Thursday, November 30, 2017

Our Favorite Christmas Books

Busting out the seasonal books is always one of my favorite things!  The boys are instantly occupied as they rediscover old favorites, or take their first real glance as is the case for Finn.  They flip through the pages trying to make sense of the pictures before insisting upon reading every single book.  I try to buy one book each time the holidays roll around, but often 1 turns into 3...  And then a scholastic book order is sent home from school, and suddenly I want all. the. festive. books.  So we have quite the collection going on right now.  I thought I would share a few of our favorites that aren't as well known or common to others.  Of course, I still love the Polar Express & The Grinch too, but today is all about the little known gems on our shelves...

1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 

The illustrations in The Little Reindeer are stunning.  Add to that cutouts as well as metallic ink, and I'm sold!  Christmas Farm tells all about how Christmas trees are grown and come to be.  In the Wish Tree, a little boy has a sled named Boggin... enough said!  Over the River & Through the Woods shows a fun array of different transportation as well as the different types of families out there.  Each of these books gets plenty of love in our house!

Now tell me, what books do I need to add to our collection?!  Bonus points for beautiful illustrations, and I always love a good rhyming book!

*affiliate links used*

Monday, November 27, 2017

Fun Old Fashion Family Thanksgiving (2017)

We had a full house!  All of Conor's family came together for the first time in 4 years for one big Thanksgiving here in Utah.  Two grandparents, five siblings, 2 spouses, 6 cousins.  It was busy, crowded, only slightly chaotic, and so much fun!  We never get to spend Thanksgiving with family so this was such a special holiday.  Everyone was able to meet Kane and love on our boy.  That left me with free hands to do things like make pies & put together tablescapes.  It was all so lovely.

Conor's family owns a restaurant (and icecream shops!) so we all knew the good food (and drink!) would be plentiful.  But it also had to be earned!  We took his family on one our favorite hikes the day before, which turned out to be far more snowy than we anticipated. But everyone handled it like champs!  Finn can now apparently hike 4 miles completely solo, and still be running at the end.  That kid has amazing endurance and continues to be exhausting.  But I love him for his wild, adventurous spirit.  We took another hike after parade watching on Thanksgiving to just to burn those final calories.  Plus, we were able to show off our new house which is all framed!

For the most part, we were all able to relax.  No bustling around to different homes; we were all just together.  Aside from a last minute run to the grocery store (how did we forget potatoes?!), we all stayed cozy at the house.  Naps were had all around.  A little day drinking may have happened.  And whenever I wanted a few minutes away from all the noise and the people, I could just sneak off to nurse Kane.  I love how a baby slows me down.  He makes me slip away for moments with just him.  His snuggles are so sweet.  His scent a reminder of how young he still is.  He is one of the many things that I am thankful for!

A wonderful Thanksgiving indeed!
I hope you all enjoyed the same sort of sweet family time that we did!  Cheers!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Small Shops that I Love

I've had some requests to put together a little small shop guide.  This is simply a labor of love, because there are no affiliate links used in this post.  I just truly do enjoy supporting small (and local) businesses when I can.  I find that the easiest way to know about any current sales with small shops is through Instagram.  Probably Facebook too, but I hate Facebook.  So Instagram it is!  I will try to share any sales I'm aware of, but keep in mind that many will be over after Cyber Monday.  And some may only have sales on Cyber Monday.  Also, if shopping small, do it NOW!  Often shipping times can take a bit longer & sometimes production can be an issue too.  Do not wait until the week before Christmas and expect to hit up a small businesses.

For the Mama or Lady in your life:

Dwell & Slumber
I am obsessed with these dresses.  They are perfect for pregnancy & breastfeeding.  And really anybody.  Super flowy and cozy.  They sell out fast, so you really need to be at a computer (or phone) for a restock.  I believe they will be restocking on Cyber Monday, but not sure if they will have a sale or not, since typically they sell out regardless.

Made By Mary 
Lots of beautiful jewelry.  I love their feminine chokers.  But I'm especially eyeing this evergreen necklace right now!  I bought one for my niece, but have it on my own list too!

I love these dresses as well.  While I oogle over everything, I mostly love their line of MOM dresses which are all nursing friendly.  Most have buttons down the front or zippers on the side.  But aside from dresses, I'm currently crushing on this Farm Fresh Christmas Trees Pullover.  Currently, everything is 25% off; not sure how long that will last!

I have two of their letter boards and am obsessed.  I could definitely use a little more creativity when deciding on what they should say though.  Splurge for the wood frames, and I have a thing for the white felt.  Also, stock up on some big letters.  The different sizes make for prettier boards.

I have the baby changing mat as well as the midi size, and love them both!  They wipe clean so easily which is my favorite feature.  I also love how the look & how they aren't as slippery as other outdoor blankets or mats.  The midi size is perfect for me and the two older boys, but a little cramped when Conor is with us.  I like that it's smaller and lighter to carry than the larger size though.  We take our mat everywhere... park, beach, etc.  and even use it inside as well.  They are currently offering 25% off with code NOIR (exclusions apply).

For the kiddos:

Hands down my favorite brand for all the boys, and I secretly swoon over their girl stuff too (especially the dresses & peplums).  I love their shorties, their rompers, their henleys, their night sets... You really can't go wrong.  Currently they have 25% off with code BLACKFRIDAY17

Mercy Threads
The perfect little winter hat for baby!  Kane has two, both in the Wanderer style which is my favorite.  The shop is closing soon so make sure to order by Sunday December 3rd (tomorrow!).  

I'm obsessed with ring slings, and pretty much use them exclusively for the first 6 months.  This brand has so many different colors/prints as well as ring options.  I currently have three that rotate through depending on my outfit and mood.  They are having a cyber monday sale, but I don't believe they have announced what it is yet.  My guess is 20% (or possibly more) off.

Briar Bonnets
I used to think bonnets were a bit girly, but I was silly and so wrong!  I have loved these on Kane.  Since we're currently in Winter, I buy them with the fleece lining added.  And then come spring & summer, I will get a brimmed bonnet for him.  I find that these run very true to size.  Kane has an average sized head, and at 2.5 months old, he still fits his 0-3 month but will be outgrowing it soon.  Use code TISTHESEASON for 20% off all bonnets.

Little Unicorn
I love this company for their bedding & swaddles.  I have nearly everything in the prickle pot print for Kane's nursery.  And then I just had to snag this adorable new holiday print, even though Lord knows I absolutely do not need another swaddle blanket!  They are offering 25% off and free shipping with code BLACKFRIDAY through Monday.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of the shops that I love, but it definitely highlights the favorites.  I try to always tag small shops in my instagram posts, so look there as well.  And please share your favorites with me.  I'm currently in the market for some drool bibs & teething toys!

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

House Update

Our house has been going up quickly!  We try to make it up to the house site as least once a week to check on the progress, which just makes me more & more anxious to live up there now!  The boys love seeing all the different construction vehicles at work, and they often bring their own toy versions to drive around.  There are currently tons of homes going in around us, so it's a bustling little area with all the new construction.

Much of the surrounding area has been cleared, but fortunately some scrub oak trees were left right behind our land.  I'm hoping they survive all the phases of construction, because I would love having some already established trees near us.  It may not be the pines of the northwest that I'm used to & love, but they are trees nonetheless!  We've been exploring the area as much as we can when we make our weekly visits.  I also have a friend who already lives up in the neighborhood, so we've been getting together to hike about once a week.  I love checking out all the different trails that will be accessible from my front door.  This may be the year that we finally splurge on snow shoes!  

As the house comes together more, we have been able to see exactly what views we'll have, and goodness it is going to be gorgeous!  We won't have a city view, but we will be looking right at the mountains from the front of our house.  And we're just a short walk away from being able to look over the other side of the mountain at Utah Lake.  It is seriously such a beautiful spot up there!

We had our framing walk through on Friday which I had so been looking forward to!  Unfortunately, the weather was bonkers.  There was a thick layer of fog, making the drive up & down the mountain completely nerve wracking!  I will need to get used to it, but for now it still terrifies me.  There are a couple hair pin curves, so fog & snow will add quite a few minutes to our daily commute.  On top of the fog, it was pouring rain/snow and the wind was whipping through.  Finn was miserably cold while we were meeting with our contractor, so we hardly spent much time doing our walk through.  Hopefully we can get back in on a nicer day here soon.  And we are super lucky that our roof & windows went in literally the day before the first snow up there.  Phew!

We are expecting that we may have a few weather delays over the next two months, but hopefully not many.  As of now, we could be in our new house as early as late January; however, I'm guessing it will more likely not be until mid February.  Since that date is quickly approaching, we decided to put our current home on the market last week.  As of Saturday night (after only 9 days on the market), we have had 17 showings!  Which is great and all, except that is a lot of showings to have to get all three kids out of the house for.  It's stressful having our house "show ready" at all times.  I love that there is a lot of interest in our house, but an offer would be even better!  The timing of it all is super unfortunate, especially considering that our house would have been snatched up in a heartbeat if we listed this past summer.  But right now, with the holidays approaching, hardly anyone is looking for a home.  I'm still hoping for the best though.  Until then... I live in a ridiculously clean house and am dreaming of the day that we get to make that move into the mountains!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide: For Baby

The gift giving season is upon us!  I actually love putting lots of thought into my gifts & trying to be creative.  My list is long, with some being far easier to shop for than others, but regardless, I always enjoy the shopping.  Babies are especially fun to shop for though.  Who doesn't love seeing everything in itty bitty sizes.  With Kane being my third baby, he really doesn't need much (or anything!), but of course I still want to spoil the boy a bit!  And Santa surely has to bring something; otherwise, the older boys would be suspicious!  All of these ideas are mostly stocking stuffers except for the play gym.  We've never had one before, but this adorable woodland themed play gym may just make it into our home! 

1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6

And of course, I won't be able to resist all the small shops during black friday.  If enough of them post their sales before the actual day, I will try my hardest to get a small shop guide up.  I love being able to support families directly as well as American made goods.

So tell me... what are you buying the babes in your life this Christmas?

*affiliate links used*

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Kane: 2 Months Old

This post is 2 weeks late, eek!  Which is a big deal when you're trying to document things monthly.  But I really wanted to have Kane's two month stats to include, which is one of my favorite things to look up and compare with each boy.  So now I'm here trying to remember what Kane was like during month 2, since it seems as though he has already changed so much in the last 2 weeks!

Height: 25 inches (92%)
Weight: 14 lb 9 oz (91%)

He continues to be right in the middle of both boys weight wise.  Although as his cheeks fill in more (read: hang off his face), he is starting to resemble Finn far more than Liam.  Perhaps he will end up having Finn's body type after all.  He's starting to sleep for even longer stretches, typically doing a solid 4-6 hour stretch to start off the night.  He's far more restless in the early morning hours, wanting to nurse often.  We're cosleeping, although I'm trying to start in his crib since he's sleeping better.  He startles easily, so I'm trying to give him his own space.  He often throws his arms up and thinks he's falling, which just breaks my heart.  This most often happens during diaper changes and baths.  He can make such a sad face when he is startled, so I believe he may be more of sensitive soul like Liam.

Kane is not an overly smiley baby, but oh goodness it is so sweet to see when he does flash one our way. He continues to be extremely relaxed and go with the flow.  We did have a couple weeks there where he seemed to hate his carseat, but that phase quickly faded.  His happy place is being in my sling!  If he is ever fussy & not wanting to eat, he will immediately calm down once I put him in it.  He sleeps through most of our outings, just snuggled up against me.  Although I definitely feel all 14+ lbs of him when he's out for 2-3 hours.  I may have to switch to a soft structured carrier when I think he will sleep for a long time.  He makes it easy to get out for hikes or any trek through the mountains; he doesn't even seem to mind the cold!

This month has brought on a few incidents from big brother Finn.  Once, Finn tried to pick up Kane while I was using the bathroom and his dropped him (on the carpeted) floor.  Kane cried hard, but was otherwise unharmed.  I've also caught Finn shining a flashlight in Kane's eyes, and once he put a small lego in Kane's mouth.  So all this to say, while Finn loves Kane fiercely, I also have to keep such a close eye on him.  It makes getting household chores done really tough!  But Finn is slowly learning that he needs to be far more gentle, and just make some better choices in general.  Liam continues to be such a help!  He loves his baby brother so so much.  I love seeing these strong bonds develop.  The older boys get so giddy when Kane smiles at them, so I know their love will grow as their interactions increase and get more exciting.  They are already thrilled that he will now hold onto toys and are constantly bringing him things to play with.

Life with three is busy!  Lately I have felt like I am constantly running.  There are no breaks.  The to-do list is never-ending.  Yet life is full of sweetness & love right now.  These are some special days.  Three boys five & under is exhausting, but I know I will miss this.  With the holiday season practically here, I want to attempt to slow down and enjoy this stage of life more than ever.  There is just something extra sentimental about having a baby over the holidays.  So cheers to another month of crazy; another month of loving on our cutie Kane!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Recent Buys

Who has already started their Christmas shopping...?  Me!  Me!  Me!  I like to start a bit early so as to not be stressed, and so I can be more intentional & thoughtful with my gifts.  I snuck away for a little Nordstrom date with just Kane last week, and I could not believe that the mall already has that busy holiday feel.  I will do most of my shopping online, but I do still make a few trips out & about because I love the festive decorations, the bustling people, & the Christmas music filling the air.  I may put together some gift guides, because I personally love them; I'm always looking for new ideas!  Who doesn't love a bit of inspiration?!  The gift I'm most excited about right now is the Wooden Toy Cocoa Set from the new Hearth & Hand line.  I bought one for my boys (which I think will be such a fun item to play with immediately Christmas morning!) as well as one for a couple of my nieces.  And I may get more.  You get a cocoa set!  And you get a cocoa set!  Everyone gets a cocoa set!!!

But before we get to the gift guides, here are a few inexpensive purchases that are currently making my life easier & me happy:

an iPhone charging block that charges in double time

(with two length options... I go short for the car & long for my nightstand)

(because no one likes a chewed on straw, or one that disintegrates in your cocktail)

These would actually all be awesome little stocking stuffers in my opinion!  So tell me, what gift are you most excited about giving this year?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Year of the Fox (Halloween 2017)

This Halloween sure was a good one!  I loved how the costumes turned out, which had me extra excited for the holiday.  Liam has wanted to be a fox for a couple years now (and Finn's favorite stuffed animal is "Fox Friend"), but I always thought the idea of making a fox costume was so daunting.  So when Hanna Anderson released some ears & a tail this year, I decided to finally give it a go!  The sweatshirt and pants are from Primary, and while they don't match the ears & tail perfectly, it was close enough.  We added a white belly and some cuffs around the sleeves, that's it!  My boys are obsessed with facepaint, so that was a must!  It was my first ever attempt at it, so I wanted to do a trial run.  The planner in me has to!  Plus it provided a fun opportunity to pop over to our nearby farm and snap some photos of the boys.  I was so pleasantly surprised with how the face paint turned out!  And then I was kicking myself for not ordering Kane a matching sleeper that I could have easily added a white belly to.  He had a fox hat, so at least he was on theme a bit...

We save pumpkin carving for Halloween Eve, because I like my pumpkin fresh for the holiday!  Both boys were far less into cleaning out the pumpkin goop than I expected.  Silly boys.  They helped Conor as best they could, while I sorted through the muck for the delicious seeds and got those baking.  It's my favorite Halloween treat!  Liam wanted a spooky face, Finn wanted a silly face, and I carved a candy corn that actually looked like the wi-fi symbol...

Halloween itself started off a bit rough...  First, Liam forgot his backpack, and we didn't realize this until we arrived at school.  It's about a 20 minute drive, so by the time I got back home and then back to school and then back home again, the whole ordeal took 1 hour 20 minutes.  And Kane isn't loving the car these days, so yeah... not fun at all!  And during that long drive, I got some bad news about my Grandpa.  He'll turn 98 in December, and just recently his health has started declining a bit.  He's doing okay now, but that morning things were uncertain.  It's so hard getting news like that, especially when I live so far away and can't go see him or help my mom.

Thankfully the festivities of the day were a nice distraction.  The boys were so excited for trick-or-treating to begin.  Especially Finn who didn't quite understand why we had to wait.  Those afternoon hours were long & painful.  And then he had a meltdown after I did his facepaint.  The tears absolutely ruined it, so I had to start over completely.  And then I made a last minute decision to throw on an orange sweater & facepaint and surprise my boys.  It was so fun to dress up with them!

Dusk on halloween night was gorgeous!  The sunset & weather just screamed Halloween.  It was all so perfect and just quintessential.  We trick-or-treated with our close buddies who dressed as skeletons.  The black & orange costumes of our two families looked so cute together.  The older boys wanted to run from house to house, but we made them patiently wait for the little ones to keep up.  Kane slept through it all; it's crazy to think that next Halloween he too will be running around and trying to keep up with them.  Such a sweet little holiday!  

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