Monday Coffee Talk | Rainbow Art Birthday Party

Monday, November 25, 2019

Over the weekend we celebrated our almost six-year-old with a rainbows & art birthday party with a few of her closest little girlfriends!

Carrington loves all things rainbow right now. Every day she draws at least 10 different rainbows, and I feel like it just captures this age perfectly: full of color, wonder, and fun. She also draws, paints, or crafts any chance she gets, so I figured -- what would be better than combining her two loves to celebrate who she is right at this moment? 

Sequin skirt from H&M | Hadley's dress from Target

Hanging rainbow decor & smocks from Oriental Trading | Paint sample centerpieces free from Home Depot ;) 

Rainbow balloon from Target | Goodie bags (stuffed with necklaces, party blowers, skittles and multi-colored crayons) from Oriental Trading

Used some of C's own art to decorate (this is maybe one day's worth of rainbow drawings!)

Cookie cake is so underrated. This was $15 and completely polished off within a half hour!

This was one of the easiest parties we've ever thrown for the kids, and yet Steve and I both agreed it was probably our favorite. We knew we wanted something sort of low-key since we have a newborn, so we had an art instructor come to the house and guide the girls through painting their very own canvas. Carrington chose ice cream cones to paint and all of the kids' masterpieces came out so cute! The instructor set up, entertained, and cleaned up and then we just had pizza and cookie cake afterward. We had a few rainbow tablecloths and decorations and I hung C's own art up with multi-colored clothes pins. So. Easy.

Here's to savoring the last few days of our five year old. Six just seems so big!

December Countdown Activities for the Whole Family

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

With December right around the corner, I've started thinking about fun ways to celebrate this magical time of the year with my family. The holiday season can be hurried and stressful, but it can also be so special -- especially with kids. This year I'd like to slow down, look around, and enjoy all things cozy and festive with the people I love most. 

So, I've created a little list of ideas for doing just that. Last year after Christmas I bought an advent calendar with a little pocket for each day and I plan to fold up a slip of paper with one activity on it for the kids to open each morning. This isn't meant to be stressful, but purely for enjoyment, so if we have to skip a day here or there or something spontaneous comes up -- bring it on! These are simple pleasures, and many are completely free.

December Countdown Activities

-Make festive pancakes for breakfast (whipped cream Santa beards, anyone?)

-Get dressed up and visit Santa

-Drive around looking at lights & drinking hot cocoa

-Go to a holiday concert (the kids' singalong counts!)

-Watch favorite Christmas movies (ours are Elf, The Grinch, Home Alones, The Santa Claus, and Jingle All the Way)

-Enjoy the holiday sights in the city

-Wrap gifts while listening to Christmas music

-Volunteer with the kids

-Decorate gingerbread houses

-Bake cookies and deliver to the neighbors

-Mail holiday cards to friends & family

-Do a random act of kindness (treat someone to their Peppermint Mocha in the Starbucks line?)

-Read favorite holiday books (we love The Night Before Christmas and The Polar Express)

-Bring treats to the fire station and police station to thank them for their service (we did this last year and both were so pleasantly surprised -- plus the kids got to talk to the firemen and a wonderful police woman!)

-Decorate the inside and outside of the house as a family

-Cut out paper snowflakes and hang up (perfect play room decor!)

-Go to see a tree lighting (or just a big, lit up tree somewhere!)

-Explore a town nearby and enjoy the decorations and storefronts

-Make homemade cards and deliver them to a nearby nursing home/hospital

-Wear new holiday pajamas

-Gather blankets and towels and deliver to an animal shelter

-Smile and wish a happy holiday to retail workers

-Have a living room dance party to fun holiday music (Allllll I Want for Christmas is Youuuuuu... sing it with me!)

I hope this list gave you some fun, festive, and affordable ideas for enjoying this season! Is there anything you'd add? 

My Holiday Wish List

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Hey, all! Are you getting in the holiday spirit? We sure are! I'm counting down the days 'til we decorate the house (t-minus 5!), putting together our advent activities, and wrapping up my shopping (bless

Speaking of shopping, I love perusing gift guides this time of year; there are usually some great ideas that I can "borrow" ;) for the people on my list. I also love checking out personal wish lists, so I thought I'd kick off my series of holiday gift guides by sharing what would be on my own dream wish list this year. 

Shark Stick Vacuum | Our vacuum is a Shark and is 10 years old -- it's slowly falling apart (literally, lol) but it's still kicking and that's not bad for a decade of vacuuming up tons of carpet and Golden Retriever hair! I'd love a lightweight stick vacuum to do our whole house with (the hard wood shows EVERY hair). Right now I use my trusty dust buster and it's killing my back!

Maya Brenner Initials | I already have this necklace in rose gold -- Steve gave it to me the Christmas after Carrington was born with a letter "C" and I adore it. I haven't worn it much, though, because I need to add my other two children to it, so this year I'm wishing for an "H" and an "I" so I have my every day necklace back. :) The company makes it easy to add initials to your existing necklace -- you just order the extra letters and mail your necklace to them. This makes such a special gift!

Patagonia Jacket | I could use a replacement for my old, worn North Face jacket -- something that is perfect for throwing on for doing everyday things in the wintertime. I have heard great things about this jacket and love this pretty green color!

Smallwoods Gift Card | Have you heard of Smallwoods Home? I've loved their products for a while now but was waiting until we had updated family pictures with our newest member to order something. I would love to customize a few photo signs for our stairway wall. This shop offers e-gift cards so the gift recipient can customize their very own sign! Such a cool idea. 

Quay Sunglasses | My current pair of sunglasses is Quay and they're great quality for the price. I've eyed up this pair in "Black Smoke" for a while now. Great reviews, too!

Sperry Winter Boot | My Uggs get so much wear during the winter (long live Uggs), but they're not really meant for the wet weather. I haven't had a true snow boot in a long time and would love these to wear in the rain and snow. The pink sole makes them extra fun!

A massage, though not pictured, would also be welcomed. I'll even take a back scratch from one of the kids at this point! ;) What's on your personal wish list?

Sweet & Soft Baby Girl's Nursery

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Happy Thursday! My kids have off school today and tomorrow because of teacher conferences, and we have our family photoshoot later today; always an adventure! ;) What does the end of your week have in store? 

I'm so excited to share some photos from Isabelle's nursery with you today. I wish they were taken on a better camera, but alas, iPhone snaps will have to do. I had so much fun putting her room together. I knew I wanted something cheerful yet soothing, bright yet simple. We chose a soft white wall with pops of color in bedding and decor... mostly yellow and blush. Bunnies have sort of been Isabelle's thing since we found out she was a girl -- I'm not sure why, but the sweetness just seemed to fit -- so there are some bunnies throughout her room too. 

My favorite thing, though, is the flower mobile/chandelier above her crib. I knew I wanted some type of accent on the wall behind her crib, but I couldn't find something I loved. One day the girls and I were browsing aimlessly in Michaels and I spotted the two-tier chandelier on 70% clearance. It was love at first sight!

I've listed sources for everything (and added links when available) at the bottom, if you're curious. :) Enjoy!

Paint color: Behr Falling Snow

Chair: old (from when Carrington was born)

Throw pillow: Hearth & Hand

Crib: Pottery Barn (the BEST, most quality crib!)

Bunny and "I" prints: Etsy

Valance: Target (no longer available, identical here)

Gold Curtain Rod: Target

Bunny play mat: TJ Maxx ($10!)

Mirror: Target

Crib skirt: Old (from Hadley's nursery)

Floating shelves: Target

Dresser: Little Seeds (via Target) -- love the look, but don't recommend!

Wicker basket: Target (no longer available but love this too)

Flower chandelier: Michaels (no longer available)

Changing pad cover: Carousel Designs

Blush lamp: Target

Blush diaper caddy: Target

Newborn gown: Nordstrom Baby (similar here)

Flower hook: Target (no longer available, but love this)

Gold "I" initial: Michaels (no longer available)

Felt flower garland: Etsy

Thanks for taking a peek! 

Monday Coffee Talk | Hello November

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Hello, November!

I love this month and I don't think it gets the credit it deserves. It's all of the anticipation of the holidays without the last-minute stress. It's the last of the colorful leaves clinging to the trees. It's crisp, chilly air without being freezing. It's that golden late fall sunlight, especially in the afternoons. It's a month dedicated to focusing on all we have to be grateful for. It's also the month I got engaged, the month my first baby was born, and the month that my favorite holiday is in! 

What about you? Do you like November or are you anxious to skip straight to next month?

I'm excited to begin this week (a day late because #life) with another Monday Tuesday Coffee Talk. Grab a cup of something delicious and let me know how your weekend was. :)

Let me start with a quick Halloween recap. We thought for sure trick-or-treat would be cancelled (can you imagine? Would have been so sad for the kids!) due to stormy weather but the day took a turn and it turned out to just be warm, windy, and wet for trick-or-treating in the evening. The girls were so excited to dress up in their princess dresses and go door-to-door with neighbors. Once they were satisfied with their haul, they came back to the house to hand out some candy. Isabelle enjoyed her very first holiday from inside the Baby Bjorn, but don't worry... she did have a cute outfit! Haha.


By the time the weekend rolled around, the weather was gorgeous. Saturday our good friends came to visit and meet the baby, so we ordered pizza and the kids ran around playing. On Sunday I ran a few errands and we relaxed, played, and Steve worked on building our early Christmas gift to the kids -- their first swing set! They are SO excited to get out and play on it, and luckily the week ahead looks sunny so I'm sure that's where they'll spend most of their time when they're not at school. Childhood at its finest. :)

Steve and I also binged a new series on Netflix -- Unbelievable. Have you seen it? REALLY good! Highly recommend giving it a watch if you need something new.

Hope your week (and month!) is off to a wonderful start, friends. 

Isabelle's Birth Story

Friday, November 1, 2019

I can't believe it has been six weeks since Isabelle was born. I feel like we were heading to the hospital at 5am yesterday, as though we were just meeting her and spending those few days in hazy recovery. Sometimes I feel like the first month of newbornhood drags (just being honest!), but this time it has absolutely flown. Isabelle Joy lives up to her name: an absolute joy. She has been calm, sweet, and oh-so-snuggly from the very beginning. 

I wanted to share Isabelle's birth story while it's still so fresh in my mind. If you're not into that type of thing, I won't be offended if you come back next week for something non-baby-related. It's so hard not to overshare all things baby in these early weeks. :) Stay with me, friends!

Isabelle Joy: A Birth Story

Isabelle was a scheduled c-section. My other two girls were also c-sections (you can read about those here), and due to a large uterine window they found when they delivered Hadley three years ago, I was told another repeat c-section would definitely be the safest way to go if we chose to have more kids. My doctors agreed that sometime during the 38th week would be ideal, and we ended up choosing the last day of the week because the doctor who delivered both Carrington and Hadley (and who we really love and trust) was working that day -- it seems so funny to actually pick your child's birthday, doesn't it? It's all I know!

That morning, a Friday, Steve and I set our alarms for 4:30am in order to leave the house by 5:15 and get to the hospital by 5:30, a full two hours before the c-section was scheduled. We had packed our bags late the night before (master procrastinators!), so we basically threw on some comfortable clothes and headed into the pitch-black, chilly morning full of excitement and a touch of nerves. We swung through the Dunkin Donuts drive through so Steve could grab a breakfast sandwich and coffee on the way (wife of the year here, since I was already fasting!) -- it was sure to be a busy day ahead!

When we arrived at the hospital, we went straight to check-in and were quickly led back to pre-op. By now, we're pretty used to the whole routine. Get undressed, put on some monitors, answer a bunch of questions, get an IV. Our nurse was in and out, and eventually we met with the anesthesiologist and a couple of other people who would be joining us in the delivery room: residents, a nursing student, and finally... our doctor! Everyone was so friendly, warm, and conversational. Steve and I were joking around and the atmosphere was calm, while being full of anticipation, if that makes sense. Steve changed into his scrubs and we awaited go time.

The moment they walk you back and have you kiss your spouse before going into the operating room by yourself is always the hardest for me; it's when I always tear up. Something about being separated from the person who loves you most and is there to comfort you is unnerving. Once in the chilly operating room, they gave me the spinal (which felt like it took forever this time around!) and helped me lay down on the table. They put up the curtain and started prepping everything and began the touch tests to make sure I was numb. One cool difference from my other kids' births was they were playing music this time around -- lots of Maroon 5 and Isabelle was born to a Coldplay song. :) Talk about a legit birthday party!

Once Steve came in, things got moving pretty quickly. The surgery itself went smoothly and before we knew it, we heard my doctor say "there's another big window" -- which filled me with relief that the timing had worked out and we were both safe. Then he said "Hi baby! Look at that hair! She's beautiful!" and shortly after, at 8:01 a.m., Isabelle Joy was lifted up into the world. We heard her sweet cries and they immediately turned the curtain in front of me clear so I could see her. I couldn't believe I was meeting my third daughter. So surreal!

They whisked her over to get cleaned up and weighed, and Steve went over to be with her. Not too long after, she was brought over and laid on my chest for about 15 minutes. How incredible to have that time with her right away. With Carrington and Hadley, Steve was sent to post-op right away with them while I was stitched up. I was so glad I got to bond and cuddle right after sweet Isabelle was born. She calmed on my chest and Steve and I just stared at her little features while they worked on me.

Steve then went to post-op with her while they finished up on me, which always feels like forever. They chatted with me and checked on me frequently, though, and I felt well taken care of. Finally, I was lifted onto the rolling hospital bed, and wheeled into post-op to reunite with Steve and my new little girl. I held and nursed her right away (my plan was to bottle feed, but I have always latched my girls in post-op and breastfed that first day in the hospital -- to each their own!). We let our immediate family know that she had arrived and everyone was safe and healthy. There is no feeling like meeting your baby, and a close second is sharing the joyful news with the people you love most. The very best!

The moment we met our Isabelle will forever be in my mind and heart, and I'm so glad I have pictures and videos to remember it by, too. My most treasured dreams have come true, and I truly feel like the luckiest person in the entire world to have my family here, healthy, happy, and complete. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Forever, thank you.

Isabelle Joy
6 lbs. 13 oz. | 19.25 inches 

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