I can hardly believe I am writing these words right now; our Julian Koki is TWO! These past two years have flown by, but I also feel like I’ve known Julian my whole life. I was just rereading Julian’s birth story, and it really does feel like it was yesterday. Parenting is a trip! I went all out on Julian’s 1st birthday, (one of my most viewed posts!) but this year, we’re going to celebrate with family and keep it low key. I wanted to take a minute to share some of the things I never want to forget about our Julian at this age. Love you bubba!
Our Jules has the biggest heart. When we read a book and one of the characters is sad, he presses his face to the page to offer some reassurance and love.
He loves to help mama bake in the kitchen, and fix things with his dada.
Without fail, he can always be found with two cars or two trucks; one for each hand.
Julian is an observer. He often sits back and will assess a situation before jumping in.
He loves to read all. day. long. It’s a lot to keep up with some days! He is starting to memorize a few of his favorite books, which has been so fun to see. His current favorites are Mighty Mighty Construction Site, I’m A Hungry Dinosaur and Run to the Rainbow.
Jules loves to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
He has an amazing memory when it comes to counting and saying the alphabet
Colors are not his strong suit. Everything is blue! It’s pretty funny actually.
Julian always greets his sister first thing in the morning before saying hello to anyone else. And when she’s asleep he searches for her.
He loves playing at Nana and Dude Pa’s and is learning to count in Japanese at his Baba and Gigi’s.
When he says the words “big” or “heavy” his voice lowers an octave, hehe!
Every night before bed we tell him who loves him, and he repeats it back, then says “You are so loved!” You are so loved Julian.
November marks a month of gratitude. I used to be diligent about writing in my gratitude journal every morning, but with the newborn stage, it has been hard to keep up with. Instead, I like to think of one thing I am grateful for everyday. It’s nothing profound, and is often the same thing day in and day out. I am grateful for my health, my home, my favorite coffee mug that has been dropped and never seems to break. But, above all else, I am grateful for my little family of four. Well, five with Mr. Jet Pup!
You know how people always reminiscence on the good o’le days? Well, I never loved college. I didn’t like to party, I loathed dating. I truly feel like these are the good o’le days for me. Cuddling my babies, staying in jammies and baking cookies, singing, reading and playing!
This month, I am reminded to focus on all the I have. And how, amazingly, all the things I have are things I have always wanted. A marriage built on love, friendship and respect. A bright and healthy son. A thriving, beautiful baby girl. A sweet rescue pup. A warm home. Those are the things I used to dream about; and now they are here. I vow to give thanks for all that I have been blessed with, and I hope you will join me in practicing gratitude.
Had to pop into the blog to wish you all a safe and Happy Halloween! This year I waited until approximately 2 days before Halloween to purchase our costumes: mom fail! This was the only one left that fit Inez! It’s funny because last year I went all out and had everything coordinated weeks in advance. It’s a whole new world with two!
Excuse the slightly blurry iPhone pics! Taking a selfie with a toddler and a baby is no joke. Mostly because of that crazy toddler.
I also picked Julian up an Elmo costume, because he is obsessed with Elmo and I just had to! He wore his costume to trick-or-treat at the library last week and I about died from the cuteness.
But, to tell you the truth, I really wanted to dress Julian up as Richard Simmons! If I wasn’t in such a sleep deprived brain fog, maybe I could have pulled it together. I mean those curls would have been perfect under a sweatband! Amiright?
I’ve been having a lot of fun with fashion lately! I was not one for maternity fashion, and I must say, I am so happy to no longer be pregnant. I find it a heck of a lot easier to dress myself when not accommodating a watermelon belly.
This bell sleeved trend is such a fun spin on a classic shirt! This sweater is only $40 and is the softest fabric. Those sleeves don’t do well in the kitchen when you’re hovering over food, but they are a fun look for date night! Speaking of date night, I’m thinking Jeff and I need to schedule some more. These days I’m just getting dressed up to run errands and head to the grocery store. Hope everyone has a great upcoming weekend! Can hardly believe it’s almost Halloween!
This is going to be a cut to the chase kind of blog post. I didn’t have the chance to snap photos of these delicious cookies after they were frosted, but before they were devoured! So this is the only photo you get! You’ll just have to take my word for it, these cookies are amazing. These are my favorite Halloween cookie cutters that I’ve had for years. I lost the pumpkin cutter somewhere along the way, but that is life.
I make these cookies every year, but this year has been especially fun. Now that Julian is a little older (almost 2, oh my word!) he has been able to help so much in the kitchen with me! If you follow along on Instagram (@heidi.stephens) you’ve probably seen that a lot! For a future post I may offer some tips on baking with toddlers if you all are interested.
Anyhow, happy baking everyone! Oh, and if you try this recipe out, be sure to tag me so I can see your spooky, sweet creations! Without further ado…
¾ cup butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
Grated rind of 1 lemon (or 1 tsp lemon extract)
¼ tsp salt
2 ½ cups flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
4oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
With a standing mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating until light in color. On low speed beat in egg and egg yolk just until combined. Add vanilla, lemon rind and salt. Add the flour until blended, do not over beat batter. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough and stamp with desired cookie cutters. Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet for approx 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before decorating. In a small bowl, beat the frosting ingredients until fluffy and well combined. Frost cookies. Store in an airtight container if you don’t eat them all! Enjoy!
Here are a few products and practices I use to look and feel my best in these hectic postpartum days! Mornings especially are chaotic, so I like to wake up and feel like I’m already somewhat put together. It’s nice to feel your best, even if you haven’t brushed your hair just yet.
Invest in your hair. About a year ago I had a gift card to Nordstrom, so I splurged on Oribe Gold Lust Shampoo and Conditioner that my stylist had been recommending to me for years. Holy cow, I wish I would have done this sooner. My hair is stronger, longer and shinier than ever before. But best of all, a little goes a long way so this investment will last you. And I once read that JoJo from The Bachelor uses it too, hey girl!2. Blow it out. Take a few extra minutes to blow dry your hair. I know, I know! That sounds time intensive! I’m talking just 5 minutes to blow dry your hair after a shower. This ionizing hair dryer is amazing and can dry my long hair in just a matter of minutes. Trust me, it’ll save you time in the long run. If I take just a few extra minutes to comb through and blow dry my hair, it can last me for days. I won’t tell you how many days exactly, but it’s a lot. Probably too many.
3. Dry shampoo saves the day. Extend your blow out with dry shampoo that gives you a lift. I swear by this Oribe Textruizing Dry Shampoo. Not only does it absorb oil, but it gives your root a boost. It has been my go-to for years and I use it nearly every day.
4. Overnight success. To save time in the mornings, I do a few things at night that will leave my hair soft and ready to go when I wake up. A spritz of dry shampoo, a little split-end treatment, toss my hair up in a bun and hit the sack.
5. Lashes. Getting lash extensions is a fun way to treat yourself and give your look a boost. It is so nice to wake up in the morning and feel like you’re already put together. Even while you’re still in your robe! I go to Blush by Brenna for my volume lashes, and I love that she makes your natural lash health a priority. Lashes are an investment and require monthly maintenance, but I love how they brighten up my face. Especially because I’m so tired (and tired looking) lately.
6. Hydrate. Every morning before I down my first cup of coffee, I have a tall glass of water to kick start my day. I can’t have my coffee until I’ve had my water, so I never forget! You don’t need me to tell you that staying hydrated can help you to look and feel your best. But there, I guess I did anyway.
7. Heal your preggo skin. No one has time for makeup postpartum! Well, for me, I had so many insecurities about my postpartum skin that I didn’t like skipping makeup. My pregnancy melasma caused lots of discoloration on my face. So, I would almost always use concealer to hide my problem areas. I worked with my aesthetician to combat my melasma with very specific products. I exfoliate with Arcona’s Brightening Gommage twice a week, and then nightly I use their Brightening Drops directly on my discoloration. It is still a work in progress, but my discoloration is improving immensely, and I can’t wait for the day it’s all gone!
8. Repair your scars. Alright, this one won’t apply to most, but I wanted to include it. I scar really, really bad. So, when my surgeon told me about these silicone scar repair strips that you can place over your c-section scar, I was all about it. I use them daily, and so far, my scar looks way better than my scar from having Julian! Having keloid scars can be painful, so I’m doing what I can to promote good healing.
These a just a few things that help me to look and feel my best in these crazy postpartum days. I always love hearing what products and practices others swear by. What helps you look your best? Let me know in the comments!