My brother – one of the best fathers I know

It's easy to just think of our dads or husbands on Father's Day, but let's not forget to recognize all the other great fathers in our lives.

It’s mid-May, and I’m scrolling through Pinterest Father’s Day ideas that my two and a half-year-old can create for my husband. I’m also seeing some great ideas for my own dad, when my thoughts immediately turn to my nephew, Teagan, and my brother, Denny.

When Father’s Day rolls around each year, it’s natural to first think of your own father, or your husband, but what about the other important men in your life? If it really takes a village to raise a child, chances are, that village includes some brothers, uncles, neighbors, teachers… The list could go on and on with important male influences.

But today, it’s all about my brother. Ah, where to begin… My older brother has always had a strong presence in my life. We’re the definition of opposite: I’m loud, he’s quiet. I’m social, he’s private.

Growing up, we were never best friends, and I often just thought we were too different to ever be super close. As we reached milestones in our lives such as college, marriage, and military deployments, we always found a way to keep in touch, but when I found out he was going to be a dad, we started talking all the time.

It's easy to just think of our dads or husbands on Father's Day, but let's not forget to recognize all the other great fathers in our lives.

Denny’s wife had a high risk pregnancy from the start, and after doing the best that everyone could, Teagan had to make his arrival into the world a little early… 12 weeks early to be exact, weighing in at just over three pounds. I knew immediately that Denny was going to be a great father.

Teagan had to spend a lot of time in the NICU, and Denny was there every moment he could be. When Teagan was finally able to come home, everyone was relieved that he was happy and healthy (although still tiny). I believe going through a high risk pregnancy and having Teagan in the hospital for so long was making my brother a stronger person, and a stronger father.

He would need that strength more than ever a few months later, when his wife passed away while Teagan was just six months old. Denny and Teagan moved in with our parents, and the new, uncharted journey of being a single dad, raising a son in a multigenerational household began. . . That was four years ago.

It's easy to just think of our dads or husbands on Father's Day, but let's not forget to recognize all the other great fathers in our lives.

Today, Denny and I are closer than ever. I have a two and half-year-old daughter, and she and Teagan are best friends who are the definition of trouble when they’re together!

I’ve watched Teagan grow from tiny infant, to little boy almost overnight, and I’ve experienced my brother and I go from having a somewhat distant brother/sister relationship, to having a close friendship. I’ve watched him become an amazing father, and in the process have also been able to see my own dad play such an important, influential role in his life (which is an amazing thing to witness).

It's easy to just think of our dads or husbands on Father's Day, but let's not forget to recognize all the other great fathers in our lives.

I’m so proud of my brother and the father he has become. So proud that every Father’s Day, it’s hard to find a gift to show him everything he means. So this Father’s Day, I’m writing it all down and letting him know that he is amazing.

Every family is unique, and not every family looks the same, but if we’re lucky, we have strong male figures in our lives that we can lean on and learn from.

Happy Father’s Day!

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17 Father’s Day gift ideas for any dad you can think of!

It’s that time of year again—time to celebrate all the very special dads in your life :)

Of course, with this comes hours of trying to figure out the perfect gift for someone who already has everything (or says he wants nothing) but deserves all the love in the world.

OK, all the love in the world might be a tad difficult to fit into a box, but don’t worry—for all the dads, daddys, daddys-to-be, papas, and grandpas out there, I’ve got you covered with some great Father’s Day gift ideas for just about any kind of dad.

Happy shopping and Happy Father’s Day, Dads!

What do you get the dad who already has everything and probably asks for nothing? Here are 17 Father's Day gift ideas for just about any dad out there.

1. Gap hat  |  2. Extra shot coffee mug  |  3. Timex watch  |  4. Beech ear buds  |  5. Silk dot bow tie  |  6. Hey Handsome dopp kit  |  7. Beard notes  |  8. Watch band  |  9. Bottle loft  |  10. Card  |  11. Bocce ball set  |  12. Star Wars toaster  |  13. The I Hate Kale Cookbook  |  14. A Lucky Life Interrupted by Tom Brokaw  |  15. Personalize-able iphone 6 case  |  16. Sperry boat shoes  |  17. Personalized flag

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DIY chalkboard mug – a quick and easy Father’s Day craft

Give dad a pick-me-up and a handwritten note in one—this quick and easy DIY chalkboard mug makes the perfect Father's Day craft!

I don’t know what it is, but I find my husband SUPER difficult to shop for. Combine that with the fact that his birthday is in May, and by the time Father’s Day rolls around, I’m fresh out of ideas.

Fortunately, now that we have children, I know that anything our little girls make for him will be well-received.

This year, we made a chalkboard mug–perfect for writing little messages for Dad to see before he goes to work, or for playing games on during breakfast (my four-year-old is obsessed with tic-tac-toe). Read More »

Motherhood – Zero salary. Totally worth it.

Motherhood - it's the world's toughest job, pays ZERO dollars, and is worth every second of it.

Remember the World’s Toughest Job video we introduced last year? And that laundry list of requirements like, constantly standing, no breaks, constant attention, no vacation, no time to sleep, completely pro bono at 168 hours a week, and with a happy disposition?

If you’re a mom—or you’ve paid any attention to the things your mom does—you know it’s all true!

Being a mom really is a full-time job that changes every aspect of your life.

Even something as simple as getting dressed in the morning is different.

I started off motherhood thinking, “I’m not going to let having a new baby around change how I dress.” Now, the mommy in me starts laughing as I write this and thinks, “Ahhh… Good old denial!” (The only part that didn’t change is the fact that I got dressed… but only because not wearing any clothes is not an option.)

I’m not saying that my style got up and ran away, it just took a back seat to being a mom.

Eventually, I learned how to look good with less time and dress for the body I have now (because yes, things tend to “shift” after having kids). And, most importantly, so much of what makes me feel beautiful are these three little people clinging to my legs like shin guards as I’m trying to get dressed. Read More »

My cute command center – an easy DIY message board

Chalk it up or pin it—a cute and functional DIY message board for all your messages and pinnables.

As a busy mom, I love a message board that can act as a command center—somewhere to write messages and reminders, hold on to important receipts and mail, and display a few recent photos.

This DIY message board came together quickly and turned out so cute. It’s a lot better than the pile of random paperwork I had sitting on my kitchen counter before! Read More »

The most adorable thank you cards I’ve ever sent

Thanks to the baby photo I added to the inside, these are officially the cutest thank you cards I've ever sent.

I just had a new baby a few weeks ago, and we were the lucky recipients of so many lovely baby giftsplus many, many meals.

I was especially grateful that all three of my aunts sent little gifts for this baby. Since it was my third baby, I wasn’t expecting anything, much less something from each of them.

Obviously, I wanted to send some thank you cards, and I wanted to make them a little extra-special. And because they all live thousands of miles away from me and won’t meet my newest daughter any time soon, I really wanted these cards to include a photo of her.

I ordered my thank you cards and deleted the inside text when customizing (I wanted a lot of blank space because I’m wordy!).

A few days later, a fun little box arrived in the mail.

Thanks to the baby photo I added to the inside, these are officially the cutest thank you cards I've ever sent.

And when I opened them up, they were gorgeous. No offense to the designer, but the baby on the inside is even more gorgeous! (But, I might be a tiny bit biased.)

Thanks to the baby photo I added to the inside, these are officially the cutest thank you cards I've ever sent.

I love that when I send these out, the family and friends get to see a little peek of the baby they’ve showered with love!

Now, it’s time to write a personalized note and send them out. (And snuggle that little baby again!)

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Clay projects {Friday finds}

Recently, I’ve taken up pottery again for the first time since high school. It’s so therapeutic to mold something with my hands—even if I mess up, I can just mush the clay up and start over again!

I’ve clearly been more focused on clay projects, but it seems like I’m not the only one :)

Below are my favorite clay projects that I’ve seen lately—and don’t worry, no pottery wheel needed! All of these projects use an air drying clay, so they’re perfect for any home.

My favorite clay projects from around the web—no pottery wheel needed!      My favorite clay projects from around the web—no pottery wheel needed!

My favorite clay projects from around the web—no pottery wheel needed!      My favorite clay projects from around the web—no pottery wheel needed!

My favorite clay projects from around the web—no pottery wheel needed!      My favorite clay projects from around the web—no pottery wheel needed!

My favorite clay projects from around the web—no pottery wheel needed!      My favorite clay projects from around the web—no pottery wheel needed!

Clay projects (from top left):

Happy crafting!

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An easy spring craft for kids – just in time for Mother’s Day!

This spring craft for kids can make the perfect Mother's Day gift for any mom or grandma!

It’s always tricky coming up with a Mother’s Day present that kids can make on their own. This one, which requires only a few inexpensive supplies and some painting, is perfect!

I love that every child in the family can make a personalized one and make a sweet set of small vases for their mom.

I’m especially fond of little vases because they’re perfect for holding just a few flowers—no need to buy a giant bouquet.

And they’re the perfect receptacle for all the little weeds, er, flowers your children bring as gifts all summer long. ;) Read More »

Mother’s Day gift ideas – thanks, mom!

Moms are the definition of sacrifice, friendship, and unconditional love. They have this crazy way of understanding how you’re feeling without you having to say a word, and they can make you feel like the best possible version of yourself with a single embrace.

I’ve learned a lot from my mom about these things, and I can only hope that my kids feel as loved and supported as I did when I was growing up. 

On Mother’s Day, I want to let my mom know that she’s given me the best gift I could ask for: she has shown me how to be the kind of mom I strive to be every day.

So, how do you repay someone for a million kissed ouchies, thousands of hours spent cheering you on and being your biggest fan, and countless phone calls for late night chat sessions?  I’m not totally sure that you can, but saying “Happy Mother’s Day” in the form of a thoughtful gift can be a nice start.

Today’s gift guide is chocked full of Mother’s Day gift ideas, and fun, easy ways to recognize all the amazing things your mom has done over the years. It might be a small gesture of gratitude and love, but it’s sure to bring big smiles on her day.

Mother's Day gift ideas to thank Mom for all the amazing things she's done over the years (and STILL does).

1. CB2 Nail Brush | 2. Matte Top Coat | 3. Essie Nail Color | 4. Lip color | 5. Flower Candle Votive | 6. Kitchen iPad Dock | 7. Initial Necklace | 8. Quatrefoil Trays | 9. Zoku Iced Coffee Maker | 10. BR D’Orsay Pumps | 11. Kate Spade Seaport Grand Watch | 12. Amazing Mom Mother’s Day Card | 13. Tassel Key Chain | 14. Tory Burch Key Chain | 15. Moms One Line a Day Memory Book | 16. Wool Floppy Hat | 17. Chalcedoney Sapphire Ring | 18. Pearl Bib Necklace | 19. Fringe Birkenstock Sandals | 20. Gilded Tea Lights | 21. Crate& Barrel Wine Caddy

Happy Mother’s Day and happy shopping!

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