Thursday, January 30, 2014


Congrats to the winner:
2014 is all about a new me! Time to focus on getting whole again from the inside out and yes that includes hitting the pavement for a run or a living room for a sesh with Jillian. We all joke about our "mom uniform" of sweats and fitness clothes, well I am here to tell you that you can proudly wear that uniform and look stylish too! I am officially obsessed with the couture fitness apparel company Albion Fit! They totally had me at the Unwind Pullover and it's comfy cowl neck (seen below). Tons of styles to choose from the pairing is endless. From fitness to errands Albion Fit covers all your clothing needs!


I'll let these photos speak for themselves!

Albion Fit was so kind as to send me one of their most popular items - The Go Long Crew in navy ($28). It was totally love at first sight! I ordered it a size up from my normal fit so that it could be a comfy lounge piece as well as the perfect fitness item. Paired with my favorite yoga pants it is quickly becoming my go to. The material is soft and vibrant too so I don't even mind pulling up to the preschool pick up line in it! It has a long and lean fit so I can pair it with my Lululemon Scuba Hoodie and have it hang out below or on its own I like to bunch it up around my mid section to hide my "mama spots." It's so versatile!
Albion Fit has so graciously offered to give one of my readers $50 to spend at!

To enter:
2. Find MY Albion Fit post on my Instagram profile and tag 3 of your friends
3. Comment here with your Instagram name

Please enter by February 6, 2014 at midnight PST. Good luck and have fun!

Also! Discount code for all While it Rains fans: 15% off any purchase with code whileitrains15 at checkout! (exp 2/03/14)

I was sent The Go Long Tee review but all text and opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Who ever said shopping for boys wasn't fun was so terribly mistaken! I have never had more fun then when I am on the hunt for fun new items to add to Robin's closet. Gap was my go to during the newborn tiny squishy months but now that he is a t o d d l e r I can't even get over tiny skater clothes - I mean come on!

We have recently become obsessed with Tiny Whales and here is why: Tiny Whales is the answer to your clothing needs if your ready to move beyond bunnies and ducks. It is soft durable threads for your stylish little one! I can only do washable, dry-able, and adorable clothing in our lives. Anything else is just way to much work for this family of six. The husband and wife California based team creates tiny to big kid, boy and girl items that have the wow factor I am always on the look out for. 

How much do you love some of there tee line-up?
Because we love Tiny Whales we have asked them to team up on a giveaway! They have graciously offered to giveaway a $30 credit to one of my readers. That is a lot of awesome coming to a closet near you! Entering is always easy just by following the Rafflecopter prompt below. The Giveaway will run from today through Wednesday February 5th, 2014 at midnight PST. Good luck and have fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

xoxo melissa

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Are you ready to try a partner move? The girls are always begging to try the pink partner cards but these ones in my opinion are more advanced for them. Neither one has perfected balance and Rowan is still very limited in her flexibility (she still can't straighten her leg). Then when you get the two together those issues plus the fact that Rowan over powers Stella in strength - It will be a process for them to get more comfortable and fluid at the partner ones.

Double boat was a fun one to start with but had them both in giggling fits each time they toppled over. It was almost impossible to implement any sort of breath with it. So this time we just had fun stretching and getting our sillies out!
See Stella trying to do her breathing and she was all blurry and giggly!
(Per the Yoga Pretzels card for DOUBLE BOAT)
1. "We sit up tall." Bend knees, touch toes and hold hands.
2. "We press our right soles and balance." Lift legs, soles of right feet pressing.
3. "We press out left soles and balance."
4. "We make a boat." Straighten both legs and arch back.

As with any balance pose, focus, breathe and move slowly, one step at a time. If you fall, roll and laugh and start again.

Try different positions with your legs to create different kinds of boats. Stay afloat as long as you can!

Did you try it? What did you think? I can't wait for Tim to get home so we can try it!
xoxo melissa

Friday, January 24, 2014

High On Fandom

It's true, it's a real thing - The 12th man is high on life right now! My Seahawks are headed to The Superbowl and we couldn't be more excited. I say "my" because obviously I play on the team and helped them get there. I'm not even just a band wagon fan, i've been a diehard since about 2005 when we last had The Lombardi in sight. Did you know that Matt Hasselbeck went to our church before he was traded? Zoe went running under his legs one day and when I looked up to apologize there he was. I of course didn't even realize it and Tim had to tell me as we walked away. Life moment missed.

Moving on, Wilson is by far the best thing to ever happen to Seattle! Not just for his athletic ability but the time he invests in our community and more importunity The Children's Hospital. Richard Sherman? Him too so move on from your stares and comments. We're headed to The Superbowl!

So, i'll leave you with this. Yet another a-mazing video put out by our church and the talented worship team. Why haven't The Seahawks given them a deal for these yet?

I know, you probably don't care but s-u-p-e-r-b-o-w-l!

As I was quoted from last Sunday: "I've had anxiety all week! I don't know what's wrong with me! I don't know who I've become!"

Hidden Room Under The Stairs - The Before

Truth is I am so behind that a lot has happened since these photos. Tim has been trucking right along on the progress putting in late hours after work. The best part? This is the first time he has done anything like this and you would never guess! It has been a great experience for him getting to know drywall, electrical, mud + tape,  and more in a small hidden space where a little trial and error is ok.

We were pleasantly surprised when got in there how much actual space there was and how nicely finished off it was. There is enough useable space that even I can comfortably sit in there and Stella can stand up at most points.

Since these "before" photos happened we bought all of the flooring, drywall, and beadboard. We flipped a electrical outlet around from the living room, put in most of the drywall, and are now just getting ready to mud and tape. Oh! Tim also widened the door to accommodate adults and building materials a little better. That threw a little wrench in the bookcase door plans so it is back to the drawing board on what will and won't work for that.

So stay tuned in the next week or so for some more photos of the transformation!

xoxo melissa

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Stella wanted to show two more of her favorites this week, a forward and a backward bend - She even pushed herself in Turtle! Nevermind the severe case of bed head that she is always sporting. This week I started looking into classes for her to take. I can't really help her beyond the Yoga Pretzel cards and Youtube searches and she seems to really want to challenge herself.

Rowan and Stella also tried out some partner poses unsuccessfully this week but I thought when they get them down we'll have to share those too. What a good sibling activity!

Next up we have Turtle + Bridge!
(Per the Yoga Pretzels card for TURTLE)
1. "I breath deeply." Sit with your feet together and knees apart
2. "I slide inside my shell." Lift your arms then slide them under your knees.
3. "I am protected." Place your hands on the floor outside your feet.
4. "I am a wise turtle." Round your back reach your head toward your feet.

"Turtles always have a safe, quiet space to go inside. So do you! What do you do there?"
(Per the Yoga Pretzels card for BRDIGE)
1. "I am relaxed and connected." Lie on your back, knees bent.
2. "I lift and lengthen." Curl your spine up, pressing down into your arms.
3. "I arch up to the sky." Arch your back as much as you can.
4. "I am a strong bridge." Join hands and press down to arch up higher.

"Bridges connect one thing to another. What do you connect to?"
xoxo melissa

Monday, January 20, 2014


Are you ready for the second installment of meet out sponsors? Me too! 

This is Joni from 6 Cherries On Top, we have been blog friends for sometime now I can always relate to how crazy fun (fun and crazy?) big families can be! Why do all the best people have to live on the other side of the country from me? Internet bffs for life!

Her kids are crazy adorable, talented, and fun - Joni is one lucky lady to get to be there mama and she does a darn good job of it! A devoted blogger since 2009, she is always posting about weightless, diy ideas, her family going-ons and more. You'll want to add 6 Cherries On Top to your reader for sure!

I sent Joni a set of, what I thought were, fun questions to pick her brain a little and get to know her a better. See what she had to say...
1. Tell us two jokes. Come on, really make us laugh!

Unfortunately, I am not much of a joke teller. All my jokes are either on an Elementary level or too inappropriate to share. Besides, I am more of a "life comedian" (definitely a phrase I made up). I have a naturally funny personality and enjoy making those around me laugh.

2. Name three of your favorite Etsy shops. One has to be one you're pretty sure not a lot of us know about.

Crochet hats, headbands, and wrist warmers from Little Miss Frilly, little boy's bow ties and neck ties from Sweet-n-Sassy Shoppe, drawings and watercolor art from FlavorPink

3. If you have $500 to spend at Target right now, what would make it into your cart?

Right now, I can't stop thinking about warmer weather already. We love to spend most of our day outside during the Spring and Summer, and have been thinking about a new patio furniture set. We really have quite a large back porch and I would love for that space to be a little more inviting and user friendly for our kids, entertaining, and just having fun as a family.

4. Describe your perfect weekend.

Almost all of our life plans involve adventures with our children, but since Jason and I haven't had time together, that was more than a few hours, in a long time, I would love to have a kid free weekend of just him and I doing things around the city. It would definitely involve eating at all of our favorite restaurant locations, the movies, some shopping, and a Carolina Hurricanes hockey game.

5. What is your favorite thing about being a mama? On the flip-side, what part were you not expecting to be more difficult?

My favorite thing about being a mama is just simply being the mom of 6 amazing kids. I love having a big family! It's not always easy, but we do have a lot of fun! I also love being able to do things with them that my parents didn't do with me. My parents weren't always involved as much as I would have liked, so sometimes I am doing things with them for the first time myself.

The hardest part is not having much alone time. I do everything with my children. For the most part, I want to do everything with them, but sometimes I do need my space. Sometimes, I don't want to wake up at 5 a.m. and have full on conversations, I just want silence. Sometimes, I want to shower and pee in private, without someone coming in to ask me what we are having for dinner. Sometimes, I want to just head out the door on a whim and do whatever I want without having to find a sitter.

6. What is your Starbucks order?

I'm a plain Jane! It's a simple Caramel Macchiato for me.

7. Favorite movie line? Let's see if we can guess what it is from!

"One day can make your life, one day can ruin your life. All life is, is 3 or 4 big days that change everything."

8. Describe yourself in one word.


Find Joni on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest

So much yes to both parts of #5. Why are kids so chatty in the morning? Do they think of ALL the things they have to ask us the second we are at the breakfast table while sleeping? Ugh.

Thanks for stopping by Joni!
xoxo melissa

Friday, January 17, 2014


I guess we could have all wagered money that I wouldn't be able to keep up sharing Pj with you guys. The good news? She actually still made an appearance almost every night - I just wasn't up for editing and posting the photos as we went. Sorry! That plus the fact that while we were in Georgia for the funeral, PJ went on a very important mission to fill in for another sick elf. I didn't want to saddle my family with trying to coordinate another "person" so I thought of that little story on the fly for inquiring minds. No joke, that was the first thing Rowan asked me when I said we were leaving and she was going to stay somewhere for a few days. "But what about Pj?"

I know, it's the middle of January and nobody cares about my stupid elf, but if I don't share these now chances are they'll never make an appearance. So pin these little gems away for next year and we can all call it good! I might even add elf #2 to the mix come December - You know for duet ballet scenes, snowball fights and other equally awesome elf shenanigans. I'll get back to you on if Tim approves this idea. 

So without further explanation, here is more Pj:
In other news, the girls tell me no less then three times a week that they really miss Pj…Oye.

Hints: For Spiderman I sewed fishing line right through her hands and feet then knotted to create the position she is in. I googled "Spiderman clipart" and found this image, printed it at 100% (about 2.5" and the perfect size) on card stock and attached with a glue dot. 

The snow I got at the dollar store in a pop can, you just add water and it even came with the tiny shovel!

Don't put make-up on your elf. It doesn't come off…

Tiny pancakes are best made with a medicine syringe/dropper.

Hobby Lobby has the best props in the miniatures section and the Jolees' Boutique sticker section.
xoxo melissa

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hidden Room Under the stairs - mood board

Picture this - Tim saunters into the room and casually mentions that we should cut into a wall in the hall closet and turn under the stairs into a room for the kids. I do the whole cartoony exaggeration of cleaning out my ears all squeakily to make sure I heard right. I mean twist my ever loving diy'ing arm right? I knew there was a reason I kept him around.

Instantly I pictured painted breadboard ceilings, white walls, and weathered wood (laminate look-a-like) flooring. This has to be a space that the girls and boys of the house can share so I want to stay neutral and inviting with colors and textures. We talked about hiding the entry many ways - A book case that opens like a door, purchasing a smallish wardrobe to put in the closet and making it lion witch and the wardrobe style, or simply hanging some curtains. The most practical solution would be a bookcase being that this is my craft closet and I will lose a ton of storage when we move the existing cabinet out of there.

A tiny tv will most likely make it's way in so I want the space to be mostly a media area for the kids full of comfy rugs, floor pillows and throw blankets. Of course there needs to be storage for dolls, books, and maybe legos and the smaller spots under the low stairs will be perfect for these! I was in love with this tiny dollhouse shelf when I saw it in Diana + Bella's homeschool room. Stella is mildly obsessed with Mini Lalaloopsy dolls these days and this provides a space saving option to bring them in and play.

Wasting no time at all we cut into the wall to see what we had in store for us! The space isn't huge due to the fact that the closet and nearby guest bath take up some of the under-the-stair space but there is still room for fun to be had nonetheless. It's like my wildest Pinterest board dreams come true and I can't wait to share our progress with you!

1. Bead board from Home Depot, 2. Zig-zag runner from Urban Outfitters, 3. Weathered laminate from Home Depot, 4. Ikea bookcase for faux door in closet, 5. A sea glass green/blue color for the bead board ceilings, 6. These fun Pottery Barn Teen industrial lights, 7. Land of Nod storage bins and baskets, 8. A mix of floor pillows from Pottery Barn Teen, Urban Outfitters, and Land of Nod, 9. Land of Nod four story wall storage, 10. Faux taxidermy of some kind like this unicorn from Pottery Barn Teen, and 11. This small folding table from Pottery Barn Teen for crafts, snacks, and homework.
xoxo melissa

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Erin Condren Life planners + A giveaway!

I know, me too, still mildly in denial that it is even a new year. Two-thousand and fourteen to be exact. Aren't we suppose to have hover boards and flying cars by now?

As a busy mom of four - the older my kids get the crazier our life gets! A new year always means more appointments, dance classes, swimming lessons, play dates, and mama dates! I am also totally suspect to the fact that with each baby I had, a small portion of my short term memory evaporated into thin air. I'll admit it, I have to set six different alarms in my phone to remind me of various bus drop off and pick up times. Pass the ginkgo biloba please!

For years now I have been on the obsessive hunt to find the perfect planner. Google calendars don't cut it for me, way too little customization and it just didn't speak my language. I'd constantly thumb through several at office supply stores, target, you name it! Us moms we need space, more space! From meal planning to Christmas lists, the lined more columns the better! Erin Condren life planners = Life made! (Now if only I could set an alarm on things in my EC planner…)

People ask me all the time 1. You really prefer a paper planner versus virtual? 2. Wow, the price! Is it worth it? The answer to both is heck yes!

  • Adorable packaging!
  • Took about a week and a half from ordering to my front door.
  • Gorgeous vibrant colors and patterns from page one to page 238.
  • Quick reference for important reoccurring dates such as birthdays and anniversaries.
  • VERY customizable - Duration, photos, text stickers, photo stickers, and more!
  • Thick durable outter covers that hold up against, well, a lot. (milk, cluttered purses, toddlers, etc…)
  • Tabbed two-page monthly glance with inspirational quote, large spaces and lined side columns.
    • As a blogger I use the side columns to list upcoming posts ideas and also locations for appointments.
  • Weekly layout with large morning, day, and night spaces. Lined columns as well as lined footer spots perfect for meal planning, cleaning schedules, or daily goals.
    • I prefer not to be contained to tiny time slots which aren't always applicable to my daily going ons.
    • I use the footer area for meal planning, Elf shenanigans (in December), calls I need to make that day or emails I need to address.
  • A HUGE lined + blank page section.
    • This is a blogger, crafter, diy'ers dream! Since I practically slumber with my planner I can scoop it up in the middle of the night and jaunt down any brilliant idea I just dreamed up.
    • When I have a big shopping list it goes here! I always have my planner with me anyway and it props perfectly on top of my purse in the child seat. (You know, when I am lucky enough to shop alone.)
  • Durable pocket folder and thick plastic zippered pouch.
    • I like to use these to keep invites, groupons, etc and then reference that i've stored them there along with noting their date/expiration in the appropriate calendar.
  • Your new planner comes with a $10 off coupon to use on your next purchase!
  • It is a little bulky and on the heavier side. 
    • An excuse to buy a new bigger purse?
  • …I mean, that's really it!
With shipping and handling it runs about $58 - Priced a little above others you might find out there but in my opinion they won't be comparable. A good planner can be invaluable to a busy person. I use my planner every day and then some. It's like having an adorable personal assistant for less then five dollars a day!

But, wait for it…I have teamed up with Erin Condren to give away $25 to spend on a life planner for yourself! Follow the Rafflecopter prompts below for many chances to enter. Giveaway will close on January 22, 2014 at midnight PST. Good luck and have fun!

Can't wait? I have $10 for you right now! Sign up here and you'll receive $10 to spend anywhere on!
Happy planning!
xoxo melissa

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Yoga kids, Week one - Rock

Stella has always shown interest in physical activity. Always willing to try new things at least once, I was really excited when she took a liking to yoga. I put her and Rowan in a class this fall and right away Rowan wanted out - Her limited flexibility and movement due to her Encephalitis made it difficult and painful for her. Honestly though, I wish she has stuck with it because it would have eventually helped this exact issue, but I don't like to force sports on them (so ballet it is!).

When the class ended we kept learning new moves via Netflix, cable videos, or just simply googling kid yoga positions. So naturally I was really excited when I found Yoga Pretzels, the card system that her class used. A fun combination of breathing, positions, and games. We like to pull out one of each daily to work on and then usually one of our past favorite too. Stella is actually very good at it, she is flexible and has good balance and breathing. I know absolutely nothing about yoga myself but am beaming at my little yogi.

With Stella's permission we decided to start sharing her daily yoga with you! We'll try and post on a semi-regular basis but life is as crazy as ever and I can't make any guarantees that we will get to her yoga every day. I will try and do a mix of breathing and positions - I can't wait to hear if you guys play along!

First up is Rock!
Rock is a forward bend and the very first position that Stella ever mastered.

(Per the Yoga Pretzels card for ROCK)
1. "I am grounded." Sit on your shins, spine straight.
2. "I am silent." Fold forward over your thighs.
3. "I am still." Stack your fists beneath your forehead.
4. "I am a rock." Place forehead on the ground; rest hands by feet.

"Connect with the earth and imagine being a rock, stone or crystal. What texture, size, and shape are you? How old? How heavy?

Let's go, rest and just be where you are. Go inside and feel the magic of silence, the strength of stillness."
xoxo melissa

Monday, January 13, 2014

Improve. There is always room for improvement.


This is my first year dreaming up a word to take the lead of the next three hundred and sixty-five days. I went back and forth on if this was even really for me - If I was doing it because everyone else was or if it could truly be meaningful in my life. Then I started to evaluate last year, last year was a lot of big and little unfortunate events that accumulated heavily on my heart and mind. I need this year to be different. Still emerging from twenty-thirteen a little broken I want something to hold me accountable for making this year, and every one going forward, better (or at least have given it my best attempt).

Simplify and purpose were strong contenders this year but didn't quite fit the build of all I need right now. I am too all over the place physically, emotionally, and spiritually as I enter this year - I need to reground myself and most importantly my faith before I work on much anything else. Maybe I need to take up some yoga? My mind raced with different ideas until I came to improve. It perfectly encompassed the direction I needed to go this year and as my first try at a "word of the year", it left room for interpretation. There are at least five million things I would like to improve or tweak or straight up change but off the top of my head these are the most important:

Improve myself, this is a huge umbrella statement for a ton of things that need to improve. I want to focus more on a five year plan in 2014, whether that means applying for school to get my bachelors or trying to settle into more of a career versus just another job. The baby factory is closed so it is time to start looking beyond diapers and teething. I want to lose weight and finally get to the bottom of some little health issues that have been ailing me. I want to try an elimination diet or take a comprehensive food panel and just know once and for all the ingredients that make me feel crumby.

Improve my marriage, a marriage is something that can always be worked on and improved upon. Tim has been so busy for our family working two jobs and add to that the ages our kids are at there isn't a lot of "us" time, in fact there is little to none. 2014 will be about more date nights and conversations, and real work putting us first some of the time (or all the time?).

Improve the way we give back, when I wrote my post on grieving through our friends death, I mentioned that Stella and I would be attempting to pick up where Adrienne left off in a cause or two. I want to get involved in The Lydia Project specifically and do Relay For Life in A's honor. I want to put our heads together with Jesse her husband and see what else we can come up with - I know the possibilities are endless and I am excited to get to work!

Improve my blogging, I want to be better about scheduling and promoting and reading other peoples blogs. Commenting - I want to be so much better about commenting on the blogs I love! I almost woke up in 2014 and shut down my blog. I was feeling stretched thin and uninspired but deep down that is not what I wanted. I also worry that my blog is taking the wrong turn with so many promoted posts but when you have a husband who works as hard as mine does and the opportunity comes along to make some good money yourself? Then you write a damn post about noodles or toilet paper. That being said I want to find balance with my content so that both you and I are happy.

Improve our bodies and minds, first and foremost this means more church! We love our church and have let ourselves down this last year by not attending regularly. Secondly, I am almost positive that Rowan is gluten intolerant and Robin dairy intolerant (at the very least) so the two of them will be having allergy tests and possibly the comprehensive food panel done. I am so tired of ear infections and eczema that I can't wait to get to the bottom of all of this.

Improve the way I run my house, I will de-clutter and get organized if it kills me! Out goes all of the clothes we don't wear, the toys we don't play with, and the four hundred rubber-maid bins full of things we haven't touched in three years. Simplify simplify simplify. I also want to become more organized in the way I clean and schedule my time around the house. There are good weeks where I can easily stay on top of the house work, I mean our house is only 2,000 square feet. Then we get busy or go out of town and it completely falls apart and I am stuck feeling overwhelmed at the huge project of getting it back to a decent shape. Unfortunately the state of my house greatly affects my mind and makes me feel cluttered myself, I know my days can be that much better if I can just come up with a way to sty on top of it.

Improve my cooking…?

What was your word this year? Leave the link to your post - I would love to read it! I am feeling really inspired by some of the posts I have read so far. People have set some great goals for themselves this year and I wish every one the best trying to get there!
xoxo melissa

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year And Such...

It has been nearly impossible to crawl out from under the holidays - The husband time, the food, the decorations, the stomach flu. Clearly I will require at least seven more viewings of Christmas Vacation and/or The Santa Claus before I can admit that the year is over and it time to organize, exercise, etc.

Christmas was wonderful and different. It was effortless to enjoy the time with my family, having lost Adrienne only a few days earlier. The time with our loved ones in short and precious, I see that more then ever now. We were still so freshly grieving...

All of us came down with that stomach bug on Monday before Christmas. After some rearranging and canceling of most of our plans we found ourselves home Christmas eve and morning with just our little family. I had everyone up by five after a failed attempt at cinnamon rolls and couldn't wait to get started. Big mistake - Stella was a wreck and tantrum-ed through most of the morning till nap. She was sweet and excited about all of her gifts but after gift one, two, even three we had the normal realization that we could have easily stopped there. Joke is on us I guess but her joy was still worth it and I can't help myself, I love picking out the perfect gifts for people.

My brother in law got me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas, aside from the blanket sweater and Naked 3 pallet that Tim blessed me with, the Kindle is easily my most appreciated gift this year. I don't think I have set it down in nine days, I just can't get enough. Four books in and I am feeling more human then ever - Processing more syllables and words then just yes, no, and stop licking that. So here I sit with a good book (Chelsea Handler's Horizontal Life), cozy, eyes done, snot on my leggings. Happy New Year to me! 

My New Year resolutions? To remember to write 2014 on checks. I tried to make a list and got stuck on "make a quilt". I am still trying to decide on a word. I keep coming up with "PURGE" but that just is not a pretty word, ha!

So stay tuned for my word, tons of fun and a new look coming soon! What are your new years resolutions?