One of the best inventions EVER...

So if you are anything like me, you depend on coffee to survive. I never thought I would be this way, but I literally feel nonfunctional until I have some. There will be mornings that I don't know why I am so out of it and crazed, and then I realize I haven't had any coffee. Now in the winter, there is nothing like a hot cup of coffee when you are freezing. BUT in the summer, hot coffee to me is just unappetizing. I am super obsessed in general with iced coffee. Whenever I get iced anything from Starbucks I have to get light ice (even though I love a ton of ice) because I slurp it down in about four seconds. I've tried making hot coffee and putting it in the fridge. I've tried using day-old coffee put in the fridge. I have tried another method where you soak coffee grinds overnight in a giant bucket and have to somehow strain it out. The last method worked fine, it was just beyond tedious so I never did it. 

Enter the Toddy: 

My sister introduced me to this little baby last year. After she made me a glass of iced coffee when it was super hot a few weeks ago, I went straight to Amazon and bought it. Around $30. Worth every penny. So what you do is get a bag of coffee beans at the store. I got: 

It was on sale and I had a coupon. Obvi :o). So I ground the beans at the store (first time I have ever done that. Sort of exciting in a totally dorky way) at the coarsest that it would do. That evening after dinner (it needs to sit for 12 hours), I began the process (it isn't really a process. It takes like seven minutes, and five of those don't count because it is sitting there). All of these instructions are in the Toddy, but just so you know how easy it is... you put the little plug and filter in the bottom of the brewing container which looks like this: 

You add one cup of water and half of the bag of coffee (6oz). Then you add three more cups of water, then add the last half of the bag of coffee. Wait five minutes, then add three more cups of water.

After 12 hours (I have done 10 and it has still been perfect), you take the plug out of the bottom and let it flow into the glass decanter provided. Voila!! AMAZEBALLS!!

Warning... this is a coffee CONCENTRATE. NOT STRAIGHT COFFEE. DO NOT POUR AN ENTIRE GLASS OF THIS STUFF!! YOU WILL BE SHAKY, NAUSEOUS, AND BOUNCING OFF THE WALLS. I know this from personal experience, so seriously don't do it. They recommend doing one part concentrate to three parts water, milk, soy milk, whatever. Sidenote... it makes more than what shows in the picture (this is after several glasses were already guzzled). But one batch really will last you a while (depending on how much you slurp down everyday). It really is super delicious, it takes a lot of the acidity out, and it is just straight awesome. I need to guzzle an extra glass today... Olivia decided to strip her pajama pants and diaper off at some in the night. Pee everywhere (it could have been WAY worse. I know this).

Happy Tuesday!! 


Sisters, Moving and the DERBY...

So I had an utterly FABULOUS weekend. Matt decided that I was way too tense, stressed, and exhausted with life so he sent me to good old OC for the weekend with my sister (have I mentioned how awesome he is (despite the alarm clock issue)?) If anyone is fortunate enough to have a similar sister relationship like I have, you are a lucky, lucky person. Both of my sisters are pretty much the only people in this world that are as insanely similar/drastically different as I am in a way that just works. We can be doing nothing, be psycho busy, annoyed, happy, hungry, whatever... But somehow we always understand each other, can laugh about absolutely everything, and not be mad five minutes later despite whatever is said. My sisters can tell me I look like a train wreck (and one did... last week). We can talk about serious stuff like parenting, marriage, the future. We can also talk about the Real Housewives of wherever. There is nothing quite like a sister relationship and it is something I really really REALLY hope will be a positive thing in my girls' relationships. Unfortunately my oldest sister lives in Georgia, so it was just me and Stacey (the one I live in the same neighborhood with). So essentially all we did was shop, eat, and watch movies. We were so excited to go to the outlets to get some clothes for ourselves, but we both ended up buying a bunch for our kids and like two things for ourselves. You know times have changed when you walk into a store and go to the kids section before you look for yourself. 

Background on the whole same neighborhood thing... Stacey and her husband Ronnie (their kids are Tyler (he is three, EXACTLY one year older than Layla to the day) and Madelyn (less than three months older than Olivia) moved 3 1/2 years ago to the most amazing neighborhood in the world. When I first drove through it, it truly looked like it was from TV, as in Desperate Housewives-esque (perfect trees, green grass, kids outside playing, etc). We weren't ready to move but I knew I would die to live here. We already knew that we wanted to be in this general area (because of school systems, etc... which sidenote, there is nothing that has made me feel more adult-like than discussing quality of school systems when moving. I mean seriously. Yikes). My major need was a grocery store within three minutes (Okay five is fine, but I have three small children... I can't be driving to Africa every time I need milk or diapers. And I ALWAYS forget something). Long story short, we found several houses that we didn't get (the devastation... for real), and then we ended up getting an absolutely AMAZEBALLS house for a ridiculous price, in the same neighborhood as my sister. Not only is it the same neighborhood, but we both back to the same strip of woods AND we have a bike path connecting my street with hers that also goes to the tennis courts, park, and pool. In the winter when there are no leaves on the trees, I can make out the back of her house. It is literally our dream come true (in this sentence, the "our" is me and Stace. Our husbands were fab enough to oblige). So many people have been like, "Wow, you really want to live that close to each other?" Yes, yes, and YES. Besides the amazingness that is living so close to my sister, our new neighbors are pretty great as well. It is a "pop in, what is everyone doing tonight, let's do happy hour and let the kids play, huge party for every random holiday" kind of street. We were welcomed with open arms into the group (even though most of the people here are original owners) and I couldn't be happier. Life is good. 

Soooooo Derby update (we leave a week from Thursday. OMG!!!!) We got another package!!! It is making me so so SO excited to go away with the hubs. I opened it and... 

A hat box, of course!! 

I feel like I have it in my head what people wear, how it is, etc... but this is just awesome and super helpful. Inside was even better: 

Mint Julip glasses!! I have never had one, but clearly I will be indulging. I think it would be a sin not to. 

This little booklet had facts, attire suggestions, etc. It even had the recipe for these beloved Mint Juleps if anyone is curious (and doesn't know how to google): 

Underneath the booklet was our itinerary, which looks pretty fab. It even included this: 

I mean, that is pretty great. 

One thing I learned from this lovely little booklet is I needed ANOTHER dress. And it HAS to be pink. Apparently the day before the actual Derby is Oaks day, which is the "little sister" race. It is a Pink Out, so everyone has to wear pink in some way. I was hoping to find something at the outlets this weekend and I did! (It was one of the two items I bought for myself). I found the most perfect nearly neon pink dress at J. Crew. The only problem is that it is a size too big, but I'm calling this lady who did my alterations for a wedding I was in at almost 8 months pregnant (if she recreated that dress to fit me when I was that large and in charge, I'm pretty sure she is a miracle-worker). 

So Matt survived all weekend without me (I wasn't really concerned. He can handle it better than I can). He told me one story that was pretty comical.. He was putting pajamas on Olivia and I recently got her these silky/soft Disney princess top and bottom set (sidenote... I bought Livi about five pairs of top/bottom pj's at the outlets because if she does not have some sort of pants on, her diaper is off in about 0.384 seconds and it is just a bad, bad situation). Anyway, he put the princess top on her and just another random pair of sweatpants. Apparently she had a conniption, went back in her drawer, found the matching bottoms and insisted (in the form of cries and grunts) that she match. She is 16 months. This doesn't bode well for the future that she is this particular, but it is just crazy to me that she is becoming a toddler and not just a baby. I will tell her some random task to do without showing her anything, and she will do it. She understands me! You'd think with my 3rd that I would get used to this but I really don't think you ever do. Realizing when your child actually understands you and is becoming a little person of their own is a scary/crazy/sad/exciting time (Sad because they are growing up so fast. And no, I don't want another one). 

I'm pretty sure this was a rambling mess... but that is my life these days. 
Happy Tuesday! 


My Little Layla...

How do I even begin to describe the perfect little peanut that you are? Right before I had you, I was actually nervous. I didn't know how it would be possible to love another child just as much. Well, you made that a silly, distant memory as soon as I saw you. My heart didn't split between you and Summer, it just doubled in size. I love how you made me feel like a totally new parent when you came along. 

Summer was who I was used to, and I'm pretty sure you did and still do everything different just to keep me on my toes. I love your constant nakedness. 

My friend Liz said it best: Summer melts your heart. Layla steals it. 

You are the original destroyer. You freely tell everyone that they are your best friend... But you say it in a way that everyone actually believes it. I love when you smile so big that your eyes are totally scrunched up. 

I love your unadulterated zest for life. Although you never used to be, you are now becoming a total cuddle bug. And your hair. I LOVE your hair. 

I love your outie belly button that is actually a hernia. I love how much you love your Summer and "Wivia." I love that you end up in the most bizarre locations and are so beyond cute when I find you. 

I love how excited you are to do anything and everything. I have a love/hate relationship with your light-up princess cowgirl boots that you wear with literally everything. 

Life with you is a constant adventure. You are my Lala, and mommy loves you. 



This last weekend was a big one. Between Easter with both families (including a extended family photo shoot with one) and then my birthday yesterday, we have been go-go-go. BUT how amazing is this weather??? May I remind everyone that this was last Monday?!?! 

Anyway, we had a fabulous Easter and had our family pictures taken by none-other than the amazing Liz Cayne Photography. It is pretty awesome to have a best friend who is so talented :o). She sent a few outtakes which I think are almost as amazing as the final product. This first one makes me laugh because Olivia flailed like a total spazz, I am trying to just get my face out of the way, and Summer just scoots a little closer to Matt and Layla (who are utterly unaffected). It just shows what really happens in between all of those "perfect" smiles. 

Next comes one that is during our ENTIRE family shot and Olivia is just over it. Layla is looking at her with pity/"get it together" look. 

If you know Summer personally, you know she can be both shy and a total ham. Today was the total ham day. She was Liz's lighting helper, and did about a million poses. Love this one. 

 And now, the final product (of our family). Love Liz and love the pic. 

After the family pics, we changed gears to brunch and then an Easter egg hunt. We had one casualty (en epic nose dive straight into dirt)... 

But recovered quickly... 

 The other two had a great time as well...

If you notice I am wearing white pants (yes, three young kids and a dog. I'm aware that I'm an idiot), but I was psychotically running away from all FIVE dogs that were there because I was going to wear those white pants to church the next day and I didn't want to do laundry. Welp, I had to do laundry. 

We dyed Easter eggs that evening, and attempted to go to bed super early...

Sidenote... so all/99% of adults look pretty rough when they wake up, but for some reason the way little kids look just makes me laugh/want to hug them. This is Easter morning, bright and early! Olivia looks pretty pissed to have been woken up. 

We went to church, and had an AMAZING dinner with my side of the family. It really works in everyone's favor having a trained chef as a brother :o) We also set up a little Easter egg hunt for the cousins, and it totally melted my heart when Summer was helping the younger ones find eggs. (Several members of my family mentioned that clearly this was not a trait she got from me considering I am slightly infamous for my psycho competitive Easter egg hunt attitude). This was after dinner when we got into candy: 

Since this is already so long, I will post about my birthday later this week. 29! Eek!

Happy Tuesday!!!