It’s the last official weekend of Summer and I’m hardcore celebrating. And by hardcore celebrating, I mean lighting my @raedunn fall scented candles, binge watching Netflix and going to bed before 10pm. 🙌🏻 Remember when our nights didn’t even start until 10pm? I would dance all night, get back home with just enough time to shower and change before heading out to work. AND I could work a full 8 hours without ever feeling the fact that I hadn’t slept in more than 24 hours... Now I’m unable to function if someone wakes me up 15 minutes early. Getting old is awesome. .
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#letterboardquotes #letterboard #letterboards #letterboardlove #letterboardfun #farmhouselove #farmhousestyle #letterboardquote #magnoliastyle #howyouhome #makehomeyours #pocketofmyhome #modernfarmhousestyle #modernfarmhousedecor #ighome #modernfarmhouse #howwedwell #homegoodsfinds #raedunnfinds #raedunn #homegoods #tjmaxxfinds #raedunnfinds #targetdoesitagain #targetdollarspot #raedunnfall #pumpkinseason #pumpkinspice #homegoodshappy

It’s the last official weekend...

I read something the other day on Facebook that said that the song that was number 1 on your 14th birthday, defines your life. I googled it, excited to find a message, a sign (I’m a sucker for that sort of thing). Instead, I found it was “Cream” by Prince. 😐 Cream? What does that mean? Ice cream? Coffee creamer? 
So I looked it up... and read the lyrics. "Cream" was meant to mean “cream of the crop”. There are lyrics like “everything you do is success” and my favorite part... “Do your dance
Why should you wait any longer?
Take a chance
It could only make you stronger”  Message received, Prince. Message received. 
What song was number one on your 14th birthday?
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#coffeetime☕ #frenchvanilla #pumpkinspice #pumpkineverything #pumpkinspicelatte #pumpkinpie #raedunnlove #raedunnfinds #raedunn #raedunnmugs #raedunnclay #tjmaxxfinds #tjmaxx #homegoodshappy #homegoodsfinds #amazonfinds #marshallsfinds #marshalls #homegoods #coffeeholic #coffeebar #coffee_time #coffeetable #coffeecoffeecoffee #fall🍁 #prince #songlyrics

I read something the other...

This girl lost another tooth last week. I’ve been waiting for this toothless smile since she knocked her other one out last year. Unfortunately, it’s not going to last long because her adult tooth is already growing in 😭. (Zoom in to see) Yesterday I noticed both of her front-bottom teeth are peeking out behind her baby teeth too. Does anyone know how to slow down time. A button? A phone call? Maybe a time machine? My baby isn’t a baby anymore. Cue the tears. Have you celebrated any milestones with your kids recently?
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#losttooth #targetfinds #targetclearance #targetdoesitagain #targetdeals #targetstyle #slowdown #growing  #growinguphispanic #growingup #smile😊 #smiles 
#momblog #mommyblog #momblogger #mombloggers #bloggermom #mommybloggers #momswhoblog #mommyblogger #mamablogger #momsofinstagram

This girl lost another tooth...

I don’t get bouquets of flowers for no reason…. But I do appreciate the flowers that grow by our mailbox, like this one. And it made me realize something this morning.  I’m over it. 
I’m over comparing my life to other people’s lives on social media.
My house might not be as fancy. 
My wardrobe is not as expensive. 
I don't apply makeup as well or even at all most days.
I don’t have beautiful, long flowing hair.
I don’t drive a car that’s worth bragging about. 
We don’t go on lavish trips around the world. 
I don’t carry loads of money in designer handbags. 
Does that make me less of a person? 
Does that make me less of an influencer? 
No. It makes me a regular 40-something Mom who has chosen to open up and share our lives on social media.  It makes me someone who has built this hobby of photography and writing into a business that has solely supported my family for a year and a half. 
I’m proud of that. 
I’m proud that I’m not a follower.
I’m proud that I have worked hard for what I’ve achieved.
I’m proud of influencers like me who are unapologetically themselves.  What are you proud of? .
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#inspiringquotes #inspirations #inspiredaily #motivationquotes #motivational #motivating #inspirationalquotes #womenempowerment #womenempoweringwomen #empoweringwomen #empowerment #influencers #bloggersofinstagram #bloggermom #momtruth #truthhurts

I don’t get bouquets of...

F O U R T E E N. 
What do you give your oldest daughter when she turns 14? Well, when you’re me, you write her a poem and post it on the blog for the world to see. Head over to read it and let me know what you think. Then, help me wish Lucia the best 14th birthday ever 👇🏻👇🏻
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#birthdaygirl #birthdays #birthday🎂 #birthdayqueen #birthdaylove #birthdaygifts #birthdayfun #birthdaygirl👑 #birthdaygift #birthdaygirls #fourteen #teenage #teengirl #poemsofinstagram #poetryofinstagram

F O U R T...

It was just after Iyla's third birthday. She seemed to be on track, at least according to the pediatrician's checklist. She could follow instructions, name most familiar things, knew her first name, spoke in sentences and could carry a conversation, though she was hard to understand most of the time. We enrolled her in preschool that year and she was a little social butterfly. But as that school year went on, her teachers started to notice that she was struggling to get her words out. Most people that know Iyla today, have no idea that she was in speech therapy classes for two years. They have no idea that I fought it for almost 6 months and that I felt a tremendous guilt about it, because I thought it was my fault that she was stuttering as badly as she was. Today on the blog, I’m sharing the mistakes I made, in hopes that if you are ever in this situation, you take advantage of early intervention. .
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#speechtherapy #stuttering #speechies #speechpathology #earlyintervention #earlyinterventionspeech #earlyinterventionprogram #publicschool #oldnavy #oldnavystyle #minted #amazon #amazonfinds #pridesocks #letthembelittle #kidsplay #rollerskating #rollerskates #mommoments

It was just after Iyla's...

There are two types of kids. 1) The kid who wants to eat the same thing every single day of the week, sometimes more than one time per day and 2) The kid who loves something one day and then hates it the next. #ad Which type of kid do you have? Or, are your kids like mine and bounce back and forth between the two? Either way, there is a way to make lunches more fun for kids. I'll let you in on a little secret... creating fun lunches is more fun for us too! This week, we created our first character, Inspector Caper Eyes. Head to the blog for more details! Plus, learn why we choose @JuicyJuiceUSA new better-for-you options, which are packed with functional benefits with juicy flavor that parents can feel great about serving to their kids.
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#foodvideo #recipevideo #juicyjuice #videostar #videoviral #videooftheday #funvideo #targetfinds #targetdeals #targetdoesitagain #walmart #walmartfinds #tjmaxxfinds #tjmaxx #marshallsfinds #marshalls #homegoodsfinds #homegoodshappy #homegoods #yummyyummy #yummyfood #familyfriendly #familyfriendlymeals #familylife #funfood #kidslunchbox

There are two types of...

Remember I told you guys about our day dates now that the girls are #backtoschool? Well, we’ve really been enjoying them. #sponsored We walk, talk and laugh (a lot). Have you seen our IGTV yet? It’s a cheesy, beautiful video of what our relationship is like. I love that we’re able to connect and that we can make the time in our day to focus on our relationship and our health. Since we have three daughters, it’s even more important to go the extra mile when it comes to taking care of ourselves. These awesome @amazfit watches help us with that. I have the Amazfit Verge and Super Dad has the Amazfit Bip. They are lightweight, have app notifications and track your daily activity, your heart rate and so much more. The Amazfit Bip comes with a 30-day battery life and the Verge comes with Alexa built-in and you can make and receive phone calls through the watch. We can track our activity, sleep and heart rate and hold each other accountable for better decisions, when it comes to fitness and health. Visit rcl.ink/UyB to check them out and make sure to take advantage of the sale they’re currently having. No discount code necessary! What are you doing to get back to you? .
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#dates #dateyourspouse #dateyourhusband #laughs #lovethislife #qualitytime #healthier #healthcare #fitnesslife #fitnessfun #fitstagram #exercisemotivation #smartwatch #smartwatches #techy #backtoyou #selfcarethreads #selfcarematters #parkrun #couplesgoals #coupleshoot

Remember I told you guys...

Take me back to the time when all I had to do was color in the lines, learn my abc’s and take a long nap everyday. Why didn’t we appreciate what we had back then? .
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#Letterboardquotes #letterboard #letterboards #letterboardlove #letterboardfun #farmhouselove #farmhousestyle #letterboardquote #magnoliastyle #howyouhome #makehomeyours #pocketofmyhome #modernfarmhousestyle #modernfarmhousedecor #ighome #modernfarmhouse #howwedwell #homegoodsfinds #raedunnfinds #raedunn #homegoods #homegoodshappy #targetdoesitagain #targetdeals #raedunnclay #raedunnlove #adultingishard #adulting

Take me back to the...

#AD Our girls love nature, so this weekend, we headed to a local nature preserve for a little animal watching, walking and family time. We always pack the essentials when we're heading out in this Florida heat, including snacks, sunblock and @smartwater, because we know how important it is to stay hydrated. We love smartwater® because it's purified water made using vapor distillation, similar to the way water is purified in nature. It's available in 700mL and 1L bottles. Now through 9/15, you can save $2.75 off at Sam's Club, so stock up! (limit 10 per member) https://lnk2.io/abYC5gD #kidsfitness #fitnessfun #daddyslittlegirl #natureseekers #naturephotos #exercisemotivation #familyfitness #fitnessforlife #qualitytime #bestdad #bestdayever #bestfriendgoals #fatherdaughter #dadofgirls #smartwater #hydrate #hydration #drinkwater #marshalls #marshallsfinds

#AD Our girls love nature,...

Explaining the Las Vegas Shooting to my Kids

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Waking up to the news that there had been yet another mass shooting saddened and shook me more than I could ever explain.  Over 500 injured and more than 50 dead in a mass shooting in Las Vegas.  What has happened to our world? As a human being, it’s frightening to realize that we aren’t safe anywhere but as a Mother, it’s even scarier trying to keep our kids free from the fear that we so rightfully feel.

It used to be that if you “kept your nose clean” (as my grandparents would say), you would stay out of harms way, but these days, we have to worry about places like the movies, concerts, clubs, malls and even school.  When I read about what happened last night in Las Vegas, I had to take a moment and mourn for what this world has become.  I want my children to be able to do things, go to local events, travel all over the world… but should we have to be constantly worried about what may happen or who might be there? How do we live our lives knowing that what happened in Vegas to these innocent concertgoers, could have been any of us?

I’ve read so much about these shooters over the last few years and it seems that the majority of them are struggling with something internally and wind up attacking people that they don’t know or have no problem with personally.  People find themselves dying or injured just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It’s frightening to think of the number of concerts that we’ve been to and how that could have just as easily been us fighting for our lives.  Why are so many innocent people being punished for one person’s misery?  How does that solve anything?  What could have been done differently that might have prevented these tragic events? Would stricter gun control help?  Would more security help?  Would the lack of media and notoriety for these unstable individuals make them second guess their actions?  Or… are they even doing it for the attention?  I’m afraid we’ll never have the answers to these questions… at least in our lifetime.

I struggle with sitting my kids down again today and explaining the “why”.  How do I assure them that they don’t have to lock themselves in our home to stay safe?  How do I encourage them to live their lives to the fullest and not to live in fear?   And worse… what if they don’t ask? What if this evil has become the norm for them because they hear about these tragedies so often?  I’m not even sure which is worse.

When the shooting in Orlando happened, which happens to be only a couple of hours from our home, I sat down with my two older girls and tried to explain.  I found myself focusing more on the positives than the negatives.  I spoke about the first responders and volunteers who risked their lives to save so many and how we should be grateful for each and every one of them.  I spoke about kindness, acceptance and love and how important it is to treat others with respect, regardless of their beliefs, views and opinions (which of course is difficult with the current situation in our country and the lack of positive role models in Washington… but that’s a whole different subject).  I spoke about the importance of smiling at strangers because you never know what they are going through and what your smile could do to change their entire day.  I spoke about the power of prayer and positivity.  And toward the end of our conversation, I found my girls coming up with their own ideas on how they could help.  And I cried.  Oh how I cried.  Their hearts are so pure and in a time where we are watching these mass shootings, all they wanted to do was make hand drawn cards and set up a lemonade stand to raise money for the victims.  And I prayed that they never change. I prayed that if anything positive comes from these tragic events, it’s that we use the opportunity to spread kindness just a little bit more.

Our kids deserve better, don’t they? They deserve to live in a world where they can live their dreams without allowing fear to stop them.  They deserve to have kids of their own and not have to inherit the burden of sitting down to explain these situations to them.  While I know there will always be violence, my only wish is that we embrace one another, look out for one another and spread positivity whenever and wherever possible.  If we can come together in horrifying times like these, why can’t we come together all of the time?  Let’s do it for our future.  Let’s do it for our kids.

**Featured image by David Becker/Getty Images
XOXO
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