a little Halloween flashback!

Happy Halloween everyone! Thought I'd do a little throwback of the boys' costumes over the past couple of years. Also, my ovaries just drop kicked me a little bit when I saw the boys' baby photos. So. Much. Cute. The dudes still aren't really too cool with costumes so every year I've made their costume to feel not much like a costume. 

First Halloween: Tom Cruise from Risky Business and a monk. 

Second Halloween: puppy and panda bear.

The tails! The ears! It's too much.

Third Halloween: Thing 1 and Thing 2.

And this year we ended up having two costumes, I ordered ones for them because we were out of town and then wasn't sure if they'd be here on time for the Halloween party at my husband's work so I quick threw together a couple of bat costumes....and we never ended up going to the party at his work lol! Such is life. SO, I had them put the costumes on last night, just so I could get a good photo because let's face it, the one thing we parents need from Halloween is a photo of our kids in a costume. 
So here are my little bat boys. 
(They wouldn't let me paint their noses and neither was too cool about the headbands. So I told them they could choose, paint the nose or wear the ears.)

And tonight, on actual Halloween they'll wear the costumes that came in the mail...come back tomorrow to see all the photos!

What are your kids dressing as this Halloween!?

when your children won't go to sleep and you're slowly dying inside.

We're having sleep problems. Aren't those the worst? Nothing can make you more frustrated as a parent than a change in your kids' sleep habits which requires you to be awake more throughout the night. 
So what's the problem? I think it was being on vacation for 3 weeks. During those 3 weeks we slept in lots of different houses and through it all, I slept in the same room as them. Not only that, but I went to bed with them. We kept them up later and then I went to bed with them each night. Now every night has been a battle. The boys cry and cry and cry and cry when we lay them down for bed. We have night lights, we sleep with lovies, a fan for noise- all of the normal things we've done. 

I don't know what else to do short from going in there and just sitting with them until they fall asleep and honestly-I'm not starting that habit.  So for now I just let them cry for a period, go back in after awhile to try to console them but they pretty much just start right back up when I leave the room. I've tried different techniques - the whole no eye contact/quiet in and out method, I've tried consoling them and loving on them, even in my darkest moments I've scolded them. (Out of my own frustration and then felt like an ass and then consoled them.)

Not only are we having issues with falling asleep, we're having issues with staying asleep. Julian wakes up multiple times each night, last night was 5 times between 11-2. He gets up and goes to his door and whines, I go into the bedroom, lay him down, kiss him and he goes back asleep. And then it's only a matter of time until he's awake again.

IT'S KILLING ME. Chikezie is usually awake until 2am or later (he's a night owl) but most of the time he's playing video games w/headphones so he can't hear the boys crying, and they're in the room right next to me so I'm always the one getting up with them. Even if he did hear them, they want me-not him.

Anyways. I'm not sure anybody can help, I'm assuming this is some sort of stage or adjustment period or punishment for me for keeping them away from home for 3 weeks...I guess I'm just venting? I'm just frustrated. Up until this point bedtime has always been amazing but this past week it's just been a time I dread each day. It's almost 10pm right now, they've been in bed for almost 2 hours and they're still not asleep. 

Tonight I finally decided to leave the hallway light on. They're quiet now, I don't know if it's because of the hallway light or if it's because they've been crying in their room for over an hour (on and off). 

I'm just tired. 

fall wardrobe inspiration for the fashionably challenged.

TGIF people! This week has absolutely flown by. Now that I'm back home, I'm slowly re-adjusting to the climate. When I left CA, it was still summery temps, now we're more to a comfortable fall feeling and I've been hitting up Polyvore for wardrobe inspiration because let's face it- I'm not exactly on the front lines of fashion. I mean, I try...but these outfit inspiration boards are way-way beyond my fashion comprehension skills. Can the people who make these just come to my house and dress me every morning? Yeah, you're right. That'd be a little awkward, and possibly illegal.

Here are a couple of my recent faves:

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Get down with your stylish self.  Yes, I did just say that. More potentially embarrassing sayings coming to Mama Mandolin blog near you!

it's good to be home

a pretty Iowa sunset from the steps of my mom's house
In case you haven't been following me through facebook or instagram lately, you might have been wondering where I've been for the last month. Aside from going through a blogging dry-spell for the past few months, we also took a little vacation to see our families in Iowa. 

We spent time with both sides of the family, spent 2 weeks away from the husband while he worked away and we stayed in Iowa to play. Hubby and I got a minute to go to an Iowa game together, something we loved to do before the boys and only get a chance to do now every few years. We visited the farm, the boys got to help combine some beans and feed the cows. They met new family members, and others for the first time. I took the boys to watch my brothers play football and my sister play volleyball. We scraped frost off of a car (something we don't get to do in CA) and took a walk by a corn field. 

a bit of wisdom from my mother-in-law's fridge
Now we're back to regular life. After 3 weeks, it feels so good to be home. I'm back to cleaning my house, which is essentially 80 percent of my job as a stay-at-home wife and mom. Breaks from the mundane are always so refreshing and I'm not so caught up in my own head right now about all the things I think I need to do. The boys have gone back to their part time preschool, which I think they missed. And with the new cooler weather, I'm feeling a new surge of motivation to get back to blogging.

I might play with the design of the blog a bit (we all know I clearly have decor ADD) and maybe make a few content changes. I'd like to add some resource pages, on what I'm completely sure yet. I'd like to feature other blogs, people, etsy shops, etc. that inspire me. I'd like to get back to pouring my heart out in this tiny space I've claimed on the internet, I've met so many amazing people and gained many connections through here. I'm ready to be a light of honesty and positivity, to share my ideas and experiences. 

So anyways. Hey everybody, it's good to be home.

a simple anniversary

So I posted last week that it was our 4 year anniversary...I feel like I posted that a day ago and it's already a week later. Apparently 2013 has just been one massive time warp in which I have no concept of days or time periods. 

What does a 4 year married couple do on their anniversary? We like to keep it low key. Chikezie came home from work early and we had a friend come over to watch the boys so we could head out to dinner. 

I bought him a Mickey Mouse card. Because, what's better than referencing what has taken over our lives in the past few months?  He instagrammed a photo of the card, so that was pretty romantic.
You can follow him on instagram here

After the card, I took him out to dinner. Was going to take him to the Yard House because it's where we ate after we got married. (A lot of people on IG were asking about our lunch hour wedding, and I assure you it's not as romantic as it sounds- you can read about it here). After arriving, we collectively decided that as romantic as it seems, the Yard House doesn't really have crazy awesome food so decided to find another restaurant. We ended up at a packed italian restaurant where we sat at a bar table surrounded by loud people and stuffed our faces quickly so we could leave. When did we turn into such lame old people? 

We found a cute cupcake shop, bought some cupcakes to take home for the babysitters, and went home to enjoy the cupcakes with them. And that was it. It was nice just to get out of the house and have a little "us" time. We've always been good at making simple things feel special, and this little evening together was no exception. 

And of course I wanted at least one photo of us to commemorate the occasion...this was about as good as it gets.
We love each other, it's that simple.