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!!

 

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.

Training Wheels For Good Habits

One thing this mama can’t seem to figure out is why some days flow so flawlessly from the get go – while others feel like a train wreck by 8am. Did we all get more sleep? Was our environment more peaceful? Less cluttered? Did I spend more one-on-one time with the kids? Were we on a stricter schedule? Were the kids better listeners, or was I more patient? Was it something I did? Was it the weather? Was there a full moon last night? Did I drink more coffee?

I don’t know if I’m imagining things but I can’t seem to nail down why some days I feel like I could handle five more kids, while other days I question if I’m even cut out for motherhood. For real, though. Why are some days so pleasant and the next day I’m praying for any sort of lifeline just so I can catch a quick break?

While I don’t have the complete answers to all of my burning questions, I recently discovered one AMAZING new piece of technology that has seemed to make a HUGE difference in helping our days flow more seamlessly.

Octopus watch by Joy

I’m super excited to share with you the Octopus Watch by Joy. Octopus Watch is a children’s watch that alerts them of specific tasks and reminders throughout the day. I simply downloaded the Octopus app on my phone and paired it with each of my kiddo’s fun little watches. Then, via the app, I set up different “reminders” for them throughout the day.

For example, at 7:30am their watch will vibrate for a quick second and a dog food bowl will show up on the screen reminding them to feed the dog. At 8am a breakfast bowl will pop up and let them know it’s time for breakfast. 8:45…a heart reminding them I love them. YES, I still tell them I love them a thousand times a day, but if we aren’t together – I hope it brings a smile to their sweet face.

It’s funny how when their Octopus Watch reminds them to brush their teeth at 8:30pm they jump right up and do it. BUT it takes about 10 reminders and several moans and groans when mama asks. I’m certain that the watch has given them a sense of independence. It allows them to feel more grown up and responsible for the tasks they need to complete.

Having reminders set on their watches has also helped this (some days) frazzled mama stick to a schedule. When we have a set time for breakfast, lunch, checking the mail, nap time, etc., it forces us to stay on task. Rather than say, “I’ll do {this or that} in just a few minutes” and then completely forget or push it back an hour, I’m more apt to get breakfast on the table when the kids remind ME that it’s time to eat. Sometimes the day gets away from me when I’m in my “mom-zone,” and I lose all track of time. I’ll be completely honest and admit that these watches have made a positive difference in my routine too.

Training wheels for good habits

The Octopus Watch by Joy has provided them with “training wheels for good habits.” Maybe we don’t need to do everything the same exact way every single day. However, I love that it helps them feel like they are responsible for completing the task. I know this new watch is going to be a home run especially when the school year rolls around again. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, I’m definitely not wishing away sweet summertime yet. It goes far too fast, but thanks to my tiny little time tellers – I always know what time it is. 😉

If you would like to try out the Octopus Watch (available HERE), use code “threelittlelights” for a sweet little discount (offer valid through June 30th!).

Apparently it was doughnut time!

Jake’s Golden Ticket

Imagination is such a vital part of childhood. It allows children to escape reality and go places they’ve only dreamed about – maybe even places that don’t even exist!

There is one movie I recall watching as a child DOZENS of times that did nothing short of explode creativity and inspire imagination. Any guesses?!

OF COURSE it’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! If you’ve never seen this movie – I don’t know if we can be friends. 😉 KIDDING. But you should definitely see it.

The story of Willy Wonka and his magical chocolate factory allowed us to enter a place where things that didn’t even exist EXISTED. It took us to a place where the snozzberries taste like snozzberries(so they tell us), and you might even turn into a giant blueberry from chewing a piece of Wonka’s special bubble gum(poor Violet!). Everything was brand new and mind bogglingly fascinating.

Invention, my dear friends, is

93% perspiration

6% electricity

4% evaporation

and 2% butterscotch ripple

-Willy Wonka

So when Wonderbly released “The Golden Ticket,” I knew it was going to be a must have for my kiddos (and me!). Like the movie, it introduces us to many sensational new creations and takes us on an adventure of unimaginable experiences.

When we open up this story – we just can’t put it down. And I’ll be honest, I love it probably just as much as the kids. It takes me back to my own childhood when it was so easy to imagine that this was all so fantastically REAL. I especially love the questions and thoughts that my kids ask after their journey through the chocolate factory. Their observations are much like mine when I was once so little too.

Another one of my favorite things about “The Golden Ticket,” is the ability to personalize it with your own child’s name! I WISH you could’ve seen Jake’s eyes light up as we read his name throughout the story the first time. He couldn’t believe it was written just for him. As the oldest child, he often gets over shadowed by his little siblings, but I love how special this story made him feel. The smile on his face and the wonder in his eyes as we read all about Willy Wonka’s Factory was absolutely priceless!

If you’re new to Wonderbly, you should know that all of their stories can be personalized for your own children! The stories are engaging, and the illustrations are stunning. These books make such wonderful birthday, Christmas, or other “just because” gifts for the special little ones in your life!

Go HERE for $7 off your purchase at Wonderbly! Tell them I sent ya. 🙂 I know you and your kiddos will love these wonderful stories just as much as we do!

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.

Explore Sawyer

When I think about my childhood, I love to remember the endless summer days. I spent nearly all of my time outside: running, playing, exploring, imagining, dreaming, and swimming. At the end of the day my hair was full of sand, my feet were dirty, my skin was sun kissed, and I sure slept well. I am fortunate – I was blessed with a very happy childhood. I treasure the many unforgettable memories that I made running barefoot every day. I miss those days when I didn’t have a care in the world and time didn’t seem to matter.

Now, as a mama – I absolutely love watching my own babies relive those sweet memories that I often long for. They spend almost all day outside, and they sure are filthy when they come in at night. But I love it. It is my hope and prayer that one day they will look back and treasure these precious days of childhood – just as I do.

Sawyer is a children’s brand of clothing named after the one and only Tom Sawyer – a perfect picture of adventure and a “quintessential youth explorer.” I love that I can clothe my kiddos with a brand that encourages kids to grow and learn through play and exploration of the world around them. They emphasize the importance of connecting with nature and realize that “valuable life skills are gained by learning to pick oneself up and try again.”

The nostalgia of childhood all comes rushing back when I see the awe and wonder in my children’s eyes as they explore the wild. I’m so grateful that I can witness these priceless moments of exploration and discovery. For in these moments, I know they are making sweet memories that will last a lifetime.

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