The last couple of weeks have been such a whirlwind that I’m not sure I’ve been able to process the fact that we’ve moved halfway across the country. It doesn’t help that we’re staying with my mom and family is in town so it just feels like a long vacation so far. 99% of our stuff is in storage and we’ve been living out of suitcases for two weeks now! It’s been fun but I think these kids especially will be ready to get back to a semi-normal schedule and life once we’re able to move into our home in a few weeks.
We spent just over four years in San Jose, CA and it was just what our family needed. We’ve always lived within 30 minutes of both of our families (and we both have big families) so most of our time was determined by what soccer game, birthday party, family dinner was going on that evening or weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE family time buuuuuut I just remember the first weekend in San Francisco…we both looked at each other and said, “What do we want to do?! We can literally do whatever we want!” We grew and blossomed and leaned on each other in the last four years. It’s been just what our family needed.
Another beautiful side effect of us not having family close to us is that we really made friends that became family. That’s what we’re going to miss most about California — the people. Hands down. The weather’s great, the sights are great, but the people are what made it home for us. We are so thankful for all of the wonderful people who stepped in when we needed them and spent holidays with us so they didn’t feel as lonely. We’re really trying to sell Austin so people will come visit us or even better…move there! We’ll have a guest room all ready for you guys if you ever wanna test the Austin area out! Just saying.
The one thing I wanted to do most before we left the Bay Area was take family pictures by the bridge and I’m so grateful we were able to squeeze it in before we left! Our family will always hold our time in California close to our hearts and looking at these pictures will give us all the feels our whole lives, I know it.
Thank you, California, for your lack of bugs, beautiful weather that always cools off at night, the Golden Gate Bridge, the redwoods, amazing hiking, being the place we brought our sweet baby Sawyer home to, Boudin, your incredible fruit trees in everyone’s yards, for being the place we learned more about our amazing son Holden, our San Francisco trips, the beach, and the amazing people who live there. We definitely left part of our hearts there but we are excited to see what adventures living back in Texas bring our family.
all photos by Rachel Zee Photography
You guys, I am so happy to report that this product actually lives up to the hype I built. It might even better than I thought it would be! We were lucky enough to be sent two bed boxes from Jet Kids for my older kiddos and they were SO excited to take them on our trip to Austin. We usually get comments on our Orbit stroller that boasts two super rad skateboards but this time we got constant comments on their little suitcases they were riding around! And when we told them that they also turn into a bed on the plane?! Their minds about exploded. A couple of older men said they wish they had one for themselves!
There was a tiny bit of a learning curve for our kids scooting around the airport but that’s to be expected. The floors were a little more slick than our floors at home but they quickly adjusted and were zipping around easily soon enough. I love the sense of independence it gives kids to pull around their own suitcase. They feel like they’re contributing to the family which always makes them feel good!
Having the bedbox on the plane was amazing for the kids to stretch out their legs, keep their stuffed animals close, and keep their snacks all in one, convenient space. Usually they find it hard to get comfortable on the airplane but being able to stretch their legs helped a lot. And you guys, if you travel a lot with a baby, this would be a d-r-e-a-m. Being able to lay down a sleeping baby or even set one in a seat without having to worry about them jumping off, such a peace of mind! If you get it early on with a baby, you would be getting your money back a hundred fold with the years of use you’d get out of it, trust me!
I would definitely recommend getting one for your kiddos. It’s a really quality product (and a 3-in-1) so even though the price tag might be a little more than you’d typically spend, this is an item you will be passing down from kid to kid. You can buy a bed box of youre own here and they also have a list of retailers on their website!
This post was sponsored by Jet Kids but as always, every word is my own.
You guys, I’m FINALLY sitting down to blog about our Ireland trip! Only what, 4 or 5 months later?! Life hasn’t been crazy at all, if you can’t tell. I had gotten so many questions about our trip but hopefully I’ll answer most of them in my series of posts and that everyone gets the bug to visit Ireland because it was incredible.
I actually was such a slacker and didn’t take very many photos on the plane! It was kind of crazy and I feel like it’s kind of like birth — when you’re going through it it’s awful but afterwards you tell friends, “Oh it wasn’t so bad!” Sawyer was kind of sick leading up to the trip and our pediatrician told us to expect either throw up or some fun diapers and lucky for us, he gave us both on the plane! After that though it was a fairly easy flight. We were able to call ahead and reserve the bulkhead seats where they can put a little bassinet together for you which was great. Basically a box but at least it was somewhere we could set Sawyer down to sleep! I wish I could tell you he slept for like 5 hours but nope, maybe 45 minutes at the longest stretch and woke up every 15 minutes while sleeping on me BUUUUT it was fine. We did an overnight flight and I regret expecting him to sleep for at least a good portion of the flight because then I was extra bummed when he didn’t.
After 11.5 hours, we landed in Dublin and went to get our rental car. My mom was with us too so we got a little “bus” that can seat like 9 and that was interesting! Cars are typically pretty small in Ireland so it basically looked like we were driving a big, red delivery van but people couldn’t miss us so that was a plus! Driving on the opposite side of the car + road wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be! We drove straight from the airport to Blarney where we stayed at an old Woolen Mill turned hotel which was the cutest!
The hotel was literally a five minute walk from Blarney Castle. You could practically see it from our hotel window and it was amazing being so close. We toured the grounds and met up with two of Allan’s sisters who happened to be in Ireland at the same time! Our six-year-old, Holden, loved Blarney castle and could not stop talking about it the whole trip.
The older kids and Allan ended up going back for a second tour while we stayed back at the hotel and warmed up Sawyer. He got pretty cold while sleeping in the stroller so he was needing some extra attention and a warm bath. We actually wanted to go into Cork the second day we were there but with Sawyer having a hard time, we had to let it go. That’s the thing with traveling with little kids — your plans sometimes don’t work out the way you intend them to and things sometimes have to be cut short. My biggest recommendation is to be flexible! Don’t set your expectations too high or there’s a bigger chance you’ll be disappointed by the trip you’ve planned. You can read more about my tips on traveling with little ones here.
Next up is beautiful Killarney so stay tuned!
I’ve partnered with Hatch Baby before on their smart changing pad and I just can’t say enough good things about their products! The design is always so clean and after using two of their products now with my kids, I can honestly say that their products make parents’ lives easier! I was maybe a little too excited when I was given the chance to try out their newest product, Rest, because we have a major problem of kids waking up super early and wanting to climb in bed with mom & dad in the middle of the night every.single.night. I’m going to share about how we use the Rest in our home but this would also be perfect for a nursing mama who needs a soft light to see or a new parent who gets up frequently in the middle of the night. We’ve been using it in our six and four-year-olds’ room and I just can’t say enough good things. I hope I’m not like overselling this (no, I can’t) but when something makes my life easier as a parent, I basically want to shout it from the rooftops!
Our sweet 4-year-old, Charlotte, has had a bit of a hard time going to bed in the past. Usually my husband would have to lay with her for quite a while each night before she could doze off and if she woke up in the middle of the night, she would be scared because the competitor we used would have turned off to save the battery. Since we started using the Rest about a month ago, we have had zero problems with her going to bed and she has climbed in bed with us maybe two times!
The Rest comes with a few pre-set combinations of sounds and colors that are designed to help your little ones go and stay asleep or you can program combinations of your own. It connects to your smart phone through an app and you can either control it by touch or with the app from another room. We just keep the light and sound on all night because it helps our kids sleep and it doesn’t bother anyone else but if you have light sleepers or thin walls, you can turn it off from the comfort of your own bed and not risk waking the beast…err, sweet children 😉 Our two oldest kids currently share a room so they switch off every other night getting to choose the color and truly, it comforts them. You can change the color just by tapping the ring on the top or holding your finger down to turn it off completely. You can also purchase super cute covers that I LOVE! We switch ours out every so often and the neutral b+w covers are of course my favorite.
An amazing feature is you can program the light to turn green when it’s okay for your little ones to get out of bed! This has been a struggle of ours for years because our oldest gets up SUPER early (we like to call it the devil’s hour) and proceeds to wake everyone else in the house up. Trust me, we have tried products that do this same thing and it has never stuck so I’m not sure why the Rest did the job, but IT DID. Through the app, we were easily able to set it to turn green at 6:45 and I kid you not, most mornings right at 6:45 you can hear Holden cheer that “IT’S GREEN, CHARLIE!” You can set any number of events ranging from bathtime to bed time to wake time. Kids thrive on routine and a visual cue can be super helpful.
I already have plans to get another one for Sawyer’s room and possibly a third if the two oldest end up wanting to split rooms once we head to Texas. Holden & Charlotte are so cute and want to keep sharing a room even though we’ll have plenty of space for them to have their own. I know one day they’ll have to split up (and will want to) so I’m just enjoying the closeness it affords them. Nothing better than your babes being BFFs! You can grab a Rest of your own HERE, I heard they just recently had a restock so are off pre-order!
This post was sponsored by Hatch Baby but as always, every word and opinion are my own.
Something I feel very passionate about is having dinner with my family. We try to have dinner every single night — now dinner one night may mean roast and another night cereal. We just do what works and something that really helps me get a home cooked meal on the table are easy recipes and FREEZER meals! I’m a hugeeeee fan of freezer meals, as I’m sure I’ve said many times before. I’m going to put a list below with links. I hope this helps you feel more confident in the kitchen in being able to have a few tried and true recipes in your back pocket!
- I tried this one pan taco casserole last night with a few friends over and it was a hit! Super easy, tasty, and clean up was minimal since it’s a one pan dish.
- This recipe for chicken rolls is one of my all time favorite recipes. My mom made them a ton growing up and my kids love them. Might not be the healthiest recipe ever but you win some, you lose some! Add a few green sides and you’re good. A huge bonus is these freeze amazingly well! I just put them on the counter for a few hours to defrost then cook them up.
- Sunday Stew from The Pioneer Woman is amazing and another recipe that freezes well! Perfect for a cold, rainy day.
- Salsa Chicken Tacos are another easy favorite of mine — put a couple of frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot and cover with your favorite salsa. Cook on low for about 5 hours. Before I shred and mix it all up, I’ll drain some of the water off so it’s not so soupy. Cook up some rice, put it in a tortilla and top with your favorite toppings!
- This recipe for sloppy joes is my absolute favorite. I actually don’t love sloppy joes very much but this recipe is so good! You can freeze the leftovers too for an easy dinner. Just thaw and re-heat on the stove!
In the next couple of weeks I want to share our Santa Fe Soup recipe I got from my mother-in-law. It’s basically a chili but it’s to die for. Our friends are always asking for the recipe when they come over and a batch of mine won 2nd place in a chili contest so if you don’t trust me, trust the judges from the chili cook off!
We were so excited to try out the 4moms high chair because we are obsessed with every 4moms product we own. They really think about their product design and how it all flows together to make parents’ lives easier. Sign me up for anything that makes my life easier, please! Their high chair is no different and we are huge fans.
My favorite features of this high chair are that the tray and entire chair wipe down super easily. We had a wood high chair with Holden and food stuck to it like crazy — it got disgusting fast. We did baby led weaning with Sawyer (look into it, we are huge fans!) so his chair got messy FAST. It has been so easy to keep the chair part clean! The tray is magnetic so I can have Sawyer on my left hip and the magnetic tiles guide the tray into the slots easily. Just make sure that it’s clicked in before you let go because I have accidentally dropped it a few times when it wasn’t in all the way.
You can move the seat part up and down so it will be perfect when Sawyer is bigger and we can just pull him up to the table (and still have him strapped in). The chair cushion seems super comfortable for his cute little tooshie and I love the double tray cause who wants to clean the tray every single time?! Not me.
4moms always seems to add some sort of twist that makes their products unique and definitely add a “cool” factor. The magnetic tray not only helps to guide the tray on but it also comes with a magnetic bowl so it makes it harder for your baby to throw that bowl of yogurt off of their tray! Like I said, always making parents’ lives just a little easier and for that, we are grateful!
I haven’t always been very good about getting Christmas cards out every year but this year I scrambled at the last minute and am so excited to share our cards thanks to Minted! I scheduled family pictures seriously the day before we took them and you know what? It actually was the most low key family photo session ever. I didn’t have time to stress about getting everyone’s outfits perfect or anything like that! I just kind of went through our closets and hoped everything would look okay together and I’m super pleased with how they turned out! The quality of these cards is so good! Thick paper, beautiful rounded edges. Every detail was perfect, I especially loved the envelopes!
Minted also came out with these killer pin boards to display our Christmas cards and I’m so in love with the custom fabric I was able to choose. I wanted something that I could use year round and I can’t wait to put it in our laundry room in our new house next summer! Won’t it look great in a Texas home?! 🙂
I love our buffet in our front room. It’s the perfect spot to add a few things for every holiday and makes our house that much more festive. I’m going to post a few more family pictures in another post soon so make sure to keep an eye out!
This post is sponsored by Minted but as always, every word is my own.
I have to say, as much as I’d love for my house to be perfectly tidy all the time, with three kids that is just impossible. The second you clean up a mess they’re off making another one and it can be exhausting. Okay, beyond exhausting. I love those kids of mine more than words could describe but my “perfect mess” is not finding markers on the wall or the moss from our plant strewn all over the living room — no thank you! I’m really thankful that STAINMASTER® has created a campaign for all of us to share our perfect mess because so much of social media and blogs are all white homes and siblings that hug even while they sleep. That’s all wonderful! I wish sometimes that was my life but it’s not and I couldn’t be happier to partner with them to share My Perfect Mess!
Carving pumpkins is M-E-S-S-Y. Our son, Holden, is hilarious and would hardly even touch the goop. He has never liked to be messy but he sure loved to manage us all. We were calling him Manager Holden as he was cheering us on (literally) and telling us to let him know when we were done with each step. We were dying laughing and it was so fun to see a glimpse into his possible professional future! We did get him to scoop out a few pumpkin seeds before he switched into his manager role.
We had to put Sawyer in “baby jail” because this kid loves a good mess but also loves putting small things in his mouth (like pumpkin seeds). We were surprised to see that he actually loved watching everyone working and didn’t cry to get out once! I think his teething self didn’t mind chewing on that bar while he observed!
I’ve somehow become the official pumpkin carver of the family and I actually have a lot of fun doing it! I don’t remember doing a lot of it growing up (not saying we didn’t but #mombrain) so discovering that those little cheap tools actually do something was a lightbulb moment!
What I love most about our perfect mess is that we were creating a somewhat controlled chaos but it was such a beautiful family moment with everyone working away, Halloween music playing, laughing + dancing together. The kids were even going around the yard practicing trick-or-treating! The holidays are such a rad time to share with kids and it’s memories like these that I truly believe I’ll look back on as the best days of my life. And i mean, I’m pretty proud of this pumpkin! Arm workout for the week, check!
STAINMASTER is running an amazing contest where YOU can enter to win free flooring for one room in your home and a $500 retail gift card by posting your perfect mess on social media with #MyPerfectMess and tagging @STAINMASTER in the caption. I think we could all use $500 for some Christmas shopping coming up!
This post is sponsored by STAINMASTER but, as always, opinions are all my own.
I was so excited when April asked me to be part of her Observer blog tour! I am a HUGE fan of April’s. In fact, a good majority of the fabrics I use (and definitely most of my best sellers) have been designed by her. She is kind of my fabric spirit animal.
I actually had a totally different project in mind when April initially asked me. I immediately thought of another pattern I had been wanting to do but it took me a while to get started and in that time the wheels started turning. I had been wanting to make a pineapple quilt but something about the classic colors didn’t do it for me creatively. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the classic colored pineapple quilts floating around the internet but I wanted a bit of a challenge. I had an image in my head of how I hoped it’d turn out but wasn’t really sure if it would be totally rad or a disaster. I went for it anyway and I ended up loving how it turned out! When it started coming together I had to powerhouse my way through to see the final product and I’m so glad I decided to change projects last minute.
I had to grab my husband to hold up the quilt top for me this morning before he left for work and got minimal eye rolls! That’s huge, guys.
I had to order more fabric for the backing. I decided to use the goooorgeous Indigo Window Crystal print because it’s maybe my favorite from the new line. I said maybe! The splatter fabric is the perfect neutral background fabric and I love the depth it adds to the quilt.
You can find the whole tour on April’s blog here and I highly recommend going to check out the projects! I love to see how everyone was given the same fabric to work with but everyone came up with something so unique. Totally in awe of everyone’s creativity and talent! I’ll share the final project on instagram once I have it quilted + bound so make sure to follow me there!
We take so many pictures with our phones always within reach — I’m talking 9,000 photos on my phone right now! Not all of them are gems, of course, but some of them I definitely do not want to get sucked into the cloud abyss. You know what I’m talking about? They go to up into the cloud (whatever that means!) and then I never really look at them again. I’ve been dying to print a few of my favorites and was so excited to try out Framebridge. Their service was SO easy and for a visual person like me, it made the process painless. I could upload my photo or art, pick different frames and it would show me what each one would look like immediately. The printing quality was so good and it came with everything ready to hang! I know this is silly but even the nail was pretty!
For those of us that use Instagram a lot, you can even log into your account and easily select which photos you want printed + framed for around $40! That’s what we did for our kitchen and I love how they turned out. I’m a little addicted now and want to frame all the things.
I had recently purchased these two large prints and was worried about finding the right frame for them. I don’t have a lot of free time so going from store to store printing and looking for frames I loved was just not going to work. Hallelujah for Framebridge coming in and saving the day on this one! Seriously, if it wasn’t for them these would still be sitting in my inbox, I promise. I just uploaded the artwork, picked a frame, and bam! I’m all about convenience these days and when it doesn’t break the bank? Even better.
Framebridge is offering all of my readers 15% off their first purchase with code LITTLEWIFE15 and I highly recommend trying them out! I definitely want to get a few more of my Instagram pictures framed for another room in our house. We’ve been in our rental house for a little over three years and adding pictures of our family just makes it feel a little more like home to us.
This post was sponsored by Framebridge but all words and opinions are 100% mine!