May The 4th Be With You: B's Birthday

Oh how sweet that little face is!  Seriously, this kid melts my heart on the daily.  It's hard to believe I gave birth to him (the roughest delivery of all the kids) just four short years ago, but here we are celebrating with him Star Wars style.

Of course, he wanted to do a Star Wars themed party...but he really has no friends and we don't do big parties until they're a little older, so we decided on a simple family get-together at my in-laws...which was perfect.

^^^ Baseball with his only boy cousin...until late summer. ^^^

^^^ Chasing cousins ^^^

^^^ Opening gifts...Daddy reading him a card.  Clearly, he's hanging on every word. ^^^

^^^ Big blowout!  Luke Skywalker cupcake topper not pictured. :) ^^^

^^^ Star Wars nerds.  Blakely and I were the outcasts. ^^^

^^^ We found this Luke Skywalker costume in our Halloween box and it could not have made him happier! ^^^

Tyler Bree went through a similar Star Wars obsession around the age of 6, and she also had a themed party.  We went a little bigger with that one, so if you're thinking along those lines, there are so many easy ideas on Pinterest!

This kid lights up our lives.  He sisters love him so much and have just as much difficulty dealing with his rapid aging as I do.  I guess he'll always be their "baby".  Happy Birthday B-Man!

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Dance Recital Diaries

After a whirlwind of a week, I'm thankfully able to breathe a bit before the next round of craziness starts.  Recital week went off without a hitch, mostly thanks to my mom and Blake, as I was having to split time between it and a church youth conference.

Being the crazy time that it was, I really wasn't able to catch many photos of the girls, but thankfully I snapped some at Riley's dress rehearsal.  She only had one routine (acro), while Tyler Bree performed multiple dances in in 6 recitals.  If that sounds nuts, it is...but what I've learned is that recital is pretty chill compared to the madness of quick competition changes and the stress that accompanies performance expectations.  So really, our schedule may have been busy, but the time I was able to be at the recitals was quite enjoyable.

We still have Nationals coming up in July...there's really no off-season.  And now, 8 years into this dance thing and 2 years into competitive dance, the momma who wrote this post is now almost unrecognizable. 


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On the Cusp

I had a moment of panic, sadness, wonder, love, and pride...all rolled into one, yesterday.  Tyler Bree and I were walking up to a building, and in an instant as I glanced her way, she looked as if she'd grown overnight.  In her running shorts, tee, and chucks, I saw a glimpse of my child, my FIRST born, on the cusp of young womanhood.  It hit me hard in the gut...I mean HARD.  Moms (and dads for that matter) don't usually notice growth in their children because we see them day-to-day.  I've actually "seen" growth in my kids only one other time, and that was when I had been away for a week...and let me tell you, it hit me hard then, too.

But this time, it was different.  It wasn't just that she'd grown, but it was my halting recognition that she's almost no longer my "little girl".  She's basically a pre-teen.  She's on the edge of something I thought would never come.  She's becoming beautiful in a way that isn't necessarily synonymous with childhood.  Yes, of course she's still a child and looks as such...but in this moment yesterday, I saw something more...and it sort of broke my heart.

I feel like in my role as mother, my job description is vast, but fairly simple.  I'm responsible for the nurturing, love, and spiritual guidance of my children...making every effort to be a good example to them and set them on the path for a covenant life.  But in addition, I constantly check myself attempting to "live in the moment" for fear that one day I'll look back and not know where the time went.  Who am I kidding?  I know that's inevitable....time goes way too fast...but I still hold onto some hope that by consciously cherishing even the mundane moments with them, will somehow more permanently etch the memories of their childhood into my mind.  Wishful thinking?  Probably...especially considering the black hole that is my memory retention.  But maybe they will remember more than I do, which is an acceptable consolation prize.

When we got in the car, I looked at her and said, "Tyler Bree, I think you've grown."  I must have failed miserably at hiding my feelings of that statement, because she promptly replied with "Don't worry Mommy, I'll always be your baby."  

Cue heart explosion.

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Summer Style Series For Moms On-The-Go // Maxi Dresses

While maxi-dresses have been on the scene for a while now, they're still so very popular and certainly aren't going anywhere.  A maxi dress (or two or three) completes a summer wardrobe because of the ease with which one can wear it...and they're usually very breezy and cool to offset the warm (or "scorching" depending on your local) temps of summer.  A really hot trend right now is monogramming...Although, should I call it a trend?  It's actually more of a traditional, classy style...yet, we're seeing them on everything from caps, to bags, to dresses, etc.  I just adore how Tiaras took a simple maxi and turned it into a personalized dress for me!  (Did you know they did monogramming!?!)

While I'm wearing it in these photos as a cover-up (we just got back from a wonderful weekend down at the beach), there are lot of variations to style this mom on-the-go must-have!  Read on for styling details...

Style Tips:

>>> I love the way a maxi dress looks with a looooooong necklace.  Big jewelry is the way to go with this closet staple.

>>> If going with a two-tone dress like the one I'm wearing, go with a darker color on bottom for a slimming effect.

>>> When trying on a maxi dress, make sure the length fits your frame properly.  If you end up tripping over a long dress, I can pretty much guarantee it won't get much wear not matter how much you love it.

How to Wear:

>>> Throw a jean jacket, thin cardigan, or kimono over a maxi dress for more coverage, while also adding interest to your outfit.

>>> As with several of the other pieces featured in this Summer Style Series, maxi dresses can be dressed up (not super fancy, but "nice casual" depending on the fabric) or worn super chill around the house or as a cover-up (as shown).

>>> My favorite way to wear a maxi dress is with simple, flat sandals and light layer over...instant outfit!

>>> Another not-as-common way to wear maxis are layering underneath.  Paring an under-layer, such as a simple tee or 3/4 top, helps take a summery dress into fall.

In other summer news, if you've yet to find the perfect swimsuit (I mean really...don't we all put off this task?), Swim Outlet has TONS of options.  This past weekend at the beach I really loved wearing this Kenneth Cole tankini top I got from there!  

Outfit details:
Maxi Dress // c/o Tiaras
Tankini // c/o Swim Outlet
Beach bag // Magellan

>>> Make sure to check out PART 1, PART 2, and PART 3 of this Summer Style Series!

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Summer Style Series for Moms On-The-Go // Flowy Tops

Hi there!!!  I'm super excited about our third featured must-have in the Summer Style Series today, as this one might be my favorite.  If you missed the others, here are featured look 1 and featured look 2 in the style series for moms on-the-go.

If you're like me, I think most of us moms fall under two dress styles in our everyday lives as we shuttle kids around, run errands, attend meetings, shopping, etc.  We either slum it up with yoga pants and a tshirt ("Who cares what I look like...I won't see anyone I know."  Except, I ALWAYS see people I know!), OR we make an effort to look put together with some denim, a cute top, and call it good.  Well friends, the latter is where we find today's featured look...flowy tops.  These aren't just any tops or tunics...I'm specifically referring to light, airy, sometimes sheer, tailored tops that are the perfect weight and look for summer.  They're the blouses, that when thrown on with some jeans and cute shoes, look like you nailed it in the getting dress category.  Flowy tops are fail-proof and require next to zero pre-meditation.

Check out my style tips and how to wear this easy-breezy look below:

How To Wear:

>>> As mentioned above, the easiest way to wear a flowy top is with denim...any color jeans work great with this look!

>>> Other simple, yet laid back pairings are shorts (such as cut offs) and leggings (example I wore HERE).

>>> Depending on how dressed up you want to go, flowy tops can be paired with sandals, flats, heels, wedges...really anything!

>>> If the flowy top is a little too shapeless for you, pair a thin belt with it to cinch in the waist.

>>> To really dress up your flowy top, wear it with a pencil skirt (either tucked in or belted), heels, and some killer jewelry.  (example I wore HERE)

Style Tips:

>>> Flowy tops are forgiving (comfortable) without looking slouchy, which makes them even more versatile.  Go ahead and add more than a few to your closet to grab whenever.

>>> For expectant mommas early in a pregnancy, these tops are the best for hiding a little bump.

>>> Pattern-wise, look for prints of floral, geometric, and solids with a bit of detail (such as lace).

>>> As you add flowy blouses to your wardrobe, keep in mind how well they'll transition to fall/winter simply by adding a blazer or cardigan and riding boots!

Outfit Details:
blouse // c/o Tiaras
jeans // Gap (currently on sale)
wedges // Korkease via Nordstrom
bag // Madewell via Nordstrom 
earrings // c/o Lavish Leathers

Thanks to Tiaras boutique for partnering with me for the Summer Style Series!!!  We've got a couple more looks to finish out the series...stay posted!  Local readers, check out their many other flowy blouse options they have's a couple of my favorites I grabbed a shot of:

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Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale // Shoe Love

It's that time of year that I get a major itch to shop...Nordstrom's half yearly sale is here!  I've picked out some of the best steals I could find...from the shoe department!  And the best part is that ALL of these styles are under $50 (some WELL under)!  Just click on the individual shoe to shop it or visit the links below.  Happy Shopping...but HURRY, sizes are going super fast!

1.  BP 'Xenia' Pointy-Toe Pump 
2.  Chuck Taylor All-Stars
3.  Steve Madden Ankle Strap Sandal
4.  Havaiana Flip-Flop
5.  BCBG Pointy-Toe Pump
6.  BP Double Strap Sandal
7.  Toms Woven Wedge

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Summer Style For Moms On-The-Go // Palazzo Pants

Hello!!!!  Happy hump-day friends!   I've got for you the second look in our summer style series for moms on-the-go today and it's none other than palazzo pants!  We've seen these wide leg pants around now for a while, but if you haven't yet tried them out, be sure to do so!  Not only are they flowy and so very comfortable, but are easy to pull off for anyone and everyone...I promise you that!

Here I'm wearing some REALLY wide palazzos from Tiaras (aren't they fab?), but if these feel a little too much for you, there are plenty of other options to try with variations in width, pattern, and fabric.  See below for ways to wear this versatile summer style...

Style Tips:

>>> Dress palazzos up or down...either way, they'll carry you through a busy day!

>>> Palazzos are kind of funky by nature, so don't be afraid to mix all sorts of patterns, graphic tees, and accessories like these oversized leather earrings from Lavish Leathers!

>>> When buying a pair of palazzos, choose a pattern/color that you can wear with at least 3 different tops.  That'll guarantee you'll get good use of them!

>>> If the flowyness of the pants feels too casual for the office, pair with a denim jacket or vest for a more structured look.

How to Wear:

>>> Proportionally balance the wide-leg with a fitted top to give shape...then you can always add on another light layer, such as a kimono (as shown).

>>> Wear palazzos with either a thick wedge (not pumps) to dress up and add height, or flats for a more casual look.

>>> Depending on the style of the palazzos (preferably light and airy ones), try them out as a chic cover-up at the pool!

>>> A solid white or black tee is always a go-to look with palazzos...add a statement necklace and outfit complete!

>>> Throw on a belt!  Every body type needs some shape when styling...add a belt over a flowy top with palazzos OR belt the pants themselves (as shown).

Outfit Details:

Palazzos // c/o Tiaras // jumpsuit option
Striped Top // H&M (similar HERE)
Leopard Kimono // Target (similar HERE)
Wedges // Kork-ease via Nordstrom
Tote // Madewell via Nordstrom
belt // c/o Francesca's
Panama hat // Urban Outfitters (similar HERE)
Earrings // c/o Lavish Leathers
Necklace // Stella & Dot

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