Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pink Blush Maternity Dress

Now that I've been wearing maternity clothes for basically two years and have been pregnant in every season of the year, I've figured out what I like to wear. Most of the time I'm wearing basics and rotating the same outfits over and over.

For special occasions like baby showers or pictures I prefer to wear a dress. Something cute AND comfy.

I loved PinkBlush maternity dresses and tunics last pregnancy, so when they offered to collaborate and send me a gorgeous dress for my baby "sprinkle" I was pumped.

This navy lace overlay dress is beautiful, airy, comfortable, and was perfect for my shower. I could move around and lean over easily without messing with the dress, which is huge when you're opening gifts and giving out hugs left and right!

To win a $75 gift card to PinkBlush (doesn't have to be their maternity line!) hop over to my Instagram and enter there! The giveaway will run from 12 pm EST 4/27/16 through 12 pm EST 4/28/16 and the winner will be announced on the Instagram post on Monday, 5/2/16, after I contact the winner.

You are ineligible to win if you have won a gift card to PinkBlush in the past 3 months. 

Happy entering! :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Judah's 1st Birthday Party

For Judah's 1st birthday, I was conflicted. I wanted to do something special without going overboard or breaking the bank. After doing some research and finding some cheap party decorations at Walmart and Target, I told Jordan that I thought we could invite everyone we want and make it under $100. So we went for it, and it was a fun challenge! 

It really couldn't have gone better and I was super happy with how it turned out. I didn't do a theme, just wanted to make it Judah themed since he probably wouldn't have appreciated a theme anyway. :)

Firstly, the invitations. I've used Vista Print multiple times before and have been pleased with the value, speed, and quality. They almost always have some sort of coupon code to use if you search for one, and this time it was 25% off invitations. Perfect. Since you can customize it with pictures, the invitation doubled as a keepsake for us and people who care about that kinda thing like grandparents. We sent out around 30 invites and this was included in the budget.

I had some pictures printed off of Instagram from Walgreens and Parabo Press for this picture window.If it's your first order from Parabo you can get 25 square prints for free (plus shipping) and they are excellent quality. They are the ones with the white border. I have the window up all of the time and use it for cards and photos. It's an old window with lace behind it and twine with tiny clothes pins. 

This is a chalkboard that stays in that spot all the time, so I changed it for the party. I used chalk markers from Michael's for the lettering. It was made from an old crib! Our good friend/relative made it and her pieces can be found here on Facebook.

This could easily be done just using black paper or foam board if you don't have a big chalkboard.

Instead of going all out with decorations throughout the house, I wanted to focus on one spot where I knew the most pictures would be taken. Here is my advice on that:
  • Pick a place in your house/venue that gets good light
  • Imagine the area in pictures or even take test pictures beforehand
  • Think about the look you're going for and what colors you will use before you shop
  • Pick colors that will flow nicely with the decor of your home/that room
  • Go through your house or stash of party stuff to see if you already have things you can use
  • Decide what you want the eye to be drawn to in pictures, which will probably be the birthday boy/girl :)
  • Focus your time, money, and effort in that spot
Since his birthday is in March, it was difficult to plan if it should be outside or inside. The weather can vary so much. To ease my mind I decided to stick indoors. 

We don't have a large, open gathering area in our home but we made do with the living room. The colors are neutral and I knew I'd love the white and gray background of the fireplace and wall. It gets pretty good light when the sun is out, and thankfully it was. :)

The banners/bunting were from Target and Walmart. I struck gold at Target when I found their adorable Spritz line of party decor on clearance, and then an extra percentage off clearance through the Cartwheel app. This included plates, napkins, party hats, paper straws, the cake topper, garland, and banners. Everything was from Target except the chalkboard picture banner from Walmart. Some of it isn't available anymore, I guess that's why it was on clearance!

Here are some of the items I purchased along with ones I didn't end up using but will in the future:

I was going to make a banner for Judah's monthly pictures, but found this chalkboard flag banner at Walmart for only 2 DOLLARS. Craziness. I got two of them since they had 10 flags each and used some leftover to make the tiny "ONE" banner for Judah's chair. I just cut the flags down smaller for that one. It even came with chalk. 

I had his monthly pictures printed in squares from mpix and simply taped them onto the banner. Afterward I took them off to put in his baby book.

We were going to use his big high chair for cake time but then realized it would be easier to use his portable Ingenuity booster seat strapped onto one of our dining chairs. It was less bulky and we could take the tray off and keep him in it for presents if he obliged. (He did for a while.)

This ridiculously cute chalk board banner cake topper was included in the Target clearance haul and I can't find it online. I can't find a similar one either. You could always make it with some time and effort, but I'm glad I didn't have to. Haha. :)

The DELICIOUS AMAZING INCREDIBLY YUMMY cake is from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Cannot rave about these cakes enough, they are so perfectly moist with just the right amount of icing. A little goes a long way. Judah's little cake was a "bundtlet" from there and he loved it (after getting used to it).

And now for a few fun party pictures. He had a blast with his most favorite people! I think the decorations made for a great picture background. Somehow a lamp was turned on which I did NOT want (yellow picturessss! nooooo!) but oh well. They're still cute. Judah's birthday shirt was a gift from my mom from Gymboree. Major props to Jordan's brother Joseph for taking the pictures during cake and present time. What a guy.

We had an amazing time celebrating our boy and the joy he's brought us in the past year. Shout out to our moms for bringing some delicious finger foods which was a huge help, both to me and to our budget. :) We had the party in the afternoon so we didn't serve a meal. We served fruit, veggies, finger sandwiches, cheese and crackers, pretzels, sausage dip and chips, doughnut holes, angel food cake with strawberries, and birthday cake. YUM.

Judah had a blast playing with his little buddies and seeing his friends and family. We were overwhelmed with love. 

Will we reuse everything for baby #2's first birthday? Hmmm....probably. :)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Our Normal Day: Judah 1 Year

In the past couple months Judah and I have really fallen into a groove. I love it. I love knowing what to expect (which is not common as a new parent or just being a parent in general of course) and am cherishing it before he moves on to a new schedule eventually. And before the new baby comes and the schedule disintegrates before my eyes.

Here is Judah's one year old day if we were to not go anywhere.

7:00 -- 8:00 am

I wake up sometime between 7 and 7:30 depending on what I need to be ready for that day and if I'm washing my hair or not (which changes EVERYTHING). I get ready, eat breakfast which is always always always 2 pieces of toast, one with peanut butter, one with homemade strawberry jelly. I have a jelly dealer at Jordan's work. Seriously. And chocolate milk to drink. I don't drink coffee anymore as lately I prefer only iced coffee and haven't found anything I love for home. So chocolate milk it is. Which I drink sometimes at night too. Basically 80% of my pregnancy weight gain is due to chocolate milk. I digress.

While I eat breakfast and through the rest of the time before Judah wakes up I have my devotional time, which usually spills over into when he is awake but the completely focused time is pre-Judah wakeup.

8:00ish -- 9:30 am

Judah wakes up usually around 8. He's a slow riser, making little noises and movements for a while and I let him have some time to get out of the sleepy zone before I go in there. If he wakes up before 8 then Jordan will go get him so he can see him before he leaves for work. If this happens then we love to watch "Dada's truck" leave and Judah waves bye-bye, unless he is thinking about the fact that his favorite person in the world is leaving for the day and cries which does happen. He's a little obsessed with Jordan.

He still drinks a bottle first thing and we haven't been rushing to get rid of it. No more formula, though! Hurray! He loves milk.

Then he goes straight into play time. He usually forgets about me for at least 20-30 minutes (unless I eat something of course) as he rediscovers some of his toys. This is what I meant by my devotional time being extended during this time. He is usually GREAT at playing independently which is nice, but I play with him a lot as well. I hope he keeps that up when #2 gets here but we'll see. So I try to get some housework or random things done at this time as well.

9:30 -- 10/10:30

Judah's breakfast time. My snack time. We sit together at the kitchen table eating and laughing. At the end of his breakfast time I read a children's Bible to him and pray. It's gotten to the point where he asks for me to read it by pointing and trying to say Bible (which sounds a lot like bye-bye except for the voice inflection) and it's adorable. I am super dramatic with the stories and he loves it. Then we pray. Well, I pray and he tries to say "amen" but it's usually just "mmm".

After breakfast he may play a little bit more and then we read some books before nap. He loves books and it helps him wind down for his next sleepy time. He is not anywhere close to dropping this nap and gets so sleepy after 2-2.5 hours of being awake. I feel the same way these days...

10:30 -- 12:00

First nap. Since I am a hungry pregnant beast I usually go ahead and eat lunch by 11 or so. I really can't eat around him without him wanting all my food so nap times include food for me for sure. During this time I may finish getting ready if that needs to be done. Most of the time I do house work and listen to a podcast because I'm obsessed with podcasts. If we are going somewhere after this nap then I get things ready for that.

12:00 -- 2:00

More play time. Lunch for Judah. If we have places to go it's usually during this time.

2:00 -- 3:00

If we are home for the day then we almost always go for a walk to the park during this time. He loves being outside and we have a little park in our neighborhood with a beautiful greenway leading to it. It's my favorite thing about our neighborhood. He swings at the park and is OVERJOYED if there are kids there for him to watch and wave to. He loves kids and toddlers. Not sure about babies but we'll find out soon.

3:00/3:30 -- 4:30

Second nap. More time for me to get stuff done. And EAT of course. And prep dinner if I didn't do that already. When am I gonna do these things when #2 gets here? No clue. God bless this time of 2 naps.

4:30 -- 5:45

Snack. Play time. Occasionally Judah will watch some Sesame Street. We never have the tv on when he's up unless it's Sesame Street or a ball game so he probably thinks those are the only things that live in that black box. It's not that I'm against tv, I just don't watch it really unless I'm with Jordan. And we don't have cable. So it's not on. I love the quiet. Our culdesac is REALLY someone will shut their car door outside and I'm like ugh stop with the noise. As I type each paragraph I realize more and more how much this new baby is going to change things. I'm in for it.

Usually sometime in this hour we both start getting antsy for Jordan to get home so I pull out the favorite toy that stays hidden otherwise because he goes nuts to play with it -- the Tupperware shape sorter ball. This is my trick to make him happy if he's being fussy at home. The catch is that he needs me to actively help him do it. He can put the shapes in their places by himself but I have to show him where they go and hold the ball steady. The moment he puts the last shape in he starts to cry because they're all gone, that's how much he loves this thing. It is getting more difficult as I get larger to play with him on the floor so I usually limit the shape ball to three times. When he can do it by himself he'll probably work on it like an 8 hour work day. 

5:45 -- 7:45

DADA IS HOME and all is right with the world. This may include a bike ride, hanging out in the garage/gym with our friend Eric, crazy tickling and wrestling on the floor, guitar playing, etc. Now that I list some of these activities out I can see why Judah is ecstatic to have Dada home. He's a fun guy. We usually have commitments at least 2 or 3 week nights but this is how it goes when we're all at home. We all eat dinner around 6:30.

7:45 -- 8:15

Usually we end the night's play time with a family dance session. It's pretty hilarious. Then it's bath time, bottle, bed. Which we've done since about week 2 of his life. He's so sweet before bed that it's always hard to say goodnight. But then we are eager to have Jordan & Ashley time so it's not THAT hard... :)


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