last call for March Sponsors: super discounted ad space

Even though it's the last day of the month-I just wanted to let you guys know I still have a few spaces open for super discounted ad space (which will help me get to Blogher in August!)

LARGE: 2 months + 1 free ($35)

MEDIUM: 2 months + 1 free ($25)

SMALL: 2 months + 1 free ($15)

February was the biggest month yet for us. 
+ 41,000 page loads (up 7k from January!)
       all time high of + 4000 hits on Feb 25
960 average followers to my feed
795 followers through Google Friend Connect
850 twitter followers
346 facebook likes

We're seriously getting bigger every month and I'd love to have you along for the ride. 

GO HERE to purchase your ad space! 

or contact me at if you have any questions!

new ink!

Last night I got this done:

A Japanese peony. I really love peonies, we used to have them at our house growing up and they smelled so good. I wanted something to accent all the blues and yellows I have, this pink flower is perfect. I've also read that peonies stand for strength and prosperity, a couple of good meaningful things to add in to the deep meaning in all of my other tattoos. 

The style with a dark outline isn't typical of all of my tattoos but my artist insisted he would look better and gosh, he does it for a living...I trusted him to make it magic. I really do love it and am considering getting some outline touch up work on my existing tattoos so they all look uniform. 

I will be going back in the next few weeks after this heals to get some greenery around the flower to really make it pop and blend it in with the others. But for now I'm going to enjoy this beautiful new addition to my arm! 

I've always said I won't be getting anything below my elbow so this was my last one on the outside of my arm. In the future, I plan on doing the inside of my arm to make it a complete half-sleeve. At the rate I'm going, I get a new tattoo about once a year I'm guessing this will all take quite awhile but it's definitely worth the wait.

11 things!

I was tagged by Jessica in a 11 things post - let's do this thing!

There are five rules:
1. Post these rules
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random things
3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post
4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them that you've tagged them.

1. I threw out my back this morning bending over to take a cushion off the couch (to make a fort!) this has never happend to me. I felt a pop and I just collapsed! My vision started to go and I was sure I would pass out. Then I proceeded to crawl to our bar and attempt to reach my phone. Made me super nervous about any thing ever happening to me home alone with the boys. I need to set up some kind of emergency plan.

2. I grew up on a pig farm in Iowa and always wanted to keep a baby pig as my friend.

3. When I was little I wanted to be a poet. I loved Shel Silverstein. 

4. I have hoarding tendencies. I attach memories and emotional meanings to objects. I've gotten better at only keeping a few important things. Just yesterday I decided to finally get rid of the red vase that came with a dozen roses from Chikezie the day after we got engaged. 

5. I'm a very independent person. I wish I could just go somewhere and be by myself for like a week and not talk to anybody. I love my family, don't get me wrong. I really love being by myself though.

6. Before I moved to California, I had two cats, Marley (named before all this Marley and me crap) and Pocket. Chikezie hated Marley (she was really fat) and every time she walked by he would just yell out FAAAT! really loud.

7. I wish I had a grand piano in my apartment. I miss playing. Also? I have a guitar in my house and have yet to take lessons.  

8. One time while walking home (in college) I was semi-attacked by a man. He grabbed me and I punched him in the face and ran. You always wonder what you'd do in those situations. I found out I fight back!

9. Tonight is tattoo night!! YEEEE!!! It's been a year :)

10. Some day I want to live in a huge log cabin in the Rockies. 

11. I dislike swimming in anything besides a pool. The idea of fish and things swimming below me and I can't see it!!! AHHH!! It freaks me the freak out. 

Questions from Jessica:

1. Who is your #1 celebrity crush? I kind of love James Mardsen. 

2. What is your zodiac sign? I was born October 17, I'm a Libra :)

3. Do you feel your age? Since having kids (at 25) I feel like my age stopped and I hardly ever remember how old I am...which makes me feel old. Oh and throwing my back out today makes me feel even older.

4. If you already have a kid(s)- do you want more?  I'm kind of torn. I want to be pregnant with one baby. To feel a normal pregnancy. For this to not have been my only shot. For the boys to be big brothers. At the same time, I don't feel like putting my body through hell again lol. Chikezie is good. He doesn't want more. 

5. Which movie character (not the star playing them!) do you think you're most like?  I have no idea....I've never thought about it before!

6. What's your favorite cocktail ever? I keep it simple. Jack and diet coke. Always tastes good to me, always gets the job done.

7. If you could trade places with any blogger for a week, who would it be? Um, maybe Ma Nouvelle Mode...because she has killer hair and lives in France. 

8. Could you have ever been a contestant on Fear Factor? um, no. I don't need or want money that badly. And I don't have giant fake boobs and bounce around in my bikini all day.

 9. Are you a morning or night person? Morning. I actually love mornings. 

10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? You know what? I have no freaking clue. Is that bad? That I'm 27 and don't have a plan?

11. If you had to live in a reality tv show, which would it be? House Hunters International. I want someone to find me some kick ass house worth millions.

And now my questions for those I'm tagging:
1. If you could live anywhere, where would you live.
2. What's your secret talent?
3. What's something about yourself that would surprise people to find out?
4. If you found $100 on the sidewalk, what would you do with it?
5. What would be your last meal if you could chose?
6. If you had a superpower what would it be?
7. What is the one household chore you hate the most?
8. Tell me the craziest thing you've ever done.
9. What is your guilty pleasure?
10. What is your favorite sleeping position?
11. What is your favorite restaurant and what do you order when you're there?

I tag: Moriah Emily Becky Jill and Olivia

steppin' out: new favorite jeans

top: forever 21 // jeans: Levi's Curve ID Supreme Curve // sandals: target // bracelet: world market

I stepped out a whole bunch this weekend. I had a ton of errands to run and I'm pretty sure I got most of it done. Luckily the boys take long afternoon naps so I can get out of the house without leaving Chikezie to entertain two teething boys for hours. 

Let's talk about these, I love them. After seeing Mandy's commercial (yes...COMMERCIAL, so cool) I decided to go to the Levi's website and try the little quiz myself on how to find your curve ID. Turns out I'm a Supreme Curve. I could have called that one. I have a small-ish waist and a big ole booty. 

Jeans NEVER fit me right (I'm sure a lot of you can relate). If they fit my thighs, they gap or are too loose at the waist. Plus, I'm not a fan of super low cut jeans because it sits weird at my c-section area. I decided to take a risk of ordering these online without trying them on just to see how they'd work. They seriously fit me better than any jean I've ever worn. I'm in love. 

They're just the right length, they curve in at the top so there's no gap, there's a good amount of stretch in them (making them super comfy), the pockets are wide set wide (which is a must when you have a big butt), and the rise is perfect. 

I encourage you guys to go check them out, Levis really knows what they're doing on these!

Linking up with Steppin' Out Saturday at Harper's Happenings.

I just spun $1 on The Price is Right.

Front page baby!

I got a text late on Thursday night from my sister-in-law that Isaiah was on the front page of Etsy. I dropped putting clean sheets on our bed and ran down to the compter. AND THERE HE WAS. On the front page! I know these kind of end up there at random but gosh, it felt like a big accomplishment for me. 

I screenshot that shit up and told my best friend who celebrated with me for a minute. Then I went back to the home page and he was gone. Jeez, they change those often! 

Anywho. I know it's not that big of a deal but I felt like I just spun a $1 on The Price is Right. Totally by chance, but a badass move nonetheless. 

And my shop stats looked like this:

This is for the past 7 days. Most days I'm in the 30's for shop and listing views. On the 23rd I skyrocketed to 230 shop views and 575 listing views. 

Thanks Etsy...for my one hour of fame :)

a kindle girl now!

Got myself a Kindle touch. 

I really love actual books. I love the smell, I love turning pages. I love having them out to look at. But since we've had the boys, I can't keep them out or they'll be torn to shreds. I have books stashed under my nightstand. I have books lining the boys' high shelves in their bedroom closet. I'm running out of places. 

I got the Touch, and not the Fire because although the Fire looks fun to play with, I have an iphone that I do a lot of playing on. And I'm at home most days with a computer in front of me. I don't need any more technology enticing me to mess around. I need to read. I need my books all in one spot. I need to be able to take them with me easily when I need to look up a pattern or something at the fabric store. 

So far, so good! I've only had it a few hours and it already came in handy while laying in the boys' room waiting for them to fall asleep at nap time. A book purchased, a couple of chapters read. It took me a minute to get used to turning the pages (not scrolling) and then once turning a page my first instinct is to look to the top left side like when reading a book (but there's no page there!). 

I'm excited for all the reading I'll be doing in the coming months! One of my goals this year was to read more (at least a book a month). I'm slightly behind but I think this'll help catch me up. 

Do you have a Kindle/Nook/E-reader? How do you like it?

meet our february sponsors!

Meet my February Sponsors! I highly encourage you to visit these wonderful ladies and say hi :)

Stephanie: Mrs Stephanie T // twitter // facebook

Audrey: The Daily Wyatt // twitter // facebook

Summer: Crosbie Crew // twitter  // shop // photography

Melissa: hi, baby. // twitter // facebook 

Moriah: Moriah Makes // twitter // shop // facebook 

Michelle: The Momma Bird // twitter // facebook

easy chalkboard tabletop DIY

I bought some chalkboard spray paint a couple of weekends ago for a different project for the boys' birthday and got random idea to spray the top of their little Ikea table. The white showed everything. And I figure chalk might be more fun for them to use than colors (and for me too!)

This was the easiest thing to do ever. I'm guessing there are other ways to do it...but this is what I did.

* Make sure the table is clean before you do anything. 

* Tape pretty much anything you don't want painted. Make sure to really push down the tape so it doesn't bubble. Spray paint gets into every little nook and crevice.

* I used plastic bags on most of the legs to save some tape, I just taped the tops shut.

*Spray one light layer of chalkboard paint and let it dry. Repeat until everything is covered well. I did 2 coats. And it dried pretty quickly.

And that was pretty much it!

I gave it adequate time to dry before writing on it. If you rub your finger across it and black rubs off, it's not ready to be drawn on yet. 

Pretty much the easiest/quickest way to spruce up something. I'm contemplating chalkboard spray painting our scuffed up coffee table. I'm going chalkboard paint crazy...and I like. I've been pretty much obsessed with chalkboard paint lately and want to like, paint a whole wall in my house with chalkboard paint. Like these:

Have you guys chalkboarded anything in your house lately?? I feel like it just opens the doors for creativity!

the funny guy

I love this stage in the boys' development. Each day I learn new quirks of their personalities and get to know these little people a little better. Julian....he is a funny kid. He's always doing things that are so completely random and out there, he makes the weirdest noises, he has the most hilarious facial expressions, even the way he moves his body is hilarious. He's such a noodle and he's just so clumsy.

I just have this feeling he's going to be inadvertently funny as he gets older and as he starts talking more. He's going to be that funniest guy you know who isn't really trying to be funny, he just IS. I love it. Being funny is an awesome thing to be. 

toddler beds!

I did it. I ripped off the bandaid. I converted the boys' beds into toddler beds this morning. We didn't think we were ready to get rid of the pacifiers either but that took one night and one nap and it was done. 

Reasons I switched:
* They're getting mad that they can't get in and out of their bed on their own.
* The boys are so heavy. I don't need to be lifting 30lb kids in and out of beds anymore. 
* I think they're ready. They'll be 2 in 2 weeks. They know what it means to stay in your bed. 

I put a feather bed on the floor between their beds to hopefully pad any falling. And now I'm crossing my fingers. I put them down late for their nap so they were good and tired. I put the baby gate up at their door just for my own sanity. 

30 seconds into nap, the bedroom door opened. I used my super-serious-low-I-mean-business mommy voice and told them to lay down and go ni-night and don't you dare get out of your beds. They got the point I think. 

So far, we're about 12 minutes in and I don't hear a peep. That could be good, could be bad.

When did you change your kids' beds over? How did it go? Any advice for us?

Tea Collection Review and Giveaway!

I was recently given the opportunity to test out and review some great modern children's clothing from Tea Collection and am so excited to share them with you guys. As a mom to two boys, it's hard to find good, non-cartooney clothing for little boys. One thing I really love about Tea Collection is their inspiration: 
"Everything we create—our products, images, words and ideas—is inspired by going there and being here. And by our passion for exploring different cultures. We are awed by the unique beauty and diversity of people around the world. As we celebrate and share our discoveries, it reminds us how small the world is and how alike we all are." - The Tea Story  

Here, Julian is wearing Playa Plaid Hoodie from the boys clothing line (they also have baby boys clothes line if your guys are still little). 
And gosh he looks cute in it. I love that the hood has buttons so you can take it off for a different look. The shirt is great quality and soft (which is important for sweet little boy skin). And it wasn't too heavy, which is also important for us here where it doesn't get too cold. It makes it easier to layer without worrying that he's going to get sweaty.
I got him a size 3 so it would last awhile and it really fits great now. This such a cute alternative to a plaine old hoodie (which we have way too many of). And the hood is even big enough to fit over his big head of curls.

Here, Isaiah is in the Jaguar Mask Tee and French Terry Cargos
Gosh I love this shirt. I love the color, the sweet design. Just love it. This is what I mean about design that is not too cartooney. The shirt and pants were both size 3 and fit well. The pants were a little long (which I expected) because the boys have big bellies and shorter legs still, but the material folds (and stays) easily. The cargo pockets ad some cute to the soft pants and they look really comfortable. These could easily be dressed up or just worn like we do around the house and playing. 

I love these clothes. All of them. The boys look so cute in them and they're such good quality. 
Oh, and Tea Collection has clothes for girls and baby girls and yes, even a little something for you. I was seriously impressed with this company and can't say enough good things, even down to the super fast shipping. 

Now for the best part:

Tea Collection has generously offered up a $100 online gift certificate to one of you lucky Mama and the Dudes readers! Woot! And since they carry clothes for pretty much everyone, you should probably enter.

Here's how you enter:

1. MANDATORY ENTRY: MUST be a follower of Mama and the Dudes blog. (1 entry) 
Visit Tea Collection website and leave a comment here telling me what you'd buy with the $100. Make sure to include your email address. 

additional entries:
2. Follow Tea Collection on Twitter. (1 entry)
3. Like Tea Collection on Facebook.  (1 entry)
4. Tweet about this giveaway (you can copy this if you want)
     " I just entered to win $100 credit to @teacollection clothing via @mamaandthedudes "

Good luck! Giveaway ends Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 11:59 PST. 

Note: *I was provided with product for the purpose of conducting this review and promotion. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation*

steppin' out: i wore skinnies.

I stepped out TWICE this weekend. And I stepped out good.

Saturday night Chikezie and I went out on a full romantical date, to a fancy restaurant. We sat next to the fireplace. There was a rose on our table. We had sparkling water (which is, I don't know, ehhh). We ate expensive food. A guy was singing and playing guitar. And we felt like Mandey and Chikezie again, and not just mama and dada. 

Oh, and I wore skinny jeans:
shirt: F21 // Belt: Target // Jacket: thrifted // Jeans: Old Navy // Flats: Target

I told you I was going to go out of my style comfort zone this year. I went way out of my comfort zone. And leopard print flats? Yep. WAY OUT for me. I've had this notion about wearing skinny jeans. That you have to be a certain size or look a certain way. I still think some people should just not wear skinny jeans; they're not for everyone. BUT I encourage you to go out of your comfort zone and at least try a pair on sometime. You might be surprised. 

And then on Sunday, the skinnies made a second appearance for a day of shopping, nails, Red Robin and watching The Vow with Stephanie. We were gone all day and holy crap, it was a good day.

sweater and jeans: Old Navy // shoes: TOMS // purse: Krust 

Effing right I'm holding a 30+ pound kid on both arms. 

Thank you husband for an amazing date night and for watching the boys so I could get some girl time in. Love this guy, and gosh, he's so photogenic...

oh ryan.

When my hands hurt from cutting fabric and my fingers hurt from pinching closures shut...I just think of Ryan. He knows what I'm going through.

I got these off of Handmade Ryan Gosling...and there are plenty more where these came from.