what I want to remember about this age: 20 months


How can it be possible that our Samuel is only 4 months away from turning 2 years old?

It seems impossible. Sam is the shining light in our lives, from the moment he wakes in the morning, til the time he falls asleep at night… and then we just stare at him! “Can you believe how long he is?” and “When did he get so big?” come out of our mouths nightly.

At 20 months old, you are somewhere between 26-27 lbs. and get taller every day. I can’t remember how tall you were at your 18 month check up, but I remember thinking that it is very possible that you could be over 3 feet tall (a whole yardstick -wow!) at 2 years old.

Here are some things I will forever remember about you at this age:

  • You are so particular. A boy that loves routine. If something is done once, you want it done that way a second time.
  • You love to help. You want to help to take care of daddy and me by handing me the towel when I get out of the shower (you wipe your face with it first, every. time.), want to help with my makeup and love playing with the brushes, you and dad have teeth brushing rituals and you want to brush my hair.
  • You ask where dada is constantly, and you have really started to say mama more over the past month or so.
  • You love green olives. More like obsessed. You search for them in the fridge and make weird sucking noises when you’re on the hunt. I try to limit how many you have since they are so incredibly salty. Black olives and greek olives are Sammy-approved, too.
  • All things that go fast and have wheels have your attention. Lawn mowers, tractors, cars, semi-trucks, motorcycles… you love it all! We can’t go to Lowe’s without letting you sit on the lawn mowers.
  • Like daddy, you are an animal lover. You want to be around, pet, feed, and take care of animals at all 3 of your grandparents’ houses.
  • Your list of animal noises includes: dogs (still a weird gulping noise), cat, cow, deer (you make a mean buck grunt), elephant, bunny, owl, horse (you usually moo, but whatever), donkey (haw-haw is the best), and you make a cock-a-doodle-doo when you hear a rooster crow.
  • Your word list: mama, dada, yep, ya, no, please, go, yo yo, tree, moon, spoon, bye bye, balloon, ball, Georgia, grandma, Beau, baby, done, all done, ha-ha-ha (The Count), and ho-ho-ho (for Santa and snowmen) … there are more I’m sure.
  • Your sign language list: more, milk, please, thank you, drink, book. We haven’t added new signs in months, in hopes you will say more words. When you see animals taking a drink you sign for it, and when you want to water the plants you sign for drink too 😉
  • Cooking and baking are becoming favorite activities for us to do together. You will watch the Food Network from time to time! When I have to open the oven or drain pasta, I ask you to sit in your chair in the living room and you do it right away. You let me know when you want to bake cookies by adamantly pointing at the Kitchenaid or bringing me a muffin tin.
  • Elmo is your favorite character, and Sesame Street has possibly taken over as your new favorite show. While we still watch Thomas, I think you ask for Elmo more.
  • You are still nursing, and we are cutting back your dependency on breastmilk bottles during the day while I’m at work as the freezer stock is extremely low. I thought it would be easy to swap out whole milk for breastmilk in your diet… easier said than done. You take a couple sips and sign for a drink of water. I never dreamed you would be nursing at 20 months old.
  • You are still sleeping with mom + dad. You will nap in your crib for others, rarely for us. Because you know we love to snuggle you.
  • Gymnastics has become such a fun activity for you during the week. It’s so fun to see your progress and how excited you are when you know its gymnastics night! We can tell that you are so adored by the coaches and they all know your name… even the ones that don’t teach your class. You love the stamps you are rewarded with. One time this past month you only got 2 stamps because you didn’t listen well and kept running away from the group….
  • You would just live outside if you could.
  • You have become very affectionate with babies and other kids (um hello, like the time you hugged and kissed Priscilla at gymnastics!), and your baby doll. When I have a headache you kiss my forehead and say “awww.”
  • Potty-training is underway (and has been since a few days before you turned 18 months) and is moving forward in the right direction in a super-duper relaxed manner. We ask if you want to use the potty and if you say yes then we take you to the bathroom. At this point we’ve had successful #1’s about 10 times, and just one #2. All in all, we are so proud of you… diapers or not!

We love you so, Sammy Hayes!




Five on Friday | 4.7.17

Happy Friday, folks! I am SO happy that here in Missouri we have sunny skies and warm temps. It has been such a yucky past several days… rain, rain, rain. Surely these gloomy skies will pay off in May!

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1. If you’re a sucker for kids in overalls…

Denim Shortalls - Union Wash

I was so excited when I saw these adorable Osh Kosh denim short overalls on the rack at TJ Maxx this week! I love the darker wash and am already picturing what tees I will pair these with. And, I just know Sammy will love the pockets. At $12.99 there was no way these weren’t coming home with me.

For my fellow overall-lovers, Osh Kosh is having a 50% OFF sale right now! Here’s the link to shop their site to find the perfect pair of overalls for your little.

2. a new favorite cookie recipe

I had a hankerin’ for homemade cookies the other day and did what anyone else would do and took to Pinterest to find something that was both easy to make and delicious.

I present to you: BROWN SUGAR COOKIES

  • 1 1/2 sticks of real butter (I never said they were healthy)
  • 1 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c mashed banana
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • White sugar for topping

Combine flour, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and set aside.

Cream butter til soft then add brown sugar. When combined, add vanilla and banana. Beat on high for 1 minute

Gradually add dry ingredients. Mix til incorporated.

Roll into 1″ balls, and roll in white sugar, and place on ungreased cookie sheet. I use a silicone baking mat. Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes. Rest for 3 minutes before moving them to cooling rack.

These cookies are seriously good, and Sammy approved. I mean, look at that pot belly! Oh, and now he knows what the KitchenAid is for and keeps pointing at it and saying “mmm!”. Needless to say we have made this recipe twice in a week. Yikes!

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How can I deny him cookies? Especially when he signs for “please”!

3. FREE prints!

Did I have you at “free”? Good.

Shutterfly is offering FREE prints on their app! Yes, FREE! This offer is good for 4×4 and 4×6 prints, and doesn’t even require entering one of their annoyingly long alpha-numeric codes.

There isn’t a momma I know that has a good handle on regularly printing iPhone photos, so this is your chance to get caught up.

I ordered 250+ prints, and only had to pay $22ish for shipping. What a deal!

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4. coconut oil + lavender oil lotion

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I passed down the super-dry skin gene to my little boy, and we have tried for… well all 19 months of his life… to get it under control. You see, we’re really good about greasing him up with Aquaphor after bathtime, not changing bath soaps, using free & clear detergent for his clothes, and limiting how many baths he has a week to try to retain some kind of moisture in his skin.

Recently I purchase CeraVe baby bath + shampoo and am hoping that it makes a difference for Sammy’s skin after bathing. Also, I whipped up a batch of Lavender Coconut Oil Lotion, because why not? We had the ingredients (only 2 things!) and I am willing to try anything to keep from putting steroid cream on his young skin.

We are 1 week in, and I think it’s working. I have noticed less itching and his skin seems less bumpy overall. Time will tell! If you have any kind of home remedy or product recommendation for dry skin/mild eczema that is toddler-appropriate I am all ears. Shoot me an email at andreagraddy1@gmail.com.

I searched for Cetaphil for Babies and didn’t see it at the store. It is the next bath wash product on my list if the CeraVe is not effective.

The lavender oil sure makes him smell yummy, too!

5. finally feeling like spring!

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I am SO ready to leave the office and head home to open the windows and let the fresh air in!

Oh, quick note, if you have little ones you have got to try my easy and cheap trick for baby-proofing your blinds!

safe blinds

Cheers..and Happy Weekend-ing to you!! XOXO

Linking up with other fantastic bloggers for Five on Friday


Weekend in Photos | animals galore

We spent the weekend with Jeremy’s dad’s side of the family in Arkansas. We all had a great time with their farm animals… but no one loved it more than Samuel! He is quite the helpful farm hand. Always ready to feed the animals.



Louise… always the aggressive one. After all, she’s the biggest of the herd.


Samuel wanted to “ride” all the horses. Mia the Pony was nice enough to let him!


Look at these beautiful eggs! Dark browns, light browns, greens, and pinks! Easter came early 🙂


Utah the Miniature Donkey – known as “Haw Haw” to Sammy






Kisses for Papa Mikey!


Obsessed with Haw Haw. Probably because he’s the perfect size for a toddler.


But, donkeys can be unpredictable and very noisy!


We picked daffodils from the front yard of Jeremy’s Grandpa’s old house. Jeremy dug up several bulbs to plant in our front flowerbed. These will be a beautiful and meaningful addition to our home!


Hanging out with momma on the swing! We sat here together and he demolished 3 servings of Grandma Kim’s minestrone soup. Sam is a soup lover, just like daddy.

I look forward to our next weekend in Arkansas, as I know Sam will be SO excited to see the animals. I am sure they will look forward to Sam being around because they know they’ll be fed constantly.

Five on Friday | 3.17.17

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Happy St. Patty’s Day! If you’re anything like me, you struggled to find anything green in your closet and are just using it as an excuse to eat unhealthy foods. Cheers!

I’ve had so many things I’ve wanted to blog about lately, but haven’t found the time.

A good old Five on Friday should do the trick…

1. A new favorite crock pot meal

beef stroganoff

If you would have told me, just 6 months ago, that I would be making this meal a couple times a month I would have laughed in your face. Beef Stroganoff has always sounded disgusting to me. First of all, Stroganoff is a weird word. And let’s face it… beef and noodles and sour cream sounds bad. Real bad.

Turns out, I was wrong.

It’s actually really good! I took my mom’s recipe, changed it a little… mostly because I misunderstood her directions. More on that later.

Crock-Pot Beef Stroganoff


  • Beef Roast… whatever cut you desire. Aim for 2-3 lb. roast.
  • 2 Packets Beefy Onion Soup Mix. The dry stuff.
  • 1 Packet Au Jus Sauce/Gravy Mix
  • 2 T Worcestershire
  • 3 T Water

Stir together the mixes with the water and Worcestershire and pour it over the roast. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve over your favorite egg noodles and dollop sour cream on top.

Why I love this recipe… When I get home from work I just have to boil noodles, and BOOM, dinner is ready.

2. running on empty

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The start of DST + Funky weather + Hubby working long hours = MWM… an acronym for Mom with Migraines! Me and my head have had a rough week. I am so looking forward to the weekend, possibly getting a little more sleep, and the weather leveling out a little bit… fingers crossed.

3. hating everything in my closet…

Surely this happens to everyone, but I have a bad case of closet-hate happening right now. I did just buy this long cardi in “brown sugar” from Old Navy for only $19. I think it will cheer me up!

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I also love this super long cardigan that is only $18!! Love this light oatmeal color for Spring!

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4. fake tan recommendations?

With Spring being just around the corner (Monday!), I need to work on getting rid of this embarrassingly pale skin. I haven’t tanned in a tanning bed in years and have seriously considered doing so recently. However, I don’t know when I would go… can’t go after work because I have to pick up little man. I can never count on a time for my husband to be home from work… and the last thing I want to do when he gets home is to leave.

With that being said, I am looking for an affordable and bronze looking fake tan lotion product. Please help!

5. my sweet Sammy

And, what’s a blog post without a picture of my precious boy?! An 18-month update post is coming soon. In the meantime, look at that sweet smile. I have been so proud of Sam this week… he went #2 in his potty! Excited boy & parents!


We’re headed down to “the farm” this weekend to play with the horses, mini donkey, goats, chickens, turkeys, dogs, Peppa the Pig, and whatever other animals we can get our hands on. More later!



five on friday |1.27.17

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FRI-nally! FRIDAY is HERE!

Surely, I’m not the only one who thought this was the longest. week. ever.

Here’s a random FOF, my first of 2017…

I’m quitting Starbucks in February

Yeah, you read that right. I’m boycotting Starbucks for the month of February. I have decided that they pocket wayyyy too much of my paycheck and it’s time to end that bad habit. Like, so bad that I was going 3 times a week. And, at like $8 a pop it was adding up quickly.

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So Sayonara… to the Caramel Macchiato, Banana Bread, and 700 calories. I’ll pocket that $8.

Easy side dishes

Do you ever get in a cooking rut? You fix the same meals week after week and nothing changes. While I wouldn’t say I’m quite there, I would say that I am in a “side dishes” rut.

Typical sides for us:

  • Sauteed veggies (asparagus, zucchini, some kind of squash)
  • Easy rice mixes (Zatarans, Uncle Ben’s…)
  • Some kind of potato (baked, tater tots, fries)
  • Seasoned canned beans

Is there a dish that is easy, and that your family loves? Please share your recipes!

New Makeup Products

I’ve noticed that my foundation has been creasing in 2 different spots lately: My smile lines, and a frown/expression line between my eyes on the bridge of my nose. I feel like this problem is fairly new and is really frustrating me.

I should preface this whole topic by saying that I am not a “makeup toucher upper” meaning that I put on my makeup in the morning and then I go. No products come with me. No touch ups happening. I don’t even think I carry a mirror in my purse! I reapply gloss/lipstick/balm here and there but not religiously.

One of my great friends Melodie works for Sephora in Nashville (and waited on Reba recently!) and was super helpful when I text her about my creasing complaint.

Here’s what we decided together:

  1. I need to quit cutting corners and use primer, again. She recommended this Too Faced Prime & Poreless primer. At $30 it was more than I expected to buy, but when I saw how this transformed the back of my hand, I knew it was something I needed. It’s smooth and velveting without feeling gloopy (Melodie’s term, ha!).Image result for too faced primer
  2. Next, I need to set my foundation (Born This Way by Too Faced) with a small amount of powder. Melodie recommended Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder. At $36 it was more than I wanted to spend on a powder, but I gave in when I felt the amazing texture. It feels nothing like a powder. So silky!
  3. Finally, I need a new super fluffy powder brush. I didn’t purchase the one she recommended because it’s $40 and after dropping some dough on the primer + powder I was done for the day. Eventually I’ll do what she says and buy the damn brush because I know deep down I need it.

I’ll report back next Friday to let you know how this new line up is working for my crease issues.

dime challenge

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It’s so easy a monkey could do it!

Seriously though, we are totally doing this in our house. Any and all change we have ends up in Sammy’s fox bank, but we can make an effort to keep dimes for ourselves. We certainly use and carry very little cash. Honestly, I would like for us to budget with cash and ditch cards (except for gas and things like that where it is much more convenient to swipe).

If you or your family has done a challenge like this, let me know how it went!

putting on my drinkin’ boots

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‘Cause we are going out tonight to see Miranda Lambert! I’ve seen her show, maybe 5 years ago, and loved it. My husband bought tickets as a Christmas/birthday gift for me and I can’t wait to have a night out!

Have a great & safe weekend!



Things I want to remember about this age: 16 months


How on earth is it possible that this boy is 16 months old? In 2 short months he will be ONE AND A HALF. How?

Here’s a collection of his accomplishments, mannerisms, abilities, and things I always want to remember about Sammy at 16 months old.

  • You’re still nursing. Signing for milk constantly (or so it seems). You take 3 breastmilk bottles/straw cups while I’m at work and nurse when we are together. Including the middle of the night. We have introduced you to organic whole cow’s milk and that has gone okay. You’ve only had sips of it here and there to introduce the taste, just as the pediatrician recommended.
  • You love trains and cars. Thomas & Friends is your favorite and you enjoy playing with the engines and tracks Daddy picked out for Christmas. You make adorable “mm mm” noises for trains and “vroom-vrooms” for cars. We have so much fun playing with cars and you occasionally need to take a NASCAR or two with you when we leave the house. You are your father’s son.
  • Bananas are still a no!
  • We are now buying size 6 shoes and 24 months sized clothes. Every brand fits differently, of course.
  • You have had 5 haircuts and honestly, you could use another. I like to keep your hair long so frequent hair cuts it is! You still don’t seem to mind, however you prefer to not wear the cape which means hair gets all over both of us.
  • Coloring is your favorite activity. Sometimes we take crayons and paper on the go so you can color. You are deliberate with your coloring most of the time and can even make circle motions. You have an affinity for red crayons, but you’ll share from time to time because you like someone else to color with you.
  • You know that cows say “moo”, and sometimes you think sheep, horses, and deer “moo” too! You make an adorable gulping noise for dogs. Other things you say include, “ho ho ho” for Santa, “hey”, “e, i, e, i, o”, “mama”, “daddy”, “ball”, and you have noises for “yuck” and “spoon”.
  • It seems like you understand everything we say. Most of the time you do what we ask you to or take things where we ask. It’s completely adorable to see your naked booty carry your clothes to your hamper before bath time. You will wash the body parts we ask during your bath. You still do not like water poured over your head.
  • You can throw and kick balls and have lots of fun playing catch with mom and dad. You’ve started to wrestle, sneak up on us from behind, and hide and wait to be found!
  • You are becoming quite the kisser and have been waking up mom and dad with kisses in the middle of the night. So, yes you are still sleeping with us and we don’t mind.
  • You’ve learned to nod your head yes and I can see your little brain working just before you give me a big exaggerated up and down nod. When I ask if you are ready for bed you almost always nod yes! A boy after my own heart!
  • Only one and half Christmas ornaments have been broken so far this Christmas season. That’s wonderful! You make sure the Christmas tree lights are always on and marvel at the lights daddy put up on the roof from the back door.
  • Some days you are more interested in books than other days, but we are working toward a routine of reading a story before bed each night.

For the record, I wrote this post on 12/28 just 2 days after Samuel turned 16 months old. I’m publishing it on 1/20, just 6 days before he turns 17 months old. The saying “time flies” has never been more true. We love this boy with every inch of our being!


five on friday

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Happy Friday, folks! It’s junk show weekend and time change weekend.

*insert all the praise hands*

It’s been forever since I was able to steal a couple minutes away from work to type up a Five on Friday – so here you go.

1. let the christmas shopping begin

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51 days til Christmas! Wow!

We are feeling SO jolly in our house, SO jolly in fact that we have listened to Christmas music in the mornings and while cleaning house on the weekends.

Any tips on keeping a toddler out of the tree? I’m all ears.

I am DEFINITELY going to make or buy one of these felt trees for Sammy to decorate over and over again. I think I’ll put it on the back of the front door.


In regards to shopping, I’ve already purchased a few gifts and am really trying to think/plan ahead to lessen the financial blow in December. Because let’s face it, budgeting sounds great in theory but in actuality it never happens in our house. #newyearsresolution

2. let the love for art begin

Sammy has shown lots of interest in coloring with jumbo crayons, markers (ColorWonder for the win), using stickers, and playing with Play Doh lately. He tells me when he wants to color by walking over to his art supplies area and pointing. Such a smart boy!

Here’s a quick pic of his concentrating hard on his stickers.

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He seems to have an affinity for his red crayon this week. Loves red just like momma!

3. move over olive garden

I found a GREAT recipe for our favorite OG soup, Zuppa Toscana! And believe it or not I was able to follow the recipe (almost exactly!).

Here’s the recipe. My only change was to use 3 cups of chicken broth instead of 2. I used Better than Bouillon chicken paste to make my broth versus beyond canned broth. I’m loving that paste, but I still think traditional bouillon has it’s place. Oh – and a couple other details… I bought Jimmy Dean Italian sausage and thought it was perfect.

We totally recommend you try this soup. you won’t be sorry!

4. backpack? ya!

Black:Gianni Bini Izzy BackpackI am totally into the purse backpack trend and am loving this Gianni Bini bag that is on clearance on Dillards.com.

Because let’s face it, I need all the free hands I can get when we go out and about.

Maybe the Christmas fairies will magically make my husband read my blog so he’ll see this 🙂









5. my challenge to you

With the arrival of fall comes November and social media posts about being thankful. Yes, I think it is important to show grace & thanks, but I am also about action.

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I want to challenge you (yes, you! person reading my blog) to do something in the coming week that is out of the norm for you. Random Acts of Kindness can be as simple (and free) like holding open the door for a stranger, offering to pick up something off the highest shelf at the grocery for a stranger, or paying for a stranger’s coffee in the drive thru.

Maybe you need an idea to get you moving in the right direction. If so, click this link to read more about how people are doing random acts of kindness in their communities and neighborhoods.

A few of my favorites:

  • baking banana bread to share with a neighbor
  • be a big tipper! give a generous tip that makes the waiter do a double take
  • send a ‘just because’ card in the mail to a family member or friend
  • help someone with yard work

Lets face it – sometimes the world is not a happy place. It is hostile (hello, it’s officially election week), sometimes grumpy, and a filled with people who can use a pat on the back, smile, or a card in the mail to let them know they are thought of and loved.

Just a thought!

Have a wonderful weekend!