three year old William

Well, this is it, folks.  The first William update that no longer includes “baby” in the title.  Though clearly he’ll always be my baby William, he’s most certainly a real, little boy now.  He continues to grow, thrive, learn, and develop on a daily basis.  There are many similarities between his two and a half year old update and today, but since it’s been six months, I’ll update you nevertheless.

photos by stephanie cotta photography

Toddler William at three years old:

Height & Weight: 37 inches and 32.2 pounds (50th percentile for both)

Eating: William eats close to the same thing on days he goes to school, so I try to 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, grapes, and apple slices
  • Dinner: chicken, turkey, spinach / kale balls, avocado, hamburger, etc.
  • Snacks: Trader Joe’s carrot apple pouch, strawberry bar, and yogurt

William continues to love meats and eats vegetables sparingly.  He is still sensitive to dairy, so besides a cheese stick and yogurt on school days, I really try to limit it.  We do Trader Joe’s macaroni and cheese on occasion, but I limit the amount of it he eats when he does have it.  William LOVES my mom’s or grandma’s matzo ball soup; he’ll even eat the carrots, too!

Sleeping (naps): When William naps with me, he naps for an hour; at school, he still naps for an hour and a half.

Sleeping (at night): I lay in William’s room while he falls asleep, and then he sleeps through the night. Typically he falls asleep around 8:00 pm and wakes up between 6 – 6:30 am.  Before daylights savings, he was sleeping until seven most mornings, but we’ve never gotten back to that.  Of course, there are evenings he goes to bed earlier or later depending on our schedule.

Clothing: Mostly 3T. He can still wear 2T shorts / pants, and his sleepers are either 3 or 4T.  His shoe size is a nine and a half wide.

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New this year: A lot of similarities with the two and a half year old post, but his language skills is probably the biggest change.  His vocabulary grows on a daily basis, he’s curious about everything, and remembers every word and experience. He’s literally a sponge and absorbs everything.  Something new this year is being able to spell his name!  He’s been able to sing his ABC’s for quite some time now, but we’re still working on identifying all the letters. He’s doing great with the letters in his name, and often asks what certain words start with.  William will help me “read” his favorite books.  We will switch off pages, and we’ve read them so many times that he’s able to recite them word for word.

William got a balance bike for his birthday.  Right now, it’s still inside which is good for when he falls off it.  We’ll take it outside once the weather is nicer on a more consistent basis.  We’ve been ice skating a few times, and William is still enrolled in soccer practice every week.  He loves to be active.

William likes: William loves anything relating to fire trucks, trains, tools, construction vehicles, soccer, baseball, books, pretend play, fishing, music, being outside, his cousins, his Yaya and Pops, and nursing.  (Yep, still going strong!) He loves playing in his kitchen, pretending to call his cousins, or playing doctor.

All of that was the same from his last update.  In addition, William loves directing his imaginative play.  Sometimes he’s the soccer coach and he tells me what to do, otherwise he makes up scenes for us to play out with his toys.  His imagination continues to amaze me!

William dislikes: We’ve definitely hit the threes that everyone talks about. While WIlliam is very easygoing (like his momma!), he does have strong opinions about things, particularly if he’s overly tired or hungry.  William thrives off of routine, so whenever we stray from that or I get him back after not having him for whatever length of time, there is a transition period that can be rough.  In general, he’s very easily distracted (when upset) and easy to calm and redirect.

William is my little man, my love, my pride and joy.

Alright mommas, what else am I in for during the threes?

the worst half marathon ever

Let’s call this post – the worst half marathon ever.

Because of me, not because of the actual race at all.  Actually, the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon is one of my favorite races.  It’s near and dear to my heart because it was my first half marathon I ever did (in 2007!) and, of course, it’s in my beloved hometown St. Louis.  It’s always a challenging course with lots of hills, but when properly trained, it’s a great race!  You get to see many parts of our city, run across bridges, see the Clydesdales at the brewery, Busch Stadium, and more.

Barbie and I on the Arch riverfront before the race began.

But you see, that’s where the problem lies.  I was not properly trained for this half marathon.  In fact, I wasn’t trained at all.  Not in the slightest.  Like so little training that I had trouble figuring out my race day outfit based on the weather and was frantically texting Barbie at 4:45 the morning of.  The extent of my training is laughable.  Some may even call it foolish.  Before this race, the last time I ran was four weeks prior.  It was two miles and that was tough.  So you can imagine how the race went.

So why in the world did I do it, you may be wondering?  Barbie.  (Ok, fine “Barbara,” but she’ll always be Barbie to me.  25 years later and I’m not changing what I call her.  Ever.)  Back in 2007, Barbie convinced me to do this very same race.  We were both away at college, and we decided we’d train separately and come back to St. Louis to run together.  Many years since then, we’ve completed this race together.  A couple of months ago while at brunch, she told me she signed up to run.  Sure, I thought, why not?  I’ll join ya!

Thinking the upcoming race would motivate me to get my butt in gear, I happily signed up.  I counted the weeks before, laughed to myself as I realized training would be challenging given my schedule and the weather, but figured I’d be fine.  After all, how many half marathons have I completed?  Fifteen-ish, I believe.

Check out our giant smiles before we started the 13.1!

I kept telling myself that I had done these races a million times, and I’d be fine.  I knew I certainly wouldn’t be earning a PR or anything, but I figured my body would remember what to do and go into race mode.  I also knew I wasn’t going to worry about my time.  I didn’t even wear any sort of running device to track my mileage or time (GASP!).  My last half marathon (also with Barbie) was two years ago and my training consisted of six runs with my longest run being six miles.  We ended up running the entire distance with a final time of 2:12:39.

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This year was a different story.  Right out of the gate I told Barbie I felt good.  She chuckled.  100 feet later, I said the same thing.  After mile three, I begged Barbie to walk for a minute.  Barbie is one of those runners that no matter how “good” of shape she is in, she can always run.  She was basically running circles around me and so kindly pledged to stay with me the whole race.  The first four miles were rough.  Miles four through seven were a little better, and I might even dare to say we found a groove.  Mile eight was hard and my knee started throbbing.  I wondered if I’d be able to finish, but vowed I would since I have never had to have a DNF (did not finish).  We took a few more walking breaks, and somehow mile 11 was upon us.  Mile 11 was also where the first MARATHONER passed us and went barreling ahead to the finish line.  That was amazing to see and provided a bit of inspiration.  This guy was doing double the distance as us and was killing it!

I think we ran the last two miles with no walking breaks.  Although that mile 13 felt like it would never end.  Barbie kept telling me we were almost there, and we could hear the music at the finish line.  Well let me tell you what.  That finish line music was loud because I’m pretty sure we heard it an entire mile away.  But low and behold, we crossed that finish line and earned that pretty hardware!

Every bone, every muscle, every single part of my body was in pain.  When I’m in shape, I’m not even sore after races at all.  I could barely walk and I know it’s just going to get worse.  But you know what?  I DID IT!  Would I do it again?  You betchya!  But you better believe I’ll train, at least somewhat, for it!  It was the hardest race I’ve ever run.  I don’t usually wear my race shirts, but tomorrow I sure am.  That is, if I can get out of bed and actually walk.

Yeah, we were still smiling at the end.  They may not have been quite as big, but they were there.  Then we were laughing in between grimacing at every step we took.  Ok, I’m off to put my feet up yet again, possibly for the remainder of the day.

Have you ever run a race you didn’t train for? How’d that go?

beginning of spring break

One of the many, many perks of being a teacher is spring break.  Kids get so excited about their upcoming days off, but teachers do, too, possibly even more so!  William’s spring break coincides with mine this year which is perfect.  We’re just a few days in so far, and already, we’ve had lots of fun.  Let’s start off with a clean baby photo, because you know those black and white bath pictures are some of my favorites.  Even though he’s less than a month away from turning three (WAH!), and he really looks like it here, he’ll always be my baby.

So happy.  These days he’s more into showers than baths.  It’s not quite as easy to wash him this way, but as long as he wants to get clean, that’s one fight I’m not fighting.  Plus, it cracks me up because every time he’s in the shower, he makes different things for me.  Lately it’s been hot chocolate or macaroni and cheese.  That little one’s imagination is always running wild!

Friday was my first day off, so we didn’t have to rush to get to school.  William went to school for a couple of hours because they had their Purim celebration.  First, I worked out at home, and William joined in the warm up.  If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably saw the hilarious story of William doing jumping jacks and stretching.  Once he was at school, I went to Yoga Six for a Power Yoga class.

The class was tough, both physically and mentally, but it was just what I needed.  The next day I was incredibly sore, possibly from a combination of my morning at-home workout and yoga.  I certainly felt it!  I love feeling sore, especially in the beginning of a new workout routine, which hopefully this is what it is.

I met William at school for his Purim parade.  After, we headed home, ate lunch, napped, and played before going to Jacob and Audrey’s house.

I know I’ve said it before, but they sure are more like siblings than cousins.  They love like siblings and fight like siblings.  William and Audrey got into a little tiff, and Audrey pushed William.  It won’t be long before he’ll be the same size as her as he’s rapidly catching up, but Jacob immediately went after Audrey.  Big brother protecting the little one.  Once the situation was diffused, it did make Stephanie and I smile a bit… and become slightly worried for what the future brings when they all get bigger and stronger.

The beginning of spring break continued with a night out for me… which meant a nice, big coffee early the next morning for William’s soccer practice.

We’ve moved up a level in soccer.  For the last several months, William and I have done the parent – toddler class together.  Now, William is on the field by himself with me on the sidelines.  Some classes have gone better than others.  Sometimes all he wants to do is come with me and other times he’s very independent and a great listener.  He’s on the younger side of the group, so I think this will continue to improve if we stick with it.  It’s definitely hard not to quit and give up though.

The rest of Saturday went by quickly as I stayed very busy.  I ran errands, went grocery shopping, did laundry, even squeezed in a shower, all before picking up Diana for a “sprinkle” to welcome her second baby that’s on the way!

It was a surprise even though the kind host who took us to the room didn’t get that memo.  “You’re here for the private party?” he asked.  “Ummm yeah,” I quickly replied hoping Diana didn’t catch on.  Then, if that wasn’t enough, he added, “For the baby shower?”  Thanks, bud!  Diana caught on and was surprised anyway to see everyone.  Much to my dismay and like her first child, she refuses to find out what she’s having.  Guess we’ll all be surprised in the next month or so!

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Following the sprinkle, my friends Julie and Sara came over for a makeup party.

Another fun evening didn’t stop me from getting in my morning workout!

Best part about working out at home is definitely little man joining in and both of us rocking the jammies.  Although William definitely gets the win for that one.

On Sunday, we went to a birthday party at one of our favorite places, Miss Kelly’s!

Monkey man had fun swinging and running around.  We celebrated Leo’s third birthday who is also a fellow Paw Patrol lover, like William.  William made him a birthday card and meticulously put 100 different Paw Patrol stickers on it.  When we arrived at a party, a girl asked if she could take his gift and card.  She took the present, but William told her, “No, I want to give my card to Leo (We-o) and tell him about all my stickers!”  And he did!

Ended the weekend with a big family dinner at my parents’ house.  I’m always grateful to be surrounded by so much love…

….especially with this little guy – my favorite!

How was your weekend?

Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla

A few weeks ago, I went on vacation to San Diego, California.  The sun was shining and the weather was warm; I couldn’t ask for anything more.  I was excited to spend time outside and relax.  We stayed at The Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla.  It was perfect and completed our stay!  We learned that it is the seaside town’s oldest original hotel, built in 1913. You would never know it was over 100 years old though, as it’s been renovated and looks very new.

The rooms were nice; they were clean and spacious with plenty of storage space. The hotel had a quaint living room area complete with a fireplace.  The valet parking was clutch.  We didn’t take the car out too much as we spent most of our days walking around outside.  We had an ocean view room.  Waking up to see the ocean is amazing.  (Especially coming from this midwest girl!)  What’s even more amazing, though, is that the Grande Colonial is literally a two minute walk from the beach!  The location was, by far and away, the very best part.  Not only was it a skip, hop, and a jump away from the beach, but it’s located right in the heart of La Jolla.  We were able to walk to lunch and dinner, explore the town, do some shopping, and soak up plenty of sunshine!

If you’re familiar at all with La Jolla, then you probably know about the seals.  It was fun to watch these blubbery animals.  We were able to get pretty close to them and get a good look.  At first, I did not think they were the most attractive animals.  I mean, they are large blobs who don’t move too well on land.  But after watching them, I decided they actually are pretty cute.  Their faces sort of resemble dogs as they both have whiskers.  It was comical to watch the seals “walk” to and from the water.  In the water, they were much more graceful than out of the water.  And there were a couple baby seals who were just adorable!

While there is a lot to do in California, what I was looking forward to most was simply being outside in the sun and walking around.  You know me and you know how much I love walking.  Actually, the Grande Colonial has a partnership with La Jolla Sports Club where you receive a complimentary guest pass.  I wanted to check it out for a workout, but we spent the majority of our time on our feet walking around.  Exercise definitely wasn’t lacking in the fresh air!

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During my short stay, I was able to see firsthand how majestic the sunsets are.  It’s one thing to see photographs, but it’s extra amazing to witness the sunset and literally watch the sun go down.

There’s something very calming about listening to the ocean, too.  In a world that too oftentimes feels rushed, chaotic, and out of control, standing by the vast water, looking into the sunset, and focusing on just being at that present moment is a very surreal thing.  We all need more moments of peace like this in our lives; I know I do.

Have you ever visited San Diego?

model baby

I know I’m biased, but…

William is the most beautiful baby (toddler) ever.  I’m his mom, of course I think that.  But I hear all the time how precious is curls are and how his dark eyes (like his momma) could melt anyone.  Really, this is just a lighthearted post to highlight my gorgeous little one from January 2017.  He’s growing up so quickly, but forever my baby he’ll always be.

my mom needs caffeine

Ain’t that the truth?  Especially on Mondays!

There are those crazy curls!  They need to be tamed on a daily basis, and I probably do his hair more than most girls, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world!  Or those eyes.  Or that smile.

William loves living in sweats, just like his momma.  So on the rare occasion I get “real” clothes on him, you better believe I’m busting out my camera!

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I just want to squeeze those cheekies!  And that big ol’ curl sticking out from his beanie. There’s something so beautiful about black and white photos; I’ve always loved them.  The closeup of his face confirms that he is certainly a little boy, baby no more.  My little boy, where oh where is the time going?

Chanukah 2016

With 2016 officially in the books, I knew I needed to get my Chanukah 2016 post up!  If for no other reason, because I love looking back on old blog posts from special occasions.  I know blogging has not been consistent these days, that’s a whole different issue, but really it’s for good reasons. I’ve been enjoying life, out of routine, and blogging simply has not been a priority.  I thought I’d try to catch up on life in a few different posts as to not do one huge photo dump of the last month.  So today, Chanukah 2016!  While I have many more pictures from Chanukah, these are specifically the menorah photos, since nothing says Chaunkah like a brightly lit menorah and smiling faces!

William will be three in April, so this is the first Chaunkah he started to understand how it worked.  After the first snow in St. Louis, before Chanukah began, I took him outside to show him the snow in the morning.  “It’s Chanukah?” he asked.  It’s funny how people always associate Christmas with snow, but my little Jewish boy equated Chanukah with snow.  Then, when the snow melted, still before Chanukah began, he questioned, “How will we have Chanukah if there’s no snow?”  The associations he makes and questions he asks continue to amaze me.

William celebrated Chanukah at his school where they played games, ate snacks, and made their own menorahs.

The first night of Chanukah may have been celebrated in the morning because both William and I were too excited to wait for the evening.  We lit the menorah first thing after breakfast and I gave William his first gift.

William is really into playing games right now, so I gave him a new game (Pop Up Pirate), and it provided a lot of entertainment for the day.  His imagination is running wild these days.  We played the game, but then he took the pirate and the barrel and turned it into a ship.  Then, we drew pictures of our own pirate ship and he made the game pirate hop in.

The second night of Chanukah was a big family get together at my cousins’ house.  They host a beautiful Chanukah dinner every year with my mom’s side of the family.  The cousins play, the adults visit, and many menorahs are lit.

My parents had our immediate family over for Chanukah.  I say it over and over again, but it’s still true.  William is so close with his cousins Jacob, Audrey, and Jackson.  I hope that bond is always there.  Yaya and Pops sure instilled love in our family!

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And now the kids picture:

The following night, William and I went over to Stephanie’s house.  Audrey was so kind in letting William help her with her menorah.  She was cracking up when he went out of order in putting in the candles.  She so gently held his hand while they lit the candles together.

Another night, just William and I spent Chanukah with my mom.  I love our big family, but some quality one on one time is definitely nice, too.

At William’s school, they made menorahs and wrapped them up as gifts which was sweet.

It’s funny because even prior to seeing it, I helped William make handprint menorahs for a Chanukah card for his great-grandparents.  I’m pretty sure there is a handprint craft for every single holiday out there.

The last night of Chanukah fell on New Year’s Eve.  We, of course, spent it with Jacob and Audrey.  Bright lights and a glittery gold background!

I love that Chanukah traditions are beginning with William, and he is starting to appreciate the importance of the holiday.  With our hearts full, Chanukah 2016 (and all of 2016 actually) is officially over!  We have many memories to look back on and celebrate.

How were your holidays?

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 likes 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.

william-2-half-years-bw

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.

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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?

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! 🙂

Pinterest Craft Wins for Father’s Day 2016

If you know me, then you know I’m the least crafty person ever.  I’m a fourth grade teacher, but have awful handwriting.  If I need to write nicely, I need to write very slowly and make an intense conscious effort.  (I will say, I do have nice cursive, if I take my time.)  My mom is an artist through and through.  My sister got that gene, too.  They both have great creative eyes.  Not me.  Anyway, I’m proud to share some Pinterest Craft Wins for Father’s Day 2016 today!  You’ll see what I mean when I say I’m not crafty.  These Pinterest craft wins were made by my toddler, facilitated by me for the special guys in our lives.

fathersday16 dad

My dad, he’s just the best.  Seriously the best.  And can you see why I’m obsessed with my hair?  This was the first time after I washed it and it took me five minutes to blow dry, no flat iron needed!  Alright, now onto Father’s Day Pinterest crafts!

My dad, William’s “Pops”

fathersday16 pops

William, if there’s one person in the world who I want you to be exactly like, it’s your Pops.  My dad is the smartest, kindest, most selfless, hardest working person I know.  We joke that he’s perfect and never make mistakes and I follow closely in his lead.  He can fix anything and do anything.  In fact, no matter where we are, if something is broken, William tells me, “Pops, fix it!”  We sure love our Pops!

A close-up of Pops’ masterpiece:

craft footprint pops

Made up of four footprints, I had this piece matted.  When I saw it on Pinterest, it was really four separate pieces, but I knew we could squeeze it onto one.  William is very into all of these, fire engines, tractors, dump trucks, and race cars, so it was perfect!

My grandpa, William’s great-grandpa, “Papa”

fathersday16 papa

Papa is the athlete of the family and calls William his number one!  He’ll be fine-tuning William’s skills for all sports soon enough.  Papa’s biggest sport is golf and he’s won some impressive titles during his golfing days!  So his craft:

craft papa

You are the best Papa by par!  Heh, heh.  Hand prints for the grass, golf tees, and colored pom poms for the golf balls.

linking up with katie and erin 

My grandpa, William’s great-grandpa, “Poppy”

fathersday16 poppy

Poppy’s expertise is fishing, boats, and cars, just to name a few.  He tells William to hug him, “but not too tight!”  It’s so funny to hear him say this since they’re the same words we heard growing up.  It won’t be long before William goes to his first circus or rodeo with Poppy, just like I did!

craft poppy

Hooked on Poppy!  Footprint for the fishing pole and hand print for the fish.  William so beautifully helped color in the water.

See?  Even I could handle those crafts!  William LOVED making hand and footprints!  It was fun picking out crafts for each of these wonderful men.  To say William and I are both blessed to have them in our lives would be an understatement.  We love every minute we get to spend with them!

One more bonus photo from the weekend.  Audrey slept over and brought clothes that she knew William could match.  When I did her hair in the morning, she requested a side pony, so of course William wanted the same thing, as well.

aud matching june16

Are they the cutest twinsies or what?!  Possibly my favorite picture of them.

Are you crafty? Do you enjoy making things?

Mamma Chia Giveaway

You know when you love something you just have to take a duck-faced selfie with it?  No?  Just me?

mamma chia drink

Oh c’mon, you know you do it, too!

Mamma Chia, the leader of the chia revolution, has created a delicious new beverage that combines the powerhouse of chia with healthy, vibrant greens.

Chia & Greens is a delicious, fun on-the-go beverage with one of the lowest amounts of sugar and the highest amount of nutrients in the green drinks universe. In fact, each bottle delivers 2500mg of Omega-3s, seven grams of fiber, four grams of complete protein, 25% RDA of Vitamin A, and 95mg of calcium. Enjoy it as a kick-start to your day, as a revitalizing mid-afternoon pick-me-up or anytime you want that feeling of rejuvenation!  It comes in four tasty flavors:

  • Soulful Greens (Cayenne and Lemon)
  • Love Greens (Beet and Ginger)
  • Grateful Greens (Kale and Mint)
  • Joyful Greens (Ginger and Lemongrass)

People always ask me if chia drinks are good.  YES!  The texture is different since obviously they are filled with chia seeds which forms a gel-like consistency, but if that doesn’t bother you, then the taste is amazing.  Not to mention the awesome nutritional benefits that, Mamma Chia especially, chia drinks deliver!

I’ve always been a huge fan of Mamma Chia.  They recently sent me a huge package which William and I both have been enjoying.

mamma chia bar

The chia vitality bars are great to throw in your purse.  I took this one out when I was getting my hair done at Preston Salon (the best in St. Louis!).  These chia vitality bars are extra amazing since there are only four grams of sugar in them.  This is VERY low compared to other snack bars and the flavors are awesome!

I also received some chia vitality granola clusters which is the crunchiest granola I’ve ever had.  The flavors are: Wild Blueberry Clusters (my favorite!), Vanilla Almond Clusters, Cinnamon Pecan Clusters, and Honey & Oats Clusters.  I’ve been topping my smoothies with them, adding granola to yogurt, and eating it straight out of the bag.  The wild blueberry flavor tastes like a blueberry muffin!

~ linking up with healthy diva ~

William has been demolishing the chia squeezes.

mamma chia squeeze

William is a picky eater (aren’t all toddlers?!), but always loves pouches.  I try to reserve them just as treats, and the chia squeezes are definitely treats with their fun flavors.  William gets an extra punch of nutrition when he eats one of these squeezes.  Audrey approves of them, as well, and now always asks for one when she comes to my house.  Check out these fun flavors: Cherry BeetBlackberry BlissGreen MagicMango CoconutStrawberry BananaWild Raspberry.

Now for the best part: Mamma Chia is graciously giveaway away one gigantic package of Mamma Chia goodness to one of YOU lucky readers!  You’ll receive the same package that I did (plus a couple extra chia squeezes that aren’t pictured since William got to them before I snapped the photo!):

mamma chia

To enter this giveaway, comment on this blog post and tell us which Mamma Chia  product you’re most excited to try (mandatory!).  For additional optional entries:

  • Follow Itz Linz and Mamma Chia on Twitter and tweet the following, “AMAZING @MammaChia giveaway on @ItzLinz’s blog! Check it out –  http://wp.me/p2WMfo-3E2 #SeedYourSoul #FitFluential”
  • Follow Itz Linz and Mamma Chia on Instagram and like my Mamma Chia Instagram post.  Tag up to three friends for additional entries!

Be sure to comment on this post to have your additional entries counted!  This giveaway will be open until Thursday, June 9, 2016 at 8:00 pm CST.  A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday, June 10, 2016.  CLOSED

Congratulations #18,  Gia E. Please email me with your shipping information, so we can get your package of Mamma Chia goodness to you ASAP! 🙂

~Disclaimer: Through my partnership with FitFluential, I received these products at no cost in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.