// Life Lately

Happy Tuesday! Thanks for the kindness surrounding my most recent post from last week. Maybe I just avoid the places that trigger anxiety, but I've been pleasantly surprised by the support and sincerity I've received since sharing the last part of our news. All of the love surrounding Toby's adoption just has my heart overflowing though. Any fear or sadness I may have had about ending one chapter and starting a new one is quickly drowned out by the kindness and support we've received. 

Now that school is out for Toby, we've been spending so much time outside! I have a pretty hard and fast rule about tv/video games during the Summer: If it's a pretty day, you have to be outside by 9am. Whether he's helping me in the garden, playing with the neighbor kids, or drawing on the road with chalk - he has to be outside. I operate under a similar rule for myself. If I'm not doing work or cleaning the house, I have to be outside. Sometimes it looks like that above: laying in a hammock. It's kind of nice, I won't lie! The rest of the time I'm usually chasing Linden around the backyard. 

We're hoping my parents' pool will be ready to go by this weekend. It's open and crystal clear, but oof it's COLD! My Summer tan is coming along though. I'm seriously covered in freckles from head to toe. I'll need to change my makeup for the season - otherwise my face might be glowing ha! 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Okay - So I know y'alls help with two things! 1) Help me find an awesome bathing suit! I still have my black crochet top that I wore last year (I think...) - I need a new set of bottoms though! These hot pink ones were from GabiFresh's Swimsuits For All line years ago. It's my all time favorite fit, but I can't find one quite like it. I'm game for all types though - high waisted two pieces or one pieces. Gimme your best links!

2) I need some new tunes for my Summer playlist! Whitney and I have fallen into the habit of playing the same things over and over and over. We need some new tunes that make us want to dance and whatever. If you have an awesome playlist, share the link!

Until next time!

xo KB

PS; Add me on Snapchat! 'kaelahbee'

// Happy Adoption Day, Tobes!

If we're friends on Facebook or Instagram then you've likely already seen the news, but as of Wednesday, May 11th, 2016, I am officially (legally!) Toby's mom! I can't even begin to tell you how overwhelmed I am with relief, happiness, and gratitude. I've been in Toby's life since he turned 1, and he's called me "Mom" for the past 4.5 years. In May 2014, just before Linden was born, Mike and I made the decision to pursue a step-parent adoption for Toby. I'm not going to get into the details of the process because it was long, frustrating, scary, and exhausting. But after 2 years of hoping and wishing and waiting, we were able to meet with a judge and we completed the process privately in his chambers with our parents present. I cried and I cried and I cried with Toby in my lap. There are truly no words to describe that feeling. 

While we had originally made the decision to move forward with the adoption on our own (without Toby's knowledge), we felt like it was important to make sure this is something he would want. It's undeniable that it would be in his best interest, hence our decision, but at 7.5 we thought he was astute enough to understand what was going on. So we sat him down one afternoon and explained everything to him, and while there were plenty of tears shed while discussing everything, he said he wanted me to adopt him. From there we finalized our court date and traveled to a nearby county to be heard as quickly as possible. That day came Wednesday!

The night before, as he was kissing me goodnight, Toby said "I can't wait for tomorrow, mom" and I probably cried a solid hour after. It was overwhelming.

While Toby somewhat understands the situation, he'll grow more and more aware of the importance as he matures. He understands the foundation of the situation with his birth mother and why we had custody of him, but of course we plan to be open and honest with him by giving him the appropriate amount of information for the time. I've often feared that he may grow to resent me at some point, feeling as though I had taken the place of his birth mom, but all I can do is take it one day at a time and prove to him how devoted of a mom I am. It's also important for us to recognize that while adoptions are such a happy thing, they're almost always rooted in some type of trauma, loss, or heartbreak. Toby gained a forever family with me, but he also lost something with his birth mom. I'm going to do my absolute best to navigate the situation with grace and patience and understanding. I can't promise to be perfect, but I'll always be there to listen to him.

This adoption was important for so many reasons, but one that always got me: I've had several nightmares where something tragic has happened to Mike and not only did I lose him, but I lost Toby, too. I just know Linden and I would not be the same. I also wanted Toby to know that despite not being biologically related, he's still my son and I would do absolutely anything for him that I would do for Linden. And well, this next part, too:

For some slightly more bittersweet news: Mike and I have decided to separate. This actually isn't a recent occurrence, and we've been living apart for some time (and I consciously made the decision to adopt after the separation). Neither of us have tried to "hide" that we've separated, but we both agreed that we wouldn't really make a big to do about it until after Toby's adoption (for two reasons: the dreaded question of "But what will happen to Toby?" and so we could learn how to co-parent separately, with at least a little bit of privacy). Our marriage has ended gracefully and without incident. We just learned how to live without one another since our schedules became so incredibly opposite. We had a very very hard third year of marriage last year, and despite our best efforts, I don't think we quite ever got over it. We fought for our marriage for a while, even in therapy, and we really did make a great team. But we were able to look at our marriage objectively and we realized it just wasn't the best thing for either one of us any longer. I don't regret a single second spent with him, or fighting for our marriage. I am so grateful for the gifts he has given me with these boys, and the past (almost) 7 years we had together. Our entire past 6.5 years has been documented on this very blog, so it's certainly sad to see it go. But I've been happy since - sort of "finding myself" again I guess? It's hard to shuttle the boys between us, and I try to busy myself when they're gone, but we are taking it in stride and so far we've been able to co-parent incredibly well. Mike is living barely a mile away now, so even though it's not a "perfect" situation for the boys, they'll be able to see him often. (Yes, that means they both will remain primarily with me.) I don't think of this time as the end of my relationship with Mike, but simply the start of a new chapter. I know that's so cliche and corny, but it's so fitting. Learning to be a single mom this past little while has been interesting too, but I'm overcome with gratitude for my incredible support system. I simply ask that y'all allow me some grace and time to figure out how everything operates as a one-woman show around here. I've been a bit slow on the email lately, but I promise it's not from lack of effort!

Please send only congratulations as it's a very wonderful and exciting time for all of us, Mike included. One of my biggest fears about "announcing" our separation was being inundated with "sorries" and "sympathies" - I know they mean well, but I promise our marriage ended on good terms, amicably, and we're both destined for new things. I know coparenting won't be without it's challenges and speed bumps, but I'm hoping we can make the best of it.

xo KB

// Nice To See You Again

This is Toby's last full week of school, y'all. He'll go to school 3 days next week and then that's it! He'll be a full fledged second grader with two and a half months worth of Summer ahead of him. I have to admit I'm totally envious of that excitement. You know the kind unlike any other kind... Summer is so close and you have no responsibilities or worries. Where can I sign up for that as an adult?!

Baseball practices and games have been keeping us so incredibly busy the past few weeks. I always look forward to baseball season, and then when it shows up I honestly kind of look forward to it being over haha! It's so fun but so demanding of our time. I couldn't ever dream of not seeing him suit up though, so I guess I'll just suffer through the 3 month season every year. 

I've been spending more and more time outside now that the weather is finally nice (I say that as the forecast calls for 3 consecutive days of rain and storms...). My front flower bed is almost completely finished, and my vegetable raised bed is flourishing! Now I really just need to tackle taming the backyard a bit and I'll be all set. 

I'll be back soon with a more lengthy update, promise! 

xo KB

// Things I Love Thursday v.258

Keeping it sort of short and sweet this week! Enjoy!
♥ this. ♥
♥ this is how the universe is moving as it transverses the galaxy (!!!) ♥
♥ this doormat ♥
♥ this! ♥
this patch! ♥
♥ this caption: "susan i know you're home, just come outside so we can talk things out" 
this. ♥

// I really want all the straw bags and hats this year! And wedges!

// Speaking of wedges, check out these from Charlotte Olympia!

// 20 artists who took embroidery to the next level.

// Shopbop is having a surprise 3 day sale! But hurry because today is the last day! If you need a little inspiration for your shopping, just browse the Trend Boutique.

// Have any of you bought the Humans of New York book?! I'm thinking about ordering it, so tell me yay or nay!

// Indego Africa - a brand after my own color-loving heart!

// I am in love with these terrariums.

// If you want to see incredible hummingbirds up close, here you go!

// Zhuu tote bags are so fun! I want them all

// This "Rock Steady" lookbook is perrrrrrfect!

xo KB

// Made To Matter

This post brought to you by Tom's of Maine. The content and opinions expressed below are that of This Charming Life.

Y'all, look at that baby's face. All of that black? Mascara. It happened in roughly 45 seconds while I turned around (and he was locked in the bedroom with me!) haha There's no telling what that baby will get into on a daily basis. He refused to let me wash it off his face until he had brushed his teeth, eaten breakfast, and played outside. And you know what? I was okay with that. Rolling with the punches and picking my battles these days. At least it wasn't my expensive mascara, right? Haha 

This post is about toothpaste... but also, not about toothpaste. Sure at the gut of it it's a sponsored post about Tom's of Maine, but honestly it's made me a little reflective on the changes we've made in our house over the past couple of months. Little changes and decisions that end up impacting everyone. For example, Toby is obsessed with recycling. I'm not quite sure where he picked it up, but his enthusiasm for it means we recently implemented a recycling set up of our own. He's such a stickler against littering (yay!) and seeing him develop his own interests is really cool. I handed him the reins on it and he oversees the sorting. He's in absolute heaven!

In addition to recycling, I've started swapping out the cleaning products in our house to be as eco-friendly as possible. I still have a few trusty favorites I'm enjoying until they run out, but in an attempt to leave a slightly smaller footprint, I've opted to trade out most everything I can. (Including, but not limited to, the very toothpaste this post is about haha) As for the new Tom's of Maine Luminous White toothpaste, I'm a fan of the all-natural ingredients and the fact it doesn't taste awful! (Anyone else ever noticed that? Natural toothpaste typically has a terrible taste, but luckily this one is a-okay). Not to mention it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.  It's gluten and paraben free, and it's their most advanced natural whitening toothpaste. It is part of the Made To Matter line available exclusively at Target, and seriously, I just want to order everything! 

I opted to order the toothpaste online, and have Whitney pick it up for me on her way home from work since the closest Target is exactly one hour away. This was my first time buying online and having it picked up at the store, and even though I wasn't the one to pick it up, I am now hooked on that feature. (Mainly because I do not need to be left unattended in Target... I will bring home everything. Seriously.) I may or may not have ordered a couple more things for her to swing by and get for me tonight... HA. That's what best friends are for, right?

Anyway, Earth Day just passed, and hopefully that's got the rest of y'all thinking about small changes that could make a big difference. I know it's just toothpaste (Well, there's deodorant the Wicked Cool! deodorant and North Woods antiperspirant in the collection, too - a little something for everyone), and it's such a minuscule change that you might not ever even notice, but by making better choices with ingredients and avoiding testing on animals, you're without a doubt making a difference. Earth Day is only one day, but we should strive to make it a priority 365 days a year (or you know, 366 for 2016 haha) In terms of our own household goals, we're eyeball deep in a container garden (!!!) which will hopefully give us most of the veggies we'll use for the season. I'd also love to create a new compost bin! We had one when we lived in East Nashville and I think it'd be so great for our home here. 

Baby steps! None of these are big changes really, but I know they'll have a greater impact when it's all said and done! Now run to Target and check out the Made To Matter collection because I bet it'll be super easy for you to swap out some of your own products. Don't forget to check out the cartwheel offer  on the products too!

Do you use any special eco-friendly cleaning / beauty products?

xo KB

Visit Sponsors Site

// DIY Romantic Boho Door Decor

Our May challenge for the Michaels Makers was to attend one of the classes Michaels has in-store, and share our experience. Well, this is kind of that. Kind of. Ha! I reserved 2 spots for me and Maya in the cute spring door decor class on April 27th. At least I thought I did. I actually reserved spots for April 26th... and didn't realize it until we showed up the next day! Oh my word, I felt stupid. Oops! It was all okay though because the gals working at Michaels were so sweet and helped us in the classroom and everything anyway. They ran out of the supplies for the actual project, so Maya and I rounded up our own fun version for her door. We went with a grapevine hanging "basket" and some gorgeous dusty faux flowers. This basket is perfect for Maya's door because she has several friends who live in the same building. Perfect place to drop a little "happy" or gift haha

This class was awesome because like many of Michaels' other classes, it's free. You just gotta buy the supplies! It's a fun way to spend a girls' evening or whatever, you know? I even saw in the classroom they had signs for birthday parties (!!!). That would be SUCH a fun way to celebrate a kiddo's birthday. I'm definitely going to suggest it to Toby for his next party haha The classroom was well stocked with supplies like glue, scissors, markers, etc. The gals working at Michaels were seriously so sweet, too. I'm totally bummed we missed the actual class, but we're looking to make it up this month! Of course if classes aren't your jam, you can always try out one of Michaels' craft kits. The evening may not have gone perfectly, but we had fun, we laughed about it, and Maya got a sweet new door hanger. Not too shabby!

xo KB