Transformers + dip-dye

top: Target long time ago, gift // skirt: c/o Persunmall // belt: mom's old belt // shoes: thrifted // earrings: thrifted

My sister gave me this Transformers shirt when I was going through a BIG Transformers kick.
As in: I quoted it all the time, painted Optimus Prime on a bag, started my first blog with multiple posts referencing it, watched it in theaters multiple times, people gave me Transformers gifts cause I talked about it all the time... Oh sophomore year...

{Actually it lasted for way longer than that. I got this shirt after Elijah was born.}

So needless to say, this

I wore it a lot after Elijah was born because it was only the fun thing I could think to throw on when I was feeling ugly and frumpy. After I started to feel better about myself, though, and get my groove back, I kind of put this shirt aside because it brought up all these self-image hating memories.

I pulled it out again recently because I really do love it and thought it would be a fun graphic tee to try and dress up and play with. So when I received this skirt from Persunmall I thought maybe it would be a fun pairing.

And yep, now this is one of my all-time favorite outfits!

I love both of these pieces and they are soooo comfortable!
This skirt has become one of my favorite go-to items and I wear it often.
Which is kind of scary honestly since it's white and I have a toddler... but so far so good.
It's worth the risk.

Elijah does like my Transformers "robot" shirt though so at least I'm winning that way. :)

This post is a bunch of rambling. 

linking up with 

pumpkin carving

Some things you should always do while carving {painting} pumpkins:

:: don't have plans. cause they won't work.

:: and keep it simple. so that you won't be disappointed when your complicated plans fail.

:: mix the paint colors. and add black to everything. cause YOLO.

:: remember that newspapers doesn't protect from toddlers

:: wear goggles. cause pumpkin guts are harmful...?

:: don't get in between a toddler and his paint.

:: pick your nose #yolo

:: don't carve pumpkins 13 days before Halloween because they will rot quickly in the Arizona heat.
fun times.

And I forgot to take an after picture before the aforementioned rotting occurred.
But just know they looked awesome.
And Elijah cried when we had to throw them away.
Which has to mean he had a great time right?

Family memories in the making. :)

also... WINNERS! 
the winner of the Genghis Grill gift cards (2 gift cards each) are.... Anna & Megan T.!!
and the winner of the Cafe Zupas gift card is.... Karoline K.!! 
CONGRATULATIONS!! I will be emailing you ladies soon. :) 


"Successful families are built and maintained with faith, love, compassion, work and wholesome recreational activities." -The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Tuscan Pork Chops

Even though my boys were sick, I give myself a pat on the back for still making dinner. 
And not just dinner, a pretty dinner.
And of course delicious too. :)

So naturally, I'm blogging my accomplishments. 

Since it was seriously so good {and so easy, I wanted to share the recipe. 

- 4 boneless pork loin chops 
- pasta of choice (I used a mix of bow tie pasta and penne cause that's what we had) 
- 1 tomato or cherry tomatoes 
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil  
- 1 Tbsp. any flavor vinegar
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. dry basil
- 2 garlic cloves 

1. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and cook 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, or until no longer pink and meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F. 

2. Meanwhile, cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Pour pasta onto serving platter and arrange chops on pasta. 

3. Stir vinegar into hot skillet. Add remaining oil and remaining ingredients. Cook just enough to heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over chops and pasta. 


toddler activites: orange foam

Sometimes I'm a fun mom.
Or at least I've been trying really hard to be.

I've been trying to find more fun, hands-on activities to do with Elijah at home since my usual go-to's are reading, legos, watercoloring, and Netflixing Daniel Tiger.
Cause I'm really lame.

But I'm trying to be better.

One of the things I decided to try was making some "orange foam" as part of our 13 Days of Halloween.
[But really you can do any color, any time.]

Elijah had a lot of fun [after he realized it was okay to get messy ;)] and it was a fun way to learn about colors and how to introduce color mixing.
I sprayed a bunch of shaving cream on a cookie sheet and then added some red & yellow food coloring. Elijah had to mix it up to see how the colors made orange.
Then of course we played in it and tried to make foam pumpkins and snowmen.

It was a fun, messy, cologne-smelling sensory activity that I definitely want to try again with different colors.
And with a different kind of shaving cream cause... really we smelled like old men afterwards.


This is what {the fun parts} of being quarantined looks like around here.

This last week, Elijah has been under a strict quarantine after being diagnosed with hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). He couldn't go to school, the park, the mall, the library, soccer, or church. All things he asked about for a week while we were jailed inside our smallll apartment.
[and boy, did we really feel how small our apartment really is...]

It was really hard to try to explain to a 3-year-old why we had to stay home and he wasn't allowed to see any of his friends or go out in public. 
It was even harder to try to help him understand what was happening to his little body at the beginning and why he had "ouchies" everywhere that itched super bad and "had red on it." 
[You can see the sores in the pictures above.]

m i s e r a b l e

About 5 days into Elijah's quarantine, Adam then got sick with something [pretty sure not with HFMD] and was out of commission for pretty much 2 days. 
{And may I point out, this was right at the peak of Elijah's cabin craaaaazzziness.}
And so we were forced inside some more missing a birthday party and our church's trunk-or-treat.

So... we did our best to make the most out of the worst week ever. 
We made a fort and built a Lego fire to "roast" marshmallows
{"just like the fire at gramma's house with Travis!"}
lots of baths & oatmeal baths 
played with sidewalk chalk 
built a rocket ship & made an astronaut helmet 
started our 13 Days of Halloween by carving [painting] pumpkins & playing with orange foam 
and watched looooots for Dora & Daniel Tiger 

As much as these pictures make it look like we had fun, it was seriously horrible. 
I didn't realize how much I depended on taking Elijah to school and going to activities to help give me a break and give him better ways to use up his energy. 
And how much it has actually helped with Elijah's overall stubborness & sassiness

Being stuck inside the apartment did absolutely NO GOOD for this little crazy energetic boy.
This is pretty much how he looked {and I felt} by the end of the week. 

There were quite a few times that I had to lock myself in the room just to breathe. 
I decided Elijah is definitely a child that needs two parents for his survival. 
To say it's a miracle we all got through this last week is quite the understatement. 

Good thing that kid can be incredibly sweet & cute when he wants to be... 
his saving grace. 

Now, for completely scrubbing my whole apartment so we don't have to repeat this again. 
effing germs.


This week has been haaaarrrdddd!!! 
Elijah has been sick and under quarantine and then Adam got sick this weekend. 
My mental, physical, and emotional capacity is at its limit. 
I have more than once snapped, yelled, and locked myself in my room because I needed a break.

This video is a wonderful reminder for me that although it is truly hard work, it is worth it. 
And I can be strengthened when I turn to the Lord. 

four little words

The other weekend, Elijah said the most wonderful four words that I have been waiting my whole mothering life to hear.

"I wuv you, Mommy!" 

Totally unprompted,
entirely spontaneous,
complete with a sweet hug, kiss, and cuddle.

I do not take this moment lightly.

My sweet baby boy.
All mine.
Completing my entire being.


Zupa's Grand Opening + Giveaway

As I {and Megan} mentioned last week, we had the chance to check out the new Cafe Zupas that is opening up in Phoenix in the Norterra shopping center.
It was DE-licious!!
Actually, looking at the menu is making me hungry again...

If you haven't been to Cafe Zupas before and you are in the Phoenix area now is your chance to try it with their big Grand Opening event this Saturday, October 19th.
You can find out more information about their grand opening on their Facebook event page.

And really you need to go to Cafe Zupas because it is soooooo good! 
And when you go try the Chicken Enchilada Chili 
or the Yucatan Chipotle salad
or the Wisconsin Cauliflower soup 
or the BBQ Chicken salad 
or the BBW Pulled Pork 
or the Honey Bacon Club 
or.... everything. 
Oh dessert!! 

Well, to help you get the chance to try out a lot more things on their delicious menu and to celebrate the grand opening, Cafe Zupas is giving away a $25 Gift Card to one lucky reader to use at any one of their 21 locations

That is a couple of date nights right there. ;) 

[enter below]


a Rafflecopter giveaway

summer black + pops of color

Adam was laughing at some of my poses {which are not pictured} and I was pretty embarrassed...
top: c/o Persunmall // shorts: Forever 21 (4 years ago) // shoes: Target (2-ish years ago) // necklace: c/o Rhi's Designs

It's still pretty warm here so I haven't quite busted out the fall wardrobe yet. 
This is one of my favorite {and most comfortable} outfits that I wore throughout the summer with one of my new favorite tops from Persunmall

I was actually kind of wary about this top when I first ordered it. 
It was only one-size only and I didn't really know what that meant and how that would actually fit. 
But I actually love it and it has become one of my most worn shirts in my closet. 
It is great to wear with skinny jeans/leggings or tucked in to a pencil skirt or some pants. 
loooooove it! 

Also going along with things I was weird nervous about wearing in this outfit, 

I don't know why but in my mind I decided that black is only a winter color. 
I act as though if I try and wear mostly black outfits during spring or summer it would be like committing some kind of law against nature. 
Obviously people do wear black outside of winter and they look beyond classy and fabulous. 
But for me I just couldn't get over this irrational reasoning. 
{spring and summer only = lots and lots of bright colors!!}

But then when I pulled out these shorts in my drawer on a particularly hot day after I had gone through most of my skirts, I figured I would give the solid black look another try this summer and see how I feel about it. I tried to give it more of a summer-vibe by adding pops of color with the necklace and the shoes so I didn't feel too winter-depressed looking. 
And now it's one of my favorite outfits. 

Also... I obviously waaaaay over think my outfits. 

And over explain. 

So there's that.

linking up with 

choosing joy

I actually had a different idea of where this post was going to go before I wrote it. And then as I kept writing and the words came out this is what I ended up with. So... there's that. 

It is no secret to most people that know me, including blog readers, that parenting a toddler like Elijah {and in particular a toddler who is Elijah} comes with its many challenges and difficulties. 
I can honestly say that even though I love my son more than anything in this world and would die if anything ever happened to him, I still have my fair share of days where I think, "I really wish I didn't have to deal with this right now..." 

This last year was probably one of the most difficult. 
Though it has always felt like we have had some difficulties in this parenting process 
[i.e. never sleeping, nursing problems, colic, ridiculous amounts of tantrums...], 
it felt like this last year was a perfect storm of toddler behavior problems. 
With Adam gone most days at school, it was up to me to deal with Elijah's tantrums day in and day out. 

I never wanted to leave the house. 
I called or texted Adam at school in tears swearing up and down that I hated motherhood. 
I was screamed at, kicked, and spat on while at the grocery store. 
(And Elijah only saved these wonderful mood disorders for me, Adam never witnessed such torment.)

So needless to say, the age range between 2 and 3 has not been my favorite. 

I can't pinpoint the exact moment but this last spring/summer something inside me just kind of clicked. 
I was spending so much time feeling miserable and dreading basic motherhood tasks for fear of unleashing the little E giant, that I was not allowing myself to fully obtain the joy of motherhood. 

The joy that I knew I should be feeling but sometimes didn't. 
{so then guilt guilt guilt leading to despair despair despair leading to feelings of worthlessness leading to not want to try anymore leading to more guilt guilt guilt for not trying leading to despair despair despair....} 

One day though something just hit me upside the head and made me see what I was doing to myself
I was allowing myself to feel this way. 
I was the one getting frustrated and feeling sorry. 
I was the one looking for something or someone to blame. 
I was the one choosing not to make changes. 

Of course parenting is hard. Duh! 
But I was making it 100x more difficult when I was choosing to feel so my self-pity. 

Of course toddlers are difficult. 
[And of course my toddler would be even more difficult because he is my son after all.]
But I was making him out to be worse than he really was because I wasn't taking responsibility for my own actions as his mother. 

So I have tried really really hard to change these last couple of months. 
I have tried to be more present and actively participate during playtime. 
I have tried to come up with new activities he can do besides watching Mickey Mouse for 3 hours. 
I have actually tried to take him places {this is a HUGE one for me!} and let him experience things. 
I have tried to use more love instead of anger when dealing with tantrums. [something I'm still working on.] 
And I have tried really hard to give up my image & expectation of a perfect anything and to focus more on the individual needs of my own little boy who does not fit into the perfect little categories of the perfect little parenting books. {cause what kid really does??} 

Let me tell you something:
That is how I have learned to find joy in motherhood.  
toddlerhood and all.

I can control my feelings 
I can control my attitude 
I can control my actions
all this equals 
I can find happiness in the rolling-on-the-floor tantrums.  


big trucks

Last weekend I took Elijah to see the big trucks at the Glendale Touch-A-Truck event. 
They had semis, fire trucks, tractors, buses (and a double decker bus!), construction trucks, and more that all the kids could play in and explore. They got to push all the buttons and learn how the trucks work too. Which meant lots of horns being honked all at once. :) 

Elijah loved it and actually did surprisingly well walking around. 
I was nervous to take him {alone} because I thought for sure he would run away and not listen the entire time. And though I did have to put up with some whining and a little bit of wandering (the lines were really long), he did really great for the most part and seemed to have a lot of fun. 

The one thing he didn't really like though was how high the trucks were. 
He would get so excited to finally have his turn inside the truck but then once he looked down and saw that he was far from the ground, he would kind of freak out. 

At one point I asked him if he wanted to see the tractor but he saw how big it was and said no. So we got in line for the fire truck instead. Then as we had to leave to go pick up Adam, he started crying because he wanted to see the tractor. 
I tried to tell him that he had his chance already and now it was time to go. 
But of course reasoning with a toddler is like reasoning with a terrorist. 
So the screaming and wailing continued the whole way home. 

Later when Adam would ask him about the big trucks, the only way Elijah would describe the experience was,
"I saw the fire truck but Mom said no to da tractor. She say 'No, no' and I cry." 

I know, mom of the year. 
I traumatized my kid by my rules. 

But I think the cool construction hat that he's been sporting all week makes up for it. :)