Fun Facts Friday

Oh hey there!  Let’s talk today and we’ll call it Fun Facts Friday, but what it really means is a list of random things I have to tell you about from the past week or so.  I miss blogging about my everyday life.  I know I’ve said it for the past six months or whatever, but I’d really like to find a routine in blogging again.  We’ll see what happens.  For now, here’s some Fun Facts Friday.

1.  I LOVE Instagram stories!  Like seriously love them.  I never got on Snapchat because I didn’t understand the point of posting a quick clip that would be deleted soon after, but now I get it.  And I love it.  It’s like a little glimpse into people’s lives.  One of yesterday’s story included William talking to the guinea pigs at his school.  “Guinea pigs!  Guinea pigs!  Guinea pigs, drink water!”  Follow me at @itzlinz!

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2.  This whole getting dark at five o’clock in the evening thing is not cool.  It always feels so much later than it really is.  And cold weather?  Ugh.  Give me summer back.  William had been sleeping amazingly.  Most mornings until 6:30, sometimes 7, which is crazy late for him.  Since the time change, he’s been up at six.  It’s still great considering where we started, but I liked the later time.  Last weekend, we napped together which is a rarity these days.  I cherished the snuggles.

3.  Four out of the five work days this week I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and got in a 30 minute workout!  I have not worked out in the morning during the school year consistently since William has been born.  If you read my blog prior to baby, you know I always used to get up at five and go to the gym before work.  I loved that routine and felt great the rest of the day.  It’s no secret that I’ve struggled to find a workout routine these last two and a half years of being a momma.  I kind of found one in the summer, got back in halfway decent shape, and lost it all once the school year began.  Let’s hope I’m on to something.

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4.  Sweet cousins.  My siblings and I are all very close, so it’s no surprise our kids are, too.  Stephanie tried posing them like when they were babies.  You should have seen those Instagram stories!  Silly babes.

5.  We’ve had  a surplus of candy at school these last couple of weeks and I’ve eaten my weight in Almond Joys and Reese’s.  I’m done.  Take it away.  Maybe #3 has something to do with this one.  Errrr…

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6.  These two are basically brother and sister.

7.  It was a three day school week for us due to the election.  Teachers were contracted for all five.  One day was spent working on progress reports and the other day we had district development.

8.  Dr. Manny Scott was the speaker for my school district.  He is an original Freedom Writer whose story is told in part in the movie Freedom Writers.  He was an unbelievable presenter with a very inspiring story.  As an educator, I love my job and my students, but I did feel refreshed and was reminded of my purpose after hearing him speak.

 

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9.  Yes, of course I voted.  And of course I posted my obligatory “I voted” photo.  End of story.

10.  Are you still with me here?  I think this is the longest and most random post I’ve written in six months.  If you’ve made it this far, THANK YOU! 🙂

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Be the best version of yourself.  This means be kind to others.  If you want to make a change in the world, do so by example.  Do it because there are little bodies, young minds, open eyes, attentive ears, and tender hearts everywhere who are watching, listening, and following.  

What’s been going on with you? Share some Fun Facts Friday with me!

Soft Surroundings Birthday Event

must tell you about the fast-approaching Soft Surroundings Birthday Event!  I’m going to give you details first, then explain how I won a makeover there and how my fourth graders ended up on the news! 🙂

Soft Surroundings Birthday Event – For those of you that aren’t aware, Soft Surroundings started right here in St. Louis! They will be celebrating the 11th birthday of their first store, which is located at The Boulevard – St. Louis (across from the Galleria)!  Soft Surroundings began in 1999 as an online/catalog retailer and they now have 39 stores across the country with new stores opening every few weeks. The store at The Boulevard – St. Louis will be celebrating their 11th birthday on 11/11 (golden birthday!) and throughout the weekend of November 11-13. There, you can enjoy some drinks, treats, and a complimentary makeover while shopping!

soft surroundings interview

A couple nights before school started, my mom told my sister and I that she wanted to take us out to dinner for a girls night.  My dad came over to babysit William while my mom picked me up to meet Stephanie.  When we got there, my mom suggested we stop in Soft Surroundings so we could do a little shopping before dinner.  Stephanie and I thought like it sounded like a great plan since shopping with my mom is always fun!  Well, we walked in the store and Dana Dean, reporter for Show Me St. Louis, popped out from behind some clothing racks, threw a microphone in my face, and asked if I was Lindsay.  I was in complete shock looking at my mom and sister like, “What in the world is going on?”

Dana explained that Stephanie nominated me for a teacher makeover at Soft Surroundings and I won!  We had such a fun evening at the store!  The ladies at Soft Surroundings picked out several outfits for me to try on and model.

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I had been in the store a few times, but had never tried their clothes on.  I was amazed at how soft every fabric on each item was!  And it’s no surprise because Soft Surroundings takes great pride in choosing the very best fabrics for their clothing line.  They have so many gorgeous pieces that are perfect for teaching and everyday wear.  Part of the makeover included me selecting an outfit to keep; it was an easy choice and there was an obvious favorite of the many I tried.

soft-surroundings-makeover

You may recognize this outfit from my Back to School 2016 post.  The makeover was such perfect timing as I hadn’t even bought a new back to school outfit this year!  I love how classic, yet unique the top is and how it can really be paired with anything.  I’ll be layering it during the fall and winter.  The leggings are so versatile and actually called their “have to have leggings.”  Once you try them on, you’ll understand why.  They’re comfortable and flattering for all.  I liked them so much that my parents bought me two more pairs (in brown and gray!) along with a couple other items for my birthday.  Soft Surroundings also let me choose the necklace I’m wearing and a couple beauty items.  I was spoiled!

soft surroundings dana dean

It was a fabulous night and I’m so appreciative of everyone in involved, especially my sister for nominating me and my mom for being my biggest supporter!

linking up with all things marvelous!

A couple of weeks later, KSDK came to my classroom to film in preparation for the segment that would be airing on Show Me St. Louis.  My students thought it was the coolest thing ever!  Check out the clip here:

To help celebrate Soft Surroundings golden birthday, I was able to select one item from their new line.  It was a tough choice, but ultimately I went with a plaid top that can be worn as a shirt, tunic, or dress.

soft surroundings plaid

Seriously, so comfortable!  I wore it last night to family dinner and my mom and my grandma couldn’t believe how soft the material was!  It’s perfect to cozy up in or wear out and about with leggings and boots.

If you’re in St. Louis, I do hope you will join us at the Soft Surroundings Birthday Event this weekend! It will be a lot of fun and you’ll get to check out the gorgeous store (and have drinks, treats, a makeover, and more!).

Are you familiar with Soft Surroundings?

Happy Halloween 2016

Happy Halloween 2016!  This year for Halloween, little man William is…

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Mickey Mouse!  Thanks to cousin Jacob for passing down his costume from when he was two years old.  William loves Mickey, so it sure worked out perfectly.  This photo was when William was at Jacob and Audrey’s house trying on his costume.  More photos will be posted on Instagram (@itzlinz) throughout the day / evening.  When William puts on his costume now, he says, “Fat belly!”  Thank you, Jacob and Audrey for that one.

This is William’s third Halloween.  Last year, in 2015, William was Thomas the Train.

halloween2015 thomas train

He’s grown SO MUCH in the last year!  This year he actually “gets” Halloween.  Well, more than last year anyway.  He understands the fact that people dress up and wear costumes and that candy is involved.

linking up with healthy diva

Let’s do one more flashback photo from William’s very first Halloween in 2014 when he was six months old and an obligatory pumpkin.

william halloween14

Me oh my, he is growing up!

I hope everyone has a very happy (and safe!) Halloween this year!

What are you / your kids dressing up as this year?

Mom Hour at Costco

Mom Hour at Costco – now that’s where the party’s at!  We all know how wonderful of a place Costco is to look, shop, stock up, and eat.  But did you know that they are hosting a “Mom Hour” just for you, wonderful mommas?!  They are!

The Costco Mom Hour 2016 will take place on Friday, November 4, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. Enjoy breakfast, swag, samples, and giveaways. (You know they’ll be good!)  And yes, 9:00 a.m. is earlier than Costco usually opens.  Beat the crowds and shop at this exclusive event!

costco

Register HERE. Want to become a Costco member, but can’t attend? Click to receive an exclusive membership offer to join.  Existing Costco members are also in for a treat when they refer friends to join! This refer-a-friend offer is only available on the day of the event. If you are a current Costco member and bring a friend to the event who becomes a new member, you will be eligible for a $10 Costco Cash Card. 

Also, Premier Protein is available at Costco.  Their shakes come in chocolate or vanilla and are perfect for busy moms like yourself!  It’s always important to fuel your body, but as moms, let’s be real, sometimes it’s challenging to find time to do so.  Stock your fridge with hormone free Premier Protein for an on-the-go, easy to grab, protein packed option!  Some of the great stats:

  • 30 grams of healthy protein, including all of the essential amino acids
  • Low in fat and one gram of sugar
  • 160 calories
  • 24 vitamins and minerals
  • An excellent source of calcium
  • Protein blend comes from cows that are treated responsibly, without the artificial growth hormone rBST

premierprotein

Spruce up a regular shake by turning it into a chocolate berry shake!

Chocolate Berry Shake

INGREDIENTS: 
  • 1 Chocolate Premier Protein Shake
  • ¼ cup of raspberries
  • ¼ cup of blueberries
  • ½ cup of granola
  • 1 cup of ice cubes
DIRECTIONS: 
  • Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth.

raspberry-smoothie

Who is already a Costco member?  What are your must-have items?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Costco.

Easy White Chicken Chili Recipe

I’ve been in a cooking rut lately.  As in, I haven’t done much cooking at all.  I make eggs for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and dinner…?  Well, dinner is usually the same boring chicken recipe I make or something equally as simple and not nearly as exciting and delicious as the recipe I have to share with you today.  So when the opportunity came about to review Lisa Leake’s newest cookbook, 100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous, I jumped at the opportunity!

100daysofrealfood

There’s a lot of things I love about this cookbook.  First, there are a ton of recipes to amp up my weekly meal cooking (or lack of).  The book is separated into ten sections:

  1. Supermarket Staples and Secrets
  2. Breakfast
  3. Lunch
  4. Salads
  5. Sides
  6. Snacks and Appetizers
  7. Soups and Stews
  8. Simple Dinners
  9. Special Treats
  10. Homemade Staples

The Supermarket Staples and Secret category includes cheat sheets for the grocery store, food prep ideas and storage, meal plans, and much more.  This is perfect for someone learning how to cut out processed foods and cooking more with real food.  The other sections are self explanatory, but what is so great about all of  them is that the recipes truly are EASY to make.  Time is not my friend (hello working full time and being a toddler momma!), so I need recipes that do not require tons of preparation.

As a cookbook ambassador, I get to share a recipe with you.  I am choosing the easy White Chicken Chili Recipe as it’s the first one I made and it’s awesome.  It’s hearty and fabulous for the cooler weather that is fast approaching.

white-chicken-chili

White Chicken Chili Recipe

This is an easy recipe that only requires 10-15 minutes of prep time, 30 minutes of cook time, and makes 4 servings.  It’s gluten-free and nut-free.  I highly recommend doubling the recipe, freezing some for later, and sharing with friends!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels (no need to thaw)
  • Two 15-ounce cans white beans (such as Great Northern or cannellini), drained and rinsed
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Optional toppings: chopped cilantro, sour cream, grated Monterey Jack cheese, diced avocado, and/or corn tortilla strips

Directions:

  1. In a medium soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeño and cook, stirring, until the onion has softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is lightly browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside (add more olive oil if the pot starts to dry out), 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Toss the minced garlic and spices into the pot and turn a few times to coat the chicken evenly. Add the corn, beans, and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, about 20 minutes.

I knew this would be a winner, so I doubled the recipe.  A couple of other changes I made was using ground turkey meat instead of chicken and whole milk in place of heavy cream.  I topped mine with cheese, plain Greek yogurt, avocado, and cilantro.  I’ve eaten it for two days straight for lunch and dinner.  That has to tell you something!

cinnamon-glazed-bananas

My next recipe to try is the Cinnamon Glazed Bananas.  On top of some vanilla ice cream?  Yeah, baby!

What kind of recipes are you most in need of?  For me, it’s dinner!

two and a half year old baby William

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.

Yes, I did still title this post two and a half year old baby William.  The other day my dad looked at me and said, “You know he’s not a little baby anymore, right?  He’s such a little boy!”  I know; I’m well aware.  But he’ll always be my little baby.  Just look at this guy, this big boy, this handsome two and a half year old baby!

william-2-half-years

all photos in post by stephanie cotta photography

That’s definitely my most favorite picture to date.  I was extremely lucky that my sister took William’s preschool photos this year.  How she works her magic, I have no idea, but this photo is pure love.  Let’s get to little man’s update:

Height & Weight: 35 1/2 inches and 29.2 pounds

Eating: William eats close to the same thing on days he goes to school, so I try and include more variety into our dinners.  Here’s some of his favorites lately:

  • Breakfast: whole scrambled egg and banana with peanut butter; on days that aren’t school days, he also like french toast or pancakes
  • Lunch: sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwich, cheese stick, and grapes
  • Dinner: chicken, spinach / kale balls, avocado, salmon, hamburger, etc.
  • Snacks: pouch (organic carrot apple from TJ’s is his favorite), bar, goldfish, muffins

William LOVES Chipotle.  He can eat a good portion of my bowl and it’s the only way I can get him to eat black beans, rice, and corn.  I started “making Chipotle” at home which is a similar combination to what we order at the real place.  By calling it Chipotle gets him to eat it.  Sometimes I sub quinoa for brown rice and turkey meat for chicken, but other than that it’s close to the same.  Obviously this isn’t all William eats.  Other favorites include pizza or macaroni and cheese, but I have to watch his dairy intake as he is definitely sensitive to it.  Too much or too rich of foods make him sick; he has a sensitive stomach, just like his momma.

Sleeping (naps): Naps are actually consistent these days.  They last for an hour and a half, though sometimes they’re a bit shorter if I’m the one napping him (nothing has changed there!).  He goes down around 1:00 pm.

Sleeping (at night): I don’t want to jinx anything, but dare I say sleeping is going well?  After our second round of sleep training early in the summer, William puts himself to sleep (though sometimes he does like me to lay in the room with him), stays asleep throughout the night, and wakes up at 6:30 on average.  Some days it’s 6:15, but other days it’s 6:45 which is fantastic!  The only thing that has been messing with sleep is his darn molars that are taking forever to come through.

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Clothing: Mostly 2T.  His Carter’s sleepers are 3T and most of his pants are 18/24 months.  William’s shoe size is 8, though I probably need to have him measured again soon.  He’s always had big feet.

linking up with healthy diva life

New this year: So much!  William is currently enrolled in soccer which is a lot of fun.  It’s mostly about following the directions, but there are some technical drills weaved in.  He took a couple of swimming lessons over the summer.  William is talking up a storm!  He’s always talking and is so hilarious.  His imagination is seriously incredible.  I’m pretty sure he learned it completely from his cousin Audrey.  William loves reading the same books over and over again.  Sometimes he’ll read them along with me when I do and other times he will read them by himself which totally melts my heart.  He’s doing great riding his tricycle and is very independent in general.

William’s talking, memory, and ability to take in information amazes me.  He asks “why” no less than 500 times a day. He hears everything, wants to know how it all works, the reasons behind things.  He’s literally a sponge.

William makes me laugh all day long with the things he says.  “Hold on, Mom.  Hold on.  I have a question!”  In the evening before bed, “Toys open?”  No.  “Toys closed?  That’s what my teachers say.”

William likes: William loves anything relating to fire trucks, trains, tools, construction machines, soccer, baseball, books, pretend play, fishing, music, being outside, his cousins, his Yaya and Pops, and nursing.  (Yep, still going strong!)  At our house, he rides his “trucks” pretending they are fire trucks or pretending he’s going to fix something like Bob the Builder.  He loves playing in his kitchen, pretending to call his cousins, or playing doctor.  His mind is always going.  Audrey slept over last weekend, and William woke up extra early, but was still half asleep as he said, “Audrey here?”  He’s woken up in the middle of the night, clearly in the middle of a dream, saying things like, “Hit the ball!” or “Yaya and Pops house?”

William dislikes: William has a harder time sharing his toys when we’re at our house.  If he needs to share a toy when he is at school or at a friend’s house, he is much better, but there’s something about his own toys.  I’m sure (I hope) he’ll grow out of this phase.

william-2half-years

He’s my little man, definitely a momma’s boy, and my favorite person in the world.  My heart couldn’t be fuller with this one in my life!

Mommas, tell me, what should I expect these next six months?

toddler friends

Since I’m still catching up from not blogging over the summer, I wanted to share more highlights that didn’t make it on the blog yet.  Just like I wrote a “friends are important” post sharing moments I had with my girl friends throughout the summer, I wanted to do the same for William.  And toddler friends are important.  Friendships develop at an early age.  Obviously most (all) of his friends are because I’m friends with the mommas, but still!  It is really fun watching our toddlers become friends, especially now that they are playing with each other instead of just parallel play.  Here are the particularly adorable moments from the summer:

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William and Dylan kissing.  Is there anything sweeter?

wolf guitar aug16

Wolf and William, best buds!  They’ve literally been friends since William was just a few months old.  They see each other and Facetime on a regular basis.  We were reading a book the other day about owls and William started naming the owls.  “William, Wolfie, Julie (Wolf’s mom), and momma!”  They were jamming out here together.  And don’t worry, my tv is no longer on the ground; I have a stand. 😉

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These darlings were at a Fourth of July parade together (could you tell?).  I love how festive they all are!

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William’s girlfriend, Carly.  These babes have been an item for years (ok, slightly over two years).  Their slide show for their wedding is coming together quite nicely.  William and Carly have also gone to school together since the beginning.

wolf zev asher sept16

Boys will be boys!  It’s nice that they’ll actually stand and pose for a picture these days.  Sometimes simultaneous smiles are difficult to come by, but they sure were trying!  I’m pretty sure I offered, “If you want a cookie, stand against this wall!”  Hey, whatever works.

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William and Leo racing for the ball!  They’re just four weeks apart, and I’ve worked with Leo’s momma for eight years.  We were obviously pregnant together, and it’s been fun to share stories since they go through the same age-based phases together.

emily tjs aug16

Since we started with a kissing picture, I thought we’d end on one, as well.  This is Emily, William’s runner-up girlfriend.  Emily’s momma, Diana, is one of my best friends, who happens to live in my neighborhood and teach at the same school as me.  Since we have summers off together, these two lovebirds spent a lot of time together, including grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s.

Are you still friends with people from your childhood?  My first friend was Annette; we met in toddlers when we were two and still remain very close today!

Sante Fitness and Wellness GIVEAWAY

A couple of weeks ago I had the awesome opportunity to participate in a rooftop twilight yoga session at the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis, hosted by Sante Fitness and Wellness, with other local influencers and friends.

yoga-chase-group

All photos in post taken by local photographer Megan Magray.

The view was spectacular, the yoga was relaxing, and the entire experience was perfect.  I love love love being outside, and I definitely don’t make enough time in my life for yoga.  It was fun to see a couple of familiar faces, Clare and Katie, who I hadn’t seen in awhile.

clare katie

We reconnected and took obligatory blogger photos together.

linking up with healthy diva life

Our hosts really went all out for us. They provided a lovely spread of fruits and vegetables, had refreshing cucumber water, made delicious smoothies that are offered at Sante (the “thinny mint” was the best!), and ensured each detail was attended to for making our visit unforgettable.

santewellness

Sante Fitness and Wellness focuses on Fitness, Wellness, and Balance for their members.  They have state-of-the-art fitness equipment, wifi, complimentary locker service and covered parking.  Their facility is exquisite and spacious with 18,000 square feet.

It was the perfect night for yoga.  It was a clear evening with temperatures celebrating the end of summer and the beginning of fall.  We had time before yoga began to enjoy the views, stretch out, and chat with one another.

chase-rooftop

The energy was casual and relaxed, just as yoga should be, and our instructor from Sante, Ashley, did a great job feeding off the mood.  She let us know this would be an average yoga class; it was fine for beginners, and more advanced yogis had the options to take the poses to the next level.

yoga-rooftop

Being so busy with the beginning of school, yoga felt particularly good to be able to focus on nothing more than breathing, stretching, holding poses, letting go mentally, and taking in the beautiful scenery.  It was just what I needed!

yoga-pigeon

As class continued, the sun was setting which was magnificent from the rooftop.  Apparently Sante Fitness and Wellness hosts rooftop classes every month, and not just yoga either!  Spinning is another option that would be a lot of fun to take.  For my participation in the event, I received a free week at Sante. I’m trying to figure out a good time to utilize it, so I can go a few times.  There are additional group fitness classes that they offer that I’d love to try including yoga, pilates, kettlebell, cycle, aqua, and more.  The facility is beautiful and they have a few different membership options, as well as student rates.

sunset-chase

Our view on the rooftop by the end of yoga.

One lucky Itz Linz reader will win a one-month Gold Membership at Sante Fitness and Wellness at the Chase Park Plaza.  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog post telling us why you want to try Sante (mandatory).  Additional optional entries include:

Be sure to comment on this post to have the extra entries counted!  This giveaway will be open until Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 8:00 pm CST.  A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday, October 7, 2016.  Winner must be a local resident, age 18 or older, and be able to redeem membership by 12/31/16.

Congrats to Drew! Enjoy your month at Sante!

Disclaimer: Through my partnership with ALIVE Influencer Network, I was provided the yoga class and one week to Sante free of charge.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

friends are important

Friends are important. All the time, no matter who you are, how old you are, what stage of life you’re in, how long you’ve been friends, or how the friendship developed; the bottom line is: friends are important.  Friendships develop very early on, but just because you grow older, they don’t stop.  Friends change, just as people do, but true friendships last no matter the time that goes in between seeing or talking or the distance that may keep you apart.  I have friends that I’ve known my entire life and also friends that I’ve made in the last year.  I have friends from my childhood, high school, college, previous jobs, current coworkers, playgroup, etc.

As I was scrolling through the photos in my phone, I was smiling remembering the time spent with my friends throughout these past couple of months when I wasn’t blogging and thought today was a good day to share some of these snapshots.

steph sara julie

On Saturday night, a few of us had an impromptu girls night out.  I picked up my sister Stephanie on the way out, and as she entered my car, she said noticed, “Do we have the exact same outfit on?!”  Not planned!  Then, when we met Sara and Julie out, we saw their outfits were almost identical, as well.  Not planned either.  Friends who stick together dress the same?  Or something like that.  We had a wonderful evening, talking, and laughing until there were tears in our eyes.

mck-gno

I’m lucky in that I get to teach with ladies who have become some of my closest friends.  It’s funny to spend over 40 hours a week with each other during the school year, and then not see them very often over the summer.  We planned a couple girls night outs, so we didn’t go the entire two months without!

caitlin july16

Caitlin and I met when we were 15 hostessing at First Watch.  Despite going to different high schools, colleges, and living in different states the last ten years, we’ve remained close as ever.  Now that Caitlin is back in St. Louis, it’s like we were never apart, and we get to have as much fun now (or more?) than we did when we were 15!

linking up with katie and erin 

mara rachel julie steph jen

When I became a mom, I knew I wanted to join a playgroup to be able to connect with other women going through the same thing I was.  Little did I know, these girls would become some of my closest friends.  Two and a half years later, we continue to plan play dates, celebrate special occasions, share / question / discuss the ins and outs of being mommas to our littles.

caitlin heather angel

Another amazing thing about friends is when friends from different areas of your life get together.  These were some girls during my birthday celebration and they only know each other through me.  We had such a fun night and everyone got along great.

julie mara sara jen

Maintaining and making time for friends can be challenging.  Everyone is busy, so putting in time and effort is required.  It’s not to say that you’re not friends with those who you may not speak with on a regular basis.  I have many friends who we have phone dates every so often or we see each other maybe just once a year due to location, but it’s always as though no time has passed.  Friendships are strong and I’m grateful to have so many important friendships in my life.  Obviously, many of my friends are not pictured in this post, but looking through past pictures was a nice reminder of how I’m surrounded by loving, smart, caring, and inspiring ladies.

In a time where the world can be a scary place, friends (and family) are more important than ever.  Reach out to those you love and keep in touch! 🙂

back to school 2016

School has been in session for about a month now, so I thought I should finally get around to blogging about it.  Blogging has obviously taken a bit of a hiatus recently.  I’ve missed it but have had little motivation to blog, if that makes sense.  I miss writing, I miss sharing tidbits of our lives, and I miss being held accountable for living a healthy(ish) lifestyle to post about.  Last night I decided was as good of a time as any to get started again.  Right when I opened up wordpress, it felt as though I never “left.”  I’m excited to start blogging on a somewhat regular basis again.  I’m not exactly sure what that will look like, but more than once every month or so, for sure.

(Over the weekend I blogged about a sweet and salty fall trail mix that I did for Brach’s, in case you missed it.)

Let’s talk about back to school 2016.  Summer flew by, as always, and the new school year approached quickly.  William is almost two and a half now.  Little man on the first day of school:

first day of school aug16

How is he already acting embarrassed of his momma taking first day of school photos?  Baby, this is just the beginning, so you better get used to it!  We actually took a photo the first few days of school, and you’ll see he was all smiles for those.  William is thriving at school!  He has been at this same place since he was a baby, so he’s definitely familiar which is a good thing for him.  He’s been with most of the kids in his class for a couple of years, too.  It puts me at ease knowing he is at a place where he is so well taken care of and learning everyday.  It’s even more fun now that William is talking so much, since he can tell me specifics about his day!

The beginning of my school year is going well, too.

first day of school 2016

I’m teaching fourth grade for the fourth year in a row and am at the same school I’ve been at for eight years.  I love love love the school and my team.  Nichole, Kristen, and I are just missing Maggie who is still on maternity leave.  It’s hard going back to work after having summer off, but there’s nobody else I’d rather spend it with than these gals!  And my darlings this school year are pretty great, as well.  The beginning of the school year is always so refreshing and I really enjoy getting to know my students and building the community in our classroom.

William has turned into a real little boy.

school aug16

When I call him a baby, he tells, “Not baby, Mommy.  I’m a big boy!”  Oh, be still my heart.

Most days, he’ll smile for a photo for me before walking into school.  Some days he even requests that I go in the picture with him.

smile aug16

I’ll never say no to that!

William went through a phase where he was bringing his sunglasses into school.  Later, I found out he was literally wearing them all day long.  Silly baby.

sunglasses aug16

He’s just so darn cute!

Life is good for me and William.  We’re crazy busy now that school is back in session, but we’re finding our balance and getting into our routine once again.  And we’re happy.

smile sept16

We’re so happy.  Because life is good.

What’s been going on with YOU? I’ve missed hearing from all of you!