Busy Busy Busy

Busy Busy Busy

That was us not so long ago….always busy busy busy. Somehow we fell into the trap of modern days society of what our family life should look like. We have a boy so of course he must play a sport every season. We have a girl so of course she must dance all year long. On top of that they surely must take music lessons to give them a variety of activities and lets not forget school clubs and social functions.

I don’t know when being busy became so glorified. Does it make people sound more important or wanted. Does it make you feel like you have more of a purpose than the “not busy” ones. I don’t know….but I do know that it is exhausting and draining. You go go go and once you stop you realize that you are missing out on the very things you are so busy working for.

I am not sure what day or how it happened but I remember sitting at dinner with my husband and saying enough is enough. We were missing our kids. Although we were at every practice, every game and every event it just felt like we were going through the motions of what parenting in America should look like. Coincidentally our kids had the same thought and within a few months of each other had asked if they could not continue with their respective sports for the following season. Their reasons were both the same ” we just want to be kids”.

How simple right? All they wanted was to be home. They wanted to have dinner as a family. They wanted to run and explore outside. They wanted to have spontaneous family dates. They wanted to sleep in on Saturday morning and be present at church on Sundays. It was so simple and yet something that they had been missing out on.

At that moment we had decided that what was best for our family was to pull our kids from all their activities…..not just one but all of them come next season. We have had people question our judgement and our decision but they are our kids and we feel that this is the absolute best thing we can do for them.

Our daughter spent countless hours at dance knowing that her true passion was music and art. Why spend hours at dance when you can be home painting outside with mother nature listening to your favorite record.

Our son hates being competitive in sports but he loves one on one music lessons so why not allow him to have free time to play the drums and have creativity making new beats.

We realized by having our kids be a part of everything, they were getting lost as to who they were created to be. God created them with their own gifts and talents and purpose.

So now we have time. Some days are filled with golfing as a family. Some days are filled with working outside. Some days are filled with board games and riding ATVs around our land and some days are filled with absolutely nothing….and some times those are the best days.

 

Love XoXo, Julia

 

 

A little bit of this and a little bit of that…

Hello all you lovelies. It has been a minute since I have been on here. My PC computer was so frustrating and would constantly turn off/delete/not work that I just was not able to get anything done on it. I had planned on getting a laptop once we moved into our new home in February and start up blogging then but guess what…

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Sweet hubby surprised me with this on Christmas morning. I am so excited. Even though I have no clue how anything on it works I am grateful that it doesn’t have an agenda to freeze every hour.

I hope that everyone had a fantastic Christmas!!! Originally I was going to do a gift post, or a new New Years resolution post but lets face it we have all seen many of those so I decided to just do a random one haha. I feel like everyone is in limbo between Christmas Eve and New Years Day anyway.

This year we decided to give our kids just one large gift, instead of many little ones. The pre teen years have proven to be a hard thing to shop for. Sometimes I miss the days of coloring books and stuffed animals. Although they were spendy the gifts are something that both of them are passionate about so we felt like it was a great investment.

They were both in heaven!!!

After Christmas we took the day to re coup because between the 4:40 am wake up call from the kiddos and a family Christmas of 40 people, we were all exhausted. David left for a snowmobiling trip with his brothers the next day and although we miss him terribly when he goes, I try to make the time I have with the kiddos special. We had lots of friends over and went sledding, which was so much fun!!!

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And after the busy days I treated the kids to a little movie night

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Express was having a major sale!!! So i went and snagged an outfit for a deal that can’t be beat. They don’t have what i got online, I’m thinking all their clearance stuff varies by store. Both of these items are such classic pieces and under $20 each!

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Nordstrom is also having a major sale, I ordered this basic in two colors.

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I’ve been cooking up some major comfort food and loving every minute of it.

Classic home made tomato soup and grilled cheese.

And nothing says comfort food like chili and cornbread

Hope you all lovelies have an amazing New Year. I am excited as to what 2018 has in store for our family. I think 2017 has definitely  been one of faith for me and I just know that the Lord has even greater plans.

See you next year!!!

Love, XoXo Julia

 

Friendships

Lets talk friendships. I have been going through a little soul searching on this topic lately, and what better place to express it then out in the blog community. I personally enjoy a smaller group of friends rather than a large one. I like to entertain one or two couples at a time rather than an entire party. I love to make connections with people on a one to one basis. At the end of the day my best friend is my husband. He knows me in and out and I always feel happy, confident and safe with him. I know that I can trust him with everything and he is always my biggest supporter.

On a female side of things I have a best girlfriend with whom I have been friends with for 16 years. We have been there for each other through marriage, pregnancies (as luck would have it we were pregnant with both of our kids at the same time), moving, heartbreak, joy, loss and everything in between.

I have a few great friends that I have met through my kids that I absolutely adore. We are at the same point in life, and how much easier is it to get through those school issues and pre-teen dramas when you have a girlfriend to analyze it all with. I also happen to have the world’s most amazing sister in laws that I couldn’t love any more.

But at the end of the day, or week or some crazy months one thing stands out. As my kids get big and I get more busy, I have been finding it so hard to connect with the same group of girls that maybe even 3 years ago would have been my main support group. It gets to be very difficult to invest in relationships outside of your partner and kids without really jeopardizing them. I will only have a few more precious years with my small family before my kids go off and start a life for themselves. And although it may sound selfish I want to spend the most amount of time I can making memories with my husband and children.

I have learned that I can allow myself to have my husband be my best friend. After all he is the only one out of all the people in this world that I have vowed to love and cherish for all time. I don’t need to feel like it’s not “normal” for me to want to be home, or not be with girlfriends all the time. It’s OK if my free time is spent with the same people that I spend it with when I’m “busy” . I have learned that just because I don’t have a group of 10 girls that I am always out and talking to that doesn’t mean that the few friendships I do have are any less valuable. It is different for everyone. I admire the large group of girls that all have connections to each other and seem to make time for everyone. As for me personally at this point I am just so grateful for the few deep connections that I do have, they are all I need to feel fulfilled.

Love, XoXo Julia

Express and Lunch

It’s that time of year when everything seems to be going in hyper speed. End of the school year, dance competitions, beginning of sports, tons of work and of course all those beautiful days that you just want to soak in as much as you can. In addition to all the wonderful adventures and memories that summer holds, we have been blessed to buy land and build our forever home. The excitement is too much for me to even express. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would be possible, but good thing our God’s plans are so much grander than our silly little dreams. I’ll be documenting the building process through the blog and Instagram, but for now all we have is a large piece of dirt and a blueprint.

I went shopping with my girlfriend this past weekend and got the cutest outfits for summer. Most of my shopping actually happened at Express. I don’t buy a ton there so I was surprised I had found so many cute and simple things for summer. Here are a few of what I scored on their Memorial Day sale.

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I have been eyeing this dress since I saw it on Instagram a few weeks ago but I had no idea it was at Express. Imagine my excitement when there it was. Of course I snatched it up! I also got a few pairs of jeans. Even though I was shopping for summer clothes, I always buy jeans if I see a pair (or 2) that I like.

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Love the distress on these jeans and the fit couldn’t be more perfect.

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I have been excited about trying the frayed bottom jeans. I think I may have to trim the fray just a tad for it to work for me.

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This shirt is so soft I bought it in two colors!

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This shirt is perfect with jeans, shorts or jean skirt. I got mine in a pale pink and cannot wait to wear it.

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This soft tie front shirt is super cute with some high waisted jeans.

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Also grabbed these Guess sandals for more casual days.

Now that summer is officially here I have been working on re vamping my grocery and meal planning ideas.  I love Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain .My family loves her Sesame Orange Chicken along with many other favorites.

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My kids also love tacos, so we usually have them about once every 2 weeks or so.

And the best is when you can sneak in a mini lunch date with your love on the patio with a delicious spread like this one.

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Love, XoXo Julia

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It has been a heck of a week. Feels like I’m running on a hamster wheel and obviously not getting anywhere fast. And then I look on my calendar as to whats to come, and a sense of panic comes over me. I have a very bad habit of taking on too much. For some reason I have convinced myself that I can do it all, plus add in a few other things for good measure. I go go go and then one day I just run out of gas and boom my engine blows up. Like my analogy there? So I am trying to figure out a way to still do it all but without all the mental craziness that goes along with it. If any of you super moms have advice on this please please share it with me!

Buuut the show must go to so, unto the Friday Favorites this week!!! I mean I still have favorites even on weeks when I lose my mind.

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Shay’s over at MixnMatchMama’s recipes never disappoint. I loved this on a busy Thursday night!

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It is supposed to be low 70’s this weekend and that makes this girl super happy. I am so excited for fall clothes, fall smells, fall leaves…just all this fall.

 

I put on a long sleeved shirt and booties this past weekend for a dinner out. It was still too hot, but for the hour I did have it on, I loved it!

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This man right here..I am so grateful that I get to do life with my best friend.

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I am loving these 90 Degrees leggings/yogas. They wash perfect and are super comfy for all those workouts and spontaneous trips to the grocery store.

 

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Don’t know that this is a favorite…but I am putting it on here for my own accountability. I need to get my stuff together ya’ll. It has been a very fun summer full of great friends, lazy pool days and tons and tons of food. I am making an exercise plan and meal plan to start in the next few days. Hoping to get back down to my ideal weight within the next month or so. I am thinking of doing updates throughout the week, but haven’t fully decided how I’m going to do it yet. I’ll keep you updated.

Well that’s all for this week. See you Monday for the weekly wrap up!

Love XoXo, Julia

 

Back to School (School Supply Edition)

Back To School Logo - Funny School ImagesWell it’s that time of year again when us four take the kids’ supply list and starting marking things off. Since Lanna, my oldest, is starting Middle School this year (don’t know how that happened, but that’s a whole different blog post),she has been all about re- inventing her style. Although Braden who is going into 4th grade isn’t as picky as her, he does like to have an input on a few things . I decided to let my little ones help me narrow down their favorite items for the upcoming year.

Her Picks

 

Lanna is loving this one. The style and pattern are more neutral and the size is functional. It is definitely a far cry from the princess ones a few years back.

She fell in love with this design a little while ago. After walking around with it, she realized the size wouldn’t really suit her needs for school.

 

His Picks

We love Under Armour for almost all of Braden’s sporting equipment so this choice shouldn’t surprise me.

 

Office Depot® Brand Stellar Notebook, 8 1/2" x 11", 3 Subject, College Ruled, Assorted Colors (No Color Choice), 150 Sheets

We love these college ruled notebooks. I think it keeps the writing neater.

How cute are these Yoobi Double Ended Colored Pencils

I found my lunch packs at Marshalls but I couldn’t link those, but these are the same ones I use for my kids snacks.

 

And these for the actual lunches. I love the different compartments in them.

THERMOS FOOGO Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel 10-Ounce Food Jar, Charcoal/Teal

I am buying both of my kids a thermos this year. I am going to order these ones, but since I haven’t ever used them before I can’t quiet give you a good review.

Well those are some of the basics, minus the hundreds of pocket folders, thousands of sharpened #2 pencils and of course the many options of highlighters. We still have so many things planned for the rest of the summer that the realization of back to school hasn’t quiet hit us yet. It will though, and when it does this mama will probably be a hot mess.

Love XoXo, Julia

 

 

 

 

 

The Jones Family Meets Chicago

This family trip to Chicago was on a total whim. In the beginning of summer, we had no plans to leave the state with kiddos for a trip, but I am so glad we did. I was browsing on the Internet about fun family vacations in Minnesota and Chicago came up (yep def. not in MN). I looked into it more, asked David his thoughts and 24 hours later our hotel was booked and I started packing. We didn’t tell the kids until the night before, because we happen to always surprise them when we take family vacations unless it’s more than just our family going.  Settle in for a picture and fun overload!

On Monday morning we got up, had breakfast, finished up some work and we headed out.

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The trip was super easy and fun until…

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Girls, I didn’t realize the traffic this city had. Goodness, I was not prepared. Now I’ve been in  rush hour traffic in MN plenty of times, but this was a whole different world. It was quiet funny because our GPS would say 30 miles left=1 hour and 40 min left.It was crazy. I am clearly not a city girl.

 

We got to our hotel. We stayed at the Radisson Blu. The location was perfect and the hotel was absolutely beautiful.

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We settled in and within 15 minutes were ready to explore! First stop, the Pier.

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The walk to the Pier was only a few minutes away and the weather was perfect.

We walked along the pier until dusk so we could get on the Ferris wheel to see the skyline at night.

 

And then it was time. You all I am so scared of heights. Terrified. This was a bid deal for me. Lanna took a pic of my boys excitement and mine well….you can tell what I’m feeling.

The view was gorgeous. If I didn’t look down I could handle it. Although I would have been just fine with it going around once, it went around 3 times.

Me after. I made it. This girl was my biggest cheerleader. I just adore her.

Afterwards we took one of one of those bike taxis back to our hotel. My  kids thought it was the absolute coolest thing!

The next morning we ventured out to the Shedd aquarium. The line was a bit longer than I would have liked but the aquarium did not disappoint!

 

We saw so many sea creatures it was absolutely crazy! Watched a 4 D Movie, saw a dolphin show and pet the stingrays. On the way out there was a limo and said he was having a slow day and offered us an amazing deal to take us to lunch. He ended up driving us to our destination later in the night as well. My kids were being ecstatic because of course this was another great first for them!

For lunch we told him we wanted something away from the tourist spot he took us to Gino’s East. Wow it was so delicious the service was super fun! The entire restaurant is covered in people signatures. So we had to leave our mark a well. They waiter handed s a sharpie and we went to find our spot.

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In the midst of everyone else. It ha David, Julia, Lanna and Braden Jones. We had made our mark and eaten our deep dish so we went back to take a quick rest before our Blue Man show later that night.

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The show was so much fun! It was hilarious, which I did not expect. Our family loved it!

The next day was or last day so started off right with room service, another first for the kids. I was so happy that my kids got to check off so many things off their “bucket list”. Their excitement was contagious!

And with our tummies full we started the walk on the Magnificent Mile. Our destination American Girl and Lego Store. But First the Candy Store.

Yay we made it!

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And just when we thought Chicago couldn’t be any more special this happened. Meet “Taco”

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Our last stop before heading back to the hotel was of course “The Bean”. At this point we are all tired and hot…in case our faces didn’t give it away.

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We had booked an architectural boat tour at sunset with fireworks at the end but we had a few hours to spare before we had to head out. Radisson Blu had an outside pool on the 3rd floor and you were surrounded by high rise buildings as you are swimming. My kids loved it!

We grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed off to the boat tour. It was fantastic. It was such a cool learning experience. Our tour guide knew so much and even my kids were fascinated. At the end they had a fire work show. Loved it.

The next morning we had breakfast and drove back. I am so grateful that we had the chance to experience this city as a family. We didn’t really plan too much and had no expectations going there and everything just fell into place. It was absolutely perfect. Love my little family so much!

Love XoXo, Julia