Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bundled Blessings Fertility Foundation

Recently Bundled Blessings Fertility Foundation held their second annual dinner auction & it was such a huge success.

I wasn't able to attend the dinner this year (darn living far away) but I received some pictures from their event & it was so beautiful! So much effort goes into this dinner & everything goes to the most amazing cause.

The awareness of infertility has increased so much over the last decade and it makes my heart so happy that people are aware of this struggle that so many couples go through. While this hasn't been a trial of ours, I'm very close to people who have this trial. I think this would be one of the hardest things to deal with in life. In a perfect world... anyone who wanted to grow their family would be able to. 

Bundled Blessings is working their hardest to make growing families a possibility. Infertility treatments can create such a financial burden on couples and families. To be blunt - they are so expensive! This dinner auction helps applicants get a chance to win fertility treatment grants. 

Bundled Blessings puts together a beautiful dinner with fantastic speakers and a silent auction. They work diligently for almost a year before each event to get auction items donated. Let me tell you - it is no easy task. So when Bundled Blessings asked me if I could help I immediately pulled together my resources and was able to work with some of my favorite shops. 

DockATot donated one of their deluxe DockATot loungers. The Ollie World donated an Ollie Swaddle. And Binxy Baby donated their Original Shopping Cart Hammock. I have personally used each one of these items and have loved each one. You can read my review of each one here, here and here

These auction items were some of the most coveted items and helped raise money for these sweet grant applicants. Bundled Blessings was able to give out... at their second annual dinner auction. They gave out $30,000 in monetary grants, one 50% off IVF (or 3 rounds of IUI from Idaho Center of Reproductive Medicine) and one 50% off IVF from Reproductive Care Center.) That means they helped 7 couples pursue their dream of expanding their families. I can't imagine a much better gift for them!

As always, it's an honor to work with Bundled Blessings & help them pursue all the good that they strive to do!

A huge thank you to DockATot, The Ollie World & Binxy Baby. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this blog and that support Bundled Blessings Fertility Foundation. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Beginning of Our Love Story

Matt and I went to High School together. We even had a class together. We never spoke. Not one word, you guys. Matt played football and I played softball. We never really ran with the same crowd. I always had a lot of respect for him, because I knew he worked hard as an athlete and as a student.
He graduated the year before I did, went to college and I went on finishing my last year of high school, then on to college. I was at Northwest Nazarene University playing softball and Matt was at Boise State University playing football

In the beginning of my sophomore year, Matt and I started chatting on Facebook, just a few conversations here and there. I was having a rough go of things, and shared that with Matt. Looking back, I'm not really sure why I felt the need to share that with him. He told me that he knew that I didn't really know him, but he was here for me, for whatever it was worth. This touched me, mostly because we really knew nothing about each other, but I could tell that he really meant it. One Friday night, Matt and I were online at the same time and started up a private Facebook chat. We talked until 2am. We talked about anything and everything. It was easy and comfortable. Matt asked me out on a date for the next night, but I had a date planned with someone else. I was so disappointed. Gah! Seriously? Of all the nights to be busy. I was regretting telling this other guy yes. We decided to go out another time.

The next day I text my date to see if we were still on and he said that he was sorry, but he had to cancel. Fine by me! I text Matt to tell him that my date cancelled on me. He smoothly said, "I'd be happy to take his place." And with that, our first date was planned. I worked that evening and Matt had a football game, so we planned to meet up after. So around 10:45pm, Matt picked me up. I was living with my parents (they lived 10 minutes from campus), so Matt came in to meet them quick and we were off. With nothing to do. There isn't a whole lot to do in Nampa, after 10:00pm. We drove across town to Carl's Jr. I ordered a chocolate shake and Matt ordered Oreo. He parked the car and we talked and laughed until 1:45am. I had a blast. It was the most fun, yet the simplest date I've ever been on. It was perfect.

The next day I couldn't help but text him to thank him for the milkshake and tell him that I had the best time. He was so worried that the date wasn't fun because we only got milkshakes, but I assured him that I had the best time. He asked when he could see me again.

He came to my house the next Wednesday - we watched a movie, and by watched a movie I mean held hands and talked the whole time. ;) The night quickly came to an end. We were saying our goodbye’s not letting go of each other on my front porch and we kissed. 

That was it - we couldn't spend enough time with each other from then on out.
Two weeks later we said "I love you."
Seven weeks after that we were browsing for rings.
We were planning on getting engaged after the holidays and after the football season had ended - or so I thought.

Christmas Day, Matt set up a little scavenger hunt for me. Let me preface this part by saying that Matt is an amazing writer and at each stop of the scavenger hunt was bits of our love story written from his point of view, which is the most beautiful thing I've ever read. The first letter was under my Christmas tree – it was titled “A Little Something About Us.” It started out with him talking all about the love he hoped to find one day. And how close we were to each other, but never speaking a word.

The next letter was taped to the back of the Carl's Jr. drive-thru menu. This letter talked all about our first date and how thought he wouldn't get a second date, because all we did was get milkshakes. The next letter was where he told me he loved me -  so I headed back to my parent's house. This letter described how nervous he was to tell me that he loved me - he was sure that he was nuts because it had only been a few weeks. I remember the moment well. We were standing by the front door, everyone else in the house had fallen asleep & I could feel Matt trembling, so I asked him what was wrong. I remember him rambling a few things, taking a deep breathe and saying, "Kierra, I love you!" I said, "You know what? I love you, too!"

The next letter was at my work. I worked at a tanning salon a few minutes away - taped to the front door was yet another letter. As I started to read I noticed that this letter was different. It wasn't describing something that we had done together. In fact, I had no idea what he was talking about. I soon realized that he was describing when he asked my parents to marry me. I was at work, so he stopped by my parent's house to ask for their permission. This letter is my favorite. It was incredibly beautiful to see how he described the nervousness that he felt to ask for my hand and then to have him describe how much my parents loved me… in tears. It was so pure and so perfect.

The next and final letter was located at the Boise Train Depot. I have never broken the speed limit so many times. I couldn't get there fast enough. As I pulled in, I could see him. He was standing there with one last letter in hand. This letter described our future and what it could entail - if I said yes to the question he was about to ask me. And with that, he was down on one knee saying the sweetest things. And I said yes.

We were married at the Boise Train Depot on May 14th, 2010.

I often think back to this series of event and just smile. The butterflies and the grand gestures. And I think about where we are now. We've seen each other through a lot in the last 8 years. So many smiles, jumps for joy, tears, laughs, love, angry looks, snarky comments, negative pregnancy tests, positive pregnancy tests, two beautiful children, temples trips, prayers, 1 apartment, 3 houses... and everything in between. It's been a wild ride and while we don't really do anything for Valentine's Day ... as I type this up I have pizza dough baking in the oven, my two kids watching Netflix and I'm still giddy waiting for Matt to get home. Isn't life funny? It has so many ups and downs. So many things that you think are going to do you in. So many things that make your heart soar. I'm beyond grateful that I have Matt by my side to do everything with. Even the things we don't do together - feel together. Couldn't ask for anyone better to be on my team.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Valentine's Night In

*Disclosure - this read is for the ladies. It get's a little girly & personal. ;)

I don't know about you guys, but we have never been out on a date on Valentine's Day. And we probably won't ever. Matt & I are both homebodies so we don't really want to fight the crowds - I guess now that we live in McCall there might not be crowds! Meh, even then.

On our first married Valentine's I had Matt grab Chili's takeout & meet me at our apartment. I made chocolate covered strawberries & got our favorite show all ready on Netflix and we had ourselves a little couch date. If I remember correctly we wore our jammies, too. I spiced it up with a cheap cotton nighty from Old Navy. Go me. ;)

We still do takeout or pizza on Valentine's Day. Usually Pizza. I tried to get a heart-shaped pizza once and it cost extra so I just got a regular pizza. So much romance.

This year I want to do something a little different. I think we will do homemade pizza. Kess loves to help make this - so I'll definitely do it heart-shaped. I"ll probably do a mini pizza for her with this heart-shaped cookie cutter. I think we will make sugar cookies that day and just have ourselves a little Valentine's Day party. Construction paper hearts and all.

Then after the kids go to bed... ;)

Love day should include some physical love, right? If you're cliche like me - then yes it should. Don't worry we aren't always hot. We've had Valentine's Night where we are both like, "You know I think you're hot right? And I love you, but I'm exhausted." "Right back at ya lover, good night." Seriously - it happens. Hahaha

But it's always fun to plan a little extra something for some special occasion loving if you're up for it!

-I always feel more confident when my legs are shaved & I have some good body butter on. Mostly because I feel better in my skin. Yay for silky smooth legs, right?

-A little smell good never hurt anybody, either. Pure Seduction from VS is one of my absolute faves. It's inexpensive and lasts a really long time. The scent is strong enough with 1-2 sprays, but it's not overpowering. If you're looking for a "treat yourself" kind of perfume... Tocca Simone in my favorite right now.

-Of course, you will need some falsies to play up those eyes that your Valentine loves so much. The Red Aspen Miss lash is a great lash that wears from day to night

-I love adding a fun jewelry piece to my Valentine's Night look. Matt wouldn't notice it one bit, but I would. It would up my confidence and make me feel a little more put together. These fun little ear climber earrings are the perfect touch of simple glam. Simple glam is a thing right? It is now. ;)

-Buy yourself some cheap lingerie. I am not the most comfortable in lingerie right now - because I've grown and birthed babies so I don't feel super hot. But, my husband doesn't give a d*mn about my mom pooch or stretch marks. And I guarantee yours doesn't either, cuz you're practically naked. All he cares about is getting your newly purchased lingerie off.of.you. & on.the.floor.

Here are a few lingerie options for you →

Ok, I think every last one of these little numbers are so cute. After having kids and not feeling my sexiest I've found a liking for something with a little bit more coverage. I still like the sassiness of some of these pieces without feeling like a busted can of biscuits in fishnets. (oh the horror.)

And you know... if you're not flat exhausted - turn on a movie. I always love a good cheesy romance, but we will probably end up watching something in our queue on Netflix or Amazon.

Know that this post was light-hearted and meant to be fun. This is a pretty exaggerated Valentine's Night for us, but sometimes I like to put in a little extra effort. What you ladies do with your Valentine's Day is up to you, and heck... what I have in mind probably won't even pan out, but spending a little one on one time with the ones you love makes for the best day.

I hope this post didn't make you uncomfortable and that we can still be friends! ;)

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Sleep training Manning

I'm a a BIG believer in teaching your baby to sleep. I've been blessed with decent sleepers, but crap always hits the fan at that 4 month sleep transition. Kess' sleep transition almost did me in. I could hardly function. I was more prepared for Manning's and I was used to not sleeping - so it wasn't a big shock. I've been trying to toughen up and sleep train Manning for a few months now, but I just couldn't get the guts. It's time. It's happening. We are in the middle of it. Knee deep, man.

I actually started sleep training Kess around this age as well - we weren't traveling to McCall and back home anymore - so it was time. Matt helped me because I was losing my cool. It was 1 week of h*ll & then she slept GREAT! So I knew I could do it with Manning, too. But I am way more patient with Manning than I was with Kess. (Sorry, sweetie.) So I haven't been as uptight about the loss of sleep and such. But at this point it's just getting annoying to wake up a few times a night when I know he doesn't need a bottle at night anymore.

I didn't mind getting up with Manning because he was on the smaller side - he needed the extra calories, but he's chunking up nicely and is no longer under his percentile trajectories. This momma is done. And I have some habits I want to make, like waking up for my kids and not to my kids, working out, staying on a cleaning schedule, etc. Those are hard to do when all I can think about is when the next time I get to lay down is.

Alright - lets start with some basics. A few things that I always try to teach my kids is to fall asleep on their own. Manning was brilliant at this. Kess was ok, but that was mostly because I had no idea what I was doing.

I always try to instill a few sleep associations. Remember to not do too many of these because if you baby needs 5 things that help him go to sleep - he needs all 5 of those every time he wakes up and goes back to sleep at night, too. I try to do some sleep associations that don't require ME. Like, a sound machine that is on all night, a pacifier (this one is hit and miss) and a sleep sack. A pacifier gets a little tricky because you could be in 10 times a night to pop that bad boy back in, but once I clipped it to Manning's jammies I was in business. He can find it and put it back in by himself now.

You guys know that I'm a big believer in the ZipadeeZip. Even Matt has said that it's THE BEST baby purchase that we have ever made. I buy one or two for every stage and then by the Flying Squirrel (<eyeing this one for Manning) set when they turn 1. Kess wore that until she was about 18 months and it's incredibly easy to wean from. Like one night Kess wore it, the next she didn't and there was zero issues.

I always push a pacifier. My kids both have loved the MAM pacifiers. I know some people are super leary of a pacifier, but I love them.

My kids always use a Zippy, a pacifier and a sound machine.

I decided to start sleep training Manning on a few weeks ago. I know some people are against sleep training and cry-it-out. I don't think that little tiny babies should ever cry-it-out, but around 9 months old - I personally don't have a problem with it. I never let them cry without checking on them every few minutes - so they never cry alone for hours on end.

For night 1 I decided to let him cry when he wakes up for his 1st feeding. Normally you're not "supposed" to pick them up, but I didn't care if it took longer to teach him to sleep, I wanted to ease into the whole sleep training thing.

I went in, picked him up, snuggled him for a while, reassured him that I was there, gave him love and kisses and laid him back down. He cried. It was awful, but I set my timer for 5 minutes and went back in and did the same thing over again. Every 5 minutes for over an hour. As I was about to give in and give him a bottle - he fell asleep. He woke up 3ish hours later at his normal time and I decided to give him his bottle. I figured crying-it-out once that night was good enough. Night 2, we started the same way... he woke up crying. I did all the same things and he fell asleep after 45 minutes. Then when he woke up again I decided to forego the bottle and do what I did a few hours before.

I continued to do this for the next few days. Eventually it took him less time to fall asleep & I stopped picking him up when he cried. I gave him smooches, gave him his paci and rubbed his back and left. On night 7 he woke up once, I rubbed his back and gave him his pacifier and he laid back down and went to sleep. No crying. He slept through the night on the 9th night. The 10th night he struggled a little bit more. I'm going to blame night 10 on 2 teeth coming in at the same time.

We struggled with those teeth for a few more days, then on night 13 he woke up fussing once and put himself back to sleep. And 14 he slept! All night long! So fingers crossed that this becomes more frequent!

I definitely took the long route here. And on day 13 I switched to the next size up of Zippy. But, I knew I was taking the long route when I picked him up to soothe him. I just couldn't cut him off from a bottle and loves all at once, so I decided to make the transition slower and easier on us both.

We are now heading into night 23 and Manning is pretty consistently sleeping through the night. We will randomly have an off night & I'm honestly chalking it up to teething. He is working on his 4th tooth in the last 3 weeks. IT's been a little crazy around here, but I think he's sleeping pretty dang well for cutting that many teeth. 

Shoot me an email or leave a comment below if you have any sleep training questions. 

Sending you sleepy baby vibes!