24 Life Lessons

Every school year, I have my students come up with life lessons.  It aligns with our reading curriculum when we teach the theme of a story.  It coincides perfectly as the theme is the life lesson, big idea, or important message.  It’s what you want to share with the world that can resonate with anybody and everybody.  I have several different quotations hanging up around my room that we talk about at the beginning of the year.  It’s a starting off point for our discussion on imploring them to be leaders and create their own life lessons.  Every school year, I’m amazed at what they come up with.  Even though they are just nine and ten years old, they are wise beyond their years.  We can all learn from them.

Previous years’ life lessons include 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.

24 life lessons

24 Life Lessons as Told by Fourth Graders

  • A clean mind resembles a clean heart.
  • Aim for the sun. Even if you miss, you’ll swim through the clouds.
  • A mistake is your first step to trying.
  • If something is hard, never give up, and try your best.
  • Shoot for the sun to succeed.
  • If someone tells you that you can’t do something, don’t believe them.
  • Never give up, even if you’re stuck on something.
  • Work hard even though nobody is looking at your work.
  • When life is hard, shoot for the stars.
  • Friendship, peace, and love, it’s what everyone needs.
  • When someone breaks you down, get back up and stand even taller.
  • Don’t promise someone something you can’t keep.
  • Follow your dreams. No matter what.
  • Once you get it in your mind, you can do it.
  • Keep trying. You hard work will pay off!
  • If you believe that you’re good enough, then you can do anything.
  • The stars should be your goal, but if you miss, another will give you a new goal.
  • Be yourself, you might not like someone else’s personality.
  • You can be a star in your own way. Don’t let anyone bring you down.
  • If you keep learning, you keep rolling.
  • Do your best on the test of life.
  • Kittens feel the love.  How about you?
  • The more friends, the bigger the tree.
  • Kindness is the key to friendship.

life lessons

If you could tell the world just one thing, what would it be?

Staying Accountable Using A Fitness Tracker

The hot new thing right now is wearing a fitness tracker.  I bet you have one.  And your mom.   There are so many benefits to wearing them; most importantly, keeping you active and moving throughout the day.  A fitness tracker is like your best friend who is there to motivate you and remind you about your goals.  A fitness tracker keeps you accountable for your actions.  Like many of you, I’m a busy gal.  I work full-time and am a mom to the cutest little baby William (fine, he’s a toddler!).  I don’t have the freedom to go to the gym on a daily basis or when I want to.  I have to get creative with staying active.  As I wrote before, my goal is to hit 10,000 steps each day.  Here’s how I do it.

I thought it would be fun to do a day in the life type of post and focus on my Polar Loop 2 with various accountability check ins.  My coworkers have fitness trackers, as well, so we’re constantly asking each other how many steps we’re at (and then maybe taking the longer route out to recess… or maybe that’s just me and my competitive self).  This day in the life will be from Monday of this week which also happened to be picture day at school for William.  Before we begin, you must check out the cuteness:

picture day oct15

Be still my heart.  Jeans, button down, and sweater vest.  Hopefully his shirt was more tucked in and his hair was more combed and he had shoes on his feet for actual pictures, but he’s cute no matter what!  That smile!

So this little stinker was up bright and early at 5:30 in the morning, as usual.  He sure keeps me active just like my Polar Loop 2 keeps me accountable!  We played hard in between getting ready and eating breakfast.  Since William is always so busy, cooking breakfast can be challenging some mornings while keeping him occupied.  Meal prepping has saved me a lot.  I make something in a larger amount that will last for at least a couple of meals.  Lately, it’s been my caprese egg bake.  It’s so easy to make with just a few ingredients before throwing it in the oven.

caprese egg bake recipe

Mmm!  Eggs always keep me full by providing a lot of protein.  The cheese, tomato, and spinach are the perfect pair, too, and so savory on these chilly mornings.

Once we’re finally out the door, it’s just about a five minute drive to William’s school.  But since we play so hard in the mornings…

sleep polar

William often falls asleep in that short time!  Accountability check in: 1,482 steps and a sleeping baby – all before 8:00 a.m.

I get to school, do my teacher thing, take lots of brain breaks with my students, impart my knowledge on those young minds, eat snacks and lunch prepared on Sunday for the week (makes life so much easier!), and soon enough it’s time for recess.  My coworkers and I each announce our numbers as we begin to walk, gaining more steps, while patrolling the playground.

polar recess

Accountability check in: 4,776 steps at 1:45 pm.

I finish teaching, make sure the kiddos go where they’re supposed to, and head to William’s school to pick him up.  He comes running toward me, I nurse him in the car (he literally cannot wait five minutes until we get home!), and we’re on our way.  Once home, we unpack our bags, let Zoey out, check the mail, and then it’s time to play again!  Since the weather has been nice, I’ve really been trying to be outside a lot and take many walks.  I’m not a huge fan of how early it’s getting dark and I know it’s just going to get worse once daylight savings time happens.  I’ll enjoy the warm(ish) temperatures and light(ish) walks while I have them!

polar walk

Accountability check in: 7,832 steps at 6:15 pm.  When we got back home, I was around 9,500 so I knew I’d hit my goal for the day.  We played some more, I even did a few sets of lunges, I fed William dinner, and gave him a bath.  Soon enough, he was asleep and it was time for me to throw together a simple yet healthy dinner.

salmon dinner

Salmon on the grill, sweet potatoes baked in the oven, and Copycat PF Chang’s Spicy Green Beans.  The green beans were SO spicy!  I didn’t have any sesame oil, so I used olive oil and sprinkled sesame seeds on top.  Super easy to make (I used Trader Joe’s frozen green beans) and it tasted great!

After doing some school work and completing other tasks around my house, I hopped in to bed and checked my Polar Loop 2 for the last time before closing my eyes.

polar bed

Accountability check in: 11,205 steps at 10:30 pm.  GOAL REACHED!

I seriously love how my fitness tracker holds me accountable.  I’ve had two other fitness trackers, but the Polar Loop 2 is my favorite.  It fits me the best, it’s the easiest to use, it looks the coolest, and I love the information the app provides.  Some key features include activity tracking (steps, calories, activity, sleep, heart rate), mobile connectivity, vibration alert, and smart notifications.

And guess what?  You can get 20% off your Polar Loop 2 (or any Polar Heart Rate Monitor or activity tracker) using the discount code POLARFITBLOG.  The code is case-sensitive. There is no quantity limit. The code is good online at Polar.com. The code is only good in the US. It expires on 12/31/15.

Who (or what) holds you accountable?  Do you wear a fitness tracker?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Polar.

White Plum Discount Code | Pumpkin Patch 2015

With October 31st less than one week away, Halloween festivities are in full force!  We had two birthday parties to attend this weekend and went to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins!

pumpkinpatch 2015

I couldn’t get the classic pumpkin shot because little man wouldn’t sit still for more than two seconds, but he sure did love running all around!  The only time I could keep him still was if he was in my arms.

pumpkin patch oct15

camo leggings – White Plum 

Let’s take a quick second and reminisce on one year ago when he was, actually, a pumpkin:

william halloween14

OMG so cute! I can’t believe how much he’s grown!  He won’t even hardly let me put on a costume this year!  Saturday should be interesting…

linking up with katie and erin

Some other great pumpkin shots from just yesterday:

audrey oct15

Audrey was cracking up because William was wiggly (as always!), so Stephanie put that gigantic pumpkin on him to keep him still.  It worked!

Jacob had to have his own picture with baby William, of course, because it’s not fair if only one of them get their own picture with him.

jacob oct15

William is such a mini Jacob, especially when he wears all his old clothes. Stephanie graciously gives me all his hand-me-downs which is fantastic because she has the best style and got him the best clothes! As he got older, she got him more and more stylish outfits, so his clothing only got better.  William’s one lucky dude.

Yesterday I wore camo leggings, a white top, and brown boots which, I feel, is the perfect fall outfit.  White Plum graciously sent me the leggings after giving me my choice of their many styles.  I chose camo after texting with Stephanie and asking what the most stylish of their options were. :-)

me october15 whiteplum leggings

These leggings are AMAZING!!!  Leggings are every girls’ staple during the fall (and winter!), and the White Plum leggings are a MUST-HAVE.  First of all, they are only $19.99 (even less when you use the discount code LINZ30 for 30% off your entire purchase!).  Second of all, they are super stretchy as they only have two sizes: 0-12 and 12-18; since they accommodate such a wide range of sizes the stretch is incredible!  Plus, they are crazy soft.  I could literally sleep in them.  The thickness is perfect, too.  They’re thick enough where I don’t feel like I have to have my entire tush covered by a long enough shirt, but the leggings are actually very thin.  So thick enough to be flattering and thin enough to be comfortable with any kind of boot!  I am seriously going to order a few more pairs. They have tons of options, including a classic black.  See all their leggings HERE.

White Plum is kindly offering all my wonderful readers 30% off your ENTIRE purchase from now until October 30.  White Plum’s prices are already amazing, so this additional discount makes their line extremely inexpensive.  I’ve already ordered a couple pairs of booties, tunics, and long sleeve tops.  I love how they always have the latest in what’s new with the fashion trends.

white plum discount code

I need a new fall wardrobe and White Plum is where it’ll happen!  Not to mention they have fabulous jewelry, too!  And they take PayPal.  I’m obsessed.  It’s the easiest, fastest, most fashionable, and best prices you’re going to find.  Ever since I discovered White Plum about a year ago, I’ve made purchases almost monthly.  They deliver daily emails with new deals and crazy low markdowns.  White Plum is definitely my favorite online shop!

pumpkin-patch 2015

Now if only we could get them to make a kids line, too…

What’s your fall fashion item must have?  Have you carved pumpkins yet?

what NOT to say to a pregnant woman

As if pregnant women are not hormonal enough, it never helps when people, strangers at that, make remarks that leave you wanting to punch them in their face scratching your head.  Woah, back up, where is this post coming from you are probably wondering.  No, no, no I’m not pregnant. LOL.  I have several friends who are pregnant right now and I’ve been hearing them talk about the ridiculous remarks that have been made all throughout their pregnancy.

So I thought it would be fun to do a lighthearted post collecting all the crude things that have been said to beautiful pregnant ladies all over the place.  I asked a wonderful group of mommas to share their stories and I couldn’t stop laughing as I read them all!  Get your coffee (or tea or adult beverage), sit down, and prepare yourself for some ridiculousness!  This is gonna be good!

what not to say to a pregnant woman

note: these are real comments said by real idiots people to real pregnant women. their permission has been given to share these stories on the blog.

what NOT to say to a pregnant woman and other ridiculous comments

  • “Wow, your face looks fat!!! You must be retaining water!”
  • I had an Italian coworker tell me that, “In Italy, they say that when you are having a girl she steals all your beauty from you while you are pregnant…. I definitely think you are having a girl.”
  • “Are you sure there’s just one in there? You look like there’s at least two.”
  • I hated when people said that I didn’t look that pregnant… I knew how much weight I had gained and how big I looked and I took it to mean that they saw me that way regularly.
  • “You’re not going to use pain meds? Are you trying to be a hero?”
  • When I was waiting for the train one day, a man asked me how far along I was. I said “34 weeks”. He responds “Oh! My wife went into labor at 34 weeks and it was so terrible because they had to keep her in the hospital trying to keep the baby in and then the baby still came and she had to stay in the NICU, etc etc etc… So hopefully that doesnt happen to you.” Ummmm, thanks? –Stephanie
  • “How cute is your pregnancy waddle?”
  • Saying, “You’ll never make it” to your due date. I’m very petite and make normal size babies, so I appear larger than most. People need to shut up and stop assuming I’m not going to make it, having twins, or other ridiculous “observations.”
  • My best friend was seven months pregnant at my wedding and looked gorgeous. One of my mom’s cousins was chatting with her and mentioned her daughter-in-law was expecting, as well. Apparently she thought she’s big, so the cousin told her, “She should see you!!” I was mortified when I found out many months later.
  • I was told I was too old to be pregnant. I was 33.


  • “Seriously, you’re not going to find out the gender?  Don’t you want to know what the baby name will be?”  I always wanted to reply, “It doesn’t matter because we will love the baby either way.
  • “Where is the baby hiding? Are you sure there is one in there?”
  • “You’re due in December? Wow, we thought October!” (when I announced my pregnancy to my coworkers).
  • Literally having one person tell me “you’re about to pop!” and another state, “you’re so small; you don’t even look pregnant” in the SAME week. –Catherine
  • About 7-8 months in, “Are you feeling ok? You’ve lost your glow.”
  • “If you’re going to have your baby in a birthing center and insist on going all natural, why don’t you just have it in the middle of a field? You’re being ridiculous.”
  • A previous co-worker actually said to me, “You know your going to have to lose all that weight?” As I was eating a thin mint….
  • When I was pregnant with my fourth, people were always telling me I shouldn’t have more kids or how crazy we were to have four kids five and under. I was also asked if we were done – like it’s anyone’s business!!!!
  • An older woman asked if I was having twins. Nope, just a 10lber, ugh. –Kelly
  • “How are you not going to find out the gender…? You better not expect any gifts from anyone because no one is going to know how to shop for you.”
  • I had older women come up to me in the grocery store and tell me their awful birth stories while pregnant with my first. It happened several times with different women. I was already scared enough of child-birth!
  • “Awww yeah, I love watching you waddle all over,” when I was 8 months pregnant and had no ankles.
  • Someone told me I was going to hurt the baby by teaching so many fitness classes. Haha. NOPE. –Annette, fitness instructor
  • “Can you not color your hair when you’re pregnant?” once my gray was showing.

32 weeks pregnant

  • Literally any amount of judgey advice about how your birth should go… anywhere from “I did it all-natural, baby! I was super woman!” to “How stupid to feel pain if you don’t have to.” It’s sort of like religion. You don’t know what someone’s personal story is, so don’t walk up to them and preach your own gospel.
  • On my baby moon with baby #1 the (female) valet at a restaurant asked me if I knew what I was having. I said no, then she said, “Oh, let me guess, I’m really good at this!” She proceeded to look me up and down, then asked me, “Are your hips and butt normally big, or have they just gotten bigger since you got pregnant?” I guess my silent, horrified, mouth open gaze didn’t give her a clue to her rudeness, because then she announced, “It’s a boy! Congrats, mama!” And of course it *was* a boy and I never forgot that apparently that was obvious to anyone checking out my butt!! –Carly
  • “Are you planning on having anymore?” while I was pregnant with my second and since we were having another little boy (because once people figure out you’re pregnant they have to know the gender). They then ask the above question. “So are planning on trying for a girl then?” Uh I’m still pregnant and this child isn’t insignificant thank you very much. And also I’ll make sure to call you, random stranger in the checkout line, to let you know what my husband and I decide..
  • “Oh you’re so big! You must be ready to go any day!” Said to me at 37 weeks…I actually felt great and participated in a workout class that same day! –Maria
  • I had a girl at work tell me that we should do jumping jacks to, “Get that baby out of there!” If only it were that easy! And I don’t want the baby out yet, I still have three weeks!
  • I was getting my bike off of my bike rack and I had a woman come up to me and ask me if I knew what I was having (I did) and she says, “Wait don’t tell me, let me guess!” Walks a circle around me as if she were checking me out and says, “You’re having a boy!” No ma’am they say it’s a girl… I guess we’ll see. So awkward.
  • I was at my work gym and someone asked, “Should you be working out? I don’t think you should be working out in your condition.” I almost died with laughter. I told him, “I don’t remember you being my doctor, but thank you for your concern.” And then I went on to continue my weights with a machine. I was only one week from my due date, but my doctor was fully behind it. If only they could have seen me playing volleyball, doing zumba, and TRX. –Elizabeth

studio maternity pregnant itzlinz

all photos by stephanie cotta photography

While I know these comments and stories weren’t actually funny when they happened, I’m glad we’re all able to laugh at them now.  Moral of the story?  The ONLY thing you should say to a pregnant momma is, “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!”

Do you have any ridiculous comments or stories to share?

New Pure Barre Studio in St. Louis

There’s a new Pure Barre Studio in St. Louis that I can’t wait to check out!  It’s opening at the beginning of December and is located at 11684 Manchester Road in Des Peres, Missouri.


My thoughts on barre workouts have totally changed.  I used to think they were boring, but now I enjoy the focus that’s required and the burn that is felt.  A bit about Pure Barre from their website:

We strive to make our studio a place where everyone will feel comfortable. Pure Barre is a low-impact workout and can be done by women of all shapes, sizes, and ages. As long as you can hold on to the ballet barre, you can do Pure Barre! No dancing experience is required. While the Pure Barre technique is high intensity, it is very low impact, meaning you’ll get a great workout without putting excessive stress on your joints. If running or jumping has ever caused pain or stress to your joints, Pure Barre may be just what you’re looking for. We focus on very tiny isometric movements, so size truly does not matter. Pure Barre is one of the fastest, most effective ways to change the shape of your body. Clients typically see the best results when they take 3-4 classes per week.

I’ve been following Pure Barre Des Peres on Facebook and they always post awesome motivational messages.

how hard you work

How hard you work determines how good you feel.  How true is that?  I know, personally, I always feel my best when I workout.  Working out is not easy; it’s hard.  The harder the workout the better I feel.

pure barre

The thigh toning, seat lifting, ab sculpting, body shaking, motivating, life changing workout. Who doesn’t want that?  I love the community aspect of group exercise classes, especially when the instructors have a lot of experience and know what they’re doing, just like the teachers at Pure Barre Des Peres are.

And guess what?  They are running an awesome special in celebration of their opening!  5 weeks unlimited for $100.  That’s an incredible deal and such a steal!  You better believe I’ll be there when the studio opens and I’ll be sure to update you.  St. Louis friends, I’d love to workout with you – let’s plan to go to a class together! Email me for details! :)

Stay up to date on specials, information, and receive motivational messages and workout tips from Pure Barre Des Peres on Facebook!

Have you ever done a pure barre class?

Caprese Egg Bake Recipe

I mentioned on Monday that I didn’t workout over the weekend.  I planned to go on a run, but the cooler (cold!!!) temperatures scared me away, and it was way too easy to stay in my warm bed.  Well, that’s not going to fly all fall and winter.  I can’t just hibernate for half the year though some days it does sound appealing.  I’m a big believer in “every bit counts” and “do what you can when you can.”  So on Monday morning, I met my coworkers in the gym for a quick 15-minute workout before our students arrived.


Working out is a great way to start off the week no matter how long or short!  Moving your body everyday is essential and every little bit adds up.  No excuses!  If I can get 10,000 steps in as a full time working mom, you can too!

While fitness is one aspect of living a healthy life, fueling your body with nutritious foods is another.  It’s easy to get in the habit of “comfort food” in the cooler weather, but it’s essential to stay up on eating well as the days get shorter and cooler.  One of the major ways I accomplish this is by meal prepping and batch cooking.  This means cooking in advance large quantities of food that last for more than one meal.

I love eating eggs in the morning for breakfast.  Specifically, Eggland’s Best (they really are the best and most nutritious!).  However, sometimes cooking eggs in the morning just doesn’t happen with my little toddler running around.  It only takes a few minutes, but sometimes it feels like I don’t even have that.  Plus, having a dish already prepared in the refrigerator feels so good and means one less thing for me to do in the busy morning.  Recently I made a Caprese Egg Bake.

caprese egg bake

It’s warm and cheesy and filling and so unbelievably easy to make.  You ready for it?

Caprese Egg Bake Recipe


  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 oz mozzarella, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in large bowl.
  2. Layer tomatoes and mozzarella in greased casserole dish.
  3. Spread spinach out on top.
  4. Pour in egg mixture.
  5. Sprinkle basil.
  6. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until cooked through.

Whenever I follow recipes at home, I usually alter them just a bit depending on my taste and what I have on hand.  Some options for this recipe include adding one cup of shredded mozzarella cheese to make it even cheesier.  Cherry or grape tomatoes also work.  I’ve used 2 cups of them and make sure they’re halved.  I’d like to add more vegetables such as zucchini or squash though really any vegetables would work.

caprese egg bake recipe

Did you know that compared to ordinary eggs, Eggland’s Best eggs stay fresher longer, have 10X more Vitamin E, 25% less saturated fat, have more than DOUBLE the Omega-3s, have 4X more Vitamin D, 3X more Vitamin B12, and 38% more Lutein. [source]

All Eggland’s Best eggs are produced by hens that are fed an unique, all-vegetarian diet of healthy grains, canola oil, and an all-natural supplement of rice bran, alfalfa, sea kelp and Vitamin E.  The feed contains no animal fat, no animal by-products, and no recycled or processed food.  Eggland’s Best never uses added hormones, steroids, or antibiotics of any kind.

Check out Eggland’s Best eCookbook!

caprese egg bake brunch

Whenever I eat regular caprese salads, I love a light drizzle of balsamic on top.  Well, I did that last night as I was photographing the bake.  William was watching me and I was worried that he was going to go for the plate, so I passed him the bottle of the balsamic to keep him occupied while I snapped away.  Unfortunately, I forgot to put the cap on before I gave it to him!  You know what happened… he wanted to be like his momma and pour some on the eggs!


Wah!  I was sad because this was the last of a really good bottle of balsamic I received for my birthday.  Silly baby.  Don’t worry though, I didn’t let the eggs go to waste! 😉

PS: The balsamic, even in this massive quantity, was a great addition!

Caprese salads – yay or nay?  Caprese egg bake? YAY!

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Eggland’s Best.

18 month old TODDLER William

I contemplated making the post title 18 month old BABY William as I had done for his first twelve monthly updates, but ultimately decided, sadly, that my baby William is no longer a baby; he’s a toddler.  A walking, talking, running, laughing toddler.  We do still call him baby William, but in reality he’s a toddler and growing every day.  He’s so much fun as he’s constantly learning new things.  I’m definitely blessed to be his momma!  Last week I took him to his 18 month checkup.

18months dr crying

Clearly he was NOT a fan of the scale!  But how cute is he?!

Height & Weight: 23 pounds 2 ounces and 32.5 inches (as of last week!).

Eating: William has changed so much in this department!  We are still breastfeeding, especially so in the morning and in the evening, and throughout the day when I’m with him.  Frankly, he’d nurse all day long if I let him.  Foods he loves include eggs, French toast, bananas, avocado, chicken, turkey, salmon, cheese, crackers, peanut butter, and apples.  We’re definitely entering the “picky eater” phase as some days he loves carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach, and other days he won’t touch them.  I do think he eats better when he’s not with me (if he’s at school or with my parents) just because he prefers to nurse when he’s with me, though his eating has definitely improved.

Sometimes William boycotts the high chair which definitely makes mealtimes more challenging.  I can usually get him into it after offering something he wants whether it’s crackers or water.  He loves loves loves drinking out of his thermos.  I have the Foogo thermos which is stainless steel, and his teachers tell me he carries it around with him all day.  William loves using forks and spoons to eat, and this is a trick sometimes I use if he’s getting antsy in his high chair or if he’s not eating.  He’s actually pretty good at using utensils!

breakfast oct15

Sleeping (naps): At school, William takes 2-3 hour naps.  For me?  Ha!  I’m lucky if he makes it an hour!  But he does usually take two shorter naps with me and just one at school.

Sleeping (at night): I don’t want to jinx anything, but after sleep training him (TWICE!), he’s finally sleeping through the night.  He goes down around seven o’clock and wakes up between 5:00-5:30.  I cringe at anything earlier than five as five is the goal, but he usually makes it there.  I’ve tried putting him to sleep later to see if he will sleep later, but no dice.  I’ve heard that’s typical with kids, that they wake up at their normal time regardless of when they go down.  I guess he’s a morning babe, just like his momma!

18months sleep

William still uses white noise, his wubbanub binky, and a sleepsack to go to sleep.  Though now with the colder months approaching, I’m getting him a Woolino sleepsack which I’ve heard great things about!

Clothing: 12-18 or 18 month clothing. Size 4 diapers.

New lately: William recently started shaking his head no and it’s the cutest thing ever.  I know soon enough this will not be so cute, but right now it’s hilarious.  His voice is just adorable as he replies, “Yeah!” to almost everything.  His words are coming along, and he’s really good at repeating.  He’s turned into a huge climber.  He climbs on everything.  He’s also total boy – always banging things and very physical.  William learns so quickly.  He will watch me do something one time and then attempt it himself.

I’m amazed at how well he listens and follows directions.  He loves throwing trash away which is great at my house, not so great out in public (ew to public trash cans… which he loves trying to play with – UGH).  When we take his clothes off every night for a bath, he takes them and puts them in the laundry basket.  He definitely knows where things go and how to put them back (most of the time).  When we take our shoes off when we come in the house, he always tucks his socks into his shoes like I do.  If he wants to take Zoey out, he brings me my shoes then grabs her leash.  He’s definitely a smart baby!

18 months

William likes: William loves his momma!  Haha obviously, but he’s shy in new situations, but will eventually warm up.  When people he doesn’t know say hi to him or try to talk to him, he will curl towards me.  Slowly but surely he warms up if he likes you.  William LOVES playing with anything kitchen or food related.  He plays with the tupperware in my kitchen and LOVES putting on the oven mitts, walking towards the oven, and saying, “Hot!”  At my parents’ and my sister’s house, he loves playing with their toy kitchen set.  That will be his big Chanukah present this year!

William also loves music – listening and making it, working with his tool bench, doing puzzles, throwing, kicking, catching balls, pretend talking on the phone, and reading books.  Oh my goodness, does he love reading books right now!  He will sit there and make you read the same book over and over again!  He knows what he wants, too.  After I’ve read a book for four straight times in a row, I will try to switch books, and he won’t let me.  William loves running and he’s fast!

William dislikes: Being told no when he wants to do something, specifically when we’re outside and I have to hold his hand on the sidewalk to prevent him from running in the street.  William is such a happy little guy, but he definitely knows what he wants and what he doesn’t want and will let you know!

18months bath

William has the best smile and the most contagious laugh.  He’s happy, I’m happy, we’re all happy!  His favorite song right now is If You’re Happy and You Know It!  How fitting!

Mommas, tell me: what do the next six months bring?

A Sweet Weekend

It was a sweet, sweet weekend, both figuratively and literally.  Figuratively because it was wonderful and filled with fun and love, and literally because the amount of sweets consumed this weekend was kind of out of control.  I’m never one to deprive myself, but between Friday night candy apples to Sunday morning donuts there was a lot of sugar eaten.  I got the crockpot going yesterday to make a huge batch of vegetable soup to take for lunch this week to get back on a healthy eating track.  I literally combined whatever vegetables I had on hand (celery, carrots, cabbage, corn, onion, tomatoes, peppers) with chicken broth, quinoa, and lentils and let it cook in the crockpot for a few hours.  That took care of meal prep and healthy eating for the week!

After school on Friday, I picked up William and headed to Thies Farm.  This was my first time there and if you’re local to St. Louis with kids, I highly recommend it.  We only spent 30 minutes there since they closed at six, but it was jam packed with things to do.  William had a blast and especially loved riding on a John Deere, just like his Pops!

john deere

We picked up a caramel candy apple from Thies which totally hit the spot once William went down.  And then had another one on Sunday evening, as well!

Saturday included soccer practice for William, errands, getting my hair colored at Preston Salon, and a delicious dinner at Grapeseed.  Check my Instagram (@itzlinz) for food pictures from the weekend.

Sunday morning began with donuts from Vincent Van Doughnut.  The vanilla mascarpone with raspberry was awesome and definitely a sweet way to start the day!  We went back to Thies Farm, but it was very busy and we had just a short amount of time.  We saw the horses, pulled wagons, and bought more candy apples.

running oct15

William loves the fresh air and is always on the move!  In the afternoon, we went to a baby shower for my cousin who is just three weeks away from her due date!

yaya oct15

My mom was one of the hosts and always throws fabulous parties!

linking up with katie and erin

Afterwards, we went grocery shopping, made soup, baked dessert for school, and headed to my parents’ for Sunday night dinner.

yaya pops kids

It’s been awhile since we’ve done Sunday night dinner and it was fun to have everyone together again.  My parents are such role models for everyone, and we’re all so lucky to have them in our lives and the kids’ lives.


aud pops oct 15

Right after this, Audrey said, “Now just me and William!”  If you know Audrey, then you know that what Audrey wants, Audrey gets. 😉

aud oct15

She was giving him kisses.  She always takes such good care of her baby William.

The only thing that could have made the weekend any better was if I went for a run or worked out at all.  I actually planned on running Saturday, but then totally chickened out and blamed the cold 40-degree temperatures.  My bad.  I’m so not ready for this colder weather.  Can we have summer back?  I’m starting Monday with a quick 15-minute workout with my co-workers at school.  Something is better than nothing!

What were you up to this weekend?  Workout?  Eat any sweets?

Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

How well do you know the city you grew up in and / or the city you currently live in?  For me, I was born and raised in St. Louis.  It’s a city I love and, frankly, never plan to leave.  In high school, I couldn’t wait to get out, and just as quickly, I came running back directly after college.  Now as an adult and raising my baby here, I’ve grown to love it even more than before.  Growing up and living in St. Louis now, I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about our city.  At the same time, I feel like I’m constantly learning about it, as well!

When I began working with Phillips 66 on the 66 Reasons to Love St. Louis campaign, I discovered there’s actually quite a bit about St. Louis and numerous places within our city I never knew before.  One of them being Cherokee Street.  The other place I got to check out was the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge.  I went with a friend on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  I had no idea what we were going to do once we arrived besides walk across the bridge, so I did what I always do when I want to take a picture of somewhere cool:

old chain of rocks bridge

I jumped for a picture! 😛

And then you know what came next…

chain rocks bridge handstand

Handstand time!

It was actually really fun walking across this bridge, stopping to take pictures, and learning more about the history of St. Louis.  Like this tidbit of information:

Route 66 changed the American landscape. One of the first highways in the USA, it was established in 1926 and connected Chicago and Los Angeles. The highway cut straight through the heart of St. Louis, down Gravois to Chippewa and Watson. Route 66 inspired many songs and a 1960’s television show, some of which was filmed here in St. Louis.

chain rocks bridge phillips66

Where to go:  Follow the Historic Route 66 signs to the Chain of Rocks Road. This section of the route is full of relics of the pre-interstate Route 66 heyday. You can bike or walk all the way across the Mississippi River spanning bridge to the Illinois side and admire the river views.

chain rocks bridge route66

Did you know? Route 66 was realigned multiple times in St. Louis. The original river crossing was over the McKinley Bridge, later the MacArthur Bridge and finally the Chain of Rocks Bridge. 

It was a lot of fun walking across the bridge, more than I imagined.  There was a fair amount of people on it, too.  It wasn’t crowded, but there were people running, biking, and strolling.  It was pretty cool to be able to walk from Missouri to Illinois.

chain rocks bridge missouri66

The opposite side of this sign said Illinois.

For those of you in St. Louis, you should do a little day adventure there.  It’s definitely kid friendly and you can see the river on one side of the bridge and a highway on the other.  There are clearly a lot of neat places to stop for photo opportunities:

chain rocks bridge car

Speaking of cars, Phillips 66 is giving one lucky St. Louisan a chance to win 66 Months of Free Gas + The Ultimate St. Louis Experience!  Details HERE.  It’s really easy to enter and involves posting a picture on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #STL66 and #Contest, then geotagging the official location to enter.

How amazing would it be to win 66 months of free gas?!?!

chain rocks bridge cartwheel

That’s how I would feel about it!

So make sure you’re following Phillips 66 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Go check out the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge (or one of the other 66 awesome places in St. Louis!) and enter the contest!

chain rocks bridge jump

How well do you know your city?

being free

Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.  ~Moshe Dayan 

Oh what a year this has been!  It’s certainly had its ups and downs, but lately its been more ups than downs.  Despite what’s been going on, I’m still a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason.”  We may not always know what that reason is or why something is happening, but in the end it all works out.

When I rappelled Over the Edge last weekend, it was a very freeing experience.  It was frightening, as many things in life are, but once I got the courage to go over the edge and begin making my way down, it was so incredibly freeing.  I had my support system in place (harness, carabiners, safety catch, etc.) which is similar to life, as well.  My support system in real life is my wonderful family and friends – always there for me no matter what.  So as I embarked on this journey, I realized I’m starting a new chapter in my life.  I’m free and I’m ready to fly.


doing what you like is freedom.  liking what you do is happiness.

Being free is being brave.

Being free is finding your purpose.

Being free is beautiful.

Being free takes courage.

Being free means taking the harder road, at times.

Being free is letting go.

Being free means finding yourself.

Being free means believing in yourself.

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be. ~Voltaire

What does being free mean to you?