10.20.2014

Space Scouts!

IMG_1086I was so excited when Space Scouts offered to send my boys a package and host a giveaway on my blog!
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You all already know how much fun I've had working with the clothing subscription company FabKids on my blog so I was really excited for my boys to be able to try out Space Scouts, a monthly subscription program based around space + science activities! I am pretty in love with the "subscription box" idea; there is just something SO fun and exciting about getting mail.
IMG_1051IMG_1062-3Space Scouts sent us 2 of their monthly packages to try out! The recommended age for Space Scouts is 6+ (they also offer Animal Trackers for children ages 3+ which is equally adorable) but Asher certainly had a lot of fun diving into the packages with Roman. I'd say that a few of the activities included in Space Scouts could definitely be done with children ages 3 and up while some are a little more advanced so it is a good mix. The first month's package was all wrapped up inside of an adorable tin lunch box and included different learning activities as well as a poster of the solar system and a "constellation collection startup set". Each month that follows builds upon this set and every month includes a magnet to add to the lunchbox, a sticker to add to the solar system poster, multiple learning activities, a souvenir toy that coordinates with the activities and a constellation card to add to the collection. Roman and Asher were pretty excited to open up their second month package and find all sorts of goodies to add to their collection!IMG_1066-2IMG_1075-2IMG_1134IMG_1126(I tried to photograph what came in each box but I just realized that I included the "robotic claw" toy in each photo, oops! It came in the second month's package!)
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We had so much fun getting a chance to try out Space Scouts! I loved the variety of activities that was included with each package. It was a perfect amount of learning mixed with fun and it kept both of my boys occupied all afternoon. Roman especially enjoyed the "sticker scrambles" which are these really neat little sticker puzzles! I am really impressed with how well thought out this subscription service is and think it would be a unique and fun gift from grandparents, an excellent supplement to homeschool or just something to look forward to each month with your children!
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Now, be sure to enter the giveaway to win your own 3-month subscription to Space Scouts! EEK! What do you all think of Space Scouts? Have you tried out any "subscription box" companies with your kids? Thanks for reading!
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This giveaway is hosted through Moms Affiliate! If you are a family blogger, be sure to check this site out and sign up if you are interested in monetizing your blog. They are a great resource and I've been really happy working with them so far!
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10.18.2014

weekend sale + a new favorite store!

Ok, I have a new favorite children's clothing store to share with you all! A couple weeks ago, the boys and I were out shopping and had some time to kill  so we hit up Crazy 8 since it happened to be in the shopping center where we were. I always thought this store seemed really trendy / high end and would be super expensive so I hadn't considered shopping there before. I was so excited to see that they had $10 jeans so I picked up a couple pairs for Roman to try on at home and I also got the boys each a $3.99 tee shirt from the clearance rack for next summer. Their clearance section is literally filled with great stuff and everything is so ridiculously colorful and cute! $3.99 is actually higher than my ideal  price for kids' clothes, I am a super bargain shopper in that area - but I couldn't resist; their stuff is just SO adorable.


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Since I am signed up as an affiliate for a few children's clothing companies, ( oh and hey, I threw in a couple affiliate links in this post! ) I got an email this morning letting me know that Crazy 8 was having an $8.88 jean sale this weekend. I wanted to try a smaller size in the jeans that I bought for Roman so this afternoon the boys and I stopped by. I returned the 2 pairs of jeans I got him last time and bought 2 more pairs for only $8.88 each plus another clearance tee shirt for Roman to wear next summer.
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Online all of the Crazy 8 clearance is an additional 20% off right now! I was bummed because this sale didn't seem to extend to the stores but oh well. ;) ( Hint: if you are going to purchase anything online, I recommend signing up for their emails first - they sent me a 20% off online only coupon when I signed up! )
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I pulled everything in this collage from the Crazy 8 online clearance section and all of the prices shown here are only between $3.19 and $4.79! Super cheap and oh my goodness all the pastels / neons / stripes / cute graphics ... it's too much.
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What are your favorite stores to shop for kid's clothes? Please share! Do you try to stock up on clothes during the off season to save money?

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* shirts that I bought for Roman: here + here!
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10.14.2014

a boy + his dog.

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oh these pictures! they make me so happy. i took these at the beginning of our last FabKids shoot, before asher would give in and put his new sweatshirt on.
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the dreamy golden sunshine and this filled to the brim with joy little guy and his dalmation who happens to match his outfit ...  perfection.
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sidenote, this little red shirt is making an appearance a LOT on the blog lately. partly because some of these photos were taken on the same day and sprinkled into separate posts. partly because, it's awesome.
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10.13.2014

loss.

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( on our way to Chicago, 2010 )
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As some of you know, I lost my dad last spring. It's almost been 6 months ago. Half of a year feels almost substantial but to be honest it all still feels so raw and new; I still feel pretty separated from it. I know that there are steps to grief but for me it's been less about following logical steps and more about feelings that are just all over the place all of the time. And even though I've gone through periods or moments of healing, growing, anger, acceptance, learning or changing... to be honest I'm still mostly in shock and denial about it all at this point.
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The end happened very quickly and it was a whirlwind that didn't seem real to me at all. I mean it happened really, really tragically fast. I traveled home to be with him but I didn't make it. I made decisions from afar, I watched things spiral out of our control. Thinking about that last week just still blows my mind. The timeline of it all is completely mind blowing to me and I can't wrap my head around it. I spoke to my dad on the phone 2 nights before he died and I can still hear him saying, "I'm doing a little better."
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I don't feel like I have anything intelligent or introspective to say about losing my dad at this point. It's more like this big suitcase in my life has been shut and inside it are all of these swirling papers and lists and things upon things that I need to sort through and figure out. Instead of dealing with it I just sort of stuff it closed and cram it under my bed. Sometimes I get it out and do things like pick out a gravestone from photos that my sister sends me on Facebook. Sometimes I wear his bracelet and think about how I could donate my time someday to a cause in his honor. Always I hear his voice, see his face, feel his memories. But there is still a lot of stuff in that suitcase my friends, and I don't honestly know when I'll really be able to sit down and open it up.
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My boys talk about my dad, "Poppy" a lot. Roman says things in that 6 year old way that are just absolutely the most beautiful things in the world. He remembers things about my dad that would make his Poppy full of happiness and pride. He remembers that, "Poppy always had things ready for us when we came for Christmas." He remembers the Easter decorations that were nicely set out when we went to his apartment after his death. It sounds silly but those details are so my dad; he cared about making things special. Asher looks in the sky and says "I miss Poppy. He's in the sky? I can't seeeee him. He has wings? He can fly?" I don't know that they will remember him at all. I always tell Roman to keep remembering, to keep remembering. I'm worried that he won't and it makes me cry big tears. It isn't fair. My dad was so good to my boys, I wish they could have and know him longer.
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My constant dreams about my dad have settled down a bit. But I did have one the other night. In it I was telling my dad that he would always be alive to my sisters and I and that he didn't need to feel sad or fearful about leaving us because we would always, always be with him. I was literally chuckling a little, like, what's the big deal, nothing can separate us.
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So yeah, I don't know, I really don't know anything at all. It does suck, all of it. It all just sucks. My sisters and I each have our theoretic suitcases full of things to sort through now as well as real life boxes upon boxes of things that we've inherited from our father as well. There will certainly be many years of sorting and sharing and pouring through them all in our future. There will be tears of joy and of course many tears of sadness. Hopefully we will continue to be able to share and grow together through the happiness and sorrow of it all. Hopefully it will connect us more and more through the years. We share this journey.
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The grief process is rocky and the future of it all is uncertain to me. One thing that I do feel certain of is that feeling of truth from my dream; my dad will always, always be alive to my sisters and I. Inside I truly feel like no girls have ever loved their father more.  One concrete feeling I've derived from this all is learning and seeing true, uninhibited love. It's the love I felt, the night my dad died, as we sat  inside my mom's living room laughing and crying together. It's the love I felt when my grandpa said, "whatever you girls want," when we planned one last big celebration for our father.  It's the love that we all poured into my dad in our own separate ways, in the ways that we were capable of, at the end. It's hard to explain but I guess there certainly is something beautiful about the heartache and desperate pain. Even though it's a terrible loss, there are moments - like when I look at the mountains and think about how much my dad would have loved them, it's moments like that make me feel something so very truthful and absolutely real. It makes me feel connected to my dad in a way that is almost closer than if he were right there in front of me... in those ways my dad lives on.
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<3
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"Loss" is the October writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective.
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The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///

10.09.2014

happy thoughts.

Just some random happy thoughts / happy photos of life around here lately:
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 Asher and his "babies".  It started a while ago with his "baby tiger" and he has now taken a liking to "dragon" who he always tells me "Coffee" gave him. ( Grandma Kathi. ) Asher has such a sweet and tender heart under his wild ways. I love seeing it shine.
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IMG_0690This picture just cracks me up and is so absolutely ridiculously nonsensical : Asher eating a grilled cheese at the gas pump.
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This was an out-take of Asher swinging at the park that I came across and loved from a photography project I was working on for a class.
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IMG_0952Oh my gosh - this squirrel! I was taking pictures at the park while my boys were playing and this squirrel let me get unusually close. After I took this photo, he actually started climbing down towards me. I slowly backed away and he was just inching closer and closer and even followed me as I walked away! A few minutes later I walked back and fed him some of my cashews. So weird...
.fabkids_september_comes_in_colours_dip1I love these photos that I snapped of my boys while we were doing our latest FabKids photo shoot. This is right in front of our house and I like how you can see part of the foothills that are right in our backyard!
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IMG_0939 Oh just another swinging photo! Loving these skinny jeans, shoes + socks. I bought Asher some new socks at my work last week and I got double of each pair because we can NEVER find matching socks around here. 
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IMG_0584 and okay, here is my obligatory fall photo. Truly I'm handling fall pretty well right now since Colorado decided to shape up and we've been having wonderful warm days everyday! Leaves falling while wearing tank tops is certainly weather that I can handle. 
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( other happy thoughts posts: here )
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We Are A Top Baby Blog
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10.06.2014

FabKids // september picks.

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I don't realize how fast the month is going by until I get an email saying that the new FabKids outfits are reading to pick from and I almost always haven't even photographed and shared my boys in their outfits from the previous month!
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This month Roman knew right away that he wanted to choose this outfit with the flannel shirt. I definitely didn't have this outfit in mind for him because I figured that a long sleeved teeshirt would get a lot more use. However, he really insisted that he wanted this shirt and Aaron and I thought it was pretty darn cute. :) His "Mr. Cool" shirt underneath is from a FabKids outfit he chose a few months back that I don't think I ever got a chance to share! I'm really happy with this outfit and the biggest reason is that the pants FIT him. I have had the hardest time finding pants for Roman this season! He is growing like a weed and when we went pants shopping at Old Navy and Target I had the boy try on every style pants available with no luck. I'm normally not a huge cargo pants fan but these FabKids pants fit him and it's a miracle! I love the rich brown color as well.
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I was really excited to get these black skinny jeans for Asher this month. Last month I picked skinny jeans for Asher and I am in love with them! They are absolutely adorable and he wears them ALL the time! I love that the waistbands on FabKids pants are adjustable and it has benefited both of my boys. Asher is a little skinny scarecrow and even though these pants are only a size 2 I have to pull the waist as tight as it will go! I'm really excited to have a new pair of these skinny jeans for him and I love the Rock Legend sweatshirt as well! I'm slowly trying to transition Asher to the next size so I got a size 3 in this sweatshirt but it's a little roomy. :)
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Be sure to check out FabKids for yourself! FabKids is a subscription clothing company offering brand new outfits to pick from each month! If you sign up now you'll get your first outfit for only $15! You always have the option to skip any month with no charge and you can cancel your FabKids subscription at any time. One thing that I really like about FabKids is that when you become a member you get offers for a lot of great deals in addition to your monthly outfit. FabKids is always offering fun discounts like boy one outfit get one free, $10 pants, and they also have sale items as well that go pretty cheap!
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Thanks so much for reading along. I love sharing my boys' FabKids outfits with you guys every month! We have so much fun with our monthly photo shoots!
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We Are A Top Baby Blog
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( This post includes affiliate links to FabKids. If you use my link, you will receive your first outfit for only $15 and in return I will receive points towards free outfits for my kids. FabKids sent me these outfits to share with you all but this post and all opinions are my own. Thanks for reading along and providing my family with these awesome opportunities! )

9.29.2014

little reader.

IMG_0146-2IMG_0142IMG_0141IMG_0140IMG_0128 ( My First Book Fruits by Sophie Helenek )
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Hey there! I wanted to pop in and share these photos I took of Asher over a month ago. Author Sophie Helenek was kind enough to reach out to me and send Asher a copy of one of the books from her new series, My First Books.  We received the Fruits book and Asher proudly carried it around the neighborhood as I took some photos of him. The boys and I have so much fun when we get the chance to work with companies and our package finally comes in the mail!
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Even though Asher is 3 now, he really gravitates towards these simple "baby" board books because he can grab one and read it himself! He loves to look through books and point out all the pictures that he knows. It's really sweet. :) Our little boy who we thought would never start talking goes on and on and on these days and I just love hearing all of his bright and shiny 3 year old thoughts!
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You can check out Sophie's new book series here. I love that she has a "musical instruments" book! Sophie is such a sweet lady and I've really enjoyed working with her and watching her gain success with her venture into children's books!
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I hope everyone's week is off to a great start!
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We Are A Top Baby Blog
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