Thursday, March 26, 2015

Happy Birthday, Shepherd!

Oh the second child! This post is 2 months later, but butter than nothing huh?!

Weight: 26 pounds
Length: 35 inches
Favorite moments: Our slap happy moments right before bed, his sweet belly laugh when tickled or played with, seeing Him and Inara becoming buddies.
Least favorite moments: Hitting Inara all the time
Milestones: learning colors and shapes, new words everyday
Likes: Inara (we are always hearing "Nara. Come on!"), The Lego Movie, Legos, MawMaw and PawPaw, cousins, chipotle, blankie ("kankie"), cars, seeing the Penguins at the Zoo.

Shepherd is such a fun addition to our family. Right now he is really into The LEGO Movie. He carries around a little Emmet and Wyldstyle all day long, switching their heads, hair which he calls "hats", and pants. He follows around Inara and does whatever she does. He is really mastering the art of being an annoying little brother. It is really sweet how he just wants to play with her all the time. Inara is so sweet and patient with him, way more patient than I would be. She is always looking out for him, too. Just today, they were coloring together at the table and I heard this:

Inara: Ok Buddy, these are the scissors and they will hurt you. So don't touch them ok?
Shepherd: Ok

I can't believe my baby is two. Time raced after Inara was born, but with Shepherd it has flown by. I mean he was just born, how can he possibly be two?! But I guess I officially can't call him my baby anymore. I always say "Are you my baby?" and he would reply "Uh-huh." Now it's "No!" As much as I hate the baby phase is gone, it really is so fun to watch him learn new things. Inara had an amazing vocabulary at this age. And even though he doesn't, he seems to be smarter in other ways and just really understands how things work.

He's such a blessing to our family, and it is hard to remember a time when he wasn't in it.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A weekend to remember

For a long time I have loved Francesca Battesteli's music. When she released a new album this year, my bestie bought it for me for my birthday. It's so good and just like her other 2 albums, they just really speak God's truth to my soul. Not only do we both love her music, so do our daughters! So when she released tour dates, we found the closest place she was coming and planned a trip.

A couple months ago was that trip and it was one of the most precious memories I have. This post is really just for me to not forget all of the fun and sweet details.

Inara had been waiting for months for the concert and when it was October she started saying "I can't wait. Friday, the 31st will be Halloween and then Saturday is the FRANCESCA concert!" She would say Francesca in the most excited voice ever. So Saturday we woke up, finished packing, and drove to Katie's house. We loaded the girls and our stuff in the van and headed out.  It should have taken 3.5 hours, but took 4 because we I missed a step in our directions then got stuck behind stupid traffic. I say stupid, because it really was. We saw it happen and honestly can't explain it at all. 2 cops were going super slow and created traffic for about 10 miles and then stopped. It was one of the weirdest things ever.

The girls did great on the way there. We only stopped once for a potty break and they ate tons of Ritz crackers and Craisins for snacks. We stopped at Chik-fil-a for dinner, which is always amazing. We planned on getting there early because we bought VIP tickets which included getting to meet her and get our picture with her. Before we couldn't find when that part really started so we looked one last time and realized the VIP stuff started in 5 minutes! Thankfully we made it there on time, no thanks to a slow moped driver, wrong turns, and every red light. We got there in time to grab seats in the 5th row and snap a picture.

So we get there at 5:15, doors open at 6:15, for the concert to start at 7.00. So we had about an hour an a half to kill. We walked around, bought some merchandise, and played "Head's Up." Inara had so much fun with that game, and I was actually pretty impressed at her ability to play it correctly. The opening act went on at 7:00, followed by another act, and then FINALLY around 9:00, Francesca went on! For being there for such a long time, the girls did really great. They were both so excited about seeing her, and the lights! It was really just so sweet to see how childlike they were. If we had gone there for ONLY a light show, they would have been fine. Every time the lights from the show did something fun, they both got so excited.

After the show, we went back to our hotel. The girls had been asking if they could sleep together and we said yes, but they got ONE chance to go to sleep. If they were loud or fighting, then we would split them up. So we put them to bed and Katie and I stepped out into the living room to chat. It was so great to have some time with the girls and then time with my bestie.

Morning came and we went downstairs to our breakfast. Loaded up our purses with cereal and fruit for the ride and headed to the Indianapolis Children's museum. It was pretty great. 4 floors of fun. Here are some of the highlights!

Both girls taking a snooze on the way there
Meeting Francesca!

They were so sweet. This was their expression from
seeing the lights from the show. What a blessing
to see their child-like wonder at something so simple.

My bestie and Inara's bestie! <3 td="">

It was a little loud at first 

No joke, she fell asleep in my lap at the end of the concert

Snuggled in bed

They held hand the entire time we were gone.

Millennium Falcon 

Writing Japanese Calligraphy 

The girls took a little art lesson at the Indianapolis
Children's Museum. They were drawing a rabbit and I KNEW
right away that she would draw Pikachu. I was right.

Marley rescued Inara from this big web. I was seriously in tears and so
thankful Inara has such a good friend at such a young age.

Then she was brave enough to climb through the web herself!

Our last stop in the Museum was this music room and the girls, LOVED
these little rainbow ribbon dancers

Definitely framed her picture when we got home. 

After the museum we took the 2 hour drive home. We figured it out and in 2 days they spent 4 hours in the car, but they were really great about it. I brought some toys to play with and they did a pretty good job taking turns. They are getting to the age where they will argue about something then come to us to help, but we have no idea what they were fighting about, so we just told them "Well, you guys gotta figure that one out by yourselves." And it worked!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Birthday Letter

Inara, I simply cannot believe 5 years have past since you were born into this world so abruptly. I couldn't have hoped things would have turned out as well as they did! But God had different plans.

I used to tell Mamaw I was never having kids because they ruin your life. And Baby, I couldn't have been farther from the truth. The ONLY thing that you have done has been making my life richer. I know when you read this when you are older, you will roll your eyes. And I totally get that. That was me! But one day, when you have children, then you will finally understand how much I love you. You try to tell me that you love me more, and my answer is always "Impossible."

Inara means "Heaven sent", and we prayed you would be a blessing to those you met. But honestly, I never thought I would be the biggest benefactor! You are so sweet and giving. You give away your toys to anyone. Seriously, nearly every friend who comes to visit, leaves with something. It's so sweet to see your generous spirit. You really are just too sweet. Tonight after some cake and ice cream with Mamaw and Papaw, you said "I just don't think a birthday could get any better." 

You are such a good big sister. You always look out for Shepherd. Just the other day I heard you say "Come here, buddy. Let me wipe your nose." And that's just what you did. You can make him laugh and he often will says "Sister. Sister." But by far the sweetest thing is when you help me put him to bed. We rock in the chair together as you help me sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and he always asks for another kiss from us both once he's in his crib.

You are so fun and so very smart. Too smart sometimes. Dad and I can't really spell things around you anymore, because you figure them out. You like to learn about really anything. You tell me you want to be a veterinarian, and I believe you! When the World Cup was on, you learned a lot about other countries, and you still remember those things too. It's fun to see how your brain works. Since you are so smart, you make some good jokes too.

Just recently you have become quite the artist. You went from scribbles to really good drawings in the matter of about 3 or 4 weeks. It's fun to see you use your imagination and nearly everything you color is rainbow colors.

Baby, you are just the best. Momma loves you so much. And we always talk about who loves you the most. You know the answer is God, and I'm praying for that knowledge to make its way to your heart. Its interesting though. It seems the harder time I have parenting and just screwing up, the softer your heart becomes for things of the Lord. So if it takes years and years of me coming and asking for forgiveness, and just being a total parental mess for you to run to Jesus..I'll gladly do it. I see so many wonderful things you could do for the Lord when you are older. But why wait, you really are doing so many wonderful things now! You are such a sweet and precious gift to me from God. I pray I'll hold you loosely, while also wrapping you in my arms. Inara Sarai Duke, you will always be my baby :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Stitch Fix #4

 This is my fourth fix and probably my last one for awhile. My referral credit is gone and so is my birthday credit. So until Christmas comes or other people sign up under me, I'll be having a hiatus. PS, the few people who have signed up under me are amazing! You can sign up and get refer other people to you! I've probably gotten $100 is free clothes, just from referrals!

So what IS Stitch Fix?

Create your style profile  
Fill out a pretty extensive questionnaire about your style.
You can even link it up to a specific Pinterest board.
Get five hand picked items
You can even specify what you want/don't want. (No jewelry, only dresses, etc)
Keep what you like and send back the rest
Try on the items in the comfort of your own home.
Send back items in bag with pre-paid shipping.
Comes with styling tips
Each piece comes with styling tips,
how to dress it up or dress it down
Ok, so how much does this cost?
$20 Styling fee
Use this towards the cost of your final order
Get 25% off
If you keep all 5 items, they give you 25% off your purchase
Average price
They state on their average price per items is $65, that being said most of my items have been under $60.

So I'll be honest, this was my least favorite fix. But mostly because I forgot it was coming and didn't leave specific instructions on what I wanted. Here's what I got!

First of all, I love opening my box to find a personal note each time!

Please excuse the terrible lighting. I'm obviously not a fashion blogger :)

I couldn't wait to get my hands on this sweater!

It was SO cute and had black sparkly stripes down the side.
You can't tell in this picture, but it was unfortunately it was
about a size too big. I couldn't justify $68 on a too big sweater, even if it
was super dreamy and comfy.

I was not as excited about this blouse.
(PS, does anyone else hate that word?)

Justin and I both agreed it looked better on. It had a great fit,
but we didn't love the pattern. Plus for $58, I'll pass.

I wasn't sure why they sent me a maxi dress heading into fall, but whatevs.

Turns out it was so soft, comfy, and flattering.
Buuuut also $74 so no thanks!

I have 2 pairs of jeans from this Just Black brand, and LOVE them.
That being said, they had a price tag of $88. And I don't need 3 pairs of
skinny jeans. The jeans I wore in the pictures above are the ones
I bought from my second fix.

Here's item #5. A minimalist necklace $28

Like I said before, this was my least favorite fix. However, I normally give VERY specific instructions on what (and what not) to send, and I had a blonde moment and forgot to do that this time. I would have asked for tops only and said specifically no jewelry, accessories, pants, or dresses. I really do feel like when you give specific instructions, the stylists do what you ask. I had $29 in credit. $20 paid for my box to be sent to me, so I kind of felt if I didn't buy ANYTHING it would be wasted credit. I've been wanting a simple necklace and have watching Stella Bella Boutique because I love her necklaces and earrings. So I only kept the necklace.

Even though I didn't love my fix this month, I still give Stitch Fix 2 thumbs up! It's made my try (and like) articles of clothing I would have otherwise overlooked. Like that blouse from this fix? I NEVER would have tried on that style. But now I see how it's actually flattering and comfortable. So when I shop on my own, I can look for similar items. And if you haven't tried it, you totally should :) And don't forget to sign up under my link! I'd love you forever for it!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Stitch Fix #3

I figured since box #4 is on its way, I should hop to it and blog about my 3rd box. I asked them to send me a few dresses because I was going to wedding. I thought it would be fun to try something new!

So what is Stitch Fix anyway? Well I'm glad you ask. Even though this was my third fix and I'll likely get them only a few times a year, I LOVE IT! Stitch Fix is like having your own personal stylist, here's how it works

Create your style profile  
Fill out a pretty extensive questionnaire about your style.
You can even link it up to a specific Pinterest board.

Get five hand picked items
You can even specify what you want/don't want. (No jewelry, only dresses, etc)

Keep what you like and send back the rest
Try on the items in the comfort of your own home.
Send back items in bag with pre-paid shipping.

Comes with styling tips
Each piece comes with styling tips,
how to dress it up or dress it down
Ok, so how much does this cost?

$20 Styling fee
Use this towards the cost of your final order

Get 25% off
If you keep all 5 items, they give you 25% off your purchase

Average price
They state on their average price per items is $65, that being said most of my items have been under $60.
So here's what I got!
This dress was just "eh". It looked ok on, but I just wasn't loving it.
But it was only $48, so not to shabby. I sent it back

I LOVED this dress. It was soft and comfy, and I thought it could easily be dressed up or dressed down
But it was $68 and I really liked my last item, so I sent it back too.

Ugh! This dress. I mean, what? It was so awful, I almost didn't take a picture in it.
It was really thin, and REALLY ugly. Even though it was pretty cheap, it went STRAIGHT back.

YES! I loved this asymmetrical cardigan. I pinned this EXACT item, so I was SUPER
happy my stylist sent it to me! Even though I was hoping to buy a dress I loved this
so much, that I kept it! I think it was $50, but I had birthday credit still, and wasn't
passing it up. It's been my go to sweater when its chilly outside!

This time around I didn't take pictures of my style cards, oops! I've been kind of busy. But my 4th box is on its way and I'll show you the goodies sooner this time! So, who's going to give it a try? Its a perfect thing to ask for for Christmas! If you haven't tried it out, I would love for you to sign up through my link! I get a $25 credit when your first box ships. Thanks!

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