2016 :: Year In Review

Happy New Year's Eve!

2016. The best year ever? The worst year ever? I'm sure people could go either way on that one. Overall, I can't complain. We had ups and downs like everyone but for the most part, 2016 treated us well.

I'm so glad I have the blog; I loved going back through my posts and reliving the highs (and some lows...) from this pas year...

 // January \\

I attempted a weekly photo challenge (spoiler alert: I didn't last the whole year...) and pretended to be a web designer when I gave the old blog a fresh look. The girls and I made the drive to Sioux Falls to surprise my mama, Gracyn turned T H R E E and, sadly, we said goodbye to Justin's father after a hard-fought battle with dementia.

// February \\

Gracyn was funny, we celebrated Valentine's Day with our littlest loves, sisters did sister-things and we decided to sell our home! Eeee!

// March \\

We put a contract in on a new house, listed our home on a whim and sold it within 4 hours, Leighton turned 15 months old and we celebrated Easter!

// April \\

Justin and I took a vacation! Oh sweet glorious vacation, when will I see you again!?! We hurried to finish the DIY bathroom remodel while dreaming up a wish list for the new casa.

// May \\

We MOVED! Said goodbye to West Prairie Terrace and hello small-ass apartment. I attempted to learn how to properly use my big girl camera and we welcomed summer with a trip to Omaha.

// June \\

We swam and made mud and ran through sprinklers. You know, summer things!

// July \\

We celebrated 4th of July in Oklahoma where Justin took G fishing. We MOVED! AGAIN! Goodbye small-ass apartment, hello gorgeous forever home. And I mean forever. I'm never moving again... ;)

// August \\

We skipped town for a long weekend at the lake, Gracyn started school and soccer and totally rocked them both.

// September \\

We really settled into the new house, I forced my family to look at sunflowers, channelled my inner Jojo, and turned the big 3-1!

// October \\

We hit up the farm, took in the pumpkin patch and did all the other fall things. I swooned over our family photos and loved watching the girls get into the Halloween spirit.

// November \\

I prefer to block out Election Night 2016 but I'm reminded daily of the work we have cut out for us at home trying to raise our strong, smart and independent daughters. I'm so thankful for my people and loved the family time over Thanksgiving.

// December \\

It's really the most wonderful time of the year! Our elf friend came, we enjoyed Kansas City at Christmastime and attempted to spread holiday cheer throughout the house. Leighton turned T W O and while actual Christmas was kind of a bust thanks to sickness, we still managed to have a happy holiday. 

See?! 2016 wasn't all that bad. And I have a feeling 2017 will be the best yet. 

via Pinterest

Christmas 2016

Ah, Christmas. I had so many hopes and dreams for this holiday! Life had other plans, I suppose! Ha. A present no one wanted showed up in the form of a nice little stomach bug and spent the weekend taking us out one by one. It was not cool.

It started wayyyy early last Thursday morning when Gracyn woke up complaining her stomach hurt. She was tired but I figured we had just eaten a few too many cookies the day before since she didn't have a fever and was acting fine otherwise. I texted my mom to let her know - they were already on the road down to Kansas City - and she agreed it was probably nothing major. Christmas plans were still on!

My little brother arrived Friday afternoon, we had a nice dinner and I prepped a few things for the next day's festivities - Christmas cookies, holiday movies, games, drinks and food! I was juuuust getting into bed a little past midnight when Leighton started throwing a fit from her room. She woke up and would just not quit. She demanded to be rocked and held for the next hour. I finally tried to lay down the law and left her in her room when she barfed all over her crib.


We were up until 3am while we waited for laundry to dry and the puke smell to dissipate. TMI? Sorry but hashtag real life, right?!

Leighton woke up on Christmas Eve feeling seemingly fine so we spent the day relaxing, decorating cookies for Santa and playing. We had a big spaghetti dinner planned but by the time it was time to eat, my mom was feeling icky. It hit me on Christmas Day - the ABSOLUTE WORST day to feel like complete shit - and my dad felt sick the day after. The only ones left standing were Justin and my brother and I'm convinced it's because they were drinking hard alcohol all weekend long. ;)

Needless to day, the holiday weekend did not go as planned and I was super bummed about it all. We tried to rally and the girls ultimately had a great time opening gifts and playing with new toys but it wasn't exactly what I had in mind. Santa still managed to pay us a visit and the girls are obsessed with their new wagon. Can't wait for it to warm up a bit so we can go for a nice walk. It'll def come in handy with walks to the pool this summer.

I managed to snag a few pics between piles of laundry and feeling nauseous but it was rough! We didn't even get a family picture on Christmas Day! Total fail! Haha. There's always next year, I suppose.

Here's to hoping the sickness has ran it's course and we welcome 2017 happy and healthy!

Christmas Eve Eve

Merry Christmas Eve Eve from our family to yours!

We are in full-blown Christmas mode over here and loving every minute. The girls and I had a bake-a-thon the other day making cookie dough, peanut butter blossoms and chex mix. I baked the sugar cookies yesterday morning and we have them ready to be frosted on Christmas Eve just in time for Santa to visit!

My parents arrived yesterday afternoon, my little brother comes today and the tree is overflowing with too many presents. It's just the best.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas surrounded by the ones you love! 

Birthday Weekend Things

We had a great weekend celebrating our big TWO year old! We kept it very low key - the weather was snowy and cold so a slow morning at home as a family was a good way to start the birthday girl's day!

We had waffles for breakfast (we had to wake her up at 10:30 to eat!) followed by gifts and playing with toys for a bit. We took the girls to an open gym session at a nearby gymnastics school for some indoor fun. By the end, Gracyn was doing partial flips into the foam pit. Totally surprised with how brave she was being! Future gymnast, perhaps?

These jumbo farm animals were a hit! The kids were fighting over them all day. I really love the Learning Resources brand. Their toys are high quality (especially love their play food) and they actually get played with!

We made a pink cake for our girl but I had a major #momfail moment when I realized we didn't have any candles. Justin taped matches onto Qtips so we could at least light something to sing Happy Birthday. I felt so bad but we made it work!

After the open gym play sesh we made a stop at the hospital to meet Stella Lillian, my cousin's new baby girl. She is so precious and tiny! Gracyn was SO excited to hold her and was so gentle. It basically made my ovaries ache. We love you, already Stella!

On Sunday afternoon, we had some of our neighbors over to decorate gingerbread houses. Justin, who turned out to be a master gingerbread house-maker, helped me assemble the houses on Saturday night. My houses looked like a hot mess and his were all nice and neat. He's in charge of the next pinterest party. Ha!

We had a great time and the kids did such a great job decorating! We think this is a new annual tradition, for sure!

This week will be full of grocery shopping, baking and {more} Christmas shopping. I swear I'm almost done - need 2 more things! My parents and little brother are joining us for Christmas and I can't wait to see their faces!

Leighton :: Two Years Old


Stats: She has her two-year well check on Monday so we'll see for sure then. I'm guessing she's still in the 80-90 percentile like she's always been. She seems TALL compared to other kiddos her age.

Clothes: Lots of 3T stuff and hand-me-downs from big sister.

Fave Foods: She's become less of an eater. I'd say up until she was about 18 months old, she'd inhale all the food on her plate. Lately, though, she's more prone to take a few bites at each meal and call it good. Gracyn is the same way. I've been trying to watch how many snacks they get in the afternoon. I'll admit I'm not always diligent because witching hour can become pretty brutal so I'm often throwing food their way to keep them happy. Kinda ruins the whole dinner thing but we manage.

Fave Toys: She wants to be where big sister is; doing the things big sister is doing. I'm STILL waiting for them to learn to play together instead of fighting. They seem to fight a lot. Which is slightly terrifying. I'm hoping as Leighton gets older and is able to communicate/understand more this will get better.

Words: Her vocabulary finally exploded within the last 3 months or so! She has the best raspy voice and I love hearing her talk. She's even using 3+ word phrases and using her manners. She can be very demanding and will definitely try to tell you what she wants. Or what she doesn't want. Her fave is constantly asking, "what's dat, mommy?" or "what's dis, mom?!" Nine times out of 10 we get a "thank you, mommy" and "thank you daddy" after helping her and she's a pro at telling Rufus off. We hear "Roof! Stop!" several times a day. This last weekend she said, "I want more juice, please." clear as day.

Miss Leighton Lynn can be quite the handful - she's been keeping us on our toes from day one. Her personality is big and we've found things that worked with Gracyn don't necessarily have the same effect on this girl. Time-out is virtually worthless; the other day I put her in time-out for hitting Gracyn and she promptly stood up, yelled "NO!" and literally started dancing. Like, full on getting down. Almost like she was celebrating her time-out status.

Leighton-badger don't care. And I had to look away so I didn't laugh.

On the flip side, as fast as she can be naughty, she can be so kind and adorable. Maybe we need to start calling her Sour Patch. First she's sour, then she's sweet? She'll exit her time-out slash dance party and apologize to Gracyn and give hugs and kisses. They really do love each other but, man alive do they bicker! I suppose that's sister life for you, though.

Leighton is still a pretty terrible sleeper based on how I feel a typical 2-year old should be sleeping. She wakes up at LEAST once a night crying out for me. She can self-soothe but just chooses to ignore that life skill. We created a bad habit last summer while we were living in our apartment and the girls were sharing a room. I'd go into her if she cried hoping to avoid Gracyn waking up and she quickly realized she enjoyed rocking with mom in the middle of the night. We may have to do a little sleep-training if things don't turn around here soon. Some nights are better than others, but at 2 she should be sleeping all night long. Once she's actually asleep, she's known to sleep in until 9 or 10am, which is great! She still takes a decent afternoon nap; she may even lay down in the mornings after we drop Gracyn off at school depending on how much sleep she got the night before.

She still uses a pacifier. I remember begging her to take a pacifier from 4-6 months old so my boobs could have a break so joke's on me, I guess. She lovingly calls it a "tee-tee" and I'm convinced she'll be 11 years old before she gives it up. I have no plans to get rid of it at this point, either, which is probably making every pediatrician and dentist cringe but that little thing makes her so happy. We do try to limit the "tee-tee" to naps and bedtime.

Oh sweet girl, we love you big time. You are wild and funny and loud. You're smart and sweet. Gracyn loves you even when you steal her spot on the couch or drink from her cup. I swear you do it just to get a rise out of her. Daddy and I are so lucky to be your parents, you light up our world.

Happy 2nd Birthday, baby!

I started doing these birthday interviews when Gracyn turned two. She was talking a little more than Leighton is at this point but I still wanted to ask L the questions!

Nailed it. ;)

...and because I didn't realize I gave birth to twins, two years apart...

Christmas Jams | 2016

We're back after a lonnnnnng weekend/first part of the week in Tulsa for Justin's sister's wedding. We had fun but holy moly are we exhausted! Nothing like sleeping 4 people deep in a bed for 4 nights straight. Do anyone else's kids sleep horribly while on vacation or out of town?! It was brutal.

BUT. The wedding was fun and the girls just love playing with their cuzzies so it was all worth it. Now, it's time for 10 days straight of Christmas pajamas, a certain gal's SECOND birthday, baked goods, gingerbread houses, the last of Christmas shopping and probably more baked goods as we gear up for the holiday! Woo hoo!

The girls were pretty grumpy today and at one point, Leighton was scaling the refrigerator but I managed to finally load these pictures that I took last week. See? They can be super sweet every once in awhile... ;)

By the end of breakfast, Leighton was doing somersaults off the ottoman and acting a fool. 

Speaking of our wild child, she turns TWO on Saturday. My heart can't handle it. She's a nut job half the time but we love her so, so much. Our lives would be completely and utterly dull without her. Ha! The weather is supposed to be brutally cold so we have plans to lounge in our jammies, hit up an open play at a local gymnastics place and eat cake. Can't wait to celebrate our girl!