Bump Box

Pregnancy is the happiest reason ever

for feeling like crap.

Can I get an amen?! Babies are a blessing, but more often than not – the pregnancy part is no cake walk.

As a busy mama of three + one babe on board, often times my own wants and needs are pushed to the back burner. It’s so easy to run myself into the ground while meeting everyone else’s needs. By the end of the day, I have so little time and energy to care for myself. I’d rather crash into bed than stay up on minute longer than necessary – only to rise after several hours of broken sleep and do it all over again. The life of a mother, right?!

I’m so thankful for monthly Bump Boxes that REMIND me to take care of myself. A Bump Box is a monthly subscription box that is tailored to each mama’s stage of pregnancy. It’s the ultimate mama care package in my opinion! It’s a box of full size products that relate to pregnancy and mamahood.

{ Check out the photos below to see the super fun products I got this month! }

Pregnancy may last only 40 weeks, but when you’re in the midst of it – it literally feels like two years. Bump Boxes have helped ease the long process, and they give me something to look forward to each month before I reach the ultimate grand prize. I love the monthly encouragement reminding me to slow down, relax a little, and take care of my precious growing bump.

Raising my children is the most important job I will ever do, but growing them in my womb is the first step.

I cannot wait to hold that brand new, sweet little babe, wrapped snuggly in my arms. Until then, I’ll be over here reminding myself that this doesn’t REALLY last forever – AND…probably checking my mail for my next Bump Box.

Click HERE to order your first box of awesomeness today! 🙂

PS. Bump Boxes also make such an amazing gift for expectant mamas!!

Momosas?! YES PLEASEEEE!!

 

Pink Blush: Maternity Maxi

I can’t tell you how in love I am with this GORGEOUS, multi colored maxi dress from Pink Blush Maternity. Aside from being a beautiful maxi, I love that it is made of 95% polyester – keeping me plenty cool on these hot summer days. We all know how important that is when you’ve got a precious little bun in the oven keeping mama extra warm! I’m currently only about 13 weeks along, and this dress fits perfectly now with plenty of room to grow. I love how forgiving the stretchy and flowy material is. It’s literally the perfect dress for maternity!

My style – simple and versatile!

I’ve shared in the past of my love for simple and versatile pieces. As a busy mama on the go, I prefer articles of clothing that can be worn for multiple occasions. I also love pieces that I am able to layer. Living in Minnesota, I often start the day with the heat turned up and later I have to switch over to air conditioning! No, really! This dress fits perfectly into both of my style preference categories. It is both simple and versatile.

For a more casual look, I simply paired this gorgeous maxi with a distressed denim vest that I’ve had in my closet for years. The dress is beautiful on its own, but it’s also easy to dress up or down with an additional piece. I plan on wearing it with a denim jacket or cardigan when the days turn cooler in the Fall, and I’ve got a couple of weddings this summer that I will simply dress it up with a sparkly necklace and earrings.

Speaking of weddings – we are in the season KNOWN for weddings, showers, and other parties that I want to look and feel my best for.  Pink Blush Maternity offers a wide variety of stunning maternity pieces, and I love the options available for every occasion.

To see a selection of other gorgeous dresses that Pink Blush offers, click HERE. There are SO many to choose from and so many to love! If you’d like to shop my specific multi-colored maternity maxi, click HERE.

Photo Credit: Ryan Laposky (Instagram: @ryanlaposky)

 

Tay’s Milk Bath

One thing I’ve been wanting to do for awhile now is a milk bath photo session. Tay was more than excited to hop into this old wash tub of milk, and I finally was able to check it off of of my bucket list! Personally – I think she was most excited to play with the flowers floating in milk. I mean, how often does the opportunity to bathe in a tub of milk and flowers present itself? Not often. I rest my case.

While the prep was a little bit of work, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. My hubby may have given me a few “you’re crazy” looks, and he even asked, “You’re doing this for FUN?!” Well, of course! I’m not sure what his definition of fun is, but if it doesn’t include a big old wash tub + milk + flowers…then we’re definitely not on the same page. 😉

Wash Tub + Milk + Flowers

If you’ve been wanting to have your own little milk bath photo sesh, I highly recommend it! It was so much fun, and I’m so happy with how the photos turned out.

Milk Bath How-To + Tips

Getting started, find a tub of some sort that you’d like to take the photos in. It doesn’t have to be huge, depending on your subject. Tay is pretty small, and this small wash tub was more than big enough.  I totally offered to take my hubby’s pics (after all those lovely glares), but he politely declined. 😉 I’m totally kidding, but we did joke about it!

Next, fill the tub to desired depth with WATER. That’s right. You don’t have to fill a whole tub with JUST milk. You could, I suppose, but it’s not necessary and would be A LOT more work. Once filled to desired depth, add two gallons of milk to the water. TIP: Before filling the tub with the hose outside, I filled it as much as I could with warm water inside. We did add a couple more buckets of warm water once it was almost filled outside. This may have played a role in how well she cooperated!

Lastly, add your flowers! I had read that synthetic flowers tend to sink, while real flowers will more than likely float. Well, I would say they half floated, but I’m happy with the look it gave. We did have a few flowers that sank to the bottom, so I would recommended testing out your flowers before you get all set up.

That’s it! Have your subject/s climb into the tub and snap a few photos! I’m not a professional photographer on any level, and I think these photos turned out great. I’m so happy Tay decided to “take the plunge” into this bath of milk. She’s such a champ at putting up with her crazy mom’s ideas, but I think she had fun with it! AND I was able to capture these photos that I will cherish forever.

Happiness Blooms from within

Live Wild. Flower child.

Keep your face to the sunshine,

and you cannot see the shadows.

It’s what sunflowers do.

{Helen Keller}

XOXO

A Wild One

I can’t believe it’s been almost a WEEK since E turned one!

His first birthday theme was easy for me to decide because he is definitely our “wild one.” Here are a few photos from his birthday party almost a week ago! CRAZY how fast time flies. I know I will blink and soon be planning his second birthday. Until then,  I wanted to share a few photos from his big event!

XOXO

“Where The Wild Things Are”

The banner above was handmade by yours truly! That’s right, I put this baby together in attempts to save a few dollars (which is really was probably only a FEW dollars! Ha!). It was super easy. I ordered the “Where The Wild Things Are” paper pack from Amazon, and threw this banner together in just an hour or two. Overall, I was happy with how it turned out, it got the point across! AND it allowed me to dig out some of those scrapbooking supplies that have been buried for YEARS now. 🙂

 Aren’t these napkins ADORABLE?! I found them on Etsy! Many different colors to choose from.

I loved having guests write special notes and wishes to our birthday boy! If you can’t tell, I’m a bit sentimental when it comes to my kiddos – so things like this mean a lot to me.

Is a first birthday party even a party without a SMASH CAKE?! E loved the frosting but hated the actual cake part.

This mama loves her wild little crew!

Raise them wild

First Year Gift Guide

With my youngest recently celebrating his first year around the sun, I decided to put together a small list of some of my favorite gift ideas for a one year old.

I know how challenging it can be trying to figure out what a one year old wants or needs, so if you are in the same boat as me – check out my list below. Many of these items would be suitable for a two or three year old as well!

First year gift guide

1. Slumberkins’ bigfoot

Slumberkins are soft, cuddly creatures that were designed with the intention to promote positive life skills. There are several adorable creatures to choose from, and each one has an accompanying Sleepytime Rhyme and keepsake Affirmation Card. The life skills that Slumberkins promotes are relaxation, self-esteem, transtion/change, mindfulness, and conflict resolution. Slumberkins does a fantastic job at creating a soft, snuggly creature for little ones, while providing parents with resources to promote positive skills. Pictures don’t do this plush Bigfoot justice, he is ultra SOFT and the most snuggable creature we own. 🙂 Checkout Bigfoot and a few of his pals HERE.

Fun Fact: Slumberkins was featured on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank!

2. Bannor Toys Tool Box

I know I’ve shared a little about Bannor Toys in the past, but I’m a bit obsessed with their gorgeous Wooden Tool Box Set. The tool box is made from solid Baltic Birch, Walnut, and Cherry Woods and comes fully assembled. The quality is second to none, and it is a beautiful piece to display in any room. I love how special the personalization makes it, and this is one of those heirloom gifts that I know will last a lifetime. Bannor offers many other beautiful wooden toys from letter blocks to baby rattles. I love how classic and timeless this “toy” is, and it is my hopes that it would be passed on to future generations. Shop Bannor Toys and this Wooden Tool Box Set HERE.

Bonus: These beautiful wooden toys are made right here in the USA!

3.  chatbooks

First of all, I don’t think words can adequately describe how great this photo book from Chatbooks is. Pictures don’t do it justice. You have to trust me on this one…

Chatbooks is an app that you can download and simply upload photos from your camera roll into an album. Each photo is date stamped, and you can even add a caption if you would like. When I received this hardcover album with photos of Easton’s first year of life, it brought tears to my eyes.

A scrapbooker at heart and now a mother of three, I have ZERO time these days to scrapbook my kiddos’ lives. I have major mom guilt in the fact that I haven’t even purchased a scrapbook for Easton’s photos yet. Chatbooks made it beyond easy to load all of my special photos of him into one app and order this book straight from my phone. I now have a special book that holds infinite memories from his first year of life. AND my mom guilt is a little less knowing I have organized photos of him all in one place.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this album is priceless.

If you are like me and have a tough time getting organized in the chaos that is life, I HIGHLY recommend Chatbooks. I know I will be ordering MANY more of these amazing books to hold our family memories in the future!

Download the Chatbooks App to get started or visit the website to learn more HERE.

4. B. Toys Buggly wuggly

The Buggly Wuggly by B. Toys was very likely one of Easton’s favorite gifts this year. This adorable ride on toy is absolutely perfect for his age. He can easily climb on and off of it, but he also loves to push it all around the house. The seat opens up to a small compartment that he loves to open and close, loading and unloading his toys. The eyes light up and make a super cute little honking noise – and no, it’s not obnoxiously loud! I love that about it, and he does too! This will be one of those toys that he is able to grow with because even my three and five year old love cruising around on our Buggly Wuggly pal.

Find the Buggly Wuggly and so many other beautifully engaging toys for your little one HERE.

5. Camp Castle Playmats

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably heard of Camp Castle Playmats. These super fun playmats come in many different designs and several sizes. All of my kiddos love these super durable, quality playmats. They are beautifully illustrated, and encourage my little ones to use their imagination as they play out different stories on their mats. Camp Castle Playmats are a great gift for a child of any age! See more from Camp Castle Playmats HERE.

6. Manhattan Toy Company’s Camp Acorn Photo Book

This playful photo book is one of my favorite gifts for a one year old. It features five pages to fill with 4 x 6 photos, a wooden teether ring, crinkle paper, and a Velcro closure. I know how much babies and toddlers love photos, especially photos of FAMILIAR faces. I love that I can fill this book with special photos of loved ones to make him smile throughout the day. The pictures are protected by clear plastic, and it is super easy to wipe clean. I think this photo book would also make such a fun baby shower gift! Manhattan Toy Company also offers a few other photo book designs, but you can find the one pictured below HERE.

Did you know? Manhattan Toy Company is based out of my home state – Minnesota! <3

7. Books!

I recently shared about my secret obsession with children’s story books. I won’t lie – sometimes I buy books for the kids because I selfishly want to read them! Anyways, I’m a firm believer in reading to my children, and I think books make the perfect gift! While I totally love Usborne and Wonderbly(personalized) books, I also buy a lot of books through Amazon for my kiddos. There are endless options and a wide variety of titles available. Bonus – free two day shipping on most books with an Amazon Prime membership.

Gifting tip: Write a special note on the inside of the cover when gifting for a special occasion! I KNOW this de-values the book, but let’s be honest – books don’t hold a lot of re-sale value anyways. I do this especially for my children when gifting a special book for Christmas, birthdays, etc. I love the personal touch of a handwritten message reminding my kiddos of my love for them EVERY time they open the book!

There are so many other great gift ideas out there for a one year old, but I tried to narrow my list down to just a handful of my favorites!

I would love to hear – what are some of your favorite “go-to” gifts for children ages 1-5??

One Year Loved

One year ago, our lives were forever changed when we welcomed our third precious child into our family. At 10:47am, Easton James entered the world at a whopping 7lbs 6oz.

Officially a summer baby!

As a family of five, the past year has by far been my favorite in all of my 28 (almost 29) years. However, as a mother of three – it brought many new firsts and many new challenges. I wish I could say the past year was completely smooth sailing, but of course we had our “moments.” We had our ups and downs, our twists and turns. With that being said, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

God gave us Easton, and we know He has a unique plan and purpose for his life. Sweet Easton has brought us so much joy, so many smiles, and so many laughs. He’s busy developing his own little personality, and he’s proving to be a typical busy boy.

While he’s not quite walking on his own, it’s not slowing him down. He gets into everything and apparently he’s already preparing for his trek up Mount Everest – the kid can CLIMB! He’s a little daredevil, and with two older siblings picking on him (already), he’s probably going to be the toughest of them all.

The last year has been the best year

I have danced with my babies, laughed at their jokes, held their tiny bodies, and kissed their sweet smiles. God knew our hearts needed Easton, and he has formed him into the precious, irreplaceable little boy that he is.

He melts his mama’s heart, and he sure loves snuggling with his daddy. I love his silly, squinty smile and his big sloppy kisses. His first year of life has been beyond beautiful, and he is such a blessing to us all. I can’t wait to see what his next year looks like, but I know its going to be full of new adventures and thousands of giggles (and probably a few bandaids too!).

Happy first birthday, Sweet Easton! You are loved more than you will ever know. XOXO

{First birthday pics by Ryan Laposky Photography, IG: @ryanlaposky}

A wild one

Inside all of us is hope, fear, and adventure.

Inside all of us is a wild thing.

They made him king of all the wild things.

 Let’s make mischief of one kind or another.

I’ll eat you up, I love you so.

Not A Perfect Mother

Can I tell you a secret?

I’m not a perfect mother. I could tell you a thousand reasons why. And then I could tell you some more. I try to do my best, but it never feels good enough. All too often I compare myself to other mamas who seem to have it all together – and I, very clearly, do not.

I’ve got stains on my tee shirt, and my eyes are beyond tired. I haven’t showered in a day or two (or three…sometimes). The clothes that I used to wear – well they don’t fit anymore. I’m often impatient, and I snap too quickly. I get frustrated when things don’t go my way, and I usually set my expectations too high. Many days are long and lonely, and sometimes I question if this will ever get any easier.

And did I mention?

I don’t read enough.
I don’t clean enough.
I don’t exercise enough.
I don’t cook enough.
I don’t know enough.
I don’t eat healthy enough.
I’m not organized enough.

I could go on, but I’ll spare you.

I know I’m not a perfect mother, and I know I’ve got a lot of things I need to work on. However, I also know that God placed these sweet babies in my arms for a reason. He chose ME – with a plan and a purpose.

As their mama…

I will fight for them when no one else will, and I will cheer them on – even if I’m the only one cheering. I will protect them when they need protecting, and I will pray for them on my hands and knees. I will teach them courage and how to stand up for what they believe – even if they are standing alone. While they are still little, I will encourage them to pursue their passions – even if others laugh at them. I will teach them the value of a heartfelt apology, and that “please” and “thank you” are still kind words. I will love them with all that I am and encourage them to grow in their walk with the Lord.

One day they won’t want me to catch them at the bottom of the slide, and they won’t need me to push them on the swing. The day will come when I’ll no longer need to kiss their owies, and they won’t want to dance with me in the kitchen. Eventually they won’t need me to tuck them in at bedtime, and they will be too embarrassed to hold my hand. All too soon their chalk art won’t cover the driveway, and they won’t give me a hundred dandelions a day. Soon I won’t be able to scoop them up in my arms, and I’ll miss their sweet giggles as they run through the sprinkler. One day, their room won’t be cluttered with toys – it will be empty.

I don’t want to take another second for granted. They will slip through my fingers all too quickly, and I will be begging for just one more day like today. Just one more kiss. Just one more bedtime story. Just one more dandelion. Just one more hand hoId. Just one more snuggle. And just one more dance.

So for now, I’m going to hug them a little tighter and hold them a little longer. I’m going to soak in these precious days with them – even the ones that feel like an eternity. I will give them an extra kiss any chance I get, and I dance with them whenever they want. I’ll read another book, and rock them to sleep another time. I’ll wipe away their tears, and encourage them to try again…

Because right now they are here in my arms. I know that all too soon I will blink, and they will be grown and gone. Although some days I feel like a failure in my own eyes, I need to remind myself that I AM enough. I’m not perfect, but I’m exactly who God created me to be, flaws and all. He knew I would make mistakes and fall down, and that I wouldn’t be perfect. But He also knew that I would need these sweet children and that they would need me. They will always be my precious babies, and I will always thank the Good Lord for choosing me to be their mama.

Hopscotch Avenue

Hopscotch avenue

I recently discovered Hopscotch Avenue and their “Woobies,” and I couldn’t be more excited to share more about these with you today.

First off, Hopscotch Avenue is an up and coming company (est. 2017), creating boutique quality baby products RIGHT HERE in the USA! I came across Hopscotch Avenue on Instagram while browsing small shops. Their products stood out to me right away. As you will see – the goal of their products is to “make life as a parent a bit easier and help others along the way.” I already know that their Woobies and wet bags are going to make life for this mama much easier!

What is a woobie?

A Woobie is designed like a burp cloth, but it is so much more! Sure, it can be used as a burp cloth – it is a generous size to catch almost any size spit up. It has a handy loop attached making it simple to roll up your Woobie to contain any messes before tossing it in your diaper bag or wet bag. Woobies are also perfect for tummy time, bathing, changing, and SNUGGLING.

Each Woobie has a pocket – perfect for storing and keeping pacifiers, small teething toys, or other necessities safe and protected. How many times have I dug through the diaper bag or my purse searching for a pacifier?! WAY too many to count. With the Woobie, I know right where to find that darn pacifier. The pocket itself is easily my favorite feature of the Woobie. It will save me (probably) HOURS of digging and searching for a pacifier when we are out and about.

There are many beautiful colors and patterns to select from when choosing your Woobie. Each Woobie is backed with organic bamboo – making it ultra absorbent and easy to clean. It actually gets softer with each wash! No harmful chemicals or finishes are used on the Woobie – it is 100% eco-friendly!

Hopscotch avenue gives back

“Hopscotch Avenue was driven to existence on the premise of helping others, and this is why we choose to give back a portion of every sale. We are committed to helping families with sick little ones, warrior babies, preemies who arrive a little too soon, angel babies, and those who arrive as a different kind of perfect.” #HopscotchFor Humanity

I don’t know about you, but I love supporting a company with a good heart and a good cause. If you or someone you know has a little one or is expecting, Woobies make the perfect gift! I’ve got a couple of little ones due in my extended family this year, and I know one thing for sure they will each be getting (but, shhhhhh….). If you are like me, always looking for ways to simplify parenting, do yourself a favor and grab a Woobie (or two, or three…). You’ll be so happy you did!

Hopscotch Avenue also offers wet bags for soiled Woobies or clothing. Check these out too! ^

Instagram: @hopscotchavenue

Website: www.hopscotchavenue.com