In our house, February 12th steals Valentine Day’s limelight.  The 12th is our anniversary and lucky for us, the grandparents watched the girls this month so we could go out on a proper date night.

This was considered Date #1 of our Year of Dates, and it was fun.  Nothing crazy, just dinner and a few drinks.  We were home and in bed by 11pm, but it sure was nice having some adult time and being just the two of us.

We celebrated four years of marriage this time around.  Four years of marriage, two years of dating prior to that, one home purchase, four different jobs, two dogs, several vacations,  two baby girls, lots of arguments, lots of laughs, and a whole lotta love.  Life is good and I’m filled with gratitude.

Now that I have kiddos I thought it would be fun to also decorate for all the little holidays I never really used to decorate for before.  Okay, so they’re both under two…the youngest is 6 months old.  Okay, so maybe I thought it would be fun to decorate for myself as well.

I didn’t go all out or anything.  I didn’t even spend any money, just used what I already had on hand and threw up a couple of paper hearts and pulled some pink and red things together.

 

Would you also like to know that both my girls’ daycare classes exchanged Valentines.  Their separate classes sent separate notes telling us that the children (hello, babies)  would be exchanging Valentines but feel free to not participate.  Included is a list of all their classmates’ correctly spelled names.  Let me remind you, 6 months old and 21 months old.  I seriously considered not participating but I didn’t want to be THAT mom.  You know.

I bought Valentines day stickers and decorated some chevron notecards I already had on hand.  Then I hand wrote inside each card “Happy Valentines Day!  Your friend, (Alice/Elaine).”  Super simple, super cheap, and actually cute!  I even took pictures.  And here they are:

Oh no.  Here they are not.  I cannot find the pictures I took of these semi-homemade Valentines Day Cards.  Ugh.  Proof of 30 minutes of my life just GONE.

Did you celebrate Valentines?  Parents, did you send your kid with Valentines to share?  Tell me your true feelings on Valentines Day.  Love it, hate it, take it, or leave it?  Answer each one of my questions please.  ;)

 


My littlest little is going to be six months on Friday. SIX MONTHS. Every mother says the same thing – I can’t believe my baby is (insert whatever age), the time has just flown by!  Everyone says this, because it’s true.

In an attempt to remember all that baby sweetness I have been taking a monthly photo of my babies during their first year.  You can check out Alice’s 1 year monthly photos here.

Before I share Elaine’s first five monthly photos I thought it would be fun to share some fun facts about our youngest:

+She’s a SMILEY baby. Every morning when I peek over her crib rail her face breaks into the biggest smile I ever did see. Then she exuberantly pumps her little legs and arms as if she couldn’t be happier to see my face.
+She’s already cut her first two teeth.  Two bottoms center.
+E’s hair sticks straight up off her head in little baby wisps and her eyes are still hanging on to blue.
+She’s a long baby and easily wears size 6-9 month clothing and size 3 diapers!
+Elaine is a mama’s girl at this point.  She is easily soothed by by me.  Most of the time she’s happy, but if she’s upset the entire world knows about it. Baby girl has a big voice. Hand her over to Mama and she quickly calms down.
+For the past month, bedtime has been a breeze. We eat, we bathe, we nurse, and we rock. Then it’s down for bed, tear free! Hooray for catching on to routines! Hopefully the sleep through the entire night phase is right around the (immediate) corner (Mama’s got her fingers crossed!!!!).
+Still drinking primarily breast milk but we have added baby food to her night time routine. Favorites are banana and avocado. Least favorites are butternut squash and sweet potato.

We love our sweet girl so much.  I cannot imagine our family without her.  She’s absolutely precious.

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And just for fun, Alice and Elaine at the same ages:

The photos weren’t taken at the same angles or distances,  but Matt and I both agree that Elaine seems longer than her older sister Elaine.  I feel like you can definitely tell that they are sisters but they each have their own unique features.

Oh these babies!  I love being Mama to these two.

p.s.  Alice’s monthly one year photos and six practical tips for taking monthly baby photos


Lists are the best, yes? Yes. I have notebooks and notebooks full of lists. I find writing out a To Do List and checking off completed tasks motivating and satisfying. My problem with this is (was) the notebooks upon notebooks of lists and general Notes To Self.  They were all over the place. Hello, my name is Melissa and I like to buy cute notebooks. I’ve come across lists I’ve written years ago and thought: Yay! That’s done, Check!.. or Oh yeah, I never did that, Sad.., or This list doesn’t even apply to my life anymore, Weird…, and worst of all is WHERE IS THAT LIST/NOTE I WROTE LAST MONTH?! Panic/Frustration/WTH.

So I’ve come up with a simpler system for keeping track of my general Notes To Self and To-Do lists.  Streamlining my way too many notebook problem, I now only keep track of two notebooks: my planner and a Bullet Style journal. I’ll probably talk more about my Bullet Journal later, but if you’re not familiar with Bullet Journaling you can find numerous takes on what it is here or you can read about it where I first did on Kathleen’s blog here.

My planner is a spiral bound notebook separated by monthly tabs.  Each tab has two blank pages at the beginning and end of each month and I delegate one of these pages to write out monthly goals.   The idea of monthly goals isn’t anything novel or ground breaking, but this little system works well for me! (I started this back in November.)

The “goals” I write out range from simple tasks to ones that are a little more involved.  Having a list that I see on a daily basis really helps me remember things that need to get done.  Some of the easy tasks I checked off last month included buying a new doormat for our back sliding door, put up a 2015 wall calendar, buy new air filters, and get a basket for kids books to keep in the living room.

Other tasks were a little more time consuming like pack up Christmas decorations, organize kids toys, organize kids clothes, organize master bedroom closet, transfer pictures from SD card and phone to hard drive, pack up a box for donation, and actually schedule a pick up time for said donation box.

Then there were projects that I knew wouldn’t be completed in January.  These were things that would be continuing works in progress because they would take time and thought.  I have a terrible habit of not starting these types of things because I don’t have enough time, or all the resources available to me, or because I just feel overwhelmed by all the steps involved.  I’m trying to break that habit by reminding myself that every project and task has to start somewhere.

Last month I was able to put some time and effort into two projects that I have had in the back of mind for quite some time.  The first being work on Alice’s one year old book.  I went through all the pictures that I took of her during her first year and placed them into a folder.  I’m over half way through the edit process and hope to have her book made by the end of this month!  (After all, she’ll be TWO this May!!!)  I was fairly certain I wouldn’t be able to finish the book last month, but I’m stoked that I got started and actually made some real progress towards the finish line.

The other project I put some effort into last month was to work on the TV gallery wall.  I have this photo that I ripped out of a Pottery Barn catalog thumb tacked above my desk.  I’ve been wanting to do something similar for the wall behind our TV.   I now have three things that I LOVE for that wall and several ideas for more items to add.  I’m really excited to see how this one will come together.

I’m currently working on February’s Monthly Goal list and actually had to carry over some things that I didn’t get around to in January (Hello, Organize Desk Area – you are not my favorite). I also let some things go because I’ve re-evaluated and moved on to things I deem more important, and that’s okay.  The overall goal is to get things done that need to be done and sometimes those needs change.

Are you a list maker?  What have you found that motivates you to be productive?

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Have you seen The Americans with Keri Russell? I have been watching it for the past week or so via my Amazon Prime membership. Originally I started watching this show based off of my love for Keri Russell. Back in college my closest girlfriends and I would squeeze into our tiny college living room every week to watch Felicity. We loved Felicity! We were in college, she was in college. I mean, it was like we were all in college together. Except she was in NYC and we were in Oklahoma. And her dorm room was probably bigger than our entire college HOUSE. Worst of all, there wasn’t anyone who looked remotely like Scott Speedman hanging around.

Anyhow… The Americans. It’s nothing like Felicity. And it’s not anything I would expect to like, but I definitely do! The premise of the show is set in the 1980’s and Russell and her TV husband play Russian spies posing as your average nextdoor neighbor American family. It’s kind of intense (for me) at times but I’m into it! I finished watching the first season in about a week and I’m now onto the second.

Since season 3 isn’t included under my Amazon Prime membership, I’ll probably end up having to buy that season. That’s how they hook you in I suppose. Isn’t it great to find a   new-to-you series and watch multiple commerical free episodes all at once?  WHY HAVE I NOT TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF THIS BEFORE? Seriously, why? We have had an Amazon Prime membership for 2-3 years now and I’m just now getting around to looking into all the TV shows and movies included.  Late to the party once again!

Anyone else have Amazon Prime? I need some recommendations on what I should check out next!


One of the things I really miss about our pre-kiddo life was going on dates with my husband. Back in the day, we were dating fools! Meaning we went on dates All- The-Time and I have to say, it was awesome! I definitely didn’t appreciate the fact that we were able to grab spontaneous dinners on a random Tuesday night or just the sheer volume of dates we went on.  I knew things would change once we became parents but you just don’t really know-know until you are right in the middle of the experience.

Our fourth wedding anniversary is coming up and we are now parents to TWO sweet baby girls and life is good.  However, the frequency of our one-on-one dates has taken a severe nose dive. Such is life, right? Extra time is a precious luxury when you have a brand new baby, a toddler, and full time jobs on your hands. But! BUT! I still want to go on dates with my husband. I’m kind of sweet on him.  Plus I believe happy and healthy marriages support happy and healthy families.

Investing in my marriage is a priority.

Recently I read about the Year of Dates on the blog Coffee + Crumbs and found myself nodding yes to so many things Ashlee was saying.   She so eloquently says so many things I feel about marriage and dating and wanting her children to see them making their marriage a priority.  Yes, yes, and a fist bump!

Like her, I too thrive on scheduled plans for dates and vacations much more than my husband.  I love seeing plans penned into my calendar and it’s fun to have something fun to look forward to (and of course it’s fun to actually do the fun thing you’ve scheduled).  My love language is also quality time (well that or words of affirmation, it’s a toss up) and I too am guilty for being annoyed with my husband for not taking the initiative to plan more regular dates.   Ashlee has a lightbulb idea moment and realizes that she is more than capable of planning dates for her and her husband.  So that is exactly what she does.  She planned out 12 monthly dates, they went on them, and they made time between just the two of them a priority.

I was immediately on board so the other day at lunch I presented the Year of Dates idea to Matt.  He immediately said he was in.  Yay!  February 12th is our four year wedding anniversary so it seemed like the perfect occasion to kick things off.  We decided that we would take turns and plan six date nights each.  Matt’s up first for February and I’ll plan something out for March.  I’m excited and looking forward to our Year of Dates.  Care to join in?!

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In 2015 I want to do a monthly mother daughter photo project documenting 5 of our favorite little things.  At the end of the year I plan to have this photo project printed into a keepsake book.

HAIR >> M // new straight across bangs!  AK // growing a few curls and in a constant state of bed head.  E // growing sweet wisps of baby hair

WEARING >> Christmas Boots.  M// Uggs.  AK// Pink polka dot boots (seems to no longer be available).  E// pink fleece booties

Listening to >> M // All the Time by Bahamas on repeat.  AK// Frere Jacques on You Tube.   E// the music on her puppy bouncy seat (similar – available but discontinued by manufacturer)

Reading >> M// Yes Please.  AK// Dear Zoo.  E// Baby Faces

Working on >> M// Bullet Journaling.  AK // serving imaginary tea.  E// holding light weighted toys

This project was 100% inspired by Elise’s E&e photo project!


Oh look!  I got my hairs cut and now BANGS!  My first time to have straight across bangs since the 3rd grade when I used to wear black reebok high tops with everything.  And I mean everything.  Remind me to call my mother and ask her why she let me do such a thing.

I like them.  The bangs.  Something new and different.

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