Craving... I'm always craving good queso dip with chips, but most recently and quite out of the blue, I've been craving the heck out of an icee or slushie. The only thing is I don't really like any of the flavors that are typically offered, so I haven't gone out to get one. I really just want a root beer icee and I'm not sure if those even exist.

Thinking... Lately I've been thinking a lot about how I want to be a joyful parent. I think I've been dwelling on this lately because my joy tank has had some leaks in it and I don't like how it's affecting me. I'm pretty introverted. I love love love spending time with Belle and watching her discover things and playing with her and reading the same book to her 10 times and teaching her about herself and the world. But because I'm as introverted as I am, by the time her nap comes along I'm so drained that by the time I recover and am ready to do something I'd like to do or need to do before she wakes up - she starts waking up. So I'm trying to figure out how to balance all that out and what the best way to do it is. I'll keep you posted if I discover the secret.

Reading... Right now I'm reading 'You and Me Forever' by Francis and Lisa Chan. Even though I'm only in chapter two - I can say without a doubt that this may be the best marriage book I've ever read. It's already prompted some really good conversation between Bear and I and I'm looking forward to getting further into it. I'm also reading 'No Longer a Slumdog' by K.P. Yohannan which is both heartbreaking and encouraging at the same time. On top of those our church just started reading through 'Gospel in Life' by Tim Keller and though I like the little I've read so far, I'm having a hard time getting into his writing style (which is probably so taboo of me to say. whoops.). To lighten my reading load, I also threw 'Yes Please' by Amy Poehler in the mix. I'd honestly like to be friends with her in real life, because she's just that funny and her sense of humor definitely jumps off each page.

Listening... to a lot of Taylor Swift, Dierks Bentley, and Sam Hunt. But really, let's be honest, that's all you'll ever hear me listening to. I've also spent a good amount of time listening to my neighbor's rooster do his 'cockadoodledoo' at some of the most confusing times of the day.

Enjoying... The taste of fall weather that Nashville has been experiencing. Until you live in the south, I feel most people take for granted what it's like to walk from your front door to your vehicle without already being drenched in sweat from the humidity. Gross. Bring on fall. I've loved being able to pull my boots out, thrift for sweaters, and drink hot cups of caffeine again.

What are YOU currently up to?

In My Haul

Obviously everything fell perfectly into place when I dumped the bag.

Today was dump out the diaper bag day because something smells a little funky up in there. Turns out there was a tupperware of leftover pasta in addition to some melted chocolate and some overnight milk drippings thanks to the leaky sippy cup. #Momoftheyear ladies and gents.

After disposing of those smelly culprits, the remainder of the bag contents had me asking myself what I had in this bag and wondering what other mamas pack in a toddler bag?
Because HELP - my baby is a toddler and snacks only keep her happy for so long.

So here is a play-by-play of what I was thinking as I rummaged through the mess.

1) I've always been good at packing an extra set of clothes for her thanks to her tumultuous reflux ridden infancy, but apparently my mommy brain doesn't think she has a use for pants anymore.

2) Ah, a nifty little snack cup that she promptly takes the lid off of in 0.8 seconds, filled with a day old snack that I will most likely give to her without a second thought later today.

3) Two very no-nonsense toys - also known as two toys that will never keep her happy in a highchair in public - I mean, her turtle is literally made for walking around. Clearly didn't think those choices through.

4) Wipes, diapers, keys, wallet, discount cards - Otherwise known as the absolute essentials.

5) Three different kinds of lip balm/chap stick. I obviously have my priorities.

6) A USB stick that has absolutely no reason of being carried to splash pads and playdates all summer. Seriously, why is this in here?

7) Stain remover & organic hand sanitizer. Giving away that I'm THAT mom since 2014. Mental Note: replace the good old fashioned GermX next time I'm at the store.

Not pictured: Petrified cheerios in the bottom of the bag, sippy cup of water that was promptly taken away from me, and the ability to communicate that I'm a mom with one sighting of my ginormous, crossbody bag.

Ok but seriously mama's - what do you pack in your bag for a toddler? 
Am I doing this right? Because half way through a meal out, when everything in the bag has been offered and denied I'm thinking there may be some items I'm missing.

18 Months

Our sassy, rambunctious, joyful little Belle is 18 months old now! 
Goodness, the days are long, but the time has gone so fast when I think back on it. 

 [[Peekaboo // Putting her babies to bed]]

Making friends

Slow mornings


Storing acorns for winter (in her shirt)

First lollipop after taking her shots like a champ!


She really hasn't changed that much from last month. She still manages to get herself into all sorts of shenanigans even though we've thoroughly toddler proofed the house this month. Let me tell you, magnetic locks on the kitchen cabinets = game changer. I don't think I'll take those off until all of our children are teenagers. She is in full climbing mode nowadays, managing to climb our chairs and get on top of the kitchen table at least once a day, no matter how good we try to be about keeping the chairs tucked in. She can also get herself up and down from couches, chairs, beds, etc. She continues to be our busy bee, never resting (unless Daniel Tiger is on), always moving and dancing wherever we are. It can wear me out, but I truly wouldn't have it any other way - she keeps me active and busy and that's how I like it!
Belle is a girl of many noises and sounds lately, but no more words. She has picked her sign language back up and is doing 'please' and 'all done' for us pretty regularly. The amount of noise and babbling coming out of her lately leaves us with no concerns that she'll start talking when she's ready. That being said, our pediatrician did set us up for a speech evaluation since she is saying so few words. That appointment was today and the lady said we have nothing to be concerned about at this point. So even though we already felt that way, it's always nice to have it confirmed.

Her personality is shining through more and more and we just love every second of it. She's incredibly goofy - like I'm pretty sure she looks for ways to be silly. She loves to walk around with clothes on top of her head, play hide-&-go-seek with Daddy, dance with her stuffed animals, do the whip & naenae, and all other manner of cute and silly things. She loves to play pretend with her babies and animals - putting them to bed, holding them and patting their backs and making them picnics. She's also incredibly kind and sweet to just about anyone and everyone. She loves meeting babies who are younger than her and just sitting by them, which is just too cute to watch. We're so thankful for her sweetness.

She came out of her 18 month well check with the Dr with a good report of being happy and healthy - she stays pretty consistent in all of her percentiles for weight and height and growing brain (or whatever they measure her head for). She's 20lbs 6oz and 30.25 inches, so it looks like she'll be in size 3 diapers for a while longer. Ha. Her petite frame has been easy on my arms and her clothing budget, we only had to spend about $30 total for her winter clothes/shoes because she can still wear a lot of things from last year and we are blessed with generous friends who shower us with hand-me-downs! 

Overall, life is more fun with this little gal alongside of us - even on the rough days, we're so thankful for our little pumpkin!
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