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{$100 cash giveaway}

This Tuesday is looking up.
I'm headed out with my boys to gymnastics... which also usually entails a trip to Costco and a lunch date.
And this evening, I'm going out on the town for a little girls night.
Basically what I'm saying is, I could use up this $100 we're giving away real real fast.

Luckily for you, I won't.

Take a look at the beautiful gals who are bringing you this fabulous giveaway:

Not only are they beautiful, but their blogs/products are amazing.
Don't just take my word for it.
Stalk their links above {and below} to prove it to yourself.

Without further ado, go get entered.
May the best stalker win.



{oh hey, friday | life lately}

I wish that I had a good reason for not blogging this week.
There is something so enticing about a big comfy couch and a tv after the boys go to bed though.
Speaking of tv… any Grey's Anatomy watchers still out there?
I took a year or two break from it a couple years back, but got sucked back in.
And boy, last nights episode… the worst.
It had me bawling.
Please tell me I'm not the only one!?

Anyways. Onto more exciting and happy things.
Like this little link up.
Fun fact. This is week 40 of Oh hey, Friday!
That's the duration of a pregnancy.
I think that we have grown a mighty fine little link baby, if I do say so myself.

So, go ahead and write up a post about five things, paste the html of the button below on your post, and link up at the bottom.
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1. |  big boy bed
Big news on the home front.
Beckam is officially in a toddler bed.
He has been successfully crawling out of his crib on his own for over a month.
My husband tried to convince me it was safer to convert the crib to a toddler bed.
It took me this long.
I figured that in the middle of the night, if he woke up, he would be too tired to try and crawl out.
A little confinement never hurt, right?
Well… two nights ago Mr. Beckam decided to prove me wrong.
For the first time ever escaping his crib and his room, FIVE times in the middle of the night.
I figured, if he can't be confined, why risk an injury.
And now, we have this proud big boy.

2. | four year old naps
Speaking of my children's sleeping habits…
while riding in the tractor with our farmer yesterday, Brody decided to take a little snooze.
Tractor's make this boy tired.
If he wants to be a farmer when he grows up, he's going to have to get a handle on this.

3. | walla walla
A little over a week ago, we left on a mini road trip.
Our first stop was Walla Walla.
This place has a very special spot in my heart.
Not only is it where I met and married my farmer, but we have close family and friends there.
If farms could be moved, I would move ours there.
 A quick and full stop.

4. | road trippin'
Did I mention our road trip happened in a motorhome?
It is truly the only way to road trip with young kids.
I mean, you are driving around a house.
Super handy.

We made quite a few quick stops along the way to let the wee ones stretch their legs.
Within a couple of hours we went from making snowmen, to standing in the most beautiful tulip fields!

5. | cousins
 Visiting family is fun.
And when their kids are the same age as your kids… it's more fun.
These boys had a fun filled couple of days together.
Caleb turned four while we were there, and it was great to celebrate!
If only they lived a little closer.
 There was only one small accident... which with four boys, I consider a success.
Brody got the brunt of it while coming into direct contact with his cousin's new scooter that was being put together.
It swung around as he was running past, and boom...
right between the eyes!
 We made sure he steered clear of the golf clubs.

Ok friends, have yourself a great weekend.
Remember not to put your face near a razor scooter.



{we've got a graphic designer up in here}

I'm going to hijack this post for a second from Cris to brag about her.
I enlisted her to do a logo for the farm recently.
And I am totally loving it.
In case anyone is curious… that is a sugar beet.
It is one of our largest crops.

I've got big plans to make t-shirts, stamps, envelopes, business cards, etc. with this beaut.

Cris was super easy to work with, and wasn't bothered by my constant changing ideas and requests.
She makes sure that she gets your logo just how you want it.
And that… it's hard to come by.

Go ahead and read a fun little q&a I did with her, and then go and stalk her sites.
She's even offering a discount code to you all at the very bottom!!

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Firstly - let's start out with how talented you are. You have got some graphic design skills. What made you decide to become a graphic designer?

Thank you very much for your kind words, Amy! For me it all started while I was studying my major in Industrial Design. I had always had a very big interest on graphic design so I took a course in order to learn the basics and I’ve never stopped since then. My first job came when a friend of mine asked me to create a logo for a fair trade campaign he was preparing on our university. Now I specialize in branding for small businesses and startups.

What is it like owning your own business and being self employed? Pros/Cons?

It’s a beautiful rollercoaster ride! I work from home and that definitely has its pros and cons. I wake up early every morning and write a very detailed to-do list before starting work. That helps me focus, not wasting too much time between tasks and being more organized. If you are a freelance professional you end up working more hours than expected but it doesn’t matter at all if you love what you do.
It feels SO GOOD to achieve goals by yourself and receive positive feedback from your client when the project is finished. Feeling that good work is always rewarded. And, of course, being able to go out for a walk or a coffee with a friend if you feel like it!

Do you have any advice for people that are looking to become self employed?

First of all, go for it! We usually say life is too short but I also think it is too long not to try at least once. If you have a true passion and you end up earning a living by working on it you won’t need much more.
Then once you have started, I would say stop looking at what others are doing and work harder. It’s always great to take a look at your competition to get new ideas but those ideas won’t work unless you do.

What are your favorite designs to date? 

It is very difficult to pick only some of them but here you have 3 of my latest logos and a cute little Frida from a collection of avatars I’m creating for my Society6 shop

When you're not designing/blogging, what other things do you like to do?

Some would say too many different things! I like playing the guitar, reading, programming games, watching movies… and when the weather is good I spend my weekend nights viewing galaxies, star clusters and nebulas on the countryside.

Give us something that's made you laugh recently (mime, picture, gif, etc.)

I also would like to include a coupon code both for my Etsy shop and website that will run for 5 days and be available until Friday night. The code is DENIMANDPLAID and it is for 15% off on all orders.

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Talented, and sweet.
That's a good combo!
If you are in need of a logo - just ask Cris.



{oh hey, friday | totally random}

It's Wednesday evening and I'm hammering out a post for you all since we are off galavanting from Thursday to Sunday. 
Let it also be noted that I put my boys to bed at 6:00 pm.
It was necessary. 
Believe me.
 And another necessity… think link up.

So, go ahead and write up your five, paste the html of the button below on your post, and link up at the bottom.

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1. | Tractor Rides
If we want to see our farmer these days, we have to go to him.
So, that's what we do.
Luckily he's been planting sugar beets, so we don't have to get covered from head to toe with mud like previous outings.
Instead, we all cram into the tractor cab. 
Gunner included.

I'm not sure which type of tractor riding Beckam likes more… riding with Gunner and the rest of the family, or going solo with daddy who gives him an old coffee can full of dirt a loader and a fruit leather.
Last Friday, post tractor ride, we headed down to the river to do some cat-tail "fishing" and lots of rock throwing. 
Living by the river is not only beautiful, but very entertaining for these little guys.

2. | First Haircut
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know that Beckam got his first haircut this week.
He did SO good sitting still and didn't seem to mind at all.
I also didn't forget to snag a ziploc and throw some of that sweet soft baby hair in it.
I didn't however make a super adorable video to music like Brody got.
Second child problems.
Brody got a bit of a trim which was greatly needed since I had cut it the time before. 
I'm the worst. Ever.
 After a successful trip to the salon, a lollipop "cheers" was in order.
 And now, just like that, I have two big boys.

 3. | Gymnastics Update
The boys have been LOVING gymnastics.
Brody is in a class full of boys, which is unusual, but super fun for him.
I'm pretty sure they goof off quite a bit.
But, he does follow the teachers directions, and can do everything asked of him.
Beckam is learning.
 He particularly loves the donuts.
In case you were wondering, this is NOT one of the moves he should be doing.
Gymnastics is hard work. 
Sometimes a rest is in order.

He is in a class full of girls.
More typical.
Which means more flirting... and laying on foam donuts sending out vibes to the ladies.

Last week, after gymnastics, I was feeling brave and took them to Toys R Us to run wild and choose one toy of their liking.
What seemed like five hours later… we left.

4. | Photoshoot
I've been on a roll with my photography lately.
Monday I had the opportunity to take maternity pics of a friend who is due in June.
Isn't she the cutest!?
It is a whole new world shooting adults as opposed to children.
Emma was so obedient. :)
5. | I've got a few Medium ad spots left {or coming available super soon} to join in on this month's group giveaway.
If you are interested, check out my my advertise page here, and enter code MEDIUM for 50% off.
Hope you all have a super weekend.



{your new favorite blog}

I really love my sponsors, it's no lie.
But when they host the coolest Sex and the City clothes swap parties and share so much in common with me… it's like a match made in blog heaven.
Samantha is a doll.
And her blog is totally stalk worthy.
Believe me.
Check it out, but first enjoy a little q&a I did with her….

  Firstly - let's start out with your lovely blog. What inspired you to begin your blog, and has that changed since you started? 
 You know those people who always have the craziest things happen to them? That's me. I was 30 weeks pregnant with my daughter when I was thoroughly blessed by an old Russian Catholic woman at the grocery store. Like, for a full five minutes with a rosary and bowing and everything. Around that time I decided to listen to my friends' encouragement and start a blog about my adventures in pregnancy - because who else has that kind of stuff happen to them!? Plus, it was going to be a great way to help my friends and family keep up with my pregnancy and with our growing family. Since then, my inspiration has changed from crazy preggo happenings to my new life as a SAHM, my favorite things and our adventures in toddlerhood. And yes, off the wall things still happen to me all the time!   

  Your blog's name is "Cotten Tales", how did you decide on that? 
 Cotten Tales was born as a horribly wonderful play on my last name, Cotten. A friend suggested it, and I couldn't come up with anything cheesier - or more perfect.   

  When you're not blogging, what other things do you like to do? 
  I love to go junkin', which is essentially antiquing... but for the rusty, peeling old stuff that most people consider junk. We recently bought a new house, so I'm in the process of filling it up! I'm also a huge sports fan. From the Indianapolis 500 to college basketball, I'm probably cheering somebody on. Oh, and I'm kind of a wine-o. I love trying new wines... or my favorite wines... or just any wine, to be honest.

  What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? 
 I'm the type of person who loves to plan things. I've become the designated trip planner for my friends, and I would love to someday become a travel agent. Do people even still use those? I don't know. But I once planned a dual bachelor/bachelorette party in Las Vegas for 14 people - I consider that a feat. If I knew I wasn't going to fail, and if I had the time, I would definitely set up my own vacation planning business. Or maybe I would become a wedding planner... I love the details. I'm such a nerd.   

  Your little gal, Dorothy, is so SO cute. What is your favorite part of being a mommy? 35_Cotten-61_final 
 You mean outside of the near-constant whining, crying and exhaustion? I'm kidding! I love watching my little Dot learn and experience new things. Her eyes light up, and she has the most enthusiastic, "WOW!" Everything is so new and exciting when you're 18-months old. And the elusive snuggles... they make everything right in the world.   
Looks like you nabbed a mighty fine man. Tell me more about your journey. 
 He is pretty fine, isn't he? IMG_5205 
 Long story short, Courtny and I met as 17-year-olds while working at the local Pizza Hut. It was a match made in the dish room! I left him my phone number in his old Toyota truck, he didn't call, and somehow we still managed to go on a first date. We went to college together, got married at the ripe old age of 20, and have lived to tell about it. Getting married young is not for the faint of heart, but the journey has made us all the stronger. Gross apartments, bad jobs and lots of Easy Mac will do that to ya. But, I snagged a hunk of a husband and he is the best daddy in the world for our little girl. I'd say I'm living the good life.   207_Cotten-407_final 

  Share some of your fave posts with us and tell why they are your favorite? 
  To My Daughter... - I wrote a letter to Dorothy the day before her due date, and to this day it is still one of my favorites. I cry every time I read it, but that's probably because I'm an emotional momma. I should mention that she was born a week late. If I had written a letter to her the day before she was born, it would have had a slightly different tune! 
  Becoming Dorothy - When you name your daughter something as old-fashioned as Dorothy, it requires some explanation. 
  Sippy Sip | Sip Happened | Relax, Enjoy & UnWINEd | SATC Clothing Swap Party - So, I like to throw a good party... or four… 
You're Not A Bad Mom - I hate mommy debates. Particularly over the way we feed our children. I had an extremely hard time breastfeeding, and I was inspired to share my story. I hope it helped other formula mommas feel better about their decision.   

  Give us something that's made you laugh recently! MjAxMy1iZmY1ZTIyNmM2OGI2NTEz 
 Dream. Come. True.   

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She is awesome.
Now go show her some love:



{oh hey, friday | playing hooky}

So, I am being a slacker today and skipping out on writing my five.

My reasons are as follows:

- I've been spending way too much helium face texting EVERY one since yesterday's post.
{if you haven't read it, do yourself a favor and check it out here.}

- I was too busy editing pictures that I took of Karli's adorable gals.
{She has posted a bunch of them, so you should definitely go and check them out here.}

This doesn't mean that you should all slack off though.
I'll still be checking in on all of your Oh hey, Friday! posts.

So… go ahead and write up your five, paste the html of the button below on your post, and link up at the bottom.

Have a great weekend everyone!



{why does this make me laugh so much?}

Maybe I should start this post of with a "you're welcome."

I need to share something with you all.
Something that I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.
It's an app.
And it's called Crazy Heliumbooth Free.
And it will change your life... for the better.
{just a side note… I'm not getting paid for this, it just truly makes me happy}

You see… you get to make a little video of yourself.
With a contorted face and voice.
Sound dumb? Probably.
But it is definitely worthwhile.
Just see for yourself.
Here are just a couple of videos that have been taken and exchanged.
{I would have downloaded more for you, but most of them have zero context seeing as though they were part of a dual conversation.}

I took it upon myself to make a little collage of some of my favorite faces... of me.
I know what you are thinking.

For the love of all that is funny in this world…
download this app.
Take a video of yourself.
Text it to a friend.
And then… when/if you get one back… it's like all is right with the world during a fun filled cry-laugh session.

I wouldn't be mad at you if you wanted to email one {or five} to me either.



{how to do an easter party}

Are you guys sick of reading Easter recaps yet? I am. Kind of.
And here I am about to recap our Easter.
It does include being hoisted into a tree during an epic egg hunt though, so that's fun.

We had a big group of friends and family out to the farm to have brunch and hang out.
As you can see, it was delicious.
Those orange knots right above… so easy and yummy. I found the recipe here.

If you are wondering what to do when your house is itty bitty and you have lots of guests over...
 just make them sit on the floor, obviously.
There was plenty of room on that giant couch, for the record.
We could have fit at least 10 more people.

The kids had a great time coloring our faux eggs, and I'm pretty sure every single one of them stained their clothes within 8 seconds.
Brody never fully got his whole Easter outfit on that day, and it was probably for the best.
Beckam dipped his egg, and then tried to eat it.
Precisely the reason we used faux eggs.
 Here are the four little egg hunters.
 {there were three more, but they were a bit too young…especially the one still in utero}
Aren't they precious!?
 After the kids hunt, the adults got their turn.
The gals hid for the guys first.
It was a full on brawl with them to find the eggs.
Shoving, sprinting, scouring.

Us gals work in a different fashion however. While still completive, we lend each other a hand when in need.
Karli offered to throw me up into the tree to grab an egg that had fallen the wrong way after I threw a rock at it to try and get it down. 
 Obviously I took her up on it in the heat of the hunt {fyi, that ladder was placed there after the fact}. At one point I early fell. Note: flip flops and tree climbing don't go hand in hand. Karli, being the good friend that she is, saved my life, and in turn got two big handfuls of my booty. 
The good news? I got that egg.

We had a fabulous day, and are so grateful to have such wonderful people in our lives.
Happy Easter.
Until next year.

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