Giving Back

I'm doing something a little different in today's post, but stay with me! Most of you know I started a job in nonprofit last year.  I had never worked in the nonprofit industry before, and I hardly donated to anything unless a GoFundMe caught my eye on Facebook.  Sad, but true!  I have learned so much in the past year and started including donations in our budget to make sure we are giving back to our community and causes that are important to us. I'm also on the board of the local United Way and have been completely humbled by the work that this organization does as well as the tough decisions that have to be made when you look at all of the organizations who need money vs. the actual money you have to work with.
I'd love to hear from you and the ways you give back below in the comments section.  Here are a couple of organizations we like to support:
United Way

I mentioned that I'm on the board for our local United Way, and I have to admit that even though my mom used to be President on the Board, I had no idea just how much the United Way supported my local community.  From meal programs, shelter, creative programming for kids, senior citizen support, and more, the United Way raises money to help support a wide variety of community needs.  To see a list of the organizations we support, you can go here. I am so thankful to be learning more about the impact that we can have and I'm running a special fundraising effort for the month of July in conjunction with my Rodan + Fields business.  I will donate 20% of all sales in the month of July to support this organization!  Now you can get great skin AND give back. Win win!

University of South Dakota

While USD isn't my alma mater, it's always been a special place to me! My grandpa Beanie coached football here and was the Athletic Director.  My grandpa Moose was always a huge supporter and incredibly involved with the athletic programs.  My dad and a couple of uncles all proudly wore their red + white on the football field and I grew up going to games.  Obviously working for the USD Foundation has given me a completely different perspective and insight into just how much these donated dollars change the lives of the students that choose to go here.  I'm partial to athletic programs and student athletes right now, but will also start to include donations to the English department soon...cheers to liberal arts majors!

St. Agnes Church + School

I attended our local Catholic elementary school growing up and we love this Church.  We don't go as often as we'd like to, and last time was a bit traumatic (ha!), but our faith is very important to us so we try to give back when we can!
Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership
I attended the HOBY world leadership conference when I was in high school and I cannot say enough good things about how this organization helped to shape me as a leader today.  I met some amazing people and still keep in touch with some of them, including my team leader Jacie. She is still very involved and I try to support her area (Cal-Central) when I can. And of course, HOBY South Dakota is where I got my start!

If you're interested in checking out ways to get involved with other nonprofits or host your own non profit event, go here

Happy Monday friends! I'll be coming back this week with Theo's 3-month update and a 4th of July recap. For now, Dennis and I dropped the boys at daycare and are having a day date!

2 under 2

I've had quite a few people ask me what life is like with 2 under a recently. A couple of them had their first kiddos around the time I had Duke or earlier so they were surprised to see me with another one already. We've also gotten some funny not so subtle comments from people like "you're going to wait awhile before the next one right?!" I shrug it off because it's silly when people think they deserve to have an opinion about when or how we build our family, but I couldn't help but think about these past few months as I tried to answer those who were genuinely asking because they are about to embark on the same crazy ride.

At this moment, 2 under 2 looks a lot like this for us:

My arms are always full. Someone always needs something from me. That's not a bad thing, just a fact right now. I have 2 babies. Duke might be a big brother, but he's not a "big kid". He's BIG in size though...:) He communicates with us very well in his own way but he doesn't say a lot of words. He can't sit still for very long and when he needs his mama, he needs his mama. One thing I have tried to do from the very beginning was always try to give him what he physically needs. If he wants to climb up in my lap while I'm nursing, I hoist all 30 pounds of him onto the couch with one arm. If Dennis is home we trade back and forth depending on who needs what but when I'm on my own I really try to make sure neither one of them is missing out.

Duke absolutely adores Theo. I think he's young enough not to get jealous or see Theo as someone taking attention away from him. Instead he sees him as his little buddy and frequently tries to pick him up, give him kisses or rub his head when he cries. He gets so excited to find him in the mornings and is surprisingly gentle with him. Sometimes he forgets and tries to sit on his lap...or head, but for the most part, gentle head rubs for the win!  I posted a video on Facebook recently where Duke was singing to Theo and rocking his Rock n' Play back and forth. It was the sweetest!

I won't pretend to be an expert but I will share a few things that have worked for us and made this transition go a lot better than I expected it too!

  • GET OUT- get out of the house and get out of your head! The calmer you are, the calmer your babies will be.  I am admittedly quite the homebody, but we HAVE to get out of the house to be happy.  It can be overwhelming to think about with 2 little ones, but it's so important. We are fortunate with the weather right now where we can get outside so Duke can be a little crazier but we go to restaurants, the pool, stores, etc. all the time too. I generally scope out an escape plan just in case sh*t hits the fan and we have to bolt, but even if we do, it's still worth it.  We also set up a lot of fun toys and activities outside so I can be sitting on the porch with Theo while Duke plays in the sandbox, goes down the slide, or dumps all of the water out of the water table.  He loves his new golf set and throwing toys for Capone that Capone never fetches.
  • Get one on one time in whenever you can.  This certainly isn't groundbreaking advice but I quickly started to notice our evening routine was 10x smoother when Duke got some solo mama time immediately after getting home from daycare.  It doesn't always work...if Theo needs to nurse, he needs to nurse! But if Theo can hang out in his bouncy seat for awhile while I give Duke some undivided attention, he listens better and is much more patient for the rest of the evening.  He gets mama snuggle time with his milk before bed and Theo is usually sleeping on my chest or sitting in my lap from the time Duke goes to bed to the time Theo and I go to bed.  This gives me 0 time to myself when I'm not at work these days but it's temporary and I really need those snuggles!
  • Try not to forget about your husband. I spent so much time thinking about how Duke would react to being a big brother, that I totally forgot about how having 2 kids would impact my relationship with my husband.  It seems monumentally harder to carve out time for the 2 of us now, but it's probably equally as important that we do it. I posted about our day date and we have some fun 'adult only' trips and evenings coming up in the next few months and I'm so excited. I make a conscious effort not to spend the whole time thinking about how much I miss the boys and focus on my main man.  We both always walk away happier and give each other a lot more grace in the days/weeks that follow. 

This season of life is absolutely crazy and we truly love it. I'm so thankful for all of my boys, Capone included, and I'll take the crazy any day as long as I continue to have endless snuggle buddies. Happy Hump Day!

Colorado Vacation Part 2

After a busy couple of days, I was really excited for a low key day on Wednesday at my sister's house.  She works from home so she was working during the time but Duke got to play on the swing set, go down the slide into the pool 1000 times and chase Tucker all over the house and yard while Theo hung out and was his usual chill self.  She and my brother-in-law made delicious chicken, shrimp and rice for dinner and by the time we headed home back to Dennis' grandpa's around 9 p.m. we were all pretty wiped out.  

Thursday was the day of Dennis' cousin's wedding.  We also got some sad news about a friend of ours who's father had passed away so we got dressed quickly and went to visit them in the morning. Afterwards we went to our favorite bakery, Gargaro's to get some yummy sandwiches and say hi to one of our favorite families! In true Denver fashion, traffic was pretty bad all day so by the time we got back to Dennis' grandpa's house to get ready, we were RUSHING to get out the door and not be late for the wedding. Thank God for a little rain because the wedding started about 15 minutes late so we made it just in time to get settled into our seats and say hi to family. The wedding was beautiful and I totally cried with 'Butterfly Kisses' started playing and the wedding party made their way down the aisle. 
We had a wonderful time at the reception and danced and chatted with family and friends all night. Duke was a total champ and remained in a good mood despite being totally exhausted.  Theo had no issue being passed around or just hanging out his carseat checking out all the activity.  They both were asleep within seconds of being in the car on the way home!

Friday was another low key day with breakfast at my mother-in-law's, lunch with one of my favorite friends Kristin, and dinner with Dennis' best friend Terry, his wife Lori and kiddos. Fun fact: I lived with Kristin when I first moved to Denver for a quick month when I was looking for a job. She and I became fast friends and despite hardly ever seeing each other anymore, she is one of my favorite people to sit and chat with! I "unofficially" officiated her wedding in Costa Rica a couple years ago and it was hands down my favorite vacation ever.   

On Saturday we all slept in until 9 and it was GLORIOUS!  We got up and went to breakfast with Dennis' dad and little sister almost immediately after waking up, nursing makes me STARVING in the morning! I quickly packed and got ready for my sister's baby shower while they hung out with the boys back at the house and then my mom and sister picked me up so we could head north for the party!  Duke got to play in his great grandpa Dennis' super cool Thunderbird and he LOVED it. Theo and I hung out for about an hour and a half at the shower before Dennis and Duke came to get us so we could hit the road.  We didn't leave town until around 4:15 in the afternoon and pulled into our driveway around 2:30 a.m. I want to do a post soon about road tripping with little ones because I've gotten a lot of shocked looks from people lately when I say how often we make the trip!  I think Duke has done it 5 or 6 times now in his short life! 

We really had the BEST week.  Sitting in Denver traffic reminds me just how thankful I am that we moved but I really hope to make a week long trip a summer tradition.  There will always be quick weekends and holidays but it was fantastic to get to spend some real time with family and friends and not feel completely rushed. 
Happy Friday Friends! My thoughts on returning to work coming at you early next week! :)


Colorado Vacation Part 1

When we originally planned this trip, we thought that I would still have a week or two left on maternity leave when we got back. Since Theo decided to make his debut into the world early, this week has actually marked my last week of maternity leave and I return to work on Monday. Crazy town! Anyway we had two weddings this week that we absolutely did not want to miss, one of which was last Saturday in Lincoln Nebraska and the other was on Thursday in Colorado, so we figured it made the most sense to take the whole week off! We went to Lincoln Saturday and had an awesome time watching my brother in laws little brother marry the love of his life!  My nieces were the flower girls and did such a good job- it's their third go around so they feel like pros! We danced our butts off at the reception after my parents took the boys back to the hotel and had a delicious Father's Day breakfast on Sunday before hopping in the car  to head to Denver.

We got into Denver around 5 on Sunday and showed up to Dennis' best friend Tim and his girlfriend Erica's apartment. These are two of our very favorite people and we were so excited to get to spend two nights in their apartment… I don't know if they will ever invite us back after Duke's 5 AM screamfest but we'll see. Drinks for pored quickly after our arrival and Tim fired up the grill to make some delicious pork chops and sausages. A couple of other great friends joined us and we all hung out on the deck watching Duke try to rip the screen doors off and having minor panic attacks whenever he looked like he was going to try to climb over the railing, considering we were on the sixth floor.

We stayed up late catching up and chatting before crashing hard. I only wish we would've gone to bed earlier when it turned out Duke was ready to be up for the day around 5:30 am when I was feeding Theo. That's when he decided to start singing songs and yelling at us. Occasionally he would lay back down so we didn't actually get up until about seven and decided to treat ourselves to brunch since we were up way earlier than we usually are. Lucille's is one of my all-time favorite breakfast places and I love the location that is in the first neighborhood I lived in when I got my first apartment in Denver seven years ago.  I lived a few blocks from Wash Park and on my days off I would occasionally go to Lucille's with a good book and sit there for a couple of hours eating food and drinking a delicious coffee.  It was fun to go back there on a super quiet morning with my crazy crew. The staff was really nice and super accommodating. The manager even offered to walk Duke around the restaurant a little bit when she could tell we had hardly had time to touch our plates. We could see him the whole time- we aren't completely crazy!  By the time we left he was waving goodbye to everybody in the place and had clearly made a good impression. I died laughing when he finally came back to our area and sat at the table across from us… Too cool for mom and dad.

After breakfast we made a quick trip over to Cherry Creek mall to get my bracelet sized. Dennis got me this gorgeous bracelet for my birthday and I haven't been able to wear it because it was a little bit too small so I was excited we could check this task off the list and my wrist is now 100 times prettier. We loaded back in the car after picking up some coffee fuel and headed up to Loveland to have lunch with my friend Ashley. She is definitely one of my best friends and after missing each other on our last couple of trips I was really excited to get to sneak away with her for a little bit and have her see the boys. We ate a yummy lunch at rock bottom and then I ran into a couple of stores to try to find the boys cute matching outfits for the wedding on Thursday. Once that mission was complete I hopped back in the car and we made the trek down to Westminster to see Dennis' parents. Duke only napped in the car for about an hour so we were hoping he would crash again when we got there but he just stood up in the pack n play in the other room and yelled at us for 20 minutes until we rescued him. We decided we would tire him out by taking a quick dip in the pool. The pool at their apartment complex is awesome because it has a huge lounge area that's only about 8 inches deep and Duke could walk around and splash without having to be carried. They also have a couple little fountains that he loved playing in and it ended up being perfect practice for Waterworld the next day.  Duke also decided to share his Oreo cookie with Theo while we were there and dipped his finger in icing before sticking it straight in his brother's mouth. Mom win for sure...

We headed back over to Tim and Erica's for dinner around 630. Tim made an awesome chicken pasta casserole and we practically devoured the entire 9 x 13. Afterwards we had a couple of drinks and played Clue before we dug into yummy chocolate cream pie. It's starting to sound like this trip was all about food and driving… I promise the people were the highlight!
Since we were all up way earlier than we normally would be on Monday morning, we crashed early that night. Dennis and I knew we had a long day at Waterworld the next day so sleep was a must!  We got to water world around 9:30 am and were super thankful we had sprung for a cabana because temps got into the 100s we did slides and floated around the lazy river while everyone took turns watching Duke in the water with his cousin Mia and hanging with Theo in the cabana.

We left water world around 4 and I rushed back to shower before heading over to my new business partners house to launch her Rodan + Fields business with friends and family. It was SO much fun and I am so excited to be sharing our products and business opportunity with them. If you haven't tried them yet, you're missing out! I'd love to get you started if you're interested- send me an email at!  After the party Dennis and I dropped the kids off with his parents and headed out with friends. I drank plenty, had a lot of fun and crawled into bed around 3 am praying the boys would sleep in!
I am going to recap the rest of our week in another post! We had so much fun, I want to make sure I get all the details down.
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