Monday, December 31, 2018

What 2018 Taught Me


What a year 2018 was! It’s hard to put it into words - there was so much good and I have a hard time finding the words to describe this year. It wasn’t without its challenges but I felt like a lot of this year was dedicated to me finding myself and coming into my own in this stage of life. I learned a lot this year along the way, but a few lessons from the year really stand out to me.

Trust yourself and follow your heart. I have worked from home since Madeline was about a year old but last January I woke up one day and decided I wanted to do something different. I hadn’t felt that way at all a week earlier but one day it came to me with such clarity. I was hesitant to share this with Corey but I felt really strongly that I was being led down a different path. Then, I met my mentor with Beautycounter and decided to upgrade my account to become a consultant and it has been such an amazing decision for me. I found that throughout the year I became even more passionate about women’s health and that by pursuing this job I actually got a lot of time for myself back while still earning a paycheck. Not to mention so much pride and a little bit of awe at my role of helping other families learn about and choose safer products for their own homes.

Friday, December 21, 2018

FAQ’s for our first Two Weeks

It’s hard to believe that our baby boy has been in our family for just over two weeks now. I have lots to share with you but adjusting to being a family of four has been keeping me very busy for the time being. I’m sure you have noticed that most of my recent posts were scheduled before his arrival.

I did want to pop in and share a little about how we are all doing. Putting together a coherent post seemed a little daunting so I decided to share some of the questions we have been asked the most since baby boy’s arrival. I tried to cover everything that has been asked on Instagram and then the most common questions from our family and friends, too, but if there’s something else you are curious about, you can let me know in the comments and I will share it next time.

Where did his name come from?

When I was pregnant with Madeline we decided on the name Connor Robert if she was a boy. We thought about a couple different things this time around but still loved that name the most so we kept coming back to it. We just really liked the name Connor. I loved the idea of him having a “C” name so his monogram would be the same as Corey’s. Robert is Corey’s middle name and also my father-in-law’s name.

For those of you who are new readers and don’t already know, we lost my father-in-law to a glioblastoma just a few weeks before I found out I was pregnant with Madeline so we really wanted to honor him by using his name. He loved babies and really desperately wanted grandchildren so I know it is making him teary-eyed and happy up in heaven that our baby boy carries on his name. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Our Family Holiday Shoot 2018


We had our family Christmas photos taken early this year. Way back in October, on a humid, overcast, eighty-five degree morning we all got dressed and pretended that it felt like Christmas outside. Then, we headed to a local Christmas tree farm to meet our photographer. 



Madeline was surprisingly shy so that was the hardest part of taking photos this year - it was difficult to catch her smiling. Our photographer was so patient and did such a good job of working around her toddler stubborness and shyness. 



I’m so pleased with how our photos turned out this year. I never scheduled maternity photos for either pregnancy so it was also so special to have some photos taken displaying my bump. 



Because we had our pictures taken so early, we were able to order our cards and get them out to friends and family  before our sweet Connor made his debut, which worked out perfectly because life has been pretty busy since then! We used Minted of course because of the free recipient address printing. 



I especially love these photos because they are the last professional photos we have as a family of three. We certainly love our new addition but Madeline was an only child for so long that I love having these of Corey and me with just our big girl. 


Merry (almost) Christmas from our family to yours! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Holiday Home Tour 2018


I really can't believe the Holiday season is here. This year will be both special and chaotic for our family as we welcome a new baby into our family. Because of his arrival, I broke one of my own rules and decorated a little early this year. I had most of the decorations out in the days before Thanksgiving and got the Christmas trees up on Thanksgiving morning since we did not host this year and actually had a very laid back day.

I changed very little from last year aside from adding a few things upstairs and to the front of the house. Our home is a traditional brick colonial so I decorate it pretty traditionally. That is my style anyway with Christmas decor. I hang wreathes on the windows and then this year I added lighted trees to the front steps (thanks Mom for gifting me these for my birthday!) and replaced my candles in the windows with a fresh set. I finally upgraded to ones on a timer and it has made allll the difference.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide for the Littles


I really can't believe that Christmas is almost here. This is my favorite time of year but the one thing I hate is scrambling around for last minute gifts. So, today I have compiled a list of ideas for what to buy for the little ones in your life. I broke it into two parts - baby and then toddler. Obviously my personal experience with this is a little skewed towards items that girls love but I think you will find something here even if you are scratching your head for a last minute gift for a toddler boy in your life. 

Laugh and Learn Car. This was such a great item that Madeline has loved for a long time. We first got it for her when she was eight or nine months old and she used it primarily for the sensory aspect - exposure to music, texture, and sound. Now that she is older she still plays with this and uses it for pretend play and pretends to drive her stuffed animals and dolls around. 

Leapfrog Violet (or Scout). Madeline received her Violet for her first birthday and still loves her to this day. This sweet little stuffed animals references your child by name and sings to them, plays games, and will even play lullabies at bedtime. 

Little People Farm. Madeline has an older version of this but still plays with it. Little People are such a great toy. Smaller babies will just enjoy touching and manipulating them and looking at the faces. Then, as they get older they use them to learn animal names and sounds and finally for pretend play. This is another great toy that grows with the child. 

Drum and Instrument Set. This set is great. We have an older version of this and it has been so very loved. It it a toy drum that comes with lots of other instruments inside. Babies love music and making sound so it was a toy that Madeline loved from a young age and is still loving now at almost three even though she has more experience with music at this point. 

Llama Llama Yum Yum Yum. This is a great book for little ones. It is a scratch n' sniff book so they will love smelling the pages. Llama Llama is likely a character they are already family with from other books or from the show on Netflix, making it even more fun. Madeline loves scratching and sniffing the pages herself now. 

Tickle Monster Book Set. This book has been one of our favorites for such a long time and has caused so much happy laughter at bedtime when we read it. You have to get the whole set so that you get the fun little tickle gloves - don't skimp on this one! 

Beautycounter Kids Gift Set. I am a big believer in including things that kids need as part of their gifts, too. I love the Beautycounter Kids Gift Set because it comes with a safe body wash and shampoo and then a cute hooded towel, which makes a great presentation. 


What about the preschooler? I included some ideas for those little ones, too. Madeline is right in the middle of the 2-4 age group right now so that is what this list is targeted towards. 

Vintage Play Kitchen. Madeline has this play kitchen. We were really lucky to snag it on our local mom group but it would be well worth its regular price as this is our most played with toy. We have lots of accessories (Target dollar spot, Melissa and Doug from Homegoods/Marshalls/TJ Maxx are great places to look) and Madeline cooks and plays in her kitchen every day. Its hard to put together, though, so don't wait until Christmas Eve.

Do-A-Dot Markers. These are really closer to paint than they are a marker but because they come out in dots they are less messy. We love doing art with these and they keep little ones busy for a long time. 

Duplo Park Set. Duplo's are a great introduction to legos and a toy that are great for children using their own imagination and practicing those creativity and engineering skills. There are lots of different sets so it can be a gift parents add-on to once their kids get started. 

Art Easel. We purchased this easel for Madeline last year for her birthday and it is used almost daily. I love that is is big enough for large toddlers to use without taking up tons of space. It has a whiteboard side, a chalkboard side, and holds a roll of paper (which I buy from Amazon). I also love that is has storage baskets at the bottom to hold art supplies. It doesn't fold easily, though, but we keep ours up all the time because it is used constantly. 

Fire Kids Tablet. Now this is not a gift to get someone else's child because technology with kids is a very personal decision. But, this is the tablet that we bought for Madeline. I always thought I would not let her have her own device but we caved and purchased this for our car ride to the beach this year and I do really love it. We very much limit her use of it but it is great for car rides, when she has to tag along to doctor's appointments, or for a few minutes when I need to get something done. I love that I can completely control the content and that it doesn't need internet access to function. 

Magnatiles. These are so great for preschoolers who are learning to build. They are great for sparking creativity, math and engineering basics, and for fine motor skills. The colors make them fun and most kids love them and will play with them forever. 

Dragons Love Tacos. This is such a cute book and one that we have on Madeline's list this year. It is funny and just perfect for toddler/preschool humor and interest. 

We are always looking for new ideas, especially with Madeline's birthday right around the corner. So, mamas, what is on your own little one's Christmas list this holiday season?

Friday, December 7, 2018

Introducing...


Connor Robert is here! He arrived on Wednesday morning, December 5, at 7:37 am. He is a whole pound bigger than his big sister was, weighing in at 6 lbs, 15 ounces and 20 inches long. We are still in the hospital but both are doing well and looking forward to being home with Big Sister and our complete little family soon! 





We are just smitten with him and so glad he is here. Madeline is especially proud of him and got to meet “her baby” yesterday and gave him lots of hugs, kisses, and pets. 


Thank you all for following along throughout my pregnancy and all the love, prayers, and well-wishes as we prepared for his arrival!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide for Her

Last week I shared my Holiday Gift Guide for Him and I hope it gave you a few ideas if there's a certain man on your list that has left you scratching your head for what to buy. Today I wanted to share my Holiday Gift Guide for Her. I put this one together with my own friends, family, coworkers, Madeline's teachers, and party hostesses in mind and tried to choose a great variety of gifts that were really reasonably priced.

Leather Tassel Pouch. This cute little pouch comes in nine different colors and is just perfect to help keep any lady's purse organized. It is leather and can be embossed with a monogram. I think it is great for keeping cash and change, a few lipsticks, or tucking receipts into.

Hand Cream Trio. I love this little set of three of Beautycounter's hand creams. It is the perfect gift for a hostess and is great for coworkers or teachers, too. For Madeline's teachers I plan to break the set apart and attach each one with a gift certificate to one of each teacher's favorite places.

Charcoal Balancing Mask. This mask is the perfect gift for about any woman on your list because who doesn't need a little more pampering in their life? Charcoal draws out impurities and toxins in the skin - even toxins from the environment - so it will leave the recipient feeling refreshed and relaxed.

Quartz Roller. This is something that I have on my personal list this year. You all know I am a lover of skincare, specifically anything more natural that will give me great results. I have heard so many great things about using a quartz roller for areas of your face that are prone to getting a little puffy or retaining fluid - specifically around your eyes. This one is really reasonably priced and I think its something most of us was hesitate to splurge on for ourselves, making it the perfect gift.

Emoji Coffee Mug.  I have a similar coffee mug and get so many compliments on it. It is just cute and it truly does make me smile when I make my coffee in it. It would be a perfect gift for a coworker, friend, or teacher with a little gift card tucked inside.

Monogrammed Locket. This is a really great gift idea for a friend whose recently had a new baby, mamas, or grandparents of your own children because you can go ahead and put two pictures inside for them. It is super reasonably priced (under $30) and comes in gold, silver, and rose gold. I personally would not recommend the rose gold color in this piece but love both of the others. The chain is long, which I love, and I love that it is personalized with the recipient's monogram.

Pom-Pom Beanie. This beanie is currently only $10 and comes in four colors. Its such a cute hat that will be much appreciated on a cold day this winter. For myself, I just never think to purchase a hat but am always glad to have one when I have to be outside on a very cold day. I know I personally wait until the last minute - like the day before we are attending a football game or other outdoor event to realize that I don't have one to wear.

Scalloped Gloves. These gloves come in several different colors and are so soft and pretty. I nice pair of gloves are so great to have but I feel like are so annoying to purchase for yourself - making them a great gift.

Homebody. I so enjoyed the Magnolia Table cookbook by Joanna Gaines earlier this year (another great gift idea, too) and have her new book Homebody on my personal list this year. Either book would be great if you are buying for someone who either loves to decorate or loves to cook. I think Joanna Gaines just has such a way about her that makes both meals and spaces feel so warm and personal.

Monday, December 3, 2018

3 Goals for December


It is officially baby month! It’s actually baby week so my goals are a little shorter this month because I know it is going to be a busy one!

1. Have a healthy baby. Obviously this is our biggest order of business for the month. If you caught my last bumpdate you know we had a little hiccup in our plan. Of course I’m super emotional and a little bummed that things aren’t going quite as I anticipated. Mostly because I expected my birth experience to be a lot like Madeline’s and anticipated being up moving around in just a couple days, popping into Target and running simple errands within the week to keep myself sane, and able to get out and walk and do more things with my big girl to just feel as normal as one can immediately after birth. Baby boy is still not being cooperative even though we haven’t stopped trying to get him to flip around so I’ve been a little (ok, a lot) emotional about the whole thing. But, our biggest goal is just to get him here safely, so I’ve reminded myself several times that that’s really all that matters! 

2. Celebrate Christmas with both of my babies and our family. It will be a lower key Christmas since I’ll probably still be recovering a little. Paper plates instead of china perhaps? But I know it will be so special to have our family complete and together for Christmas. Our halls are decked (home tour coming very soon) and I’ve done a good bit of the shopping. Now, the packages might not be wrapped with as much care as usual since I’ll probably delegate that task to Corey or just stuff everything in gift bags. But, I’m still SO excited to celebrate this year!

3. End my year with Beautycounter with a fun 12 Days I’d Safer Beauty online event. I kicked that off on Saturday and it’s an education first event where we will chat about some of the worst offending ingredients in Beauty and personal care items, I’ll share some of my favorite products with you, and a special deal will be offered every day. At the end, I’ll be giving away some great products and there are so many ways to enter with no cap for how many times you can win. Find the event here

And that’s it for the month! I can’t say I’m expecting to accomplish a whole lot with a new baby. But it’s a perfect season to just love on him, Madeline, and Corey and be grateful for our family! 

What’s on the agenda for you this month?