Monday, December 28, 2020

Paige's COVID 4th Birthday

Just like with everything else in 2020, we had to celebrate Paige's birthday a little differently this year. We had her grandparents come over on her birthday for dinner and bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes {DELICIOUS}. 

The big 4-year-old!
[Just a little sidebar that this looks like a lot of presents, but I got her a lot of small things in the Dollar Spot at Target. I wrapped them separately because I just felt a little sad she couldn't have a traditional party.]

I know they're mine, but gosh, they're CUTE!


She has shown me this dress EVERY time we've been in Target!

Her Barbie obsession continues! And her little bob looks so cute here, ha.

Happy, happy, happy birthday, Paige!!

We also busted out our leftover 4th of July sparklers and the kids had a blast in the driveway! We finished the night with a drive around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. A great night for sure!

Then the next day we met a few friends {2 from the neighborhood and 1 from school so people she is with all the time already} in a nearby park to play outside and enjoy more bundtinis.

Paige, Reid, Grant, and Drew looking at turtles sunning on a log.

Queen for a day!

Drew's school friend, Alice, is the big sister of Paige's friend, Lucy.
They were all so excited to get to play!

Paige and Lucy!
[Paige LOVES Lucy at school and is the reason she stopped crying! We love Lucy!]

It might have been different this year, but different isn't bad, and we had a great time celebrating our baby's birthday! Expect something very similar for Drew next week haha!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

#AMonthofFaves Favorite Things

Another prompt from GirlXOXO for wrapping up the year. I will do a full end-of-year post, and if I'm being totally honest, probably one dedicated just to books ha, but I really liked this prompt so wanted to give it a post too.

The prompt says: Favorite Things - recipes tried, shows watched, hobbies picked up, happy moments, etc. I'm going with things that have made me happy this year!

1) Family - I know this is cliché, but I am so thankful to be married to a man who strives to put my happiness and the kids' happiness above his own. Being home together was not always fun, but our family thrived and grew together. I am more in love with my husband and family as the year closes than I was when it began.

2) AmpedUp Online - Being able to keep up with my workouts using online methods was clutch this year! Brent even figured out how to get it playing on the TV in the playroom.

3) School - After having everyone home for 6 months and juggling work and family, I am so happy the kids are back at school in-person.

4) Friends - We have a great group of friends, and I love doing life with them. Our RBC crew is who we spend the most time with - the kids all get along and it makes it so easy and fun to be together. Our slightly bigger circle of friends goes back to being in the womb and we have been hanging out and traveling together for over a decade. I love doing life with them and really hope for some trips in 2021.

Everyone minus Karin/Kelby {RBC} who are in new baby heaven

5) Books - A giant no brainer, but I would choose to read over doing just about anything else. My goal for 2020 was to read 100 books and as of today I'm at 99!

6) Blog Friends Book Club - A definitely high-point this year was starting a small zoom book club with friends I made through blogging. These are the ladies I get the most book recommendations from and who love reading as much as I do. It's a joy to get online with them every month!

Stolen from Erika's IG

7) The Friendship Between My Kids - When your siblings are your only playmates for months on end, it can go good or so, so bad. I really would have expected endless fights, but they really got along well, and I think are actually much closer now than before.

8) My Health Progress - I am definitely not done but am so proud of the progress I've made losing my baby/zoloft weight in 2020! I have lost 22 pounds in 2020, how awesome is that? Have about another 15 to go and am hoping to knock that out in the first half of 2021, yay!

9) My Job - I work for an amazing company and have a great team. It has been such a blessing this year to not stress about kids being home {we all have kids!} and worry about job security!

10) Parents - Last but definitely NOT least, we are beyond blessed to have our parents close by, how helpful they are, and how there is no drama with them. Both sets of grandparents helped with our 5 weeks of virtual school and keep the kids all the time! My mom is constantly buying things for me and the kids, and my mother-in-law is forever sewing up holes in clothes, painting for me, and cooking us food. Seriously, we have the best parents!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Christmas Jams 2020

It's time to share my new list of modern Christmas songs that are tickling my fancy this year. I have a great playlist working of all the old standards, my favorite still being Nat King Cole's The Christmas Song mixed together with Pentatonix, Michael Buble, Kelly Clarkson, etc.

And as I say every year - just because I just discovered these songs this year doesn't mean that they are new haha.

When You Believe - Pentatonix and Maren Morris

Like It's Christmas - Jonas Brothers
[Yes, 25 year old Allena can't believe 40 year old Allena likes the Jo Bros]

All I Want (For Christmas) - Liam Payne

I'll Be Your Santa Tonight - Keith Urban

Under the Mistletoe - Kelly Clarson and Brett Eldredge

Christmas Tree Farm - Taylor Swift

Merry Little Christmas - Robin Thicke

Celebrate Me Home - Josh Groban

Santa Tell Me - Pentatonix

You Make it Feel Like Christmas - Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton

Monday, December 21, 2020

Happy 4th Birthday, Paige Noelle!

Paige Noelle, you have filled every wish I had for completing our family. You are loved beyond words and beyond measure. I hope you have the most wonderful birthday and many, MANY, many, many more to come.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Currently: Christmas on My Mind

Current Book

As a HUGE fan of The Office, this is fascinating!

Current Song

I am listening to almost non-stop Christmas carols, which should not surprise anyone who knows me.

I did, however, buy T. Swift's second surprise album, but to be honest I haven't listened to it much...yet...due to said Christmas songs.

Current TV Show

Finally! They're back!!!

Current Podcast

Another True Crime winner! I'm 3 episodes in and it's soooo good.

Current Drink

I just tried one of these for the first time - and it was excellent!

Current Food

Brent brought home treats from the gas station today...I've been snacking on Cheetos and candy...eek!

Current Shame-Inducing Pleasure

I have to give it to the gas station candy, ha.

Current Outfit

Christmas 24/7 around here!

Current Celebrity Crush

I'm still crushing pretty hard on the guy who humored me with matching pjs!

Current Mood

SO EXCITED! School and work are done today for 2 1/2 weeks!

Current Anticipation

This is a no-brainer, but in the next 2 1/2 weeks we celebrate:
- Paige's birthday
- Christmas
-Drew's birthday

Current Wishlist

I'm really excited for Christmas to see what my loved ones got me, ha!
I gave my mom some very basic items: curling wand, a new fan, super exciting stuff, but I'm really excited to get them! And Brent told me to not look at Amazon or our cc bill, so I'm super curious what he got me!!

Current Film

Current Picture

Terrible picture, but I needed to capture this moment of sibling harmony!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

FastSlow-Moving Train: A Weight Loss Update

Things seem to be progressing slowly BUT! still progressing, so I didn't think a post every month was warranted. I decided to go a month and a half between my previous update and this one. I think I'll probably do another update at the beginning of February to get past holidays and the girls' birthdays, so this seemed like a solid time for an update!

In my last update, I mentioned that I weighed 150 at the end of the October. I ended November at 147 {my previous low} and as of yesterday morning, I was 145, a new low!! I am just 2 pounds shy of my pre-Paige pregnancy weight, whoop!

As I do every post, I want to document a few non-scale victories as I know there is so much more to health than just our weight {even if it what I seem to fixate do so many women}:

-I am wearing a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans! I need to lose a little more for them to be really comfortable, but I am so excited to be in these jeans, they are my favorites, and I have missed them so much!
-Working out is continuing to go great! It has become such a habit that I find a way to move almost every day. I also really like that I have a wide variety of workouts I'm enjoying. In the last 2 weeks I have done jazzercise, body pump, pilates, body flow {yoga}, gone on several walks and runs!
-I had my longest run EVER in November! I know I already blogged about this, but I ran 6.5 miles the day after Thanksgiving!

My goals for the next month or so are pretty simple - to enjoy the holidays BUT not let this be an excuse to eat like crazy/backslide. I can very easily let 1 enjoyable day turn into 2 turn into a week turn into a month. I do not want to have guilt over food or resting my body! I want to continue to remain active and get back to truly focusing on losing weight in January, however, I will be really upset if I slide back more than a few pounds. Hello, the march to bathing suit season 2021 is upon us! By my next update, I would also like to be at/below my pre-pregnancy weight which is 143. I know that is only 2 pounds away, but I am giving myself grace over the holidays ha.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Wordless Wednesday

Filed under: I can't believe Brent agreed to this!


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

#AMonthofFaves Shopping Small

I like checking out GirlXOXO's #AMonthofFaves prompts at the end of the year. I don't follow all of them but I really like to do a few of them, and the one I'm doing today really caught my eye. The prompt was 'Favorite Products/Small Shops'.

I had a goal this year to do a lot more local shopping for Christmas, and thanks to COVID, that didn't happen as much as I wanted. I ended up relying a lot on Amazon and Walmart for gifts to limit the stores I went into and risk of exposure. 

BUT there were a few stores I was able to shop at OR ones I show love to throughout the year I wanted to share. All are women owned and 2 are women of color - let's support our ladies who are killing it out there!

First, I love the shop in the next town over from us called The Wildflower Republic. The shop is co-owned by women and a lot of the items in the shop are handmade by other women! They sell my beloved pocket tees and headbands, unique/custom wood signs, homemade candles, handmade earrings and jewelry, natural bath products, so much great stuff! Kelly and I went in on my most recent DiTL day, and I got bath bombs for the girls {they LOVE them and I hate buying them the chemical filled ones at regular stores, a pocket sweatshirt for myself, a necklace for my sister and sister-in-law and some presents for B {can't spoil it since he reads my blog!}. Lots of variety for anyone you need to shop for. 

Pocket tee love!

Combining a pocket tee AND Christmas? Yes, please!

I can't stop buying these headbands!

A sign I had made for my in-laws!

Now, let's talk about a few bookstores, shall we? Y'all know I am a library girl at heart. But I love giving gifts as presents! #booknerdforever I used to buy books from Amazon but have learned they don't treat authors well, so I've been branching out to do a better job of supporting authors and our community. I have 2 local-ish places I love to frequent. Lark & Owl Booksellers is in our cute little town and is owned by a collective of women. Pre-COVID they also had a lot of activities - a book club, trivia events, children's activities, lots of great stuff. They also have a little cafe inside that SERVES alcohol! Who doesn't love alcohol with their books?!? The second, Black Pearl Books, which is owned by a Black woman, is newer to Austin and started with an online presence that has grown to a storefront! I have bought books online from there and hope to visit in-person soon. [As a reminder, is an alternative to Amazon that gives a percentage of its sales to independent bookstores, so you can also check them out to see if a bookstore in you community is listed.]

For clothes, I am OBSESSED with Grace & Lace, which was founded in Austin [still headquartered here], started by a woman, and was featured on Shark Tank. Melissa's story is so amazing. I buy a lot of clothes there and have found the quality to be really top notch and their customer service has always been excellent if I've ever needed to return/exchange. They ship all over the US, so check them out! Right now the whole site is on mega-sale!

My newest purchases

Super soft 'burnout' tank

I love this top!

Lastly, I discovered the cutest shop, This is Tisa, at a local A Christmas Affair last year. Tisa {a Black woman} makes adorable office supplies {clipboards, notebooks, stationary} as well as all sorts of other things - t-shirts, key chains, mugs, cups. Everything is bright and colorful with a positive message. I've bought gifts for both girls and my mom and have enjoyed everything from there! 

And those are some of my favorite local places - I didn't intend to only talk about women-owned businesses when I started thinking about this post, but that ended up being a really nice little bonus, didn't it? Where do you love to shop?