Meet Your Neighbors!

I’ve mentioned before that (about a month ago) we moved to a town right outside of Seattle. It’s no secret that I was not excited about being in the ‘suburbs’, at all.

HOWEVER, the thing that has surprised me the most about our move is how much we love our neighborhood. Sure the walkability isn’t great (*sigh*) and it’s not the most beautiful area to walk around, but, our neighbors are great!

And this is how I know that to be true… we’ve actually met a lot of them!

How To Meet Your Neighbors

In a place known for its ‘Seattle Freeze’, I’m shocked that we’ve met so many people after just a month of living here. We lived in our rental house in Seattle for two years and barely met anyone.

This has been our how-to-meet-neighbor secret:

Walk around. A lot. With small children.

The day after we moved in, another family came running out of their house to introduce themselves, because they have two girls the same age as our two girls. BONUS!

The neighbor across the street came over to introduce herself to me (that’s a whole other story in itself…) and ended up babysitting the two girls while I took a shower.

Then there are a few parents who Tim met while taking the girls on bike rides who have volunteered their kids to babysit ours – and of course we’ve taken them up on that offer!

I can’t believe how easy it is to meet people by just walking around and saying hello. (It doesn’t hurt that Tim will stop and talk to absolutely anyone and everyone.)

And it’s not just in Seattle it works…

A few weeks ago when we were in Las Vegas we were trying to burn some energy off after dinner, and we took the girls outside in our friends’ neighborhood to play a family game of tag. We were loud and I was afraid we were bothering people, but it turns out that it was a good meeting-people strategy. A mom and her kids came out of their house and chased us down the street to say hello! They had just  moved into the neighborhood and were looking to meet families with young kids, and I felt so bad telling them that we didn’t actually live there! But we did have a really nice conversation.

So before it gets super cold and everyone heads inside for the winter, I want to urge you to get outside and meet your neighbors (if you haven’t already)! Or hang out in your front yard instead of your back yard! Take slow walks! Go on slow bike rides! I have a firm belief that most people love connecting, but everyone appears to be in too much of a rush for those connections to happen.

And if all else fails, make a batch of cookies and hand them out. Everyone loves cookies.

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A life update (in bullet point form)

Well this past month or so has been a whirlwind of chaos in the best (or maybe worst?) kind of way, so I’m resorting to a list form to give the bare basics update of what we’ve been up to.

+ We went to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for one of my best friend’s weddings! It was a blast but a looooong freakin’ way away from Seattle. This one deserves a whole blog post, so I shall write one. Probably. Eventually. Basically, if you’re on the east coast, I strongly suggest you make a drive to see the Outer Banks! And the wild horses on the beach! And to have the adventure of driving on sand! We had a great time and the girls are still talking nonstop about how much fun they had as flower girls.

outer-banks-wedding benroeck-family

+ We came back from North Carolina and moved a few days later – to the first house we own together! If you’re considering moving with two toddlers – don’t do it. Save yourselves. The move itself wasn’t too bad because we hired packers and movers (always the best decision for our marriage), but I may be unpacking boxes for the rest of my days. Plus, our house renovation is not done so we’re living in a house without most of the furniture we’ll need, without outlet covers, without closet doors, without a master bathroom vanity or shower door… it is not ideal. But we’re in! So that’s a win.

+ (Pre)school started last week! Not to be confused with the week of Labor Day. We may or may not have brought Clara to school a week early, only to realize that there was no school for another few days. Whoops. Nothing like starting the year with a giant parent fail. It can only get better from here, right?!

+ Also starting a new year is our Seattle MOPS group! I’m so excited to get the ball rolling with another great group of table leaders and participants! We had our table leader training a week ago and it went super well. It should be a fun year and it’s taken a lot of work to get this far, and there’s a lot of work still left to do before we kick off the year ‘officially’ with our first meetings in October. If you’re a mother of a preschooler and haven’t joined a MOPS group, you should see if there’s one that meets in your area!

+ We went to Las Vegas last week for a few days while Tim was at a work conference. Luckily, one of my college roommate lives there, so we were able to stay with her and her family (including her sweet and squishy newborn baby!). We had such a fun time in the sunshine and heat and it definitely prolonged our summer for just a bit!

+ Audrey launched another Fall Outfit Challenge and of course I’m participating! Not having to figure out what I’m going to wear for a few months is a huge win in my book, and I always look forward to the release of her outfit challenges / fashion guides.

… And that about sums it up for the last month or so!

Now that we’re more settled in to our new place, I hope to have more time to write… but I feel like that’s my intention every time and then life happens!

I hope you’re having a wonderful start to the fall season!

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5 Things To Do At Night To Make Your Days Easier

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Tidepurclean #TryTidepurclean

5 Things To Do At Night To Make Your Days Easier

5 Things To Do At Night To Make Your Days Easier

A load of laundry

Every single night I run a load of laundry, most recently using Tide purclean (a new plant-based detergent!). I’ve heard this ‘do daily laundry’ tip from a few different people, and finally decided to try it out a few months ago. It has been life changing for me! I used to be guilty of waiting a week or two between laundry loads, and then I would have piles all over the house of clean laundry, dirty laundry, maybe clean laundry (but possibly dirty?)… it was chaos. And the folding. OH, THE FOLDING. It took forever. It turns out, it’s MUCH easier to do a small load of laundry each night, so that in the morning I can fold it and put it away in about five minutes. This makes a dreaded chore not-such-a-dreaded chore.

5 Things To Do At Night To Make Your Days Easier

Most recently, our favorite detergent is Tide purclean. It comes in both unscented and honey lavender scents, and I’ve been alternating between the two. This is a plant-based detergent (yay!) that I feel great about using on my family’s (especially toddlers’!) clothing. In fact, Tide purclean is the first plant-based detergent that has the cleaning power of Tide.

I’ve been trying out a variety of natural products and detergents lately, and was happy to see that Tide has come out with one that is free of dyes, chlorine, phosphates, ethanolamine and optical brighteners. Plus, I was able to pick it up during a trip to Target with my littles. (It is in the ‘gentle detergents’ section. Also, remember to use the Cartwheel app so you can get a discount!)

Purclean Target badge-01

5 Things To Do At Night To Make Your Days Easier 5 Things To Do At Night To Make Your Days Easier

A load of dishes

We always, always, ALWAYS run our dishwasher at night. Even though our current dishwasher is so loud that we can’t hear the TV over it. (I’m so glad we’re moving and leaving this rental dishwasher craziness behind us!) We easily fill the dishwasher every single night, because we cook at home daily, but even if we don’t, we still run the dishwasher. While the girls eat their breakfast in the morning I put all of the dishes away and start loading the dishwasher again. This keeps our counter (relatively) clean of dirty dishes, and also ensures we don’t run out of spoons midday!

The 10 minute cleanup

I hate picking up kids’ toys, but I also can’t get anything done in a house filled with chaos. I’ve been trying to encourage the girls to pick up their own things, but bedtime mayhem still ensures that there are always lots of things out of place by the time we’re winding down for the night. So, I always spend a few minutes picking up everything, so that when we wake up in the morning, we enjoy 30 seconds of a clean house. If I don’t clean up the clutter at night, our hectic morning stresses me out way more, because then the mess gets bigger and bigger and then I really lose motivation.

Make breakfast

The last thing I feel like doing after dinner is making breakfast for the next morning, but I find that it’s the only way to ensure I don’t skip the first meal of the day. In the mornings I tend to be running around trying to get out the door with the two toddlers, and I don’t always have time to eat, much less make, a meal for myself. However, if I make a smoothie or jar of overnight oats at night, I will definitely be able to grab it as I head out the door in the morning.

Journal

One of my resolutions as of late has been to journal every night. (I don’t actually remember every night, but I’m trying to make it a habit!) I attempt to write a few bullet points of things I’m thankful for and/or have accomplished that day, so that I go to bed satisfied and grateful and ready to start a new adventure the next day! I find that focusing on what I did (instead of my to-do list for the next day) helps me to start my next day with purpose and optimism!

Now if only I had some extra energy after the girls go to bed to make sure I could get all of these things done every single evening! I’m working on making it all a habit/routine, though, because doing these things at night really does make everything go more smoothly the next day!

Tide purclean at Target

If you’re interested in trying a new plant-based detergent, remember to buy Tide purclean in-store at Target using your Cartwheel app for a discount until mid-September!

What do you do at night to make your days easier?

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Our Decision To Buy A House

Tim and I bought a house this spring, and we closed in June. No one is more shocked by this than me! It was such a whirlwind experience. The housing market (as I mentioned before) is super competitive, and house shopping with two toddlers was certainly not an easy experience.

I have always said that I love renting. Like, until really recently, I thought we might just never buy a house. But then, the housing market in Seattle started rising and rising and it became a fear of ours that we would eventually not be able to afford a house in this area at all. (We already can’t afford a house in the actual city of Seattle, so we are moving a few miles north of where we are now.)

A little about our decision to buy a house Then there were the other considerations… we wanted to ensure the girls would start school in a decent school district, we wanted to establish a community with neighbors that would last for years, we wanted to give the girls some consistency, we wanted to buy furniture we know will fit in our space, we wanted to feel settled and not need to move every year or two… the list goes on.

Honestly I love change, so I enjoy moving every few years to a new neighborhood, but with two small kids, moving is such a hassle, and we decided it was finally time to settle down, become a ‘real’ adult, and buy a darn house.

Tim had owned a house before and loves being a homeowner, so he was on board immediately when I brought up the possibility of buying a home. Three weeks after we started looking, we had a house under contract!

A little about our decision to buy a house

And now we’re moving in at the end of this month. 

Between the end of June and the end of August we have been working on a ton of renovations. And by ‘we have been working on’ I mean ‘we have hired people to work on’. We redid all of the floors, the paint on all of the walls/ceiling, we re-tiled the fireplace, took out the kitchen and completely redid it, tore out three bathrooms and redid those, and are creating a little laundry closet.

It’s been A LOT. So all of that is coming together… and now I’m working on picking out all new furniture for the house, too.

It will be a miracle when this all comes together.

Although house ‘stuff’ (anything domestic) isn’t really my thing, the process has been relatively painless from a decision-making standpoint (because I’ve been working with an awesome interior designer who makes my life easy). I have always said I don’t care about making the small decisions in a house, but the more I see the house coming together, the more I realize that it is going to be so pretty, and such an upgrade from the houses we’ve had as rentals.

So wish us luck these next few weeks! We have three (!!) trips planned, a  move, and just a lot of life planned in that time! I can’t wait to see it all come together.

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Getting ready to go back-to-school with Fred Meyer!

It’s that time again…

When it’s suddenly the beginning of August and I feel like summer has just started but somehow the stores have their back to school gear out which makes me almost long for fall.

We love shopping at Fred Meyer for all of our back-to-school needs!

In particular, I’m most excited for:

+ Slightly cooler weather. OK, I say this reluctantly because the PNW has gorgeous, perfect summer weather. But if I’m being honest with myself, I prefer the fall temperatures here.

+ A good rainy morning.

+ Our routine. Summer feels so chaotic and a little bit stressful because each week seems different. Part of me thrives in this, but part of me cannot wait for the school year routine.

+ Extracurricular activities. This year I plan on signing Clara (and maybe Isabelle) up for quite a few different activities. TBD on what they are… suggestions welcome!

+ School! (For both girls!) Isabelle will be at school this year, too, as soon as she turns 2.5 years old, and I’m already so excited for some toddler-free time. What will I do for these 4 (maybe 8?!) extra hours a week?! NO ONE KNOWS but it will be fantastic.

Don’t misunderstand me, though, we have a lot of plans this summer still and I am in no rush for this season to end… but there is definitely some good stuff to come!

This is what put me in a fall state-of-mind: I was at Fred Meyer with both girls the other day (a recipe for disaster, as they somehow manage to load up my cart with whatever they can reach every time I turn my head for just a moment), and found quite a few goodies for my girls.

We love shopping at Fred Meyer for all of our back-to-school needs!

We love shopping at Fred Meyer for all of our back-to-school needs!

Per usual, I bought them each a new outfit, because I simply cannot walk through a section of kids clothes without buying them something. Girl mom problems, I guess. (It’s a good thing I don’t go shopping more often!) But what I really loved were the lunch goodies. There were so many water bottles and insulated lunchboxes and basically all of the things in so many cute patterns. Clara eats lunch at her preschool, so I just had to grab a few items for her. I decided not to give her the items yet (even though she of course saw them in the cart), and I think she’s going to be thrilled to receive a new lunchbox and water bottle for a back-to-school gift in September!

We love shopping at Fred Meyer for all of our back-to-school needs!

We love shopping at Fred Meyer for all of our back-to-school needs!

I was excited to learn that Fred Meyer has a “Support Your School” program, in which the customer’s school district earns $1 from Fred Meyer and $1 from each participating brand (including Under Armour and GE!) when they buy Back To School clothes and shoes. All you have to do is link your Rewards Card and scan it every time you shop at Fred Meyer! I happily supported this cause by buying the girls an outfit (or two…).

I’m hosting a giveaway on Instagram to win a $100 Fred Meyer Gift Card, so be sure to check that out!

I would like to leave you with this photo, because this is what happens when I ask my kids to show me their backpacks… this is not what I had in mind, exactly, with that request.

We love shopping at Fred Meyer for all of our back-to-school needs!

This post was sponsored by Fred Meyer, but all opinions are, of course, my own!

Are you ready for fall and a new school year?!

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