About a week before Valentine’s day the kids started talking about our Valentine’s mailboxes. We have two mailboxes and we put them out the night before Valentine’s day and in the morning the kids open them to find a little something for each of the kids – like a Christmas stocking or birthday bucket. I’m not even sure when or why this tradition started.

Traditions are funny that way. Sometimes we’re very intentional about them and other times we happen to do it two years in a row and suddenly it’s a tradition that we could never seem to stray from (at least in the eyes of our kids).

This year I put Hallie in charge of putting out the decor the night before (she even went as far to make pink cotton candy for all her siblings and friends at school). She got to pull what she wanted from the Valentine bin from the garage and decorate as such. After she was well on her way, I joined her in the kitchen as she reminisced about everything she pulled from the bin. “I remember when we got this…I have a picture with this from when I was little.”

She asked how long we had had all of the decorations – most of which we had before Hunter was born. In my Pottery Barn Kids employee days when I stocked up on any and all holiday decor – most of which we still have for every holiday!

I used to decorate weeks before Valentine’s and then I realized I liked a clean slate after Christmas decor came down so Valentine decor gets 24 hours of shining glory. We love it, it’s festive and by the next morning it’s going back in the box only to be loved again next year for 24 hours.

The kids think it’s amazing and they can’t seem to stop talking about these two simple mailboxes. A pink one and a red one. Mailboxes that were only meant to be decor but at some point we put a little gift in it and it became a beloved tradition. Like I said before – some traditions are intentional, others are not – but I suppose it doesn’t make it any less of a tradition – especially in the eyes of my children.

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The black hole…

I can usually stay on task when I’m at the computer, but today I fell into a black hole. A really deep black hole. I got a new computer a month ago and at the time I only transferred the files I needed. I kind of forgot that I have an old computer with 2TB of information that I need to comb through.

I hopped on the old computer today to grab a file and that’s when I fell into the black hole. The black hole of combing through old files to determine what I actually need to keep. It’s looking through thousands and thousands of photo files and making sure I have them on the new computer. It’s looking through the folder labeled “Old Mac” which then had a folder within it labeled “Old desktop” from a computer before that. I just kept shoving files in folders and transferring them to new computers and never went through them. Don’t judge!

So I spent hours today cleaning the hard drive and deleting almost 1TB of data. Over 100,000 files. Evidently I was really worried about losing 2010 photos because that folder was duplicated 4 times on the hard drive. As of 2012, I’ve cataloged photos in only one space and then that space was backed up to the cloud. But before that…it was the wild wild west. I had everything in Lightroom and then backed up in several locations. It’s a mess to go through.

Some of the gems I came across:

My photography business from way back when – I had all all my marketing materials for that and many of the photos.

Old clients logos. Yep had all those too.

Steve’s 27 versions of his resume. Including cover letters for old job prospects.

Receipts for nothing important dating back to 2006.

Old stock photos from who knows what project but they are definitely dated.

Instructions to the diaper bag I made when Hallie was a baby.

Are you starting to comprehend how deep this hole was. I’ve still got a little more to go through but I made a large dent and I’m here to say that digital purging is just as satisfying as physical purging.

I was only mildly distracted when I came across cuteness like this:

Admittedly, I did watch a couple too many videos so I could be reminded of their small squeaky voices. But it was worth the extra time!

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Cowboy Briggs…

It was cowboy week at preschool which means they make and race stick horses, have shootouts with marshmallow guns and dress up in cowboy gear. The amount of work the teacher puts into this week is insane – she makes every kid their own cowboy vest and holster, stick horse and not one but two pipe marshmallow guns. That is dedication. One morning they even rode a real horse – which Briggs was both equally excited and terrified for!

He came home and was so excited to show me his get up. We intended on having a marshmallow fight but after shooting two marshmallows he decided that he wanted to eat the marshmallows more than shoot them. What do you expect, he’s three?!

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A little slice of motherhood…

You have to know that for every one picture of a happy smiling family you see on this blog, there are 7 pictures that look something like this: Aaron’s thinking putty melting into our new carpet…because this is real motherhood.

My kids love this putty. In all reality, I think I love it more than the kids. I keep it at my desk and play with it as I’m thinking and working at the computer. It’s my fidget spinner so-to-speak. You can imagine my concern when I sat down at the computer and saw the empty tin. My mind started racing – I know I had seen that somewhere outside of my office. I went to the kitchen and remembered Steve had been playing with it on the counter the night before. But it wasn’t there and he claimed he left it on the counter. I started questioning all the kids.


One of my children gave me a concerned face when they realized they knew where the putty was. I was walked back to the playroom where said child sheepishly got on the floor and pointed under a piece of furniture. It had been rolled into a ball and somehow rolled under the piece and it was left to melt.

Yep, this is motherhood. It’s seeing a blue blob on your carpet and frantically searching google in hopes that someone has been in the same predicament. (Which there’s usually someone, right?!)

I worked on this spot for a long while. I pulled off as much as I could and then started using rubbing alcohol to slowly remove sections of blue. My panic started to increase as I used the rubbing alcohol and the dye from the putty started to transfer to the carpet. But I just kept working it. Once I got all the putty out, I was left with blue stained carpet. I got a clean rag and started apply more alcohol and wouldn’t you know it – most of that blue came out. My child nervously watched from a far and was pleased to know he wasn’t going to be banished to the closet under the stairs…at least not today. There is however, a current ban on all putty in the house. No one under the age of 18 will stretch, or touch or even think about putty. Ban is indefinite! 🙂

Thank you google! And please Aaron’s thinking putty – please add this solution to your frequently asked questions because they question was listed, it just didn’t have an answer!

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Interesting fact…

Anyone that’s been around here for some time might remember I have very vivid dreams. Realistic, detailed dreams that I remember almost every night. As awesome as it sounds, it’s exhausting.

For years, I’ve been cursed with waking up several nights a week. I would fall asleep and like clockwork, I would wake up 20-35 minutes after falling asleep. But I didn’t just wake up casually. I woke up startled; in a panic. Someone was breaking into our house, water was spilling from the ceiling, trying to find the mandoline slicer for the onions…you name it and I probably woke up in a panic trying to figure it out. But it was so real to me – as if it was a hallucination. This has been happening for years and years.

Steve is so kind and tries talking me out of it, but I’m difficult to reason with in this situation and yet I’m fully awake and recall everything the next morning.

There have been periods of my life where its just once a week and there’s been periods where this happens almost nightly. And going to bed earlier didn’t solve the problem – I still woke up 20 minutes after I fell asleep.

6 months ago, I was on instagram watching an instastory from a “friend” (a.k.a. a person I follow that I’ve never actually met, but feel as though we’ve been friends for years!) and she started answering a question that a follower asked, “Tell us something unique about your husband.” She turns the camera over to him and he explains that he wakes up almost every night – with similar hallucinations. He explained they were triggered by light and the only thing that helps him is to wear an eye mask every night.

I thought there was no way a $5 eye mask from amazon was going to make a difference in my sleep.

But it was only $5 and I figured I’d give it a shot. It has been the best $5 I have every spent.

Since the first day I started wearing the eye mask to bed, over 6 months ago, I’ve never had another hallucination. (There was one night that I woke up just like old times, but then I remembered that I forgot to put the eye mask on that night.) I’m still not even sure how that’s possible except that they were triggered by light. And you think – well bedrooms are relatively dark, especially at night. But I would see everything in the shadows and I mean everything. There was a little light from the window. There was small light from the security panel. There was the light of the telephone indicating it was charging, light from the alarm clock – and all of it was wreaking havoc in my life.

So now it’s all tuned out. I sleep in complete darkness. Actually I fall asleep in complete darkness. Sometime, half way through the night it usually falls off and by morning I’m never wearing it. But I just need it to get through my first sleep cycle and then I’m golden.

It’s such a bizarre solution to such a random problem and yet I have instagram to thank for helping me figure it out. I’ve searched out this problem time and time again and no where did it offer such a practical solution. (Most solutions say to stop drinking which I don’t do, to get more sleep which I’m guilty of and to get on anxiety medication which wasn’t what I was looking to do.

Anyway, just thought I’d throw it out there just in case there is anybody else that’s a little crazy like me and was looking for some insight!

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