22 weeks

Dear Future Baby – 22 weeks

How far along: 22 weeks … and a few days – it’s been a week of me gettin’ the house ready and not wanting to get ME ready

Gender guess: Nobody has changed their minds (except McKenna who changes her mind every day) – I think it’s going to be a boy still and Brandon still thinks it’s going to be a girl. The ultrasound was earlier this week and then the gender reveal party is next Sunday so that’s when we will find out!

How I’m feeling: It’s kind of strange but besides being exhausted my body is feeling a little better. I’ve mentioned that Brandon gives me massages regularly but he has also started helping me do stretching to make me more comfortable and help me sleep.

Highlight this week: The highlight  of the week was getting our house painted while I was out of town. It doesn’t seem like it has to do with the baby but it does. We really would like to get into a house that fits our needs better and this is one of the things that needed to happen in order to get it ready to sell.

Miss anything: I miss being able to go in a jacuzzi. Sounds strange but I really like hot water.

Movement: So much movement! I can’t believe how much this baby does… and how often. I’m not complaining though. I really love feeling each and every movement.

Cravings: I haven’t really had any food cravings but my food aversions (meat, some veggies, anything that looks weird… ok most all food) have subsided some. That’s a huge relief because I am able to get more protein because of this.

Looking forward to: The gender reveal!! (yes still lol) We are finally about to find out!

What McKenna says about the baby: McKenna is having a hard time deciding whether she thinks you are a baby brother or a baby sister. She is pretty easily swayed by whoever she is closest to. If she’s with daddy she says it’s a girl and if she’s with me she says it’s a boy!

 

DFB-22

Dear future baby,

Pretty soon we will know whether you will be a beautiful baby girl or baby boy. We are beyond excited to find out… but even more excited to know more about you!

I can’t believe how much you move around in my belly. I swear you’ve been doing jumping jacks, karate kicks and whatever those boxing punches are called. It’s lovely to feel you and be reminded that I get to carry you around until you are ready to be here.

Love, your future Mama

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It's a

Gender Reveal Party Plan

The gender reveal is coming up this weekend!!! Can you tell I’m a little excited? As excited as I am, I’ve also been super busy (hence the absence last week) getting my house ready to sell. Last week we were able to book someone last minute to paint our house, and Brandon sent McKenna and I over to his mom’s house to be out of fume’s way. It was a nice change from scurrying around getting stuff done, but I had a toddler who didn’t want to sleep at all while there so it wasn’t all that relaxing.

Anyhow… the point is… that I procrastinated. I have had plans for all the things that I’m going to do for the gender reveal party for quite some time. This week I’m implementing most of it. Whoops! Lucky for me I have a wonderful MIL who came for a day to help me get a few things prepped and to keep Miss McKenna occupied while I ran the last few errands necessary.

Since it’s in the front of my mind I wanted to share some of the fun things that I am doing for the party. First of all, it is magic themed. Here is a little inspiration board for what I am going for:

party inspiration

Food: 1 / 2   Decor: 1 / 2    Costume: 1 / 2

 

McKenna is going to be dressed as a magician, and one of my nieces will be her assistant (to keep her on track – let’s be honest she’s a sporadic toddler). As the magician, she will be presenting magic tricks to reveal whether I am having a baby boy or a baby girl. We will see how that goes down but I’m super excited to find out so I probably won’t care during the performance.

I’m really excited to get everything together this week and to put my plans into action! I have a little bit of costume making to get done, a lot of shopping for food, and then putting up the decorations I got and making a few more for final touches! I’m wishing I had some magic at this point but it’ll be fun, so maybe just wish me luck 😉

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19 week collage

Dear Future Baby, 19 weeks

How far along: 19 weeks (sorry I’ve missed a few weeks!)

Gender guess: I made a bet with Brandon this week that it’s a boy… I feel pretty sure about it but who knows lol

How I’m feeling: The last few weeks have been rough physically and emotionally. A lot of stress up in here but things are moving along. I will post more about that later this week.

Highlight this week: Brandon and I got a night to ourselves recently! I missed McKenna so so much but it was lovely to have some time for just us because pretty soon it’s gonna get crazy up in here!

Miss anything: I’ve been too busy lately to miss anything.

Movement: There are a couple of times that I thought I felt a kick here or there and some flutters at night. I’m still not positive, but it’s way more than I ever got close to feeling with McKenna this early on, so I’ll take it.

Cravings: I’ve been eating a lot of peanut butter – on toast, bananas, sandwiches, etc. I’ve been able to eat a little more meat as well which is good so I can get protein more easily. I’m also loving dairy, especially milk.

Looking forward to: Since I last posted I had a baby appointment and I got a lot of relief from hearing answers to my questions. I’m doing everything I need to, except maybe being stressed and not getting enough sleep. Hey, I’m working on it!

What Brandon says about the baby: Brandon says “SHE is amazing, and I can’t wait to meet HER.” This of course is because he is of the belief that we are having a girl. We shall see.

What McKenna says about the baby: McKenna talks about you all the time but is having a hard time understanding that you are still coming! If it doesn’t happen right away…. lol

DFB-18

 

Dear future baby,

In some ways this pregnancy has been easier and in other ways it has been way harder. In one breath I say that it’s going by so quickly since we are being kept so busy. In the very next moment I feel like it is taking forever for you to get here! We know that everything will change when you get here, and we are SO excited for it.

Daddy thinks you are a girl, I think you are a boy, McKenna often says you are “bofe of dem” (meaning that you are both boy and girl? Or maybe she means that she thinks there are twins in there… not sure but wow). We are anxiously awaiting finding out whether you are a boy or a girl at the gender reveal in September.

Love, your future Mama

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McKenna and mama at her first birthday - Circus themed 1st birthday

I love to party – how to throw a themed party

I really do. It’s such a blast for me to plan parties and then of course I love to go to parties as well. I think it’s because I love themes so much. I use themes to  decorate rooms, put together gifts and of course to plan parties!

I am working through plans for our gender reveal right now but I’m getting stuck for some reason. Because of my party planning rut I thought it might help to revisit some of the parties that I’ve planned in the last few years. Some of these I have pictures from but most I do not. I tend to sit back and enjoy my parties instead of taking pictures.

When I was single I threw a few fun parties that were vaguely themed, such as a fondue party, holiday themed dinners and parties, etc.  Then I moved into my next phase where I wanted to do more than just make food and decorate. I decided that I wanted to dress up! Sometimes not in the typical sense… And other times it was!

I proceeded to throw a masquerade (one of my favorites), a Vegas themed birthday for one of my hubby’s birthdays and one of my favorites was McKenna’s 1st birthday which was circus themed.

Some of my favorite pieces of a party to plan are the following:

  • Themed food
  • Decorations
  • Costumes
  • Invitations
  • Suspense!

 

Themed Food

 

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Food is a really important part of life let alone a party. I like to make the food work with the theme of the party as much as possible. For my husband’s birthday party that was Vegas themed everything was red, white and black and I made everything work within that theme. I also really like to make signs for the food that show how each group of food goes with the theme. It’s quick and it’s an easy way to keep organized when you have multiple people helping you to setup.

Decorations

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Some of the common things that I do for parties include: custom made posters to work with the theme, a photo area (with props if applicable), balloons of course, and a sign for the door. There is always some specific decorating that happens for each party since they are all so unique as well.

Costumes

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If possible I really love to wear a costume. It must be the theatre side of my personality. I love to play dress up still! I didn’t dress up for McKenna’s first birthday but you can bet that I dressed her up! For Brandon’s birthday party I got everyone to dress in “dapper attire”. It really made the whole night a lot more special.

Invitations and Suspense!

McKenna's 1st birthday invite

Sending out invitations in a timely manner can really build suspense for the party itself. When you take care with your invitations you make an impression on everyone that is invited about what kind of effort you put in to make it special. I am learning Photoshop at this point but my SIL is amazingly talented with it and has helped me with many of my party invitations. She has an etsy shop where she offers this service (along with other similar services).

As I mentioned earlier, I’m working on our upcoming gender reveal party and I am soooo excited!! I will share some of the ideas here soon.

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playroom panic header

Playroom Panic 

I’m not proud of this…. And I can’t believe I’m putting these pictures on the Internet. You’re gonna be looking at one messy playroom here in a minute. This is what McKenna’s playroom looked like last week:

playroom before

Now I did immediately clean up and figure out some better placement directly after snapping those pics BUT STILL! Part of the problem is that we never found a great layout nor have we made good systems that allow for easy clean up.

I have a mighty big job ahead of me here so I’m gonna take a moment to share what my plans are (although they will change along the way I’m sure).

In no particular order:

  • Move play kitchen to play room
  • Sort through EVERYTHING in the playroom
  • Donate half (eek!) of what’s in the room
  • Organize all remaining toys
  • Label, label, label
  • Add some flair to the plain rug
  • Fill holes and touch up paint (my least favorite of all)
  • Figure out a solution to block some or all of the library shelf to help the room appear tidier than it is. I may also paint it white… We shall see.
  • Make a clean up sign to remind McKenna of the need to clean up
  • Find places for the baby stuff that I’m getting back from friends that I loaned them to
  • Add homemade art and hang some existing art

I don’t know how quickly this is going to get completed but I’m hoping it will be somewhat soon. McKenna loves having a dedicated playroom and I would feel way better if it was a clean and organized playroom. I’m going to have to work on the room in pieces when I get any bit of energy. I’m in the middle of so many projects but I’m waiting on something or someone for each of them so I will continue to keep these juggled balls in the air for now!

 

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tutu and cape header

DIY super hero cape and DIY tutu

I’m back to show you how to make the adorable cape and tutu that I just gifted to my niece  last week. It’s not a new idea; there are TONS of tutorials on how to make tutus out there. But so many people still don’t know how to make them, or are afraid to try. I’m here to show you that it’s really not that hard, I promise! I will walk you through both and I can say that it didn’t take me longer than an hour to whip out both of them (and that included taking pictures).

Let’s start with the super hero cape:

super hero cape

 

Materials needed: I bought 1 yard of sequin material but based on my niece’s height I could have gotten away with 3/4 yard. If it were McKenna I could have used 1/2 yard so think about your little one’s height when making that decision.

Tools needed: Scissors and your hands 🙂

Step 1: Gather your materials and tools.

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Step 2: In order to figure out where to make the neck ties (as well as to where to start the slight diagonal cut downwards) I needed to get a neck measurement. Since my niece wasn’t around I used McKenna as a model and made it slightly larger. Once I knew how big the neck needed to be I marked it with pins on both sides of the neck so that I wouldn’t cut past that point. You will notice that this is the selvage edge so it looks slightly different. That helped me to cut pretty evenly.

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Step 3: It helps to start the cuts before cutting all the way down to ensure that you will get 3 fairly even pieces. Do this on both sides.

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Step 4: Continue the cuts until you get to the cape’s neck area where you marked with pins. Do this on both sides.

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Step 5: Braid the ties on both sides.

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Step 6: I used McKenna as a model for the first cut to get an idea of how I wanted the cape to drape and then once I had the first side done I copied it on the other side. I did it this way mostly because McKenna wouldn’t stay still but now that I think about it I’m glad because it makes it even.

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Bing, bang, boom! It really was that easy. I think I got it done in 10-15 minutes. 

 

Next up, DIY tutu!

DIY tutu final

 

Just to preface this, there really aren’t 12 steps but I wanted to make sure it was as clear as possible, so I may combine a few of them for the sake of being concise.

Materials needed:

  • Tulle by the roll in colors of your choice – I used two colors of pink (one roll each)
  • Ribbon to coordinate – I used pink sparkly ribbon (I like to have a stiff ribbon for this purpose)

Tools needed:

  • A piece of cardboard as big or bigger than the length you want your tutu
  • Tape to adhere your ribbon to a wall for ease of tying
  • Permanent marker or pen to mark ribbon with measurements

Step 1: Gather your materials and tools.

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Step 2 & 3: I measured my niece’s waist with the ribbon, and marked it with a permanent marker leaving extra length on both sides for tying at the end. I taped the ribbon on the wall.

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Step 4: I decided on the length of the tutu and cut a piece of cardboard to that length and wrapped the tulle around again and again until it was gone. I always make a note on the cardboard about which side I start on so I know where to cut.

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Step 5 & 6: I cut the tulle down one side so that I have a lot of pieces of tulle all double the length that I want the tutu to be.

 

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Step 7 – 9: I then take each piece of tulle that I cut down to size and I start tying them onto the ribbon making sure that the ribbon doesn’t get twisted up.

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Step 10: You will notice that I tie a bunch of pieces of tulle across the entire length but they are quite spread out. I do this so that the tutu doesn’t become lopsided.

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Step 11: Once I got my first group of tulle tied onto the ribbon, I duplicated steps 4-6 with the 2nd color of pink tulle.

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Step 12: Because I had two colors of pink tulle I wanted to make sure that I alternated pinks so I continued with the 2nd color and filled any gaps with both colors as needed. Two rolls ended up being perfect for this project!

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Stella's 4th bday

DIY presents for the win!

I have mentioned before that I love DIYing gifts when possible. Especially when I can make something that I KNOW will be adored! One of my nieces turns 4 years old today! It’s so hard to believe that it’s been a full 4 years since she was born. She is a spunky little girl that loves to play dress up.  Her favorites at my house are McKenna’s tutu’s (which I don’t even let her play with – I will explain that another time) and a tie dye silk scarf that the girls use as a super hero cape. I decided that I would make both a tutu and a cape for her birthday present.

Stella birthday pic 1

Let’s be honest, what’s better than being a ballerina princess and a super hero all at once?! I’m totally loving that girls are growing up these days with strength and femininity both available to them. McKenna loves the typical girl stuff but she also adores toys that people typically think of as “boy toys”.

Stella's b-day cupcakes1

Ok back to my niece! Since I watch these two nieces once a week we had a little birthday celebration the day before her birthday. I made some “monster cupcakes” and we had a little indoor picnic lunch (we live in AZ people, it’s too hot outside!) . We were going to do lunch first but I caved and let her open her present right away and she was beyond excited! I am so glad that she loved the cape and tutu as much as I thought she would. The rest of the day was spent playing in her newly acquired dress-up items and dancing around to Disney music on Pandora.

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15 week collage -new

Dear Future Baby, 15 weeks

How far along: 15 weeks

Gender guess: I’m still team boy for my guess. Brandon firmly wants to believe that it is a girl. McKenna thinks I’m having twins still so when I ask her if she thinks it will be a baby boy or baby girl she responds with “boeff of dem!

How I’m feeling: I have had a lot more pain with this pregnancy but I’m trying to stay positive. I’m going to try to do some yoga that is geared towards children with McKenna this week. I used to do yoga in the mornings before she woke up. Buuuuut let’s be honest… I’m way too tired for that business right now.

Highlight this week: 

Miss anything: I miss being energized. I keep thinking that it will get better and then I’m just as exhausted the next day.

Movement: I think I might have felt something! With McKenna I didn’t feel any movement until 28 weeks due to my placenta placement. I’m really hoping that the feeling I had wasn’t just in my head.

Cravings: Nothing. Food sounds pretty gross most of the time as of late. Every once in awhile I am able to eat a lot, but it really just depends. I had a great breakfast casserole at a Pampered Chef party yesterday. I think I had 3 helpings.

Looking forward to: I have an appointment today!  I have some questions about the pains I’ve been having and whether or not marginal previa of the placenta is likely to be a problem if it was last time. Hopefully I will feel a little better after I get these questions answered.

What Brandon says about the baby: Brandon says “It’s past the zygote stage, riiiight?” < that’s my husband….

What McKenna says about the baby: McKenna wants to give the baby hugs and kisses… and binks of course. Binks = Love for her. Clearly that is something that we need to work on.

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Dear future baby,

How come you need to hurt me so?! Ha ok, well you will be worth it. I can’t believe that by January of 2016 we will have you in our arms. It is an amazing thing to think about. We still have no idea where you will sleep after the initial new born stage. We wonder what you will be like. Heck, we wonder if you will be a boy or a girl! We wonder about you all the time. We wonder, and we are struck with awe.

McKenna will love you, there is no doubt. But we also worry about jealousy and how she will handle you coming into her world. I think one of the things that I am most excited for is seeing her with you. Seeing the love in her eyes for you. I know there will be times that you guys fight. But I also know how fiercely you will love each other as siblings. I know because I fiercely love my siblings. It’s gonna be great. I will leave you with that.

 

Love, your future Mama

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independent kiddo

Independence doesn’t mean they don’t need mama love

McKenna has always been super independent, but she has grown even more so. The other day I saw her racing to go potty so I called after her saying, “honey, do you need some help in the bathroom?” Immediately she responded with, “no! I got this, give me some space!”

I stood there shocked. Where had she heard this phrase? What made her think she needed or wanted space? At 2 1/2 does my daughter really not need me?!  After the shock wore off  I gently reminded her of the need to wipe, flush and wash hands.

What happened next was an even bigger shocker. Once she was done she wanted to read books and have some “mama love”. Mama love is a phrase I taught her to say when she needs attention, cuddles and love from her mama. I never would’ve figured that directly after such an independent act she would want to sit and cuddle with her mama. But she did.

I have no problem with my sassy independent child. She likes her space. Guess what? So do I. I don’t expect space anymore, but McKenna does give it because she wants it herself.

I keep wondering what my next baby will be like. Will he/she be just as independent as McKenna? Or will he/she be stuck to me like glue? Either way I’m super excited to meet him/her and I’m glad to have a toddler who is mostly independent, but who also knows how to tell me when she needs mama love. Before this week I was slightly concerned that she would be seen as the independent child and I would have more urgent cries to attend to. I’m so grateful to know that she will speak up for the mama love she needs and deserves.

 

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to preschool or not to preschool

To Preschool or not to Preschool

That is is the question. There is a lot of discussion about Preschool when kiddos are around McKenna’s current age (2.5). On top of that we are in a Mommy Group where the kids are all about a year or so older than her, so it’s been a topic for quite some time! I have thought long and hard about whether I should put McKenna in Preschool. There are some definite reasons why Preschool is a big help. Here are the main 3 that I have kept in mind:

1. It helps children to learn their basics ahead of the game (obviously).

2. It teaches children how to  be in social situations.

3. It creates a setting early on for how to listen to directions, especially to someone other than the child’s parents.

As I consider these and have tried to think of more reasons (besides just being fun) that Preschool would help McKenna, I just can’t think of a reason to put her in. The truth is, McKenna is a smart cookie. I have gotten very lucky with her, in that I teach her something and she usually picks it up pretty quickly. Well, except for counting, ha! But that’s a story for another time.

McKenna has had the opportunity to be around a lot of children. We have our Mommy group (which has been great for her to get to know other children), we have close friends and we have cousins! When I worked she went to an Aunt’s house every day and got to spend that time with 3 of her cousins most days and 5 of them on others! Now, I watch two of her cousins once a week and she gets that time with them.

Because she has had the chance to be watched over by her Aunt and she is super comfortable with about 10 other adults watching her, I know that she listens well to other adults giving instruction.

As of right now I’ve decided not to put her in Preschool unless I see other benefits. To be honest, we almost were a part of a Preschool Co-op this summer that we were really excited about, but it was way different than most. It fell through but I’m open to other opportunities to help McKenna learn if it’s a fit for us. For now I’m happy teaching her myself and sometimes a friend or two as well!

What is your stance on Preschool? Are there other reasons I should consider putting McKenna in Preschool?

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