gift guide part 2!

Guys...I'm super excited about Christmas shopping (even though I'm still trying to figure out how to do my Halloween costume...my mind is in too many places at once). What's slightly ironic is that even after the first kids' gift guide I posted, I've only purchased one present for each of my kids. Though I don't have much to actually show for all of the mentally energy I've put into this- I have a lot of ideas! That's half the battle, right? ...errr...maybe?

one//  Pop up wooden toy at Land of Nod  (under $25)
two// Wubbanub pacifier holder (under $20)-- I'm especially excited about this one. I'm really over waking up 2034234 times a night just to stick a binky back in because she can't find it!
three// Wooden teething/clutching toy from Haba Magica (under $20)
four// Latches board by Melissa and Doug (under $25)
five// Wooden activity cube by B. Zany Zoo

one// Magnetic catch and count fishing game by Melissa and Doug (under $20)
two// Alphabet sound puzzle by Melissa and Doug (under $20)
three// Marble Run by Mindware
four// Mix it Up! Interactive picture book by Herve Tullet (under $20)--I really can't say enough things about this book! Definitely one you won't get sick of reading.
five// Projector Flashlight at Land of Nod (under $20)

Also, one of my FAVORITE Christmas traditions is new Christmas jammies!
I love this cute picture book about elves delivering them on Christmas Eve! 

If that counts as a gift then my official count is 3 gifts purchased- not two. Well, if sitting in your cart on Amazon counts. 


raspberry pickin'

Another thing checked off of our fall bucket list! This was our first year going raspberry picking and we will definitely be making that a tradition- it's too delicious not too! There is nothing as good as a freshly picked raspberry. Except next year I think I'll bring gloves...my hands and wrists are soo scratched up. Woooorth it. 

I think Jillian and her buddies were eating them off the vine just about as fast as they could pick them!

Most of our little harvest was gobbled up within an hour of being home. I hid the last ones in the fridge for breakfast tomorrow. YUMMMM.


My kiddos have been incredibly demanding little boogers lately (I mean who do they think they are...dependents or something?!). Thus I haven't had as much time to sit down and pee alone for 5 seconds  blog lately. Okay let's talk about that for a sec- because that's probably about all I have before Olivia wakes up for the 29th time tonight because her binky fell out of her mouth.

One of my Mom's frequent sayings is, "well you know kids, when you get it figured out they start doing something different!" It. Is. True. They've both been so weird lately. Jillian is going through some major regression recently- talking like a baby, scared to poop on the toilet again (remember that?), suuuuper clingy. I'm sure part of that is due to still adjusting to this new little human in our lives (right?). And Olivia takes forever to put to sleep now and wakes up 29 times a night. Okay, like 3-5. But that's a lot. 
And my patience level is like -5. 
'Tis not a good combination. 

So I'm hoping my Mom's little saying will ring true yet again (like tomorrow) and they'll be on to doing something different- preferably sleeping and pooping at normal intervals. Really that's not too much to ask, is it? Poop and sleep? You'd be amazed and how much smoother things run when those two things are in check (no matter what your age, really). 

OH. So this is supposed to be about my anniversary. 
Happy 6 years to us!! 
It's weird- because it feels like "whoa I can't believe it's been SIX years!" and "wait...it's only been six years?" at the same time. 

(right after we got engaged- before selfies were like, a "thing")

Since we had a big celebration last year for our 5th anniversary last year with our trip to Destin, we wanted to keep it low-key this year. Life has also been so crazy lately it was kind of nice to just go out on a regular date! 

We ate at the always scrumptious Cheesecake Factory and perused the mall. It was delightfully ordinary to just be together. He also surprised me with a pearl and diamond ring that I've been wanting forever!

Each year I've written one of these posts I like to go back and look at my anniversary post for each of the previous years. On our 3rd anniversary, I wrote this:

"Overall, life has changed a LOT. For the better. Definitely for the better. I wonder where we'll be in the next 3 years? Hopefully I'll be a retired teacher ;-) or at least doing online teaching, Jillian will be THREE (wwhhaa???) and we'll probably have another kid, if not then one on the way. WOWZAS. Cheers to us. "

I must be a psychic or something...I AM an online teacher, and we do have another baby! And life is still getting better. So now I feel like I have to do another three year prediction (which is a little harder because everything is so up in the air right now...). Soo my guess is we'll be living in another state where James lands a super awesome job (fingers crossed?), I will be a full-time stay-at-home-mom, and baby #3 will probably be alive and well (we like this three year spacing so far). Time will tell. 

Happy six years Hamase!


baby & toddler gift guide

Anyone else starting to gear their brains up for Christmas? I know, I know...the enthusiasts have been scheming their gift ideas and mantle decorations for months now, but now that it's full-blown Christmas in the stores (and the Halloween stuff is an afterthought on the end-cap of one or two aisles-take note it's only the second week of October) it's kind of hard to put it off any longer. 

This year I want to keep it simple. I'm done with the trinket junk plastic-y toys just to fill a stocking and end up getting broken the same day- just over the clutter. I'm focusing on quality over quantity this year (with a lot more than just stocking stuffers actually- it's incredibly refreshing).

Here are some of my top gift picks this year for Jillian and Olivia!
The husband's gift list remains a mystery...(why is he SO hard to buy gifts for?!)

 one: wooden musical block set at Sky Mall
two: soft mind shape blocks at Baby Earth
three: a Skiwsh by Manhattan Toy
four: moccs by Freshly Picked 
five: wooden teether rattle by Bannor Toys on Etsy
six: soft book by Melissa and Doug

one: cat doll by Petit Collage via Zulily
two: balance board on Amazon
three: wooden camera by Twig Creative on Etsy
four: finger puppets by Ikea
five: alphabet soup sorter set by Learning Resources
six: classic literature board books by Baby Lit
(I'm a huge advocate of early literacy...can you tell?)

I used to be very strict on the "no Christmas until Thanksgiving is over..." thing.
But I also used to hate avocados...

I also want to get into the habit of making something for each of my kids for Christmas every year. For Olivia, I found these adorable DIY Olliblocks. She's a little young for them now, but she'll grow into them in a few months!

Jillian is WAY into playing dress-up right now. Today she reenacted the scene of Cinderella leaving her glass slipper behind probably like 10 times in a row. Each time she wanted me to exclaim "Oh no! What are you going to DO?!" It was FUUUN.

I LOVE these yarn braids for dress-up costumes! Doesn't look too complicated to make...hopefully. Instructions here. I think an Elsa version would be cute!

Happy holiday shopping!
May the sales be ever in your favor. ;-)


big red barn

October is the month I gorge myself on all things pumpkin and apple. So much so that I don't usually eat anything apple or pumpkin related until the following fall- I'm guessing I'm not alone there. ;-) 

Tonight we went to The Red Barn in Santaquin! 

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Santaquin is in the middle of like...nowhere. As we're driving to the barn looking around at all of the nothingness, I was making jokes that people in Santaquin probably drive into "town" to do things (town being Payson, another fairly small town 10 minutes north but with a Wal-mart). At that point James raised the very valid point, "Wait...you know this is just like the area where YOU grew up, right?" 
It's true.
Lake Butler is the Florida equivalent of Santaquin. 
But now I've been spoiled by the conveniences of city living. 
I mean...when you drive to Target 95% more than Wal-mart because Target is only 5 minutes away and Wal-mart is a whole 10...(plus it's Target, duh) - spoiled.

I digress. BIG RED BARN! 
It's a cute little pumpkin patch with little activities for kids to do, like a big slide you use a potato sack to go down, an apple cannon, little tractor bike track- cheesy stuff like that. 

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We also LOVE their ice cream and apple related goodies. I'm already drooling over that apple butter that will most definitely be a part of tomorrow's breakfast.

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I'm glad we checked another (delicious) thing off of our fall bucket list! Do you have one of those? I feel like I have to jam it all in during October. It's a good time. Other things that must happen this month: homemade caramel apples, Hocus Pocus, carving pumpkins, and berry picking!

GAAAHHH I love the fall! And especially living in a place where there actually IS a fall- something that doesn't really happen in Florida. I know I hate on living in Utah (a lot), but this time of year is one of its redeeming qualities. To all of my Floridian friends, I wish I could box up this crisp air and cooler weather and mail it to you along with some hot apple cider and a pumpkin cookie.



There is actually a real book with that title. Did you know that? I'm thinking of buying it. Because that phrase has been running through my head like 20 times a night lately. Because 4 MONTH SLEEP REGRESSION IS REAL PEOPLE. And SURPRISE- it doesn't always hit at 4 months! Babies are so predictably unpredictable.
This is one of those things you conveniently forget between baby #1 and baby #2. It's one of the main reasons why the creation of baby #2 got the green light- because you forget what it's like when the good sleeper suddenly stops sleeping. 

We've seen a lot of 12-5am, Olivia and I. I'm not sure what I run off of during the daylight hours- because it isn't sleep and it isn't caffeine (trying to limit that since I'm nursing- which may also be the death of me). 

I know the habits we're developing aren't good ones...nursing her back to sleep, letting her cuddle with me in my bed...blegh...but at least it helps her sleep, which helps me sleep. Anything to help the sleep. 

This is the time in parenthood I feel incredibly guilty, because I secretly wish this first year of their lives away- let's fast forward to the part when we all get a good night's sleep 5 out of 7 nights a week, yes? Then I hate that I think that because I know they won't be this tiny and helpless and cuddly ever again. It's a dilemma, friends. A vicious, sleepless, guilty cycle. 

Only made slightly better when she wakes up with this kind of wicked bed head:

But really.

Mommy loves you Livvy-loos!