Declare Conference Link Up!

Ladies and gentlemen (well, let's be real, there are probably zero gentlemen here), I will be attending my very first real life blogging/writing conference in ONE month right here at home in the lovely DFW area! That's heavy on the sarcasm, because there is basically nothing lovely about Texas in July. But that's OK. 

Because! Not only am I jumping out of my comfort zone and attending this thing, but it is also a writing conference for Christian women - is this something anyone thought I would be doing even like six months ago? Probably no, not one little bit. However, I am insanely pumped. I cannot WAIT to get together with lots of other like-minded ladies and see what God has in store for all of us. My life has basically flipped upside down over the past few months and I kind of love everything about it. (side note: did that sentence make anyone else immediately start singing the theme song from Fresh Prince? Just me?)

So, that was a very long-winded intro to a link-up style post that the attendees have been asked to do. I love this kind of thing when trying to get to know new online friends, and it's even better because I'll hopefully get to meet some of these ladies IRL (that's "in real life", mom) super soon! Now - on to my answers. 
Here's my recent photo..Hi!
1. If we were meeting in person, how would you introduce yourself? 
Hey there! I'm Celeste. Wife to a pretty fab husband - aka "A" here on the blog, and mama to two precious boys - Grayson is three, Gavin is 8 months. We live in a suburb just north of Dallas, and I currently stay at home with the babies. 
Even though I'm a stay at home mama, I'm always dreaming and scheming, coming up with a zillion things I want to pursue. I'm a freelance writer and blogger, and I love building relationships and getting to know women with similar stories, or similar interests, or in similar stages in life - really, just getting to know other women in general, I suppose. Community is everything to a mama with littles, and I (somewhat recently) have developed a huge heart for bringing mamas together. 
2. What is your favorite thing to write and why?
Oh gosh, I'm kind of all over the place. So many times I've tried to narrow things down to a specific niche, and it never works for me. Sometimes I feel like being super serious and sharing my heart and soul, sometimes I just want to write something funny. Sometimes I want to share something cute that my kids did, sometimes I share things that no one else probably cares about but that I want to remember forever. Basically, writing is my jam and I just enjoy it, no matter what form it happens to take. 
3. What is your favorite thing to read and why? 
This is going to sound super duper spiritual and maybe a little cheesy, but right now it's my bible. I consider myself a baby Christian, because I only very recently returned to my faith after a little over a decade of taking more of a I-could-take-it-or-leave-it kind of approach. So for the first time since I was in my late teens - or maybe ever, honestly - I am totally immersing myself in the bible and soaking up all the goodness that I'm finding inside. But aside from that, I love memoirs, a good mystery or suspenseful fiction, occasionally a love story or a really easy beach-read type book. I love reading more than just about anything else, but with the itty bitties running around here I don't get too much of that done these days.
4. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
I want to say something sweet about spending time with my family, but I'm going to be totally honest and say my perfect day right now would be this: sleep in until like 10, preferably in a large king bed in a hotel room all by myself, have a quick but yummy breakfast, get a massage/facial/pedicure, come back to said hotel room and read/write/brainstorm/snack, possibly take a nap, get ready in a super leisurely fashion without tiny people climbing all over me, meet up with girlfriends for dinner, then retire back to my hotel to sleeeeeeppppp in peeeeaaaaccceeeee. Just being real, friends.
5. What’s one thing you love about your blog and one thing you’d like to improve?
I love that it still feels small and private enough that I can share basically anything I want and know that I likely won't get any negative feedback or feel overexposed. However, I would love to feel like I'm reaching people and to know that my words are helping other women in similar situations in some small way. So I love my lack of an audience, but I would also like to grow my audience. I never said I wasn't a complicated lady...
6. [Lightening Round] Would you rather …
  • Read on Kindle or paperback? Ugh. Both? I love my Kindle app on my iPad because I can read it at night without disturbing the husband and/or whatever child is in my bed at the moment. But there's really nothing like cracking open a fresh new book.
  • Drink coffee or tea? Iced coffee in the AM, iced tea in the PM - especially in sweltering Texas.
  • Go to a musical or a movie? Probably a movie, although I certainly wouldn't turn down a musical.
  • Vacation at the beach or the mountains? Beach! Well, can I say both again? Beach for like three days, mountains for like three days - sounds like a great little trip. Someone book that for me....
  • Have an exciting night out or a relaxing night in? Depends on my mood. Most of the time I love a relaxing night in, but every once in awhile I get in the mood to dress up, go out, and have a fun night sans bebes. 
  • Watch sports, play sports, or no sports? Just no. I want to like sports so bad, but I just can't make myself care. I tried so hard to get into the whole football thing for my husband, but...just. No.

Summer is for Swimming!

My sweet Grayson - he is so many amazing and wonderful things, but fearless he is not. He has never been too pumped about learning to swim, although it is something I desperately want to encourage since I'm not the strongest swimmer myself. We did lessons last summer, and for the most part he spent the class clinging to me and ignoring the instructor. I knew I wanted to try again this summer, but I was a little hesitant.

Luckily for me, SafeSplash swim school reached out to see if Grayson might be interested in a few complimentary lessons. It was exactly the nudge I needed to get him back into the swing of things, so we decided to go for it. And man, am I glad we did it!
This summer was a completely different experience than the one we had last year at our neighborhood pool. I think being another year older obviously helped, because he went into things much more willingly than last year. Also, this year he's old enough to do the class alone instead of the "mommy and me" type situation, and I think that is essential for a mama's boy like Grayson.

The first lesson he was a bit hesitant, but by the end of the thirty minute class he was all smiles. Didn't hurt that he got a sucker at the end ;) The instructors were patient and calm, and super encouraging - all things that help my boy feel comfortable in a new setting. There were only a couple other kids in the class, and when it wasn't his turn to "swim", he sat on the step with one of the instructors, playing with toys, blowing bubbles, and getting comfortable just being in the water.

By his last class this past weekend, I was blown away by how comfortable he seemed to be. This is a boy who last year had to be peeled off of me, and now he is hopping right into the water. I was shocked that they got him to practice floating on his back, and he climbed right up onto a huge floaty with three other kids and kicked his way across the pool. He even jumped in several times (a very timid jump, but still) into the instructors arms and "swam" back over to the side.
The best part about the entire experience is the fact that he isn't near as nervous when we take him swimming. We went to the neighborhood pool yesterday, and he was comfortable in his floaties, he swam back and forth between me and the husband several times, and he had fun jumping off of my legs into the water, letting it splash around his mouth and nose. I know this may not sound huge to anyone else, but for Grayson this is a pretty big deal! 

We were totally happy with our experience with SafeSplash, and I fully intend on returning in the fall once our weekend schedule calms down a bit. I'm sure a lot of his progress has to do with maturity, but I also was super pleased with how the instructors were with him. I know I had a bad experience with swim lessons as a kid that resulted in a lifelong fear of water, so I'm always hesitant with this sort of thing. I'm happy to say they were nothing but kind and encouraging, and I couldn't have been more pleased with the experience!

Gavin - Seven Months

Well, he's done it again. He's made me think that this is my favorite month with him. Sweet Gavin is still the best baby on earth, pretty sure, but he's starting to sprinkle a little bit of mischievousness and stubbornness in with all the sweetness. But honestly, it's just making him even more fun! It is so hilarious how different my boys still are, and I swear at least once a day we're like "It was SO different with Grayson!". They are equally amazing and precious, but they are night and day in personality and temperament. Since I'm almost a MONTH late with this (I know), I'm going to do my best.

My Gavin,

Man oh man, your mama is obsessed with you. There's just something about you that makes me melt into a puddle of love anytime you look me in the eye. You really have the sweetest way about you - even your little baby coos and chatter are sweet. Unless it's loud. Then it is LOUD. That is one thing you and your brother most certainly have in common. You've started "singing" a lot. When you're sleepy, after I'm done nursing you, sometimes in the car - you start making the sweetest little melodious sounds and it is so adorable. But then you usually top it off with some insanely loud yells, just to make sure I'm not too enamored I'm sure ;)

You're starting to make me think your Papaw may have been on to something this whole time, because you my friend are a little bit ornery. You are into EVERYTHING. You are pulling up on EVERYTHING. You are trying to climb the stairs and crawl on top of your activity table, for crying out loud. Your favorite thing to get ahold of is any electrical cord you can find, and also tiny things that you find on the floor and shove in your mouth before I can stop you. You are also quick. So quick. If you see something, you've got it in your tiny hands before I even realize what's happening. Anytime you're in anyone's arms anywhere near something you can grab, it goes straight to the floor. And you do it with such a nonchalant look, like "What? Was that cup not supposed to go crashing to the floor? Oh, didn't know."

Right now your favorite thing in the entire world to get in your paws is a plastic water bottle. Seriously, I wish I cold capture the face you make on camera, because the only way to explain it is PURE EXCITEMENT AND OVERWHELMING JOY. Your mouth opens as wide as it can and all your tiny teeth show and your eyes get wide and light up and you cling onto it so hard that you shake. It's hilarious. Nana said you're just like a puppy dog because Addie always loved water bottles. She also thinks you're like a puppy dog because no matter how mad you are about something, the second your attention is on something else you're back to open mouthed smiles and eyes wide with joy. In a word, you are HAPPY.

You still are not technically crawling, although you are. I've seen you do it multiple times, all the way across the living room into the kitchen once, but your preferred method of transportation is weird army crawl/body dragging/froggy leg. You typically crawl until you need to go fast, then you drop down and drag. And again, you are quick. You can drag that little body of yours across the room in a flash. Your favorite thing to do lately is spot something you want but know you shouldn't have, then look at me and squeal until you've got my attention. Once I'm looking, you drag/frog your way over to it as fast as you can, squealing and giggling the whole way until I catch you - and then you giggle some more. Like I said, a bit ornery.

I think Daddy's favorite thing about you is that you're a bit of a daredevil. Nothing scares you, which terrifies Mommy. You'll climb anything, dive off of anything - although you're usually somewhat cautious about it -  and you let Daddy toss you into the air and you just smile and squeal in delight. He LOVES it. Grayson has never let him do it, he's always grabbed onto Daddy's arms so he can't toss him, so he's having a blast tossing you around - again, terrifying Mommy. So I think you and Daddy are going to have LOTS of fun getting into things that Mommy doesn't necessarily approve of...

Your brother and you are starting to have fun playing together. He's BIG into pretend play right now, so you're his doctor's assistant a lot, sometimes you're an animal - baby tiger, mainly - but most of the time you're just driving him crazy and making him yell at you because you're TOUCHING HIS STUFF!!! And he gets mad and growls at you like a tiger, because that's what Grayson does when he's mad, and you smile and giggle and think you're totally in on it all together as some fun game. I keep telling him he better stop being mean and taking toys away from you, because when you're big enough to do it to him I'm not going to stop you. One of the only things that truly makes you mad is when Grayson takes your toys. That will get an angry scream quicker than just about anything. This sibling thing is so fun for me to watch, even when it isn't all happiness. I love the bond you guys are already developing.

The only other things that make you mildly unhappy are diaper changes - which you typically just flip over and run away from (fun for me, thank you) - being put to sleep when you aren't just passing out from exhaustion, being pulled off of or away from something you're attempting to climb, and being told no, because you totally know what it means already and sometimes protest loudly when you hear the word. Oh, and it also makes you mad when anyone other than mommy has you if you are tired or grumpy in any way. Mama's boy #2, and I'll gladly take it - although it gets a little tricky when both of you guys need me to hold you and I'm the only one that will work. Maybe you'll keep me somewhat fit this way.

You still don't care for food much, although if I let you lick some of my food off my spoon or give you a teensy bite you're into it. If it's your baby food, no thanks. This is one more way that you and your brother are alike. We're still not super routine with anything, but you typically eat every three, maybe four hours most days, and nap once a couple hours after you wake up, once early afternoon around noon or one, and again anywhere from three to 4:30. Bed time is usually 7:45-8:15, and you're even sleeping in your crib pretty good! Wahoo!

You had your top two teeth break through around 7 1/2 months, and that was rough. Four days of fever and horrible sleeping and misery - for all of us. Thankfully they finally pushed through and now you've got two cute little gapped teeth just like your sweet brother. I love seeing the little similarities between the two of you.

We've been traveling back and forth to Oklahoma quite a bit, and you are a dream of a traveler for a tiny guy. You usually sleep most of the time, and if you're awake you're usually ok, playing with toys or laughing at Grayson - unless it's at the end of a long drive and you're hungry/wet/tired of being in the car. Then it's a pretty miserably loud trip until we get there or pull over and fix it for you. But you'll sleep wherever you are, you let everyone hold you and pass you around, even if you don't really know them, and you're content to just hang out for the most part. We went to a birthday party last weekend and were there for about five hours and I'm pretty sure you didn't cry or even make an unhappy sound once. Such an easy peasy little guy. You're definitely my sucker baby, because I just know I won't ever get another one as good as you!

If it isn't obvious, I absolutely adore you. Adore adore adore. I love just looking into your little eyes and staring at you. You either jabber or yell or coo at me real soft, and I just imagine all the things you're trying to say. I remember doing this with your brother, wondering what type of little boy he would turn out to be, and he's better than I could have ever even dreamed. I think having gone through this experience with him makes it all the sweeter with you, because I know how amazing it is to watch a tiny baby develop into a hilarious and sweet little boy, and I can't wait to see who you are. I love you so so much, baby boy.

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday friends! I've had a pretty great week so far, and I hope you have too. The husband is traveling this week, so I loaded the boys up and we spent the first half of the week in Oklahoma visiting my parents. My mom is staying at my Grandmother's trying to clean things out and get the house ready to sell, and my dad conveniently lives about five minutes away from her place, so now we get to see both of them in one trip!

And goodness, do my boys love their grandparents. When we left last night I stopped to get gas before leaving town, and from the backseat I heard Grayson say "Mommy? I miss Nana and Papaw". We hadn't even been in the car for three whole minutes! I would say that's a pretty good indication that we need to spend lots of time visiting this summer :) So on that note, let's get to the list!

1. Fun Grandparents (obviously)

Never have I been more aware of how lucky the boys and I are to have my parents than this past few days. And of course I'm including the husband's parents in this list, because they are just as important and special to my sweet boys as my own parents are. One thing I can say with certainty is that my boys are ABUNDANTLY loved by all four of their grandparents. They are spoiled and loved on and cared for so sweetly, and there is so much laughter shared between all of them that it really makes my heart happy. Plus, it's so helpful to me to be able to relax a bit and know that there are other capable adults who love my babies just as much as me who are there to help out - mama never goes off duty, but the help is so appreciated!

2. Sunshine!!!

Now, I'm not a huge summer-lover, but I'm almost 100% positive that this is only because I've spent all but one of my summers on this earth living in either Texas or Oklahoma, where it isn't just hot, but it is actually PAINFULLY hot, daily, for months on end. I hate that type of heat. But, we're kind of in a sweet spot right now. We've had almost a week straight of beautiful sunny days, and the highs are hovering right around 90, which is so doable. The sunshine makes me happy. It truly makes my day better by leaps and bounds when it is sunny and warm outside. So this has been a good week for me.

3. My Church

This is another one I would have never thought would be on the list, because just a few months ago the thought of church made me a little sick to my stomach if we're being honest. But the church that I've found and have been attending regularly is totally flipping my idea of what church is upside down. The people are so genuine and it's such a laid-back and comfortable environment, and I love the teaching of both of the senior pastors. They're doing a series right now on prayer, and it has been so eye-opening and helpful to me with where I'm at in my life right now.

4. Endless Possibilites

There are so, so, so many things I want to do and accomplish in this life, and it's so amazing to think that the majority of them are totally possible. I'm actually trying to flip-flop my thinking on this, because usually I'm totally overwhelmed by the thought of all that I want to accomplish and the HUGE task of figuring out how to do any of it. But I'm working on seeing all of these dreams as just big opportunities that I have the good fortune of trying to make work. I'm also taking a more hands-off approach to things and relying more on nudges from God to see where to go and what to do, and that's making a big difference in taking some of the pressure off. So today I'm going to be thankful for all of the possibilities in life and hope and pray that I can begin moving toward putting some things in action!

JORD Wood Watches - *Giveaway*

Hey friends! Every once in awhile I'm contacted about products to share with you guys, and I'm always a little hesitant about whether or not to do it. It would be super awkward to get something and then have to tell everyone that I didn't like it, because we know I'm not going to lie to you all! But when JORD reached out to me about their wood watches, I knew it was a pretty safe bet that I would be into it. And the good news is, I was totally right.

In fact, this is actually my new favorite watch. I kind of assumed a wood watch would feel rather heavy, but it's actually super lightweight and comfy. They're available in a ton of different colors and styles, and I love the one that I got, the Fieldcrest, because it goes with basically everything. Plus, I actually have gotten several compliments on it since I've been wearing it - who doesn't love a compliment every now and then ;)

The even better news is, the awesome people with JORD are giving away a $75 e-voucher to one lucky follower of mine to go toward the purchase of your very own wood watch! Also, everyone who enters (excluding the winner) will get a $20 e-gift card, so it's pretty much a win-win for everyone. All you have to do is head over to my Instagram account to find out how to enter to win. The contest ends this Sunday, June 12th, so don't wait too long! Good luck friends!

Unique Watch

Thankful Thursday

I'm back! Two weeks in a row of thankful posts, people - I've impressed myself, I must say. Maybe I'll become a semi-almost-kinda-regular blogger now that I've got a little "me time" every week! Let's not get carried away though - my track record doesn't exactly support this theory.

But I am excited to be back this week with another Thankful Thursday post. I'm reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts right now and it really has me thinking about all the millions and millions of things I should be thankful for every single day. There are SO MANY good things in life, so many things to be happy about and to bring us joy - taking this time to share some of them with the internets is really making a difference for me personally. I've also started my own list in a notebook at home, much like she did, and it's crazy the little things you start noticing when you take the time to write down all the goodness in life. Anywho - on to my list for the week!

1. Music

I have loved music since I was in my mama's belly - seriously, she says when she would switch from one type of music to another she could tell what I liked, because the rock music station always made me go crazy. She mistakenly thought this meant I didn't like it, but by the time I was in elementary school it was clear that this was my FAVE - much to her and my country loving dad's disappointment, I'm sure. So I was probably just dancing my little baby heart out in there. Just a guess.

Anyway, music is the number one way I can get myself to feel some feels. I'm kind of a strange person, in that I get super emotional about things like hurting children and homeless people and all the horrors of the world, but things in my own life I'm kind of distant from. So to get myself to really feel something, music is the way to do it. I kind of wrote a little about that in my post on Tuesday, about how music is helping me on this God-journey that I'm on. And today, I am super, super thankful for amazing music of alllllll kinds. Because I love it all.

2. Delicious Food

I think I hover on the verge of a serious food addiction. I love love love love to eat good food. The fortunate/unfortunate thing is that so does my husband. So while it's awesome that we get to eat yummy things all the time, it's also TERRIBLE for our bank account. We eat out just a ridiculous amount, but we seriously love it. He was just off work for four days (Hallelujah!)  and we ate out like 17 times. And it was awesome. I am so very thankful that there is such delicious food in this world - but I kind of wish maybe I wasn't SO thankful for it, knowwhati'msayin?

3. Modern Conveniences

Of course I'm thankful for this lovely MacBook I'm typing on, and I love my iPhone and our TV and whatnot, but I'm mainly thinking of all the things that it takes to make me a decent looking human. Totally not saying that to be self-deprecating or whatever, but seriously, the maintenance it requires is a bit much. I am so thankful for eyebrow waxes and spray tans and highlights and makeup and contacts - and while we're at it, braces and skin creams and all the things that I needed in my youth. Super shallow and superficial it may be, but goodness, I would have been a much different looking person if I were alive 100 years ago! Anybody with me on this? Thank the Lord for things that make me feel pretty (insert crying-laughing emoji guy here).

4. Dreams

I have a love/hate relationship with my dreams. Not the dreams I dream at night, although those can be kind of cray, not gonna lie. The dreams I dream for myself, for my future, for my family, for my kids. I posted on Instagram earlier this week a little about this. I have SO many things I want to do, but I'm taking a hands-off approach lately. I'm not moving until I feel like God is nudging me to move. I actually prayed a few weeks ago for all my ideas and dreams to stop for awhile, because if you know me (or have read this blog for long), you know I am full of dreams upon dreams and ideas upon ideas and it is just SO MUCH. It's overwhelming. And it's kind of debilitating, because there's too much and I don't know where to start or what to do. And it totally worked - this was one of the times I know that God heard me, because he absolutely answered. My brain that nevernevernever stops churning out ideas just stopped. Slammed to a halt. So now, I'm asking for the right dream, the right plan - and I feel like I've been getting hints as to what the right dream for now may be. And hopefully that means God is going to take that dream and turn it into an actual plan and maybe it will actually become a reality. How crazy would that be? Can't wait to see what happens.

So there you have it! As always, would love for anyone who stumbles upon this little blog post of mine to share their thankful things with me - and I hope everyone has a fabulous rest of the week!

What Grayson Wore - January

Well, now that school is actually out and it's JUNE, why don't we go ahead and talk about what Grayson wore way back in January? I mean seriously, guys...I'm kind of the worst. But, it is what it is - we all know I'm not the most consistent girl in town -  so let's just go for it and jump right in, mmk?

First of all, can we just talk about my tiny baby with his shaggy hair? He seems so old now, and I guarantee his new haircut a few days after this is what aged him so drastically. Anyhow. Here's the deets. Kinda. 
Shirt: Baby Gap
Jeans: Osh Kosh
Shoes: Old Navy

Shirt: Kohl's
Jeans: Old Navy
Shoes: Our reliable Converse Chuck Taylors

See? Just like that, he's a million years older. 
Shirts: Button Down - Hand Me Down from cousin :), Sweater - Resale Shop Find!
Jeans: Osh Kosh

Shirt: Old Navy
Jeans: Osh Kosh

Jeans: Osh Kosh