Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Ultimate Packing List

Every time we go on vacation I find myself making a packing list and I always end up second guessing myself. Have you found yourself thinking I feel like I'm forgetting something important? Because that's how I feel every time.

I finally wised up and saved the checklist I made for our trip to California this summer, added a checklist for the kiddos, and then made a hand written "master packing checklist" in my planner.

So, I thought, why not share it with yall in PDF form! It includes an adult and a kids checklist with just about everything we could ever think of taking with us on a long vacation or just a weekend get away. On the right side, you'll see a list of things you may need depending on the season/temperature.

You'll notice I listed "medications" as general bullet point. I bring just about every medication I think we may need when we travel. I didn't have room to add them to the packing list, but I will share them with you here.
Adult: Tylenol, Ibuprofen, prescribed migraine medication and Zofran, Pepto-Bismol, Tums, Colace, Gas-X, Imodium (I've got all the GI issues covered!), multivitamin, Sudafed, Mucinex or some sort of cold/flu combo medication (if it's cold season), Dramamine if flying or on cruise. *Don't forget to bring any prescribed medications.
Kids: Tylenol, Ibuprofen, gas drops, cold/cough medication, thermometer, syringes and medicine cups.

Something else that I've found is helpful is gallon sized ziplock bags. Especially if you are going somewhere like the beach, a water park, Disney World, or another amusement park with water rides. You can put your cell phones, camera, wallet, or anything else you don't want to get wet in it. It's also good for clothes that get wet or dirty.

I hope you find this list helpful. Download it to your phone or computer, print out some copies and use it over and over again! Let me know if you see anything I've left out. Oh, and don't forget to share!

P.S. I will be making a Disney specific checklist at some point in the future. Disney is it's own beast so it needs its own list. 😊

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Few Thoughts On My 30th

I have always loved my birthday. My incredible husband always turns it into a celebration that lasts all week and makes sure I feel special and loved. If I ever have to work on my birthday I'm super grumpy about it all day long because even if hardly anyone cares about it, it is MY day! I want to be a little selfish and do things that I want to do.

This year, in the months and weeks leading up to today, I was feeling a sense of dread. Thirty. 30. 3-0. Every time someone would mention my birthday I would get a little sulky. One day I was in the car and I randomly had the realization that I have been driving for as long as I was not driving. I started crying in the car right then and there (silly, I know). But the last 15 years have seemed to go by waaay faster than the first 15.  I mean, 10 years ago I was in college having the time of my life and it literally feels like it was a year ago. So much has changed in this time (for the better, of course) but it's still a reminder of how quickly time goes by. Then I think about where we'll be in 10 years when I'm turning 40...we will have teenagers! 😱

Thirty used to seem so old. I remember being in high school and some of my friends had older siblings who were in their upper 20's, approaching 30. I thought they were so grown up and had so many responsibilities. Their lives had to be so boring! It's hard to believe that's now us.

And then there was this one time (I think it was about 5 years ago) when my sister was telling us about this "old guy" who almost drowned at Point Mallard waterpark. I was thinking she was talking about an elderly person. When I asked how old he was she said "I don't know, like 30?" This has been a running joke in our family since. She now says that I'm not old, I'm still ok.

We've got a few fun things on the schedule for this year's birthday. This past weekend we celebrated by having an 80's themed joint birthday party (kid free!) with my good friend Maegan whose birthday is a few weeks after mine. We had fun dressing up and spending time with some close friends.
Birthday girls! I wish we could dress like this all the time. So much fun!
Cookie cake - our favorite!

Tonight we're going to my favorite Mexican restaurant with my family. I'm also picking up my favorite treats this afternoon - macarons from La Rue French Macarons. I ordered pink champagne and chocolate espresso...I'm way too excited about it!

David and the girls have been incredible today. When I came downstairs this morning there were 30 pink balloons all over the kitchen with numbers on them. He wrote memorable things that have happened throughout the years on them like the year we met, going to Bama together, getting married, our first house, having babies, etc. He is always so thoughtful and loves to do things just to make me smile. 
Boy meets girl when we were 16

This morning Raley was sitting in her seat eating breakfast and she randomly said "I love you, Mommy. Happy birthday!" It melts my heart when she tells me she loves me unprompted. Both girls keep coming up to me and singing happy birthday. Raley made me a cake out of blocks. Audrey keeps bringing me things and saying "happ birday to you, Mommeeeeee!"

Today has been a low-key day at home since schools were cancelled because of the storm but so far it's been a good day.

If you asked me today how I'm feeling, now that this day is finally here, I would say that I'm feeling pretty good. I've decided to embrace it. I owe a big thank you to my friend Michelle for this new perspective. 

She turned 30 a couple weeks ago and I asked her how she was handling it. She said that she had been having a hard time with it leading up to it but her 11 month old nephew was recently diagnosed with cancer and it made her realize that she should be thankful for every day and every year she gets. 

She is absolutely right. Our time here is not guaranteed. Our life on earth can be taken away from us in an instant. So can our quality of life. I realized I shouldn't worry about some number. I am in good health. I have an incredible family. Over the past year I have made some great new friends. I am fully capable of taking care of my children, of working, of being independent. All I can do is continue to be thankful to the Lord for blessing me in the ways that He has. Lord willing I will have another 30 or 40 or 50 years to spend with my family.

Thank you to everyone who has sent birthday wishes my way today! I'm not in my 20's anymore. I. am. 30. I'm excited to see what the next 5, 10, 30 years will bring! 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Raley's Lilo and Stitch Birthday Luau

Raley has been telling me for nearly a year that she wants a Lilo and Stitch birthday party. I love that she knows what she wants and sticks with it. (Well, most of the time it's a good thing.)

I absolutely loved this idea! There's not very much Lilo and Stitch decor out there so I decided to go with a generalized luau theme. I was very excited about this concept! I decided to broaden the color scheme to bright, tropical colors rather than stick with red and blue that you see in the movie. I don't typically love pink, orange and red together, but in this case it totally worked!

My parents put in a pool this year so they graciously allowed us to have a pool party at their house. Raley's birthday is not until the end of the month but we decided to celebrate early just in case fall decides to come early this year in Alabama (fingers crossed!)

Some of my favorite party elements to look for:
- Balloon garland with artificial palm leaves
- Gold letter balloons
- Gold spray painted pineapples
- Pineapples with artificial tropical flowers/leaves
- Artificial palm leaves spread on tables
- Burlap table cloths and backdrop
- Hula table skirts (the one with flowers is from Oriental Trading. The one on the drink table without flowers is from Hobby Lobby. Both 9 feet wide so they wrapped around the tables)
- Happy Birthday banner

I had a hard time deciding what to do for the backdrop for her table but I finally decided to do a balloon garland. I thought about doing some tropical paper flowers but they take so long to do.  I just didn't have it in me to put the time into it. I have never done balloon garland before but it was actually pretty easy and I thought it turned out pretty good!

I found a reed backdrop that I ended up using behind the drink table. I ordered some artificial palm leaves, which I used in several places including the Happy Birthday banner. I found these plastic tiki statues at Party City and I think it rounded out this area perfectly!

The menu included:
- Hawaiian pulled pork sliders
- Pineapple skewers
- Pudge's PB&J sandwiches
- Nutter Butter flip flops
- Strawberry pineapple cake balls
- "Beach Balls" (cheese puff balls)
- Pina Colada cupcakes
- Pineapple Punch
- Prickly Pear Hibiscus Tea from Panera Bread
- Hugs and juice drinks for the kids


Raley and I spent an entire day last week baking for her party. We made the cake balls (she kept asking when it was time to do the sprinkles) and we attempted to make these pina colada cupcakes. Well, the cupcakes did not turn out good at all! I ended up finding a recipe for pineapple cupcakes where you simply add crushed pineapples to a box of yellow cake mix and they ended up being very tasty! I topped them with vanilla icing and rolled some of them in coconut (I left some of them plain because not everyone likes coconut). With the pineapple and the coconut I was still able to call them "Pina Colada Cupcakes."
A few other details:

Raley and Audrey both had such a great time swimming and playing with their friends! We are so thankful to everyone who came and celebrated with us and for those who couldn't and sent happy birthday wishes her way!
My Audrey is stingy with her smiles but she hopped right up there and said "cheeeeese!" I had to scramble to find my camera because this is rare!
She was exhausted! She was falling asleep while my sister was changing her clothes.

I'm always a bit sad when their parties are over! I have such a good time planning and the party itself always seems to go by so quickly. I wish we could rewind and do this one over again!

I hope you enjoyed these pictures! Have a great rest of the week!