Saturday, March 18, 2017

Family Pictures | Spring edition

I've had this session booked since January and I was so excited it was finally here. Originally our shoot was scheduled for 10am, but when Courtney reached out and asked if we'd be interested in a "sunrise shoot", I was so in. Waking up so early on a Saturday was a tough feat with my crew but we managed and it was so worth it! I loved that Courtney was so eager to get the best lighting for our pictures. We will definitely schedule our Fall family photos with her for our Christmas cards!

You can see Courtney's blog ➳ here



Location: Lake Fayetteville, Fayetteville, AR
My dress - Collective Concepts 
My booties - Nine West (Similar)
Hair - Madison Jamison
McKinlee's outfit - Oopsie Daisy (Similar)
McKinlee's sandals - Tommy Hilfigar
Carter's shirt - Cat and Jack (Target)
Carter's shorts - Old Navy
Carter's shoes - OshKosh (Similar)
Justin's shirt - Old Navy
Justin's shorts - Old Navy (Similar)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


I feel like growing up I always said that I wanted to be a young wife and mom. By 25, I wanted to be married and have a family. Although, I thought I would've come about it differently, no matter the path, I made it. Today I turn 25. 

25 years of knowledge.

I've learned more about myself in the last five years than I have my whole life. I've learned to be independent. I've learned that if I want something, I have to make a decision to get it. I've learned that those decisions don't just affect me but also the people around me. I've learned to be a mom, a wife, a mom of two, a student, a full time employee. I've learned that hard work will get you where you want to be in life.

I used to get so irritated at people who got everything handed to them. Looking back, I am so thankful for everything we have because we've worked so hard to get here. At 19, we got pregnant, started in a one bedroom apartment for $400 a month, and we all three slept in one bedroom. We got a couple of raises, moved to a 2 bedroom apartment, and after a few more promotions, we now own our home, have two reliable vehicles, our kids wear nice clothes and we're able to feed them hearty meals.

I feel so blessed to know where I was then and what I am now. I didn't think getting married would change our relationship much since we had "practically been married" for 5 years. It's crazy how much you argue with someone when you are bound by the law and know you can't "just leave". We are still working on communication as a couple, as parents, but do you ever really stop learning as a parent?

I've learned that people you thought would always be a part of your life, won't be, and that sucks.

I've learned that having 4 quarters, is more important than 100 pennies. I have about 4 or so quality friends that deserve my time, conversation and investment and I am so thankful for them.

I've learned that investing my time and commitment into my job is going to have a big payout in the end. I've had so many people tell me, "you don't need a degree, it's all about networking." I am working so hard to be a full time mom, wife and employee, while getting my bachelor's in business. If it doesn't help me get one single promotion, I could care less. That's my goal. The next 5 years will be dedicated to getting that degree before I hit the big 3-0!

So, here's to 25.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Life Lately | February

Another month of 2017 has come and gone, so fast. It's officially birthday month for me and I'm turning the big 25 this year! It's crazy. I feel like I am where I wanted to be at 25, but got here in the most unconventional way, but nonetheless, I'm here.

I was going through my phone to see what we did in February, because if there isn't a picture, did it really happen? The answer is yes. I know this because I know we did a lot more in February, I just didn't document it. But also, can we talk about screenshots? I can't be the only one that screenshots everything I want, amiright? LIKE EVERYTHING (see below).

My best girl got to celebrate Dr.Seuss week by wearing crazy clothes!

I had an eye exam for the first time since 2011, because I was having some issues when driving at night. Turns out, I really couldn't see, like at all. So getting some new glasses in a week!

I talked to Justin this week about putting in some flower beds around the house - so I am ready for the next warm weekend to tackle this project!

Can we talk about Sean & Catherine's couch and how I've literally wanted it all three years they've had it. Yeah. See ya soon, Wayfair.

Our corporate building is expanding, so we got to tour the new addition with our VP's and it was so cool! So ready to move in there!

McKinlee had her friend Tayla spend the night and Carter Paul got all the attention. That went well.

Started planning my FIVE year old's birthday party! WHAT?

Started planning outfits for family pictures coming up in mid-March! We're excited for our photoshoot with Courtney - she is a co-worker that's taken up photography and is awesome at it! Check her out - HERE.

One of my New Year's resolutions was to try to blog 3-4 times a week in 2017. Unfortunately, that's not me blogging in that picture. It's me doing tons of homework so I can get my Bachelor's degree sometime in the next 5 years. I am hoping I can figure out how to make a little more time for blogging in the future, but for now, once or twice a month will have to do!

Other fun things that happened in February:
Daddy went to the season opener for Razorback baseball
We almost built a house, but got too nervous, so didn't.
I started Plexus - anxious to see if it works!
McKinlee is so good at writing her name, and speaking spanish.
Carter is starting to pick up on words and it's so funny!
We're watching Criminal Minds, Revenge and Last Man Standing
Justin is trying to solve a Rubiks cube - so determined.

Flying out East to NC to throw my best friend a bridal shower and have a bachelorette night! 
Can't wait to celebrate her becoming a Bright!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Friday Favorites

It's Sunday, so view these Friday favs as more of a weekend wrap-up! 
What a weekend! We actually literally did nothing and it was 100% glorious. Friday night Justin went out with his guys and the kids and I stayed home and went to bed early! Saturday morning we got up and went to see uncle Mason play basketball and they won! It was in the 70's here in Fayetteville, so we toted the kids to the park and had so much fun. We have a playhouse and trampoline in the backyard but there is something about the park that is so much more exciting, apparently. 

We redbox'd Mike & Dave need wedding dates because Zac Efron, and besides the vulgar language I thought it was pretty funny. I have been trying to put my phone down more during the weekends and be more present on the weekends, which I have enjoyed. Sunday, I woke up early and ran to the grocery store. I love a freshly stocked store, with no people. I've meal prepped all day, all the laundry is clean, dishes are done and I just want Revenge on Netflix the rest of the night.

I'm going to have a busy next few weeks and I am so excited! I am flying out to North Carolina in two weeks for my best friend's bridal shower! I went and bought a few things this weekend and I can't wait to celebrate! We also are in full-force party planning for our best girl's 5th birthday, so I've started making to-do lists for that! Party-plannin' is my jam.

Have a good week!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Life Lately | January

Hello Friends!

We've had such a busy first month of the year that's resulted in the blog being a little neglected. I love blogging and believe me, if I could make a career out of it, I would. I am going to try to blog whenever I can, but I will definitely do a "Life Lately" post at the end of each month to recap our happenings. With that said, let's talk about January.

I got a promotion and I am absolutely in love with my new job. I feel like I am able to use so much more of my creativity and talents, so I'm very thankful for that. This job does require me to work 45-50 hours a week and that has definitely been a big adjustment. Nonetheless, so excited for my career to finally be taking off.

I enrolled back in school to get my Bachelor's in Business. So, on top of the extra 5-10 hours a week at work, I'm also spending 5-7 hours a week doing school work. I need to do one of those "day in the life" post like MixMatchMama does - but I'll give you a brief overview.

4:00am - WAKE UP
4:30am - Head to the gym
4:45-5:30am - Work out
5:30-6:15am - Get ready for work
6:15-6:30am - Starbucks run & head to work
6:40am-5pm - WORK 
(I occasionally take a lunch, most days I eat at my 
desk so I can leave early on Fridays)
5-6pm - Get home & get dinner started
6-7pm - Eat & bathe the kids
7:40-8pm - Carter's bed time, 
McKinlee watches her 20 minute show
8pm - McKinlee's bed time/ I shower
8:30pm - Crawl into bed to start homework
and/or watch Criminal Minds on Netflix
10pm - BED

It makes for a pretty crazy day! Some days I choose to sleep in and I'll skip the gym but I have been going 4-5 days a week! I usually rest on weekends so I can spend that extra time with the kids and Justin! Some evenings we have Gymnastics so that shifts things around, but for the most part these are what our days look like.

I quit Whole30 on day 17. That diet is for the birds, or rabbits or any thing that isn't allowed to have sugar. YIKES. I did keep an eye on my portion control and tried to be diligent in drinking at least 90oz of water a day. I took measurements on Jan 1, and took them again on Feb 1 and I lost 3lbs and inches off almost everywhere. I have been doing more weightlifting than cardio, which I've actually really loved. I think this next month I am really going to try to dedicate an extra 30 minutes each workout to cardio.

Justin has some exciting things he's wanting to do this year and I am so excited to see how all of it plays out. So thankful for his hard work and dedication to our family. He is our rock!

McKinlee, has started 2017 off big in Pre-K4! She celebrated her 100th day of Preschool by dressing up like an old lady. She is so excited for Kindergarten and she's so smart and sassy. She hates to have her hair in a pony tail, "I like to wear it long", every morning. She wants to have a Princess birthday party! She is so good at gymnastics - and you can tell she just has a passion for it! We got her a balance beam for Christmas and she uses it every single day. That's usually how I am able to get dinner fixed, she'll just walk back and forth trying different things. She's awesome!

She loves being able to add money to her piggy bank, so we have a chore chart set up in her room with simple tasks to help around the house. She does things like make her bed, puts away her laundry, wipes down the bathroom counter and she helps put the spoons and forks away once they clean. It went well the first two days, but now it's "Mom, I was tired this morning, so I didn't make my bed." 

Carter Paul, my baby boy. He is getting SO big. He's got a full set of teeth and I can't tell you an exact date of any one of them, because second child probs. I have estimates, so that's as good as is gets. He is talking so much lately. The way he says "Tank To" and "Luh You" is THE sweetest thing. He loves giving hugs and kisses. We're still trying to get him to say Mimi/Meme, but he still won't. 

He knows where his nose is, and he loves his "nacks". It's so true what they say about boys, they will literally eat you out of your house. He's a picky garbage disposal. He loves fruit snacks, any type of fruit, granola bars, anything Chickfila, BBQ chips, applesauce, chocolate chips, spaghetti/raviolis. He weirdly isn't a huge fan of chicken nuggets, which is strange because McKinlee lived off chicken nuggets. So we've had to kind of adjust, oh! He loves potato soup! He's just the best! 

That sums up our first month of 2017 - we're excited to see what February holds!

We took our little gymnast to see the Gymbacks compete against Mizzou! She loved it!


These are my two favorite songs right now - listen to them on repeat a lot!

Worked out my legs with @simplysamfitness and it was the best workout of my life!
Check her out on Insta!

Pulled out old baby pics of Justin and realized him and Carter are the same person, 23 years apart.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

THE MAMA | Our Wedding pt. 2

In case you missed it..

After a fun day with my girls it was finally time to see my husband and I couldn't wait. As weird as it sounds I was so nervous. I don't know if it was because we were about to be the center of attention, or if it was the actual ceremony. I mean, we've literally had two babies and been married for a year, so the fear of commitment wasn't there. I think maybe it was just the day I had dreamed of for so long and it was finally happening, with the man of my dreams.

Once the grandparents and parents were all seated the DJ started the processional song that the bridal party would walk down the aisle to. I had such a hard time choosing the two songs that would play while we walked towards the alter. I knew I wanted something sentimental, but not instrumental, but not too all-over-the-place. I finally decided that Never Stop{wedding version} by Safety Suits would be perfect. The lyrics are gold. You can play it here, while you scroll through.

I was so thankful that my uncle Matt agreed to be our officiant. It was so special to have him marry us and we'll cherish those memories forever.

My little brother carried our son down the aisle. So special to me.

He was so sleepy, but such a good baby the whole night!

She took her job very seriously!

I've seen him cry twice in the six years we have been together. Once when we found out we were going to be parents at 19 and when his Mema went to be with Jesus. There are few and far in between but him crying at his baby girl, I die. Best daddy ever.

We worked so hard to time the music to my walk because I wanted it to be perfect and I wanted the whole first chorus to be played before I got to the alter. I knew I didn't want to do the traditional bridal march, but I didn't want anything too upbeat. I decided to go with Christina Perri's A Thousand Years and I did about the first minute of the song. I loved it so much. It was perfect! You can listen to it here.

I asked Justin so many times before the wedding if he thought he would cry. He always said "probably not, so don't be mad at me." Cried. all the tears." I loved it. Just his raw emotion, I love him so much. We chose not to write our own vows but we sat down and created vows that we would both say. They included making God the center of our marriage and for Justin to be the leader of our home and for us to hold each other accountable in our relationship.

AH! The semi-stressful part was over and I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I am terrible in front of crowds, all the nerves. We knew we had a few pictures to take and then we could head to the reception to eat and dance! We all met by the pool while the guest headed to the backyard and then we went to the neighboring farmhouse to take pictures. I'm obsessed with our pictures, you can read my review of Courtney at the bottom of this post!

Sweet daddy hugs!

- My family - 

- Grandmother & Papa -

- Grandma Susan & Papa Mike -

- My cousin Aubrie & Aunt Staci - 

- Justin's Papa Jim & Mema Shirley -

- Justin's Pepa -

- Justin's Nini & Papa Bud -

- the Bolinger family -

  - My parents and brothers - 

- Justin's Mom & Steve -

- the Powell-Dubois family -

- Justin and his sisters, Katie & O'Shay -

- Justin's Dad -

- Emarie was such a big helper from helping with the kids, to passing out programs, to holding flowers for us! So thankful for her sweet, servant heart! -

- love this bridal party of ours, each one of them holds a special place in our hearts - 

- we have this same picture at Bailey's wedding, the birth of both my children and so many other memories, so thankful for these two and the aunties they are to my babies! -

- my girl -


- behind the scenes - 

After we finished our pictures, we headed back to the reception to enter with our first dance.

We did an open bar and served heavy hor d'oeuvres.

We had our bride and groom signature drinks, wine, and our awesome bartender switched things up and used our leftover fruit from Chickfila to make the best sangria I've ever tasted!

- the menu -
Mini sandwiches w| toppings
Spinach artichoke dip
Fresh cilantro salsa
Tortilla chips
Chickfila nuggets
Chickfila fruit
Chickfila tea & lemonade

- one can never go wrong with a s'mores bar -

- we did a sparkler send off, so it was convenient to make our party favors these custom matchboxes -

We entered the party by having the DJ announce us as Mr&Mrs and then went straight into our first dance. We danced to Dan+Shay's From the ground up.

After our first dance, we grabbed a few bites to eat and then started thanking our family and friends for making our day so special by coming to celebrate with us. When we got married at the courthouse over a year ago, I never would've thought we'd have this day. I am so thankful we decided to celebrate with family.

- four generations of bolinger boys -

I knew when I did the father-daughter dance I wanted to include Justin and McKinlee, so thankful I did. I cant wait to give her these pictures on her wedding day, when they do this same dance. We did the same thing with the mother-son dance. I had only seen glimpses of the kids throughout the day, so it was nice to finally slow down and just have some one-on-one time with my best boy.

After we cut the cake, we hopped on the dance floor and danced the rest of the night away! We had so much fun! On our RSVP cards I had a place where people could request a song, so we had a mostly customized playlist but the DJ took requests throughout the night, which was fun!

We did our exit around 6:45pm so that the older crowd could head home without feeling guilty. I loved the idea of a sparkler send-off, so I bought these heavy duty, slow burning sparklers while the firework stands were up this past summer. I think I spent $45 on the sparklers and another $40 on the matchbox favors. So it was a pretty cheap deal!

October 29, 2016. 
Definitely one for the books.


Courtney Glaser Photography Review

Let me start by saying, we're a family of four, with a limited income. Spending a fortune on photos wasn't in the books for us from the start and it caused many arguments in the first few months of planning. I knew in my head and on paper that we couldn't afford it, especially if we had other details of the wedding that we didn't want to budge on either. So after much deliberation, we decided to take the plunge. I just had to explain to Justin and everyone else who thought it was insane, or that said "just hire a family friend" or "I'm sure so&so will take them for cheap". That's what I didn't want. I didn't want cheap. Other than the memories, these photos are the only thing we have left from our big day. To me, having high quality photos that take me back to that very moment is what I paid for. 

However, I will say with Courtney, you get these high quality, unreal photos, but you also get the photographer. Someone who is just excited about the pictures as you are. I don't know how many times she said "oh my gosh, y'all I can't" or she would just be jumping up and down with excitement to get home and edit them. She just made us feel so confident and sexy in our photos, which as parents, we never have that feeling. It's always, fruit snacks and spit up, so to feel like we were actual newlyweds and in those moments it was just me and him, that's what I feel when I look at my pictures. Justin said as we were looking at our sneak peeks that night, "I'm sorry we argued about that, she was so good and I'm so glad we hired a professional." She is worth every penny.

so without further ado, my favorite picture of all time.

I just remember how I felt in this moment and it's how I felt on January 30, 2011, on our first date.

Sparklers - similar
Matchbox favors -
S'mores Bar - DIY
Mini Sandwiches - Walmart Deli
Dips, Chips, Alcohol - Sam's Club
Nuggets, Fruit, Beverages - Chickfila Catering
© the fayetteville mama. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.