Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Noah's Bandage Project // National Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month

If I wasn't a blogger I would never have experienced the powerful community that is mom bloggers. I feel so honored to be able to share in a group of women that supports and encourages each other. With that said, did you know September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month?
If you answered "no" don't feel bad because I didn't either until a couple of weeks ago when I received an email from Brittany. Whom I didn't even know until said email arrived in my inbox. But when I read her words I couldn't help but feel that she had bestowed a gift to me. Here are Brittany's own words:

Some of you know me and some of you don't - I'm Brittany and I blog at Just Another Day in Paradise sometimes when I get my act together :)

I just took all the emails of blogger folks that also participated in the Summer Birthday Exchange that Liz hosted (plus I added a few folks!), so if you aren't interested at all in doing this - do not feel bad about deleting this.  

Here's the deal - if you don't know, September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month.  Our next door neighbors lost their little boy, Noah, last June to pediatric cancer - but before he went to heaven, he sure left his mark on the world by starting something called Noah's Bandage Project.  Quick background: at the young age of 6, while going through his own treatment, he quickly realized how un-cool it was to just have the boring skin colored bandages all over his body with all the pricks and pokes that comes with treatment for pediatric cancer.  If he felt that way, he knew other kids did too.  He started a drive to collect fun bandaids (that all our kids love) and distributed them to other kids at Children's Mercy Hospital in downtown KC.  What started as a small drive, turned into something much bigger.  The KC Royal's got involved, the KC news, etc. Noah passed away in June 2015, but his family and friends are working hard to ensure this amazing project lives on.  

So - why am I sending you this email?  Well every day when I pull in and out of our driveway, I pass our neighbors house (as you would guess). This month they have a sign in their yard for Pediatric Cancer Awareness month. There are countless cars at their house working on this project and have been hosting all kinds of events around the KC area to ensure it continues to grow. Deb (my neighbor, who is Noah's mom) said she is even having to talk to local stores about increasing their inventory of the fun bandages because so many schools are hosting bandage drives that they are running out - how amazing is that!!? I just feel the urge to do something to help with their amazing efforts to carry on Noah's legacy.

Ok - onto the point. I'm sure all our kids love fun bandaids (heck my 2 older kids each had 2 somewhere on them tonight in the bath...), so I was thinking it would be fun to find a time this month while at the store with your kid (or kids) to pick up a few boxes of bandaids for these kids suffering from pediatric cancer to brighten up their day. I know as my kids get older, I'm really loving finding ways to incorporate how we can help others and teach them the joy in giving back. I thought how cool it would be if some folks in the blogging community wanted to join in and send a few boxes to Noah's Bandage Project and do a quick post on it to build awareness not only of this amazing project....but also for pediatric cancer. The thing that I found baffling when talking with Deb as I was writing a post about this for the Kansas City Mom's blog was that so little (only 4%!!!!) of the national cancer research budget goes to researching pediatric cancer. Noah's Bandage Project is working to increase that number as well.

I mean how can you not feel compelled to help out such an amazing endeavor?!

After I told Kinsey about going to Target to pick out some bandaids for children with cancer she promptly said she wanted to get "Princesses for the girls and Snoopy for the boys." And that's exactly what she did (plus a couple more.)
It broke my heart explaining to Kinsey about children having cancer so I can't even imagine living through it. I pray over Noah's Bandage Project and the families who are going through treatment. God keep them in Your almighty hands.

If you want to contribute bandages or funds visit Noah's bandage Project or send them to the following address:

Noah's Bandage Project
119 N Parker Street Suite 110
Olathe, KS 66061

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Join us for the Second Annual Fall Scarf Exchange!

I'm not sure when my love affair with scarves began. If I had to guess I would say it was the year my Grandma gifted me a beautiful cashmere purple, pink and gray striped, fringed scarf for Christmas. It was love at first sight. And now here I am many years later with a pretty impressive collection, but when is a collection ever really complete? (Pretty sure I hear Ariel belting out, "But who cares? No big deal? I want mooooore!" Anyone else?!) So I am beyond excited to be able to host the Second Annual Fall Scarf Exchange with Courtney and Liz again! 

The premise of the scarf exchange is simple - you buy a scarf for someone and someone buys a scarf for you! And then in a couple weeks, you join us back here and share what you got! 

Here's how it works :

Step 1: If you're interested in participating in the exchange (which we hope you are!), please send Liz an email with subject line of "2016 Scarf Exchange". Comments below are always welcome but WILL NOT include you in the exchange. In your email, please include your name, your email, your blog URL (if you have one), your Instagram name (if you have one), and any other social media links that you'd like to share with your partner. Exchange is open to US residents only - so sorry! 

Sign ups will close on Saturday, October 1st at 11:59pm Pacific Time so please make sure you email Liz by then.

Step 2: Partner matches will be made on October 2nd and an email notifying you who your partner is will be sent that night or on October 3rd.

Step 3: Please make contact with your partner by Friday, October 7th. You guys can discuss things like what kind of scarves you typically like (infinity, regular, etc), any fabric preferences or allergies to fabrics, etc. You can even share a picture of some scarves you already own to give your partner an idea of what you typically like. I would also encourage you to check out your partner's social media channels and blog to get an idea of their style as well. You will exchange mailing addresses at this point.

Step 4: If you haven't received any contact from your partner by Saturday, October 8th, please email Liz at and she will try to contact your partner or match you up with someone else.

Step 5: Mail your packages by Monday, October 17th. That gives you a little over a week or so to go shopping and get the package in the mail.

Step 6: Come back and link up your blog post with us on Thursday, November 3rd showing us your goodies! No blog? No problem! Share your new scarf with us on social media with #FallScarfExchange16 
***Spoiler alert: This is also the day after my birthday so I'm totally stretching out the celebration ;)

A little bit of additional information :

  • Please plan to spend about $20-25 BEFORE shipping on the scarf for your partner.
  • As mentioned above, the exchange is open to US residents only.
  • You do not need to be a blogger to participate. You can get to know your partner through email and social media.
  • Please make sure that you can commit to all the dates and the cost before you sign up. You don't want to leave your partner cold and scarf-less this Fall and Winter!
  • And please let me, Courtney, or Liz know if you have any questions!
I'll leave you with this collage- picture proof of my scarf hoarding  collection ;)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Nina from The Joni Journey {The Mommylogues Series}

I'm so glad that Nina is today's Mommylogues Series guest! Not only is she a great photographer and crafter but she also lives closest to me geographically, so I'm hoping a meet up can happen one day too :)

Hi fellow Work It Mommy readers! I'm so excited Whitney decided to share her blog space with me today. I've been following along with her family's adventures, stealing her amazing mom tips, and envying her cool mom style for quite some time now. The Mommylogue Series is genius and I love getting a glimpse into all of your parenting tips and trials, and just some honest insight about this crazy journey called parenthood from one mom to another.

 photo 2016-09-12 19.49.25-3_zpspoxhazwd.jpg

A little background about myself: I'm a stay at home mom to two crazy, car-obsessed, tornado-like toddler boys, a sometimes blogger over at The Joni Journey, and a recent newlywed to my love of five years and baby-daddy. I'm a classic over-sharer of photos, slightly addicted to all iced caffeinated beverages, and way, way too excited for the fall madness and holiday festivity that is upon us. Finally.

When I was brainstorming what insights or tips I had to share, I kept drawing a blank. I've been a mom for just under three and a half years now, but I'm probably the last one to be giving advice to anyone. The potty training battles have been waging on for quite some time, my living room looks like a hot wheels minefield, and my youngest frequently scavenges for his own food from older bro's leftovers. Just when I think I understand this whole mom of two boys thing, the rules change and I'm starting from scratch.

One thing I feel like I've finally had enough time and distance to process is going from one child to two. When Ez was about a year old we decided we were as ready as we'd ever be for a second, and when Ez was just over two years old Declan was born. Back when I was pregnant I had a ton of swirling emotions that I never gave voice to because I didn't want to talk them into existence, if that makes sense. I wondered how, if my heart was so full with just Ez, would I be able to love Declan as much? I kept turning it over in my head like a math problem. My heart was 100% full of love, how would I fit more in? Obviously I realize now what a ridiculous thought that was, but in my hormonal pregnant state it did cross my mind more than a few times. I also worried they would be enemies and hate each other, instead of the lifelong friendship I was wishing for them. I worried that Ez would feel blindsided and hurt and jealous. There was just a whole lot of anxiety for me with the changing dynamics of our family.

Fast forward to Declan's birth, which happened so fast (2 hours!) that poor Ez was witness to a lot of it. He had to ride in the car with us, while I was screaming like a madwoman in the backseat, something in hindsight I wish I'd been able to tame down for his sake, but the pain had it's own plans. Then Joe walked in with Ez while I was in full 10 centimeter dilated ready to push labor to bring me my purse (why??!) so Ez saw me in pain yet again while I was screaming at them to get out. Definitely not the best first impression that I had hoped for when he met his brother.

When Declan was placed in my arms after that crazy labor all my fears of loving him as much as Ez immediately flew out the window. Our hearts are not a math equation, they are capable of infinite love, and I feel like my heart grew the second I laid eyes on him. Also, it was like we'd just gone through battle together, we were little war buddies, and only we could truly understand what we'd just been through. His birth was so different from Ez's long, medicated birth, with Joe by my side. For Declan it was just me and him and a bunch of strangers since even my doctor couldn't make it to the hospital on time. I know that sounds less than ideal but it actually turned into a great bonding experience for Declan and I, and I cherish those first moments alone with him so much.

However, when Ez walked into the room and wouldn't get near me or even look at me, my fears on how he would react to this whole brotherhood thing were multiplied. As much as I wish I could say those fears were unfounded, they weren't. Ez got lots of attention and presents when Declan was born, probably more attention and presents than Declan got, and that first week after Declan was born was lots of fun and excitement for him. But then relatives left, and Daddy went back to work, and it was just me, Declan, and him during the day, and Declan was constantly attached to me. My usually independent, happy two year old turned so clingy that I couldn't even walk to the bathroom without him crying and running after me and throwing himself at my legs. There were more than a few days when all three of us were in tears at the same time. 

 photo 2015-07-09 11.31.57_zpsp24rxrpk.jpg  

I'm sure this isn't everyone's experience with having a second child, and I know some older siblings can't wait to be big brothers or sisters, but this was our experience and I'm guessing (hoping??) that we're not the only ones who went through this. 

Slowly but surely Declan became more aware of his surroundings and watching his big bro was his favorite activity of all. Ez couldn't help but love this tiny little being who was so full of complete adoration for him and that's when he really started to embrace his big brother role. He'd get right in Declan's face every time he cried with a concerned look, saying "don't cry, Deck Deck." Or he'd bring all his cars over to wherever Declan was laying and play "with" him. I'd say it was a good 3 weeks to a month before we reached this point, but once I started seeing their sibling relationship unfold my mama heart breathed a sigh of relief. 

Now, fifteen months later, they are so ingrained in each other's lives, it's almost impossible to remember a time when Declan wasn't here. Just last night Joe and I were commenting on how they constantly gravitate toward each other, and even when they're playing separately they seem to keep tabs on each other. Whether or not they realize it, they love each other so much.

 photo 2016-08-04 18.52.18-2_zpscgdaaau1.jpg

Some other things about going from one to two:

Having two kids in diapers at the same time is insane. Back in Declan's poopy newborn days I was changing diapers as much as four times an hour. That's every fifteen minutes. I repeat: insane.

Declan flew through all his milestones at lightning speed thanks to having big bro to keep up with. Crawling at 7 months, climbing stairs at 8, and walking at 9. I was not at all ready for any of that.

Sometimes I miss my other kid. Depending on which one used up most of my attention and energy that day, I'll go to bed wishing I'd been able to spend more time with the other one. I hope that in the long run there's a balance, and they each realize they're of equal importance to me, but unfortunately on a day to day basis that's not usually the case and it's something I still struggle with.

Our romantic life suffered a lot more with a second baby than it did the first time around. I think that after Ez was born we were on such a euphoric high as first time parents that it carried us through those chaotic newborn days. But with a second child there was literally no break. I couldn't just hand the baby off to Joe when I needed some alone time, instead we were just trading kids back and forth all evening. I know you moms with three or more are laughing at my novice skills right now. We'll just call it a learning curve ;) But after having 1-2 kids attached to me at all times, day and night, the last thing I wanted was to be touched by anyone else, even if that somebody else was the love of my life. Thankfully that too was a phase, and it passed.

Some of my favorite mom-of-two moments to date:

The other day Ez told Declan he loved him. My heart burst into a million pieces right then and there.

When I have to reprimand or discipline Ez Declan will come running up, wedge himself between us, and push me away. He's clearly trying to protect his big bro, and it's the most annoyingly sweet thing ever. Especially because I really want to smile, but I'm trying to be stern.

When one of them starts clapping or cheering or dancing the other automatically joins in. It's like a nonstop toddler party over here.

Watching them play together is basically the best thing in the world. Usually it involves some kind of running and screaming and mess-making, but I love it all the same.

Holidays are twice as magical. I seriously can't wait for the holidays this year, because even though these are technically Declan's second holidays, they're the first where he's really aware of what's going on.

If you made it this far, thank you for following along with my winding, rambling musings. I'd love to hear your experiences on those first few weeks of bringing a new sibling home. What are some of your favorite moments watching their sibling relationship unfold? And on that note, I'll leave you with this universal mom fantasy:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Huggies Giveaway // Diapering essentials

This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal, with a prize of a gift certificate.All opinions are my own.
Huggies Giveaway
Remember when I shared about Brielana taking it upon herself to start potty training? Wellll, I may have spoken too soon. Not that we're in a rush or anything! She is only 2 years and 2 months old. But since we're getting close to that transition I figured this would be the last chance to share what we love as far as diapering products go.
Huggies Giveaway
We are loyal Huggies fans. Ever since Kinsey was a newborn and now with Brielana, I've always purchased Huggies. They hold the leaks, keep their baby bottoms dry and they have an awesome Rewards program! Each package of diapers and wipes includes a code that gives you points to redeem for prizes. One year I made a Shutterfly photobook from the points I had earned!
Huggies Giveaway // Diapering Essentials
And as promised I'm giving away a $50 gift certificate so you can choose some Huggies for yourself! Just enter using the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open to US Residents only and runs from Thursday, September 22nd through Sunday, October 2nd, 2016. Winner will be notified via email. Good luck!
Huggies Giveaway
And because I'm also an over-prepar-er I have Dette Cakes potty-training tips and tricks ready to reference! 

Any tips on how to initiate potty training the second time around? :)

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Kinsey Quotes v5.0

It's been a while since I shared Kinsey Quotes (because it takes some time to accumulate more haha) but I got a good batch here so be prepared to be entertained! I also have a little sneak peek of something at the end. Hope that wasn't vague or anything ;)

We were talking about feelings and Kinsey got all mushy on me, "You're like flowers to me. You're heart is like flowers to me."

"But moooom, I want to go on an adventure today!" It was a bit whiny, but really cute too.

Kinsey's bed is next to a window so she likes to peek out the curtains at the sky and has started calling the lighter later evenings blue nights because, "it looks like a blue night because it's light like the morning time." 

Another night time conversation but this one was about sunglasses, "Those are night glasses, see they're dark, so you wear them at night." Her logic is pretty sound ;)

Having a conversation about Stella 
Kinsey- "It must be nice to be a dog; you don't brush your teeth, you don't wear shoes or clothes, you stay home all day, you can watch TV as long as you want."
Me- "Dogs don't actually watch the TV."
Kinsey- "Yeah well it still seems fun."

"This one's a soggy bone, it hurts." Showing me a bruise on her leg. Of which she sports a gillion, ouch.

"On second off, Brie, I know my hair is your favorite but it hurts when you pull it." So hilarious!!

"I'm so done with you, Mom!" How she responded when I told her no to watching The Little Mermaid. I may have gotten a glimpse of the teenage years.

"Remember when I was a small sweet baby, mama?" Yes. Yes I do. Every day. And I can't believe she's turning six in February.

I was starting to complain during a Geocaching expedition when Kinsey stared to give me a pep talk, "Just remember, real quitters never give up!" Her conviction when saying this was perfection.
And now the little sneak peek, some Brielana quotes
**I've yet to come up with a catchy title for Brie's segments so if anyone thinks up anything, please share!

Brielana gives the best wet smooches. She's also been very affection lately and started saying, "Love you much. Love you sooo much, mama." Heart melted.

Any time she sees Brian or I doing something, "What doing?"

On Friday when Kinsey and I pulled up to the house, Brielana came running up the walkway to give hugs and kisses. My mom said she heard our car and got all excited and exclaimed, "Kiki home! Cool! Kiki home! Cool!"
For more #KinseyQuotes check out Volume 1Volume 2, Volume 3 and Volume 4.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fall Fun 2016

Fallalujah!!! Anyone else?! I may have been one shy of completing my Summer Lovin list but I just gotta move onto Fall! So in no particular order here is our 2016 Fall Fun list!

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