Thanksgiving Photo Booth

As if Thanksgiving wasn’t already the most wonderful holiday ever, ours was even better this year.  Stephanie (of Stephanie Cotta Photography) set up a Thanksgiving Photo Booth!  She always has something up her sleeve during this holiday.  Growing up, she orchestrated a Chicken Little play every year with all of the cousins.  “The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!” never got old, and we still laugh about it to this day.  (And I’m quite certain my mom has the original manuscripts saved!)  Perhaps the photo booth is the start to another holiday tradition?

mom dad photobooth

While Stephanie is the one who thought of the idea, set it up, and photographed the whole ordeal, it’s my parents who made Thanksgiving, as they do every year.  This year’s crowd was on the smaller side (just twenty people – small? ha!), but the food was still plentiful, and everyone, everyone went home with leftovers!  The table was beautifully decorated, we savored every bite of food, and the hours of preparation and cooking was most enjoyed through hugs, kisses, laughter, chatter, and full bellies throughout the evening.  My parents are amazing and every second was cherished.

Check out last year’s Thanksgiving post to get an even better glimpse into my family – a short video complete with my dad and uncles in a push-up challenge, Audrey’s turkey “meow,” lighting of Chanukah candles, belly rubbing (when I was pregnant), the fire engine song/dance, an oreo turkey craft, and many more awesome shots, moments, and giggles.

So, the photo booth:

thanksgiving photobooth

Audrey being a ham with her many hilarious, adorable faces:

audrey photobooth

Literally, everyone got in on the fun:

thanksgiving photobooth1

And Audrey had to hold her baby, as always:

audrey photobooth1

“He’s getting SO big!”

A very special thank you to Stephanie for orchestrating this photo booth and capturing just some of the many memories that were made during Thanksgiving 2014 and to my parents with the biggest hearts, kindest smiles, helping hands, open home, and best food.

We love you, appreciate you, and are so thankful for you.

And for the cutest Thanksgiving bunny:

bunny thanksgiving

What are your family’s Thanksgiving traditions?

Linking up with Katie at Healthy Diva for Marvelous in my Monday and Erin at Her Heartland Soul for Weekend Snapshots – check out the parties!

Kmart Black Friday Deals

This post is sponsored by Kmart.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Black Friday shopping – who’s a fan?  You either love it or you hate it.  I used to love it when I was a teenager.  Now, with a baby, it sounds like a nightmare.  The crowds, not the deals!  In fact, I still love the deals.  I’m one of those people who like to find the best price before buying.  After all, I’m a teacher, so I need to be careful with my spending.

Planning ahead is the key to shopping smart during the holidays.

black friday deals kmart

Kmart has TWO early saving events that will help you avoid unnecessary spending this season.  Also, you can find some of the hottest brands and on-trend gifts at amazing door-buster prices this year to ultimately save more and get more.

These two early deals allow you to be flexible when and how you shop:

Kmart’s online pre-sale (Shop in your pjs? Yeah, this one’s for me!)

  • For a full five days, you can shop exclusive Black Friday doorbuster deals online
  • The online pre-sale begins at 12:00 p.m. on November 22nd and ends at 11:59 p.m. on November 23rd
  • EDIT TO ADD: Kmart has extended its pre-Black Friday online member pre-sale! Shop Your Way members can shop exclusive Black Friday doorbuster deals online a full five days early, now starting at 5 a.m. on Sat, Nov. 22 through11:59 p.m. on Nov. 23.

Some of the best deals include:

  • Save $200 on a RCA 50″ LED HDTV; sale price $399.99, reg. price $599.99, plus members get $50 back in points
  • Save $10 on the Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll; sale price $29.99, reg. price $39.99
  • 50% off 7.5′ Pre-Lit Sheffield Pine Tree; sale price $129.99, reg. price $259.99
  • $10 Jaclyn Smith and Route 66 women’s sweaters, and Dream Out Loud by Selena Gomez and Bongo junior’s sweaters; reg. $19.99-$21.99
  • $100 off Slumber & Slide Loft Bed; sale $149.99, reg. $249.99

Kmart’s in-store Black Friday (If you prefer to do your shopping in person, you can get a head start in-store beginning at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day through midnight on Black Friday)

Holiday doorbusters include:

  • Save $50 on a Samsung Galaxy Tab4, 8GB, 7” Tablet; sale price $149.99, reg. price $199.99, plus members get $20 back in points (begins Thanksgiving morning at 6 a.m.)
  • $8.99 assorted board games; reg. price $16.99-$21.99 (begins Thanksgiving morning at 6 a.m.)
  • Buy one get one for $1 on all men’s, women’s and kid’s footwear (begins Thurs., Nov. 27 through Sat., Nov. 29)
  • $40 off a 32” RCA LED HDTV; sale price $179.99, reg. price $219.99, plus members get $40 back in points (begins Fri., Nov. 28 at 6 a.m.)
  • Up to 50% off Craftsman tools (begins Fri., Nov. 28 at 6 a.m.)

This little guy’s excited, how about you?

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Are you a Black Friday shopper?  How about Cyber Monday?

Fall Arrived in St. Louis

Well, fall has officially arrived.  Even though it really came two weeks ago, cooler (COLD) temperatures hit St. Louis over the weekend.  We’re talking temps in the forties.  Friday was when it dropped, and over the night our house went down to sixty-seven degrees. Brr! I turned the heat on for Saturday night because I didn’t want William to be cold.  And then on Sunday it was seventy degrees.  Hello, St. Louis!

I went to my sister’s house on Friday right after school as we were all planning to go watch my nephew Jacob play in his soccer game.  This was last minute, so I didn’t have warm enough clothes for William.  Luckily Stephanie saved everything from Jacob, and had the cutest things ever, so William was taken care of.

bundled up

Bundled up and adorable as ever.

Note: That Indiana hat is from when my little brother Justin graduated from college.  We’re not really Hoosier fans! 😉 Mizzou and Miami all the way over here!

For the record, Jacob’s team won 10-3 and he scored four goals.  Stud.

When we got home, I put William on his changing table for a clean diaper and pajamas.  His hat hair, giggles, and feet grabbing were cracking me up.

happy grabbing feet

Yes, that’s a Burberry sweater he’s wearing.  I told you Stephanie had the best clothes for Jacob!  They only get better as he got older, too.  William is a lucky dude!

Saturday was Yom Kippur.  Yom Kippur is always ten days after Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and is the Day of Atonement.  Most Jewish people fast to repent for their sins, but that didn’t happen for this breastfeeding momma or hungry baby (obviously).  We did, however, attend children’s services.  William loved looking all around and listening to the music!

william yom kippur

Stephanie got William this gorgeous sweater from Yellow House Knits. Warm & cozy!

My nephew Jackson joined us at services with my brother Jason.

jackson

We had time to take photos before since we had the time wrong and arrived thirty minutes early.  Better than late as we usually are, I suppose.

Steph’s family had gone to temple earlier in the day.

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Nice, fall clothes for temple.

Following services, we went to Stephanie’s house for break the fast (dinner).  She had quite a spread, and nobody went hungry.  As always, it was marvelous to spend time with my family.  Linking up with Healthy Diva for Marvelous in my Monday!

Audrey, my mini-me, was more than happy that we joined them for dinner.  Apparently she let out an excited shriek when we pulled up to their house. I wanted to wrap William at one point in the evening, so I asked Audrey if she wanted to come to the car with me to get the wrap.  Of course she said yes since she’s always attached to my hip which I love.  I asked her if she wanted me to carry her or if she wanted to find shoes to wear.  She found her brown boots to wear… just like Lindsay!  Haha.

Anyway, so once I got William wrapped up… Audrey needed to wrap her baby!

aud babywearing

We love babywearing!

Audrey wouldn’t let Stephanie wrap her baby – only me!  Then, when it was time to put William in his pajamas, she found matching ones to wear.  And by matching, I mean both kiddies had white on their footed sleepers.  Too cute.  I love them.

What did you do this weekend?  Does it feel like fall where you live?

Itz Father’s Day 2014

Itz Father’s Day 2014 and a very special one, indeed!  I hope it was marvelous for everyone, as well!  Ours was spent with family and it really can’t get any better than that.  It was William’s first Father’s Day and he’s incredibly lucky to have so many caring guys to help shape him into the man he’ll grow to be including his dad, grandpas, and great-grandpas.  They all have so much to offer and we’re blessed that they’re part of our lives and that William gets to grow up and learn from them.

Side note: When William was born, Jonny requested just one [of the many million that were taken] picture – something with baseball and Cardinals.  My sister, Stephanie Cotta Photography, took this photo several weeks ago and itz been hard to keep it a secret for so long.  Finally, for Father’s Day, we gifted it to Jonny and all the dads.

william baseball

cutest baseball baby ever – can’t wait to get a ball in his hand!

Here’s a photo recap and what William will learn from each of these amazing fathers.

William and his daddy:

jonny

From Daddy, William will learn baseball and perseverance.

William and his grandpa Pops:

dad

From Pops, William will learn everything.  Pops is the smartest guy around.  And how to sing, dance, tell jokes, and fix anything house or car related.  And everything in the medical field, as well.  I told you he was smart!

William and his great-grandpa Poppy:

poppy

From Poppy, William will learn all about boats, fishing, and hugging “not too tight!”

William and his great-grandpa Papa:

papa

From Papa, William will learn all the sports, especially how to sharpen his elbows!

William with all the boys on my side:

fathers day

Four generations!  We love you, Dads!

And now for Jonny’s side –

William with his Grandpa Jack:

jack

From Grandpa Jack, William will learn how to grill, have a green thumb, and all about the law.

William with his great-grandpa, Daddy Bob:

daddybob

From Daddy Bob, William will become well-rounded from sports to politics to movies to books to restaurants and everything in between.

William with all the boys on Jonny’s side:

fathers day1

Four generations!  We love you, Dads!

Not to mention, it was Jonny’s first Father’s Day and I’m proud to call him William’s dad.

jonny me father's day

Not gonna lie – I’m in love with my new pants from H&M. And Jonny, too – love you! xoxo

How did you celebrate Father’s Day 2014?

Memorial Day Weekend 2014

Memorial Day Weekend 2014 was wonderful. Part of it was spent with friends, part of it was spent with family, part of it was spent in Innsbrook, and part of it was spent with just William, Jonny, and myself.  Of course, we remembered the amazing heroes who gave their lives to protect our country and give us our many freedoms that we’re so lucky to have as that’s what Memorial Day is all about.

William american flag baby

photo by Stephanie Cotta Photography

My little American flag baby. I actually spent the majority of the weekend unplugged and didn’t take a ton of pictures.  Luckily, Stephanie always loves to pose and photograph William, so we did get that one beauty.  Alright here’s my recap with just a few photos scattered throughout.

Friday: We went to my grandparents’ house as some of our out-of-town family was in town. It was good to visit and our night was low-key and ended early.  Perfect.

Saturday: Jonny, William, and I hung out in the morning and afternoon.  I did capture a couple of adorable pictures of Jonny and William.

jonny william holding hands

Holding hands – melts my heart.

jonny william

So happy!

Saturday night we had our friends Diana and Andy over for dinner.  I followed several recipes and dinner came out fantastic, we all agreed.  We started with a huge salad including spinach, romaine, cherry tomatoes, avocado, honey goat cheese, sunflower seeds, walnuts, apples, cranberries, and balsamic.  Dinner was Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches (SO GOOD!), corn casserole, and garlic parmesan green beans.  Dessert included french vanilla ice cream with this cookie dough mixed in.  That eggless cookie dough is dangerous stuff.  I could have eaten the whole bowl on my own.  I may have finished what was left for breakfast.  Oops.

Sunday: William and I said good-bye to Jonny as he had to work, and we headed to Innsbrook with my family.  Even though it poured on the way out there, it turned into a beautiful day and lots of time was spent on the lake and in the sunshine.  In the evening, we went to the first concert of the summer.

mom william

William slept through the entire thing, mostly in his Yaya’s arms.

Monday: We enjoyed more time outdoors at Innsbrook before cleaning up and heading home.  Stephanie took a gorgeous shot of her daughter, Audrey Rose, that I must share.

audrey

The rest of the day was spent at home unpacking, doing laundry, and hanging out together.  One last picture of our baby William.

william4

Love that face.

How did you spend your Memorial Day weekend?

PinkBlush Maternity Clothes Giveaway {CLOSED}

I hope all you mommas and momma-to-be’s had a very Happy Mother’s Day! My first Mother’s Day was a special one, indeed, as I got to spend it with my two favorite guys.

mother's day

Two incredibly good looking guys, if I do say so myself!  Jonny and William definitely made the day special and it was all I could ask for.  We spent the morning with Jonny’s family and the evening with mine.  It was a busy but wonderful day, hence the lack of blog post yesterday.

My family has always had incredibly strong women starting (as far as I’ve been around) with my Great-Grandma Rose.  My grandma Mama now has taken of the leading role with my mom following in her footsteps.  My sister, a new momma compared to my mom and grandma, has already started paving her own incredible way, and this is the first year I’ve been able to join the “momma” club with those beautiful, inspirational ladies.  I’m blessed to have them in my life and learn from the very best.

steph mama mom

I aspire to be like each of them every single day as a woman, wife, friend, and momma.

We had a nice time celebrating the ladies on Jonny’s side, as well.  Though William definitely stole the show which everyone was happy about.  He’s lucky to be so loved.

adelaide nancy becca

Also, a special shout out to my wonderful dad whose birthday is today!  He played some lullabies for William on Mother’s Day and William loved it.  William was sleeping, but opened his eyes when he heard the music.

dad guitar

So just days before William’s arrival, I was sent a gorgeous maternity dress from PinkBlush.  However, since William came so soon, I wasn’t able to wear it during my pregnancy.  So, I rocked it on Mother’s Day!  I have no shame continuing to wear my maternity clothes post-baby.  Not only are they super comfortable, most of my maternity clothes were way more stylish than my regular clothes!  (Really, just because I borrowed my sister’s and friend’s maternity clothes!)  PinkBlush has the most trendy maternity clothes and I wanted (and still want) everything on their site.  The dress I wore on Mother’s Day is definitely my favorite, and I will continue to wear it even though I’m not pregnant!

pinkblush

Itz perfect as a maternity dress (obviously), but also post-baby.  The fabric is so soft, comfortable, and stretchy which makes it easy to nurse in, as well.

Their prices are very reasonable, and there’s quite a lot of variety on their site in terms of dresses, tops, bottoms, nursing, sleepwear, and accessories.  I’m only sad I didn’t discover PinkBlush’s maternity clothing earlier in my pregnancy!

PinkBlush is graciously giving away a $25 gift certificate to one lucky Itz Linz reader!  To enter, leave a blog post comment telling us what maternity clothes you would choose from PinkBlush if you won (mandatory).  Additional optional entries include:

Be sure to leave a separate comment for each additional entry.  This giveaway will be open until Monday, May 19th, 2014 at 8:00 pm CST.  The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Tuesday, May 20th.  CLOSED!

Congratulations to #80 Caroline O! Please email me so you can start your shopping at PinkBlush! 🙂

*Note: Entrants who have won a giveaway from PinkBlush in the past 6 months, or have hosted a giveaway in the past 6 months, are not eligible to win a gift card again. I was sent the dress for review purposes only.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Valentine’s Day in Puerto Vallarta

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!  Jonny and I are either heading to Puerto Vallarta right now or we’re already there soaking up the sun.  My older brother (remember the romance ninja??) is getting married this weekend.  Perfect timing for my family to get out of the frigid temperatures in St. Louis and celebrate love on Valentine’s Day weekend!

I’ll leave you with a few love Flashback Friday photos today:

our wedding…

jonny me wedding

…announcing baby itz…

jonny linz pregnancy

…finding out baby itz is a BOY…

gender reveal

…and now…

jonny me pregnant

…last time my family was together on the beach…

family picture jump

Zoey wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Zoey valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day! Plans for today or this weekend?

New Years 2013

Happy New Year!  Itz only January 2nd; I’m totally allowed to still say that. I thought I’d recap our New Years with you all.  Jonny and I like staying low-key for New Years.

nye

We’ve never been ones to go out to bars, drink all night, and be on the roads late at night.  Nothing against it, just not our thing.  We much prefer house parties and low-key dinners, even more so now that I’m pregnant.  My in-laws went out of town for a few days, so we’ve been dogsitting, and they allowed us to use their home to have a few friends over for a nice simple dinner.  It was faaaantastic and deeeelicious.

NYE dinner

We set out buffalo cheddar popcorn, white chocolate covered pretzels, and toasted ravioli (a St. Louis favorite!), and Whitney made a Greek yogurt, artichoke, and kale dip to use with vegetables and crackers.  For dinner, I made Texas Toast (from a box thankyouverymuch), roasted potatoes, roasted asparagus with balsamic browned butter, and a caprese salad.  My dad graciously offered to make and deliver a beef tenderloin!  Boy, did my friends think I was fancy!  Ok just kidding, I fessed up to my dad being the magnificent chef, but we did all thoroughly enjoy it!  Diana made a ridiculously good molten chocolate lava cake to serve with ice cream for dessert.  Our bellies were stuffed, that’s for sure!

The girls & the boys:

friends

After dinner we played a hilarious game.  I’m not sure the name of it, but you choose a letter and each write down several things that start with that letter.  For example, our first letter was S and some of the words were: school, silver, shorts, soccer.  Then there are three rounds.  The first round is just like Catch Phrase.  You have a minute to describe which word you pull from the bag and you get as many words as you can describe.  Once the bag is empty, the teams count their points and put the same words back in the back.  For round two, you can only use ONE word to describe your word.. and if you say “um,” that counts, so your team just has to guess like crazy.  Again, you have a minute and keep passing the bag between teams until all the words run out. Once the bag is empty, you tally points, stuff the bag back with words, and play round three which is exactly like charades.  Hard to explain, but really fun.  We played two full games.  The boys won one and the girls won one; tiebreaker will need to happen.

And get this…. we stayed up til midnight!!!  Crazy talk, I know, but itz true.  I couldn’t believe it myself, to be honest.  Stevie and Whitney left around 11 as they had their little Ainsley to get, and Diana and Andy left promptly at 12:01 haha.  We couldn’t have asked for a better New Years!

Jonny and I (and the dogs!) stayed in bed until 7:30 in the morning which is pretty amazing all around.  After doing their feedings, eating, and lounging for a bit, I eventually went to the basement for a two-mile walk on the treadmill.

workout

Hey, a little somethin’ is better than nothin’!  After showering, lounging, and lunch, I met my good friend for a Starbucks date.  Coffee for her, tea for me.

starbucks

After a couple of hours of girl talk, I headed home to spend the rest of the day laying low with the dogs and Jonny.  I’m sure I didn’t look nearly as cute as these sleepyheads.

dogs

They partied too hard on New Year’s Eve. 😉

I’m back at work today and tomorrow for meetings, so vacation is officially over.

What did you do for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day?

Holidays 2013

Well, hey there! Long time no blog, eh?  I think itz the first time in my two years of blogging that I took off two regularly posting days.  Double that with the weekend and itz been almost a week since I’ve checked in with you!  Not to fear, all is good here in this part of the blogosphere and I’m back!  The past week was spent wrapping up the holidays 2013 and, like everyone is saying, I can’t believe they’re over.  They were spent exactly how I love – with friends and family!  I didn’t take too many pictures, so I’ll recap with the pictures that I do have.  Otherwise, you’ll just have to do a little reading. 🙂  Itz good for you!

Wednesday: Christmas!  Jonny and I spent the day together, and headed to our good friends’ for their beautiful and delicious Christmas dinner.  Whitney is just a couple of weeks away from having their second child – doesn’t she look fabulous??

whitney

Whitney is pregnant with a boy, so we’re excited to be having boys so close together.  Our husbands have already been talking about all the sports teams they’ll be coaching in just a few years just as they played together growing up!  And the cutie in the picture is Ainsley, their almost-two-year-old daughter.

ainsley reading

We gifted her the Pinkalicious books which, in my opinion, are the cutest books for little girls!  The main books are Pinkalicious, Silverlicious, Goldilicious, and Purplicious, and these were the first books I bought my niece Audrey and Annette’s baby Lily.  Ainsley was hilarious and loves to “read” as she would put the book on the ground, turn the page, pick up the book, and hold it right in front of her face.  Too adorable!

Thursday: It was my grandpa Poppy’s 85th birthday, so my parents took the family out to dinner to Kreis’ Steakhouse. Poppy is seriously the youngest 85-year-old you’ll ever meet!

poppy

We enjoyed a wonderful meal and had many good laughs as my dad’s older brother also joined us.  My dad and his brother act like total goofballs when they are together; even when we’re out in public during nice dinners!

Time spent with family and friends is always marvelous which is precisely why I’m linking up with Healthy Diva’s Marvelous in my Monday today!

Friday: Jonny went back to work, so I laid low at home and went to hang out with my parents for a little while.

mom dad

That picture of my parents is from our Thursday night dinner, but I had no other pictures for Friday, so it will suffice!

Saturday:  Saturday was another relaxing day.  I did so much laying around this weekend, and I felt a bit lazy about it, but this many days off in a row are rare for me, so I took full advantage of it!  Plus, I got in a couple of slow walks on our basement treadmill, so I wasn’t totally lazy all day long. I started Saturday morning off with breakfast at First Watch with one of my good friends, Danielle.  She was so sweet to bring Baby Itz 3 adorable onesies and bibs!  Girl time, girl talk, and good food always makes for a great way to start the morning!

On Saturday evening, Jonny and I picked up our niece and nephew Jacob and Audrey after they walked down the aisle in a wedding and before the reception began and spent the evening with them.

jacob audrey

When we got in the car, Jacob was quick to say, “Audrey was not a good girl!”  Haha gotta love the honesty of a four-year-old!  We made homemade pizza for dinner and sugar cookies with loooots of frosting and sprinkles for dessert!  The best kind!  Audrey proceeded to lick off all of her frosting and sprinkles without taking an actual bite of her cookie!

Sunday: Yep, you guessed it – another lazy day!  Although amidst my lazy days, I have done a considerable amount of laundry, cleaning, and baking.  My days haven’t been so totally unproductive.  Some of the goods I’ve made include:

  • Fudge Crinkle Cookies with peanut butter chips added to some and white chocolate chips and dried cranberries added to others <– AMAZING!
  • Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter from Mama Pea – this is an excellent recipe for a green side dish and I’ll be making it again for New Year’s Eve.
  • Fresh Cranberry Sauce from The Lean Green Bean.  Whoever knew making cranberry sauce could be so easy?  I just made this last night and can’t wait to use it on everything I eat for the next couple days!

Jonny and I went to my in-laws for our Sunday night dinner with family friends.  Another excellent meal and time spent with our loving family and friends.  Really can’t ask for more in life right now.  Itz good.

jonny

How was your holiday week/weekend?  Tell me something marvelous!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates!  We don’t celebrate, but Christmas is always filled with family and friends for us anyway… possibly since there’s nothing else for us Jews to do on Christmas – heh heh.  Anyway, just wanted to pop in and share the holiday love!  Here’s a picture of Jonny and I at our friends’ home last Christmas.

christmas

And here’s me in that same sweater dress from Sunday at our family’s [belated] Chanukah party.

5 months pregnant me

Hello, Baby Itz!  We wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year.  Much love to everyone! xoxo