folding parties, and other ways to trick your kids into thinking that laundry is a total blast

Friday, April 29

Growing up in my household, when my siblings and I were young, we did this thing called a "folding party". My mom would've already done like 800 loads of laundry or however many it is when you have 5 kids, and then she'd announce through the house, "FOLDING PARTYYYYY!" and we'd all scamper upstairs and sit in our designated spots around my parent's room. My mom would have the giant pile on her bed, and she'd individually sort and toss our clothes to us across the room, hilarious bonus points if our pants landed on our heads or we got a shirt to the face, and we'd fold our own clothes into nice neat little piles. Our entire household's laundry was done in one sitting, and I remember laughing my head off at my sister's penchant for putting underwear on her head, so as a kid, I have no memory of laundry ever being a chore.
Because my kids are still super little, literally anything that I'm doing around the house sounds like a good time to them. In fact Everett even gets a little peeved at me if I start a load of laundry without him. Which is kind of the best thing about your kids starting to explore their independence: your list of chores is their list of fun. Dusting the bookshelves, sweeping the floors, hand washing the dishes, unloading the dishwasher, cooking dinner, starting the laundry .... I mean I literally just described Everett and Isla's idea of a dream vacation haha.
Also, because my kids are so hands on with everything that I'm doing around the house, it's so important to me to use naturally based products. Seventh Generation's Free and Clear Laundry Detergent is tough on our (daily, hourly) stains, but gentle on us. There are no dyes, optical brighteners or synthetic fragrances, plus the hypoallergenic formula is non-toxic, biodegradable, and dermatologist tested safe for sensitive skin, which has been so necessary for Isla's little baby skin.
It's weird when you grow up and suddenly all the little things that your parent's did to keep your home functioning at that time, are now the best ideas you've ever heard. Here I am, 20 years later, washing my own excessive piles of laundry, and the tradition of the great "folding party" continues. (JUST LOOK AT ME NOW MOM)
Although right now, it's less of a folding party and more of a pile party, but we'll get there.
Important to note: underwear is still hilarious when it lands on our heads.
This post has been in partnership with Seventh Generation, a company we've loved and trusted in our family for years.

a home of their own

Thursday, April 28

A weekend right before Thanksgiving 2014, we moved out of our place in Virginia. Typing that is actually horrifyingly hilarious to me, I can't believe it's been that long! Well, I can and I can't. The other night was a beautiful night. Tyson's parents had gone out and it was just us at home with the kids. We had James Taylor turned up, and the windows were open, letting the first warm front of the season breeze through the screens. I was cooking dinner while I listened to Tyson playing with the kids in the yard. Tyson popped his head through the door while the kids pulled on his leg and said, "Syd! This is what it's going to be like! Once we get our own place! Man, it's going to be so awesome" On that particular night, there was still no word on a job or a home, so it was just the dream of "someday soon" hanging in the air between us. And right then, that felt good enough. We were happy and taken care of, and our kids were happy and taken care of. But after a year and a half, all of us were pining for stability and consistency and the known. Several times over the course of the year, Everett has repeated something that's been like a hot dagger to wherever the guilt section of your heart is kept. On one particular occasion, after arriving at the home where we stayed during our trip to Oregon, he says, "Mama, we need to stop switching houses. We're switching houses all the time, and we live in too many. I want to go back to my house cause I miss it."
Like taking a bullet.
So it was with absolute, I don't know, what's a gigantic word that combines elation, relief and gratitude, that we started our house hunt practically the second after Tyson received his job offer. (Which I understand, may have been confusing with the way I worded my announcement post haha. We are not moving to Houston. He was offered a position here in Boise, which is what we were holding out for, so getting it was like, HUGE) We were mainly looking at older homes, something that we could fix up, put some love into, and make our own. But to make a long story short, a home that was in the process of being built, seemingly fell into our laps in the middle of a market where nothing is falling into anyone's laps without a bidding war. And I almost still can't believe it. I'm almost still waiting for the rug to be swept out from underneath me. But we are officially under contract and wrapping up the final design decisions with the builder. AND DID I JUST TYPE THAT SENTENCE?!
We took the kids to look at it for the first time the other day, and Everett ran through the still beamed rooms with Isla, saying "and Isla, this is where we can put our bunk bed! And this is where we can go to the bathroom! And this is where you can put your shopping cart if you want!"
And I'm gonna cry right now. I am. But what a gift to be able to give our children their own home again. And their own yard. And their own garden that they will learn to love/hate weeding someday. And a place for them to hang a bajillion art projects. And a place for them to be loud. And a place for their toys to be strewn literally everywhere, I don't even give a dang.
At this point, I would be happy with a hole in the wall as long as it had our name on it. But by some miracle, it's not a hole in the wall and somehow it still has our name on it. We're on the sixty day countdown now, and that light at the end of the tunnel has never looked so good. (Or so far away haha. I'm rallying!)

Everett's first tutorial

Today, Everett is so excited to share his very first tutorial that he came up with all by himself, because "other kids need to know how to do this so they can be cool"

I had to put it here too, because he's the best, and I love his brain.

this is my happy face

Thursday, April 21

First of all, shout out to Snapchat for providing a filter that's allllllmost representative of my feelings on this fine day.  My mouth could be a TOUCH bigger I think. To truly capture it.
BUT WE HAVE A JOB, HOUSTON.
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A JOB.

It's all been a whirlwind of a week. Tyson got the offer, we accepted, we partied, I got mastitis, we had our 8th anniversary and today we made our first offer on a home. (IS THIS REAL LIFE??) A sense of overwhelming gratitude and excitement has taken over my entire soul. During a tour of one of the homes we looked at, I just stood in the kitchen window and imagined watching our children run through the backyard while I prepare dinner or walk around with no pants on or do whatever it is you do in your very own kitchen, and the tears just came. It's finally happening. I mean, someone else DID end up beating us to the house we put an offer on, but the sun is stillll shining. And the homes are popping up like daisies. And we have a job, and the world feels like our freaking oyster right now.

I'm so happy.

shoutout to all the white crewnecks in the house

Tuesday, March 29

Shoes: Target, Skirt: ASOS, Tee: ASOS

I know there's not much to this look, but I am of the strong opinion that the right white tee doth make the outfit. Because the right white tee is actually a unicorn, and when you find a good one, you get three of those bad boys, and wear that white like you don't even know what children are. This thing is probably the best gift you could get your closet right now. It is your entire summer prep. And the crowning jewel for all your jeans and skirts and overalls alike. If I was making one of those "must haves for summer!" collage things, there'd be one thing on it. Crew neck white tee. Boom. Done. Not trying to tell you how to live your life, and not saying you HAVE to get one, but your ultimate happiness does depend on it. Up to you.

the red glitter house that was not embarrassing

Monday, March 28

If you didn't know, your friendly neighborhood craft store is a delightful place to go in lieu of the park on a particularly windy day. Or on any day that you're just really really over going to the park. I took the kids there one afternoon, having no particular agenda, and we took our time roaming up and down the aisles looking at this, oggling that, and deciding that craft stores in general are pretty underrated. On this particular day, we came across these exceptionally good looking cardboard houses. They ranged from very large to very small, and Everett decided immediately that they needed to come home with us. He picked out his very large "brother house", and designated the smallest one as the "sister house". Isla didn't particularly care about owning a cardboard house, but Everett stressed the importance of her having one anyway.
We then ventured a few aisles over to pick out some paint. It was QUITE the deliberation. First he wanted Neon, but then he realized that there wasn't any neon red, so he then picked out a basic paint set that included red, but that was "a little boring", at which point he spotted a glitter paint set, and after we checked out with it, made sure that he was in charge of carrying the glitter red out of the store, into the car and all the way home.
The next day he was altogether too excited to break out his new supplies and get to work on his red glitter house. I asked him if he would like to use any of the other colors in the set, and his response was, "Mama. NO. I didn't get this thing to make it a rainbow house."
My mistake.
While he was working, I monitored Isla's progress. This was obviously an activity not SUPER suited to her age group, but she tends to disagree with anything that says she can't do what her brother is doing.
A little glitter paint here ...
a little glitter paint there ...

Do you like how I'm literally painting her entire house for her? That should about fill my crafting quota for this year.
I left them to their business for a half sec and came back to Isla experimenting with Everett's plate, so straight to the sink we went. My kids are slightly obsessed with washing their hands. The bubbles ... the water ... I mean if I put them next to the sink with nothing but a trickle and a bottle of soap, they could play for hours. Which is why I've always been legitimately happy to use Seventh Generation's hand wash with them. Naturally hypoallergenic, it's made from plant-based cleaning ingredients, leaving those little hands soft but also squeaky clean. And 97% USDA Certified Biobased too - which means no triclosan, dyes or phthalates.
One thing that I will forever and always appreciate is good branding. Seventh Generation's hand wash gives me something pretty to sit on my counter, but is also made from 25% post consumer recycled plastic to boot.  It comes in five scents – Lavender Flower & Mint, Mandarin Orange & Grapefruit, Hibiscus & Cardamom, Black Currant & Rosewater and Free & Clear unscented. These three are my favorites right now!
Mr. Neat and Tidy here, true to form, didn't get a single splotch of paint on him anywhere. But, there he is with those bubbles anyway, which has NOTHING to do with the fact that the bottle is red.
After waiting for his house to dry for a very patient 30 minutes, Everett proudly asked for a picture with the finished product. His thing lately, has been to hang onto a couple of buzzwords at a time, and cycle through them as he sees fit. For this situation, he chose the word, embarrassing. As in, "Mama, this house is really not embarrassing. I love it so much."
And there it is.
I don't know if there will ever be a more quintessential "Everett at four-years-old" photo than this one. That's my boy right there. He tickles me pink.
This post has been in partnership with Seventh Generation, a company we've loved and trusted in our family for years.

* photos shot in borrowed space while we are in a transitional phase. Looking forward to being surrounded by our favorite pieces of home again very soon!

flashback friday, easter edition

Friday, March 25

These photos are from our Easter last year, spent in St George while Tyson was in Austin. I have no idea whyyyyyy they were left to sit on my computer for so long. But I just rediscovered them the other day and I figured that since Easter is (already!!) this weekend, a throwback post was most definitely in order.
My family has always had this wonderful tradition of getting up on Easter morning before sunrise, wrapping ourselves and our sleepy children in a bundle of blankets, packing up a big box of donuts and a thermos of hot chocolate and driving to the highest point we can find to watch the sunrise. There have been several Easters in between leaving home and having kids that my alarm would go off in the dark morning and I'd look outside with a, "Nope. Not today Easter" and go right back to sleep. So I've always admired my parents dedication to the tradition every year that we were growing up, hauling their kids, big and small, out of bed and reading the Easter story to us around the comfort of a delicious donut and a beautiful view.
Last year was our kids' first experience with the tradition and pulling their warm, sleepy bodies out of bed to go start our morning on top of a bluff, was actually, completely worth it. So without further ado, here's a bunch of photos of my babies from a year ago that's about to bust my nostalgia wide open.
Just look at this 3-year-old morning faaaace
And this little 8-month-old chub
And his very first OFFICIAL, *I know what I'm doing*, Easter egg hunt.
And this chubby, pink bunny of my dreams
Well that just did me in.

Happy Easter weekend you guys! May your children wear bunny ears and stay little for a very long time.
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