Wednesday, July 28, 2021

10th Bloggy Birthday & Giveaway!

Happy 10th Birthday to Polka-Dotty Place!

I cannot believe I've been blogging for ten years.  Wow!  My blog is older than my kids - ha!  

I started blogging back in 2011 to stay connected to family and friends.  I have blogged about everything from teaching to travel from pets to parenting.  The good and the bad of my life over the past ten years.  My blog has survived 6 moves, 4 states, adding 3 kids, 2 kittens and much more ups and downs.  I've loved every minute of it and am so thankful to have had this creative outlet.




I'm a list maker so here's my list of blogging favorites ten years later:

1. My friends.  

I'm so thankful that you show up here every week to read what I write.  Thank you for following along and being my friends.  I've known some of you since the very beginning and you've become dear friends to me.  And if you're a newer blog friend, I'm so glad we got connected.  I am always so thankful when I see a comment, a text or a card in my mailbox from my blog friends.  I just love that I've made friends that I can connect with about so many different things all thanks to this blog.  If I had to scroll through my phone you'd see text and emails about adding a 3rd kid to the family, losing a beloved dog, praying for a friend's husband, a new house, a new move, cats, prayer requests, kids going off to college, bonding over the lack of sleep we're getting in this stage of life, tips about traveling to Naples, cancer and the loss of a daughter.  All from blog friends that I've mostly only met online.  It's wild and wonderful!

2. Documenting the Highlights

I love scrolling back through the archives to see the highlights of our trips, our family moments, day to day life with littles and more.  I'll always be thankful that I took the time to write stuff down.  My memory isn't the best so rereading old blog posts is my favorite.  I really love rereading each kid's birth stories, our infertility story, birthday party posts and funny things the kids say.

 3. Sharing What I Love

I love my family and being a mom.  I love cooking, making pretty food and wearing outfits I love.  I enjoy all things hospitality related - party planning, hosting, organizing, holidays, decorating and making friends.  It's so fun to share those interests with you and build community here.  I've enjoyed meeting other bloggers, working with brands, reviewing books, styling products I love and sharing things I use and love with you.  I really, truly look forward to blogging when I see it on my to do list.

And since we're talking favorites...

I have a fun giveaway to celebrate Polka-Dotty Place turning 10!

I'm giving away one $25 Amazon gift card via email to a lucky reader.

All you have to do is comment below:

Tell me your favorite blog posts from me or any future post ideas that you'd like to see from me!


For a bonus entry, head over to instagram (@polkadottyplace) for one more entry option.

You've got from now through the weekend to enter.  I'll announce the winner on Monday morning.  Be sure to include your email in your comment so I can contact you :)

THANK YOU for reading and enjoying my blog!  You're the best!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Leo 10-12 Months

Better late than never... Leo turned one in April.  

I've had this post on my to do list since April to document his 10-12 month milestones just like all of the other kids.  I was determined that anything I did for Olive, I would do for the boys.  I can't let this milestone slip by.  So here's the last of his monthly milestone posts.  I'd done all the work of snapping the pictures.  I just had to gather them all here.

Someone asked me how many months Leo was the other day and I said: "Ummm he's one!"  Then had to do some counting to say he's almost 16 months.  I probably could have answered that question easily with Olive, with a little hesitation with Fletcher and now my brain is just on overload keeping track of all the things this time around.  Any other moms out there that can relate??   

Leo // 10 Months

You are VERY BUSY.  You are a baby tornado leaving a path of destruction wherever you go.  You like to dump all the baskets, empty all the drawers and you are starting to have opinions.  You want your own snack bowl, your own space and you've started pulling hair.  You can now give kisses, take 1-2 steps and you enjoy going on winter walks since we got a bubble cover for your stroller.  It must be cozy in there!

We got well over a foot of snow this week and you loved it.  You weren't so sure about those single digit temp days of playing in the snow, but when things warmed up a bit you crawled and tunneled your way through the yard.

You aren't sleeping very well this month and are very accident prone.  You decided you no longer needed your paci.  That made us all sad.  We had to travel to your first funeral - your great grandpa - Papa passed away.


Leo // 11 Months

You started taking enough steps and wanting to be mobile so you wore your first pair of shoes (hand me downs from Fletcher).  You're standing really well, waving hello and got to go to your first trip to Wisconsin Dells.  You enjoyed the water parks and are trying to say a few new words.  You blankets are your favorite.  They were the soft swaddle blankets that you loved as a baby and now you drag them around with you wherever you go. 

You are a foodie and love most foods we've introduced you to.  You also love to chew the erasers off of pencils anytime you find them.  That really frustrates your big sister.  You enjoy stroller rides and babble the whole time.  When you hear music you love, you dance.  The Beach Boys made you dance this month so we keep singing it to you.  You took 7 steps and will be walking in no time.  This makes you our earliest walker.  You've got to keep up with your siblings. 

Mama is still your #1.  You cry when nice ladies talk to you and are totally smiley and friendly around men.  You're wearing size 5 diapers and size 18 month clothes.  You have 11 teeth and 4 new molars.  Maybe that's what has been interrupting your sleep.  You still take one nice nap every afternoon that allows mom to get done all the things.


Leo // 12 Months

You had and really enjoyed your first DumDum sucker.  You're a big fan.  You are walking well now and have started throwing tantrums.  You love cake, loved a cheeseburger kid's meal at Culvers and are happy to hang out at home. 

You celebrated your 2nd Easter, were skeptical of the furry Easter bunny and hunted your first eggs.  You love finding treats inside of them, but probably enjoyed shaking them and making noise more. 

You love bath time, any water, snuggles, getting into all of the kitchen drawers, the cats and you love music.  

Time sure flies!

And that's a wrap on the Leo monthly milestones.  We love you tons, Leo!

Monday, July 26, 2021

Cheers to 17 Years + 4 Marriage Tips

Kevin and I celebrated 17 years of marriage on Saturday!  What a big milestone :)  We didn't plan any big trips or do anything extravagant; just celebrated with our little family and it was nice.  I guess you'd call that a real life anniversary.  Sweet and simple.

We always look forward to our family's birthday and including the kids in our celebration.

We exchanged cards and no gifts.  Actually, I take that back.  We bought a few things for the house that had been on our wish list this year - like a nice patio table!  And we really love having a big table for entertaining out there.

Let's walk down memory lane for a sec... July 24, 2004.

We planned our wedding in 6 months.

It was an unseasonable cloudy and cool day in Southern Indiana.

We took almost all of our wedding pictures before the wedding.  It was so nice to have those done first.  And we had a private moment alone where we got to see each other for the first look.

We had a candlelit service at 5:30pm

I loved my dress.  I tried on several and just knew this one was perfect for me.  It was only $99 and my veil cost more than my dress.

We ordered a square cake to go with my princess cut diamond ring.   

Kevin wanted to wear gray tuxes and my mom said no.  He still gives her a hard time about this.

I wanted hot pink and light pink roses in my bouquet, but my florist said no.  Something about brides do don't bold colors in their bouquets.  We compromised by adding Lily of the Valley, greenery and some pretty ribbon.

Back to reality... We enjoyed a quiet weekend at home :)

We headed to our favorite hibachi restaurant in town with the whole crew.  Our waiter was one of Kevin's former students.  He got called Dr Jordan all night :)  We also bumped into some friends that used to be our neighbors when we first moved to town.  It was fun to catch up with them and everyone wolfed down their food.  Leo loved it, too.  The kids love the hibachi cooking in front of them.  We headed to a bookstore afterward to do some browsing and book buying.

This cutie was the only one at our table who caught the zucchini the chef tossed at him in his mouth.  Everyone else missed and he was very proud of himself.

I love this crazy crew!

Kevin picked up grocery store flowers (probably with a coupon :) in our wedding colors like he always does - light pink and dark pink.  They are so pretty!  I am making us a strawberry pie - our favorite summer pie - to celebrate. 

I'll end with 4 marriage tips:

1. Communicate.

Talk about everything.  The good.  The bad and everything in between.  Don't expect your spouse to read your mind.  Even after 17 years we have plenty of things to talk through.

2. Always ask your spouse, "How can I help you?"

Whether you're having people over for dinner, planning an event, managing kid schedules, working full or part time, making dinner or cleaning the house.  It just feels good to know that someone sees your effort, notices you and is asking how they can help.  Both spouses need to ask and answer this question.

3. Establish your own family traditions

Both of you will come into your marriage with traditions you grew up doing.  Some will be super meaningful and others may be less important to you  Pick and choose the ones you want to continue and then establish some of your own.  It'll feel really special to have these traditions to look forward to all throughout the year.  It's especially fun if you add kids to the mix and you include them in your family traditions.

4. Do new things together.

Visit new places.  Learn new hobbies.  Move to a new city.  Buy a new house.  Try new recipes.  All those new things you do together will bring you closer.

What's your best marriage tip?

Friday, July 23, 2021

Friday Faves

Happy Friday!  I hope you've had a great week.  We had a good one despite Fletcher not feeling great for several days.  We're all feeling good now and ready for the weekend.

Let me share my Friday Fave moments from the week with you!

1 // 40 Charcuterie board!

My favorite thing that I've made all week... maybe all Summer was this 40 charcuterie board for my husband's 40th birthday!  It was such a fun themed dinner.  He really enjoyed it and so did the kids.  I loved making the 40 boards and am adding them to my shop.  People are excited about them!

2 // Normal Things

It's so nice to see some normal things returning.  We all went to the store to pick out a birthday present for a party the kids are going to on Friday.  We spotted this penny horse ride at Meijer.  It had been put away for over a year thanks to covid.  Leo had never gotten a chance to go for a ride.  He LOVED it and we loved watching him.

3 // Summer Fun

Every day we're getting out and about, going to parks, meeting up with friends and trying to enjoy our Summer days together.  Summer is really flying by so fast.  All the kids have grown so much, but Leo is really looking less and less like a baby every day.  He's a big guy.

4 // 18 holes & a fox

Kevin's been playing a lot of golf this Summer.  He snapped this picture during his round this week and couldn't wait to show it to us.  Of course, Olive asked him What did the fox say?  Such a handsome guy!

5 // Patio Meetings

My mom's group has been meeting at different patios all over the area.  I have had dinner and desserts on lots of different patios with the board planning lots of fun events for the coming months.  We tried a new Mexican place recently and this week was pie on the patio from Grand Traverse Pie Company.  Yum!

6 // Salad of the Week

I figured out that I do best eating salads when I eat the same salad several times in one week.  I buy all the ingredients, chop veggies for several salads at once and then change up the dressing each day.  This was so good - tons of veggies, ham, hard boiled eggs on a bed of romain lettuce.

7 // Lemon Love Charcuterie Boxes

I'm building lemon themed charcuterie boxes today and tomorrow for my Jordan Bakery Boxes.  They're going to be SO CUTE!  I was really excited to find all of this lemon stuff at Aldi this month.

8 // Feeling Good

I've been on such a good roll with exercising in June and July.  I feel really good and proud of myself for making this a top priority.  I think it's so easy for moms to focus on everyone else in the family so I literally put exercising on my to do list every single day.

9 // Art in the Afternoon

We've been enjoying art in the afternoon most afternoons at home.  The kids have been loving the free time to paint.  We did all kinds of paints, all kinds of brushes and Leo caused all kinds of chaos in the background :)

10 // Kitty Smiles

It makes me smile when I catch a kitten smile :)

Cheers to a nice weekend!!  We're celebrating our anniversary and hoping to have a great weekend!  Hope you have a good one, too :)

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