The Toughest Age Yet


Being a mom is the hardest job you will ever have. Rewarding, yes. Easy? Oh hell no. I’ve heard that once you have two kids, any number after that doesn’t matter. Two is the hardest it is going to get. I don’t know if Dean and I will be ones to test that theory because two is so freakin hard. And then you go through a period that we boldly thought the kids were getting easier. HA! I know, I know, I can hear you all laughing at how naive we were.

And just when you think that life with two kids is getting a little easier, one of them turns four, and you the ground rolls out from under your feet all over again. FOUR. Four is the toughest age yet, at least in my opinion. I imagine there studies out there saying how teacher’s kids are worse behaved than most kids but I’m afraid to look. That’s got to be it, right?

Chloe has reached a whole new level way beyond threenager. Not only has the three year old sassiness stuck around guns blazing but the two year old tantrums have come back with a vengeance. The letters B-R-A-T come to mind. We have also learned that biting, hitting, and pinching are effective ways to resolve an argument. Telling your mom 20 times each day that she “is mean” is the way to get what you want. Screaming in stores and restaurants. Four has been awful. What happened to my sweet little girl?

Now don’t get me wrong, there are days that I just adore spending time with her. She can carry on a conversation and tell stories for hours. She likes to shop. She likes to go out to eat. She is turning into a little person and that is so much fun to watch. But on bad days, look out. There is no reasoning with her. She is so strong willed. And the worst part is, you just don’t know what might set her off. I understand tantrums with Ryan. Although equally frustrating, he’s TWO. It’s expected at two. It was not expected at four.

Four has given me a run for my money.

I know it will get easier. And I’ll miss these days someday. But right now, please send wine.



Stocking Up For Spring

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Spring is in sight. Can I get a whoop whoop?! Living in Chicago, I know that most likely we will have two more months of winter weather, and then warm temps will start one day out of nowhere. We have three seasons here in the midwest – winter, sort of winter, and summer but not necessarily in that order.

I like to stock up on spring and summer clothes for the kids this time of year so that we are prepared when the warm temperatures hit. I don’t want them to be high and dry without a few pairs of shorts or short sleeve tees that fit. One day it may be 40 degrees, and the next day 75. It’s best to be prepared for anything.

For Ryan, I tend to buy most of his clothes from Old Navy. The fit of Old Navy’s clothes are perfect for his tall, skinny body. They fit him better than Gap does which tends to run wider. Ryan also tends to destroy his clothing much faster than Chloe, and Old Navy’s prices are great so I don’t feel guilty if I have to throw something of his away and replace it.

Ryan’s Spring Stock Ups

I get most of Chloe’s clothes from Nordstrom and Gap. Gap fits Chloe’s body well, and I’ll stock up on tops there. I also love Nordstrom for Chloe because they have some of my favorite children’s brands like Tucker and Tate and Tea Collection. I hoard Tea Collection leggings for Chloe because they are THE BEST. They are the only leggings she owns that never get holes. They tend to be pricer but you can usually find some pairs on sale. When I do, I buy ALL the colors.

We actually went shopping at Nordstrom last weekend, and Chloe picked out all of her clothes and tried them on in the dressing room just like a big girl. I am creating a monster. My poor husband 😉

Chloe’s Spring Stock Ups

I always pick up a few new pairs of shoes for the kids for school. I recently bought these and these. I also grabbed a pair of Native shoes for each kiddo which go from pool to school and everything in between.

What are you stocking up on this spring for your kids?

Photos by Melissa Zimmer Photography.

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Valentine’s Day photos

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On Chloe: Top // Skirt 

On Ryan: Sweater // Jeans

On Sara: Sweater (on sale!) // Similar Jeans

Happy Valentines Day!

I have been trying to be better about taking more photos of the kids, and decided that I wanted to shoot some fun Valentine’s Day photos with them. We went to Melissa Zimmer’s Photography Studio in Downtown Hinsdale, IL. I have been wanting to see her new studio, and I figured this would be the perfect opportunity. I am so glad that we did!

Melissa’s studio is such a beautiful reflection of herself. If you’ve never worked with her before – you need to! She is so easy going, and really makes you feel comfortable. The kids were more than at ease with her. Because of this, her pictures turn out so natural and beautifully authentic. I am not a fan of pictures that are overly posed so her style works really well for my taste. While I do love my fall photos taken outside, I think that studio photos are so timeless. They are the photos that you will have on your gallery wall for years to come.

Melissa’s studio itself has such great, natural light. There is a waiting area with coloring things for the kids. She also had treats and fun things (bubbles, confetti, etc.) in her studio which was the highlight for my sugar loving kiddos ;).

If you live in a western suburb of Chicago, I highly recommend that you check out her studio for your next family photos!

Photos by Melissa Zimmer Photography

You are Two

I can’t believe that you are two.

And you are such the second kid. I’m sorry this post got written at 9pm the night before your birthday. And I’m sorry we took you to Kid Snips at 7pm on a Tuesday, and the “C Squad” botched your birthday haircut.

But boy oh boy, little boy, I couldn’t love you more. You are the snuggliest, open mouth kiss giving, tackle anything that moves, dive off the staircase and hope someone catches you, truck and train lovin’, brand of 100% little boy. ALL boy.

Before I knew you, I was terrified of you. What was I going to do with a little boy who would come in and ruffle up my perfect vision of a world full of dresses and dolls, shopping and nail polish. But little boy, I secretly love how wild you are. I love how you are rough and tumble but also so so freakin sweet that my heart swells so much I get tears in my eyes.

I love being told what a good friend you are. That you will play with anyone who has a truck 😉 That you will help me unpack and put away groceries. That you will clean up without me nagging you. That you don’t scream in the grocery store, you just quietly hand me things from the cart.

I love how you sing to yourself, and get so embarrassed when we call you out on it.

You, my sweet Bubba, make me so proud. I can’t believe how lucky we got.

As we enter the terrible twos, I hope you will always keep your kind heart, your father’s sense of humor, and I hope that you asking for “more” kisses is something that never fades away.

I love you wild man. You have my heart.



You can read Ryan’s birth story here, and some truths about motherhood and having two kids here.

Activities To Do With Your Kids This Holiday Season

Let me preface this by saying – I love my kids more than anything in the world. They are my reason for being. My sun in the sky. Spending time with them gives me more joy than anything in the world.


I am kind of dreading the 10 straight days I will be spending with my kids this holiday season. Does anyone else feel this way? No, I am the only horrible mother? I mean, being a mom is really, really hard. It’s not bad in the summer because we can spend the day outside at the park or pool, but in the winter…I mean, what in the world am I going to do to keep them busy for ten days??? And yes, #momlifeisthebestlife 😉 but it is still really, really hard.

I am also a huge germaphobe, and I can’t do crowded indoor places. I can literally see the germs just flying around everywhere. Gross, right? Yes, I am nuts. 😉 But that rules out indoor play places for me.

So I’ve come up with a few activities to do with your kids to help you keep your sanity.

  1. Go to the zoo. Yes, that’s right, go to the zoo in the winter. And I’m not talking Zoo Lights either. Go during the day, in the middle of the week when it is cold and snowing. NO one else will be there! It’s amazing. It’s probably the only time you won’t find the zoo crowded. You can use the animal houses to warm up. So grab some hot chocolate and enjoy the zoo all to your self. 🙂
  2. Have a staycation. We booked a night for the Wednesday after Christmas at a hotel about five minutes from our house that has suites and an indoor pool. We are going to swim, eat, watch movies. Hopefully, the kids will have fun. If nothing else, it will be a change of pace.
  3. Find some Christmas lights. My kids, especially my little guy, are obsessed with Christmas lights. So drive around, find some towns that go all out, bring some treats, take some pictures.
  4. Crafts. We love Hobby Lobby up in ‘her. Maybe it’s because I am a Kindergarten teacher? Well Hobby Lobby is a great place to grab holiday crafts on the cheap. This year we’ve made a Christmas tree Advent Calendar, a tree skirt, a manger, a styrofoam snowman, and a few random other odds and ends.
  5. Bake cookies to decorate. My kids don’t particularly like the “baking” part of cooking but they do love the decorating. So pull out a tube of sugar cookie dough, grab some frosting and sprinkles, and let the kids go a little crazy.
  6. Take a train ride. Just for kicks. You don’t even have to go anywhere special. Just ride it! Or get off at a nearby town and grab some food.
  7. Your local library. They have tons of activities but I caution you: there will be germs.
  8. Indoor play zones. See above: GERMS. But you’re probably not nuts like me so go for it. We like SkyZone, Gymnastics places (usually will have open gym time), The Ball Factory, and Westmont Yard.
  9. Go get cookies at a bakery. Or Donuts. Or Cupcakes. There is a place by us that serves Baby Donuts, and we love to go there for a snack. Go at an off time to avoid the crowds.
  10. Run around the mall. Ride elevators. Find some candy stores. Get some hot chocolate. Build a Bear.

What will you be doing to keep your kids busy this holiday season?

Photo by Melissa Zimmer Photography

Link Up with A Little Bit of Everything

Link Up with A Passion for Fashion

Toddler Holiday Style

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On Chloe

Top // Skirt // Shoes

On Sara

Sweater old, similar // Skirt old, similar // Boots

How cute is Chloe’s little holiday outfit? We grabbed it while at Nordstrom, and she picked it out all by herself. She is such a little fashionista. I am definitely going to be in trouble with her. I love the combination of a fun skirt (that can be worn all year) with a cute holiday sweater. The combination can be mixed and matched so many different ways.  Chloe’s outfit would be perfect for a Holiday Brunch, or to see Santa. Chloe wore hers to see the Nutcracker where she only lasted half the time. But, in her defense, that’s quite a long time for an active kid to sit still.

Below I’ve put together some other cute toddler holiday looks from Nordstrom!

Shop Other Toddler Holiday Looks

What is your toddler wearing this holiday season?

Nobody Said Having Kids Would Be Easy

It’s 4:00 pm on a rainy Saturday, the “witching hour”, as us moms have come to know and dread. You have been up since 6:00 am. You have played with every toy in the house and then some, you have painted, you’ve made obstacle courses, you’ve built a fort, watched tv, eaten all the snacks, and there is still four more hours until the blissful freedom of bedtime.

The kids are now fighting. They have had enough sharing for one day. Your son performs one of his signature wrestling moves on your daughter. She bites him. Crying ensues. You are arguing with your husband about anything and everything from why the kids can’t behave to what to eat for dinner. Your house is in a complete state of chaos. Toys cover every square inch of your home.

You struggle through preparing dinner while your kids hang all over you, pull at your clothes, whine, and rub boogers on your jeans. You somehow manage to get dinner on the table only to watch your son throw all of his ketchup covered food on the floor.

It is now 8:00 pm. You survived the bedtime routine. The kids are finally asleep! Kudos to you. Dishes and laundry can now commence. By the time the house is cleaned up and the chores are done, you are too tired to even start a movie. You sip a glass of wine and attempt to watch Netflix without making lists in your head while your husband snores on the couch next to you.

Nobody ever said having two kids would be easy. It still boggles my mind how one kid feels like one kid, while two kids feels like 10 kids. I follow so many moms on Instagram and wonder what I am doing wrong. How are they making it look so easy while I can barely find the time to brush my teeth? I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually blowdried and curled my hair since my daughter was born in 2014. I don’t paint my nails anymore, I paint a three year olds instead. The only time I am ever able to get showered and dressed is if I wake before my children which means getting up between 5:00 and 6:00 am.

Evenings are even harder. There’s wrangling two kids into the bathtub, and then trying to keep them there long enough to wash them but not so long enough that they start trying to drown one another. There is crying and yelling, ultimatums, and empty threats. At the end of it all, the battlefield that is bedtime leaves you battered and scarred, and you have no energy left for anything but internet surfing and Facebook stalking.

But no matter how tough it gets, and man will it get tough, I wouldn’t change a second of it. Because for every tough second, there are 1000 sticky kisses and “Momma up’s” and sweaty hugs that make it all worth it. And boy, is it worth it.

That’s the funny thing about motherhood.

Read a previous post about motherhood truths, here.

Potty Training Tips

My daughter never ceases to amaze me. When Chloe turned 31 months old, she decided to potty train herself. Literally, She turned to us one day and said, “I don’t want to wear my diaper today.” (cue eye rolling from me) Well that was that. We now have a closet full of Size 4 princess Pull-Ups that Ryan will indeed be wearing someday.


Honestly, Dean and I did next to nothing. Sure we had the potty chair out, and we occasionally asked her if she’d like to use it, but other than that, it was all her. So while I am the one writing this post, it should actually be Chloe who is writing it.

First of all, while yes it is gross, I recommend a potty chair that sits right on the ground. The only way your kid is going to start using the “potty” (potty is in quotes because I now find myself saying, “I have to go potty” all the time, and my husband makes fun of me.) regularly is if they can reach it on their own, especially in the beginning. I started keeping dish soap under the sink in her bathroom for a quick clean up of the potty seat.

I chose Chloe’s potty seat because it is purple. Chloe loves purple. Chloe hates ELMO. Choose a potty seat that your child will love.

Second, STICKER CHARTS. I am a firm believer in sticker charts. That comes from being both a mom, and a kindergarten teacher. Kids. Love. Stickers. Even the boys. You’d be surprised how many little boys I know who love pink scented stickers.

Chloe got a sticker every time she used the potty. In the beginning, you can start by offering stickers for sitting on the potty, pulling up pants, washing hands, etc. The more you offer them, the more successful you will be! Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the sticker chart because Ryan ate it. But it served it’s purpose.

Third, Pull-Ups and easily removable clothes. Sorry Moms, no more rompers. Poor Chloe always wants to wear her purple romper to daycare but I know she’d never be able to get it off herself when she needs to go the bathroom.

Fourth, make the bathroom a place your child wants to be, and have them try to go frequently! We have toys in there. We would bring in books when Chloe was first learning to sit on her potty chair. Sometimes it takes a little time before they actually understand what they are supposed to do on the potty chair. Books help pass the time, and who doesn’t love books!

Last, and most important, don’t rush it! Honestly, I was in no hurry to get Chloe out of diapers. Now every time we leave the house, I need to know where the closest bathroom is.  She also now wakes up super early some mornings (i.e. 6:00am) because she has to pee, and has trouble going back to sleep. So that’s fun.

When your kid is ready, they will potty train easily! If it’s killing you, take a break and try again in a few weeks. No one child is the same.

Or you could hire Chloe to help. I think she charges by the hour 😉