Baby Bump Update-Week 17

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Goodness this pregnancy is going so quickly. I keep meaning to take weekly pictures and before I know it I am already approaching the following week. The last two weeks have been such great weeks for memories. At my last doctor’s appointment I took the girls with me so that they could hear the heartbeat. I was waiting for this moment. The moment to see their faces, to hear their reactions. I was in tears just thinking about the moment. Well let me say it was not exactly what I pictured in my head. Since the midwife and an intern were in the room, the girls were terrified to have any reaction. Their shyness took over and enveloped the whole moment. There was no words spoken, no reaction made. Just my girls sitting there, staring at my belly. I asked them what they thought. Absolutely nothing.

However the moment we were alone in that room, excitement came over their faces. They talked and talked about what they heard. It brought tears to my eyes. Ok well more like the flood gates opened. I was so thrilled to have this moment with my girls. I did not get this when I was pregnant with Madelyn because Annaliese herself was still a baby. What a beautiful memory shared between us.

Also for the last week I have begun to feel the baby move. It feels like little flutters happening inside my belly. I absolutely love and cherish these little movements. I cannot wait for the moment where Josh can feel the baby. Nothing sweeter than feeling the baby move, well until later in the pregnancy when the baby starts jabbing in the ribs!

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Here are a few little details of this amazing adventure!

Weight Gain: I have gained five pounds so far. Not too shabby even though I swear I feel like I have gained more.

Maternity clothes: The only thing I have been wearing that is maternity is my pair of capris. But I think I am getting to the point where I shopping trip needs to occur!

Cravings: Yes I have cravings. Pizza and tacos are a must to have close by.

Sleep: I am struggling with the sleep. I already use a body pillow and wish my husband would move out to the couch to give me the whole bed!

Overall feeling: Overall I feel pretty decent. I am still really tired and have not seen much of an increase of energy. My back also has been hurting quite a bit but my husband has tried to give his best attempt to back rubs.

In two weeks we will have the ultrasound to see if we are having a baby boy or baby girl! Cannot wait!!!

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How Quickly They Grow

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How quickly they grow. They begin as little hopes and dreams, turn into a beautiful and long process, and then make their entrance into the world. The moments of the beginning are engraved in my mind and heart.The worry, the determination, the love. Every emotion filtering through my body. I remember feeling as though the first two months were the longest months of my life. And then just like that, it was over. My baby was walking, talking, moving from here to there. I knew at the moment, I would never be able to catch up. Catch up with my feelings, Catch up with my thoughts. Time was running by me and I was the slowest person at the race.

Last month my baby turned five.Time is definitely still in the lead. Running circles around me laughing at my attempt to continue to catch up. It has caused me whiplash and heartache. I was not prepared for my baby to be five. I can only remember fragments of her toddler years and now we are about to embrace a new stage in her life. I cannot seem to wrap my mind around it. As she continues to flourish and be such an amazing little human, I will continue to hold on for dear life on this 50 yard dash to adulthood.

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Madelyn is a kind, loving, free spirit. She is content on playing solo. She is stubborn like her daddy and emotional like her mama. She is determined in her thinking. She is the most inappropriate but the most adorable. She is stunning. She makes me a better person and mother.

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So as they continue to grow so quickly, I have found that I cannot compete with time. Time will continue to run laps around me and laugh at my attempts. I can only continue to be present in the moments that matter and embrace the rapidness of them growing.

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Summer Days with SwimZip

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Living in Michigan, we only have a short time to enjoy the summer months. Three months of constant loading up the car, exploring new places, trying to accomplish all the goals that we make for warmer weather.

One place we try our best to spend as much time as possible is the beach. The water, the sand, the sun. We easily get lost in the beauty that is Northern Michigan lakes. The beach allows for hours of play and fun. Swimming, building sandcastles, eating snacks. It is such a wonderful time for each one of us.

This year our beach trips got a little bit better with SwimZip’s round towel. I can not tell you enough how great this towel is. First off let’s talk about the pattern! To die for! Such a beautiful and vibrant pattern that will receive many compliments at the beach. Next the size of the towel. I was not expecting it to be so big.This beach towel is the best accessory to have on hand for all four of us! It gives us all plenty of room to sit and enjoy the view. Lastly, the towel is perfect to wrap around to keep warm after a long day of swimming. Many times the girls will argue about which one gets to use the towel at the end of the trip!

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We have not only used the towel at the beach but also right at home. The size is perfect for an afternoon picnic, followed by lounging in the shade watching the beautiful scenery. This towel is a must have to enjoy all our family’s outings!

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I would recommend this towel to anyone! Head over to SwimZip right now to get your very own!

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7 Gifts Every Gilmore Girls Fan Needs

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It all started back in 2000, in a quaint little town, a mother and daughter, talking fast and drinking coffee. I do not think anyone knew the amount of love and dedication people would have for Gilmore Girls. It became a critically acclaimed and beloved show. Even nine years after it ended, the show still remains a staple of conversation and a constant trend among new and old viewers.

With the highly anticipated reboot of Gilmore Girls this year, it is very important to know exactly what to get the biggest fan. Here are 7 things I believe will be a perfect addition to anyone’s love for Gilmore Girls.

Busy B Design coffee cup. “Coffee, Coffee, Coffee” Of course a true fan needs a cup to display their love for the Gilmore Girls. This cup is so beautifully made. There are a number of vinyl and glitter colors you can choose from to make the perfect cup for you! Plus the coffee cup is 16 ounces so it is definitely is great for those “This is a jumbo coffee morning.” I cannot get over how much a love drinking my cup of coffee out of this cup!!!

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Tipsy River Star’s Hallow Print. This print is to die for. I have been eyeing this print for months and I am so happy with the outcome. Every time I watch the show I dream of the day that I could find a town as cute as Stars Hallow. But for now this print allows me to have a little piece of my dream town right in my home. On a side note I have to give props to my wonderful husband for making this beautiful wooden picture frame for this print. I was having a difficult time finding the perfect frame for this absolutely breathtaking print so if you cannot find what you are looking for, make it!!

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Star Crossed Decor Luke’s diner sign. The place where coffee is served, chit-chat is heard, and no cell phones are allowed. This handmade wooden sign is an exact replica of the sign from the show. It is hand painted and such a vibrant piece. I absolutely love it in my kitchen! It would be a great addition to any fan’s home and such a great conversation piece!_MG_2546

_MG_2544Kindred Handicrafts “Oy with the poodles already” t-shirt. You can not go wrong with this shirt or better yet this shop completely! A shop that is completely dedicated in making Gilmore Girls shirts and prints. It does not get much better than that. This shirt is printed on a Next Level tee which means the quality is great and the tee is extremely soft. I have received so many questions about this shirt and I have to say I have enjoyed telling everyone what it means and that it comes from my favorite show!

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Urban Tee Farm girls of gilmore t-shirt. I love the girls of Gilmore! I mean obviously its a given that I love Lorelai and Rory, but Sookie, Lane, Emily and Paris. These ladies are great friends, motivators, and pain in the butts. Everything I would look for in a key group of women for support. This shirt is incredibly soft and comfortable. It is a unisex so it is important to know what size you are looking for! I wanted my shirt to be loose and this shirt did not disappoint. The shop also offers the Guys of Gilmore t-shirt so I say pick up both! It is always so nice to find a shirt that fits great and has comfort in mind.

Also right now if you use BLISS15 you will get 15% off of your purchase!

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KT Stop Shop jewelry. A true fan wears their love for Gilmore Girls around their neck! This shop not only offers necklaces but keychains, bracelets, magnets, and earrings. I am in love with my necklaces! Each necklace gives a fun and whimsical look to any outfit. I love how you are able to choose from black, bronze, silver or copper for your necklace. Each one offering just a little different look for your outfit. These are the best accessories for any Gilmore Girl fan! Plus having a keychain that makes me an honorary Gilmore, I mean come on, best keychain ever!                                                                                _MG_2582 (2)

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Paper Love Song “Luke to my Lorelai” print. This print is amazing! I, like so many other fans, rooted for these two the moment the show began. The chemistry was there but we had to wait until the season 4 finale to see a glimpse of them together. Then the break up. Ahhh I almost could not handle it. Luke and Lorelai so perfectly complimented each other. I absolutely love this print and have it sitting on my shelf in my bedroom. It reminds me every day that I have found my “Luke”!

Also right now if you use the code LOVE20 you will get 20%off your order!

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I am so absolutely in love with each and every one of these gifts and with these shops. What a great way to show your love for one of the best shows of all time then with one of these gifts. These seven gifts will get any Gilmore Girl fan ready for the revival later this year!

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These amazing gifts were provided to me in exchange for a blog post. All opinions are my own. I would never recommend a product that I absolutely do not enjoy!

 

 

 

Why I have been absent

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I have been absent for quite some time now. I have not had the energy to write and keep up with all that is blogging. Fortunately I have had a good reason for the absence.

We are expecting our third child January 27, 2017! It was a long journey of trying and in all honesty I did not think another child was going to happen. This is truly a blessing. We are so overjoyed and cannot wait to welcome this little one into our blissfully insane world.

Days after I found out I was pregnant, I was hit with the oh so wonderful “morning sickness”. I have to say that it is the silliest name for the sickness. I was sick from the moment I got out of bed in the morning to the moment I went to bed at night. It was six long weeks of all day sickness. I tried every remedy under the sun. It was so severe that I resorted to medication in order to try to get some relief. That did not even work. I could not have gotten through those six weeks without my husband. He was so gracious with picking up the slack with household chores and cooking (I swear the kitchen was my nemesis). I am so happy to say I have reached the second trimester and no longer have any sickness!

I cannot wait to chronicle this wonderful journey of pregnancy and meet this beautiful baby!

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I thought it would be fun to ask the girls a couple questions about the baby!

How do you feel about having a baby in the house?

Annaliese: I feel great cause babies make me happy. I feel kinda scared because we can not play with the baby right away.
Madelyn: Good because I am going to like the baby.

Do you want a brother or a sister?

Annaliese: Sister and brother. (hmmm not sure about that one)
Madelyn: Brother

Are you going to help with the baby?

Annaliese: Yes. I will help with buying toys for the baby and help babysitting with dad.
Madelyn: Yes. I will help change the baby’s diaper, feed the bottle (She will so disappointed when I let her know I’m breastfeeding), give the baby a bath. All by myself.

What is one thing you are not looking forward to?

Annaliese: The baby has to nap for a long time.
Madelyn: When the baby spits up.

What are some names you like for the baby?

Annaliese: Rosy, Robby, Lovey.
Madelyn: Elsa, Anna, Richard Rabbit.

 

Send me a surprise Review

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Who doesn’t love a good subscription box? There are so many out there to choose from, that sometimes it may be difficult to decide on which one is best for you or your family. But I am here to tell you of one that does not disappoint!

I came across the company Send Me a Surprise on instagram and knew right away the girls would love getting this subscription box! I mean what child does not like a surprise? Plus it focuses on toys that promote exploration, imagination, and creativity so I knew this would be the right fit for the girls.

What does Send Me a Surprise have to offer? They have three different subscription boxes based on age group. So three different boxes go out each month. The company only works with high quality toy makers to ensure that the boxes will contain toys that every child will love. I believe there is a large focus on toys that stimulate the child’s imagination, creating hours and hours of play for the child.

We received our box and the girls were instantly eager to open it. They had no idea what to expect. I had no idea what to expect. I could feel the anticipation in the room. The excitement radiated off the girls. It was time! As they opened the box to was difficult to capture their joy. There were things flying up and down, bouncing all around, it was hard to keep them contained. They wanted to examine everything all at once.

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We received the summer box. It was full of toys that the girls could use outdoors on their little adventures. My oldest was drawn to the bug pen and kidnoculars. My youngest was drawn to the blue jumper. They were ready to go outside and explore.

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As a parent I really enjoyed that there was a theme with the box. It was not just a bunch of random, useless toys but toys that encouraged exploring, creativity, and learning. My oldest was quick to catch a little worm which then created a discussion about what type of worm it was and what it eats. My youngest was throwing the jumper off of the deck to see it float down to the ground. Then both girls went searching for “nature things” with the binoculars. The girls continue to play with the toys that they received in this box!

For more information head over to Send Me a Surprise

or you can find them on Instagram!

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(I was given this product for the purpose of review at no cost of my own. As always these opinions are my own.)

Father’s Day

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Last year I wrote the most meaningful and heartfelt post about my husband. It is one of my most favorites and I honestly cannot top the things I wrote about him. He is still my everything and I still thank God every day for the man and father he is to our children. In case you missed that post or want to reread how absolutely awesome he is, click here!!

Since I can’t top that post, I thought this year it would be fun for the girls to answer some questions about their dad for father’s day! Just a fun little way to see what they know or what they think they know about their dad!

 

How old is your dad?

Madelyn: 61

Annaliese: 36 (she got this one right)

How tall is he?

Madelyn: this tall (she then stretched out her arms real wide to show me)

Annaliese: 16 feet

What is your dad’s favorite thing to do?

Madelyn: Go for bike rides

Annaliese: Play with us

What is your dad’s favorite sport?

Madelyn: Football

Annaliese: Basketball

What is your dad’s favorite food?

Madelyn: Chicken and salad

Annaliese: Chicken

What is dad’s favorite show?

Madelyn: Duck Dynasty

Annaliese: Duck Dynasty

What is your dad really good at?

Madelyn: Helping people

Annaliese: Working

What makes dad happy?

Madelyn: That we make him pictures

Annaliese: When we clean our rooms

How does dad make you laugh?

Madelyn: He says funny knock knock jokes

Annaliese: He tickles me

What makes dad sad?

Madelyn: When we don’t hug him.

Annaliese: Nothing. He is never sad.

What does dad do for work?

Madelyn: He works with wood.

Annaliese: Building cabinets and stuff

What is your favorite thing to do with your dad?

Madelyn: Making cards and coloring

Annaliese: Go outside and ride my bike

I know my dad loves me because

Madelyn: he loves me sixty five one hundred sixty one

Annaliese: I love him

I love it when my dad

Madelyn: Jumps on the trampoline and sings me songs

Annaliese: works and makes money.

The one thing I hear my dad say a lot is

Madelyn: I love you

Annaliese: bad words (I asked her what words and she said hate and stupid)

Happy Father’s Day babe. Love you so incredibly much and thank you for being the most wonderful father to our beautiful children!

Shop Small [Lucky Lotus]

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Those that know me, know that this past year was our first year of homeschooling. It was a scary decision but turns out the most rewarding decision that we have ever made. So it is always nice to find shops that promote homeschooling and the Lucky Lotus is one of those shops! I am absolutely loving this shop and you will too!!!

I met Sam from the Lucky Lotus on instagram a few month ago. The first thing that caught my eye was her “iced, iced, coffee” tee. Anything to do with coffee and I am a happy person. But once I began trolling her website, I laid eyes on the homeschoolin’ mama tote. I was so excited to receive this tote. I am so proud of our accomplishment as a family, that I wanted something that would show off just that. This tote is perfect for everything. It is perfect for a day at the beach. Or on a family day trip to the park. Or to trip to the store. Whatever you need to do, this tote is the perfect companion.

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I had the pleasure to interview the wonderful woman behind the shop, Sam, to get a glimpse of what drives her in maintaining her own business.

Tell us a little about your shop, The Lucky Lotus.

The Lucky Lotus specializes in graphic tees & totebags with fun sayings and images reflecting the hilarious reality of #momlife, #dadlife, #toddlerlife,  and #babylife.  We celebrate the real life moments of little sleep, lots of coffee, and a whole bunch of kindness!

Is there a special story behind the name?

There is! Our family is a mix of Irish heritage (my side) and Indian heritage ( my husband’s). That translated to “Lucky”, as in luck of the Irish, and “Lotus”, a flower in India that is common throughout the culture. Even more so, when I thought of starting this store I knew I’d need some luck but that it ultimately was something I truly wanted to do. The lotus flower symbolizes seeds of great potential and new beginnings. The name fit perfectly! It reflects not only our family but my whole vision for the brand.

When creating your pieces, what is your inspiration?

I definitely draw from my own experiences with #momlife and parenting my 1.5 year old daughter, Karalyn. Kara is really embracing #toddlerlife and I’m embracing the journey (as is my husband) along with another cup of coffee! 😉

Is starting your own business something you always wanted to do?

Actually no, not at all! When I was a kid I loved selling lemonade or trying to sell a drawing for a quarter. But as a college grad, I was ready for the corporate world. I enjoyed the work, but being a stay-at-home parent was my personal choice and goal. However, I found my desire to create growing more and more. I enjoy crafting and have tried my hand at many things, but wearable parent humor became a really fun outlet that I eventually decided to make myself!

What has been your favorite design so far?

This is hard! I have 2 right now!!! I really love the “good vibes & snack time” on kid’s tees and totes but I also can’t stop wearing my “Iced Iced Coffee” shirt (which is on a tote too). I looove me some iced coffee!

If you have experienced one obstacle, what was it and how did you overcome it?

Being a small shop in a sea of other talented small shops can make it hard to stand out. There are SO many talented mompreneurs out there! My store exists because I want to spread kindness and cultivate a community that others can relate to. Real life, with NO phony bologna. So, while my shop may be small, it is honest and real. Rather than compete against one another, I’ve found it’s much more productive (and fun!) to work together, encourage one another, and support other amazing stores. I love the hashtag #womensupportingwomen!

What are your hopes and dreams for your business?

Motherhood (and fatherhood) can be a lonely island. While it is an amazing journey, it is also SO. HARD. People tend to focus on the “life highlights” on social media, when what we really should be doing more of is using it to connect and support each other. I hope that turning popular parenting experiences and hashtags into fun clothing will start a conversation. Maybe you see someone in a #momlife tee holding a screaming toddler at a target checkout. I want my clothing to be an ice-breaker to share about our own experiences in parenthood. And just maybe, instead of sharing the perfect instagram photo all the time, showing the real life moments too. Messy, loud, overflowing with love…parenthood.

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This tote will be used time and time again for our family outings. But do not forget, totes are not the only item at the Lucky Lotus!!! Sam offers so many different options for the whole family! Be sure to check out her shop!

You can also find the Lucky Lotus on instagram!

Friday Favorites

It’s the first Friday of June. June? How did we get here? As time officially begins to whirl out of control, I am quickly feeling behind for the summer festivities. Summer around here is so short lived, that we try are hardest to be outside as much as possible. It is always my goal to find new recipes, games, and toys that will make our summer the best.

Since the unofficial kick off to summer happened this last weekend, today’s Friday favorites are all dedicated to the season of sun!

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  1. A must have item for the girls this summer was a trampoline! It has been such a fun time for not only them for but us parents too!
  2. Need an adult drink to enjoy on the deck while soaking in the sun? Look no further because Amber from Mommy Gone Healthy has you covered!
  3. Every throw outdoor parties and need a great game that will keep everyone entertained for hours? This game will do the trick!
  4. What is summer without a vegetable garden? It is a great learning tool for children and in the end provides a wonderful supply of yummy things to eat. I found the most adorable garden sets for children that will most definitely encourage children to want to help in the garden!IMG_2626
  5. Bubbles are a real entertainer for the girls. This will keep them going and means mama does not have to continually blow the bubbles for them!
  6. Swimsuits. I hate them. But I think I have found one that would look good and not irritate me!
  7. Quick and easy meals are a must for summer! This recipe is going to be a go to for the summer!

There you have it! A few of my favorites to make sure summer will be a jam packed with entertainment and fun!

Becoming Superheros

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“We can be heroes just for one day” – David Bowie

We all have had that moment in life. The moment where we become a superhero. Whether it is a sheet or a blanket, or just our imagination, we create a world where we fly the blue skies, protect those in need, and show off our amazing super powers.

Watching the girls put on their capes from Pip and Bean, they instantly transformed. They were no longer Annaliese and Madelyn. They were Super Annaliese and Super Madelyn. They began creating a world full of imagination and wonder.

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As they ran around the yard, I watched in amazement the potential one piece of fabric can have on a child. This beautifully made cape created a world in which possibilities were endless and the fun never ended. The capes created a sense of imagination for the girls. They had to think immediately about a story line, what they were going to save, and how they were going to save it. They also both believed they had the power to fly. I was no longer in the real world. I was in their world. Watching them save lives and protect those they love. It was a beautiful thing to watch. It reminded me of the carefree attitude of a child. It reminded me of the creative outlet a child has. It reminded me that these moments are fleeting. These are the moments that really matter. The ability to create and use their imaginations. To think outside the box in order to make a better world. To maintain motivation to accomplish the unthinkable. These moments will hold a special place in my heart.

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I cannot tell you enough how much these capes mean to the girls. After hours of playing with them, the girls place them next to their bed in order to wake up and do it all again. They are most definitely my superheros!

Albert Einstein said it best “creativity is contagious, pass it on.” So I definitely want to pass on this beautiful shop to all of you!

Follow along with Pip and Bean on their social media:

Facebook  ¦  Instagram  ¦  Twitter

These amazing superhero capes were provided to me in exchange for a blog post. All opinions are my own. I would never recommend a product that I absolutely do not enjoy!