End of Year: Emily

This year FLEW by! We went around the table the other night at dinner and did our typical “best and hardest” where we all tell each other the best thing and the hardest thing that happened to us that day, except this time we did the entire year. Every single one of us said Raleigh for the best thing of 2016. He has been such a blessing to us all, and has brought so much joy and happiness. My friend Alison of the Alison Show said it best when she said her baby was proof that some people bless your life just by existing. That is Raleigh for me, too! ncc_3058Definitely worth the wait and it makes me sad how fast he is growing! He’s 6 months now, rolling, sitting up, eating anything I put in front of him, clicks his tongue and cocks his head to the side when he gives you the flirtiest smile.dsc_1449

Callum is 5 and has grown so much this year with Pre-K! I could’ve put him in Kindy but opted out. He has taken all the tinier kids under his wing, helps them with their letters, and is really shining with the chance to be the bigger kid and leader in his class. Callum is our entertainment for better or for worse, and we’ve had lots of parenting opportunities arise with Callum around, he stretches me to be a better parent everyday.12ncc_3204

Hayes has loved first grade! He is the best big brother and helps me so much. He is whip smart and loves math and vocabulary. He’s reading at the top of his class but hates doing it, ha! He loves making lists and planning and really hard on himself when he makes mistakes — he is a lot like me in that way. He loves his friends and being social and is always thinking of others. I learn so much from both my boys each day!8ncc_3186

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We had Nicole shoot a few quick photos for our card this year and both Russ and I laughed when we both loved this one the most. His head was just out of the frame, but he still loved it the most because of our boys. He sacrifices so much for our family especially this year and this picture symbolizes that all too well! His construction company has grown like crazy this year and his team continues to expand so he’s working crazy hours, but still manages to be home and make my life easier whenever he can. I always nag him about taking time for himself, and one night when he finally had some time to go do whatever he wanted he decided to go cash in on some killer coupons at our local grocery store (his words.) His dedication to our family is the biggest blessing in all our lives.

8ncc_3167-copyThree kids has been my challenge and blessing this year. A new baby just forces you to eliminate things that are unnecessary in life. Like when you get cold and you just naturally pull your arms to your chest to keep warm, that has been this year for me. Pulling everything in tighter. I know it won’t be forever, but I am enjoying my simplified life so much!  I shared this quote this a month so ago, but Glennon Doyle Melton said “You can never have enough of what you don’t need” and that rings so true for me. I don’t get any fulfillment out of scrolling Instagram or reading political opinions on Facebook so I cut all that way down. Honestly staying off my phone in general has been so huge for me. Less shopping, less of other people’s voices, more of my own. Quieting all that out has made room for my spirituality to flourish, too. I am more intentional about when I work and try an do that just on my laptop when the time is right instead of doing things here and there on my phone throughout the day.unspecified

This is in no way a sales pitch, but the Amazon Echo made it all happen for me. I tell Alexa to add things to my shopping list, to remind me to do something, to set a timer, play my music, my audio book, ask her a question I would normally google. All things I would pull out my phone for and then find myself opening all my favorite apps “just to see what’s new” and I’m down the rabbit hole. I hope that when my kids need me I am not looking at that dang phone, I am looking in their eyes. I can’t really think of all the times that wasn’t the case, it makes me feel so ashamed!

It’s almost 2017, I am almost 31 and at this point in my life I know how to foster the best in myself, in my relationships, and my focus will be going to doing what I already know is best. (I won’t bore you with the specifics) That has been the best gift of growing older, is that time-earned wisdom. To make it all happen each and every day, to reset and recommit with each stumble is my resolution!

Happy New year everyone, thank you so much for your support and friendship all these years! We are all so blessed to have you all here. Check back later for Nicole and Jenna’s as well!

xo

Emily

CARD INFO:

Card is Candy Cane Stripes by Postable!

EMILY: bell sleeved dress( (its only $60 now!) // sock booties // pom pom earrings // my boys’ birthday bangles! 

RUSS: Baseball tee // Leather boots

BOYS: are wearing sweaters from Zara last year Sorels and Hunters // Raleigh is in a Rags to Raches romper and Freshly Picked moccs!

Camana Bays Caymanian Santa Clause

Last month, the boys and I and my most beautiful momma were treated to a trip to Grand Cayman, hosted by Camana Bay. Small Fry Traveling has been a hot topic with our readers, and we love to be able to share our experiences traveling with our littles. We know its not easy for parents to do, but we LOVE when we see you all out there finding the beauty in family travel. The work always pays off.

Waiting for us in Grand Cayman was Santa! Sitting on his very own Island at Camana Bay.

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Neither I nor the kids knew this surprise was awaiting, and we were all ecstatic! There he was in all of his jolly and tropical glory. Along with our friends who traveled with us, we had a private meet and greet with the main man himself. WHAT A TREAT!

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We spent our entire trip at two spots on the Island. Camana Bay and Seafire Resort. We learned at Grand Cayman is the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean. And that slogan didnt disappoint. We ate most of our meals at Camana Bay because the restaurants there were DIVINE. Each and every one.

Thank you so much Camana Bay for showing us the time of our lives!

More to come from our trip to the Cayman Islands.

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We Brave Women

We’ve got our loveliest friend Ashmae here sharing a little bit about her project, we Brave Women! Welcome, Ashmae!! If you’re looking for a meaningful gift this holiday, this is it!Utah wedding and portrait photography

The We Brave Women project is a set of flashcards featuring painted portraits of women from around the world with their bio and a quote from them on the back of each card. The project reaches far beyond just the cards however, the project actually exists in the magic that happens as we get to know the women on these cards.  We come to know and love how and why we are brave ourselves.  Look at #webravewomen on instagram to see hundreds of women telling why they are brave.
I began painting and researching two years ago, soon after I had my daughter, Thea.  I realized that I wanted her to be familiar and surrounded by stories of brave women.  Growing up I had never seen a female scientist, mathematician, or astronaut and so I assumed that women just didn’t do a lot of things.  My hope is that through this project, both girls and boys will come to love and respect these women, their ideas, contributions and bravery, and in turn, better love their own story.  As I’ve researched these women, I’ve come to think of them as friends and supporters, when they were once just names I vaguely knew.
 I turned the project into a set of cards because I wanted kids to have something tangible to hold, look at and play with and take ownership of as they learn about the women.  I actually had the idea one day when I saw all the kids in my neighborhood laying out and talking about their pokemon cards.  Through a kickstarter campaign I was able to produce the cards and am dedicated to bringing the cards into classrooms and programs, particularly in low-income areas. screen-shot-2016-07-21-at-9-33-25-am
I have been truly touched and so excited to see the ways the cards have been used as they’ve gone out into the world. One mom took several weeks and went through a card a day with her daughter.  They did activities, lessons, service projects and field trips that reflected the woman on the card for that day.  One dad sent me a video of his son and daughter telling the stories of each woman to him.  One little girl started writing her own book about the women she learned about.  They’ve been used in girl scout troops, young women’s groups, sunday school lessons, classrooms, large family gatherings, pasted all over bedroom walls and hopefully, rooting their stories and inspirations in both boys and girls.
In all my work, it feels vital to create products that foster creativity and inspiration for both adults and children.  I’ve been so happy to see the ways in which these cards have become meaningful in so many adult/child relationships.  My latest children’s book, When You Are Young, functions on the same premise.  It is a collaboration with the children’s clothing company Rags to Raches.   The book was created with the joy, imagination and fun that Rags to Raches clothes feel like to me.  I love their embodiment of childhood. The rompers encourage kids to play, romp and imagine.  I wanted the book to be a meaningful read for both adults and children.  Each colorful page features a child in a Rags romper, their wild imaginings and text that encourages the adults in their lives to slow down, to laugh and to listen together.
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Healthy Snack Prep

By Nicole, brought to you by Maytag. All opinions are my own!

Of course with a new year upon us, I have been thinking of plans, goals, and ways to better my little family’s life! You all know me as the unheatlhy Small Fry, and I am totally in on that joke! I LOVE a good snack food, gas station fare is among the best out there. You’ll find me in bed with a bag of chips, but of course healthy eating is on my mind, too. Especially for my kids! So, this upcoming year I wanted to come up with ways to eat healthier that are just as convenient for me as swinging through a drive-thru or popping open a bag of chips. A little prep, goes a long way!Snack PrepHere’s my plan! Each Sunday evening gather all our produce, nuts, whatever we have that qualifies and chop away! Get them in to washed, bite size pieces. Keeping the produce fresh is of course key and this Maytag refrigerator those temperature-controlled drawers are a must! It also has a wide deli tray so you can store all your trays for hosting parties, holiday dinners and more!Snack PrepI’ve found so much of my success as a mother comes in the example I set, so doing this for myself first of course will trickle down to Dash and Sunny!Snack Prep Once I have them all chopped, I gather them into groups that look tasty to me! I also fill up some to-go size cups with dipping sauces we enjoy like ranch, or greek yogurt!Snack PrepStash them away and then I have lots of options to grab on the go. No excuses now, right? P.S. Can you see my reflection in that fridge, do you see any fingerprints?! That’s because it really doesn’t show them. It’s magic!!Snack PrepI like my goals to be attainable and this prep has made it millions times more so! Another factor in our healthy eating has been drinking lots of water. So this feature in Maytag’s fridge, and the ease my boys can use it too, has increased all oaur water intake! Two goals in one!!Snack PrepWhat are your goals upcoming this year? Can’t wait to hear and root you all on from my couch with my snacks. 😉