My Christmas List + a HUGE Stitch Fix Giveaway

I always enjoy putting together my Christmas wishlist.  Perhaps it's just me, but I never seem to struggle with finding things I want! 😉  I also get lots of ideas from other bloggers' gift guides, so perhaps that's why I find these lists so much fun!  At any rate, I would not be sad to find a few of these things under our tree on Christmas morning.

Sperry Duck Boots - Confession: I had never heard of duck boots until just a few weeks ago when I saw them featured on a few blogs I follow!  And it was precisely then when I decided I need a pair!

BP Square Stud Earrings - Seriously two pair of earrings for under $10?!  I love the pink and gold, but at that price, I'll take all of the color combos!!

Dainty Silver Slide Bracelet - Not only is this an adorable bracelet, but it doubles as an essential oil diffuser!  Ummmm yes please!  My only wish is that the metal was gold instead of silver.

Johnny Apple Peeler - You know you're old when your Christmas list contains an apple peeler!  In all honesty, at only $20 I could buy one myself, but why when family is always asking for ideas!?

UV Nail Lamp - So my neighbor Ali has a UV nail lamp.  She is constantly giving all of us gel manis and not only does the polish last longer, but it looks so much better than regular nail polish (and there's no waiting for the polish to dry).  Her lamp was $100+, but this one with decent reviews is under $40!

xKCx Dad Hat - I have wanted one of these KC hats since last summer, and even tried to buy one on multiple occasions only to learn they were out of stock.  Need one of these ASAP.  (I also love the denim version...I will gladly take one of each please!)

Portable Charger - My phone is not even two years old, but it can't seem to make it through the day without charging two or three times!  I am intrigued by the Mophie case + battery pack, but I'm worried about giving up the protection of my Otterbox.  (Last time I went without an Otterbox I shattered my screen.)  This $13 portable charger seems to be a fine alternative and could easily be stored in my purse.

Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer - Zoodles (zucchini noodles) are all the rage right and they sound like something right up my alley!  I really want to give them a try, but first, I need a veggie slicer!

Rib Knit Fringe Scarf - One can never have too many scarves!  I loooooove the fringe on this one and love its neutral color.

Classic Dianne Shirt Extender - When my friend and fellow blogger, Vanessa, posted about these last summer, I knew instantly I wanted one!  Unfortunately, the style I want (the off-white asymmetrical) is sold out, but perhaps they'll be restocked soon?

Nickle & Suede Earrings - I have a few pairs of leather earrings and I love them!  I love the texture/pattern of this pair, but I'd pretty much take any pair!

Stitch Fix Gift Cards - And finally, gift cards!!!  After taking a Stitch Fix break while pregnant (except for one maternity box), I'm ready to partake in this fun service again!  In fact, I already have a fix scheduled for January and I'm excited to shop normal clothes once again!  But of course, buying clothes is always more fun when you're spending someone else's money!

Speaking of, I'm giving away a pretty significant Stitch Fix gift card along with a handful of other bloggers!!  This would sure make for a fabulous Christmas gift and I'm slightly jealous I can't win it myself!!  Pretty sure it would make not only my Christmas, but my entire year!!  Enter via the Rafflecopter below and best of luck!!

Our Thanksgiving Weekend + North Pole Breakfast 2016

For the first time ever, we were able to spend the holiday weekend at our own home--just the four of us--in Kansas City--instead of traveling 3+ hours to spend it in Iowa or Wichita.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy being with extended family during the holidays, but I've always wanted an excuse to stay home.  And if I'm being honest, it was everything I had dreamed of and more.

Since our plans were up in the air pending the possible birth of a baby, we decided to order our Thanksgiving meal from HyVee.  They supplied the turkey, rolls, and three sides of our choosing (we chose mashed potatoes, stuffing, and mac & cheese).  This was the best decision we could have made!  The food was phenomenal!  It had to be re-heated, which still gave our house that hearty Thanksgiving smell but without the hassle of trying to bake multiple things at once--while nine months pregnant!  Of course, being a girl who likes to cook and party plan, I supplemented a few things: this apple baked brie appetizer and this caramel apple crisp cheesecake (I highly recommend both).  It may have been my favorite Thanksgiving feast to date!

 The rest of our Thanksgiving day was pretty low-key.  Naps, football games, basketball games, and normal play with the boys.  The rest of the weekend included much of the same thing - leftovers, decorating for Christmas, errands, sports, and hanging by the fire.  Our elf, Gordon, decided to show up, too.  It was a total last-minute decision as our second annual North Pole breakfast was orchestrated around 10pm the night before...only after Craig suggested it!  But any excuse for donuts is a good one in my eyes, so I gladly snuck out of the house at 6:30 the next morning to help Gordon buy them.

It was a pretty fantastic holiday weekend and our last spent as a family of four!

The Waiting Game

On Friday, I woke up more pregnant than I have ever been. 39 weeks and 5 days.  Yesterday marked exactly 40 weeks.  And that's using my most recent due date that was two days later than what I had been thinking all along.  Today?  Well today, I am overdue. This bun in the oven is done.  Scratch that--he's well done. 

I honestly thought I'd have a baby in my arms a week ago. Surely since baby #2 came early (39 weeks + 3 days), baby #3 would follow suit, right? I was induced with Brantley at 39+4, so it's hard to say what would have happened, but all signs were pointing towards an "on time" baby.

So now that I'm 40+ weeks, I'm having a really hard time accepting it.  I am tired.  I am emotional.  I am done with a capital D.  I have always tried my very best not to complain about being pregnant, you know, for all those women out there who can't get pregnant, but being overdue is mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting.  I go to bed each night hopeful that I'll wake to contractions. Instead I wake to a full bladder and acid burning inside my throat.  Multiple times throughout the night, in fact.

Then each morning, I try to face the day with a positive attitude...again thinking "This is it, this is the day"; yet, each night I die a little inside as my head (and pregnant belly) hits the pillow.

Third babies are supposed to come fast, right?  That's what I've been telling myself from the get-go.  And I hate being wrong.  I hate admitting I'm wrong.  Doesn't everyone??  

It doesn't help that friends and family seemed to expect this baby to come early, too.  My mom had a dream, after all, that Baby's birthday would be November 12.  That was over two weeks ago!!

It's actually quite ironic.  I am more pregnant than I ever have been, yet now I'm also expected to take care of two kids at home??  It's basically like a cruel joke.

I may have broken down and cried on Friday night.  I couldn't help it.  My patience was extremely thin and it didn't help that a friend whose due date was a good two weeks after mine had her baby earlier in that day.  Emotionally, I've been okay since shedding those tears on Friday night, but that doesn't mean I feel any more patient on the inside.

(And shout out to my hubs, who missed part of the KU basketball game to put the kids to bed since I was so emotionally drained!!  If you know Craig and his love of the Jayhawks, you know this is huge.  He couldn't pause it because it wasn't on t.v...he was streaming from the web.)

I'm a planner.  I really wanted a mid-November baby.  And then when that didn't happen, I wanted him to come before the 22nd so he would never have to share his birthday with Thanksgiving.  And then when that didn't happen, I thought Friday the 25th sounded just fine. Our other kids were born on Fridays of holiday weekends so it would be the perfect coincidence, right?!  

Now, I just want a baby before December.  Though my faith in that is diminishing by the day.

I wanted to hold off on Christmas decorations until after newborn photos.  (I finally caved anyway.)  I haven't purchased a single Christmas gift yet because, in my mind, a baby would come well before I needed to think about all-things-Christmas.  Our laundry has been done and trash taken out multiple times in hopes of leaving a clean house for the hospital and I have re-painted my nails on three different occasions thinking "Yep, this is what color they'll be in the hospital."  My hospital bag has been packed for, literally, weeks and the car seat?  Well, every time we go somewhere, it's a nice reminder that I'm. still. pregnant.

Deep down, I know there is nothing I can do except wait.  No matter my "plans", Baby will come when he's good and ready, and having two early babies has absolutely no impact on the birth of this third one.  So here we sit, waiting.  Wishing and hoping, yet waiting. 

And as my mom most recently reminded me, no matter my plans, my wants, and my visions, God is truly the one in control.

I hope to update you all with baby news very soon!

{Nearly} 9 Months Pregnant With 3.0

I'm still a few days shy, but wanted to get my thoughts written down in case I don't make it to my due date.  First things first, I truly expected to have a baby by now.  Holden was born at 39 weeks + 3 days, and for whatever reason, I just assumed this baby would come even earlier.  I was really hoping to have a baby before Thanksgiving.  I preferred a baby before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, you know, for future birthday party planning and such.  I was also hoping for a birthday on the 21st or sooner so that he would never have to share his birthday with Thanksgiving.  (Of course, the 29th or later would also do the trick...I may cry if I'm still pregnant on the 29th!)  But clearly, none of that has panned out as I had hoped.

Next, I've always gone by a due date of November 25.  Even though I first calculated my due date to be the 27th, I specifically remember my doctor giving it to me as the 25th.  Since that was two days earlier--duh--I went with it!  Then, a few weeks ago, she was looking at my chart and said something about the 27th.  Womp womp.  Long story short, I think she told me incorrectly at my first appointment back in March.  My official due date is more realistically the 27th...not the 25th.  Two whole days later is an eternity to someone who is 36+ weeks pregnant so that was also slightly disappointing...mainly because I'm a numbers girl and I would never remember a date incorrectly!  That puts me at 39 weeks + 2 days today, not the 39 + 4 I had calculated all along.  Nonetheless, I expected to have a baby by now.

As for my progress, at my last appointment (last Thursday, 38 weeks + 4), I measured 2cm and 50% effaced.  Although a lot of girls would kill for that kind of progress, it was sort of a let down for me.  At 38 weeks + 6 days with Holden, I was 3-4 cm and 80% effaced, so anything less felt like a failure.  Just another reminder how different two pregnancies can be, I suppose!

Speaking of, last Thursday night was an interesting one.  I started feeling lightheaded around 7pm and immediately went to lie down.  I dozed off and on, but woke up to some painful contractions around 9pm.  They were fairly strong and fairly consistent.  Enough so that I texted a neighbor and asked her to keep her phone nearby that night.  At around 10pm, I was in so much pain that both Craig and myself were convinced I was in labor.  We texted our neighbor again, packed our bags, got ready to head to the hospital.  And then as quickly as they came on, the contractions stopped.  I didn't sleep a wink that night (equally confused and hopeful the contractions would begin again) and it was a struggle to get through the school day on Friday when 12+ hours earlier, I assumed I'd have a baby in my arms by that morning.  I'm still really confused by that night and had Craig not witnessed the pain I was in, I would have thought I dreamt it.

On a positive note, today is my final day of work until the end of February.  That's a huge relief, as teaching was causing so much of my exhaustion!  I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders just knowing I don't have to return to work for 12 weeks.  Then again, I'd prefer to spend my maternity leave with a baby on the outside and not the inside, but I'm still hopeful he will come before my leave officially begins next Monday.

I'm still nervous about labor and delivery happening too quickly.  One, I want need that epidural.  But two, and on a more serious note, I tested positive for Group B Strep (for the first time ever this pregnancy), which means two doses of antibiotics--spaced four hours apart--are required before delivery.  My entire labor with Holden was just over four hours from start to finish and I'm nervous about not getting the antibiotics I need to keep the baby safe.  Not protecting the baby from the bacteria can lead to serious infections including pneumonia and meningitis (ironically, those are what landed Brantley in the NICU for two fulls weeks).  The thought of another NICU baby terrifies me, especially with two additional kids at home this time.  Any prayers you could send my way would be greatly appreciated!

As for how I'm feeling, some days I feel great!  Some days I feel defeated.  The acid reflux is my biggest complaint right now.  I will literally wake up overnight choking and gagging on the acid.  And oddly enough, it vanished for about a week, but came back stronger than ever.  I also have no signs of an impending labor.  Minus those contractions last Thursday, I feel completely and totally normal, like labor is no where near.  However, I also keep reminding myself that I went from normal to labor very quickly with Holden so I know it's a possibility.

So that's where my mind is right now.  Impatient, for sure, but anxious, ready, and excited to meet this new little man!  I know he'll be here soon.  I just really wish it was sooner than later.


How Far Along: Almost 9 months (39 weeks and 2 days)

Size of Baby: The size of a watermelon

Gender: Baby BOY #3!

Weight Gain: Close to 50 pounds...yikes!

Food Cravings: Nothing specific

Food Aversions: No aversions either

Movement: Still moving in there.

Sleep: I could definitely be sleeping better.  It's hard to get comfortable and the acid reflux wakes me up quite frequently throughout the night.

Clothing: I feel like I've been living in leggings lately.

Other Pregnancy Symptoms: See above.

What I Miss: I don't even know.

Best Moment: My neighbors threw me a baby sprinkle a few weeks ago.  We got our nails done, went to dinner, and they spoiled Baby with most of the items on my wishlist!

Looking Forward To: The obvious.

Dressing Your Bump: Maternity Style

For the most part, I have really enjoyed dressing my bump throughout my {three} pregnancies.  I have a fairly positive body image overall, but I would say it's even better while pregnant.  Perhaps because there's an excuse for all the imperfections, or maybe just because everyone loves a good baby bump.  At any rate, I thought I would share a few of my favorite maternity pieces and some tips for fashionably (and inexpensively) dressing the bump in your life!

Tip #1
Stock up on the basics - a couple of plain tees (I like white) and tank tops.  These items can easily be paired with jeans or leggings and layered with non-maternity tops (see tip #2). The best tank in my opinion is this Liz Lange version from Target (I even wear it non-pregnant!), although I have a number of these maternity tanks from Old Navy, too!  As for a basic tee, my favorite is an Old Navy tee I bought while pregnant with Brantley; though this isn't the exact one, it's similar.

tank* // tank* // tee

Tip #2
Make use of your non-maternity tops like like cardigans, button-ups, kimonos, and jackets.  These items can be used for layering and/or making a summery dress colder-weather appropriate.  They also make you feel a little more normal when you've likely gained more weight than you care to admit!

cardigan // chambray button-up // flannel button-up // kimono // demin jacket* // military jacket

one // two* / three* // four // five

Tip #3
Invest in a good pair or two of jeans.  Sure, it may be hard to stomach the price of something you will wear for 6ish months, but a good pair is worth it in my opinion.  The styles have changed so much from my first pregnancy, I purchased two new pairs for this round.  One skinny pair from Stitch Fix (that fit like a dream, I highly recommend SF jeans!!!) and another boyfriend-style pair from Old Navy.  I love the look of these boyfriend-style jeans, but I definitely recommend the full panel over the below-belly version.  I always felt like my butt crack was hanging out with the below-belly ones!

 boyfriend jeans*

Tip #4
Similarly, buy a pair (or two) of good maternity leggings - something that is not see-through!  I have literally lived in this pair (which is thick enough to qualify as pants) during the past few months of this pregnancy and I love them!!


Tip #5
Shop for non-maternity tunics, tops, and shift dresses that are ever so trendy right now!  Even at 39+ weeks pregnant, I'm wearing a number of things that are non-maternity because flowy/baggy/drapey is totally in right now!  Here are some options!

one // two // three // four // five // six

one // two // three* // four* // five // six

Tip #6
Indulge in a few maternity pieces!  There are some seriously adorable maternity clothes out there and this is the only time in your life when you get to wear them!  So give yourself an allowance to buy some!

 one* // two // three // four // five // six

 *Asterisks indicate items I have the exact version of.

And finally, here are some of my favorite outfits as inspiration!  Many of these include pieces I linked to above (or items very similar) and many include non-maternity pieces!

Dear Santa, Love Brantley & Holden

This year, the boys have very similar Christmas lists.  At 2 and 4 years old, they have very similar interests - mainly sports, sports, sports - and Holden just wants to do anything and everything his older brother does!  Brantley definitely has a few opinions as to what he wants Santa to bring him, but I also had fun scouring the Internet for some ideas, too!

Franklin Sports Indoor Hockey Set - Like I said, sports, sports, sports!  I have no idea how either kid even knows much about hockey, but both do and both are obsessed.  This indoor hockey set has great reviews...though I think I may mandate it's a basement-only indoor toy in our house!

Youth/Toddler Golf Club Set - Again, any and all things-sports = two happy boys.  Nothing seems cuter than a toddler-sized set of golf clubs, am I right?!

Play Canvas Teepee - This is one toy I might not mind hanging around our dining room 24/7.  Ummmm...cute!  And I can only imagine how much fun it could provide in the coming winter months.  Not to mention, Brantley just finished a Native American unit at preschool!  Perhaps this will be their big Santa gift??

"Big" Socks - Funny story...we got "Boo'ed" (Halloween style) this year by some neighbors.  Included in our "boo" goodies were calf-high Halloween socks.  Brantley adores his and wants to wear his "big socks" all. the. time.  You know, because that's what the soccer players wear.  So instead of sporting his pumpkin-themed "big socks" come February, he needs a few new pairs.  These are definitely the dump-truck-puzzle of gifts this year (i.e. the gift he's going to be most disappointed if he doesn't get!).

3-in-1 Sports Net Set - Again, sports.  And three-in-one: volleyball, badminton, and tennis.  It's a no-brainer!

Goodnight Hockey Book - We have the baseball and football versions of this book and the boys love both of them!  They have a nice rhyme/rhythm to them and even I secretly love when they choose those books at bedtime!  I imagine this hockey version is no different!

Football Guys - Although toys with multiple small parts can be beyond annoying (#alloverthefloor), these mini Iowa Hawkeyes are just too cute to pass up! 

Yumbox - Although we're not yet to the point of taking lunches to school everyday, I love these compartmentalized lunch boxes!  And love that it's a more practical gift than another toy.

Melissa & Doug Scissor Skill and Tape Activity Books - I think both boys would enjoy these scissor and tape activity books.  And they might allow for 30 minutes 10 minutes of quiet time, which may be necessary with a new baby.  Plus Melissa and Doug!!  (I think they'd really like this reusable sticker book, too!)

Iowa Baseball Cap - Both boys have outgrown their Iowa Hawkeye baseball caps and they are not easy to find in KC.  Sounds like the perfect gift for one of our Iowa family members!

Gas Out Game - Have you guys seen this??  Brantley found it at Target last month and insisted we buy it as a birthday gift for a daycare friend.  Needless to say, it was a pretty big hit at the birthday party--and neither Brantley nor Holden could get enough of the fart noises before we wrapped it for the birthday boy.  And since I'm a #boymomforlife, I went ahead and bought one - the one and only gift I have purchased at this point!

Youth Sleeping Bag - Though we've never been camping as a family, it's something we've always talked about doing.  Whether we go legit camping or camping in our backyard, a sleeping bag is a good {practical} gift that would be nice to have in the years to come!

Youth Fishing Pole - My dad's #1 hobby is fishing...and we live caddy corner from a lake.  Obviously the boys need their own fishing poles for fishing trips with Papa and/or Daddy.  This one can be used to catch real fish, sponge fish, or just practice casting.

Superhero Capes - We sent these superhero capes to our partner in the Summer Birthday Gift Exchange last summer...and then I promptly added them to the boys' Christmas lists!  They are adorable and with three boys, I have a feeling they would get lots of good use!

So there you have it!  A few ideas for our boys...and who knows, maybe some ideas for the sports-obsessed toddler in your life!  I'll be back later this month sharing my own Christmas list...and giving away a pretty significant gift card with a handful of other bloggers.  Stay tuned...

Holiday Cards with TinyPrints

One of the first things I do upon receiving our annual family photos is design our Christmas cards.  I seriously look forward to this project every year.  I love browsing the pages and pages of cards, trying different designs, and ultimately choosing our annual card.  For the second year in a row, I ordered our cards through Tiny Prints.  Their selection, their options, and their services are just too good to pass up.  I may or may not have stewed over which card to choose for four days before making my final decision (#firstworldproblems), but I also couldn't be happier with the outcome.

Last year I went with a Tiny Prints' glitter card.  This year, I couldn't pass up their new personalized foil-stamped cards...because our last name in rose gold foil = swoon!!!!!!!  And because I'm a sucker for all the "extras", I also chose scalloped edges, pearl white shimmer paper, kraft envelopes, and matching return labels (not pictured).  And a second photo on the backside because, duh, I heart pictures!!

Here are some sneak peaks, though the photos really don't do them justice.  Notice how I conveniently cropped out the baby's name? ;)  If you're lucky enough to be a recipient of one of these beauties, I plan to send them out shortly after Thanksgiving.  (Pending all things baby!)

And because choosing a card was so hard, I'll go ahead and share a few runners up.  Just in case you're still in the market!  And I've already decided, next year I'm going with either the laser cut or letterpress cards!

Whimsy Glitzy (glitter)

As I mentioned last year, don't forget to utilize the "Show with my Photo" option - one of the best features of Tiny Prints' website in my opinion!  Seeing your photo on every card definitely helps narrow down your options!  (Though it's still extremely difficult!)

And one more quick note: Tiny Prints is offering 30% off of everything through today with the code TAKE30.  Happy card designing!

*Disclosure: Tiny Prints gifted us these cards in exchange for a blog post, but all opinions are all my own.