Meet the Sullivans: March 2017

March 31, 2017

No Damsels in Destress

I grew up in a family that was totally girl-centric. With no brothers, uncles or cousins to speak of, everything in our family centered around the interests of my sister and I, like ballet, American Girl dolls, boy bands and shopping.

In school the things the boys liked to do always seemed sort of foreign to me, weird and strange even, probably because I just didn't understand them. They played rough, teased each other relentlessly and they were usually loud. Fast forward 30 years and I find my self on the other side of the fence, immersed daily in all those things that boys do. My days are filled with bugs, trucks, Nerf gun battles and Star Wars characters. There isn't a flash of pink among our toys or in our laundry baskets. But what's different now is that I understand these boys a whole lot more!

I want this understanding for my sons too. I want them to know that girls aren't all about dollies, tea parties and pink -- they might actually even be interested in a lot of the same things if they try and find that common interest. They don't have a sister, but they are lucky to have lots of aunts and cousins, two wonderful grandmas, and ME. Above all else I am probably their best example of what a girl can be, although I know they think of me as mommy, and not necessarily a girl. I get the great pleasure and privilege of being their first example of what a girl really is, beyond the princesses they see in most shows. I get to show them that I can be both a lover of pink and also very strong, physically and emotionally.

Children's shows on television sure have changed in the way they depict girls. The female characters on the shows I watched as a young girl were often damsels in distress, cheerleaders and girly girls. The characters in the shows and movies I've listed below

Here are some of Owen's favorite shows and with strong female main characters!

Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh

Doc McStuffins


Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The Justice League
  The Lego Movie

Dragons: Race to the Edge

What are your kids favorite shows and movies to watch on Netflix? 

Disclosure: As a part of the the Netflix #StreamTeam I receive perks as part of my membership, but all opinions are my own.

Five : S-Stown, Charcoal Masks and Brotherly Love

Hello and HAPPY Friday, my friends! Another week is behind us and the fun of the weekend awaits, so let's get on with it. Here's my five...

jeans (similar) | sandals | tee (similar) | necklace | bracelette

| O N E | I bought these double-strap sandals at Old Navy last week because 1. they are cute 2. they're so comfortable, and 3. they ridiculously inexpensive at around $12. They're a nice alternative to my typical summer go-to of Rainbow flip-flops.

| T W O | Are you into podcasts? Our whole family is, well except for Luke, really. Keith, Owen and I all have our own favorites. The creators of Serial aired S-Town this week and so far I'm hooked. It's about a small town (possible) murder in Alabama. I love the story and the mystery, but the accents are so fun to hear too.

| T H R E E | Living Spaces opens in Milbrae today and I am so excited! I have been eyeing a few of pieces of furniture for months and I can't wait to finally see some of it in person this weekend. They couldn't have opened up at a more convenient time for us too with our move coming up. I've got my eye on THIS and THIS!

| F O U R | The charcoal face mask I ordered on Amazon finally arrived this week! I was excited (and a little afraid) to give it a try, but it was totally painless, and quite effective. I did a medium size layer on my nose and chin to test it out first. I had heard that these can really stick and be kind of painful to remove, but that wasn't my experience at all. Mine peeled off nicely and did a better job that the biore strips I've used before. Of course it didn't completely clear my pores, but it did a good enough job and smoothed my skin. I'll definitely give it another try, but next time I might go a little thicker. 

| F I V E | Yesterday I was washing dishes in the kitchen while the boys were playing quietly in the living room. Well, if you're a mom you know that quiet is nice, but also suspicious, so I peeked in to see what they were up to.... and Owen was holding Luke very similarly to what you see in the picture above and was spinning in (slow) circles. Both kids were smiling and there was some laughing so I watched them for a minute! I love watching their little relationship grow!

How was your week? What's on your agenda for the weekend? Owen is off next week for Spring Break, so I'll be brain storming some ideas to fill our extra time up with some fun activities and adventures.

You can see where I'm linking up HERE!

March 28, 2017

The Weekend and Our Menu

How's your week going so far? With Keith off on Tuesdays now the week always feels really choppy to me. It's almost like having two Mondays, with the second one is really the middle of the week, and it throws of my planning etc. Anyway, I'd like to think this is why I don't usually get around to writing about the weekend until half way through the week.

On Friday Owen's basketball team photos came in the mail. I just giggle (to myself) whenever I look at this photo of him. He's just such a cutie with the way he's standing, holding the ball and that forced smile. I remember as a kid trying so hard to make my smile look genuine for posed photos, but it's really difficult. Anyway, we'll treasure these forever!

I think I talked a while back about how we were unsure about keeping Owen on his basketball team at first. At the first practice and game we really felt like he was so young compared to the rest of the team. He had just turned 5 and all the other kids were mostly turning 7 -- the league starts at 5 years-old. We decided that since he didn't seems to care, and was having fun, that we would let him continue, and I'm glad we did. He really learned a lot about trying his hardest and the game of basketball. AND he can shoot a basket in a big "daddy size" hoop now!

I often feel like I want to protect him from the world, whether it's other kids being mean, feeling like he failed or being scared, and I think this was a good lesson for me too. We let him get out there and try even though he is younger and smaller, and everything ended up working out okay.

Friday afternoon we went to a birthday party at a trampoline park for one of Owen's classmates. Friday afternoon is my new favorite time for a birthday party. We have no school on Fridays, so I'm always looking for something to fill the day -- from 7am when Keith leaves to 6:30pm when he gets home usually -- it can be a long day at the end of a long week, so this was a great and fun way to spend the afternoon.

And also a fun excuse to use my Erin Condren gift labels! I love that we don't really have to buy birthday cards because the label does all that for us and they make the gift look extra festive too. AND can I also add that I love buying birthday gifts at Five Little Monkeys, not only because they're local (yeah, Amazon is probably cheaper...) but they also wrap your gift up super cute for FREE!

Saturday morning I finished my final HIIT workout in the March HIIT Challenge I was doing. I completed all 20 workouts, plus a few of my own in the month of March. That's more workouts I've done in a month since before Keith and I were married! I definitely feel stronger and my ability to do things like push-ups, burpies and hold planks has greatly improved, but I didn't lose any weight, which is probably because I haven't been as disciplined with my eating. I love this so much I've already put my name in to participate for April!

Saturday was a great day overall. I got a nap, we played at home and finished the day off with a BBQ and margaritas! If you're looking for a great, all-natural margarita mix that doesn't actually taste like a mix you should pick up this one! I bought this bottle at Safeway, but I have also seen it at Target. We really like it!

Sunday morning was a little cold and drizzly, with a forecast of rain in the afternoon, so we got out to the park first thing in the morning. Luke wanted to spend most of his time in the swing and Owen wanted to play tag the entire time. We ended up doing a little exploring in the creek near the park in search of a frog we could hear. This is totally Owen's jam! He would spend all day in the creek or exploring a forest, if we let him. I can't wait for Luke to be a tad older so he can join in the fun too. Also, the creek was super clear and rushing from all the rain we've had this year!

After the park I took off to see Beauty and the Beast with my mom and sister. The Disney cartoon version is one of my favorite movies from when I was little, and Belle has always been my favorite "princess". I've always liked that she's brave, loves books and can stand up for herself and the people she loves. This new version was fantastic! I love everything they did with it and that they stayed true to the original while expanding on the characters just a bit. While I was tempted to buy this magazine and read all about the making of both the cartoon and the new movies, I decided not to-- but I will definitely be buying the movie when it comes out on DVD. 

Here's what's on my dinner menu for the week: 

I used a similar recipe to the one I linked above except I add sliced mushrooms and spinach to my bolognese and I topped ours with a little parm.

Tuesday -  BBQ Chicken Salad

Wednesday - Pesto Chicken Buddha Bowl

I'll share about this if it turns out good!

Friday - take out!

So that was out weekend! How was yours?

March 24, 2017

Five on Friday

Hey there, and happy Friday!

1. We started Owen in gymnastics this week! A few days before the class I told him I had signed him up, and he was really mad. He said it would be all girls and that he didn't want to and wouldn't do it. I thought he would be excited, but hoped he would change his mind by Monday, but he didn't. I had to bribe him with a promise of Star Wars gummies to get him in the car to go. Well, turns out he LOVES gymnastics and has asked to go back everyday this week! Moral of the story is mommy knows best!

2. Keith and I got to take a Frame Walk of our house earlier this week! The picture above is me standing in the kitchen looking out toward the dining area. We were so excited when they emailed to say it was time for us to see the house. This is something Shea Homes does for their buyers to help include us in the building process. It was kind of neat to see all the behind the scenes stuff that I would otherwise take for granted, like double walls between us and our neighbors to drown out sound, and an automatic hot water button to help expedite hot water to the third floor. This was also the very first time we got to step foot in our actual home and not just the model of it!

The front end contractor showed us around because his job with our home is nearly finished. The water pipe inspection was taking place that day and then installation of the drywall will happen next. The next time we get to do a walk through will be one week before we get our keys!

3. Do you have any recommendations for toilet locks? Luke is very interested in lifting the toilet seats and attempts to either put his hand in the water or throw something in it. We didn't have this issue with Owen, but that's probably because he didn't have a big brother who was always running to the bathroom. Whatever we end up using needs to be something Owen could open himself too. My life is so very glamorous these days, isn't it!

4. These two were a dream earlier this week in Home Depot. They let me browse the refrigerators, washers and dryers and even the flowers. I'd like to say it's all because they're angels, but I also think it had a little to do with the awesome shopping cart we used. I think Luke thought he was on an amusement ride or something.

5. We have nothing planned this weekend, except for getting our taxes done, so I'm hoping to find a little time for some spring cleaning, meal planning and some blogging.

What's on your agenda this weekend?

You can see where I'm linking up HERE!

March 22, 2017

St. Patrick's Day + Our Weekly Menu

Hello there! I hope you had a nice weekend. As I'm writing this I'm already starting to feel like it was forever ago, which it pretty much was because it's already Wednesday afternoon.

On Saturday we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with family! It's always been a tradition in Keith's family to have a big party of the holiday and now my mom and sister join us too. Everyone has a fun time hanging out, playing games and enjoying each others company, and maybe an Irish Car Bomb or two. ;)

I had the boys dressed in matching shamrock t-shirts (thanks, Old Navy!), but completely forgot to get a picture of them together -- they were both too busy having fun with everyone. We only managed to get Owen to stop playing basketball for a split second to take this picture before he ran back over to play again.

Owen was really into the whole idea of making a leprechaun trap this year, so in the week or two leading up to the day he and I worked on making his creation. I let him take the lead completely on deciding how he wanted to whole thing come together and just helped him execute it with the tape and collecting the supplies, etc.

Luke enjoyed his first taste of corned beef and ate two servings! He's a great eater and it's such a relief.

We got a nice family photo! We've taken one each year for at least the last 5 years and I'm always to happy to have them to look back on. The kids have all grown so much!

Traditional St. Patrick's Day food has really grown on me over the years. I definitely don't cook it through the year, but I always enjoy it on the holiday. I made Irish Soda bread again this year and it was fantastic!

Speaking of food... here is what's on our dinner menu for the week. Nothing too fun or interesting. I bought pretty much everything at Costco, which means there is little to no prep work all week -- hooray!

Monday - Italian Meatballs, Pesto Tortellini and Green Beans
Tuesday - Rotisserie Chicken, Cesar Salad and Brown Rice
Wednesday - Salmon, Asian Salad and Brown Rice
Thursday - Pioneer Woman's Pot Roast over Cauliflower Rice
Friday - pizza!

Hope you're having a great week so far! 

March 15, 2017

Weekend Fun & Our Menu

It's Wednesday morning and I'm so missing the weekend, still. It was a really great couple days with a lot of sunshine, fresh air and time spent with family and great friends.

Saturday morning we hung out at home until heading to Owen's basketball game at noon. Luke napped, Owen played a little Minecraft, and Keith and I took turns getting our workouts in.

My mom, sister and Keith's mom met us at the gym to watch Owen's game. I'm so glad we signed him up and kept him on the team, because he has made some great improvements in his skills and confidence on the court. After the game we grabbed lunch at Whole Foods and went to the park.

A standard Sunday morning scene... coffee and trying to read the Target ad while Luke tries to dive head first into my coffee. This kid is crazy for coffee mugs, and letting him peek into my cup always gets a huge smile!

After coffee and breakfast we packed up for the beach. We met our friends at Redondo beach in Half Moon Bay for some tide pool exploring and mimosas. The tide was way higher than I've seen it before and the water from the waves was making it really far up the beach. Our things almost got washed away a few times. It was the perfect weather and all the kids were happy, and the mommies had mimosas, so all was good!

FYI the hike down to the beach is a tough one if you plan on taking a trip down there yourself. We could only bring the necessities because we needed to have our hands free. 

After the beach we stopped at Sacrilege Brewery in downtown Half Moon Bay for lunch. Keith and I were super excited to see that they had three beers from Fieldwork Brewing Co. because they're opening a beer garden just blocks from where our new house is! On the left is the Super Cell (a double IPA) and the Saw Horse is on the right, both IPAs. The good news is the beer was fantastic, but I had Chilaquiles and they were just so-so.

After lunch Keith and the boys and I wandered around Main Street in search of an ice cream shop. We were kind of surprised that there wasn't a single ice cream store to be found. While we didn't find ice cream we did see a few other neat things... 

We walked through the outside of Oddyssea, which we've checked out before -- there are so many cute little crafty things for kids (and grown ups!) to make. I loved these mini-terrariums!

Owen and I loved these succulent letters! I think I need the "S" for our front door!

It was fun playing tourist in our own area. So often we drive through on our way to the beach or Pumpkin Festival and don't bother to check out any new places. I'm so glad we tried a new spot for lunch too!

Later after we got home I made a trip to the store for a few things and decided to make carrot cake for dessert! We love sweets in our family, but Keith and I try to only have them on Sunday evening, so when we do indulge I try to make it a good one! I used this Incredibly Moist and Easy Carrot Cake recipe and it was everything it claimed to be, although next time I would definitely double the frosting.

Speaking of recipes here's what's on my dinner menu for the week:

MONDAY - Cobb salad

TUESDAY - Roast chicken & roast veggies with brown rice

WEDNESDAY - Spaghetti squash & meatballs with roast broccoli

THURSDAY - Green chile chicken enchiladas with green salad

FRIDAY - takeout


After dinner and baths we put the boys to bed. They have been increasingly silly at bedtime lately. Luke likes to walk around in circles and spin himself around until he loses his balance. Owen thinks it's hilarious and tries to join in. They remind us of Donald O'Connor performing "Make 'Em Laugh" in Singin' in the Rain! Once they get the sillies it's hard to calm them down because they just feed off each other. 

After the boys were in bed Keith and I collapsed onto the couch to watch The Walking Dead and eat some carrot cake. It was heavenly!

Well, that was our weekend, and now we're about halfway to the next one already! Hooray!

March 14, 2017

Luke is 15 Months!

Our little Luke is growing bigger and bigger each week! Here is a little bit about him and all the ways he's changing.

Stats: Height - 31.5 inches (63%) Weight - 23lbs 5oz (59%) Head - 19.29 inches (95%)

Eating: You love food and sometimes I'm surprised (happily!) by how much you eat! Breakfast is usually scrambled eggs, oatmeal, avocado, pancakes, banana, cereal etc. For snacks you'll usually have some kind of pouch or try to eat what Owen is having. You recently discovered Goldfish crackers, and you're hooked. For dinner you'll have what we're eating plus some avocado or sweet potato, etc.

You love milk! You drink a bottle of milk right when you wake up in the morning and then a few smaller ones throughout the day. I've started cutting your whole milk with a little water because you love to have lots of bottles throughout the day.

Sleep: You're usually us 1-2 times through the night. If you wake up 2x then you usually sleep in later, but there is never a guarantee. You take 1-2 naps based on what time you woke up in the morning. Your naps are usually 2-3 hours long if you take one nap, and then if you take two naps each one ends up being about 1 1/2-2 hours. You wake up cranky after naps, unfortunately! Sometimes when you wake up in the night I think you've been having bad dreams because all you want it to get out of your room and you cry and scream until we go downstairs. Once we're on the couch downstairs you calm down and fall asleep on me, and then we go back up to your room.

Health: Last month you had another ear infection (or the same one that never went away) and the doctor gave you Rocephin, a shot given over three days, that helped the infection go away. You've been a pretty happy guy since then. After you started to feel normal again Daddy and I marveled at how much we missed our sweet, happy baby boy! We are so glad to see you feeling more like yourself again.  

This morning we took you in for a hearing test, and found that your ear drums are barely functioning because of all the fluid in your ears. It looks like you will definitely be getting tubes very soon, but we won't know for sure until we see your ENT, who we are waiting to hear back from.  

  • Cooking "with" me in the kitchen. Luke loves to be held while I cook anything and he likes to watch steam rise from the stove. He's a huge fan of steam!
  • He loves his brother! When we pick Owen up from school Luke always tries to squeeze his way through the door so he can find O and sit in his lap. 
  • Books! Currently he loves Chugga Chugga Choo Choo, Good Night Moon, all the Baby Touch & Feel books we have and the My First Colors & Shapes books. 
  • Dogs and birds. 
  • Riding in his Cozy Coupe. 
  • Being held upside down. 
  • Going to the doctor, which he's had to do a lot of in the last 3 months.  
  • Being taken away from mommy. 
Says: He says "mama", "dada", and some semblance of "hi". He also tries to sing-a-long when we sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  We know that you would probably be saying a lot more if you didn't have so many ear infections and so much fluid in your ears. We're hoping the tubes will fix that :) You also

Favorite toys: Kitchen toys, Minnie & Mickey's Mouse, blocks, balls, the Cozy Coupe, his broom and pretty much anything Owen is playing with! Loves to play outside. Loves to splash in water. Really loves getting to play in the sand box! 

Does: You wave "bye-bye" when someone says goodbye to you. You clap along to "If You're Happy and You Know It". You like to dump blocks / balls / anything out of containers and put them back in again. You love being read to and always want to sit in the reader's lap. You walk with confidence and can almost run now. You're a biter, unfortunately, and use it as a way to get attention or attack your brother when you want him to give you something of his.

Dear sweet little Luke,

We love you so much! You're such a fun, sweet and happy boy, although you still have a little spunk in you, and you're not afraid to let your feelings be known. You're such a joy and a seriously great snuggler!

xoxo, Mommy

March 13, 2017

Boy's Spring Style with Carter's for Kohl's

This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I was paid for this post and received the included Carter’s clothing as compensation. #playallday

Spring is right around the corner, my friends, and boy are we ready for it! I'm tired of the rainy days, all the time spent inside, and I am especially tired of all the winter weather clothes -- I can't wait for the bright, crispness of springtime clothing!

When dressing Luke and Owen my first concern is always that the clothes they wear are comfortable and conducive to play. While I always want them to look nice and pulled together I also want them to feel free to run, jump, climb and play in the dirt in whatever I put them in.

Each season when I buy new clothes for the boys I make sure we have a variety of play clothes that can be mixed and matched. This way even if I don't lay clothing out for them, and someone else gets them dressed (like Daddy!), they will still have an outfit that coordinates. The easiest way to make sure we can easily mix and match their clothes is to center the color choices around 3-4 colors, and of course, buying from the same clothing line can help with that too.

When I shop at Carter's I know I can pick a few main outfits and then supplement them with other pieces like t-shirts, cotton shorts and zip up hoodies that match the same style. Luke's little outfit is part of a little Mix & Match collection, so I was able to buy a few other pieces that work with what he's wearing.

If it were up to Owen he would probably spend everyday in sweatpants and a character tee, and most days I oblige because I want him to feel proud of what he's wearing and have some control over the way he is dressed, but every once in a while I insist on dressing him in the clothes I like.

He is a pretty easy going guy though, and happily puts on what I set out for him, especially if he gets to match with his brother. Let me tell you, it is hard to find matching and coordinating clothes that fit both my 5 year-old, who wears 6T, and my 15 month-old, who wears 18 month-old clothes. Not many brands make such cute things that I can coordinate in both boys' sizes. I'm so glad Carter's does!

Are your kids in need of some cute springtime clothes? Carter's is having a great sale that you don't want to miss! Starting 3/17 through 4/2 you can get $10 off a $40 purchase with promo code KIDSALE10!

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies. These affiliate links are not associated with Kohl’s.