August 12, 2019

Twins 5th Birthday Fairy Party

It's been a little over a week now since we officially have three 5 year olds running around our house now. If you're confused by that, our oldest is still 5 and will be 6 in September--her and the twins are 10.5 months apart!

We celebrated their big day in fairy style with just our family for a sweet morning brunch. Anything having to do with fairies or princesses is all they've been into lately, which I kind of love to be honest. I love to watch their imaginations run wild as they dress up and pretend and invent new ways to play together. It brings me back to all the things I used to do as a kid and all of a sudden I'm 5 years old again too.

I scored some things on Amazon for the party like these dresses and shoes that the twins have been wearing non stop. For the birthday activity all the kiddos painted and decorated fairy houses to take home. I was so surprised at how into it they all were and loved that it was something they all were excited about. Seeing each little house at the end of it all was probably my favorite, they all turned out so dang cute!! I love making intentional times like this at their parties, a little activity they can all look forward to and remember back on  as they grow up.

These twins of mine have sure given us more life and laughter and challenge than we ever imagined, but reflecting on this past year with them was something that made Shane and I both choke up at the thought of how sweet our year with them has been. They are feisty and fun, and strong-willed and kind and creative and smart and determined. So many similarities between them, but each in their own unique and different way. I'm pretty proud I get to be the one they call mom and I loved celebrating them in this way.

Here are a few links and inspiration ideas for more things I grabbed for the party in case you were wondering:

Girls fairy outfits: Most of it I found on Amazon, all linked here

Fairy houses and accessories: Houses and mini mushrooms I found online & the rest I grabbed at the dollar store like the moss, clear stones, and butterfly stickers. Similar items here
**Dollar store is a great place to browse for cheap craft stuff. (the adults helped hot glue the stones and moss on once the houses were painted)

Craft paint: All the craft paint I grabbed for .50¢ each at Walmart--  a little tip: I chose 6 colors that all coordinated so it wasn't a big eye sore of color by the end of it ;)

Table decor: I usually browse the birthday section at Target for some cute things, like the gold paper plates and scalloped white table cloth. For flowers I bought the greenery fillers and cheapest pink ones at our local grocery and sprinkled them around the house in jars to add a pretty touch. I used the moss and stones and wooded tree pieces we had laying around as the center of the table to make it look "fairy garden" like. 

Cake: I love to have my kids bake the cake with me and decorate it together for their party--a little tradition we started a couple years ago. I found some fun edible glitter spray and sprinkles in the baking section at Walmart for these that I've used over and over again for the last few parties. (Walmart surprisingly has a ton of fund baking stuff to make cakes and desserts pretty if you're into making them yourself)

Cake topper: I was inspired by this pin I found on pinterest and made the number 5 myself with glitter

Fairy crowns: I made these myself out of craft things we already had at our house and grabbed some fake flowers from the dollar store to add. I will give a little tutorial on that soon! 

Fairy wings: These I also saw at the dollar store (win!!) and grabbed 8 of them for the kids. They were an ugly lime green color to begin with so I bought gold metallic spray paint to change them up and make a little prettier.

Final touch--Fairy topper Illustrations: The little fairies I illustrated and taped onto a wooden stick and place around the flowers and on top of the cake was a last minute idea I had. My girls are ALWAYS asking me to draw things for them these days so it felt fitting to draw them a fairy for their party too. They were quite a hit with them!

I wanted to gift these fairy illustrations to you as well just for saying "thanks" for being here and following along! Simply download the illustrations here, cut them out and add a stick to the back with some tape or glue. If you end up using them I'd love to see how it turns out so don't forget to tag me on Instagram @coleykuyperart #coleykuyperart.

July 18, 2019

Our Mexican Getaway

Traveling abroad with our little family has been something we've dreamed up before we even started having kids.  Although this trip was a dream come true for us, it was nothing "easy" to say the least. 

Sometimes I have a hard time with social media and sharing parts of our life because I never want to come across that we have it better or easier by any means. What I do love about it is getting to share pretty photos and glimpses into our story, but only in hopes that it would inspire others to take on a challenge like traveling with littles, but know that it never comes without the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.  Our trip to Mexico left us with so many sweet memories with our kids and a handful of "believe it or not" stories that still leave us laughing and wondering how we made it through still sane, so I mainly write this to document our crazy trip to remember later on down the road.

The first part of our trip we stayed in the heart of Mexico City where we got to explore with the kids and experience some of the real culture of Mexico there. Something Shane and I love to do when we travel is see where the locals live and eat and play so we get a little insight into life of wherever we're visiting. I think there's so much to learn and gain from when we allow ourselves to enter into someone else's life and step outside our comfort zone for a bit. 

We walked where the locals would, we ate street food like they would, we were recommended some of the best restaurants and coffee shops in town they go to, and played at places where our kids engaged with people that didn't speak the same language. These were probably some of our favorite moments of the trip and every time I talk about it I recommend others to go to places they can get a small glimpse into the life of wherever they're visiting.

One of our favorite experiences of this trip was going to a friend's wedding we had been invited to a little outside of Mexico City--which was really the reason we planned this whole trip. When they invited us we decided to make it a big family event and tacked on a visit to cancun we had been saving up credit card points for for a couple years. 

The girls were so excited to be at another real life wedding (something they're super into pretending and playing right now). We were able to celebrate with our friends late into the evening dancing up a storm with our kids and we were pretty surprised at how long they made it into the night. A few hours after the wedding ended we were up early to head to our next flight to Cancun--which is where the series of crazy events for us began.

Throughout this trip I kept thinking how thankful I was that we had the chance to even do this--as exhausting as it was. I was thankful for the opportunity, for the work my husband put in early on to plan for our family to go and for the adventure of figuring out every curve that was thrown our way. 

I could ramble on and on about each detail that was hard, but I'm not sure I could fit every little thing on this one post! Instead, I started making a list while we were there of the things that were hard about it with a list written next to it of all the things that made it worth it. 

I think it can get really easy to get drowned in the hard stuff when you're raising babies and trying to do life on top of that. It can be easy to say "I'm never taking my kids on an airplane again" or "we will never do a family vacation with little ones" or so on. But I believe wholeheartedly that if we look for the things that make the challenges worth it, those are the places we can see ourselves start to grow. Those are the places we can see our capacity extend and be able to open our hands up for more beauty that could come our way. I believe when we choose to see things differently not only will we benefit from it's rewards, the people around us will get to benefit from it too. 

So below I'm sharing a snippet of the list I made that I think I will start doing more often. Even when we're at home and the days feel long and draining, I'll choose to get out a list and write down the hard--because the hard is REAL and just because there are rewards that come in between doesn't mean we need to ignore the reality of what is/was challenging. And I will write things next to it that made the hard parts worth it. 

The hard things:
-Loading 5 kids, 5 carseats, 3 suitcases, 2 strollers, & 2 adults through the airport
-Almost not making our first flight out of Phoenix due to a cranky airline clerk
-Unexpected hidden fees for our car rental in Mexico
-No air conditioning in our apartment
-Our rental car getting dinged up while it was parked outside overnight
-Starting another travel day at 2am to head to Cancun
-Our first hotel room being a 20+ minute walk from anything at the resort
-Travel day home: more unexpected fees, mama crying, broken air conditioner on flight, then cancelled flight due to broken air after already flying for an hour, heading back to Mexico to go back through immigration, loading up our luggage and kids (again), tiny hotel room for the evening, then up at 6am to find a flight home (I'm not making this stuff up!)

sparing more crazy, yet humorous details in between all of this...

-Made it back to the states with a 45 min layover to make our connecting flight
-Making it to Phoenix to have 3 kids and almost a husband getting sick as we landed (yep, had to clean all that up for a nice welcome home present into the states)

The "worth it" things:

-Getting to walk the streets in Mexico City and explore with our little family
-Talking each day with the girls about the new things we got to experience
-Eating Mexican street corn with the kids
-The girls getting excited to see the big statues in the middle of the city
-The girls saying "hola" and "gracias" to everyone
-Raleigh eating fried octopus 
- Finding a really good local coffee shop after wandering the city and feeling lost
-Talking to locals
-Seeing friends get married and being at a Mexican wedding
-Buying the girls Mexican dresses they wore practically the whole rest of the trip
-Watching the girls dance until midnight
-Arriving to our room in Cancun, feeling thankful we get to do this
-Sitting at the pool and swimming all day with the kids
-Seeing iguanas the size of raccoons and watching the girls get excited about it
-Watching their excitement over the sight of flamingos too
-Family night swimming
-Watching Jaelynn jump off the bridge into the pool fearlessly
-Watching Dash splash and getting braver about jumping into the pool
-Dancing on the beach with my girls to the Mexican band playing next to us
-Sitting next to Shane as we watched our kids play (these are the best of days!)
-The girls cuddled up next to each other all together on the couch each night
-Sitting with Raleigh on our big airplane home watching movies with her
-The kids being total troopers and going with the flow through it all

I hope through this post you don't hear me complaining, because I'm not at all. In all honesty, I would still do this trip and hope to do more traveling abroad trips with our kids as they grow. If anything, the hard moments just give me perspective. Perspective that the control I think I might have can be gone in a second. Perspective to remember that viewing someone else's life through the internet isn't always as easy or glamorous as I sometimes make it out to be. Perspective to look for the opportunities I can learn and gain from through the hard parts of raising kids. Perspective to trust God to take care of us and that even through the stress of it all I always have a choice to be kind and love well. 

There's no doubt this trip left us with a handful of memories and stories to share for years to come, so if nothing else--that's something alone I can be thankful for. 

May 22, 2019

Magnolia Trip

So it's been a hot minute since I've blogged and I realized this is my first post of 2019!! But its a fun one, so I guess its a good one to start out with. 

I'm finally getting around to posing about this amazing opportunity we got to be a part of! (And hello little blog...its been a while). I've had so many questions about our little (big) road trip to Waco last month and I knew I wanted to document it for our own memories in some way--- so here is the recap of our trip and all that we experienced along the way. 

When I was invited back in December to be a part of the Spring at the Silos at Magnolia, Shane and I immediately decided that this was an opportunity for our first family motorhome trip--something we've been dreaming of doing for a couple years now. Shane did all the researching and planning for renting our RV. He ended up finding this one on an RV rental site and negotiated with the renter outside of the website so we could get a better deal (he has a true gift in this area :)) And this trip couldn't have happened or been as smooth as it was if it weren't for all of Shane's endless help in every area imaginable. I still wonder how I got so lucky getting to be his wife.

We headed out of Phoenix on a Sunday afternoon with our goal to make it to Waco by Tuesday evening--we had a 15+hour drive ahead of us! My mom joined us for the trip out there to help with the kids while we were in the RV and Shane's mom and a friend of ours met us out there later in the week (life savers!).

The girls couldn't have been more excited when they saw Shane rolling up in front of our house with our new home for the week. They were running from bed to bed checking out every little detail within the 30ft space! It was some kind of miracle when we started on the road that they wanted to put themselves to bed for a nap-- I think the excitement of sleeping in a new fun bunk bed made taking a nap actually enjoyable for them--thank you Jesus for that one!

Our first night we passed through Hobbs, New Mexico to visit our friends at Perspective Design. We made a pit stop for a special treat and some breathing room before we called it a night in El Paso to sleep at a truck stop. 

The next morning we were up at sunrise and it was my turn to drive (yikes!). I was terrified at the thought of driving around this massive vehicle, but once I got in the driver seat it ended up being pretty easy. I'm just lucky I didn't have to make any big turns! 

Our next stop was to Lubbock, Texas just a few hours outside of Waco where we spent more time visiting with friends there. They took us to their favorite coffee shops and treated us to meals and it was a sweet time getting to be with people we love before hitting the road again.

We made it to Waco late Tuesday night to get settled in before we had to set up shop the next morning at the Silos. Wednesday morning came around and greeted us with some rain and a motorhome that wouldn't start! After a brief moment of stress we found some people to come help us jump start the RV and we made it in time to the silos for check in only to find that they were an hour behind schedule for vendors setting up (thanks to the thunder and lighting). 

I decided to not let this moment get the best of me and just rolled with it--and grabbed coffee to help with the whole situation. The time finally came, we set up shop and we were ready to roll on Wednesday evening for the market to open. 


Have I mentioned yet how amazing my husband was during this trip? The main reason I was able to do this was because of him. The encouragement to do my dream, the endless support of making avenues happen for me to use my talents and passions, the perspective he gives when I don't see things clearly, the selfless love of taking care of our kiddos so mama can package items or respond to emails or take a nap! All the little details that I hate to even think about that he takes care of...making sure the car is running smoothly, planning when and where we need to empty the dump for the RV (bleh!), DRIVING way more than he should've because I can't keep my eyes open on the road for more than an hour and half. And this was only before the market started!

I think I say this every time I do a market, but one of my favorite things about doing these is all the sweet people I get to meet and come face to face with. Being at this one especially made it fun to meet people from all over the country that I've "met" on social media or followed for years. I also had some dear friends from North Carolina come all the way out to see me here and I may have cried the minute I saw them walk up!

 (daddy wrangling in all the kiddos once again...and also it was reeeallly cold there, hence, Shane's get up! haha)

I could probably go on and on for what this week did for my heart. So many emotions and excitements and dreams coming to fruition all wrapped together. I cried a bit from all the emotions and just feeling so so grateful we were given this opportunity. I wrote this on an Instagram postright after our trip about my what I hoped this trip did for my kids, so I think I'll just quote it again here to wrap it up...

"I hope this week instilled in them the hope in knowing that dreams can come true.

I hope it showed them that adventuring is worth it even when it's a lot of work. 

I hope it created memories in them that they'll remember for a lifetime.

Most of all, I hope this week gave them a picture of what it looks like to live out of your calling and passion and trust what your closest people say about you, even when the doubts arise. And when you're surrounded by those people, encouraging you, and reminding you of who you are, you can't help but live out who you were made to be" 

No doubt in my mind that he makes me become more of who I am meant to be!

A few questions I thought I'd answer here too that I got a lot of during and after our trip:

How did you do nap/bedtime?
The motorhome we rented could sleep up to 7, which for us meant a bit more since our kids are tiny right now. So we had them sleep in the bunk beds or on the couches with a blanket and stuffy they brought from home to help them feel more comfortable. 

Surprisingly, on the drive out there nap time seemed to be exciting for the girls. I think since everything was new and adventurous, they wanted to put themselves down for a nap to sleep in the new beds. During the market, one of our moms would go back to the RV to do a rest time with them. On the way home, this was a different story, but once they started getting a little stir crazy. I made them each go in a bed to have a rest time. 

We brought Dash's car seat with us to nap him in that during the drive and during the days of the market. We would stick him in the back bedroom of the RV where we could close the door and block off the light so it was dark. It worked great for him that way! 

We were able to park at a friend's house that lived nearby downtown Waco so we didn't have to pay for a place. This was so great since we could also use their shower and toilets inside. Then for bed we would all sleep out on the driveway in the motorhome. The best part of this was waking up and being able to drive up to the market and park on the street nearby without having to get everyone ready before we left. Having our mom's and a friend there with us were such lifesavers for this too! 

What activities did the kids do?
On the road I brought looooots of coloring books, crayons and books to read. They spent a lot of time sitting at the table coloring  or looking at books together. I also downloaded a couple shows and movies to watch on our iPad for backup. We used this once on the way home and it came in VERY handy :) During the long hours of driving we also took a couple pit stops to get out of the motorhome for a few minute for them or played at a McDonalds play ground for a bit, which also seemed to help us all from not going insane. 

Where did you get your rental?
Shane was all the brains and work behind getting this together. We found out motorhome through  Outdoorsy, but rented outside of the site to save on all the fees. This can be a small risk for both parties, but we had a great experience.

How did dumping work?
This was something Shane also had full control over! haha But on our way home we had to find a place that allowed dumping. We basically had the guy that worked there show us and help dump everything. Thats about all the advice I got on that one! 

Could kids walk around/ carseats?
Yes! Everything we researched ahead of time said that it's perfectly legal to walk around during driving. The girls did great during this, so we didn't bring their car seats since they mostly would sit at the table or be laying down in the beds. Dash was the only car seat we brought for naps and when he wasn't sleeping one of us would be holding him or he'd be sitting next to us on the couch. 

Hope that helped a bit. Feel free to ask any more questions if I didn't answer some of them already.
Thanks so much for following along friends!

November 30, 2018

12 Days of Christmas Giveaways 2018

I'm so excited to bring another round of giveaways this year for you all! I've been so so thankful for all the love and support I've been given this year in you choosing to bring my art into your homes, so I wanted to give something back to you as a little way of saying thank you for making this season so fun and special for our little family!

I've teamed up with 12 small shops that I LOVE and ADORE to give away items for the first twelve days of December. Starting December 1st, I will feature a new shop each day with something they are giving away along with something from my shop I'll be giving too. All of this will be happening on my Instagram, so be sure to look over there for how to enter and follow along. I'll be sharing more about each shop and why I love them in my stories and on my posts too.

Here are the shops involved in case you want to start shopping early for some perfect and unique Christmas gifts this year.
Hope you enjoy!

(The order of the shops below is not the order that they will be featured, check my instagram to see which shop will be featured each day)