Monday, August 21, 2017

Maternity Photos at The Great Salt Lake

This session was my favorite ever!  A gorgeous evening, with a hint of smoke in the air, making for a red sun followed by cotton candy skies.  The temps were somewhat cooler than expected, and everyone was in a good mood!  I knew early on in my pregnancy that I wanted to do our maternity session out at The Great Salt Lake.  We've done a handful of mountain sessions here, so I wanted something different, but also something that was very "Utah".  I had been oogling photos from this location for a good year, so I was excited when our photographer Kali was on board.

It's about a mile walk out to the water from where you park, with completely wide open spaces to run & play.  Thankfully my boys are fairly good listeners and managed to stay (relatively) close by throughout our session.  I'm pretty sure Finn has a huge crush on Kali, so he just gives her the sweetest looks all day long.  And Liam manages to turn on the charm for her too.  Conor whispered naughty somethings in my ear the whole night, so it was a session filled with laughter!

A huge thank you to Kali Poulsen Photography; we simply love her!  She's possibly the most calm, composed, & joyful woman I have ever met.  Everything seems flawless & easy with her (teach me your ways Kali!).  I love how she captures my family.  All the happiness & the joy!  I just gush over the pictures every time she sends them my way!  And she sent a ton.  As in 197 photos.  How does one even go about choosing their favorites?!  You just don't!  So you force all your friends & family to look at them too!  It was nearly impossible to just choose a handful (not that this is exactly a handful...) to share in this post, but I really truly did my best!  And don't even think you've seen the end of these, because I'm holding onto a handful to share later!

And another thanks to my friend Erin for letting my borrow this gorgeous dress by Rachel Pally!  It was simply perfect for this session, and she was even sweet enough to give me the okay to take it in the water.  She also responded to about 500+ texts as to what all the boys in the family should wear.  A true friend that one!

Now the countdown is on!  My mom arrives Friday, and I'm currently guessing that baby will arrive somewhere between August 29th-31st!  So.  So.  Soon.  And Kali is going to be there to capture the birth; I cannot wait!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Kane's Nook

I have grown to really love this space we have put together!  Love love love.  It turned out perfectly!  But at first I was all sorts of upset about not being in our new house.  Not having a room to be the catch all for baby things.  Not having a special place to nest.  But in reality, this setup is going to serve our family perfectly.  The master bedroom is the only bedroom on the main floor in our house, so even if we switched the boys around or took over the guest room, baby would not be on the same floor as us.  We are a cosleeping family, often all waking up together by the early morning, so this way Kane will be close by too.  My babies have never been overly fond of sleeping in a crib, but here's to trying once again with the third.  I linked everything applicable at the end of the post.

Early on in my pregnancy, I decided that I wanted a succulent inspired nursery.  I've still managed to bring that vision to life, even in this small corner of our bedroom.  The hanging succulents are real, so here's to hoping I can keep them alive.  If nothing else, they have forced me to open the blinds each morning instead of living in a blackout curtain cave all day every day.  I really wanted to get rid of the hooks that were next to my nightstand, but turns out that Conor caulked them to the wall.  They had to stay; I had to make do.  Initially I wanted to hang the succulents from the ceiling; but the hooks provide a nice temporary spot for them.  I believe I want to switch out the string for something else, so that they may hang at different lengths, but for now it works.  

We have an ottoman that opens up (with storage inside) at the end of bed which I'm going to use as a changing table.  Changing pad on top, with all our cloth diapers inside.  It's also become storage for all the swaddle blankets, lovies, towels, etc.  A good spot to keep all the baby things out of sight!  I also cleared out half of my closet to make room for baby's wardrobe.  Having limited space has forced me to just pick my favorites of all the hand me downs and to only have out a few sizes of clothes at a time.

We also have some hooks between my two closet doors which is perfect for holding my ring slings, wraps, & a cozy first outfit or two for Kane once he arrives.  I love that he will be born at home, right into this space.  It takes nesting to a new level.  Instead of just preparing a room, we are preparing our home for his arrival.  Insert "all the feels" here.  But of course, having him born here will make it that much more difficult to move come Winter!

There are things that we simply didn't have room for in our bedroom, so they will have to wait until we move.  The cozy chair that I rocked and nursed both Liam & Finn in currently resides in our basement.  Conor built some custom honeycomb shelving that is just sitting in our garage waiting for a new wall to be mounted on.  I have some succulent prints that I want to hang, but again, our wall space is currently limited.  Regardless, I just love his nook!  I love walking into my bedroom and picturing how he will change our lives.  How he will fit perfectly into our family.

We're ready for you Kane.  Well sort of.  Wait until next Friday when Nana is here please!

Ladies Love a Gentleman: Hobby Lobby
Hanging Succulents: Local Aviary

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

38 Weeks (Bump #3)

This past weekend I woke up with a horribly tweaked neck (couldn't move it to the right side at all), and then Finn passed on his cold to me.  I have quite the sore throat, which I'm hoping doesn't develop into anything more.  I cannot imagine being sick whenever I go into labor.  The only good thing coming from all of this is that it absolutely forced me to slow down and take things easy all weekend long.  I know my body needs the rest!  But I'm hoping to kick this soon and be back to my energetic self to enjoy these final days (weeks?) before baby's arrival!

Total Weight Gain:  34 lbs.  This is the biggest I have ever been, ugh.  Weight gain is supposed to stall or even go down from here on out; let's hope!

Symptoms:  Nerve pain.  I get some zingers that go down my right butt cheek multiple times a day.  Kane's always been in some different positions, so he's made this pregnancy a bit more interesting.  Still lots of Braxton Hicks, but nothing that says labor will be happening soon.

Position:  So while baby is still head down, due the position of my placenta (and therefore Kane's position), there is a good chance he could turn the wrong way once labor begins giving me plenty of back labor.  My midwife suggested lots of forward positions and movements as I begin to labor.  This has me a tad nervous, but I know my body can handle whatever comes.

Nesting:  Feeling like I have everything I need, and it's all organized!  Gonna take some pictures of Kane's little nook tomorrow, so hopefully I can share it by the end of the week!

Liam's Thoughts:  He's so ready.  I love watching his excitement build.  Assuming he will be around for the birth, I really want to video tape him afterwards sharing his version of Kane's birth story.  However, he gets super camera shy, so we would have to be very sneaky!

Finn's Thoughts:  So much continued sweetness from this one, especially at midwife appointments.  He's also talking lots about how baby will have mama's milk once he is born.  He'll also randomly exclaim how his is going to be a "big brother"!  Goodness we love him!

Are We Ready?  With each passing day, I do feel a bit more mentally prepared.  But I'm in this weird limbo where it seems like it will all happen so soon; yet, it's also so far away.  Since I made it past 40 weeks with both boys, my midwife thinks it's unlikely I will have this babe early.  Which really works out perfectly with my own personal timeline and when Nana arrives.

We're still waiting on the fancy shmancy "cadillac" of birthing tubs to arrive!  If it's not here by Friday, we'll just take an older one to make sure we have something on hand!  This time, I'm surprisingly not stressed about what to do with the boys.  I suppose part of that is since we'll be home, and we also have many neighbors who would be happy to help out.  Plus, the boys will have each other to stay entertained with.  But hopefully, they want to be a part of the birth experience & hopefully I want them there too!  I'm starting to so excited; it's feeling closer!  I simply cannot wait!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Back to School: Kindergarten

Liam starts Kindergarten on Wednesday, this Wednesday!  Eek!  He's excited, I'm excited.  I'm gonna cry, but surely they will be big happy tears.  This is such a big milestone!  While his Kindergarten is an all day program (not happy about that one bit), they do let the kids ease into those long days.  The first three days of school are only half days, as is every Wednesday (Utah, you're weird!).  I'm thrilled to start making lunches & adding fun notes to them, once he learns to read of course!  And I know that I will just be a puddle when I see him in his formal uniform on that first day!  Liam is attending a Catholic School, so on Mass days (Wednesdays) he has a slightly more formal uniform than the one he will wear on other days.  So much to learn!  But don't worry, we found out at parent night that there is an app for that.  I seriously sat in a powerpoint to learn an app.  For school.  Crazy times! 
Tonight there is an open house where we will get to meet his teacher, see the classroom, his locker (his locker!), drop off all the supplies, etc.  I may take Liam on a little mama date after, just wanting to soak up our final days together.  Final days before school starts, before baby arrives.  So many exciting changes ahead!  Here are some things we picked up to get him all ready for school:

1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5

I havne't pulled the trigger on the label maker yet, but I'm feeling the need to label all. the. things!!!  Liam's hiking/camping backpack works great for school too!  And I ordered some of the inch bug labels (#3) for his water bottle; I believe the code "education" will still get you 15% off!  I love the Camelbak water bottles because of the absolutely adorable prints; I can't resist.  And he wouldn't be nearly hipster enough without a bento style lunchbox!
Wish us luck on the first day!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Mirror Lake Camping Trip

A few PSAs before we jump into this post.  First, lots of you have asked if I would put together a post about what we cook for our meals while camping.  I don't feel like we do anything super novel, we mostly make foil packs to throw on the fire, but I'm going to try and still break this down at some point.  Today is not the day though.  There have also been requests for a packing list...  I feel like this is such a personal thing, depending on your gear, climate, etc.  But again, I'll try to post about it at some point.  But I will say, that the easiest thing to do is just get out & camp!  You'll forget things, you may way over pack or under pack.  But each trip you'll learn and your system will improve.  Getting out the door truly is the hardest part, but from there you won't regret it.  And gear is important too, because nobody wants to have a cold miserable night!  Renting gear is always an option; also, places like REI have great return policies if you try something and find that it's not going to work for your family.

PSA #2:  This camping trip was the first time I got to play around with my new camera, the Canon 6D (old model) which is my first full frame camera!!!  I was truly amazed at the difference!  Having the full frame was a game changer, especially in such a gorgeous vast place like the one we were in.  But I also noticed a huge difference with the quicker shutter and better colors right away.  I felt like my images barely needed to be edited.  If you have a DSLR, but aren't shooting in full frame yet, I cannot say enough good things!  I often get asked about what lens I have on, and currently, the 50mm 1.4 sits on my camera all the time.  Don't confuse this lens with the "nifty fifty" which is actually a 50mm 1.8; a greater starter lens, but I prefer the upgrade!

So this trip!!!  The setting could have not been more gorgeous!!!  While we have camped up on the Mirror Lake Highway before, we had never actually been to Mirror Lake.  And we were missing out! At just over 10,000 feet, the mountain views and reflections in the water totally allow this lake to stand up to it's name.  It's about a 1.5 hour drive for us, and a good 30+ minutes from any cell service, so we were a tad nervous about me being soooo pregnant.  What if baby came?!  But baby did not, and we're back & comfortable.  On our drive there, Conor told me "Years ago, I never would have imagined you would want to go camping.  Let alone like camping.  Let alone go camping 37 weeks pregnant!"  But goodness, I really do love it!  Things were a tad more challenging with my huge belly.  And I probably over did it a bit; the weekend absolutely exhausted me.  But the mountains are where I am happiest & calmest.  It's where we have our best family time!  And sneaking in one last trip was just what I wanted.  This summer we have managed to camp in May, June, July, and August!  And if the warm temps keep up, we may just try and sneak in one more trip at the end of September with baby in tow.  We'll see..

This trip we camped with three other families from our neighborhood, so a triple site was booked.  I felt like we barely had to do any parenting, because all the kids were off together most of the time.  The fire was always full cooking someone's meal, and there were plenty of goodies to go around.  Fresh peach cobbler from our neighbor's who have a peach tree was the perfect summer dessert!  We stayed for two nights, and I was left wanting maybe just one more!  Our site was fairly isolated with access to some trails right behind us.  We set out on early evening in hopes of finding a hidden lake.  While that never happened, we did come across this beautiful meadow that I am just certain was the inspiration for Bambi!  So picturesque!

We did plenty of fishing but had zero luck, regardless of the fact that all the other fisherman seemed to be catching something.  Even with no fish, the boys excitement never seems to fade.  And we're learning tons of patience in the process.  Although, I do feel like I spend most of my time unhooking or fixing a line.  Or recasting, especially since Finn just wants to immediately reel in his line every single time.  The two of them keep us busy, but there is something special in all those in between moments too!

On our way home, we stopped at Provo Falls for a quick glance.  But this turned into a little hike.  Which turned into a little dip in the water.  Which turned into everybody being soaked.  But the falls were gorgeous & the water cold enough to cool you down.  I could have spent all day here, but we were filthy & with tired boys.  The Mirror Lake Highway is for sure a favorite spot, and is not to be missed if you are local at all!  If this trip closes out our summer of camping, it surely was a great one!  But I'm hopeful we may make it out as a family of 5!!!  Now time to rest and just wait for baby!

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