LONG time, no “Slice of Life”!
While blogging is a top priority in my life, other “top” priorities have eaten up my time in big ways lately. We’ve been having lots of fun and life has been good, but finding time to sit down and chat about it all has just been a bit tougher lately. Throughout the last few years, I’ve done a lot (!) of blogging after the girls went to bed, but having Jillian sent me over the edge as far as being able to write/use my brain (LOL) after a long day as a mama.
Now after the kids are in bed, I collapse and allow my mind and body to REST. I used to feel motivated in the evenings to create, but right now in this season I’m listening to my body when it says that it’s time to clock out and chill out. 🙂
I am excited to sit down today to grab some pictures and share very briefly about some life happenings. With everything in disarray in our world right now, these pictures make things feel a little lighter.
P.S. Like everyone, the Coronavirus is top of my mind. Like, I’m literally typing this at 5:58 a.m. on a Saturday because my brain is having a hard time shutting off. It’s historic, and while it’s inconvenienced us in several ways via a canceled blogging trip to Orlando (SAD FACE!), canceled school (we’re out until at least April 6th), soccer seasons for both girls, etc., it hasn’t hit us in devastating ways like it already has for millions around the globe.
My brain and heart have gone down a rabbit hole with deep empathy for how difficult this situation is making life for others (namely the ones affected by the virus health-wise, those who are affected in big ways financially, those who are crippled in fear, etc.), so I’m trying to keep centered and remember that “this too shall pass” and that we are held by a big, big God. (I went to a women’s night at church last night and IT WAS SO GOOD and just what we all needed.)
I do think we’re going to see the best in humanity while walking through this. I think most of us are going to slow down, enjoy friends and family at our homes, eat home-cooked meals, HELP OTHERS WHO NEED IT, and just chill. 2020, you have been a freaking doozy so far. Gracious!!
Let’s get back to a “slice of life”. 🙂
I took this picture at Chick-Fil-A back in January during our “ballerina Tuesday” lunch. These babes (Jillian on right and my friend Chelsea’s son Emmett on left) are both “third kids” and forced to just roll with things, and often that means missing naps at home and squeezing them in when they can. I try to remind myself often that Jillian doesn’t know life any differently than what she’s experiencing now, so naps on the go aren’t unusual to her.
Sadie is in there somewhere. 🙂 Grateful for sweet moms with sweet kiddos.
I took this picture after nursing Jillian for what I thought would be the last time (we ended up nursing three more times though, LOL). Supplementing with formula finally caught up to my supply, so we finished up breastfeeding mid-February. It was very emotional for me, and honestly I still miss the snuggle time with her. She’s way more satisfied though, and formula-feeding has been much easier on our family and routines. She is healthy, and that’s what counts!
We skipped out on traditional newborn photos after Jillian was born, though we did have birth photography and Fresh 48 pictures done (best decisions ever). We decided to take updated professional family pictures in February, and they turned out so cute! I shared a bunch in this post here.
Chef Sadie! This sassy chick loves quality time. That’s her love language, 100%. Telling her to grab her apron and pull up a stool to “help” me cook is something that really fills her tank.
Hadley’s love language is mostly words of affirmation, but she’s also a “physical touch” kiddo. I love sitting outside on the covered patio when it’s raining, so recently I grabbed her out of bed and snuggled with her out back during a storm. Teddy was obviously involved in this too, as pictured. 😉
For Valentines Day, I grabbed a few small things from the dollar section at Target for Hadley and Sadie and called it good. I feel like we make a gift-giving holiday out of E-VER-Y-THING these days, and I personally refuse to spend a ton of money on gifts every time a small holiday rolls around. Personally just not my jam/parenting style. But I do love my kids and do love seeing them smile, so we enjoyed giving them small chocolate boxes and some dinky stuff from Target, like these window clings that they enjoyed for 24 hours and threw away. 🙂
Our Valentines Day plans encompassed having our neighbor besties over for pizza, salad, chips and salsa, and champagne while our kids ran around and had a ball. Best Valentines Day ever! I kinda like getting older and marching to our own beat in this way! 😉
Do you have a doppelgänger? My husband always snickers when he starts hearing someone say to me “You know who you look like? That girl… what’s her name? That chick from Saved by the Bell.” or “You look like one of the Bush twins, I just can’t remember her name!” He’s overheard people say this a thousand times. Haha! I’ve never thought I looked anything like these women, but I recently made this side-by-side to compare just for fun. Who do people say you look like?! I’d love to know!
I received four media tickets to the Venardos Circus back in February and had so much stinkin’ fun attending it as a little “mommy/daughter” double date with Erin and Campbell! We imagined that’s what circuses were like 100 years ago, except this circus had no animals. It was a wonderful show, highly entertaining, that included a great overall message of shooting for the stars to realize your dreams.
We’ve been totally enjoyed the delivery meal subscriptions lately. So yummy, so easy, and way less I have to think about when it comes to grocery shopping and then selecting what to cook that night. I have a few thoughts on different brands that I’ll share in an upcoming post, complete with discount codes for you to try a few yourselves. 🙂
Love watching my babies grow up with my friends’ babies. Sweet Carson (20 months old) and Jillian (seven months old) will surely be the best of buds as their age gap becomes less and less of a difference.
Jilly is getting so big and loved riding in the cart at Target with Sadie recently! Sadie may have enjoyed it the most of all though. Jillian makes Sadie smile from sun up to sun down. They love each other so much.
During the last weekend of February, a few of my college best friends/sorority sisters met up in Birmingham, hopped in one car, and road tripped over to Atlanta (the Dunwoody area). Our precious friend Bethy had her third baby right after Thanksgiving, and we were dying to meet Heidi and love on her two-year-old twin boys, Ryan and Leo.
I could write a whole post about these girls and our friendship. We only see each other two or three times a year, but our friendship has remained rock solid. They are loyal, generous, caring, fun, beautiful… I really just could not love them more.
Cheeks for weeks! 🙂
We love this Joovy walker! Great for cruising around the house while also working well to eat snacks too! The tray is removable for easy washing. 🙂
I recently wrote about our change-up to our gym routine, which has included a weekly Zumba class with my girl Erin. SO MUCH FUN. Legit one of the highlights of my week. I laugh and sweat for 60 minutes straight, and it’s the best.
Marco Polo is absolutely my favorite app! We recently got to meet our precious friend Jenna’s baby via Marco Polo, and it was amazing. We use it to talk all day long sometimes, despite all of our schedules and lives being completely different. It’s such a great app for staying well-connected with friends and family. Some say that it’s uncomfortable talking into the camera, but I do think you get used to it. 🙂
Recently connecting with my sorority pledge sister Haley was the BEST! I could write a whole post on this one as well. I intended to actually, but time has slipped away. She jumped through so many hurdles to become an ISR instructor. She came here to Huntsville to train for six weeks, and now she’s bringing the best swim safety program in the country to Tuscaloosa. She was seriously made to do this. I am so proud of her, I just can’t stand it. There aren’t too many things that I’m more outspoken or opinionated about than swim safety, so knowing the gift she is bringing to her local families bring me GREAT joy. So awesome. I love you dearly, Haley Gray!
Friday nights with friends are our jam. A few weeks ago we enjoyed dinner, games, and hot tub time with dear friends while our kids enjoyed the heck out of each other as well. 🙂 With this particular group of friends, we have a good routine down: the kids bathe and arrive in pajamas, they eat dinner, they all snuggle up in the master bedroom to watch movies, and then eventually fall asleep. The littles who need cribs go to sleep in pack-n-plays. When we’re ready to go, we simply pick up the kids, buckle them up, make the short drive home (10 minutes), and put them right in bed. Easy. It’s a win/win for everyone because even the kids get to run around and have a ball with their friends.
The girls were baking with me recently, and I gave them the jobs/challenges to open a package of cream cheese and a stick of butter. They were able to do it, but it was tough for them initially. They love being involved in this stuff!
This is my favorite view when feeding Jillian. I love locking eyes with her. It puts me in a very, very happy place.
Dance picture time!! SO BIG!
SLAY ME! You are so beautiful inside and out, Hadley Boo.
Another Friday night with friends. We took over a whole party room at Earth and Stone pizza recently and had a great time. The kids got to run around, we didn’t mess up anyone’s home, and we had some good adult chat time.
I love time with friends and relatives more than anything, but I also really crave time with just our little family of five. It’s a different dynamic and I really enjoy it. Jamie does too. We had an enjoyable Saturday last week where we ran a bunch of errands and had lunch as a family, and it was wonderful.
We finished off a great Saturday by attending a cookout down the street with new neighbors that we totally adore (heeeeey Bradford fam!) Often times I love not having any plans because it allows us to say “yes” to the last-minute, spontaneous, fun stuff like this. 🙂
Launching All Things Madison is keeping me busy in a good way! I’m learning so much, connecting with new people, and re-connecting with old friends who are navigating similar industries. I recently spent nearly three hours with my friend Tiffany from high school, who poured so much knowledge into me about how to take things to the next level with my new site. Her motto is that you should always pull people up with you as you succeed. Isn’t that good??
My clown kid. She has been silly since the day she was born. “Sadie, go put on a pair of socks and shoes.” And then she walks out of her room two minutes later with Harry Potter socks on. Ahhhh, THIS KID!
Hadley has a heart of gold, and we’re seeing this side of her emerge more and more lately as she’s able to express herself more fully as she gets older. She wrote this on Jamie’s truck recently, which MELTED him (and me).
Developmentally, Jillian is cruising right along. She loves to sit up and play with her basket of toys, is eating everything in site (the baby-led weaning route has been fantastic), sleeping 11-12 hours straight at night, and loves to move around the room by scooting on her belly or rolling. She is strong on her arms but isn’t anywhere close to pulling her knees under, so crawling may be a bit off still. She is growing like a weed and enjoying lots of hand-me-downs from her big sisters.
This week was full of hour-by-hour updates about the Coronavirus, but it was also full of time with relatives visiting from Omaha. These are my second cousins (my mom and their dad are first cousins), and they are some of my favorite people in the world. They are kind, fun, light-hearted, and they love Jesus. (My girls just crawled in bed with me – it’s 7:23 a.m. – and saw this picture. They both just started exclaiming how much they love these people in this picture below. So sweet.) Thank you for coming to visit us, Bretsen family!
And last but not least, a picture of our big eight month old (!!!) from just yesterday (Friday, the 13th). She still remains the happiest, easier baby. We’re obsessed with her!
Yesterday I was feeling a decent amount of anxiety and irritation over everything looming, but after our women’s night at church last night, I feel so much better. I also see the silver lining in all of this, and that’s the time we’ll be able to spend with our families. There won’t be any extracurriculars or events; Our calendars have been wiped cleaned for the first time EVER. And I have three amazing kids who are young enough that they just want to hang with me. So I’m going to try to be super intentional by spending this unique time with them with a good attitude and perspective. We’ll see by week #2 if things are still calm and okay. 😉 My website launches in six weeks, and there is WORK TO DO!
Thanks for reading today! Enjoy your weekend if you can. <3
How is COVID-19 affecting your family? What are your thoughts?
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to two little girls (ages 5 and 2) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo