Monday, August 14, 2017

Fridayyy Faves

I told you guys I was going to try to be better at Friday Faves. But, what do ya know - Friday came and went and here we are smack dab in the middle of a Monday. Again

First things, first... has anyone tried these handy little toddler clocks? This one is from Amazon & I think I'm going to get it for Kess. She has never gotten out of bed without our permission, but now that she is a little older and more independent she comes out every morning. She doesn't get up particularly early, but she does walk super quietly (unlike any other time of the day) and scare the H*LL out of me every morning. So there's that.

I am dying to try Spindrift Sparkling Water. Has anyone tried it? I've cut way back on Dr. Pepper (I know. I'm losing it) and I need something yummy and refreshing. I can do La Croix, but it's really not my favorite. It doesn't have enough flavor. I need more!

Matt and I recently started cleaning up our diet. We did 2 weeks meat and dairy free (practically vegan) and now that we are done with that tomorrow, we will be slowly adding in meat and dairy, but in less amounts that we used to be eating them. Hoping to stick with whole foods, clean ingredients. But, trying to be realistic and know that as we go on vacations, or go home for the weekend that we will splurge and have fun. The only way I survive diet changes is with treat. Healthy treats. I made these Vegan No Bake Cookies & they were delicious. Matt hates oats. Even in cookies, but he loved these. Probably because we haven't eaten anything decent in two weeks, but even then. They were s'good!

I got these jammies from Finn+Emma before Manning was born and could hardly imagine him ever fitting into them. Now he does. They're still a little bit big because he's a tiny tot, but they look so darn cute! These pajamas are made of organic cotton & they are as soft as can be. Kess loves her "e'phant jammas" and is even more excited that Manning can "match" her. They look pretty darn cute together - if I do say so myself. Finn+Emma has lots of unique patterns and prints. You can get 15 % off when you spend $50+ on Finn+Emma products. 

Also, they love each other. Manning was fussing in the car today & Kess started randomly singing "Families Can Be Together Forever" in the best way she knows how & he totally stopped fussing. 
Thank you, Kess girl!

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Bath time Favorites

Bath time is a little bit more hectic than it used to be. I remember than once Kess was old enough to sit up & play in the tub, I was able to read a book while she splished and splashed. Bath time became kind of relaxing for me. Now that we are back in the newborn stage of bath time & I'm bathing two kids at once... things get a little hectic. Manning loves to take baths. He just kicks and smiles as he watches Kess play on the other side of the tub. Poor Kess is squished into 1/2 of the tub, because Manning's little bathtub takes up a lot of room. But, I will say that Manning's little whale tub (similar here) is super helpful when bathing a tiny baby. They sit up great & it keeps them contained really well. The one I linked actually looks even better than the one I have.

I also love these soft little washcloths are perfect for scrubbing that soft baby skin. I use a fluffy loofah for Kess. She used to love when I would tickle/scrub her with these. Now she all grown up and opinionated and usually says, "I no scrub." Sorry kiddo.

As an infant Kess used to love playing with these little bath letters - now she grabs whatever barbie or little toys she's been playing with that day. I'll bust these back out when Manning can hold onto things.

As a mom, I feel like every baby product I use is controversial. Some component of whatever you use on your kid is apparently terrible. I try to not get too wrapped up in that random ingredient or piece of toy that's out to "kill your kid" but I do try to be mindful of what I'm feeding my kids, letting them play with & putting on their sensitive skin. Enter Tubby Todd. I first heard about Tubby Todd right when they opened up shop. It cost more than we typically spend on baby soap/shampoo, but I figured I would give it a shot. Santa put it in Kess' Christmas stocking that year.

It smells so good. It's not overpowering at all. Very light, fresh & clean. I love that I don't have to worry about the ingredients. In fact, you can find every ingredient listed in every one of their products on their site. I love that! Newborn skin is so sensitive and I've noticed that certain soaps make Manning's little baby skin red. I recently got their hair & body wash in the Fresh Floral scent & it smells so delicious. The Fresh Floral was part of their Spring line & their Summer line is now available for purchase. I think the Pineapple & Passion Fruit sounds heavenly. They also have Lavender & Rosemary as part of their every day Basics line. I am also a huge fan of the All Over Ointment. Kess had some eczema on her face that would flare up and the all over ointment kept it from drying out. I also love using the all over ointment on bum rashes and even my own hands. It's super soft and non-greasy!

As a momma on a budget I totally get that it's not ideal to spend $13 on baby wash, but I will say that I'm impressed with the ingredients, the light scent & how my babies skin reacts to it. I love spending a little extra to help someone's small business grow. Plus, we always buy it for special occasions like Easter Baskets & Christmas Stockings. They last a while & I love that I don't have to use a ton of the product to get a good lather & I love that you can now buy it in bulk to save a few dollars! Be sure to sign up for emails. You will hear about the good deals, sales and promo's first!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Favorites

I've admitted it before, I'll admit it again... I'm not a fashion blogger. But, I do like to find decent deals on something I need/want.

A few years ago my sister & I planned a trip to Salt Lake City for a shopping trip. We had survived our first year of motherhood. And we needed a break ;) We happened to plan our trip the same week of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. We didn't know much about it beyond that fact that all these fashion bloggers raved about it. We still couldn't afford half of the things they were sharing - even on sale... but then we arrived at Nordstrom & found some killer deals on every day things we would actually wear. We splurged a little on a few things like jeans that made us feel less frumpy and more fabulous.

I found a few pieces that I'll be purchasing from the #NSale that I wanted to share with you.

I've been looking for a slit neck tee for a more relaxed & grungy look. I'm still not sure if I can pull it off, but for $10 & free shipping both ways I'm going to give it a try.

Main Image - Topshop Slash Choker Boxy Tee

I love to dress up for church & since that's about the only time I'm not in some form of jeans & a t-shirt I tend to buy lots of dresses. I have a stash building up so I probably won't buy this, but I loooove it. Look how pretty!! & that price is unbeatable.

Main Image - Band of Gypsies Faux Wrap Maxi Dress

This tunic is great for fall. It pairs perfectly with leggings or jeans. I love this color, too! Tons of colors to choose from.

Main Image - Lush Perfect Roll Tab Sleeve Tunic

I'm always looking for a cute, comfortable flat to wear during the fall. I have all but worn out my converse, because I love them & they go with practically everything. These are a fancier step up & super cute. 

Main Image - Blondo Riyan Waterproof Sneaker (Women)

I bought these jeans last year & they are by far my most favorite pair of jeans. As soon as I could squeeze my postpartum bod into them I did. And squeeze I did. I must have squeezed a little too much because They ripped in the crotch. I almost cried. They aren't in my size right now, but they restocked last year so I'll be watching these like a hawk. The price is awesome & the quality is great... despite my tragic story. 

Image of Vigoss Chelsea Released Hem Skinny Jean

Ok, enough of the Nordstrom Sale. A few other things I'm loving right now are...

My Fitbit Charge 2 & leather replacement band. The new band looks just like a leather watch band which I love. I also love the pink & the snakeskin. I wear the original black band for *when* I workout. Which should probably be more often than it is... 

LeapFrog: Learning DVD Set

I've been working with Kess on her letters & let me tell you this... preschool teachers & kindergarten teachers are saints. Saints, I tell ya. Teaching Kess her shapes & colors was much easier than letters. I have a few activities up my sleeve, but because Kess is no longer napping, I usually have her watch an educational show & then she can watch a fun show. My kindergarten teacher friend swears by these videos, so I gave it a try. Kess absolutely loves the Letter Factory one. She's picking up on the things I'm teaching her quicker now, which is so much more fun... for everyone. 

I'll try to keep up with the "Friday Faves" more often. I always have fun stuff to show you guys & then my kids are all like, "Mom, we need attention" & crap like that. ;)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Family Weekend in McCall

Last weekend was such a busy blast of a few days. We decided to celebrate Kess' 3rd birthday & Manning's blessing all in one weekend. We did Kess' party at the park down the street from our house. We kept it super simple with burgers and hot dogs. I made Kess' cupcakes & popsicle cake. Just enough of a theme for her to get a kick out of her cake & that was about it. No decor, no frill... just a summertime BBQ with family and friends. Kess and her cousins & friends ran, played and ate until their hearts content. Of course, Kess loved that she got to open presents. She barely paused to say thank you before saying, "Let's open another one!!" I told my family to keep toys to a minimum - because let's face it she has way more than she needs already. So they stuck to clothes, art supplies and a few fun toys made their way in! ;)

Kess now has enough clothes to out last her constant outfit changes over the summer, enough play dough to last us through the next winter & plenty of fun activities & toys to keep her busy throughout the day. I love it! She played with play dough, painted, changed her outfit a few times and just kept on going yesterday. She was loving it - I finally had to put a cap on activities and outfit changes! Momma is tired. She was truly spoiled and loved every minute of it. In case you missed in on Instagram, Matt & I gave her a new balance bike. She loves it. She is slowly getting the hang of how it works. She watched her cousin Conrad & seemed to grasp how to use the bike a little better. Conrad has it down pat! It was so cute to watch them ride bikes together! I'm pretty sure Kess was on a birthday high because she couldn't fall asleep for a few hours after we put her in bed. I however, could have crashed at 9:00pm without a second thought.

The next morning we gave Manning a name and a blessing at church. I searched high and low for a cute blessing outfit. I couldn't find anything that I loved. So I settled on a white button down onesie, khaki pants & a cute little bow tie. My friend made his "brotie." You can find her Facebook group here. It was perfect & I figured since boys don't really care about passing down their blessing outfits to their kids - maybe Manning's wife will once day appreciate that I kept his bowtie!

Matt gave Manning a beautiful blessing. I always love to hear the spiritual things that cross Matt's mind as he uses the priesthood to bless our lives. He told Manning how much we love him & how we will always support him. He blessed him with the skills to develop the passions of his life. He blessed him to always seek the truth and to find the truth for himself. He blessed him to remember that if he falls he can get back up and keep going. He blessed him to be able to find peace and solace in the natural beauty of the world around him. I remember Matt blessing Kess with that same thing & I find it very fitting for where we now live. Sweet Manning was wide awake during the entire blessing & didn't make a peep. Then crashed for the rest of the meeting & every single picture. I think the rest of the men in my family wished they could have done the same thing. ;) Manning was surrounded by so many wonderful men during his blessing. Even those who were not in the circle - he is one blessed little boy to have so many wonderful examples in his life.

This weekend was chaotic in the best kind of way. I loved having our families here to celebrate the little things with us. It's pretty quiet around here now & I'm 50/50 on it. ;) A huge thanks to all of our family who joined us & who helped us out all weekend. We love you!

Monday, July 10, 2017

4th of July

We decided to avoid the craziness that is McCall on the 4th of July & went home for a few days. Matt was dying to hike into a lake just outside of McCall. He would be gone overnight & I haven't quite braved up enough to be home along overnight with both kids yet. Two kids is a game changer. Why do they both always need you at the same time?! It's one thing to be outnumbered during the day, but all day and all night without being able to text the hubby to complain... yikes. I'll have to give myself a big pep talk before that happens.

So after sacrament meeting on Sunday, the kids & I packed up and drove to Nampa. As we pulled in to Nampa Matt called us to tell us that he reached a little bit of cell service at the top of a mountain. His hike was killer, but he & Kane were having a good time!

It always feel so good to be home, even though it was hotter than h*ll in the valley. We got to go swimming with cousins at my sister's neighborhood pool. Kess loved it & Manning didn't care to have his feet in the water, so I snuggled him & he fell asleep. Matt joined us the night of the 3rd. We drove to Middleton on the 4th for the parade. We got there early & saved our spots for the parade. It was Thankfully my sister had a mini fan for Manning - he crashed out and slept through most of the parade. Kess was bright red from running around with her cousins. Our parade spot happened to be in the "Wet Zone" so we spent the last part of the parade back off the road. The kids still thought it was cool to see & we knew they would hate getting sprayed.

After the parade we stopped in to see some friends who are building a house. I totally miss the house we just built so it was fun to see the process again & I was only a tiny bit jealous ;)

We put the kids go down for a nap (quiet time for Kess) - we all relaxed & made desserts for our BBQ later. My younger brother is in Florida working for the summer & my older brother was at Disneyland with his wife & 3 girls. So it was just my grandparents, parents sister & I with our little families. Which is a huge difference from what I grew up with. As a kid I remember being SO excited to go to my mom's parent's house for the 4th. Tons of food, swimming & our very own... totally legal ;) ... firework show. I grew up with 20+ cousins - so we were all running around like crazy kids - hopped up on sugar and summer time. But, this 4th was quiet and relaxing. Honestly just what we needed. We all ate together, then let the kids have a go with the hose. The 3 grandkids ended up nakey & running around together until it was time for "fireworks"... none of our kids like loud noises so we let them throw some pop-its & we lit some smoke bombs which were a total hit.

We rounded up the kids around 9:00 & decided to head home. Once we got Manning and Kess down for the night, Matt & I ate junk food & played Ticket to Ride with my parent's. I won, just in case you were wondering! ;) We even watched fireworks for a few minutes from my parent's deck. By then we were beat. You know you're old when midnight is way too late.

We spent the next morning slowly packing up. Then we stopped at Matt's parent's house to say hi! We miss not being able to see our families as often as we used to, but we are lucky enough to not be too far away. We grabbed lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant - ate way too much & drove to Matt's grandparent's house on our way out of town. We made it home round 5:30 & instantly had a vacation hangover. You know that feeling when you have too much to do & you're back in "real life mode" and you're not having any of it? Yep, that feeling.

Thank goodness for the shorty 2-day week before the weekend ;) I hope you all had a great 4th with your families! You deserve it!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ollie Swaddle

Kess was a total swaddle baby. Tighter the better. Manning is a little less so but I'm trying to get him to come around ;) We've been using the Ollie Swaddle lately, but before it arrived we were using Carter's Swaddle blankets - which I love, but that boy kept busting out of them. Even his doctor was shocked at how many times he broke out of his swaddle after his circumcision. 

The Ollie Swaddle is a moisture-whisking, breathable fabric swaddle blanket. It can be used in a few different ways including arms in and arms out for transitioning out of the swaddle. When Manning first got here I was still trying to figure out what he preferred. He seemed to fight against the swaddle for a bit, then fall asleep & sleep good, long stretches. But I felt bad that he struggled early on. I'm a little stuck in my ways because I am a diehard-swaddler, but I just want him to be comfortable... so he sleeps longer. Because I'm selfish. ;) Now he makes the association between swaddling an sleep, which is great. He is sleeping longer stretches - hallelujah! He still goes to bed just before Matt & I do, that way I get a long stretch of sleep when he does. I need to start getting him to bed around 8:00, but if he goes to bed when I do, then he wakes up once in the night. If he goes to be earlier he will wake up twice or more in the night. He's not a great "dreamfeeder" because his long stretch of sleep starts from the first time he goes down. I tried dreamfeeding a few times & it messed with his sleep cycle. Again, I'm selfish and kinda love only waking up once per night. 

The bottom of the swaddle is open, which makes it easy to do diaper changes, but I still have to take it off entirely because Manning wears one piece jammies.  I try to change him quick before I even feed him, then swaddle him back up for his nighttime nursing sessions, so it's not really inconvenient. But sometimes that backfires with a poop session while I'm feeding him. Because I take the entire swaddle off I feel like he wakes up enough to get a long enough feeding in the help keep him fuller longer. He's usually tired enough after his feeding and a good burp that he swaddles easily and conks right out. 

I washed Manning's Ollie Swaddle today. I love that it comes with a little laundry bag to wash it in. It cleaned up really well & the laundry bag kept hair and fuzzies out of the velcro. 

For color & sizing references... We have the Ollie Swaddle in the color Stone. Manning was born at 6lbs 5oz & I felt like the swaddle was a little too big for him. I would velcro it as tight as it would go & it was still roomy. He is now about 8 pounds and it fits great now. My sister used it on her 8 pound newborn from day 1. So I think 7-8lbs would be optimal for starting to use the Ollie. 

The Ollie Swaddle will be restocking in the next few weeks. Use the link below for 10% off.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

1 month in & sleep

Manning is 1 month old & I'm happy to report that we are totally surviving. We aren't thriving yet, but I promise myself that I would give myself a little bit of grace this time around. I was super anxious/nervous/miserable when Kess was this small. Don't get me wrong I was over the moon about her and being a mom, but I had no clue how hard it would be. I had no clue how much stress I would be under. I had no clue about how anxious I would be over the little things - like changing her diaper, breastfeeding, sleep schedules. I had no clue. This time - I had a clue. ;)

My experience with Manning has been much easier. I'm chalking it up to actually have experience under my belt. It's easier to have less anxiety when it's familiar. Yes, I'm still nervous when I can't calm Manning instantly. It's still hard to be sleep deprived. It's hard to not be able to give Kess all my attention. It's hard having a little human that is totally & completely dependent on me. But, then I remember that I promised to cut myself some slack & enjoy this tiny phase of life. I didn't enjoy it enough with Kess. I wished it all away for schedules, routine & my new normal.

My most favorite thing about being a mom is "figuring out" my kid. Figuring out what makes them tick, what makes them happy, what makes them smile or laugh... but mostly figuring out what makes them sleep. Sleep is life.

I also love using our Dock-A-Tot because it keeps him cuddled up & cozy. It's made of breathable material, so I don't worry about Manning not being able to breathe if he rests his little face against the side. It's super easy to strip the cover off & throw it in the washer, cuz you know - baby spit up. Matt made fun of me for getting the "pristine white" color... I couldn't help it. It's so pretty.

We aren't big into co-sleeping, mostly because it makes me nervous & I like my space when I sleep. I've got a baby attached to me all day & a good chunk of the night so when I get a chance... I want my own space. But when they are so tiny and new I can't help but snuggle them. The Dock-A-Tot makes me much less nervous about co-sleeping if needed. It fits in between Matt and I. Granted, it doesn't give each of us a ton of space in our queen bed, but it gets the job done.

The Dock-A-Tot is easy to move around the house. Make fun of me if you will, but Manning is a super loud, grunty baby in his sleep. Louder than Kess (and I didn't think that was possible.) So, after his first nighttime feeding I grab his Dock-A-Tot & set it on our closet floor. He gets to grunt away and I get to sleep. He's close enough that I can hear him fuss or cry, but I don't hear every single grunt. This is a win on so many levels. (Insert fist-bump emoji.)

I'm glad the Dock-A-Tot is so light weight, too.  It will make our summer travels much easier. Plus it helps babies feel secure. And I swear they sleep better when they are familiar with where they are sleeping - so even if they're not in they're own home - they'll feel at home in their Dock-A-Tot. Total bonus. The majority of Kess' sleep troubles were because she was sleeping in a Pack&Play in McCall and then in her crib at home. We were traveling back and forth so much and she was always waking up in a new place. Sleep training gets tricky to do when consistency isn't there. Now... if I would have have a Dock-A-Tot maybe I would have gotten more sleep. ;)


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Manning's Birth Story

I've been meaning to get Manning's birth story written down. I thought I would be on the ball & get it posted right after he was born, but he's over 2 weeks old now.

Sweet Manning decided to be a little stubborn and show up 2 days after his due date. I know everyone says your due date is an estimate - which I know, but it's hard to not take that date to heart. Kess was 4 days early, so I thought for sure Manning would be at least that early if not earlier. Nope. I thought I was in labor multiple times leading up to his actual labor and delivery, so that only added to my anxiety. Plus, not having any family around & knowing that they were all two plus hours away made me nervous, too.

On April 25th I had my 38 week check up. I was dilated to 1.5cm. My doctor stripped my membranes; something I never had done with Kess so I was counting on him arriving any time.

On April 26th I woke up early in the morning with cramps & I was starting to lose my mucus plug. Exactly how Kess' labor started. Mild, but consistent cramps. They didn't regulate, so I figured if I got moving they would kick into gear. My mom and dad were in town working, so I was super happy that Manning chose to arrive then. Less stress for me. Kess & I went to breakfast with my parents, walked (& did squats; couldn't do lunges - couldn't get back up) around the hotels they were working on, I even rubbed Clary Sage on my ankles. (Clary Sage helps intensify contractions... it doesn't typically send you into labor, but I thought I was in early labor.) By that afternoon nothing had changed and the contractions had stopped. I was so dang bummed. My parent's went back home and I just knew my contractions would pick back up as soon as they got home. Nope.

I had multiple occasions when I felt like I was in early labor. On May 2nd, at my 39 week appointment showed progress, I was dilated to 2 cm. Yay! I had my membranes stripped again. I was so ready to have this baby. I felt overdue because Kess was early. My doctor was leaving for a week long trip on May 3rd & I really wanted my doctor to deliver Manning. I prayed and prayed that I would go into labor sometime during the night on May 2nd so I could have her deliver him real quick like before her trip. May 3rd came and went, along with May 4th & my due date May 5th. I might have cried. Ok, I cried. I was in so much pain. Manning constantly hit some nerve that would hurt so bad it would double me over or knock me to my knees. I just wanted him here so we could start our new normal & I could stop having anxiety about how quickly someone could be here to help with Kess. Thankfully I have a good friend here who promised to help with Kess day or night, so that offered some serious relief.

On May 6th we decided to go for a long hike/walk in Donnelly. We headed out that morning and took a 20 minute, very bumping ride... that definitely kicked my contractions in gear - only to have them stop once we got walking around. Kess had a blast on our hike & it was a nice distraction! It was a beautiful, cloudy day. Matt was in his element and that's always fun to see. We went out to eat that night. We opted for Mexican so I could eat something spicy. I ordered nachos with extra jalapeños. ;)

My aunt Jenn was in Cascade for the night with her family, so after dinner we took the 25 minute drive to see them & eat some ice cream. Again, I needed the distraction. It was so fun to see them & have a little bit of home in the mountains.

I was fully anticipating to be pregnant until 41 weeks. My doctor would be home on the 10th & she said I could be induced on Friday the 12th. I had accepted my fate considering that nothing had worked. All those labor tricks that everyone tells you about... eating pineapple, spicy food, going for walks, doing "homework" with your husband... nothing. nada. Manning was not budging.

May 7th at 1:30am I woke up to a sharp contraction. I got up to pee for the 5th time since going to bed at 10:30 & tried to fall back asleep. I knew this wasn't really labor anyways - I had been tricked before. Around 2:00am I decide to wise up and start timing my contractions. They were about 7-8 minutes apart. I tried to rest, but couldn't. I got up. I checked on my Kess. I gave her kisses & knew that these were my last minutes alone with her before her brother arrived. I accidentally woke her up & started to panic a little because she usually doesn't let me leave her room at bedtime. I just kissed her again and told her to go back to sleep. She rolled over and conked back out. Phew! ;)

Around 3:00-3:30 I was starting to really feel these contractions & they were definitely coming closer together. I was so nervous to wake Matt up & to call our parents because I was afraid I was having "fake labor" again. By 3:45 I kept telling myself, "I'm ok, this isn't that bad..." Then a contraction would hit & I would think, "Ok this hurts. I should wake up Matt & call my mom." I finally woke Matt up around 4:00. He was excited & asked how far apart my contractions were. I said, "About 5 minutes." "Uh, so we need to be going to the hospital like right now?!" "Eh, we have a little bit." He wasn't convinced, he immediately got up & told me to call my mom. I called my mom, he called his mom. They were both on their way. Matt took a quick shower & I brushed my teeth. He checked my phone and saw that my contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart. "Uh, babe! They're super close together. We gotta go." I thought maybe we could hold out until someone got there, but my contractions were too close together. I told Matt that I could call my friend Hailey to come stay with Kess, but then he reminded me that my aunt Jenn was in town so we opted to inconvenience family first ;) Jenn was at our house in about 15-20 minutes (thanks for driving so fast Jenn!) I was already in the car when Jenn arrived at our house, so we took off as soon as she arrived. Matt flew down the highway & even turned on his hazards. I begged him to do that for Kess, but nooo. ;) We made it onto town in record time & as we turned left into town we got pulled over. Seriously. I remember saying, "Oh come on!" As Matt pulled over he said, "Act like you're in pain!" I laughed because I was in pain, but in between contractions so I wasn't dying. He said, "I'm serious." The officer asked us why we were going so fast in the most nonchalant tone. Matt said, "We are having a baby." He sent us on our way.

We were taken back to the OB room. I'm pretty sure I was one of two patients that night. The on-call ER doctor checked me and told me I was at a 4. So I wasn't going home. Yay. I was bummed to not be very far along since I was in so much pain. I told him I was nervous to get an epidural early on because it slowed my labor with Kess. He suggested I labor in the tub for a while if I wanted & as soon as I was ready they would call the anesthesiologist ready for me, who would need about 30 minutes to arrive and set up. I labored in the tub for about 45 minutes. I loved it. It didn't take all the pain away, but it helped so much. The jets were a dream on my back. About 10 minutes before I got out of the tub I told my nurse I was ready for my epidural. I wanted to tell them a little early so I wasn't dying by the time the anesthesiologist was here, but they told me he was already getting ready for me. As I was getting out of the tub the nurse told us that my parents were here. After I got dressed they came back to see me. I was so glad they made it in time. Seriously they made it in record time... I don't want to know how fast they were going. ;)

I got my epidural a few minutes later & I will say... best epidural ever. He talked me through the whole thing. He let me stay lying down and he did everything in between contractions. The epidural I got with Kess was rough. I basically had to hold still during transition contractions and then when it didn't go in - I had to hold still for the entire process again. This was smooth and quick. I was so dang happy. Matt made me let go of his hand after the epidural was set because I was squeezing his hand so hard that his wedding ring was cutting into this fingers. Sorry, babe! :)

I was checked again & hadn't changed. I was bummed, but relieved that my epidural was kicking in. I figured I would be in labor all day because I was with Kess. My parents came back in & Matt told me that his mom had arrived at our house. About an hour or so later I was telling Matt that my epidural was making me feel funny. I was too numb. I was getting nauseated. They called the anesthesiologist in to turn it down. At one point I told him I was scared to turn it down too much, because I could feel pressure. He said, "We won't let you be in pain." Seriously, the best experience ever. I felt much better after the epidural was adjusted. A little while later I told Matt that I was pretty sure I could feel Manning's head. I felt it drop lower and lower. The on-call OB was on his way & arrived right after I told Matt I felt like I could push. The doctor arrived, introduced himself and chatted about the delivery. He checked me and said, "Ok, we are having a baby!" Even my nurse was like, "Really?!" Things got moving really fast. We asked my mom to stay in the room & I'm pretty sure there were about 7 other people in there as well. I'm not particularly shy about medical stuff so it didn't bother me. I could hear one of the nurses say something like, "I feel left out, it's a party in there." So we invited her in, too.

I pushed about 12 times and the doctor said that Manning was delivering himself in between contractions. Sure enough, he slid out during contractions. 10:23am & he was here. The tears were flowing & I remember saying "Hi, buddy" as they handed him to Matt & I.

I remember thinking that everything was truly perfect during Kess' labor. Manning's was just as perfect. And I was pretty happy to go from a 28 hour labor to a 9 hour labor. Much nicer. ;)

Nan & Kess arrived about 20 minutes later. Manning was being checked by the doctor and nurses on the other side of our room. As soon as Kess came in she said, "Hey, there's a baby!" I said, "That's our baby! That's brother!" She looked at me, my belly & back at Manning, "It's brother!" Seriously, it was so cute. She couldn't get enough of him. She kept looking at him while he was being checked over. When she finally got to hold him, she wouldn't let anyone else hold him. She was pretty devastated to leave the hospital for nap time and bed time. She was so sad that mommy, daddy and brother weren't going home with her. Which, of course made me cry.

We were discharged from the hospital the next morning. They were on their game and had us out before noon. The entire staff was awesome and made sure we were well taken care of. We were a 3 ring circus leaving the hospital which was half hilarious and half exhausting. At one point we lost our keys & all we could do was laugh... and be irritated. ;) BUT, we made it home. We are adjusting to life well. Kess wasn't so sure about Manning for a few days, but she loves him to death and always sticks her head by his hands. When he reaches out and "gets" her she just laughs & says, "Oh, he get me!" :)

Thank you for the well wishes & love. We couldn't appreciate it more!


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Baby Boy Prep

*This post contains affiliate links. See disclosure page for more info*

Ah! Less than 2 weeks out until baby boy's due date! I mean, I'm hoping he arrives a little early like his awesome big sister. But then I'm thinking, "No not yet! I need more time. More sleep!" We are officially ready for him. Everything is washes, set up and in line for his arrival!

I've been slowly rounding up all of our favorite tried and true baby gear we used for Kess & lining up some new things I've been anxious to try for his newborn/infant stage! There is tons of new baby gear - every year. Some stuff seems ingenious. Some stuff seems like it could make your life easier & some stuff is downright a waste of money. I try to steer clear of the "new, trendy baby gear" mostly because I think we can do without it, but some stuff has caught my eye & I'm dying to try it.

Here's a quick round up of some of our baby favorites...

Carter's Little Layette Swaddle Blankets - These are our absolute favorite swaddle blankets. I got these as a gift. I didn't think much of them because I had some 'trendier' swaddles that I was far more interested in using. Well they didn't hold Kess very tight in a swaddle. And she loved to be swaddled. The tighter the better.These are a stretchy cotton that doesn't slip. I have found a few at Ross & Burlington for a screaming deal ($8) JCPenny also carries them. You can get them for about $12/pair if you run across a good deal! I always stock up for baby showers or myself! ;)

Halo Sleep Sack - Because Kess was a swaddle addict we kept her swaddled for a long time. Even after she started rolling over - she never did while she slept so we kept her little arms swaddled. At about 3-4 months she outgrew her newborn blankets. I heard really good things about the Halo Sleep Sack & snagged one from Target. She used this until she was about 6 months. Seriously. She never rolled over or anything & loved it. We were running out of options. Yikes...

Enter in the ZipadeeZip - You guys, this thing is life saver! Matt even mentioned how great this purchase was. Several times. I have every intention of buying another one for baby boy. The best sleep invention ever! Kess slept in this until she upgraded to the Flying Squirrel pajamas later. She used the Flying Squirrel until after she turned 1. has more size & print options. 

Seriously praying this baby boy loves to be swaddled because I am a swaddle expert. Self proclaimed, of course! ;)

A few other things we really loved for the newborn/infant stage is a white noise machine, the MamaRoo (I have the older version from about 3 years ago) & doTerra oils. We started using a White Noise machine for Kess when she was 3 months old. We are starting from day 1 this time! Kess still sleeps with hers...not sure if she actually needs it or not, but we like not having to tip-toe and whisper after her bed time ;) I set up our MamaRoo this week for baby boy! I caught Kess trying to sneak into it. I let her have a go at it... she wasn't as impressed with it as she was when she was tiny. Let's hope "brudder" likes it. We are big time essential oils users. I love how easily they mix with modern medicine. We don't like to bombard our newborns system with oils, but diffusing is a great way to start. Plus, I stocked up for those baby blue/PPD symptoms.

*If you're interested in trying doTerra oils, comment below with your email address*

The new gear that I'm dying to try...

DockATot - I heard about this little infant bed & just knew I wanted to try it for our next baby. Fast forward a ways and we got ours in the mail! It's ready to go! I've already washed mine - thanks to Kess' little snack covered fingers. ;) Probably shouldn't have gotten it in the 'Pristine White' color (duh, mom.) But... it was easy to wash and reassemble. It's all breathable fabric, great for co-sleeping, and easy to travel with. 

Ollie Swaddle - my sister tried this with her youngest & loved it. Being "swaddle obsessed" I added it to the baby list. I'm sure in will eliminate my Halo Sleep Sack, but it is more expensive - so I think the Halo is a great alternative if it's not budget-friendly for some. Although - I have noticed that I will pay big $ to get my kids to sleep! ;) I love the moisture-wicking fabric of the Ollie. Kess was/is a sweaty little sleeper, so maybe this baby will be, too. Sweaty sleeps mean good sleeps, right?

Binxy Shopping Cart Hammock - Apparently you're not supposed to put your baby carrier in the seat of the cart anymore & it sure is difficult to put it in the bucket - where do all your groceries go? This little genius hammock was screaming my name. I'm excited to try it out. It fits your typical cart, meets all safety standards & rolls up, making it easy to store in your diaper bag. I think this will make grocery shopping with 2 kids much easier!

What are your go-to baby gear items? Anything you just couldn't live without? 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Easter Weekend

Easter was the first holiday we've have since we moved & all of our family was going to be in town for it, so we decided to make the quick drive and spend the weekend with our families. It was so fun, so exhausting and so hard to leave. I've never really spent a holiday away from our family so it was weird to run down for the weekend and then leave the festivities a little early to get home in time to start the week. But, we truly had such a fun time.

We drove down on Friday night and met my parents for dinner. We stayed up way too late chatting & finally got to bed. The next morning we took Kess to the Boise Mall so she could turn in her pacifier for a new stuffed animal. I'll do a full post on that later, but it was so fun! She did really great! Most of the rest of the day was full of running errands, checking on the house, getting some Easter shopping in. Anybody else's Easter bunny slackin' this year? ;) Also, remind me to never go to 
Wal-Mart on a Saturday. Barf. It wasn't fun. Kess wasn't amused, which made tired, pregnant mom waayyy less amused. 

After Matt mowed the lawn at our house we got ready and went to Matt's parent's house for our 2nd annual Easter Egg Hunt! Let me tell you, it was a hoot last year & this year was even better! With only 3 grandkids on Matt's side - it isn't too chaotic and it was so cute to watch them all run after eggs! Kess loves watching the YouTube videos with the "prize eggs" so this was just amazing to her. We ended the night with our first BBQ of the season & chatting with Matt's parents and grandparents. The weather is much nicer down in Nampa than it is in McCall so we soaked it up and went for a walk. I love me some Spring weather.

Easter Sunday was busy. Kess was so excited to see that the Easter bunny came & dropped her off some prizes. I spent part of the morning doing hair ;) Both Matt & my dad needed a hair cut. And my momma needed quick color touch up. Everyone was looking fresh for church, if I do say so myself. My sister & her family met us at my parent's church for sacrament meeting. It was a little crazy on our pew with 3 kiddos that kept walking back and forth between their parent's and grandparent's but what do ya do? Kess decided she needed "a bow NOT!" for our family Easter picture. Picking my battles.

While the kiddos did nap time, the adults relaxed & did Easter dinner prep. I, for one didn't really do a dang thing. My mom, dad and sister took care of Easter dinner and I sat on my booty. Dinner was delicious. My grandma & my older brother and his family joined us - bringing the grandkid total to 6. Matt and I packed up our stuff & loaded the truck while dinner was being wrapped up. My parent's bought a cute Easter piñata & all the kids got a few turns at busting it open. It was so cute to watch them jab at it. Thank goodness for older/stronger cousins who helped get the candy dropping. We said good-byes to everyone & promised that the next time they saw us we were hoping to have a baby boy in our arms! ;) I got teary saying good-bye to my parent's - partially because Kess didn't want to leave & it felt weird leaving mid- family party. But a short 2 hours later and we were back in our mountains and ready to get the next week started.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. This year felt crazy, hectic and full of our typical Easter fun. I felt like I didn't take the time to reflect on Christ's atoning sacrifice. I am truly grateful for his love & our Heavenly Father's love. I can't imagine where we would be without this gift. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Kess Update

As we get closer to baby boy's arrival I keep thinking about how ready I am to just have him here. I'm pretty much done with being pregnant. Totally over it. I don't remember being this uncomfortable or this ready to have Kess here. I was so excited to see her, but I never felt miserable or cranky about my big ol' belly. That is so not the case with baby boy. I feel bad for wishing the pregnancy part away, especially knowing that I'm down to my last few weeks alone with my best girl.

We've done a lot to "prep" her for baby brother to arrive. She understands that "brudder" is in my belly & that he is going to come out. His room is almost finished so she understands that everything in there is his. She talks about him every day & always asks if any of the new stuff we are getting is "brudder's." She loves to play with his blankets, his baby toys and everything else. I hope she handles it well when he actually arrives. I think the fact that they will be about 2 years & 10 months apart helps a lot. She's out of the baby phase in a lot of ways. She still loves "snuggles" in her rocking chair... which I love.

I've been worried about her psychologically as we teach her that she's a "big girl" and brother is a "baby." I don't want being a "big girl" to be this scenario where she gives up all the things she loves so brother can use them and she can't. She's transitioned into lots of "big girl" phases of life during this pregnancy. She is now potty trained. She sleeps in a big girl bed. And she recently let go of her beloved pacifier (I'll share our journey on that process here soon.) I worry that we are pushing her too much to be a big girl sometimes, but then I realized that she's well on her way to being 3 years old & she's been flawless through all of these transitions. Including 3 big moves over the last year. Seriously so proud of our girl. I know that it might be a rough few days/weeks as we welcome baby boy into our world, but I think she's going to handle it like a champ. She will be the best big sister.

Kess loves her "mountain." We have a beautiful view of West Mountain here in Donnelly. We can see it right out our kitchen windows. It's "our" mountain - in case the rest of you didn't know that. ;) We go on walks almost daily & she loves every minute. She loves her Kane dog. She asks "Kane wead stowies wif us?!" every night. She always walks by him, pats his head and says, "Kane, you a good boy."

Kess loves anything crafty. She loves to paint with water colors. She plays with play dough daily. She likes to color. She is a master su chef & taste tester. She still loves popsicles and never fails to ask for 2 "popsies" after nap time. She seems to be on her way to giving up naps, but we still push for nap time or quiet time every afternoon. I need nap time & will definitely need it in the next few months. I'm hoping this little stint is caused by dropping her pacifier & will resume as she figures out how to soothe herself to sleep differently.

Kess loves puzzles. Actually, that's a total understatement. I bought some dollar store puzzles on a whim one night when Matt was working in McCall & we were still at home. I was desperate for something else for her to do besides TV & play dough. At first she struggled with them & needed a lot of help - which was totally fine except when she wanted to "do puzzos" every waking minute of every day! ;) Now she puts her dollar store ones together like a champ & recently got a few more puzzles from Matt's mom. She actually just busted out a big puzzle all on her own while I typed up this post. Isn't it the coolest thing to watch your kids think something out & execute it! I'm a gushy, proud mom. I don't even feel bad about it.

Kess loves to sing. She sings along with Moana, Trolls, Mickey Mouse, and pretty much everything else. We recently saw the live action Beauty and the Beast and bought a few songs from the soundtrack. She sings along with those, too. The first time I heard her little voice singing "Evermore" I cried. Literal tears, my friends. She also walks around singing "Tale as old as time, tune as old as sooong." Again, with the tears. 

Kess loves the outdoors, just like her daddy. She loves to go on walks, look at birds and wildlife with dad & throw rocks into water. She is Matt through and through when it comes to the outdoors. She is determined to climb the mountains when it's warmer outside. We have a few hikes planned when the weather warms up & I have no doubt that she will love it. She is determined to catch a pink fish with daddy... I'm excited to see how Matt pulls that one off. ;)

Kess doesn't love to share. It's a little unnerving considering we are having a baby in 3ish weeks, but I hear they grow out of it. Fingers crossed. She's pretty possessive of all of her things, but she is also possessive over other people's things as well... meaning, yesterday when Matt was using my phone she snapped at him and said, "Daddy, that's mommy's phone. You give that back to her RIGHT now!" She even pointed her finger at him. Yikes. She means business. I'm hoping she relaxes on the sharing front once brother gets here. 

I'm loving this stage that Kess is in. OK, I'll be honest - I don't love every aspect of this stage, but for the most part it's awesome. She's super inquisitive, smart, funny, quirky & down right hilarious. She's also sassy, too smart for her own good & has some serious attitude. We do our best to keep it in check, but sometimes I'm like, "Ok you be sassy - I'll be over here, let me know when you're done." ;) All in all, she really is beyond sweet. She loves her daddy so much, she apologizes so sweetly, loves her whole family including "brudder." I truly can't wait to see her sweet spirit as a big sister. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Pregnancy Helpers

This post covers my entire first and second trimesters & a little bit of my third trimester. I need all the help I can get while I'm pregnant. I'm not one of those people who feel awesome pregnant. I can't bust out babies back to back. If you're one of those unicorn women - more power to ya girlfriend, you're amazing!!

My first trimester is rough, probably like most women's first trimester. Fatigue, nausea, vomiting, more fatigue and vomiting. My first trimester feels like a fog. I spend a lot of time on the couch, While that wasn't super easy with a toddler, I still made it work ;) Usually by the end of the day I had given all I could give so Matt would help me clean up dinner & put Kess down for bed. I would try, but would end up throwing up my dinner or something else glamorous. 

A few things I found that really helped me were...

Preggie Pop Drops I like the drops more than the lollies, because I can just pop them in my mouth quick. The flavor that I loved the most was ginger. I know that sounds super gross, but it works! The Meridian Babies R Us sells a big pack of ginger ones and I used them constantly. I was certain that people could smell them across a room, but I didn't even care. The flavor is more spicy, like a ginger snap rather than chinese-y ginger (does that even make sense haha)

NoMo Nausea Bands I contacted NoMo Nausea as soon as we considered trying for a second baby. I was so horribly sick with Kess that I knew I wanted anything and everything in my arsenal. These bands are life saving. I left them in a jacket pocket and couldn't find them for a few weeks. I wanted to cry (actually, I probably did.) I found them, did a little happy dance & wore them until I was far enough along that the all day every day nausea wore off. These are also really great for migraines, motion sickness & traveling. I'm really bummed that I didn't think to use them while I had bad migraines. I have recently had what I'm assuming are Braxton Hicks and have felt some nausea coming back so I slipped these on and they helped big time! They come in kid sizes, adult sizes and even dog sizes. ;)

doTERRA Balance Oil This one was a life saver. This oil is not only for emotion balance (much needed over here) & physical balance... most morning sickness is a form of motion sickness so this really helped me with nausea. Plus it's even better for postpartum emotions. I get flooded with those so I basically bathe in this oil. I use it on my newborns (on their little feet) to help ground them to their new home here on Earth. Sounds a little granola, but the spiritual nature of it brings tears to my eyes. 

LaCroix Sparkling Water My family and husband still think this is so gross. But I couldn't stand the sugar or sweeteners in soda, but needed the carbonation to help keep my nausea at bay, so I would guzzle the coconut flavor and the orange! The Orange is amazing! So good! Once you get used to the lack of "soda goodness" these taste pretty good ;) Now, soda doesn't phase me and it's basically my lifeline, but I did sip on some coconut LaCroix tonight and it was delicious! I'm so healthy. 

Did anyone else have weird first trimester cravings that you couldn't function without? Mine was orange juice. We went through it crazy fast because I drank a few big glasses every morning. Oddly enough, the acidic juice calmed my nausea a ton. I also crave anything vinegar. Salt & Vinegar chips, Blimpie sandwiches with extra oil and vinegar & the real kicker... Cucumbers in vinegar and water. I would literally sip on the vinegar/water mixture throughout the day. Matt couldn't wrap his head around that one ;) into my second trimester I craved pickles (Dill for the win) & Halo oranges. Did not leave the store without them. Matt and I would sit on the couch late at night watching a show chowing down on pickles and oranges - doesn't get more romantic than that. ;) I eventually liked sweets and sugar again, which only added to my weight gain, but whatevs.

I hate to say it, but there is a short window in my pregnancies that I actually love being pregnant. It has come and gone. It's now harder to grab things on the floor for Kess. She loves to read her bedtime books on the ground, picnic style & that makes me feel like I'm breaking my back. I do it anyways, but getting up isn't pretty. Last week I grabbed something off the floor & grunted the whole time. Matt just stared. I said, "It's getting hard to pick things up." "I can see that." Rude... ;)

We are nearing the last weeks of the pregnancy. I'm now 35 weeks & I can't believe how close we are to having him here! Somedays I have a small panic attack thinking about how little time we have left. Somedays I pray he comes early and healthy because I'm kinda over this baby growing thing. ;) 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pink Blush Maternity

My bump has been harder to dress this pregnancy. I remember feeling pretty cute in most outfits when I was pregnant with Kess. Now I have an closet full of clothes that don't even remotely fit me & I am counting down the days until they do. 

Enter Pink Blush Maternity. I have a few items from their Pink Blush line, but I hadn't purchased anything from their maternity line, yet! Well let me tell you... I can't get enough of this 

It's so pretty & super comfortable, too. Basically a winning duo for a pregnant momma. I can get away with a plain tee & maternity jeans throughout the week, so I wanted something that made me feel great on date night or at church. Winner!

The fit is very flattering. Trust me, I could use all the help I can get as I sit here at 34 weeks. What I love most about it is that I can wear it after this little boy arrives. It's nursing friendly! I repeat - nursing friendly!! I didn't pay much attention to things that were "nursing friendly" after I had Kess & soon realized how important that really is, especially in a dress. 

If you're in the market for some cute, high quality maternity clothes - head on over to

For sizing reference - I am 5'5" 34 weeks pregnant & weigh 160lbs. I purchased a size Medium. It fits great & I'm really excited to wear if after my sweet boy arrives, too!