Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Sleepover. Except Not Really.

Growing up sleepovers were a huge part of my childhood. My friends and I were constantly at each others' houses, staying up way too late eating snacks and sweets, giggling under sleeping bags and playing "light as a feather, stiff as a board." I have all happy memories. And the older I get, and the more I hear, the more I realize that having only happy memories associated with sleepovers isn't always the norm.

And so last night Henry had his first "sleepover." Except it wasn't really a sleepover, because his friend's Mom (one of my closest girlfriends) spent the night too. For us, that will always be the extent of sleepovers with friends. Either it will be with our longtime family friends, and it's more of a family affair with me there too at their house or ours, or we'll do more of a "sleep-under" where friends can come over in their pajamas, watch movies...then go home by 10pm. Or if it's a sleepover somewhere else Henry can do the same. And maybe that seems overprotective, but regardless of his age- four, ten, thirteen- I can't imagine I will ever feel comfortable letting him go to a friend's house to spend the night.

There are so many articles on the topic, and opinions vary, I know. But for me, there are too many unknowns, and hearing too many stories of sexual abuse has made me much more aware of those unknowns. At the root of it I wouldn't ever want my children sleeping somewhere where there could be someone else there that we don't know. An older sister or brother. A neighbor. A visiting relative. And it's not even that- I am fully aware that I cannot control everything and that abuse most often happens with people we already know, but I feel like if I can do anything to keep him even a little safer, I will.

And I know it's easy now to say "no sleepovers." I have a baby and an almost four-year old. Simple stuff because they don't know the difference. But I wonder what it will be like when I have a preteen begging to spend the night at a friend's house, and feeling like I'm making my child miss out on fun times? We'll see. If I've learned one thing over the past four years as a parent it's to never say never, so I won't...but I at this point in our life I can't imagine I'd ever be okay with it.

I'm curious on your thoughts, too. Where do you weigh in? Are you all for sleepovers, or will they be something you won't or don't allow? I'd love to hear your opinion.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weekend Links

I did a post for Little Hip Squeaks awhile back but never shared the photos here- how cute is this crown from Little Blue Olive? I'll show off Charlie's little crown in a week or so in his room tour (finally sharing it!) but this is definitely Henry's favorite "dress up" item. He keeps it right on his dresser and so many afternoons I will find him wearing it, imagining he's the King of some far off land, or reading books on his own. Love it.

Annnd, happy weekend! I'm so excited about these next couple of days. I feel like we've been going non-stop lately, and although this weekend isn't slowing down either, sometimes it feels good to have big, full days. And I hope whatever you find yourself doing this weekend, some part of it involves good food and the people you love.

Some links-

First, I wanted to share an important site- my friend's sister is battling colorectal cancer and her Alma Mater, the University of San Francisco has set up this GoFundMe page to help. If you have a moment, please check it out.

The other true story behind ‘Orange Is the New Black.’

Check out this Tumblr account. And here's some more info on it too.

The perfect picnic.

I love this canvas tote!

Photographer captures the beauty of adoption.

My current desktop background.

Etsy love: this tea towel, this bib, and this blanket.

Nobody's graduating in four years anymore.

One of my dear friends just opened a new shop- check it out. I especially like this print.

On on roadtrip wishlist: Yosemite.

Just look at these GORGEOUS photos of my sweet friend Christina and her husband Robert.

This buffalo chicken recipe looks so good.

Falling in love with Jenny Lewis, a primer.

I really want to try this lipstick color!

No, I actually don't have as many hours in the day as Beyonce.

Arizona, then and now.

Wishlist: this dress, ALL of these dresses, and to be here.

Happy birthday, Henry and Marie! So, so cute.

What did your childhood sticker collection look like?

18 things you've been doing wrong your whole life.

Whatcha know about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl?

I love this post: All Boxed Up.

And two more great posts- A Simple, Intentional Life and To Be Sad For What Isn't.

And finally, some favorites from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale via my rewardStyle affiliate account- click on the image to jump over to the item- happy shopping!

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Date with My Boys...and an Awesome Giveaway from Ergobaby and Nena & Co.

It's amazing how essential babywearing has become for our family with the second baby. I did it here and there with Henry, but once Charlie came along it really became a necessity if I wanted to get anything done...and now that Charlie is moving and grooving, it makes going out with both boys a whole lot easier.

So when Ergobaby and Nena & Co. asked me to share a bit about a special afternoon out with my boys, just the three of us, I was game. Our everyday looks a lot like this...minus a photographer following us around making everything look perfect. ;) But really, whenever the three of us head out it's usually Charlie in the Ergo and Henry holding my hand. This works for us. The carrier allows me to keep Charlie close while also being able to play and hang out with Henry. Hands free, ready for adventure. Add in the perfect diaper bag to the mix- the Day Bag II by Nena & Co- and we're set. I love how many pockets it has, and I especially love that it's not actually a diaper bag. This makes it double duty, and totally usable after the baby phase is over.

This time we were down at my parents' house, so we decided to head over to The Coffee Shop in Gilbert for some of their delicious birthday cake cupcakes. Have you been there? Henry had a great time running around, and we found the most beautiful spot under some shade trees for a picnic. On a side note, for parents of more than one child, isn't it funny how things change with baby #2 (or 3 or 4)? As a baby Henry never tried anything with sugar until his first birthday cake- I was so vigilant about that- but there we were, sitting on the blanket, letting Charlie try the cream cheese frosting. So I'm guessing with our next child he or she will get the whole cupcake by age 1. ha. But anyway it was such a fun day, and surprisingly not too hot. If you're ever in Gilbert I definitely recommend a stop by this area. Joe's Farm Grill is there too, which is another place we love.

And something else to love? Ergobaby and Nena & Co. have teamed up to do a Summer Good Vibes giveaway! Up for grabs: an Ergobaby carrier in this awesome, summery teal color and a one of a kind Day Bag II from Nena & Co., both featured in this shoot.

To enter, head over to the giveaway page on the Ergobaby Facebook for all the details. Good luck!

And of course, here are some photos from our afternoon-

Photos by Lauren Ristow for Sometimes Sweet
This post was sponsored by Ergobaby and Nena & Co.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Letting Go


Recently I've come to this place in my life where I don't want to harbor anger or bad feelings for anyone. And it's not like I ever wanted to, but I wasn't at a place where I understood how important it was to just let go. It's hard though, to just move on. And it's especially hard for someone like me who has a tendency to obsess and obsess until I feel crazy! But somehow over the past year or so I've managed to become someone who can just let go. It seems almost impossible, and it absolutely seemed impossible when I first started on this journey, but over time it has become easier and easier.

So anyway, while trying to avoid getting all Oprah-y/Dr. Phil on you, here's what has worked for me:

1. Realize you cannot change anyone else's behavior but your own- everyone lives in their own reality.

So many times I've thought to myself "why does he/she do that?!" and become so frustrated that this person was reacting in such a way. First things first, I had a long, hard look in the mirror after reading this quote- "We have a tendency to want the other person to be a finished product while we give ourselves the grace to evolve." Did that hit you as hard as it hit me the first time I heard it? I'm sure many of you can relate when I say that this really applies to the way I think sometimes. I'm absolutely guilty of not understanding how on earth someone could do this, think that, say whatever, and wonder why they just don't get it. But not only can I not change someone else's behavior, but I should try not to judge it, as if my way is the only way or the right way. And that's not to say if someone is especially rotten we should just shake our heads and say, "oh, that's them!" and excuse bad behavior. But in day-to-day encounters it's important to remember that everything does not revolve around us or our way of doing things; each individual has their own reality they live in, full of their own truths and reasons for their actions. When I remember this I am able to accept that not only can I not change someone else, it's futile to even try, because we will always be coming from two different places with two very different ideas about the hows and whys. And a disclaimer here- I don't want to discount working through something with someone different than ourselves; I'm talking about simply accepting that there are many ways to do something, and to recognize that our way isn't the best or only path even though it certainly may feel like that from time to time.

2. Put your energy in the right place.

Have you ever found yourself telling yourself not think about something, yet continuing to think about it, over and over? Or maybe discussing and rehashing with a friend, talking in circles about the same thing the entire time you hang out? What an epic waste of energy! I'm not successful all the time, but I actively try and remind myself "This is what it is. You have done what you can. Going on about it in your mind (or with a friend) with no new information isn't providing clarity, you're only giving the negative thoughts more power." Yes, I talk to myself. And yes, it works! By being firm in not allowing myself to devote any more time to this or that, I allow myself to move past it and be free of it. It might be visualizing a stop sign in your mind whenever your thoughts start going there, or just getting up and physically moving yourself to a new place, leaving your old thoughts behind, but find a tool that works and use it!

3. Forgive.

Easier said than done, right? For many years I would be having a great day but then out of the blue I'd be reminded of a person/situation and my stomach would immediately hurt. It sounds so silly typing that out, but it's true- my negative thinking was physically affecting me. So one day I decided that I was done. Holding onto these feelings wasn't making me feel good, and completely holding me back by keeping me in the past. By truly forgiving, even if you're only able to do so in your mind, will bring an immediate release. In my own life it's something I had to work on continuously, but after awhile I felt free and I was able to be in the present, and move on. Awesome.

Before I go I should also add that I might sound like I know what I'm talking about here, but I don't, really. I'm figuring this all out just like anyone else, and I just wanted to share what's worked for me. I'm still learning everyday how to be better, and even though these things have helped, I still have to remind myself of them regularly. Being an emotional person has its downfalls (like worrying or thinking too much about feelings), but at the same time I love how passionate I am about everything and how much I feel, and I'm sure many of you can relate to that too. Just wanted to end on a positive note.

I haven't written a post like this in awhile, and it was fun. Thanks for reading. :)


Monday, July 14, 2014

Journal Day #14

Think about the plans you had for your adult self when you were younger- would you say they match up to your reality today? What did you wish for your future when you were a child? Did you have a plan? And would you say you've followed that plan in any way? This week, look at the life you hoped to have (even if you consider your childhood "dreams" silly now) and see how your current life compares.

 little us- my sister (on the right) and me.

First of all, I just wrote "I can still remember when 30 was old" and couldn't figure out why that line sounded so familiar. I have a tendency to repeat myself from time to time in posts so I assumed I had written it before, but then it came to me that it's a line from "Strawberry Wine." Ha! Anyone remember that song? It's pretty perfect though, because that song reminds me of high school, which takes me back to all of the silly/amazing/naive ideas I had about my future, and what I hoped it would be like.

Growing up I was always very idealistic (still am), and I definitely always had an idea in my head of what I thought my future should be. Granted, it would change regularly, but it always included some sort of extreme move- New York City being the most popular destination of my imaginary future- and living with all of my girlfriends and little sister. I'm not too sure if I ever dreamed of getting married like most little girls do. I mean, I'm sure I did at some point but when I think back to what I hoped for it was usually some sort of career. At my youngest I recall wanted to be a flight attendant (stewardess actually, since we're talking about the 80s) or a cruise director. That lasted for some time until I moved on to a million other futures, and later decided I wanted to be a lawyer, which held up almost all the way until applying for law schools, which I eventually never did.

I think at the root of it though, my "plan" was just to always surround myself with the people I love. Family always came first for us growing up, so naturally family continued to be first, including the friends that became my family over the years. I remember having this list in the 9th grade. It was a LONG list, of maybe 100 bullet points, that listed all the requirements of my future partner. And at the very end was a huge disclaimer that said something like "if this guy has all of these thing but still doesn't make you laugh every single day, RUN!" My, how smart my 14-year old self was.

But I can remember being so young and feeling like my current age now, was so old. God, 32. And now I feel like it's really not old at all. I think when I was a child I would have envisioned my life now a little differently. Perhaps I would be traveling around the world, living in NYC, or on a boat somewhere. I'd be a writer for sure, possibly for National Geographic, off to here and then to there...everywhere. But instead I'm a former high school English teacher (never saw that one coming) turned stay-at-home Mom to two boys, married to a man I've been with for a decade! It just goes to show, you never know what life has in store.

So no, I don't think my life now is quite how I would have envisioned it when I was a kid, but I'm also the funny little girl who had four baby dolls ("quadruplets!" I'd be sure to tell you) named Kelsey, Chelsey, Bryan, and Ryan and was determined to raise them on my own somewhere between being the first woman President orrrr being a cruise director on Norwegian Cruise Lines (even though I'd never been on a cruise in my life and still get violently seasick). I didn't make a whole lot of sense. But however random my future dreams were, I do think my child and teenage self would be pretty damn proud of the reality we came into after all, and my six year old self would be especially excited to know I'm already halfway to having those four little ones. ;)

So how about you? Leave a comment below with a link to your post, and a little excerpt too, if you'd like!

Read more about my Journal Day project here.
Read previous Journal Days here.

Arizona to Chicago: Farewell Erin!

Happy Monday! I wonder how many other weekend posts around the web started that way this morning. It is a happy one though, if only for the fact that we got all of our errands done before 9am and now both boys are napping. And this weekend? Oh, was such a great one. It was full of all the things I love the most- friends, family, really, really great food, and lots of dancing. On Saturday in fact I had to pinch myself as I took a look around on that crowded dance floor, and realized that this was IT. This was one of those really happy moments I'll think back to for years to come- surrounded by some of my oldest friends, drinks clinking, singing along to really ridiculous 90s country at 12am. The song playing at the moment was Shania Twain's "Any Man of Mine," if that gives you a better picture of the awesomely embarrassing girl power celebration that was going on. Earlier that night I had tucked another moment away, taking a second to memorize all the details as we all spun each other around that hot, crowded dance floor at the Rusty Spur as the live band played and played. And if my memory fails me one day, at least I have a poorly-lit two minute video to take me right back. ;)

And I have to say this too- when you grow up with the same group of friends- when they've seen you through all the weird phases and weird hair and even weirder boyfriends, there's a deep comfort and love there. I've talked about this countless times here, but all of us lived together through college, experiencing every bit of life together for years. And then after we graduated, we lived together too, all meeting each others' husbands as we met them for ourselves, and then later watching each of our separate stories unfold; jobs and marriage and houses and kids, the easy stuff and the hard stuff- all the stuff really. So it was an emotional weekend, full of lots of laughter and some tears too, as we celebrated our friendships while also saying goodbye to Erin, who is moving to Chicago next month.

Erin and I met our freshman year of college- we lived in the same dorm and ended up rushing the same sorority- and we had an instant connection. Fast forward 14 years down the road and we've experienced all sorts of life's adventures at the same time, even being pregnant with Henry and her Kyler together. I'm very sad to see her go, but it's also incredibly exciting to know they are off on this new adventure. Plus, I've never been to Chicago and I can't wait to check it out! So Windy City people, if you see Erin around, tell her hello...she's a good one!

Below are just a few iPhone photos of our weekend at The Valley Ho. I wish I had taken more of the hotel itself- it's one of my favorites- and if you like mid-century design definitely check it out. The history of the place is pretty awesome. Autumn, Shirley, Alana and I actually lived right down the street from it on 2nd Street after college- the whole area is really fun.

And one last request before we get to the photos- Chicago people, do you have any must-sees or must-dos (places to go, restaurants, etc) for Erin and her family? I'm going to direct her to the comments, so hopefully a few of you are from the Chicago area and can share some expertise! Thank you in advance.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Home Sweet Home(s?)

Vermont, Summer 2011

^^at my Aunt's home in Vermont- one of my most favorite places in the world

I'm down at my parents' house for the week and boy, it is HOT. There have been times Hank and I have thought "hmm...maybe it would be nice to live in Phoenix," but then I actually spend some time in the heat and I don't know if I could do it.  The mild winters almost make up for it, but overall I think it would definitely take some getting used to. Although it's funny- my family and I moved to Arizona when I was in junior high and I spent about 6 years in the desert heat until I moved up north for college, and I don't recall ever being super uncomfortable in the high temperatures (it can get up to 115ยบ+ down here!).

I've been thinking about this though, because one of my best girlfriends is moving away to Chicago and we're having a going away party for her this weekend, so the topic of calling other/new places home has been on my mind. I absolutely love where we live, as evidenced by how much I talk about it, but I often wonder if there are other places we could happily call home. Hank's traveled the US many times and visited almost every state, and he has always said how much he loves Prescott but that he could also see himself living in the Pacific Northwest or Hawaii. As for me, I could see us living in our small town forever, but I think I would also love living in a small lake or beach town. After growing up by the Jersey Shore I'd say that's the major thing I miss living here in Arizona- it makes me sad sometimes that our kids won't grow up swimming in the ocean all summer long.

Another place I could see us calling home is Vermont. My Aunt lives in Shelburne, which is one of my favorite places, and Hank and I both fall in love a little more everytime we go. It's such a special place, and to me just exudes such a happy, earthy vibe I can't help but want to immerse myself in. Other places I love: in and around Salem, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and upstate New York. Noticing an East Coast theme?

It's funny though, as fun as it is to daydream about other places I'm not sure if I would ever want to leave where we live now. It's pretty perfect for us, and I think I would always be searching for someplace just like it. You never know what the future holds, but I do think when you have a good thing it's best to hold onto it- the grass might not always be greener, right?

So how about you? Where do you live, and could you see yourself living there forever? Do you have certain places in your mind that you could see yourself calling home? And are you someone who could live in the same place your whole life, or do you like to change it up now and again? Feel free to chime in below- can't wait to hear your thoughts. xoxo