Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Favorites: The Hospital Bag

The Hospital Bag

While I know that these aren't all essentials, these are some of the things I like to take to the hospital with me when I'm having a little one.

1.  My Ugg slippers.  I rarely go anywhere without them, and it sure makes that cold hospital floor more manageable.

2.  I always debate whether to take a computer or not.  However, I like having the ability to send out an email without typing on my phone if I want to.  Plus I check social media way too much, and sometimes I just find it easier on a computer.

3.  My camera.  Cannot do without this.  I often hand it off to someone that first day so we can get a few "first family photos" and then I like to have it with me to take an inordinate amount of pictures of our newest family member.

4.  Nursing tank.  I typically leave for home in this.  During the hospital stay, I'm that person who lives in the lovely hospital gown.  It's easy.  It doesn't matter if it gets dirty.  And, it's less I have to pack :)  I might throw in a pair of yoga pants or warmer PJs from time to time.

5.  Obviously, I take my diaper bag.  Although, it's really unnecessary.  They have everything you need, but I like to have a few little outfits in there just in case (typically because I haven't decided by then what I want to take the baby home in )! ;)

6.  This typically comes with your hospital stay, along with Tucks and a few other necessities.  In the event that it doesn't, I highly recommend it as a must.

7.  I know this is crazy, but we like to bring something with us for the staff (and for certain little boys who love treats).  Every birth we've ordered these humongous Rice Crispy treats from The Crispery.  My favorite is pictured: the s'more one.  My gosh, they're so tasty!

Of course, I bring my makeup/toiletries (and it's often fun to have a lotion that smells great/works really well) because of the crazy amount of baths you have to take while there.  A change of clothes to go home, chargers, a phone, etc...all of the essentials.  These are just a few of my favorite things for the hospital.

I know it's more than five, but I'm linking up with Hallie for this one, too! Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Rainbows and 33 Weeks

I was making dinner Sunday evening when Jeremy came in and said I might want to run outside to get a picture of the beautiful rainbow.  I grabbed my gear and headed out the door but saw nothing.  Nothing except these beautiful ray-like things in the sky.  So, I snapped a few pictures.  

It wasn't until I uploaded them onto my computer that I saw the glimmer of a rainbow in each.  What he saw so clearly, I couldn't even see (granted, it had faded drastically by the time I got outside).  Often I feel that's the way our lives are.  Sometimes we see the rainbows (promises of God) and other times we pass them by, but they are always there.
I start to feel that way a little toward the end of every pregnancy.  I know it's silly, but as the due date approaches, I often worry about losing the "baby" of the family as he moves up a rung, and the new baby moves in.  Never in my experience has it actually been a bad thing.  In reality, my emotions take over and I worry about crazy things.  I hold extra tight to those baby kisses and hugs, the times he needs me to carry him and the sweetness that is my youngest.  I pray that the older two adjust well again and love having a new sibling in the mix.  As I get more stressed about having everything prepared for the baby's arrival, and in turn, lose a little patience with the boys, I pray they forget those moments and know how much I dearly love each of them.  As soon as I hold Sophie in my arms, all of this will melt away.  I'll be so thankful for a brand new baby and its smells and sweetness (very often wondering when I'll have another), and I'll love the new roles each of the boys take.  

At 33 weeks, we're almost there (as you can see).  The "any day now" comments are about to start rolling
in ;)  Life will be changing again, really soon, and we'll have a new normal in the months to come.  Here's to always finding the rainbows in those moments!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Papa and Elley's House

I have someone help me with cleaning our home every two weeks.  It was a gift from my parents two years ago, and my husband has taken over giving that gift.  Seriously, it is the best gift in the world for me.  I felt guilty about it for a really long time, and sometimes still do, but it's worth it for so many reasons.  Anyway, when our sweet friend comes, I like to get out of the house, mainly because I don't want to get in her way, and secondly, the boys adore her and just want to play the entire time.  So, most of those days we go to Papa and Elley's house.  

Last time we went, the boys were in for a big surprise.  What they love more than anything are construction vehicles, so imagine their delight when they saw a huge cement truck pull up as we were playing outside.  

The boys could have watched for hours (and nearly did).  They love everything about it: the truck, the workers, a new project, etc.  Carter even pointed to a bar they had laid out asking what it was and then quickly said, "Oh wait!  Bob da Builder uses dose.  They are for leveling the cement!"  Who knew cartoons could be so beneficial ;)

Not only was a cement truck there that day, but Peter couldn't sleep well for his nap (rarely happens with him).  So, he asked if he could help Elley and me make cookies for RoRo's party coming up.  He loved every second of it...not only trying out a bite of dough here and there but feeling like he was a huge help in the process.  And, he was - for the most part!

The boys are so lucky to be close to both sets of grandparents and to do different things with each one often. They don't realize it now, but not everyone is blessed in that way.  We are so very thankful!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Day in the Life

I'm doing another little day-in-the-life post on Elizabeth's blog today (All Kinds of Things).

Here's a picture teaser, but be sure to check the rest out here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Guest Post: Elizabeth from All Kinds of Things

I met and have gotten to know Elizabeth via her blog All Kinds of Things.  She is as sweet as her blog is precious and she's writing a wonderful guest post on here today.  Be sure to check out her blog and follow along via her social media outlets.  Welcome, Elizabeth!

Hi! My name is Elizabeth, and I blog at "All Kinds of Things". I am an elementary teacher turned mommy of two, and I am so excited to be spending time with you today~

From recipes and DIY projects to organizational tips and thoughts on faith and parenting, my blog includes "all kinds of things" that will encourage you in your day-to-day journey of doing life well!
I would love to connect with you and share life together~

This pineapple sits on my kitchen counter. I wouldn't say it necessarily matches my other d├ęcor, but yet I keep it there anyway. Why? Well, I once heard it said that the pineapple was the symbol for hospitality, and being hospitable is most definitely a priority in our home.

The dictionary defines hospitality as:
1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers 2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.
I love #2 - How I long to have a disposition that genuinely receives others...genuinely welcomes others in a warm manner.

Most of us can relate to this scene:
You hear the doorbell ring.
You jump up and start straightening your living area.
You start cramming your mess in closets...under the the oven.
(Okay, I've never actually thrown any of my mess under the furniture or in the oven, but those would be good hiding places, huh?)
The doorbell rings again.
You start to head to the door.
You run to the bathroom, look in the mirror to make sure there isn't anything in your teeth...or on your face...or in your hair.
The doorbell rings again.
You start to head to the door.
You realize your toddler has smeared peanut butter all over the front of your pants.
You start to head to the kitchen to wipe off your pants, but just give up...
...and you answer the door.

You know what? Life is messy...Your house is going to get messy...especially if you have little ones. It is okay. (Aren't those words so incredibly soothing sometimes?)
Let me say them

When we moved in to our new house, we felt strongly that we use our living space to bless others. After cramped apartment living, my husband and I were both excited about the idea of having a revolving door on our home - We love to have guests. We love to entertain. We love to host overnight visitors.

I also decided that this philosophy would be the best way to encourage me to keep up with my housework. Knowing I have guests coming throughout the week definitely helps me stay motivated to maintain order in our home. However, there have also been the times when gals have sat in my living room with me...sipped coffee with me...and chatted with me...all while a huge, unfolded mound of laundry sat next to us on the couch. I have learned to embrace the possibility of these types of things. It really doesn't bother me, and it doesn't bother [true] friends either....or at least I don't think it does...maybe I should ask. ;-)

Some people have an open-door policy with their closest of friends. I love this idea! Your inner circle should be free of judgment. They should be stopping in to see spend time with you...not to judge your space in any way.
However, if you know that someone is planning to stop by, here are a few things you might consider:
1. Clean up all the dirty diapers....Okay...maybe that's a given...Let's start over...
1. Light a yummy smelling candle - I usually light one in my kitchen, and it typically helps the house smell delicious even if I burnt my eggs that morning (or forgot to pick up a dirty diaper somewhere). *smile*
2. Have some kind of small treat prepared ahead of time. When I am in the mood, I bake additional items to throw in the freezer for days when I have guests. It is easy to pull something sweet out of the freezer that morning and have it ready to share with them when they come. If you're not in to baking, I have also been known to buy a few Banana Nut Breads from Bob Evans or Fresh Market, throw them in my freezer, and serve warm slices to guests when they arrive. I have a friend who keeps several gallon-sized bags of fruit in her freezer. She serves it [to guests] on pound cake slices, over yogurt, on top of icecream, etc. The freezer definitely helps make it easy to always be prepared with a treat.
3. Turn on music that you think your guests will enjoy - nothing wild & crazy...just something nice to have in the background when they arrive.
4. If it's chilly outside, I love to have my fire going - super cozy no matter who is coming for a visit.
5. I try to remember to have my front blinds open - so our house doesn't look like the Munsters' our visitors know we are actually home. If they're arriving in the evening, I will turn on lamps, etc. just to give a nice warm glow to the interior of the house.

6. You know what else makes me feel welcome in a home? I love when there are throw pillows and blankets easily accessible. You want your friends to feel comfortable curling up on your couch with a hot cup of coffee or tea and staying awhile.

You may be thinking I don't have time for this. It is so important that we wholeheartedly embrace the idea of community and reach out - in tangible ways - to others. We have to be intentional about this - structuring our days to include this type of thing - oftentimes planning for it in - most the time - it simply will not just happen on its own.

Keep in mind, however, that these are merely suggestions/ideas - I most definitely am not saying your house needs to be perfect before you can open the door for guests. In fact, I love The Nester's thoughts in her post: Why You've Got to Have Guests When Your House isn't Perfect

While hospitality includes the welcoming of family, friends, acquaintances, it is also important that we are welcoming to strangers. This will look different for everyone...Each situation will be different and require different things from you...but I challenge you to think about how you can be hospitable even to the strangers in your life. You may or may not choose to have them in your home - Either way, let's not miss the opportunities to treat everyone (including strangers) in a warm, friendly, and generous way...even if they cut you off in traffic...even if they are rude to you in the grocery store...I will stop there, I'm starting to feel guilty...
I will most definitely include myself in this "Hospitality Challenge".

Hospitality Challenge: to create a warm, safe place for others to land - remembering to put people before things...always - taking no thought for what may be in it for me.  

In my mind, it is oftentimes the small things that go a long way.
What does hospitality look like for you? What other ideas do you have for helping guests feel welcome your home? Have you ever shown genuine hospitality to a stranger? What did that look like?

Thank you for joining me today! I would love to get to know you better~
 Be sure to hop over to Facebook and click "like" on "All Kinds of Things" - Great extras featured there often! Also, follow "All Kinds of Things" on Instagram & Pinterest!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

An Easter Recap and What Carter Said

It was a whirlwind of a Holy Week for us.  Surprisingly though, we made it to three of the four main Church Masses, and we survived.  I always get more worried about things like that than I should.  We were in the cry room two of those Masses, though, and I was thanking God for it when I didn't think Carter was paying a bit of attention and he started answering (very loudly) some of the questions/statements in the reading of the Passion.  At some point I think they said something like, "Where have you come from?" to which Carter responded, "WE HAVE ALL COME FROM OUR HOMES!"  And to "This is the King of the Jews," we got, "I'm WEALLY NOT A KING!"  There were a few others I can't remember, but he also made a little gun symbol out of his hand and "winked" at everyone on his way back from Communion on Good Friday. It's sometimes difficult for those poor parishioners to keep focused when some crazy three year old is doing all in his power to get them to laugh.  

This little princess invited us over for an egg hunt Saturday morning.  When she (and her family!) throws a party, they go all out.  
They had a baby chick, duckling and bunny for the boys to try to kill hold.  
There was a miniature bounce house...

and TONS of eggs filled with goodies!
It was so funny though.  The boys each grabbed about five eggs and then said that's all they needed.
Carter discovering he was complete with what he had in his basket.  He did however find a little plastic carrot, filled with something like fun dip.  He opened it and kept saying, "HEY!  Who did put salt in dis????" He didn't think that was the best idea.
John Paul even got involved.

Peter was quite the champ.  Usually shy and to himself, he made friends and even said he "loved da pwarty!"
The Easter Bunny wasn't as big of a hit with Carter this year, oddly enough.

Yet, they left with more goodies than they needed, tummies filled with cupcakes and juice, and happy little hearts.

We grabbed a quick lunch and hour-long naps and headed to my aunt and uncle's house in the neighboring town for an afternoon egg hunt.

The boys loved playing the afternoon away with some of their cousins!
Then they listened for instructions for the hunt, and when Carter was told to go fast he said, "Actually, I just want to go weally SLOW!"  Whatever floats your boat, kid.

Sunday morning, we had a family breakfast, followed by our third and final egg hunt before Easter Sunday Mass.  John Paul became and expert egg smasher.

Then it was off to Church...
...without much sleep.
But with the promise of jellybeans...
...and spinners upon our return.
We got to Mass and as we were unloading, Carter leans back in his seat with his hands behind his head and said, "I don't know about you guys, but I just need a west!"

It was a perfect week/weekend with some we love most!  Thank God for this beautiful Easter season.

Monday, April 21, 2014

WIWS: 32 Weeks

I didn't do much of anything on the computer yesterday, so here's my What I Wore Sunday post (linked with Fine Linen and Purple) a day late!

Mass was maybe one of the best yet.  The boys were quiet.  The joy of Easter surrounded us all, and the music was beautiful!  It's always nice to see so many there with their families celebrating and even better to be surrounded by three sweet little guys (and one big one)!

dress // Isabella Oliver
cardi // Banana Republic (old)
shoes // Cole Haan

Here's what the boys wore (surprise, they match!)

We're still moving right along at 32 weeks.  It's not miserable, but I do get pretty tired from time to time. Just like everyone at this point :)  We'll soon be pre-paying and pre-registering at the hospital and getting more and more excited as the day gets closer.  We can't wait to meet her!

Check out what others wore for Easter, and have a great start to your week!