Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Underwood with my homegirls

It was nearly 90 when we made our way to Underwood Family Farms for a hayride and pumpkin patch, but that didn't stop me from (over) dressing my girls in festive clothes and pretending that a chambray collared top for me was smarter than my normal white tee (but I got the back sweat to prove that I was wrong, so disgustingly wrong!)

Weather aside, it was a wonderful day at the pumpkin patch with a whole slew of friends. It was especially fun because we talked Meghan and Hunter into partying with us and any time spent with family makes the adventure that much sweeter. We missed all three of our Wiggy boys but it was such a fun girl day and I'm so grateful for this time spent with just my little ladies.

I'm not saying I'm the oldest friend in this group, but I'm definitely not the youngest! It's so weird to now be in the "mature" mom category, but here I am. I'm embracing it though, I really am. I look at all these young, cute new moms and think, how can I make their life easier? How can I do for them what others did for me? I got all serious in this caption and didn't even mean to, but I'm just so grateful for various seasons in life and I'm pretty happy sitting in mine right now.

The three Wiggy opera right there.

Hunter was so serious, I couldn't get a smile out of him to save my life! Luckily once he got some lunch in his belly he was happy as a clam. Smile or no smile, that kid is a cutie!

Cora kept picking up pumpkins and saying, "Dis! Dis!" and it was absolutely adorable. "This" is her newest word and we're both pretty proud every time she says it. Needless to say, we went through about 20 picks before finding the absolute perfect pumpkin!

Coco also pulled this bad boy around for awhile and was sure it was the perfect pumpkin. Luckily, I talked her out of this Charlie Brown friend!!!

That model sister-in-law of mine is super pregnant and you'd never even know it. She's looking good!

Thanks Underwood for some morning cousin fun! We made it home just in time to pick up the boys, host Friday Ice Cream Day and head to soccer practice. Phew!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Perspective from our soccer player

Everett scored a goal in his game this afternoon--his first one of the season! And to be honest, the goal was only a tiny part of what impressed me. He was running until his cheeks were bright pink, kicking the ball with strength and passion and boy did he protect that goal from the other team. Near the end of the game James leaned over and said, "Can you believe he is the same kid who needed two surgeries to save his life? Now look at him--he's a real soccer player, and a good one!" There are so many reasons to doubt and fear in this life but then there are reasons to rejoice and believe--Everett continues to be the latter for me. I never imagined six years ago that life could be as energetic and hopeful and normal as it has proven to be, which makes me think that six years from now there's a good chance I'll be feeling the same way about difficult or worrisome areas of my current life. Perspective is a beautiful thing, and so is my Ever Knight.  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Baby Anna and Elsa

I love October! What a fun month full to the brim of celebrating and adventure. We had our first Halloween party earlier this week for all of our toddler friends and I convinced Quinny to forgo her scary Cheetah costume and instead dress up like Anna and Elsa with baby Cora since we already had both dresses. She was all in and when they were both red carpet ready she walked around the house a million times saying, "Wow Coco, it's wike we're sisters!" Hahaha, I couldn't stop laughing. Almost 18 months after Cora joins the family and Quinny needed a few costumes to realize their relationship!

The Anna dress was a hand-me-down from the Redfords and the Elsa dress was a hand-me-down from the Johnsons and when I saw them both together I knew I had completely won the jackpot! Too bad I couldn't talk the boys into being Olaf and Sven!

Oh I just want to eat this baby Elsa for dessert she's so delicious!

With those matching cheesers and their twinning almond eyes there's not a doubt in the world that these two are sisters. It is SO MUCH FUN to have two little girls. I love my little Elsa and Anna.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sugar-free (not necessarily) the way to be...at least for me!

Photocred to the ever-talented T before jumping in the car for soccer practice. "I think those were perfect Mom, the lighting was amazing!" hahaha! 

I just finished a big bowl of quinoa and roasted veggies for lunch so now seems the perfect time to write about my experience being a clean-eating, sugar-free and processed-free being for the last seven weeks. It's also a good time because Sunday will officially end my sugar fast, what with Quinn's birthday celebrations and everything, so I want to write this now, while I'm still in the thick of it.

I never thought "no sugar" and "me" could reside on the same planet but the last seven weeks have proved me wrong and given me control of my eating once again--which is what this was all about in the first place. I didn't do it to lose weight or to jump on anyone's bandwagon, I did it because life had gotten super stressful and I was eating away my feelings and frankly feeling a little disgusting. My sugar tolerance has always been really high and my self-control equally so, but the exhaustion and stress started to win and I went from eating an after-dinner cookie to eight after-dinner cookies (or a whole batch of cookie dough, or a half carton of ice cream, or three brownies). I was ready for a change and since the end of August and month of September are relatively holiday and birthday free in our family I thought it was the perfect time to do a total sugar fast.

By total sugar, I mean I went mostly totally sugar free. I ate natural sugars--fruit, honey, and sometimes a little pure maple syrup on my oatmeal. That being said, I did eat store-bought whole wheat bread and I did use store-bought salad dressings, and I understand they both have sugar in them but I had to cut a couple of corners to make this whole thing sustainable. I did not cut corners on snacks. I didn't eat crackers, or cookies or basically anything that came out of a box or a bag. That included cereal, which if you know me basically meant I starved to death (wink wink). If I was hungry for a snack during the day I ate vegetables, fruit, yogurt, nuts, eggs or cheese. That's basically it. I also didn't drink soda or juice, except for one lemonade about halfway through when Aunt Flo came to visit and James was trying to help the hormones!

Overall, I'm super proud of myself for what I accomplished. Like I said before, never in a million years did I think I'd actually be able to go sugar free for an extended period of time. But I did it. I DID IT! And now it's over, hallelujah.

So, real talk. 1) Did I feel a whole lot better on this sugar-free thing? and 2) Would I do it again?

The simple answers are 1) I was a little grumpy TBH and 2) prolly not--at least I hope not! Here's why.

The first few weeks I craved sugar hard core, but at the same time it made me feel super accomplished that I didn't eat it. I had one of two cheat days the first week of my sugar-fast (ice cream museum) and it actually didn't even taste as delicious as I was hoping and I was excited to be a clean-eater again. However, once the cravings ended and the weeks kept going by I was just a little bitter that I couldn't have a donut with my family on Saturday morning or a treat on date night with James or birthday cake at my brothers birthday party for heaven sake. I also realized that while things had definitely gotten a little out of control, my life is really busy and stressful and tiring right now and I'm happier when I can have a little afternoon piece of chocolate or after-bed treat--and I'm OK with that. Some people aren't and some don't agree with food fueling happiness (and that's totally cool for you!) but as for me and my house, a cookie for the win! James will be the first person to tell you that a sugar-eating Heather is happier, nicer, funnier and more optimistic about life than a sugar-deprived one. I just kind of felt like life was normal but there was no reward at the end of the night for being a good mom, and how lame is that? Also, I didn't feel a whole lot different after cutting sugar out of my life. No extra energy. No feeling stronger (at least not physically). If anything I was a little more tired than usual without a little sugar boost. Seven weeks after starting my sugar fast I am feeling in total control of my mind and body and I'm hoping I never have to do this again. Moderation is the key and I'm looking forward to introducing sugar back into my life.

There are a few things I will not change come Sunday though, things that I learned in the last seven weeks that I want to continue. For example, instead of cereal for breakfast every morning I am now eating plain greek yogurt with honey, chia seeds and almonds or oatmeal with fresh fruit and nuts. These breakfasts are so healthy and delicious and I want to keep eating them. Also, my mid-meal snacks are way better now and I never want that to change. I always have at least a dozen eggs boiled in my fridge and have a cupboard full of nuts and dried fruit and I don't want to go back to the habit of eating fishies or animal crackers when I give them to the kids. I'll also continue making clean meals for my family and have them for both lunch and dinner for James and me. This eating experiment helped me better understand what I used to put in my body compared to what I should/do now put in my body--and I've loved being aware and in control of those things.

So overall this was a great seven weeks. I'm seven pounds lighter, much more aware and in control of my eating, but I'm also so excited for Sunday cinnamon rolls and birthday cake. As Taylor Swift says, "Baby, let the games begin!" (She's talking about eating in that song, right?!)

{I wrote this a few days before Quinny's birthday and then forgot to post it because I was working on other posts so it's a little late, but here it is! It should be known that two weeks later I'm loving eating clean with an occasional spoonful of cookie dough!}

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Staycation with Dad-Man

Random is when you ask for the week of Thanksgiving or Christmas off of work and get denied for both, but instead are offered the first week of October. The first week of October? Yes, the first week of October.

So...what does one do with the first week of October off of work? Well let me put it this way...what doesn't one do with the first week of October off of work?! What at first seemed random and not exactly what we would have planned for this years leave turned into one of the greatest weeks to be a Wig in recent memory. We're honestly considering making this first week of October thing a tradition, or at the very least having a staycation each year.

Aside from some mini adventures we were able to take, the greatest things about this week were the simplest. For the first time EVER (we're talking about five years here) James was able to pick up the boys from school. He loved it and they loved it. After putting the kids to bed at night he would pop popcorn and we'd sit together and watch a movie. That might sound normal to other people but I literally never see my husband during the week so that was the biggest treat (and made me tear up). We walked to Westwood and had lunch together, he did a bunch of projects around the house, I had someone there to help with after-school and dinner mayhem and he was able to get an inside look at what my normal life is like. I don't know guys, it was just the greatest week and I'm only TOTALLY depressed that it's over. Oh to be independently wealthy and get to hang like this all the time...

Anyway, here's a little photo-log of our week. We had so much fun!

My angel sister-in-law came over on Monday so that James and I could have a day-date. We used our rusty Universal passes from T's birthday and had the best time hanging out together for a few hours. The best part was after riding a few rides we decided to ditch the park in favor of shackburgers and the mall and since it was just us, we totally could!

Something you probably would never guess about James is that he thinks The Simpsons is maybe the funniest show that ever existed. I'm not kidding, you should have seen how hard he was laughing as we walked through the line and watched clips. One of the most rebellious things he ever did as a teenager was watch The Simpsons after school when he was home alone (ooohhhh, so naughty!!!) Oh how I hope that's the most rebellious thing our kids do as well!

There isn't a true Simpson lover who would pass over an opportunity to eat a Lard Lad donut. And in my case, I've never met a donut I didn't adore, Simpsons or not. We also got one of these when we were here in March and I'm not kidding friends, this is one of the yummiest donuts I've ever had. If you're ever at Universal, you won't be disappointed.

James and Quinn played dress-up and also went on a date to the hardware store. Every time I walked in on them playing she growled and asked me to leave (not nicely, may I add) so I think that means they were having a really good time! That girl loves her Daddy!

Behind those silly faces are six brand-spankin' new 72 hour kits for our family that we put together with the boys for FHE. There have been so many natural disasters lately and we even experienced a sizable earthquake here in Westwood not long ago so I've spent the last few weeks ordering every item under the sun and getting them in order just in case something happens around here. They aren't perfect yet but they're getting there and I can't tell you how much peace this has brought me.

James was back at Universal two days in row, this time with an adventure-seeking T by his side. They rode all the scary rides and closed down the park.

Not one for rides or scariness, Ev opted to stay with Mom during the day and joined Daddy at night for some one-on-one ice cream sundaes. He more than anyone has been longing for some special time with his Dad so I'm glad they got their moment.

Shared a salad at Feast from the East for our Wednesday lunch but duh, we both got our own froyo from Penguins. Our neighbor Anne graciously asked if she would watch our girls so that we could run away on a little lovers lunch adventure and who were we to say no?! I was really touched by everyone who offered to help us this week so that we could make the most of our time together.

On Thursday we pretended like we were going to drive the boys to school instead of walk them but instead jumped on the freeway and drove to the San Diego Safari Park. The traffic was bad which gave the kids lots of times to ask for clues and play 20 questions in order to figure out where we were taking them. They finally guessed it and they were so excited. We had a great day there as a family, made even better because October is free kids month so we got six in for the price of two!

My phone was on the fritz while at the park so although we went on an african safari, saw a cheetah do two incredibly fast runs and visited animals that we had never seen before I basically only have pictures of my kids on the carousel. Oh well, it was an exceptionally fun merry-go-round and the unlimited ride passes didn't hurt either!

Was there any doubt that Quinner would ride on a cheetah? Didn't think so! The boys kept hopping from animal to animal but Quinn just stayed seated on her cheetah-friend.

Six spoons and two extra large treats to share--a blue raspberry icee and a chocolate/vanilla swirl soft serve. Both adored and demolished by all. We love you Daddy and are glad to have spent a full week by your side. Staycation for the win!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

This is us watching This Is Us--Premier Party!

It's been two weeks since my big "This is Us" premier party so it's about darn time I get these pictures on the blog. If you don't watch "This is Us" I'm genuinely sorry and START WATCHING IT ALREADY. It makes me feel all the feels and the acting is absolutely incredible and I just love it, OK! I've never been one of those cool kids who watches a show when that show is actually still airing on TV (I'm always at least a few years late to the party) but all of that has changed with "This is Us!" (Well, not the cool kid part, but yes on the watching a show when it is still airing!) 

A Tuesday night is rather random for a girls night but a premier party sounded like too much fun so I sent out some invites, planned a bunch of corny-themed dishes and before I knew it there were 15 friends in my home watching my favorite show. My grand plan was to take a picture of all of us and then post something on here about how "this is us watching this is us" but then reality happened and all I got was a few lousy snaps of the food. Oh well! I'll have to just sketch a picture in my mind of all of us girls wiping tears and sharing treats with Milo and Mandy entertaining us! What a great night!

PS--Thanks to all the friends who came and brought treats and also thanks to James, my mom and dad who helped me come up with some of these themed foods. This was way too much fun!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Baby Cheetah

It's still so funny to me that the little girl whose older brothers were legitimately campaigning to name "Baby Cheetah" is now a three-year-old with a deep obsession with cheetahs. Her BFF (and her angel mama) got Quinn arguably her favorite gift of the year--a cheetah dress and a little cheetah lovie. Once again those brothers of her were campaigning to name the thing and T almost got his way with "Spot," but Quinny knows what she wants and that new little friend needed the perfect name...drum roll please...she named it Baby Cheetah! Yes, that stuffed baby cheetah of hers will now lovingly be referred to as, Baby Cheetah. It's catchy, I know. Welcome to the family Baby Cheetah, I have a feeling we'll be seeing lots of you around these parts!

I wanted a picture of Quinny girl in her cheetah dress and I kid you not Coco sprinted as fast as she could and cheesed as big as she could for that picture. That little lady DOES NOT want to be left out lately and it's been really interesting to watch her assert herself into our family activities. The biggest example of this, besides this picture, is that for the last 16 months James has taken Quinny with him to drop off the boys in the morning and Cora stayed home with me and until last week that was just fine. But it was as if overnight she realized that she was being left behind and that WAS NOT OK with her. Now every morning she runs to the door so fast when the kids start getting their shoes on and if James so much as opens the door without her in his arms she's a big screaming puddle on our living room floor. I love to see her little personality grow, but I can't believe that she's getting so big.

THIS!!! This is how Quinny goes to drop off the boys at school! Is there anything greater than this get-up? I'd argue no! Her cheetah jammies, cheetah-rimmed glasses and Baby Cheetah are joined by her new jewelry from Aunt Ash and watch from Papa and Gigi. She may be outgrowing those pj's but unless you have a replacement pair to trade her don't even think about mentioning it. That girl lives in those jammies and they'll even double as her Halloween costume this year! Oh, how we love this Cheetah-loving chick.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The beach in mid-October? YEESSSSS!

Ash and Jord sent us a picture from their morning jog and it was 30 freaking degrees outside. THIRTY DEGREES!!! Ash's tagline is "we run for fun" and I couldn't help but take a picture as us California lazy siblings headed to the beach on that same day to enjoy the nearly 90 degree weather. I sent them these pictures with the tagline "we sun for fun!" Goodness I wish that all four of us could live closer but I'm counting my blessings that we're walking two by two for the time being. It's so much fun to live close to Chase and his growing family. 

You know what else is fun? Making Chase feel suuuu-per uncomfortable by rubbing sunscreen on his back! He was all, "You're weird! You can't put sunscreen on my back!" and I was all, "You're my baby brother, I've seen more of you than you'd like to imagine!" I annoy him, but he didn't get burned so I'd say I'm winning!

My baby brother was so over pictures by this point...but I clearly wasn't!!!

^^Chase, James and Talmage were riding that wave! Such a great beach day, and hopefully not the last of the year! I so love living in SoCal.^^