just ONE afikomen

If you’re Jewish, you know that Passover began Friday evening. ¬†If you’re not, well now you know. ūüėČ ¬†We started the holiday with a lovely seder at my grandparents’ house. ¬†They’ve hosted every year for as long as I can remember and probably years before that, as well.

mama papa passover 2016

The evening was filled with warm bodies, full hearts, good food, and lots and lots of laughter. ¬†It’s always so nice¬†to be surrounded by those you love.

yaya pops jacob aud april16

Yes, William’s curly locks are just as amazing in person as they are in photos.

passover2016 steph mom mama

The strongest women in my family.

linking up with katie and erin

Lots of little ones present, but missing many more!

mama papa passover2016

Part of Passover’s tradition includes finding the afikomen. ¬†The afikomen is part of a piece of matzoh broken off, wrapped up, and hidden to be found by the children. ¬†But if you know children, then you know it’s totally not fair if just ONE child finds the afikomen. ¬†So to prevent meltdowns, every year every child wins. ¬†Yep. ¬†This year there were eight afikomens hidden. ¬†My cousin Michael did a great job explaining the rules before letting the children loose to explore. ¬†He made it clear that they were allowed to find just ONE afikomen, and no matter how good of finders they are, they must exit the room immediately after finding their own. ¬†Then he made them stay back while the babies got a head start.

Take a glimpse into our evening with this short video my sister made (including the rules and finding of the afikomen!):

Stephanie takes the best pictures and puts together awesome videos. ¬†We’re always grateful for her capturing our memories!

Here is William and I last Passover (just look at that face!!!).  And this Passover:

passover2016

He is a growing boy, that’s for sure!

How was your weekend?

three peas in a pod

This weekend left little to be desired, and it’s very rare you’ll catch me saying that. ¬†At the end of last week, I started feeling a little under the weather, but I attributed it to allergies. ¬†Well, by late afternoon on Saturday I felt worse, and by Sunday, whatever bug I had was in full force. ¬†Ugh. ¬†I HATE being sick. ¬†I mean, I know nobody likes it; it’s really just awful. ¬†I know exactly why I came down with something, too. ¬†My sleep has been horrible lately, for a variety of reasons, and I always get sick when I don’t get enough sleep. ¬†Hoping I’m on the upswing this week for health, sleep, and sanity purposes…

Luckily, I have the best sister ever.  Stephanie picked up William at 9:00 on Sunday morning, so I could get some much needed rest.  While not much else was doing it, this photo definitely brought a smile to my face:

audrey 416

Totally an overalls type of day!

These three peas in a pod didn’t miss a beat spending all day together –

outside

Soaking up the sunshine, just as warm, sunny days should be spent!

aud416

linking up with katie and erin

I’m pretty sure Audrey wants William to live with her full time…

aud 416

And I think William would be just fine with that. ¬†As long as his momma could come, too, of course! ūüėČ

They literally spent the whole day outside, from chalk to bubbles to walks to bikes to basketball to soccer to baseball to watching Audrey’s tee ball game. ¬†Even dinner on the patio!

dinner

And while I’ve been¬†inside¬†most of the day (in my bed, sleeping, or at least trying to!), I’m most grateful for Stephanie for taking care of William all day and for the bond these three peas in a pod share; for its something that will be cherished and grown for years to come!

What’d you do outside this weekend?

PURE Haven Essentials Refresh Kit

As many of you know, what was formally known as “Ava Anderson Non Toxic” just went through a rebrand and name change and is now¬†PURE Haven Essentials. ¬†I’m a big believer in nontoxic products. I could go on and on about why, but really, the more I learn about toxic chemicals, the more I make a conscious effort to make the switch to completely nontoxic. ¬†You can make your own decision about using nontoxic products or not; that is not what this post is about. ¬†(But if you want to learn more, ask questions, or discuss in further detail, please do not hesitate to reach out!)

This post is to introduce you to the¬†PURE Haven Essentials Refresh Kit which is available for a limited time for just $59 (products retail for over $250!). ¬†I know the $59 price will last at least for another week (possibly longer, I’m just not sure), and then the price will probably go back up to $99. ¬†The discounted price is merely to get the new name off the ground, so take advantage of it while you can! ¬†If you purchase the¬†PURE Haven Essentials Refresh Kit, then you automatically become an Independent Consultant. ¬†It is your choice if you want to “sell” the products or simply stay a consultant for the great discount. ūüôā

PHE ic

So what does the¬†PURE Haven Essentials Refresh Kit include? ¬†I’ve broken it down into three groups of products.¬†¬†Something AMAZING about PURE Haven Essentials is that they have transitioned to 100% of all products are made in-house now. ¬†This means they have control of every single ingredient that goes into their products.

PHE refresh kit3

  • Makeup Remover:¬†Perfect for your entire face, eyes included!
  • Exfoliator:¬†There was an article going around for awhile about how toxic drugstore exfoliators are to our skin and our environment. PHE’s exfoliator contains¬†apricot kernels and skin softening ingredients to gently buff away dry skin, dirt and imperfections, leaving your skin fresh and radiant.
  • Cleanser:¬†This gentle, enriching cleanser is full of antioxidants¬†to leave the skin clean and refreshed.¬†
  • Toner:¬†Made with yucca, which acts as a natural antiseptic, and witch hazel which opens pores and removes impurities.
  • Moisturizer:¬†Enriched with antioxidants, conditioners, emollients, and nourishing oils, to help achieve radiant skin with improved elasticity.

PHE refresh kit2

  • Hyaluronic Acid:¬†This is a MUST for the morning!¬†A light-weight, non-oily serum, perfectly formulated to intensely hydrate dry skin, help restore skins‚Äô elasticity and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Also helps protect against skin-damaging UVB rays.
  • Night Serum:¬†With COQ10, our serum helps to rebuild skin on a cellular level; resurfacing and smoothing.
  • Eye Cream:¬†Formulated with some of nature‚Äôs best ingredients & essential oils, respected for healing and skin regeneration. Moisturizes and firms, while helping to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness and discoloration.
  • Blemish Stick:¬†Six of nature‚Äôs healing ingredients, including organic tea tree essential oil, a natural antiseptic, combine to help prevent breakouts, reduce redness, and keep skin clear. (Honestly, I don’t even need this with how clear my face is now thanks to the PHE skin essentials!)
  • Lip Balm:¬†Organic shea butter, beeswax and essential oils keep lips healthy, hydrated and soft.
  • Lip Gloss:¬†Moisturizing and long-lasting, these glosses, infused with organic botanicals, offer vibrant color, with no synthetic dyes or fragrance.

linking up with the healthy diva today

PHE refresh kit1

  • Hand & Body Lotion:¬†Delivers gentle hydration and moisture to the skin. You will notice immediate and on-going improvement. Leaves hands and skin soft, not greasy.
  • Hands on the Go:¬†A healthier, nontoxic hand sanitizer.¬†Organic essential oils work together to cleanse and moisturize hands naturally and safely ‚Äď no alcohol. Leaves hands silky soft.
  • Toothpaste:¬†A pop of peppermint for your morning brush, with no added sweeteners, artificial preservatives or harsh abrasives. Freshness without fluoride never tasted so good or worked so effectively for healthy teeth and gums.
  • Spray Deodorant:¬†Formulated with enzymes and organic essential oils. Fresh lavender scent.
  • Boo Boo Stick:¬†You can say ‚Äúall better‚ÄĚ faster with our boo boo stick. It‚Äôs loaded with botanicals, including neem and rose hip oil, both of which are anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory.Use on scrapes, bug bites and scratches to aid in healing.
  • Anti-Frizz:¬†Made with organic argan oil for long-term conditioning and shine. Naturally adds smoothness and manageability. Also controls frizz and flyaways. I use this in William’s out of control hair everyday!

mar16 sleep

I’m telling you, my face hasn’t been this clear since I was pregnant almost two years ago! ¬†(I was lucky to have really good skin during my pregnancy!) ¬†If you’d like to try out some products without purchasing the Refresh Kit, you can absolutely do that, too. ¬†And remember, I always offer free shipping, just shoot me an email first. ¬†Also, April’s promotion includes a FREE boo boo stick with every order over $95. Make sure to enter party number 146534 during the month of April! ūüôā

Sign up for the PURE Haven Essentials Refresh Kit or shop for products HERE.

Let me know if you have any questions by emailing me at: itzlinz (at) gmail (dot) com.  Happy Monday!

Let’s have coffee…

Let’s have coffee… shall we? ¬†Grab a cup of joe (or tea or water or whatever strikes your fancy), sit down, and we can catch up about our weekend happenings. ¬†Coffee was the theme of the weekend, it seemed, and my little guy even wanted to get in on the action! ¬†He kept grabbing momma’s cup, saying, “Coffee!”

drink coffee march16

I let him pretend without actually tasting the good stuff! ¬†He’s got to wait quite a bit longer for the real thing.

My spring break began on Friday.  I kicked it off with hosting a play date with my co-workers and their babes in the morning.  William and I hung out the rest of the day before going to visit his best bud, Wolfie, for dinner on Friday evening.

wolfie mar16

They were both holding Shabbat candles and we were singing¬†Shabbat Shalom¬†which is why William was so excited every time we said, “Hey!”

Saturday began with a coffee date with William at Starbucks.  I enjoyed a mocha, while William had a blueberry muffin and water.

starbucks

Cutest little Starbucks date ever.

Later on Saturday, I went to check out the True Runner Spring Gear-Up event. ¬†I’d never been in the store before, but was impressed at the great selection of shoes and apparel. ¬†I actually ended up buying a pair of CALIA (Carrie Underwood) capris that are just gorgeous! ¬†And of course I had to take part in the #WhyIRun photobooth fun.

whyirun

Yeah, I run for my sanity, yet haven’t been running lately… So, maybe that’s why I’ve been feeling a little cray? ¬†(Oy, did I just say cray?!) ¬†Actually, I am hoping to get in a couple of runs this week during my spring break!

William and I went to my grandparents’ house on Saturday night. ¬†Whenever I mention Mama and Papa, William immediately starts talking about pool and hitting the balls in the pocket. ¬†First, he takes out the mini pool table, but eventually goes into the pool room to stand on a bench and reach the big pool table.

mama papa pool mar16

He’s seriously such a coordinated toddler! ¬†It won’t be long before Papa puts a golf club in his hands! ¬†Mama had William talking up a storm the whole night. ¬†We were laughing because some of his language is still indecipherable, so after a long sentence / paragraph of him talking, we can catch the last few words. ¬†Like I said before, his speech is exploding and he’s able to say more and more everyday!

linking up with katie and erin for my marvelous weekend snapshots

I received a MASSIVE delivery recently from Influenster. ¬†Influenster¬†is a community where you review products, take surveys, and provide feedback. ¬†They send you surveys to see if you’re eligible for certain campaigns, and if you are, you get sent whatever box it is. ¬†Then, you’re asked to complete a survey about the product. ¬†You can work to earn a “badge” by completing different tasks, as many or as few as you’d like. ¬†Typical tasks include sharing on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest. ¬†Sometimes tasks involve writing a review on a certain website, blogging, or vlogging. ¬†Like I said, they’re all optional, so no pressure. ¬†And the best part? Anyone can sign up! Not just bloggers! I’ve had several of my friends sign up. ¬†(Sign up HERE if you’d like! It is a referral link and I get “points” for people joining.) ¬†So the best box I’ve ever gotten from Influenster? THIS:

keurig influenster

Seriously, how amazing?! ¬†I am so excited to be able to make coffee at home now, and the flavors they sent are awesome, too! ¬†There is a breakfast blend, dark magic, and caramel vanilla creme. ¬†They also sent a “My K-cup,” so I can use regular ground coffee if I run out of K-cups. ¬†Totally stoked and definitely the best box I’ve received from Influenster!

Speaking of coffee, Sunday morning started with some coffee, as well.  (Check out the first picture in this post.)  We met my grandpa Poppy out for breakfast!  Some of my earliest memories with Poppy are of him taking me and my siblings out to breakfast at a local deli, so taking William out to breakfast with him was just as fun as I remembered when I was younger.

poppy march16

Everyone is SO happy!!!  I love cooking breakfast daily, but there is something extra special about going out to breakfast, especially with your baby and his great-grandpa and cousins!

As you may know, Sunday was the first official day of spring.  St. Louis welcomed spring by SNOWING!

snow march16

Boo, snow. ¬†Luckily, it didn’t stick and we should have warmer temperatures later this week. ¬†Let’s hope… I want to get out there and run!

Are you a coffee drinker? Do you go out or make it at home?

the best

As you’ve all seen, I take a million photos of William. ¬†Probably more than a million. ¬†Possibly a million at one time. ¬†Usually I text my sister Stephanie half a million at once and demand she chooses which of the [almost identical] pictures are the best. ¬†She calls me needy, then tells me. ¬†Anyway, some days I feel like I can’t quite capture the moment as beautifully as I would have liked. ¬†Well, this weekend was not one of them. ¬†I feel like I caught the most amazing moments on camera.

Our weekend began with a sleepover with Audrey. ¬†They are too cute together. ¬†Audrey is like his little momma and he listens to her so well. ¬†Sure, there are times he pulls her hair and steals her toys, and Audrey acts like a typical four year old. ¬†But most of the time, I sit back and watch them play together. ¬†Audrey has the best imagination I’ve ever seen, and she’s definitely teaching William how to use his! ¬†My parent educator actually commented on what a great job William does with imaginative play!

Saturday morning was the sweetest with plenty of cuddles, kisses, and stories.

audrey kisses mar16

I told them I wanted to get a picture of them, so they climbed up on the couch.  As if on cue, Audrey wrapped her arm around William.  They were smiling and giggling as I was snapping away.  Audrey leaned in for a kiss as William had the biggest grin on his face and I caught it on camera!

We ended up watching my sister’s dog, Ellie, for a night. ¬†William loves Zoey, but he really loves Ellie. ¬†I think it’s because she tolerates him a lot more than Zoey and lets him lean on her and hug her. ¬†When I gave the dogs dinner, Zoey scarfed hers down in no time flat, as usual. ¬†However, Ellie is a lot more finicky and wasn’t eating. ¬†I sat down and poured a few pebbles out of the bowl. ¬†William plopped right down next to me and started feeding Ellie her food, one pebble at a time!

feeding ellie mar16

The whole time, William was saying, “Here you go, Ellie! ¬†Take a bite! ¬†Yum! ¬†Yum!” ¬†Seriously, too cute. ¬†And yes, he does have on just one sock. ¬†And yes, that is the most perfect long curl hanging down! ¬†Perfect shot.

linking up with katie and erin

On Saturday, we went to a friend’s birthday party. ¬†It was at a place with several bounce houses and arcade games. ¬†William LOVED playing basketball, no surprise there! ¬†I set him on top of it since he could hardly reach the game from the ground. ¬†He made quite a few baskets!

basketball mar16

Nice shot, short stuff!

And one last perfect shot of the weekend – fixing the door handle. ¬†This is funny for several reasons, but here I’ll just reiterate William’s love of using real screwdrivers and fixing things. ¬†I had to readjust a few door handles at my house, and of course William was right there behind me doing his part.

fixing door mar16

There is just something so beautiful about black and white pictures!

What was the best part of your weekend?

learning to close your eyes

Well, it certainly was¬†another awesome weekend outside! ¬†I cannot get enough of this weather. ¬†It got up to 60 on Saturday and 70 on Sunday! ¬†We spent as much time outdoors as possible. ¬†Our weekend began with dinner out with friends on Friday evening. ¬†Audrey slept over and in the morning, when William woke up (at 4:50am!!!), he kept saying, “Audrey! ¬†Audrey!” because he knew she was still here. I told him that she was still sleeping, so he replied with, “Wake up! Wake up, Audrey!” ¬†I was like, “No, no,” and managed to keep him quiet for an hour before she rose. ¬†I made them pancakes for breakfast and then we went to William’s school for a family event.

The only photo I snapped on Friday was of William closing his eyes because he looked so darn cute and was cracking me up as he was practicing.

close eyes feb16

The smile that goes along with closing his eyes just melts my heart! ¬†It’s so funny when and how and why kids pick up on certain things. ¬†Like where did William learn to close his¬†eyes come from? ¬†Kids’¬†little brains are always working, that’s for sure.

Oh Saturday, I went running.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I pounded out two miles and huffed and puffed my whole way through, but I did it, and I did it without stopping.

run

I hate starting all over, but I know I have to start somewhere. ¬†This was the second time I’ve been running in probably two months. ¬†At least. ¬†I’m grateful to be¬†able¬†to run, but it’s still definitely hard. ¬†Whenever I’m just starting to run again after an extended break, I always remind myself that muscles have memory. ¬†That’s actually what my mom tells me when we talk about getting back into working out. ¬†It is true. ¬†My legs just need to remember how to find that rhythm and my lungs just need to remember how to breathe.

The sun felt great out on my run.  When I got back home, I took my dog Zoey on a walk.  I talked on the phone outside.  I let the sunshine soak in.  It was needed.

linking up with katie and erin 

Saturday night was an early one.  I caught up on sleep and it felt good!  The next two coming weekends are busy ones, so I embraced how low key this one was.  Sunday was even more beautiful than Saturday and we spent a lot of time outside.  We went to the park in the morning.  I put William in the stroller and walked around until he got antsy.  Whenever we go to parks, we always see kids playing with balls and William always wants to play.  So I finally got smart and brought one with us!

soccer feb16

William was hilarious playing soccer. ¬†It was a full length field with giant goals. ¬†He literally went in the goal to shoot the ball into the very back of the net. ¬†The ball was so small that it kept going through the net; then, he would walk around the net, fetch the ball, and do the whole thing again. ¬†After attempting to get him to shoot the ball outside the net a few times without success, I decided to let him do what he wants and just have fun with it. ¬†At this age, it’s all about creating a positive relationship with the sport, not necessarily the fundamentals or following all the rules. ¬†That’s not to say he can’t kick a ball hard! ūüėČ ¬†But I was chuckling when he kept getting caught in the net.

I snuck in three sets of 30 lunges while William played.

lunges

Ooooh baby, my legs and glutes are NOT used to those! Love that burn!

Once William had enough soccer, we went to the playground.  He swung a little bit, but mostly loved the slides!  Sometimes he liked going down by himself, other times he requested he sit on my lap as we went down together.

slide feb16

We love the sunshine!

Lunch, a bath, and a nap were in order after all that fresh air! ¬†I got some things done around the house while William slept. ¬†When he woke up, we went to the store to buy a kite since it was so windy. ¬†We headed to my parents’ to meet my family. ¬†The kite was unsuccessful, but our time outside was not. ¬†There was baseball, handstands, jumping, and playing that happened before dinner. ¬†Sunday night family dinners really are the best way to wrap up the weekend.

yaya pops feb16

Especially with Yaya and Pops!

Did you get outside over the weekend?

801 Fish

The sun was out all weekend, and I’m pretty sure all of St. Louis got out to enjoy it! ¬†If not, I’m so sorry because the weather was absolutely perfect and just what we needed! ¬†It officially feels like spring is right around the corner. ¬†This sunshine and warm weather needs to be here to stay! ¬†The weekend was awesome, plain and simple. ¬†When the weather is good, it makes everything better. ¬†When you’re surrounded by people you love, well, life just doesn’t get better than that, and that’s what this weekend was all about!

William was ready for the weekend before the weekend even began.

sleep carseat feb16

He fell asleep on the way to school on Friday morning with his train signs in his hand. ¬†Lately he’s been very into hoarding things in his hands while he plays and refuses to put anything down until he literally cannot hold anything else.

My nephew Jacob turned seven on Friday, so everyone went out to dinner to celebrate. ¬†I didn’t get any cute photos of William, but he was enamored with his cousins, as always, and LOVED singing Happy Birthday over and over. ¬†We went to Jacob’s birthday party on Saturday morning. ¬†It was at an indoor soccer park and Star Wars theme. ¬†Stephanie went above and beyond, just like she does for every event. ¬†After the party, we came home for lunch and a nap before meeting my friend at the park. ¬†The weather was almost 80 degrees, just perfect!

We enjoyed lots of time outdoors and took Zoey on a walk when we got home.  William was giddy in the sunshine and was laughing as he ran with the dog.

run smile feb16

I love that he loves the outdoors as much as his momma!

That evening, I went on a date to 801 Fish.  I had previously been to 801 Chophouse, but 801 Fish was newer to St. Louis.  Everything about 801 Fish was awesome Рthe decor, ambiance, and food; it did not feel like we were in St. Louis at all.  We ordered and ate enough food for an army and left very satisfied.

801fish

  • Grilled Oyster:¬†The two times I had oysters previous to this, I wasn’t a fan of the texture. ¬†However, grilling the oysters makes a HUGE difference! ¬†They were seasoned three different ways. ¬†We both agreed the butter Parmesan ones were the best!
  • Jumbo Shrimp & Crab Meat:¬†Can’t go wrong here.
  • Lobster Bisque:¬†We shared a bowl; I love lobster bisque, and theirs definitely did not disappoint.
  • Hushpuppies:¬†These were served with honey maple butter and reminded us of breakfast! ¬†The hushpuppies were good (the butter was the best lol), but we would probably try a different side next time.
  • Saffron Tomato Cioppino: Littleneck clams, jumbo shrimp, sea scallops, pei mussels, spicy tomato broth¬†–¬†This was his, and¬†I was too full to try it. ¬†He gave it two thumbs up and finished every bite.
  • Pan Seared New Bedford Sea Scallops:¬†Parsnip puree, roasted butternut squash, hen of the woods mushrooms, crispy pancetta, cranberry gastrique –¬†This was my entree, and oh my goodness it was fabulous! ¬†I would definitely order it again, but without all of our appetizers, because I could only eat one and a half scallops by the time it arrived! ¬†Everything about it was awesome.

I was STUFFED. ¬†I said I couldn’t eat another bite. ¬†But then dessert was ordered.

figgy toffee pudding

And I easily had another bite. Or twelve. ¬†But who’s counting? ¬†This was their figgy toffee pudding. ¬†The homemade vanilla ice cream complimented the warm dessert. ¬†It was gone in no time.

I would highly recommend 801 Fish. ¬†Just recapping our dinner makes me drool. ¬†Our server told us that they get all of their seafood within 36 hours of it being caught! ¬†That’s pretty impressive for a place like St. Louis.

linking up with katie and erin 

Sunday was a little cooler than Saturday, but the sun was shining, so we were outside a lot. ¬†We went to a friend’s house in the morning, so the little ones could play together. ¬†Blowing bubbles, drawing with chalk, and kicking balls were the highlights!

bubbles feb16

William did really well with blowing bubbles and only licked the stick a couple of times! ¬†The rest of Sunday included a Starbucks vanilla latte, a four mile walk around a lake, my first trip to Costco, meet up with girl friends, and family Sunday night dinner. ¬†Couldn’t have asked for a better weekend!

Did you get outside this weekend?

short and sweet

Hello Monday! ¬†This post will be short and sweet because… frankly, my weekend was fairly uneventful with minimal pictures taken. ¬†There were events attended with plenty of downtime in between; I even managed a nap while William napped on Sunday! ¬†That felt good – I’m not usually a napper. ¬†Speaking of naps, when William wakes up from naps, he’s very happy. ¬†He calls for me. ¬†Recently, he started calling me “Mommy” instead of “Momma.” ¬†So stinkin’ cute. ¬†He was so smiley the other day that I took out my phone camera and started snapping some photos. ¬†He offered me his binky.

wake up binky

I love the Wubbanub binkies. ¬†William has had two since he was born. ¬†Considering most babies lose a ton of pacifiers, I’d say we’re doing pretty awesome staying with the same two for the last 21 months! ¬†I bought an extra one to leave at school for his naps there, but besides that we’ve gone strong with two!

At the end of last week, we had dinner at my parents’ house. ¬†We got a great shot of Yaya and Pops with all their grandkids.

yaya pops jan16

Jackson, Jacob, Audrey, and William are raised more like siblings than cousins.  I love that.  They play and fight like siblings, too!  Haha.

linking up with katie and erin

Last night we went to dinner at Mama and Papa’s house. ¬†If you remember from a post last week, William had his first official pool lesson from Papa. ¬†Well, William always wants to play pool over there which is normally fine, but when the older cousins want to actually play a game, this poses a problem. ¬†Mama came to the rescue and brought out the mini pool table set that we used to play on when we were kids! ¬†It was a huge hit!

mini pool

This occupied them for the majority of the night – everyone was happy!

That’s all I’ve got today. ¬†Just like I said – short and sweet.

What’s on the agenda for you this week? Any weekend highlights?

new scenes

Happy New Year! ¬†Now that we’re a few days in and my schedule goes back to normal, I thought I’d share a few new scenes from life lately. ¬†I’ve been thinking about some goals for 2016 and reflecting on the whirlwind of 2015, but I think I’ll save those ramblings for another post. ¬†After all, it is the Monday after a long holiday break, so let’s keep things light and easy today!

smile dec15

Obviously we’ll start with the little man. ūüôā ¬†He’s been a bundle of joy this winter break. ¬†William runs faster, talks more, and gets smarter every single day. ¬†Lately, he’s been loving chase and loves it even more when he is caught as he bursts into a hilariously adorable bout of contagious giggles!

Speaking of giggles, I was in stitches when I noticed William’s hair:

crazy static hair

For Chanukah, one of William’s big gifts was this awesome play set. ¬†(For those interested, it’s the Step 2 Woodland Climber and it’s amazing!) ¬†It’s plastic, so as William climbs up the stairs and goes down the slide, his hair builds up some crazy static. ¬†I always see how long his hair is in the bath tub when it’s wet and straight, but it looked even longer when it was sticking straight up! ¬†So funny!

lily dec15

Many of you know that Annette from Enjoy Your Healthy Life and I have been friends since we were just toddlers at the same Montessori school when we were two years old. ¬†Every time she comes in town to St. Louis (which is far too infrequently, if you ask me!), we always make sure to get together. ¬†Our catch up dates have become even more special now that we bring our little ones. ¬†Just as we played for countless hours growing up, now our littles can, too. ¬†This was the first time I got to meet Annette’s new little peanut, Lexi!

linking up with katie and erin

lexi lily dec15

(Stephanie, how in the world do you get such amazing shots of babies, toddlers, and families? ¬†Clearly a skill I’m missing! ¬†I used the one shot – out of 100 – where they were at least all somewhat looking!)

I’m grateful to have had this friendship in my life for 28 years! ¬†Annette is such an inspiring woman who is kind, intelligent, and passionate in all aspects of her life (and bold!). ¬†She’s an amazing mother, friend, sister, wife, and fitness instructor, and always has time to catch up! ¬†While we live thousands of miles apart, we text often and always pick up where we left off from the time before. ¬†Conversations between us are honest, lively, and endless and remind me what true friendship is. ¬†Now only if I could convince her to move back to St. Louis…

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I love having time off work because it means a lot more time to have play dates with my friends! ¬†One of my best friends, Diana, has a baby who is almost one named Emily. ¬†We always laugh when we get Emily and William together because William can be a bit rough with Emily. ¬†It’s funny because he’s not usually like that, but William usually is the youngest of his friends, so, really, he’s the one getting pushed. ¬†Well, this play date was no different. ¬†William threw a fit when Emily played with his toys (we are working on sharing), so I asked him to find Emily a toy she could play with. ¬†He brought her one of Zoey’s dog toys… That was no accident, I’m sure! ¬†Little stinker!

We definitely made progress when we moved the play date to the basement and William actually wanted Emily to sit at his table with him.  Baby steps!

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Another play date with William’s best bud Wolf happened. ¬†Wolf is a few months older than William (and one that definitely beats up on William, at times… out of love!). ¬†Wolf got a new tent for Chanukah and the boys LOVED playing in it. ¬†It was so fun to watch them actually play together, instead of parallel play which is the stage that happens before kids playing with each other. ¬†Sometimes their playing together led to quarrels (who was pushing the grocery cart first?! who gets to hold the bottle of ketchup?!), but in general, the boys play very well together!

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Wolf’s momma is Julie, one of my closest friends. ¬†We went to a St. Louis Blues hockey game last week. ¬†While we may have been more interested in taking selfies, talking, and deciding what food to get for dinner, we had a blast and did watch part of the game. ¬†We brought home a winner!

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New Year’s Eve 2015 was wild and crazy over here! ¬†William played with his cousins Audrey and Jacob, they partied with crowns, and William was out by 7:30. ¬†Oh baby, oh baby!

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Too early to wake up! ¬†No pictures, Mom! C’mon! Ok, fine, just one.

Maybe how some of you were feeling on New Year’s Day?¬†ūüėČ

What new scenes do you want to share? What’d you do for NYE?

From the bottom of my heart, I wish each of you a healthy, happy New Year full of love and laughter! Thank you for your ongoing support. xoxo

very merry

Oh hello there! ¬†It’s been almost a week since I’ve blogged, and I hope everyone has been busy sharing their time with friends, family, and loved ones. ¬†We certainly have. ¬†William hopes YOU…

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…had a very Merry Christmas, if you celebrate. ¬†We don’t, but I couldn’t think of anything else creative to say while posting this picture of William pointing.

My sister Stephanie had William last week when his school was closed and I still had to work. ¬†She made an impromptu stop at the studio with William and her kids. ¬†Well, Stephanie has always been a briber, especially when it comes to getting kiddos to smile for the camera. ¬†Apparently, she bribed William to smile (though clearly unsuccessfully here… good thing he’s cute!) with M&Ms. ¬†She thinks it’s hilarious since I literally don’t feed William anything like that at all (personal preference). ¬†I’m not mad because how could I be mad when she takes William to the studio for pictures? But… I was sure to load up her kids on sugar last time I was with them. ¬†Yeah. ¬†You’re welcome. ūüôā

The night before Stephanie watched William, Audrey woke up in the middle of the night and told Stephanie, “I know how I’m going to get William to smile! ¬†I’m going to say ‘what what chicken butt!'” Oh the mind¬†of a four year old!

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They’re both getting so darn old. ¬†These two plus Jacob make the three musketeers.

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Doesn’t that look like the cover to a CD or something? ¬†No? ¬†Just me. ¬†Alright…

How about the three of them on Christmas?  When we actually celebrated Chanukah with my immediate family.

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linking up with katie and erin

Back to studio shots…. and the best baby ever…

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…with the wildest hair ever. ¬†I know I say this at least once a week, but he is turning into such the little boy. ¬†His words increase by the hour (literally!) and he grows bigger by the day (literally!). ¬†Looking back, the newborn stage went by quickly, but this toddler stage is FLYING by. ¬†I know I’m biased, but in addition to being extremely smart, silly, loving, and sweet, William is quite possibly the most beautiful baby ever!

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Stephanie knows how much I adore black and white photos.

Anyone and everyone agrees that William is definitely a “Williams” (my maiden name). ¬†He has all the classic Williams features, so it’s no surprise that people repeatedly mistaken him for a brother of Jacob and Audrey. ¬†Do you see it?

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Such cuties!  I adore all of them!

How has your last week been?  

all photos by stephanie cotta photography