five

My handsome Middlest,Sievers Fam28-Web

My “Obie”, how are you five already? Five years ago we were only weeks in to relocating to eastern Iowa and I was deeply homesick for the familiarity of life in Des Moines, but in God’s perfect timing you were born shortly after that move and I simply didn’t have the time to sit around feeling sorry for myself with a beautiful new baby boy to take care of. I really feel like your fifth birthday is such a milestone and indicator of how much life can change is such a short time, and of God’s goodness.

Sievers Fam29-WebOwen, you have such a fun personality. You do not do anything (willingly) that you haven’t decided yourself to do. I think we saw that with a vengeance when we were potty training you, but as you mature into a young boy and are no longer a toddler, your strong-willed nature is evident (I love that about you, by the way, even if sometimes it gets the best of me). But you are also compassionate and very witty, not a day goes by that you don’t make us genuinely laugh out loud.

Sievers Fam56-WebAt five, you are into all things mechanical. I think it is because mechanics are “black and white”, there isn’t a lot of grey area. You like to know the facts, and never accept “I don’t know,” as an answer. Your happy place is right next to your Pappi’s side, tagging along for a days worth of chores. Getting dirty doesn’t scare you, and skinned knees don’t phase you.

You are not very “in” to sports. Your favorite part of t-ball this year was the snack at the end of the game (at your last game this year, one of your teammates asked you if you enjoyed playing the outfield and you matter-of-factually replied “No. I like snack.” Son, I totally get it, because, me too.)

You seem to be at peace and thrive in small groups, and focus on one or two close friends. Large groups and crowds are not your favorite, nor are loud noises, and you don’t desire to be noticed or known in the crowd. You had two best pals in your preschool class last year, but were kind to all. My heart breaks a wee bit to know your two pals are moving on to a new school and you will go in to a classroom unfamiliar with the faces. I have no doubt you will find “your person”, though (because who can resist your smile?).  Sievers Fam32-Web

You still love to hold my hand, give big squeezy hugs, and snuggle.

You have the true genuine love of Christ in your heart, my baby O, and I hope you always let it shine!Sievers Fam66-Web

[photo credits to my talented friend, Jackie Petersen, who captured the Middlest’s personality so perfectly]

celebrating two

We rang in “two” with a visit to Scratch Cupcakery (pictured left: The Sully | pictured right: Snickerdoodle) and our favorite chiropractor. The Littlest was adjusted the day he was born, and nursed like a champ. I find that no coincidence, since I had some intense struggles nursing The Oldest and The Middlest. So, it seemed to only make sense to ring in year number two with a good adjustment.carsten 2
The following weekend we celebrated with our close friends and family “Little Blue Truck” style. Truly, I just went for a “country-ish” theme and coordinated the cookies to the book (to see more of my cookie work, visit “Sugar & Butter” on Facebook or use the hashtag #sugarandbuttercollection on Instagram). I set the books as a decoration, and voila!carsten 2_2 We had a “kid station” with some sammies, applesauce pouches, and granola bars. Because, let’s be honest, kiddos rarely take time to sit and actually eat at these types of events. And, of course, we had a small mimosa bar for the adult party-goers.

We ate a lot of sugar, enjoyed our friends, and dug in the dirt for hours. Success. carsten 2_3
The Littlest’s shirt is from The Blue Envelope. My friend Emily did a brand shoot for TBE and I couldn’t resist!

And speaking of brand shoots, the day after The Littlest’s party, we road tripped to Des Moines and he participated in Emily’s shoot for Little Blue Barn.

IMG_8743[photo credit: Hello Charlie]

dreaming of warmer weather [+ subsidy shades]

Winter is just not my thing. Rain in the spring, I’ll happily bring out the rainboots. Heat advisories in the summer, you can find me pool side with a cold drink in hand [or you know, in my air conditioned home washing endless rounds of dishes because, that’s life]. And autumn? Oh all things, autumn. I’m happy as a clam when I can wear t-strap Birkenstocks and a knit scarf on the same day and be comfortable. So, there’s no hiding the fact that winter settled in this week [we’re talking negative windchill] and I was over it in about two hours.

Fortunately, we’re planning a trip to warmer temperatures and I am giddy digging out some of our summer items!

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I was recently introduced to the “Subsidy Shades” brand [find them: online | instagram | facebook | twitter] and they sent me the “Harper” shades to review for the blog. The mission of Subsidy Shades is to assist families with the financial burden that surrounds adoption, by providing an affordable fashion to you. Each pair of Subsidy Shades will raise money to cover adoption expenses. Check out their story, here.

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The “Harper” adult shades are pictured. I love to have fun with an on-trend pair of sunglasses, and the affordable cost of these will allow The Littlest to yank these off of my face without me entering panic mode [like that has ever happened before]. I love the way these sunglasses fit and that I can slide them up to the top of my head and they stay put, without having them tangled in my hair [which doesn’t always work for me…]. I’m ready to wear them pool side, instead of to protect my eyes from the sun reflecting off of just enough white snow to remind me that it’s frigid outside.

You know that tune “…the cold never bothered me anyway…”. That does not apply here.

Also pictured: Sunuva Ticking Stripe Beach Bag c/o Sunuva Swimwear via snappy casual* | Merona cloche hat similar.

*At the beginning of October, I won a $150 Sunuva shopping credit! We seem to be inundated with several sizes of swimwear at our house, so needless to say I was very excited to explore the Sunuva site and find that they also have a line of clothing and accessories! I chose the bag above, for myself, because I love that it will go with anything and is a classic print + it is gigantic, which is necessary when toting The Three Boys. We also chose this [which is adorable on The Middlest] and an Indian Headdress tee [not available]. I am so impressed with the quality. If we needed swimwear, I think I’d have purchased this and this.

joy in little moments

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There is so much joy in little people. In the splash of the slip & slide / a first ride in the wagon / wrestling in open fields on an unexpected play date with your best buddies / in discovering a shared hobby / and enjoying the mild summer evenings.

That picture of The Oldest and my feet >> he pleaded with me to take him running, and I happily agreed. I told him we’d try a mile, and a mile we did. As we jogged out of the driveway, he said “Mom, it’s such a beautiful day for a run!” I needed that reminder, and my five-year-old’s perspective. Oh, also? These little eyes are watching and they are observant of the details. The Oldest told me the day before this photo was taken that he wanted to join me for a run and said “we’ll have to get up super early, before the sun comes up”. Because, that is when I usually run. Early, before the sun and the Three Boys rise. I wasn’t aware that The Oldest even knew that. They know all of our habits, and they want to be just like us. Heart-warming and also scary. And convicting.

scenes from three boys’s weekend >> vol. 1

We had one of those weekends where we were busy just being. We had an impromptu backyard tent camp-out, complete with roasted marshmallows. You know what’s yummy? Using chocolate chip cookies for your s’mores instead of graham crackers + chocolate bars. We learned that by default.
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Saturday we went to a parade, where these two collected gobs of candy. side note: The Middlest seems to fall a lot, because he walks distracted, as pictured.

[chambray pop-over | red shorts: old navy similar | perforated shoes // button-up: cotton on via @ettabugloved | shorts: baby gap similar | sandals]

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We ended our weekend with Sunday-Funday and spent a good portion of our afternoon enjoying the sunshine and some pool-time. The Littlest was livin’ the dream.

[tee | hat: old navy similar]

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and, he let me get some snuggles in.

[cloche hat: target similar + forever 21 similar]

the gentle breeze

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When through the woods and forest glades I wander / And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees / When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur / And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze / Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee: How great thou art!

“How Great Thou Art” was one of our hymns at church on Sunday. When I hear this hymn, I think of my wedding day, almost always, and also funerals [in a celebration of life manner]. Yesterday, as The Boys and I wandered the forest, The Middlest reached up for my hand and these lyrics filled my thoughts.

There is an overwhelming peace in wandering the forest with three young minds. I started my day with feelings of anxiety; up early for a run, the first social media piece that inundates is about an attempted child abduction, in a rural area, thirty minutes from home. And all the warnings. 20 minutes in to the run, I have to stop and catch my breath because my chest tightened in angst for no particular reason at all.

It was also 55 degrees. In July. That rules out swimming lessons for The Big Boys, and I feel God prompting me to take advantage of such a crisp fall-like day and to explore. We have this gem of a state park nearly in our backyard, and frankly, I dismiss the idea often. Yesterday, I loaded up The Littlest in to the backpack carrier, put some comfy clothes on The Big Boys and we were out the door.

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The most beautiful part about it was freeing my mind of worldy cares. Instead, I spent time talking with the boys about God’s majesty and His creation. The Oldest gathered acorns as if they were buried treasure. The Middlest, swarmed with gnats, told me “They’re not bothering me, they’re just playing with me!”. The Littlest yanked at my hair and giggled [mostly]. And God showed me that nature brings peace. The hour that we spent wandering was the most peaceful hour of our day, there is no time to bicker with your brother exploring nature trails. There is no reason to raise my voice in the quiet of the woods.

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Yesterday, I returned home with a pocket full of acorns and a renewed peace.

let freedom ring

We hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating Independence Day!
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We celebrated a birthday for our not-so-little firecracker [which, really, describes his personality, still].

[shirt | we also love this one | oh, this romper]

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We celebrated with some picnicking and of course dressing in the red, white, & blue.

[turquoise stripes | striped shirt, jeans, proudfoot moccs similar | crewcuts tee, gap cutoffs similar, genuine kids camo shorts, tee tagged above]

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A bit of my patriotic littles inspiration.

[saltwaters | baby gap tank similar | shorts and striped tee tagged above]

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This post is brought to you by Three Boys’s bleach-blond hair and sunkissed cheeks + my love for a good nautical look. Specific pieces pictured are referenced below, but chances are good you could recreate the look with items you already own. I picture those ruum jeans cuffed and am loving those sandals.

nautical

[crewcuts striped sweatshirt | crewcuts chambray popover | peek this land tee | ruum venice loose fit jeans | carter’s cotton flat front shorts | ruum sporty slip-ons | zara leather bio sandal]

//how I would style//

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summer favorites | for her

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1) Women’s Vintage-Style V-neck Tees: super comfy and versatile, and my daily go-to tee. I love the length of these. They can be worn alone, easily layered :: dressed up with a statement necklace or dressed down with a basic pair of shorts, jeans, or leggings. [30% off right now!]

2) Gap Sexy Boyfriend Short: these are the best fitting shorts I have found in the last few years. These have a flattering fit through the waist and hip area for me [I love that when I sit down, I don’t feel the constant need to make sure I have pulled these up first, if you know what I’m saying] and I love the inseam length. [40% off right now!]

3) Birkenstock Gizeh Birkibuc: the best sandal, ever. They take some breaking in, so you may have to wear them around the house before attempting them in public, but once they mold to your foot, you’ll never look back. [I also love this style.]

4) C9 by Champion Seamless Sports Bra: these are awesome for an intense work-out [running &/or lifting]. Also, if I am not dressing up for the day and just sporting the summer basics from this post, this is my favorite. [and, currently buy one get one 50% off combined with select colors on sale right now!]

5) Nike Women’s Running Tempo Track Shorts: these are my favorite shorts for the obvious, running. However, these are also my go-to for a day of housework, play days, or running quick errands.

play clothes

The boys spend the majority of their time in play clothes. They are rough and tumble, dig in the dirt, wild at heart boys. I love that. I can’t always get the stains out [seriously, tips anyone?] and I am not looking forward to the inevitable ER visits [been there done that, once, so far] but I love it. Last night as my littlest crawled happily through the mud and grass dirtying up his chubby legs and shorts, I thought “good thing I only paid $.50 for those shorts!”.

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Does what they wear really matter in the grand scheme of things? Of course not, I want my children to seek the kingdom of God first, not possessions. Frankly, they’re boys and I hope they just leave wardrobe preferences and choices up to me [really, they hate to shop with me unless it involves chocolate milk for them, and I hope it stays that way]. We’ll camp together, and hike, and run, and ride bikes. I also hope that they never have to worry about having their basic needs met [and they don’t, right now].

On the other hand, there are times where I want them to look their best. My oldest is quite aware of those times and will question me: why he can’t wear sweatpants or why he can’t wear flip-flops or why he has to take his hat off when we get inside. And, while sometimes my answer is lengthy as I explain etiquette to him, it all boils down to respect. Respect for himself, the people around him, and the event. Enter the FUN of dressing boys [and also, the hunt for great bargains]!

[PS Don’t miss the “summer go-bag” giveaway, it ends at NOON CST on 6/13/14]