365 days ago I smiled and laughed as I pushed you into this world just as July 29th had begun. You've been making me gush with the same amount of joy ever since. I can't get over how much you've grown and changed over these past 12 months, it seems so surreal. The love and admiration you have in your eyes when you stare at Tracen is truly amazing. You look up {literally} to him with such a gaze in your eyes it makes us smile for you. Tracen also adores you to pieces, alternatively we have to pry his grimy little hands off your face before he squeezes you to bits. {Sorry about that for future reference}

Here is Skylor's birth story. A story that was so easy to write, an experience I would relive forever because of the calmness I felt that night. The first thing people noticed were your cheeks. Those things were huge! I still smoosh my face into them as soon as I get home from work, when you wake up in the morning or your beaming with a toothy grin on your face! You like to watch people very intensely, and want to do everything Tracen does. These past 12 months have been some of the best times shared together as a family of four. Everyone always says it but, I don't know what life would be like without you in it. This weeks video is dedicated to you sweet baby boy, happy birthday and may the next year be just as fun, exciting and joyful as this last year was.

WEIGHT: {check up soon}

HEIGHT/LENGTH: {check up soon}
{Look how big he is in this thing!!!}
SLEEPING: I jinxed myself last month because teething started up again and you are sleeping like a colic-y baby. We. Are. Exhausted. and so are you :(
EATING: Everything and anything! You're refusing bottles and only want sippy, just like your brother :)

FAVORITE MOMENTS: There are too many to list so watching the video is a must!

LEAST FAVORITE MOMENTS: The sadness in your face when you don't feel well. It hurts me more than it probably hurts you.

FIRSTS: You started to walk with a baby walker and he smiles whenever he does! Walking from couch to table and back. Crawling up the stairs {oh lord!} You recently started humming and it's like you hear us singing or the music being played and are just joining in on the party!

LIFE CURRENTLY : Is wonderful. Stressful, but wonderful. I now have a 3.5 and 1 year old #crazy. We are working away on projects for the house and at work. Trying to enjoy summer and long nights together. I still wear you around the house and while running errands, I enjoy that closeness between you and me and know it won't always be like that. You're back to sleeping in our bed most nights {and so is Tracen} so its a bed full of blonde cuties once again. This summer passed by extremely fast and we love being outside together. My favorite thing about this year are the vlogs though. I've watched them over and over even though I'm the one that puts them together! I cherish these moments because they go so fast, we are so busy and I never ever want to forget them.

I'm writing this for me as, I do most of these posts, but I do hope one day you read this and can feel the emotions and love pouring out of me for you. Happy First Birthday Skylor!

Weekend Recap

The weekend is over? Sky turns one next week? Where the hell did the summer already go!
We didn't really have any crazy plans this past weekend except we needed to start getting the house ready for Skylor's birthday party this comming Sunday. Most of our family hasn't seen our house since we moved so his party will be a 2in1 kinda deal!
{how cute are they!}
FRIDAY|  We got home from work and opted for some flat bread pizza and beers in the living room with the boys for our standard Pizza Party Friday routine. That was literally all we did! #relaxmode

SATURDAY| We were kicked out of our bed yet again by the little ones so we got everyone up and started the day with some good old bucks of star. Jerek did a ton of yard work in preparation for the 50+ people we are having over next week. While the boys napped and Jerek slaved away, I filmed and edited a fun summer look book that is on my Youtube channel {also shown below.} I really need to get out of the house more because I have a room full of clothes that are begging me to wear them {psst Jer, date night hint!} We then went over to Jerek's sister to meet our brand spanking new niece that was born on the 16th and has more hair than both my children combined. {Not jealous or anything.}

SUNDAY| Our bed was taken over yet again by these two little blondes so we didn't get much sleep. We threw some slippers on and headed over to the green mermaid lady that serves caffeine, she's just the best ya know! We got the boys ready for Jerek's sister and brother in law that were picking them up for a day date to Detroit on the river walk while we attempted to preform this "great" idea {redo our kitchen cabinets.} Please note, the fact that I'm trying to redo a kitchen 7 days before a big party at my house is a jacked up idea to begin with! I don't know who I really think I am!The idea: Refinish/stain the kitchen cabinets. There will be a whole post coming on this topic later this week but in short, I don't admit I'm over my head or that I'm wrong much but when I do I'm really wrong! Lets just say I told Jerek he was right, a lot today!

This weekend went by fast and although I didn't think we had many plans or did much we actually did! Another weekend for the books with my favorite boys. Time to go back to work, but only for four days, Friday I will be spending the whole day at home cleaning, baking and preparing for Sunday! {Cue I-can't-believe-sky's-one-tears!}

Hope you guys enjoy the video! Happy Monday!

 photo sigblack_zps3e34ee48.png

But first, let me take a selfie

Selfies have been around forever. 
Yesterday my brother-in-law commented on a photo I posted.
{Disclaimer: we are really good friends, this comment just got me thinking in general!}

To be honest, I'm not quite sure why people are complaining about them? Maybe it's because The Chainsmokers produced a lyrically correct song that portrays the "selfie" picture to a tee. Or maybe it's because some people that complain don't particularly care for a picture of the person that they are choosing to follow. Lucky for me I know my brother in law loves me to pieces and just likes to give me a hard time {or so I like to believe, right Ty, wink wink}

For me, I LIKE taking selfies. I like posting them but I also like editing them to look semi cooler than I really am. Like I could be a photographer or something {sarcasm people.} I also have a whole album in iPhoto called 'Me'. Why? Because I'm a human and when you feel good about yourself you want others to see it too. Because when you mastered a winged eye liner after a bajillion attempts and those bad boys look on point, you want to capture it and you want your whole damn world  followers to see it! Or because when you have had 10 kids and your abs look like Victorias Secret models, you want to brag cause you worked HARD for those abs! {one day Chelsea, one day.}

Back to the comment on the photo. Some people might take a comment like that to heart. Erase the picture and feel really dumb that they even posted it. Since it is family, I'm really not offended by it. In fact, if anyone that follows me commented that, I would still feel the same way.  Realistically my hair is thin and my blow out today took me a long time and it looked amazing {before I got to work}. My lipstick was perfect and it was Friday! I had just dropped the boys off at daycare and looked at myself in the mirror and noticed my dimples, pretty much the only thing that Tracen shares that isn't Jereks. I took a handful of selfies while waiting for my{free, score!} Starbucks and liked this one. BOOM. Edited and posted, easy as that! Why post it, why not just say 'damn, you look good Chelsea' and get on with my drive? Because at 28, I don't love everything about myself or the way I look but I'm proud of the person I am and certain qualities I portray from time to time. This may come across as vein, self centered or egotistical but after two kids one can get down on themselves and their bodies. So what would you rather have, the occasional selfie because I'm really diggin the way I look or some picture of a quote complaining about why can't I just look like Heidi Klum and how life just isn't fair! 

Here are some other selfies that I've posted because
 I enjoyed the way I looked at that moment in time.

{Both were good hair days}
{I was cracked out of Starbucks}
{I drink coffee}
{Getting my hair done && drinking coffee. at the same time, fancy}
{my eyes && lips}
{beverages are good.}

What has this taught me you ask? That I basically like myself when I have a cup of coffee in my hand. Which, if you know anything about me, I'm my happiest with a Starbucks blonde roast, with soy milk and sugar free carmel side by side.

One last one. This was one I posted to glorify the selfie that is bitched about. AKA it was a joke people.
{Note #duckface, #peacesign #selfie}

Perfect At Home Manicure

"Let me guess, you need to take a picture of that manicure, don't you?'

This is a common thing that is said in my house, mainly, or solely said by Jerek. 
The answer is sometimes always yes. 

'Yes, I need to take a picture so move out of my good lighting!'

If you stalk my Instagram you might get get tired of my nails gracing your little square feed but I will be the first to tell you that I don't get sick of taking the pictures! When you're good at something you want to show it off and well I'm damn good at painting my own nails mmmkk! Back in June when I posted my DIY Nail Polish Rack I talked about how there is a perfect way to do a mani at home without spending the big bucks. Over the past few years I have perfected the at home manicure along with gathering the best tools to do so. {Yes there is such thing as a perfect top coat.} I figured it was time to share my secrets!

    {Don't mind my cuticles, I did them after}             

Now I know that I did not go to beauty school so I'm not claiming I'm the jam but after working in a salon and paying manicurist far too much money over the years, I've learned a thing or two. I only get professional manicures about once maybe twice a year. This is usually when I'm getting a pedicure, they are rubbing my calf's and I'm half asleep not paying attention that I don't think twice when they ask if I want a manicure as well. I am usually slash always disappointed after because they chip within 2-3 days after getting them done. With that being said, let me introduce you to the tools that will help you get your nails ready for polish.

1.Cuticle Nipper- easy to use but takes practice with your opposite hand. Use with the remover and you will have heavenly nail beds!

2. Seche Vite Restore- drop a few drops in your top or base coat when they are getting clumpy and it's like you bought a whole new bottle! I could not live with out this thing! Last F-O-R-E-V-E-R too!

3. Gelous Nail Gel- want gel nails without going to the salon or buying a cheap UV light at home, BUY THIS STUFF MEOW! I promise, you will NOT be disappointed! I use in-between my two coats of color and this stuff works! It gives you the thickness of gel nails without having to use a light!

4. Seche Vite Base Coat- best base coat around. I've tried at least 15 different ones raining in price and this is the jam folks. It clings to your nail and your nail polish clings to it!

5. Cuticle Remover- I've never tried any other brand because I never thought I could do my own cuticle. After buying this and the nipper (mentioned above) I now feel confident in myself to clean up my cuticles. This stuff softens and safely removes them. A must in my book.

6. Seche Vite Top Coat- If you are a mom, a student, a person who works, who breathes and who is alive you NEED THIS top coat. It is a game changer! It dries within 45 seconds and leaves a beautiful shiny finish. I'm on my third bottle of this! TIP: once you get about half way through with this it starts to get sticky. I normally would toss a top coat when this happens, but with owning the Seche Vite Restore, I pop a couple drops of that in, shake it up and its like new! AMAZEBALLS!!!

One other item I recommend having on hand is coconut oil. That shit can be used for everything! It's great on the bottoms of your feet, your hands and cuticles as well. Trader Joe's has a big tub of it for like $6. I lather that stuff on the ends of my hair, my feet and my hands all at once sometimes!

Now that I've told you all the tools I use, I've decided what better way to encourage at home mani's and growing your nail polish collection than with a giveaway! Since this is my birthday month (July 8th) I wanted to share something that I enjoy doing. The giveaway will be open for one week and will include the following items below. The colors chosen are ones I wear a lot through out the year. {can you tell I like Sally Hanson.}

|Four polishes|
{COLORS: Prelude to a kiss, Pucker Up, Pacific Blue, Jade Jump}
|Seche Vita top coat|
|Medium grade nail file|

All information is below for more than one way to enter 
and the winner will be picked & notified on Wednesday the 23rd!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Summer Hair

I've been growing my hair out for years now. Years, I tell ya. 
Every summer I complain and threaten to chop it off 
{herehere and here are 
some of my inspirations I long for}
I then come back to earth and just put my hair up.
you don't have to just throw it up into a pony.
Here is my favorite hair style for the summer.
or for when you don't wash your hair for three days.
Whatever you want to tell people.

It's taken me some practice to perfect it. 
My hairdresser even asked me how I did it!
{mad skills}
I owe all of my braiding skills to Youtube.
No really.
Jerek has walked into the bathroom while 
I'm playing videos over and over and over
just to get a damn fishtail, dutch or
reverse french braid right.
I took this video and altered it
to look more like a dutch girl's hair style. 
Although I actually have too much hair 
{crazy right}
that this would work best 
if you have collar bone length.
I attempted a video 
but hair tutorials are just not my thing!

{photos were taken after working a full day so it gets a lot looser through out the day} 

How to Be Happy

It's Monday at 830pm and it's 82 degrees out.  The sun is slowly setting and I'm swinging on a wooden play set. I'm listening to Tracen tell me all about his day.  How he went to the preschool room today, what he ate and how happy he was to be outside swinging, "fineaweeee!" His eyes light up with every push I give him. As he gets higher and higher he leans his head back and just grins. It grows larger and larger. I find myself smiling just staring at him not meaning to ignore his words but I am. I am happy. At three and a half he's happy. So happy. He tells me he wants to get down and pick flowers for me and daddy because we are the best mommy and daddy he knows. My heart is aching and not because its empty, quite the opposite, it's so full. It's spilling outwards, in all directions, towards so many individuals, projects, and emotions. I sit down on the swing next to him and continue listening still staring as he brings me small white flowers that he finds in the grass.

People often say they are happy because of their children, husbands, girlfriends or dogs. I've thought and said the same things before. Before I was truly happy. People and animals do make humans happy but over the past years I've learned a great lesson. You can find endless amounts of quotes online but here a few that have resided in the notes section of my iPhone for years. I reflect on them as needed, sometimes daily or when I'm feeling doubtful. Other times it's to reconfirm the way I feel and the happiness that embodies me.

“In seeking happiness for others, you must find it in yourself first.”

“Happiness is a decision. You are as happy as you decide to be.”

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” –Omar Khayyam

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” –Buddha

“If you let go a little you will have a little happiness. If you let go a lot you will have a lot of happiness. If you let go completely you will be free.” –Ajahn Chah

Each quote has different meanings relative to periods of times when I've been less than happy, less than optimistic and needed reassurance. I've gotten to a point in my life where I enjoy things much more, I smile a little wider, laugh a little more and care less of what others think. Don't get me wrong, I've gone through some dark times but it's the letting go that has gotten me to the happiness I feel today.

The last quote is one that resinates with me the most. One that applies to all aspects of my life and that I always come back to. I've learned that you can not change the ones who do not want to be changed or help those that are not willing to except help. Do not be an enabler to others, concentrate on the present and work towards the future. Tomorrow is never promised but one must plan like they will live till then. For others around you to be happy, you must be happy with yourself. Many times I've thought I was truly happy but soon realized that I wasn't. I was happy because others around me were happy. As a people pleaser, I relish on the emotions of seeing others happy. This feeling is overwhelming and fulfilling but doesn't last for long when you are not happy yourself.

"If you let go completely you will be free." Once you are able to let go entirely you will start to realize how happy you can really be. My kids make me undoubtably happy and Jerek makes me laugh that brings out a genuine joy in my smile. What has been so important though, is how I am able to make myself happy without other people, places or things involved in the equation. It's taken me a long time to get to this point but without struggle there is no progress. Find what makes you happy and embrace it, but know that happiness must be found within you first.

As I approach 28 years young today, I'm more confident in myself and my abilities to grow with all the change that is around us. I am overjoyed with the profound moments but am able to cope with the difficult times. Most importantly I am happy with me.

Gearapalooza- Baby Gear Gone Wild

When you get engaged the first thing you want to do is set a date, start crafts from your Pinterest board and go to a wedding expo. Or at least this is what I'm told because as we've discussed I like to pop out babies instead of planning weddings! Since I was the first one of my friends to have kids I get asked about different products, if I've tried them, do they work or do they really need them. When I get invited to baby showers the first thing I do is check out the registries and see what they are registered for. I'm always tempted to tell them to not buy those Advent bottles because they leak like hell or that you don't need a wipe warmer or 30 baby towels! With babies being the topic of discussion here, and one I know way more about that planning weddings, lets talk about the guy, yes guy, that knows the MOST about babies and baby gear! Did I mention he also doesn't have any kids of his own?

Let me introduce you to Jamie Grayson. You can read his entire back story here and it's worth reading because it's such a great story! Also, check out his Instgram because his nieces & nephews are the cutest, oh and he likes to wine!

I was given the opportunity to attend the Gearapalooza this past weekend that was held in Ann Arbor at Elephant Ears.  Everything I've learned about baby gear has come from personal trial and error and reviews online. I was probably the only one there that was already a mother of two so I was expecting to hear or see a lot that I already knew.  I was completely wrong! I learned more there than I have in the last 4 years of raising kids or being pregnant. I was introduced to new products and the proper way to install a carseat, which by the way, over 80% of people are probably doing it wrong {who knew!} I put together a small video of the venue, the products and vendors that were there along with Jamie speaking his first language, baby gear. Skylor was the most well behaved baby and was probably the only one that didn't cry {biased, my kid rocks!}
Gearapalooza could not have been executed without the wonderful woman behind Bump Club, Lindsay. Please read her story here because I'm sure many moms/moms to be have looked for that place to connect when pregnant, or after, and have no idea where to find it. I know that 4 years ago this was me. Feeling alone and that no one was on the same page as me, I longed for pregnant or other mommy friends! I really encourage all expecting mom's or new mothers to attend a trade show/expo like Gearapalooza. If you aren't able to do so please go and talk to a local baby gear boutique like, Elephant Ears. Knowledge is power and being pregnant is an exciting but scary thing! One that takes time to prepare for but if you do it right you won't be on your fifth stroller, third type of bottles or second carseat because you didn't do your research the first, second time! I clearly need to have another baby just to get it right, Jer you down? {wink wink}

For information for Camp Mommycon or other Gearapalooza's check out Bump Club and if you live in the Chicago area they even have a nanny share board, how amazing is that!

 photo sigblack_zps3e34ee48.png

July Goals

|LIFE GOAL- never.grow.up.|

June oh june, you were so good to us! People graduated college, we celebrated father's day, a certain boy started taking big craps in the potty and not in a diaper {hint, this is not Jerek} and I took a girls trip up north to a scrapbook bed and breakfast! There were also days where many meltdowns happen and fits were thrown but that is the past and we will not get upset about it any longer!

1| Transfer Blog- I DID IT! And all by myself might I add! I did however, read a bunch of other blog post, watch Youtube videos and reached out to a few fellow bloggers for help. None the less, it got done! BOOM!
2| Nighttime routine-this actually got worse. This summer weather has made us stay up late and just hang out with the boys and relax rather than getting things ready for the next day. I have however, gotten Tracen and Skylor on very structured bedtime routines which is nice, although Tracens bedtime seems to be getting later and later.
3| Organize Photos- I have gotten about half way through my photos, so it's a work in progress lets say! Half way there!
4| Skylor's birthday- Done!!! I created and printed his invites all by myself last week. They are going out in the mail this week and I pretty much have a list of what we need for food and party supplies all ready to go. It's crazy how organized I have this aspect but my laundry can't even get folded for weeks. Priorities people priorities!

With July's goals I wanted to do something different then I have done these past few months. I went back and looked at all my past goal posts {here they are if you want to take a look again- JanuaryFebruaryMarchMayJune-april was rough guys ok!} and picked three goals that I didn't complete or give a good try at and one that is new! So here are the four goals for July!
1. Run- Now since I saw this as a reoccurring goal I set for myself I wanted to make sure it was a goal for July. As I have said before, I signed up to run one of the 5 legs in the Detroit marathon this October. I've been running a little these past few months but I want to get on more of a regular schedule. I've found this 10k training program that a co-worker of mine is doing but for the marathon so I'm going to try and follow this until October!

2. Drink more water- going with the workout theme I want to keep up the water consumption. I find myself very good at drinking 80+oz of water during with the week at work but those weekends are brutal and I somehow manage to consume a lot more wine than water {good or bad depending how you look at it!}

3. Meal Plan- this goes manly for us but along with this idea of meal planning better, hopefully this will get Tracen to try more things and eat what we eat like Skylor does. This will also cut our grocery bill down, at least I'm hopeing.

4. Film more- I've gotten so much great feedback from family and friends liking my blog and vlogs {thanks guys!} that I know I want to produce more. I've posted vlogs {mostly from our weekends} and I've become obsessed with the whole process. A lot of people don't like editing they just want the final product to be done but I on the other hand learn SO much while editing and looking up new ways to configure something into a video. Jerek mentioned that it's awesome to have these everyday memories and without me doing it we wouldn't have them. So I've decided that I want to do a weekly vlog {perhaps this will start on my 28th birthday, hint hint!}. This way I will have 52 videos for the next year to look back to and most likely cry because I'm a baby like that.

So there you have it, three old goals and one new one for July. With this month coming to an end it's been the busiest month of 2014 yet! Hard to believe but we've had so much to do from family gatherings, baby showers, events and opportunities for my blog and my brother has graduated from college. Tracen is now potty trained and Skylor is sleeping through the night. Life. Is. Amazing.

Happy birthday to all the Cancer & Leo babes out there and a special HBD to the following fools:

Amy, myself, Kiki, Uncle Bill, Grandma M, Tom, Renee, Megan, Snydypants, Griffin, Skylor and our newest little niece who is due in a few weeks!

 photo sigblack_zps3e34ee48.png