Friday, January 23, 2015

Crest Whitestrips- Glamorous White Review

I'm a coffee/tea/pure caffeine drinker. Two cups a day is totally normal for me. In the past few months, I've noticed my teeth have been getting yellow... ew. I started looking into Crest Whitestrips, and saw a pretty good deal on amazon Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Advanced Seal Technology, 14 Count (Packaging May Vary) (affiliate link if you want to go through that. If not, just google it. :))

I've gotta say- I'm impressed. I'm only on DAY THREE! Look at the difference here! I still have 11 more treatments to go and I'm so shocked at the huge improvement already. I can't wait to see how much of a difference there will be at the end! LOVE this product! 

 Disclaimer- I bought this product with my own money to review. Crest has not asked me to review their product, and this is my totally honest review.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Liam's First Birthday! -Party Prep

Peter Pan Birthday

Hold on. Pause. Rewind. How in the absolute WORLD is my baby boy going to be ONE already? No. No. No. I refuse to accept this. Didn't I just have him? Am I still using his birth as an excuse for the extra chub around my waist line? My lanta', time goes fast. On March 1st, I will have to come to terms with my sweet child growing up. Actually, no. I won't. That's why I decided on a Peter Pan/Neverland/ NEVER grow up theme! ;)

So, let's talk inspiration. This is where I'm starting. I'm working with a wonderful etsy designer for my invitations-saralukecreations. I'm incredibly impressed with her work and quick responses to my questions. I first saw this invitation design on a post of a totally yummy party by Jenny Keller. Seriously. This party was absolutely delicious. Look at the details!

I ordered the Peter Pan movie on eBay (stinking movie vault!) to play during the party. Random fact- This movie was playing while I was in labor! Like... as I was pushing. Between pushes the doctor would turn around and watch. So, it's pretty fitting that it's playing at the party as well.

I am LOVING these hats by etsy designer princessbooksbyjmh. I was going to attempt to make them myself, but then realized, "Who am I kidding... I'm never going to pull that off." So ordering it is. They are super cute. And how fun will it be for the kiddies?

Instead of party bags full of candy, I decided to go a different route. I am giving each child a Disney's Peter Pan Golden Book! They were incredibly cheap on amazon, and I really love the idea of giving out these sweet little books.

We found cute straws and plates to match our "nautical" look. I also stumbled upon the Peter Pan poster I was looking for printed on wood for $14.99 at Meijer! SO cool! The Peter Pan doll is currently on sale for $7.99 at the Disney Store. Great deal! 

Last but certainly not least- We had this onesie made (with Liam's name of course!) by the incredibly talented LivieQ! I'm so excited for him to wear it!

I'm so excited to update as I keep putting this party together. We are so excited for our little baby to never grow up! ;) 

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015- Here we go.

Wow, have I neglected to blog. Many friends and family have encouraged me to start this up again. While I had good intentions with my little corner of the internet, I pretty much gave up on it when I had Liam. Why? It was hard. It was hard to set aside time to blog when I hardly had time to breathe. I work full time from home, I am a Momma to a VERY active 10 month old (when did that happen?), and in all honesty it was hard to commit myself to something I wasn't very good at. I am not a professional writer. I am not incredibly good with grammar and sentence structure. I didn't feel competent enough to have a blog when nothing qualifies me for it. But here's the deal: It's something I have a passion for. I love writing down my thoughts. I love being able to connect with others that I may not have even met. I LOVE keeping everything together in one area where my family, friends, and even people I don't know very well can keep updated on little things in my life. I realized recently that blogging is not my profession. It's my therapeutic diary that I can divulge every little thought into. It can be for me. It doesn't have to be an eloquent piece of writing that competes with writers around the world.
All those crazy little thoughts renewed my passion for this blog, and I have decided to make it my goal to write at least once a week with aspirations to write two times a week this year. There will be lots of changes coming to the blog, and possibly even a new name! I am excited for what is to come!

This has been my life lately. A non-stop, exhausting, incredible, wonderful life. I am blessed. I am thankful. It has been full of love, kisses, tears, sleepless nights, and laughter. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bad Blogger=Life Changes

I'm a bad blogger. I go weeks and months without updating, only to realize I still have so much I need to record and to say! These past few months have been an absolute whirlwind. It's been one giant blur in my mind as so much has happened!

Liam is now SIX months old. Holy cow! When did this happen? He is growing up so fast! Within 2 weeks, he learned how to crawl, started to sit up by himself, and got his first two teeth. What? He is definitely not obeying my "don't grow up" rule. He is trying so hard to walk, and gets the biggest smile on his face every time he stands up (holding our fingers of course.) I'm constantly amazed at my little person. I really get to keep him? I recently read a quote that said something along the lines of cherishing every last moment because one time you'll pick your baby up and it will be the last time you get to do that. That hit home big time for me. He's growing so fast, and there will come a day where he no longer snuggles with his head on my chest when he gets sleepy. I love that boy to the moon and back. He has quickly stolen my entire heart.

At the beginning of August, I decided to quit my job. It's definitely been a month of big decisions for me! I was driving to work sometimes 3 hours each way with traffic, and was only getting 2 hours of Liam's awake time in at night. It was breaking my heart. I felt like I was missing everything. Financially, we knew it was going to be incredibly difficult. My husband teaches at a Christian school, and while he LOVES being involved in a ministry, it isn't the biggest money maker in the world. We still have our mortgage to pay, bills to take care of, and a family to feed. I submitted my 2 weeks notice and decided to trust God with the bills. The day my boss got the letter, she brought it to HR and they immediately offered a full-time work from home position to me! It was way more than I ever prayed for or desired. I am SO thankful! Now, I get to spend time with my baby AND help provide for our little family on the money side of things. It's definitely overwhelming at times, but all the extra work is so worth it to see my baby boy experiencing all his firsts!

We completed a few more house projects- painted my grandma's old hutch white to match our decor, and our table set from my Aunt! I LOVE the way they turned out, and it was pretty easy. For free furniture, I sure am in love with it.

I've fallen in love with gold spray paint. Rustoleum Metallic Gold is my absolutely FAVORITE right now. It's a quick way to update vases, outdated decor, and even plastic candy containers you get at Christmas!

And with that, I'll leave you with this. Hysterical. Poor Liam!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Our First Home Updates

As many of you know, the hubby and I bought our first home when I was right about to pop. If you're thinking about moving while pregnant, I totally recommend it. ;) You get out of the hard work and get to sit back while bossing people around. The best! HA!

Now that Liam is 4 months old (when did that happen!??) we finally have started the 500 projects to make the house a home. The first order of business? Paint. The entire downstairs was painted Benjamin Moore's Rockport Gray (mixed in Superpaint by Sherwin Williams.) The former owners were a bit color happy. Literally... you could see 8 different colors from the kitchen and none of them complemented each other. It's SO nice to walk into a neutral greige tone. We can accent each room any way we like, but still have a consistency to the downstairs.

After that big painting project, we were anxious to start something new. On our subdivisions facebook page, someone posted that they had a free dresser at the end of their driveway. When we got there to see it, I was pretty determined that the old thing wasn't going to make it in my house. Seriously. It wasn't very pretty. The more I looked at it (and the more my hubs prodded that we could always use an extra dresser) I became inspired. We were a pretty desperate need of a TV stand before the baby starts getting mobile. Every single one I saw at a high enough height was way out of our price range. Every time I found a "perfect" option, we were looking at around $400-500. Staring at that huge dresser, I vaguely remembered seeing pictures of people turning them into media stands. I excitedly told my husband my plans and he was anxious to get started. So we did it. In one night, we converted a dresser to a TV stand. Whaaat? We aren't handy people. At all. I'm literally in shock that we made this work. I will be doing a post soon on how to do this yourself. If we can do it, I'm positive you can too.

And now, I leave you with a few pictures of my precious boy. :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Maternity Leave and Liam's 2nd Month.

My boys! :) Liam is getting so big!

Maternity Leave- A Time Too Short

I've officially been back to work for a week. A whole week spending hours away from my boy. Can I admit something? It's hard. Much harder than I could have imagined, and much harder that I ever anticipated. I had always planned on going back to work after maternity leave. It seemed like the only option financially, and I love being able to contribute to my families finances. Now, I am admittedly not sure about that decision. I am with my little one only 15-20% of his waking hours. Crazy, right? I thought I could do it all... full time work and be an excellent momma when I am home; however, I'm quickly realizing that my little family is getting my leftovers. I put a lot of time and energy into my job. I strive to do my best with the multiple projects I handle. By the time I get home, I'm exhausted. I have to make dinner, nurse the baby, and try to spend as much time with him as possible before his bedtime. Then I am trying like crazy to shower and get ready for the next work day, catch up on housework, do laundry, and be a good wife to my sweet hubby. So many women do this every day, and I have to say... I'm impressed. I know for a fact that I struggle to juggle (haha rhyme!) it all. It makes me sad that what my son and husband get at the end of the day is the exhausted version of me. I wish I could give them more! 

Liam's Updates 

Liam is getting so big lately! He's officially 3 months old! I realized I forgot to put up his Month 2 photo, so here it is! He started "talking" to us this month with the cutest little baby babble. I love hearing his coos and seeing that goofy grin of his! He is a very active little guy, and loves playing on his playmat... mostly to look at himself in the attached mirror. The boy thinks his reflection is pretty awesome. ;) Ha! 

The New House

I am so thankful for our home! We have definitely been blessed. I had HUGE plans during maternity leave to get a ton of projects done around the house, buuuuut let's just say I got a little distracted by the super cute baby in my arms, and accomplished a big fat nothing on my list. ;) I don't regret it a single bit. I loved soaking up every single moment with my little! My mom came to stay with me a week ago, and tore up the whole front garden to start a new one. She is AMAZING. The house was a foreclosure, so it was just a mess of overgrown weeds. There was nothing attractive about it. Now I finally can look at it without wincing. ;) 

Sherwin Williams had their paints 40% off recently, so we bought a five-gallon bucket to paint the entire downstairs. So excited! I had them color match Benjamin Moore's Rockport Gray. It's an AWESOME greige color that looks great with pretty much everything. Now I'm just waiting for the time to actually put that paint on the walls. Ha! The previous owners definitely liked color... from the kitchen, you can see over 6 different colors on the walls. Ai yi yi! Needless to say, I'll be a little more comfortable once the new paint goes up. 

I am very thankful for this life. As difficult as it is balancing everything, God is so good to us. We are blessed. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Baby Must Haves Part 1- The First 2 Months

Liam is nearly 2 months old! Time will not slow down, and I'm slowly creeping toward the end of my maternity leave. I need a pause button. I want to stay home with my boy forever! I can't imagine not spending all day cuddling with him, and I know going back to the office is going to be so difficult. It's amazing how these little people grab ahold of your heart. :)

When Liam first arrived, we didn't have too many products for him. We accumulated most of it after we got to know him and see what he was like. So, without further adieu, here's our favorite from the first two months!
Baby Must Haves

1. The first product I ordered for Liam was the Rock N Play. This has been a LIFESAVER for us. When we got home from the hospital, Liam would not let us put him down. He hated any sort of bassinet. I spent every night for the first week holding him. In the hospital, I was up for nearly 60 hours straight because of the sign that said, "Do not fall asleep with baby in your arms." It was miserable being that sleep deprived after just giving birth, but I was desperate to keep him in the room with me at all times. It sounds silly now, but I had just spent 9 months with that boy growing inside me, and I didn't want anyone to take him away. :) I opened my iPad during one of the late nights, and ordered that rock n play that I heard so much about. When it came in, I cautiously set him down, expecting the normal screams, but he LOVED it. He fell right asleep and was content as can be. He later developed reflux, and this has been tremendous with that as well. It keeps him at the perfect angle to prevent his food from coming back up. You have to be cautious with the rock n play due to flat spots, but we haven't had any trouble with it. I definitely recommend the Snuggapuppy since it has so much extra padding. It's much softer for the baby and helps to cushion the head.

2. The Wubbanub is awesome! Liam loves his paci, but I spent half the night putting it back inside his mouth. Literally it was a cycle of "spit out, scream, repeat" for hours. I was pretty close to velcro-ing that thing around his head. ;)  When I found this gem, the angels started singing. He can hold it to help put it back in his mouth, and it lays on his chest to keep it inside. It comes in lots of cute animals, and we have two to make sure there is one around at all times.

3. The baby swing. I spent a ton of gift card money on the fancy Mamaroo. It's pretty awesome, and the settings were great! Once in a while, Liam will be okay with sitting in it, but usually only about 20 minutes or so. I have a feeling he will like it more as he gets older. This past weekend at my mother-in-laws house I put Liam in her cheap swing... and he loved it a million times more. Ha! Her swing folds up really small for travel. It puts him to sleep almost every time, and when he's awake he coos and smiles. We ended up borrowing it from her to use, and I love how compact it is. It's called the fisher price take along swing, and It has the cutest woodlands print. Here's to hoping that he will eventually love his mamaroo! haha!

4. I finally bought a play mat this past weekend. While he usually hated laying on the floor, he loves it now! I am not a big fan of the colors on normal baby product, but this one by skip hop is adorable! I love the pretty theme, and it was a pretty decent price. He spent an hour the other day smiling at himself and "talking" to the animals. So fun!

5. Aden and Anais swaddle blankets are one of those "hyped up" items in the baby world. They totally live up to the excitement! You have to be sure to get the biggest size they have, but they are totally worth it. I love the "Liam the Brave" print for my little Liam! They are so soft, and I can use them as a nursing cover, stroller, cover, floor mat, blanket, or security blanket when he gets older. They are so breathable so I don't have to worry constantly about him suffocating. Plus, this momma who couldn't swaddle worth anything, can now do it like a pro! These are huge and so easy to wrap him up in! They are on sale for $34.99 on amazon right now which is a GREAT price for these!

6. Nursing tanks are what I live in. I love the Gilligan & O'Malley Target brand! They are super comfy, and so convenient. I've found a couple in their clearance section, and I wear them every single day.

7. Bamboobies overnight nursing pads. Get them. They are reusable, and great for the night time. I like disposables for the day, but these provide so much more protection during the night! They are super soft for the days when you are sore and disposables feel uncomfortable.

8. The halo sleep/swaddle sack is great! It's so easy to use and I love that you can keep their arms in or out. We were lucky to get a free one from our hospital, and I plan on buying the next size up. It helps to calm him down when nothing else does, and I love that it zips open from the bottom for a quick diaper change.