Summer Days

Is there anything worse than the humid southern heat? And is there anything better than fresh watermelon on a hot summer day? Since Henry will be starting Pre-K in August, I decided that June would be his last month of preschool, so that we could all spend time together in July. Having both kids alone five days a week is definitely a challenge but I know these moments are fleeting so I am really trying to enjoy them. This month we have swim lessons planned for Henry, a family trip to Athens, movie dates with friends and lots of indoor park play (give me that AC!) I can’t believe Evelyn will be 18 months old on the 10th and Henry just turned 4. They are both finally at an age where they like to be around each other. Henry constantly makes her laugh and has really taken to this older brother thing. He teaches her words, gets her sippy cups full of water and generally likes to boss her around, which she loves. I cannot wait to see their relationship grow and I’m really thankful that they let me take their pictures so I can document these sweet moments. I love this stage that they’re both in and wish I could freeze time, since they are changing every day. Why does childhood have to go by so fast? buy adalat online https://medstaff.englewoodhealth.org/wp-content/languages/new/adalat.html no prescription








I can’t get over her face in this last picture! She was having trouble figuring out how to eat the watermelon and was super frustrated. I love capturing their personalities and living in an age where it is totally acceptable to document everything your kids do. I’m definitely going to be that PTA mom that is constantly participating in every classroom activity 🙂 buy advair online https://medstaff.englewoodhealth.org/wp-content/languages/new/advair.html no prescription
I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week!

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TMNT 4th Birthday

I cannot believe Henry is FOUR today! It feels like each year goes by faster than the last and it’s always so bittersweet. I usually spend the night before my kids birthday ugly crying and carb loading. Year three was our hardest as parents of a wild boy, but the last few weeks are showing some signs of change so we are hopeful that this threenager is behind us {fingers crossed}. When Henry told me he wanted a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party my first thought was “How in the hell am I going to make this look cute?” Luckily it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Our backyard is ideal for entertaining so we took full advantage of it this year. We already have a play-set, sandbox, water table and two power wheels. For the party we rented a TMNT bounce house which was a huge hit with all the kids and if you are having an outdoor birthday, I highly suggest renting one!
The set up of the party was a lot of fun and easier than previous ones. Since the entire party was outdoors, I only had 2 main tables: a dessert table and a goody bag/party accessories table which also doubled as the food table when the pizza came. When guests walked up to the party they immediately saw the table which had foam nunchucks, face masks and turtle shells for the kids to wear.
The amazing cake was created by Natalie at Cake Envy. She also designed Henry’s third birthday pirate cake and every year I get wowed even more.The cookies are also from another Atlanta local, Debbie, from Whimsical Designs. She is my go to cookie lady and I use her for all my parties and any party I’m planning for a client. You may remember her cookies from Evelyn’s first birthday and Henry’s second. I love that I can send both of these ladies a picture of what I am envisioning and they can bring it to life.
I have to give a huge thank you to Dominos and New Belgium Brewing for providing the pizza and beer for the party. The beer was so refreshing and a must when Dad’s are attending a party and everyone raved about how delicious the pizza was. Be sure to check them out when planning your next party or get together!
I loved seeing Henry have such an amazing time at his birthday. It makes all the long days of planning totally worth it. Since my kids parties are always a little hectic with a lot going on, it can be hard to remember all the moments from the day. This year I decided to have a video shot by a local videographer and I cannot tell you how much I am obsessed with it. Leila was so sweet and professional and the kids loved her, which meant she had no problem getting amazing footage. I don’t know why it took me so long before jumping on the video bandwagon but there’s no turning back now. I’ve watched the video probably 100 times and it’s so nice that I can share it with family who couldn’t make the party. Want to see the video? Click here!

A special thank you to my sweet friends Jessica & Kelly for snapping pics, my mom for watching Henry and my amazing husband for always helping with set up and prep for these crazy parties I throw. Here is a full list of all the incredible vendors, without which I could not have made this party happen.

Pizza – c/o Dominos
Beer – c/o New Belgium Brewing
Cake – Cake Envy
Bounce House – Jumptastic
Number 4 – c/o Swanky Party Box
Felt Pizza Banner – c/o Little Lion Lovelies Co.
Splinter Cupcake Toppers – Toad Hollow
Custom Pizza Box Labels – Type Meets Paper
Brick Back Drop – Amazon
Green Gable Boxes – Amazon
Raphael Print – Big Chris Gallery {I purchased the digital file & had them printed larger}
Turtle Shells – DIY Instructions here


In this crazy age of social media there seems to always be advice on motherhood and happy/sad/be careful articles being shared on Facebook and Twitter every time I scroll through my news feed. They get me every time. It’s like torturing yourself as a parent to read each one but I always do. I can’t remember my favorites and least favorites, nor can I tell you a profound excerpt from any of them. Until this one. This October marks five years since I’ve been reading blogs, magazines and articles about motherhood, written by mothers. Nothing has ever stood out to me as much as these words have. In fact, just one word: ALWAYS.


An excerpt written by Beverly Beckham:
Always is what you miss. Always knowing where they are. At school. At play practice. At a ballgame. At a friend’s. Always looking at the clock mid day and anticipating the door opening, the sigh, the smile, the laugh, the shrug. “How was school?” answered for years in too much detail. “And then he said . . . and then I said to him. . . .” Then hardly answered at all.


Always, knowing his friends.
Her favorite show.
What he had for breakfast.
What she wore to school.
What he thinks.
How she feels.

{June 28, 2012: The best day of my life}

{February 2013, 7 months old}
Of course I read this at midnight while trolling Facebook. In the middle of the night when mothers are so exhausted but cannot stop thinking about the days ahead and the previous day. Was I kind enough? Did I yell too much? Am I giving him the attention he deserves? Is the oven still on? You all know those wee hours when everyone else is sound asleep but you’re left with your thoughts that just won’t shut off. They play back like an awful Lifetime movie on repeat. After I cried myself to sleep I woke up the next morning a new person. A new mother even. I was desperate to see Henry and talk to him. Not tell him to go watch TV while I unloaded the dishwasher. It was like I was meeting him for the first time. I wanted to know everything about him. I wanted to hear his voice talk to me all day instead of constantly saying “okay” and “yes I heard you” in a rushed tone for the hundredth time as I’m busy doing something else that can wait. When he is going off to college am I really going to remember how clean my kitchen was while it meant sacrificing time with my son? My firstborn, the one who made me a mother, my precious boy who acts out only because he wants more time with me. buy tegretol online https://bethanyhealthcare.org/wp-content/languages/new/tegretol.html no prescription

{November 2013, 17 months old}
{January 2014, 19 months old}


{April 2014, 22 months old}
I’m sure it’s normal to focus more energy on one child than other at different times in their life. Obviously a baby that cannot do anything on her own requires more attention than a toddler who is self sufficent. As sad as it is that Evelyn is getting older, it does make me happy that she is becoming a little more independent: she can play on her own, keep her attention on things and feed herself (for the most part). Now I can put more focus and energy back into Henry who I honestly feel kind of got a little shafted this past year. Having a newborn and working full time up until August was a huge adjustment for him and us. Before Evelyn came I was able to give him constant one on one time. Adding another baby to the mix definitely changed our dynamic and it changed me. I feel like I became shorter and angrier with him over the smallest things. Instead of taking deep breaths and talking to him I was quicker to yell or scold. Instead of spending quality time with him I was so focused on Evelyn that my husband became his primary caregiver. I know the old saying when you have more than one child: divide and conquer. buy tenormin online https://bethanyhealthcare.org/wp-content/languages/new/tenormin.html no prescription
But really, I was only taking care of Evelyn while my husband did everything for Henry. As I sit typing this and thinking back to the past year I have been hit with major mom guilt. My 2016 word of the year is balance and as I’ve been thinking about balance this last month, it’s hit me that I need to balance more time with Henry. A good friend said to me last night “they’re only little once and I want my kids around me as long as possible before they get bigger and start school” which is totally true. Instead of me wishing for time to pass thinking “I can’t wait until Henry starts Pre K” or “When he turns 4 I hope it’s better than 3 has been,” I need to embrace everything about him and try to cherish every moment we have together. I never knew motherhood could be this emotionally hard. Fussy babies, screaming tantrums, sleepless nights .. that I can deal with. It’s the emotional side that gets me, and it’s the emotional side that can make me a better mother. The days are long but the years are short. Today I will slow down, smile, and enjoy it. buy tricor online https://bethanyhealthcare.org/wp-content/languages/new/tricor.html no prescription

{May 2015, almost 3 years old}

Fall Sweaters for Boys





sweater (target, in stores) // jeans // shoes
As Henry is getting older it’s becoming so hard to find cute clothes for him. Long gone are the days where I can dress him in leggings, a cute t shirt and a beanie. He is becoming a little boy which means real pants, real shoes and more mature clothing {insert sad emoticon}. Cue Target and H&M. They are killing it this season with their toddler sweaters and Mr. Rogers cardigans. I purchased the sweater pictured above at my local Target for twelve dollars. All the ones listed below are $25 and under so that means you can snag a few without pissing your husband off too bad (because you can only use the phrase “but he needs this one” so many times). Happy shopping, mama’s! buy nexium online http://padstyle.com/wp-content/languages/new/nexium.html no prescription
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10

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our favorite boy tees

Finding hip toddler boy clothes can be a bit of a challenge because let’s face it, 2 and 3 year old boys really just wear shorts and t-shirts everyday. When Henry was born I swear the only baby clothing companies I knew of were baby Gap and Carters. My how times have changed. I feel like everyday I see a new shop pop up on Instagram with a fun new saying. I have always been a fan of slogan tees and there is no shortage of them out there. Something with a bit more appeal than just a plain shirt you can buy if you visit website for more designs made from A cotton fabric with a great handle. It has a tight weave which keeps heat in well, but is very lightweight and breathable, making it great for all-season baby clothes.  Pima cotton is among the softest and most delicate kinds of cotton in the world because of its extra-large staple fiber that exceeds the size of average cotton fiber.
We’re big fans too of throwing a long sleeve button up over our outfit in fall and rolling up the sleeves, so that summer tees can be worn year round. If you follow me on Instagram (@chanelvanreenen), you can see more of my Henry’s boy style. Hashtag #henryvrootd and you can see the obsessive shopping addiction that I have succumbed to.
*sidenote, did anyone notice how many pictures I have of my son eating? boy loves his food*


Henry THREE year update

Ahhh my sweet, wild, determined boy. Whoever coined the phrase “terrible twos” has obviously never met the number 3. He is full of emotions and can be super happy and my big helper one second and then spiral into a crazed pshychotic meltdown because I gave him a bowl of blueberries. WHEN HE ASKED FOR BLUEBERRIES. Oh motherhood … This too is just a phase and will pass but there are some days when I literally count down the minutes until nap time. I know all my boy moms out there feel me! In all fairness though, he can be the sweetest little boy. Lately he tears at my heartstrings by saying things like “but I want to hang out as a family together”, telling our dog Sammy that he’s his buddy, and saying to Dolly “I missed you today, girl.” He approaches everything without fear. He is confident, brave, resilient and curious. 

One of my favorite bloggers, Bluebird, used to do a series called Conversations with Birdie in which she would film conversations with her youngest daughter. I had stored this idea in the back of my mind until Henry was old enough to actually have a real conversation back and forth. As you can see from this video, his attention span is not that long so the conversations are short. I always take plenty of pictures of the kids but never enough videos so this is my way of trying to consciously be better at it. 
Henry’s Three Year Update

Height: 38″
Weight: 34 pounds 
Favorite Songs: Hot Dog, Chugga Chugga Soul, Honey I’m Good, Ain’t Nothing but a G Thang
Favorite Shows/ Movies: Mickey Mouse Club House, Super Wings, Cailou (my least favorite show ever. Cailou is a whiny little B), Thomas the Tank Engine, Toy Story and most recently Sheriff Kallie. A show about a girl cat who is a sheriff in the wild wild west who rides a my little pony. He is totally my child. 
Likes: Singing his ABC’s thirty times a day, dancing in his batman boots for his sister, showing off his muscles, swimming and playing in the water. Last month he also started Karate and looking at him in his uniform makes my heart burst. 
Dislikes: The word NO
Proudest Mom Moment: Three year olds have no control over the volume of their voice and it’s often high pitched and loud. It’s the perfect pitch to sometimes break glass, communicate with dogs and wake sleeping babies. One time when his dog calls woke Evelyn up, I said “Henry you woke the damn baby!” Now, every time there is a problem he uses the word ‘damn’ to emphasize how upset he is. So I cannot really fault him for this because he is using the word in the right context. Like so:
“I can’t find my damn shoes” 
“We need to clean up this damn mess” 
“The damn cat got out”
Until next time my sweet boy <3


Ahhh, where does the time go? Henry’s 3rd birthday has come and gone, all the party planning and setting up is over and we still have tables set on our porch. In time they will come down, but for now,I keep them up because 1. I’m too tired to move them and 2. No matter what time of day it is the temp always feels like 100 degree and 3.  Having some party decorations still up makes me feel that his birthday didn’t come and go too quickly and that we are still celebrating my new three year old. 
This year we went with a pirate theme which I think is totally appropriate for my wild dude. There is definitely no shortage of pirate themed goodies out there. My suggestion for efficient party planning is to plan ahead! Pick a theme and buy ahead. Look out for deals, use coupons, research on line and make any crafts ahead of time. You have no idea how much things can creep up on you. It’s a good idea to set aside some cash too for the day of to pay any vendors (photographer, caterer, etc). 
Since Henry’s party was in the evening on a Saturday, we decided to have JR’s BBQ cater for everyone since there were so many people. The food was so good and we had a lot left over. If you are in the Atlanta area, you must visit their restaurant or have them cater your event. I still remember getting breakfast there on weekend mornings in high school with my girlfriends. One of the managers is a good friend of ours and was recently telling us about Utility Bidder. This website is a great resource for businesses who are looking for ways to reduce their energy bills as it allows you to compare a number of different suppliers in order to get the best price. Take a look and see how much you can save!

The weather was pretty crappy on the day of the party and we went back and forth about setting up outside but it was too unpredictable. Luckily the rain held out for a while so the kids could play in the back yard on the playground and get some energy out. We hired a cute face painter who came dressed as a pirate and she turned the kids faces into the cutest characters. Oh and she also made balloon animals. Double win! 

I highly recommend having a friend or professional take pictures at the party so you can enjoy your child’s day and hang out with your guests. For Henry’s first two birthdays, I had my sweet friend Shayda photograph the details and party. However this year she and her husband became parents and I wanted them to be able to enjoy the party without worrying about anything else. Thank God for our wonderful photographer, Whitney, this year. She was able to capture so many great pictures that we will cherish for a long time! 

It really takes a village to throw a birthday party, especially when you have little ones running around.  I would not have been able to do prep or set up without my husband, family and friends who all spent their time helping set up and prep. Definitely enlist people in your life that offer and are willing to help. It will save your sanity! 

(high school ladies! friends for almost 20 years <3)

In the kids snack packs I included pirates booty, an applesauce pouch and and honest juice box. There was also water for them on the table because if you know toddlers, their attention span is about 4 seconds long and they never stop to eat. 
Thank you to all of our family and friends who came out to celebrate our wild child with us. Until next year, we love you! 
Vendor/Supply List:
Pirate Yard Sign: Party Pail
Pirate Pails (I used these for the “goody” bags): Party Pail
Pirate Flags & Fish Net: Oriental Trading
Red letters: cardboard letters from Joann’s, painted. 
Burlap: from any fabric store
Black and White table runner: etsy vendor
Bandanas/Eye Patches/Swords: Target
Table Cloths/Napkins/Plates: Target
Misc: Party City, Target, Etsy, Michaels … pirate stuff is everywhere. 
Pirate Cake – local Atlanta baker Cake Envy
Photographer – Whitney Huynh from Tulle & Grace
Face Painter - Once Upon a Fiesta 
kids tables & chairs: The Rental Place
#3 Shirt - Sugarboo & Co
black & white harem pants: etsy vendor 
shoes: converse 

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