Families are like fudge… mostly sweet with a few nuts

When you marry your husband… you inherit a family.
Some can’t stand their in-laws,
some never get to see them,
others get lucky and have great ones.
I inherited a family greater than I could imagine, and not just when we married, but from the beginning of when we began dating they took me in as one of their own.

My husbands mother’s side of the family and her husband have this gigantic family that lives within minutes of my parents actually so it works out fantastic come holidays.
{This post is dedicated to them, as we just returned from yet another fantastic vacation with them. The vacation being the large delay in blog posts}

When I try to explain the family gatherings… there are no words.  Just laughs and smiles of how much fun this family is!  It goes beyond the immediate family to the extended family… not a single person goes without an amazing personality and attributes to be an important addition to the family.

Courtney, my husband’s sister, has become a best friend.  Though I may be completely intimidated by her at times, she’s incredibly fun and reliable.  I was lucky enough to have my sister-in-law be one of my maid of honors at our wedding {yes, ONE of my maid of honors, I was also lucky enough to have TWO maid of honors!}
No one can have enough of this girl, including myself…. I love and miss her.

from my wedding

Billy’s mom, Alix is one of the strongest women I know.  She’s raised the most amazing son and daughter, and has built herself an amazing career.  Her group of friends proves that she has a personality that you always want to be around.  Within a short time of knowing her, she became a top contender on my role model list.  She’s been there for me since the beginning {she was even in the delivery room of our son Jackson… now if that’s not closeness I’m not sure what is!}

{enter super fun adorable picture of Alix and I}
I would but I’m too nervous she’d kill me for picking the wrong one

Scott’s the step dad who I’ve looked up too since I met him also.  He’s one of those guys that’s amazing at everything he does {and I’m not kidding, he can rock everything from photography, to gardening, to building anything…there’s a reason he’s nicknamed Martha Stewart}  He just is an amazing dad, father in law, and step dad.

With this family you can add in the additional fantastic bonus brother Alex, hilarious brother-in-law Ryan and the Norwegian brother Tore.  Now this might all be too mushy for some… and corny for others.  But to me, I just needed to state how much I appreciate and love my in-laws.  They’re wild and crazy… but accepting and loving.  As previously mentioned, this extends out to their relatives and any family gatherings is always a guaranteed fiesta!

Family photo, including me even prior to engagement

At the wedding

So here’s my cheers to you guys!  Thank you for everything you do for me and for Jackson.

 

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Our newest family addition .. it’s so {Cozi}

Life’s hectic… and everyone’s looking for their own niche to stay organized when everything else around them seems too chaotic to settle down.  My husband and I have two completely different organizing styles that pretty much counteract each other…. makes for interesting days.
He’s a stacker {doesn’t like clutter}… I want things laid out {more visual otherwise I’ll forget about things}.  He wants the kitchen clean, I want the bedroom clean.  It doesn’t stop there… however, as marriage is, we’re continuously learning to compromise in order to stay sane.

We’ve gone through a handful of dry erase boards to keep current our “this month’s to-do’s” however, never seems to be enough.  I’ll make lists for grocery shopping, we’ll have lists for “to do’s” around the house… those just lead to more paper that Billy ends up stacking… and I end up forgetting about … {are you seeing a pattern here}.

I’ve used so many different online organization tools, they just never seem to “stick”.  For instant Google Calender and syncing it with my cell phone.  They seem to work great for a week or two, then disappear into the back of mind never being functional.

However, we seem to have found one that may just work for Billy and I both!  {a middle ground perhaps? a balance to our opposites?}  It’s an online calendar with sooo many great features for families with active kids that I can only imagine how much user-friendly it continues to get for larger families.

Let me introduce you to our newest family addition, “Cozi“.
It is so great, because not only does it have an easy to use and organizable calendar for the whole family, but has features like alerts for reminders, grocery list, to do  lists, you can send family members messages directly to their email or phone.  It’s color coded for each individual of the family and you can select which event pertains to which member.

Beyond all those great features, it also has a community where you can get great ideas for family events, “Green” cleaning, and meal recipes.

 

 

I skipped to May to show you an example of what a “month” outlook appears as:

If you create an event and make it designated to a specific family member, you’ll see it color coded to that specific member so you’ll always know who has what going on.  Each day is large enough you can see multiple events occurring simultaneously.
{we haven’t added too much to May yet…
April was a bit too crowded already to show everyone
}

Just wanted to share our latest addition as it is such a great tool for family organizing and one more thing to make our crazy families less hectic is ALWAYS a pleasant addition.

{Psssssst. In no way was I persuaded to do a review by Cozi, or any other company.  I am simply expressing my opinion to others and providing information I personally would like to know if doing research of a product.}

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Completing those “must have” moments!

I have been waiting for a while, searching for quite some time, scratching my head trying to figure out WHAT am I going to put as the wall decor in my master bathroom.  Inspiration came from here but I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to fill the frames with.  As cute as they did it, I knew my husband would look at me weird everyday if I hung random words on the wall even if I did think they fit “perfectly”.
I’ve always wanted my master bedroom to be comfortable, soothing, relaxing and enjoyable but the bathroom has never been a big “must be perfect” kind of room for me.  That was until somehow magically,  I found the PERFECT paint color {Behr paint+prime, s/satin Elephant Skin}.  Suddenly, our master bathroom became a big To Do on my checklist.  I literally smiled every time I went into our bathroom because I loved the color so much.
{almost every room in our house up until that point, and past this point, has gone through a polka dot phase because I haven’t been able to decide…somehow, this color was the first and only option I chose for the bathroom, perhaps that’s why I love it so much. so simple. so easy}

Well come one rainy afternoon as I’m browsing the blogger world I came across this beauty, which was actually featured here.  I instantly knew this was my first and foremost project I’d be tackling one night.
Thanks to Jamie I went out gathered the few materials I needed to complete this project and put just a small spin on it to finally answer my question of master bathroom wall decor.


{click for tutorial}

Such an easy great idea for personal artwork for any room!

 

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A Yard in Progress…

Moving into a brand new constructed home last November was great for us as first time homeowners.  There were no repairs to be made, just a blank canvas to transform into our own style and living space.  However, the yard… was a different story.

We obviously couldn’t do anything all winter, and just had to wait for spring and summer to start this huge task.  The front yard (and like three feet of the backyard) was sodded before moving in.  This is our back yard.  YIKES.  Combination of bad dirt. Bad crab grass. Dormant sod…. just … YIKES.  That beautiful green grass you see way off to the right side, would be the neighbor’s yard, not ours.
Never having owned a lawn before we were literally starting from scratch.  I have talked to 50 different people at Lowe’s for advice, I’ve read hundreds of websites… trying to figure out the best way to tackle this job.
We decided to seed the lawn a different kind of grass than the front lawn because it will grow and green seasonally faster than the other kind will.
Last weekend Billy spent most of Saturday raking up the lawn, then fertilizing, then seeding, then lots of watering.  We got fairly lucky as it rained an ample amount the following week, which I was hoping would allow us to see our little seedlings to start sprouting.  Though, no such luck.
Grow little seedlings…. GROW!

That was last weekend…. This week has been a little different.

The number one thing we have been so excited about for our house was getting our fence! I absolutely cannot wait to have a finished fence and finally be able to let Jackson run around and play without having to constantly chase him and worry he’s going to run into the streets.
The gigantic project has finally begun!

Jackson keeping his eye on the installers.

 

 

{Oh! I’ve been SPOTTED}

 

 

{This is better… now they can’t see me.}

 

 

Well [Day One] of the fence installation and here’s how it came along…

We did a Vinyl All American Dog Eared fence from Lowe’s.

Looks great and I know we are going to love it!  However… our lawn is NOT loving the process….Now where we had sod… we have concrete, ripped up grass, and dirt….
{big sigh}
more work for us after.
Not to mention… remember all the seeding and work we did last week?  Take a look at our lawn now…
Those little seedlings aren’t gonna handle this too well… Looks like another attempt at it after our fence is completed will be necessary.
{ahhhh being a homeowner}

It’ll all be worth it when I can show you guys a picture of me… feet up… margarita in hands… and Jackson running around playing with all his toys and enjoying the summer days!

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Pinterest … my new obsession

During my intro I explained I’m a multi-tabber.  I continuously have like 10+ tabs open on my Internet browser looking up a million different things.  Usually reading my favorite blogs, searching Etsy, Craigslist, HGTV, furniture store websites, etc. etc. etc. I even have a filter I created on my Gmail account that whenever I email myself, I know it’s because I am sending myself a reminder of some website that has something I have fallen in love with and want.  Know how many times I have reopened that folder to visit those websites and purchase the products? Zero. They become out of sight out of mind.  I also have an actual folder, with pages of magazines, print outs, and written ideas that I have added too over time… know where that is right now? Because I don’t, so if you do please let me know… I’ve been searching everywhere.

Enter my new obsession. Pinterest.
Passed on to me by a new pal I instantly loved this website.  It’s essentially a bunch of “virtual cork boards” that you pin items you love, want, drool over, think are funny etc. etc. etc.  Similar to Twitter you follow other people, and can see pins by others.  But it’s such a great new networking tool to organize all the things I seem to never look back at while being able to see what others are “pinning”. Once you get the grasp of it, it’s so easy to use.

All I ask, if you join… follow me because half the fun of this great website is being able to see what others love! 

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Instep Grand Safari Jogging Stroller

When we moved to Virginia Beach I knew I wanted to take advantage that we lived within minutes of the boardwalk.  I was never a fan of my original stroller I had for Jackson that allowed his infant car seat to snap in, and then was able to use it once he was older and able to sit up.  Thought, I also knew I was never going to use a jogging stroller for its name, jogging.  However, I wanted a stroller that wasn’t a struggle to push, still provided storage, easy to maneuver, and was comfortable for Jackson.
So began my research for a new stroller.  I needed one that was under $200, and after research I knew a swivel wheel was a great option because I wasn’t going to use it exclusively for jogging.  The swivel wheel allows the pusher to maneuver around corners and turns easily, as traditional strollers do, however the front wheel is able to lock which makes pushing it on sand and jogging a lot easier.I purchased the InStep Grand Safari Swivel Wheel Jogger, and am happy with my purchase overall.  I used it for long walks along the boardwalk all summer, and Jackson always seemed comfortable in it.
Pros:
*Easy to fold and lift into car
*Able to lean back seat so child can lay down or sit up straight
*Easy to use lock/unlock for swivel wheel
*Overhead umbrella provides enough shade to keep cool for kid
Cons:
*Under storage snaps on, and doesn’t seem to be able to hold a lot without dragging
*The built-in speaker system could have been higher quality

However, my most recent experience with Instep is what makes this stroller and brand a top-notch favorite of mine. [story time]
Due to frequent daily visits to the boardwalk, I kept the stroller stored in the trunk of my Rav4.  Within a couple of weeks of purchasing the stroller, the front wheel was flat and I thought it was due to heat of keeping it in the car.  I went to the nearby gas station to fill up the tire with air, however was unable to get the air pump to attach to the tire valve, so went to a local professional bike shop where they were willing to fill it up at no cost.  To my dismay, a week later the front tire was flat again.  I returned to the bike shop and they felt it may have been due to over filling the tire so they filled it up again.  I was a bit frustrated at this point, as many of my friends that had jogging strollers hadn’t dealt with this issue before. This repeated for about two more times before I gave up.  I finally figured I’d call InStep Customer Service, and double-check warranty or if they had any suggestions.  I felt I had to express the annoyance of having to go to a professional bike shop every couple of weeks due to a flat tire.  The woman explained it sounded like the interior tube had a tear in it, and I’d have to buy a new one (because of course this one piece wasn’t under warranty).  She then further explained to look for one with a curved valve, and then I’d be able to use a typical air pump to fill it up if it went flat again.  She was very helpful and informative.  She then took one step further at being a great CSR and said she’d mail me an inner tube with curved valve FREE of charge! I couldn’t believe it, a simple call to InStep and they explained what had been frustrating me for months, and resolved the issue without hesitation.
I always find it reassuring when a company stands behind their products, and want to ensure their customers are happy.  Thank you InStep!

I would gladly suggest this stroller to any parent.  Convenient, easy to use, and comfortable for both parent and child.
For product information and other available products visit their website here
InSTEP strollers and products

 

 

 

 

Psssssst. In no way was I persuaded to do a review by InSTEP, or any other company.  I am simply expressing my opinion to others and providing information I personally would like to know if doing research of a product.

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Twiddling thumbs

Act one:
[setting the scene]

I climb into my “princess chair” (a chair and a half that my husband has given a clever nickname too), glass of wine is next to me, latest DVR recording is playing on the TV and I grab my laptop.
I open up Firefox and Tab 1 goes to Facebook.com, Tab 2 goes to Younghouselove.com, Tab 3 goes to Google.com to search my latest shopping item I desire, Tab 4 is dedicated to checking updates of the latest ecoupons, and Tab 5 is checking the updates of other bloggers.  Yes, I’m a multi tabber (trademark pending).  I’m addicted to social media, DIY blogs, and google.  [no capitalization error….I use google as a verb, literally, I google my shoes in the closet.. I google the lost toy under my car seat that my two year olds screaming for…etc]
I’m a mom of a 2 year old son, and a wife of a USN Sailor.  I work 40 hours a week, and though I’ve lived in Virginia for over a year… I still have yet to find a lot of time to meet new people.  I’m addicted to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and reading blogs.
I’ve attempted a couple times at starting new blogs however both were targeted towards family and friends to follow us in new adventures as we live half across the United States from everyone.  This time, I’m blogging for me and for YOU.
PBJstories will have everything from DIY projects and tips, daily adventures, and reviews of people, places, things, and …. stuff?  I may even add blurbs of funny tales and embarrassing moments.

Should be FUN! ….to be continued….

PS. That cute butt up there is my son’s, Jackson.  And dragging next to him is his best friend Mo, the monkey.  Hats off to AshleyJtyler photography for capturing perfection.

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