Tuesday, September 2, 2014

newborn picks.

We are about to welcome our fourth baby into this family, hopefully any day now. This is not our first rodeo, and lets face it babies can require a lot of stuff. Of course there are the big tickets items that will make life easier like the swings, slings, seats, baths, strollers, jogging strollers, monitors, the list is endless. The whole purchasing for a baby can be a bit overwhelming. It also seems to me that the second you buy that top of the line, safest, most researched item you can find they come out with something completely new. With that said I put together a very small list of newborn essentials I would want or would give as a gift. 

1.) a baby book // There are a lot of choices out there. Susan Branch's Baby Love it my all time favorite and I have never seen one quite like it out there. I picked this one out for Elisabeth, and ended up with two different books for Jude and Lyla. I ended up re-ordering this book for baby number four because I loved it soooooo much. The author really does a great job of making this book extra special with sweet sayings, lots of questions, and sweet tidbits for a parent to journal in. It also includes holidays and birthday pages up to age five. NOTE: for some crazy reason you can get this book HERE for less than $6.00.

2.) shampoo and lotion // Sure there are a lot of baby shampoos out there, and I am sure any would do...but I received a gift card to Noodles and Boo from my bloggy bff Susan when I was pregnant with Lyla..and I was hooked. I am totally, completely, over the top in love with the smell of this product. The smell screams baby. In all honestly a little goes a long way this travel set lasted me at least six months. Also, another bonus....natural and gentle ingredients.

3.) nightgown sleepers //  I don't care where you get these...just get them. These sleeper gowns make middle of the night changes a million times easier. The elastic bottoms just slip right on up for easy changing...no unzipping and re-zipping...no unbuttoning and re-buttoning. Trust me when I say at 2AM when you are already sleep deprived changing a newborn can feel like an olympic event. Also, while I am on the subject of newborn clothes...keep about two outfits and return the others...no joke...swap them out for bigger sizes...you almost never take newborns out of sleepers and they grow out of the newborn size soooooooo quickly you won't be able to wear all those outfits. 

4.) swaddle blankets // Again it doesn't matter where you get these...just make sure they are big and you have a few...Swaddling can be a lifesaver with a newborn. Note: swaddle blankets are different than receiving blankets.

5.) 12 hours sleep by 12 weeks old // I tell everyone I know having a baby about this book. I realize that sleep training is not for everyone...but it was for me. I am a much better parent when I sleep. It is a lot of work and while "training" you will feel like you are sleeping less that you ever have but it does work. I used this book (with a little tweaking and adjustment per baby per needs) with all three of my kids and I am not lying when I say my oldest slept 8pm to 8am by 12 weeks, my middle (who was 5 weeks early and colic) slept 8pm to 7am by 10 weeks, and my youngest slept 9pm to 8am by 11 weeks of age. This book was a lifesaver for me. Again I do realize this is not everyone's thing, but it is at least worth looking into. Also, I liked this book because it is not a "cry it out method" you sooth baby, create a routine, ween out feedings, and provide baby with  the tools to go to bed happy and sleep through out the night. 

So tell me what are your favorite newborn items?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

share a blessing book review and giveaway!!

This has hands down been my favorite Tommy Nelson book review to date. Share a Blessing is such a sweet way to teach children how to love and serve others. Snail mail and a thoughtful note can go such a long way. Each page is an individual card/postcard style note. The book includes adorable stickers to personalize each message.

Want a chance to win a copy of this book? Just enter below....

Sunday, August 24, 2014

a science experiment.

Oh hey Viva Vantage you managed to help this pregnant lady keep her sanity this weekend. I love clean so, I was more that willing to do a post for Viva about how the product cleans. However we also decided to see how much we could stretch this paper towel. My kiddos and I had fun turning this paper towel into a fun and simple science experiment. 

You'll need:

weighted objects from around the house
glasses or cups

First off I got the Viva Vantage Paper Towel nice and wet and placed wet paper towel over a glass. Then I had my kiddos collect a few small objects to put to the test.  We ended up with a marble, bouncy ball, a lime, and gold nugget rock. We arranged the objects according to weight and started with the lightest to the heaviest.  Guess what? The WET paper towel held up with out breaking with all four objects. So with that said...the Viva not breaking sent my kids on a mad dash around the house to find objects that would break the towel. They used stuffed animals, little people, figurines, bubble gum, random objects, toys, until final they tried using one last product that finally caused the paper towel to break...that object was a vintage Nintendo Gameboy...which probably weighs a good pound or two. Needless to say this product defiently passes the stretch test using the V-Flex* Weave.

Also, I did manage to do a little cleaning with Viva Vantage and I must say I was impressed. Truth be told I don't buy a massive amount of paper towel...in an effort to be green. I don't usually clean with paper towel, because I have to use so much of it and it leaves those little tiny pieces of paper all over my mirrors and windows...that drives me crazy. That was sooooooo not the case with the Viva!! I cleaned my entire first floor windows inside and out, the back doors, the mirror in the bathroom...with ONE paper towel! Just check out the above photo the see the hold up after all that cleaning, and the towel left no little pieces behind on my nice clean windows...jackpot. 

A big thanks to Viva Vantage for sponsoring this post! Be sure to pick these up at your local Walmart during your next visit!

Friday, August 15, 2014

summer recap and a ton of photos.

In the beginning of the summer I posted about how I was going embrace this summer and be present. In turn I almost all together abandon my blog, and I am so happy I did. It was a effortless summer not filled with travel, but sweet simple moments.

Summer recap // we went to the pool // cheered jude on in baseball // watched his team tie for first place // watched elisabeth become quite the swimmer // watched her earn ribbons, and take first place, go to conference, and earn medals and ribbons at conference, and finally watch her team take first place overall // took just elisabeth to lunch alone as a treat for swim //  we drove 3 hours to silver dollar city and rode two rides...then a massive rain storm hit so we drove home... // it took us almost the whole month of june, but we finally caught some fireflies // drank sweet tea and consumed at least 600 popsicles // we of course feed baby goats // visited the zoo // got bored at the zoo and turned elephant tusk into wipeout courses // decided baby goats were the cutest animals ever, and they were way better than the zoo...so we visited baby goats again // went to the pool // I grew a baby // built tents on the porch // celebrated a birthday // read books // built tents in the hallway // read more books // spent a little more time at the pool // built tents under the kitchen table // jude learned how to swim // lyla learned how to do a canon ball // drank a ton of cherry lemonade and purchase a massive amount of sonic ice // watched the sandlot with cousins // made smore's // visited our favorite pizza place // celebrated 10 years //  enjoyed sparklers, and smoke bombs, and cousins, and family for the 4th // made apple pie // road bikes and scooters // beat 2048 // jude checked out a book about states from the library // jude became fascinated with learning the states // i taught my children THIS song // they learned it in two days // i may or may not regret teaching them the state song // jude learned where all the states were on the map in about 4 days // states are now his favorite thing //  had a treasure hunt and a goonies party with cousins // eat a lot of ice cream, i mean a lot // i made my children try a banana split...two out of three liked it // went to penguin park // went bowling // went to VBS // we tried a dipped cone // celebrated 40 years of marriage with my in laws // spent a little more time at the pool // drank coffee and read the good word on the porch // rode a pony // lyla got kicked out of her crib and moved into elisabeths room // the first night she rolled of her bed and we found her the next morning under her sisters bed // went back to school shopping // the hubs painted the kitchen // visited the plaza and union station // enjoyed some very lovely weather // opened the windows and even turned the air off // met members of the secret service and saw the presidents car // laughed, talked about jesus, and spent time as a family // had sleep overs // sent two kiddos off to school...to the second grade and kindergarten // and lastly we are patiently awaiting the arrival of the newest addition to our family in just a few short weeks. 


So if your still here and you read all of that, tell me how was your summer?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

these two.

Tomorrow we enter a new season, a new chapter in life. Tomorrow we send off not one, but two kiddos to school. Tomorrow Jude starts Kindergarten. It will be a little easier in the sense that I am not going into to Kindergarten blind. I now know what to expect, and Jude has the same amazing teacher  Elisabeth had which is an honest answer to some serious prayers on my end. I am hopeful this will also be a turning point in Elisabeth's struggles with school, and by struggles I mean her flat out not wanting to go because she was the one and only family member being forced daily to attend school...now she has Jude...to join her on this journey...now she won't feel so left out...she won't miss home so much...she knows her brother is in the same boat...she is no longer the lone school goer.

It is however not easier sending off another baby to kindergarten, at least not for me. Every year come August the same old fears and frets arrive, and this year it is times two. I made a very cautious choice to stay home with them. I feel very lucky and grateful I have had that chance to be their first teacher, and to be their main care taker, but in all honesty as lame as it sounds I am just going to plain miss them during the day. I am going to miss the morning snuggles, the random hugs, the day in and day out routine, the "watch this" and "look what I can do!", and 1.8 million questions I currently get asked through out the day. 

I know that school really is the first tiny baby steps in the many stages of letting them go, and it hurts a little. Don't get me wrong I am happy they are getting an education, I value that...it is a privilege denied to many. I just feel a little sad, and possibly a tad bit jealous, I don't get to be a part of it.  I want to be there when their little eyes light up because they read a sentence for the first time, or to stop them from feeling sad because a friend hurt their feelings, to remind them being kind will never  be a waste, to say please and thank you, to help them, to show them how to love others like Jesus, to make sure they are being productive polite little members of society, to pray with them, to see what makes them smile through out the day.

I realize that starting school is minor step in them growing up, because they still come home to me at the end of the day. I still have weekends, and snow days, and breaks, and summers...elementary school is not forever. But, I see the bigger picture here...and forever is not that far away.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

a little bragging.

Elisabeth starting swimming at about age 4 and has always loved the water. During the summer Olympics 2012 the US swim team lip sang THIS song...and my red head was hooked...the pool was calling her name. She asked to be on a swim team the following year. I said ok...I honestly thought if anything else being a strong swimmer is a great life skill to have.  The first year she joined, she swam in a few meets, she didn't place, or qualify for conference, but she had fun. 

This year was a whole different story. Swim really grabbed a hold of her heart. It was exciting to see her times improve, and then to see her start to place, and then to see her name as the girl to beat.  She earned 24 ribbons, or at least that is what we could find at the end of the season...Lyla may or may not have hidden a few. She qualified for conference, became part of two relay teams, and nabbed her self 12 FIRST place ribbons in the events of backstroke, free relay, and the medley relay. She ended up getting 8th over all in the backstroke in the entire Northland conference for ages 8 and under, keep in mind she is only 7. She was also one of only two 7 years to make top 8 in conference in backstroke. While at conference backstroke was not her strongest swim of the year, but her free relay ended up getting 4th overall. They also swam in the 8 and under group, and their team was made up of an 8 year old, two 7 year olds, and one 6 year old. She did a fantastic job this year and still has one more year in the 8 and under group, so I am very excited to see that damage she can do next year. :) 

This summer she spent an hour at practice 5 days a week...would come home and beg to go back to the pool...most days we took her...and she would swim another hour or so...and then even after all that most nights she would try to convince us to go back to the pool after dinner...needless to say the girl might be part fish...or mermaid. :)  All bragging aside, I could care less if she ever won a ribbon, qualified for conference, or placed...ever. I love that she loves it. I often pray that she would have something that could be all her own, something she has a passion for, at the age of 7 I think swim might be it.