sale in the store but even morso online - 50% off with free shipping! I tried to get them to match the online price while I was there but they wouldn't and I'd rather save moolah and wait for a package in the mail. :)

Also, my kid is way cooler than I will ever be...


We're off to Omaha to spend the long weekend with my bestie and her family. It's supposed to be rainy (big shocker...) but that won't stop us from having a great time. Hope you all have a great holiday!!

Friends Don't Let Friends Shoot in Auto

...or something like that.

I've had my Nikon D3200 for almost 5 years and I'm ashamed to say that I finally opened the owner's guide to learn a little bit more about my camera. Up until now, I've only ever shot in auto mode, preferably without the flash, and I've been telling myself that it was time to learn and attempt to take some pictures of the girls in manual mode. Just in time, too - I signed up for a summer photography challenge and I can't wait to for it to start!

I scoured Pinterest (duh.) and found a few cheat sheets to help me along. I focused on ISO, shutter speed and aperture as a jumping off point. After messing with it for 45 minutes and ONLY getting black photos, I reset the camera to factory settings and started over.  I basically squealed when I successfully picked settings that gave me an actual picture. Never mind that it was overexposed and had a rather blue tint to it. It was a picture! Ha.

A few more tweaks and I was finally getting some actual pictures. These are no where near professional-grade but I'm excited to learn a bit more and practice getting those decent pics! We only had time to practice indoors today but I think I'd have some fun messing around outside, too. We just need the rain to stay away...

These first pictures only have a few minor edits applied to them...

And, Rufus. You see him there behind Gracyn?! Ever since we moved into this townhouse, he's been PANTING. Like, at all times. WTF, dude? He is probably having the hardest time adjusting. 

Before, he'd always be in our backyard, chilling on the deck. Nowadays, he's just all up in our biz-nass and it's super annoying but there is literally nowhere else for him to go. He's not allowed in the bedrooms (and connecting bathrooms) because he likes to snatch up dirty undies and used tissues; he isn't allowed in the kitchen because he tends pop up on the counter and eat things, plastic bags and all. 

And the trifecta - he can't be outside because our small patio backs up to one of the busiest streets in town and he doesn't handle seeing cars, people, birds or fellow canines like a normal dog. He fa-REAKS out and makes a scene and it's embarrassing. We will most likely be kicked out of the complex because of him.  That, or the fact that Leighton's dirty diapers have been sitting near our front door for a week because the dumpster is, like, 14 buildings away and I'm lazy.

Another fun fact: I'm currently drinking wine out of a red solo cup. WHO AM I? #classy #townhouselife

Anyway, back to my amateur photography skillz...

And then there's the time you give your fancy camera to your three-year old and she snaps these...

...making HER a better photographer than you.


Dear Weekend

Dear Weekend,

I want you back. Why you gotta leave me so soon!?!

I took a vacation day on Friday so the girls and I could bust out of this teeny, tiny townhouse and get some fresh air. It was cloudy and cool but we made the most of it with bagels for breakfast, a trip to the farm, lunch and ice cream. We made it home in time for a nap for Leighton and a movie and cuddles on the couch for me and my big girl. It was a good day.

This mama got a few hours to herself on Saturday and stepped out for a fresh hair cut. I seriously only cut my hair like every 7 or 8 months (I KNOW.) and it's usually only when I feel the dire need to CUT IT AND CUT IT NOW. I'd been pinning a few different styles, showed them to my stylist and voila! Summa hair.

There's nothing like cruising around town solo in your mini van with the windows down, am i right?! #solame

But it felt good. And I'm loving my new 'do...

Sunday (hello, second-day hair!) involved meeting my brother and sister-in-law for lunch and showing them the new casa. Gracyn gave them the grand tour (we spent a lot of time discussing her new bedroom...) and Leighton decided to have a full-on meltdown.

Poor girl has not been sleeping well this past week. She still doesn't really consistently sleep through the night (I KNOWWW.) but before we moved, she'd be in bed around 7:30 and sleep in until 9 or 9:30, waking one or two times in the night, mostly for a quick cuddle.

She and Gracyn are now sharing a room and basically wake each other up all night long, which means mama is getting up every two hours and is left with crabby toddlers who are up for the day at 6:30 AM. 


I'm hoping we fall into some sort of groove soon otherwise it'll be a long two months and we'll have to do some major sleep training once we move. Again.

I'm excited that it's supposed to be in the 80s all week but not excited that it's supposed to rain every day. The pool in our complex is open and I have two little gals who are itching to go swimming!

The new house is coming along and the girls found great joy in jumping off the new patio steps. It's the little things in life... ;) We've also met a few of the new neighbors and their kiddos which is making us even more excited to call this place home.

Here's to hoping the next 5 days go as quickly as the weekend. We have a holiday and 3-day weekend to celebrate!

Gracyn Says...

After crumbling styrofoam into one million teeny, tiny pieces during "nap time"...
Mackenzie: honey, why did you make this mess?
Gracyn: but mom, it's just birdseed.
Mackenzie: but..
Gracyn: you know, for the birds!

While changing her undies after a minor accident...
Gracyn: hurry. leighton can't see me like this.

Singing in a restaurant during dinner...
Gracyn: sometimes you're naughty. sometimes you're a superhero.

While relaxing on the couch...
Gracyn: rufus! get outta my bubble!

Trying to get out the door...
Mackenzie: gracyn, hurry please. we have to leave.
Gracyn: mom, that's just ridiculous.

After stepping in spilled water...
Gracyn: what the heck is this?!

Basically every time my work phone rings...
Gracyn: uh, mom? your email is calling.

After sprinting to the bathroom...
Gracyn: oh man! i almost pooped in my undies!

Attempting to hold Leighton's legs and walk her around the room...
Gracyn: look mom! she's like a walking-barrow!

Listening to music with me during L's nap time...
Gracyn: mom, who sings this!?
Mackenzie: uh, I think her name is Demi Lovato
Gracyn: ha! what!? what a weird name.

Sorry, Demi.

Goodnight, Little House

We did it, we survived and not without a minute to spare. We were supposed to be out of the house by 5pm Saturday but a pesky little refrigerator didn't want to leave (the movers got it stuck coming up the stairs from the basement...). By the time we were ready to roll out, it was 5:15 and the new owners were lurking on the corner.

Saturday was a very long day but we finally managed to get everything unloaded into either storage or our new tiny townhouse. We are cramped here, that's for sure, but it'll work for the time being. We know it's temporary and I keep having to remind myself of that when I continually trip over something or knock a pile over. 

The girls were troopers and the first night in our new place could have been worse! We're all going to need some time to adjust but it'll all be worth it in the end!

On to the next adventure!

Finally Friday


This whole last half of the week, I've been off. I thought Wednesday was Thursday and then was confused all day yesterday thinking it was Friday. It wasn't. I hate when that happens.


It's moving day! Well, day one of two I guess. We pick up the u-haul after work today. We currently have possessions in three different locations (house, storage, apartment) and I'm about to lose my mind.

Leighton apparently loves hanging at the storage unit, so that's good I guess.


Anyone else obsessed with JT's new song? It instantly cheers me up.


After things calm down a bit (and before they get crazy again...) we're really wanting to take a little family vacation. Somewhere close - St. Louis maybe? Omaha for sure so we can visit some friends and maybe sneak over to Lincoln to see my brother and his family. Just something to get us away and recharge a bit.



Happy weekending!

Monday Musings

Our house is a complete disaster zone. Stuff is everywhere and we move on Saturday. AHHH! I don't even know where to start. We get the keys to our temporary townhouse today as well as access to our storage unit so we'll slowly start removing things from this old house.

I don't think it'll hit me until we leave for the last time on Saturday afternoon that we're really saying goodbye to the place we've called home for the last 7 years.

We bought this house when we we're still dating. We got engaged in the kitchen. I've painted (almost) every room at least once, sometimes three times. We brought our babies home from the hospital and watched them grow up here. It's been a wonderful home but we're ready for a little more space. I hope the new owners love it as much as we do. And fair warning, I might do a few drive-bys to make sure she's in good hands... ;)

In between all the packing and stuff we've been doing to get things in order for the move, we finally got our minivan back! I forgot to blog about it but Justin was driving home one night, hit a curb and got a flat tire. Not a big deal, right? Well, when he it the curb, the passenger side curtain air bag deployed! Totally crazy since there was no other body damage or anything. Turns out airbags are spendy so fortunately, we were able to run it through insurance.

Unfortunately, though, it took close to three weeks to get the parts and get everything back in working order. While the van was out of commission, I was driving around in a glorified clown car (some miniature hatch-back model) and I basically squealed when we picked up the Odyssey on Friday afternoon. #minivans4life

My allergies have been so bad that I've been popping 24-hour Zyrtec pills like it's my j-o-b and supplementing with Benadryl every 4-6 hours. Basically, I'm high and can't breathe so that's cool.

I had a lovely Mother's Day weekend starting with a Saturday out on the town with my three favorites. We picked up doughnuts for breakfast, hit the West Bottoms for a little shopping and stopped by the Nelson-Atkins museum for some culture. It was our first visit and I can't wait to go back. We were back home for late-afternoon naps for everyone, including me. Mom win!

It was a perfectly rainy Sunday so I spent the day snuggling these wild girls. After we checked on the new house, Justin made dinner while we took selfies.

Foxy & Puppy got in on the action, too...

Ginger-glazed tilapia? Sooooo yummy.

Hope you all had a great weekend! If you need me, I'll be be sitting in a corner trying to figure out how we managed to amass SO MUCH STUFF over the years... Moving is no joke, yo.

A Video :: Gracyn Year Three

On top of things, like always, around here! Gracyn turned three in January and I'm just now getting around to posting her Year Three video so we have it archived. Better late than never, I suppose!

She was obsessed with Cyndi Lauper's True Colors for a better part of a year and we were forced to sing it to her multiple times a day. She would belt out the tune at random times which is why it's the first song in this year's slideshow. She's always happy and always smiling/laughing so the lyrics don't necessarily fit her personality but I couldn't NOT use it. It consumed our lives after all... ;)

After True Colors, she really loved Brave by Sara Bareilles. After that, her fave was a mashup of True Colors AND Brave which was put together to be a song about kids with cancer. It's so random and funny but these are her jams.

Kids are so wonderfully weird.

Happy 3rd Birthday {again} sweet girl! We love ya!

Gracyn :: Year Three from Mackenzie Oakley on Vimeo.

Gracyn :: Year One
Gracyn :: Year Two