Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mother's Day gift ideas 2014

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Spring holidays are some of my favorite as I get older and more fully understand the reasons behind the celebrations. Now that Easter is over, I've turned my attention to Mother's Day and couldn't be more excited to celebrate the amazing mom's I'm blessed to have in my life. My own mother will be gone on Mother's Day (maybe for the first time ever?) and so I'm a little sad about that. But we will have our family Mother's Day celebration a little late once she's back (with our little sister in tow - freshly graduated and everything!). 

I rounded up this list of gift ideas and would love to read any other gift lists you might have posted on your own blogs, so be sure to comment and leave a link if you're so inclined!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

solemn vows and summertime

Today as I drove home from Anchorage, I noted joyfully that the trees all have little buds on them just waiting to open into new green leaves. When I pulled into our little drive, the gravel crunching under our tires, I saw green grass sprouting the the sunniest parts of my yard. Bulbs are coming up and starting to bloom, and the Cranes are returning in huge grey flocks. I think spring has truly come to stay in the Matanuska Valley.

Despite these sure signs of spring, it's still hard for me to picture what summer will look like; how lush and green and beautiful everything will really be. It happens year after year after year and it's still so hard to imagine when I stand outside and see only a still mostly sparse landscape surrounding me.

I needed a little extra encouragement tonight, so I looked at pictures from last summer. Oh was it green. And lush. And hot. And sunny. And the complete opposite of sparse. If it could be so perfectly alive last summer, and the first leaves didn't even bud until the end of May, I know it will somehow turn green and lush this year too.

So as dusk falls outside my window and I stare longingly at those pictures of last years summer, I'm making a solemn vow to soak up every minute of this summer, to really take note of the life, to carefully store up the precious memories as I make them, and to tuck them away for when things are once again dead and cold and my heart is heavy with longing for summer.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

31 week update

How Far Along? 31 weeks

Size of Baby: Coconut! (over 16 inches & 3 1/3 pounds)

Gender: Girl!

Weight Gain: I was up 21 pounds at my last midwife appointment. I won't weigh myself until next appointment (Tuesday) since our scale at home is out of batteries and I'm too lazy to replace it. 

Maternity Clothes: Dresses are my best friend. Also skirts. My skin is more sensitive this pregnancy than it was with Riggs and wearing any form-fitting clothes on my belly or legs gets really uncomfortable and itchy after a few hours. Plus I stay cooler in skirts and dresses and I think they're really cute for spring and summer. 

Nursery: I ditched the idea of investing in a really nice bassinet (like this one that I LOVE) because I'd just rather spend the money on something else. I have a feeling baby girl will end up sleeping with us at least part of the night  like Riggs did until he was eight months old (just trying to be real here) so I don't want to invest in something that might not even get used. Instead I purchased this Rock 'n Play:
I love that it's so small and easily moves from room to room, yet still holds a baby up to 25 lbs (most bassinets top out at 15 pounds or rolling over). I still plan on napping her in her crib from day one as often as possible like we did with Riggs. I'm really happy with how we approached sleep with Riggs and how he always slept, so I'm not too worried about following the same footsteps with this baby. BUT I know that every baby can be really different so I'm just trying to keep an open mind as to what this baby will need/like. 

Movement: Still moving all the time but I can tell that she's starting to run out of space. Her movements are more restrained and there are less huge kicks and jabs and more rolling and stretching type movements. She's head down and her little behind tends to be on the left with her feet on the right (from my perspective). 

Symptoms: Still feeling great except for pesky rib pressure when I sit down. But really it's not too bad, and I'm thankful to be feeling as good as I do.

Sleep: Sleeping great considering. I will admit that I'm pretty sick of only being comfortable on my left side (I'm a belly sleeper).

Cravings: Sweets - cookies, fruit snacks, peanut-butter m&ms. 

What I Miss: When I'm feeling really especially pregnant, I miss being able to get comfortable more easily. I miss not having a huge belly and being thrown off balance because of it. Wearing my normal clothes. Not having to pee all the time (even after I just peed five minutes before). 

Best Moment This Week: Easter! It was so much fun having all of my family gathered at my house to laugh and play and talk together and to celebrate our Saviors resurrection. 

Also today I was laying on the couch on my side (more comfortable than sitting) and Riggs came up to me. He leaned over to my belly and said "(baby's name) come out!" then he leaned over and gave her a kiss and rubbed my belly. Moments like that are so sweet and I just cannot wait to see them together!

Looking Forward To: Seeing my mama this weekend and my bff getting back from vacation on Saturday!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

our week in iPhone photos

We had a fun filled weekend and this week has already been pretty fun too. The weather has been amazing and we spent most of our time outside doing spring chores and enjoying the warm sun. I truly love spring and am so thankful for the little bits of green I've been seeing popping up around the yard.

Riggs helped daddy wash the car:

watching motocross videos together over breakfast:

a little lego time in the morning:

at Wonderland Park in Wasilla...
cookie in one hand and bubbles in the other :)

giving mommy and daddy rides on 'his' motorcycle:

 so much fun swinging:

 lice treatment for two of my girls.
chicken people, have you had problems with lice in the spring?
I only had two that had any signs of lice around their vents
(I do a 'health check' every two weeks or so)
not surprised at which two as they're my worst groomers...
tea tree bath, vinegar and DE dustings - I'll check again in two weeks.

they have been loving the warm sun

worst things about spring/summer in Alaska...Mosquitos.
Riggs already got his first big bite which swelled up the back of his head.
It was hot to the touch and pretty tender for him for the first two days, ugh.

 We spend our mornings reading and playing while we wait for it to warm up from 40 to 60 degrees:

Yesterday we went to 2 year old lapsit at the Library. It was the last week before a month long break. It starts back up again in June for the summer reading program, I can't wait! Riggs has done it every year since he was just 6 months old. Excited for this year since he can make more of his own choices about which books he wants to read.

Both Riggs and Steve love dirt bikes and four-wheelers so we stopped by the Yamaha dealership nearby the gym before swimming last night so they could sit on a few bikes. Best entertainment ever for a two year old. We were there for almost an hour and he just sat on various bikes and four-wheelers. Nice break for mama, haha.

I'm already loving our spring/summer this year and it's just getting started!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

9 bedtime books: Riggs' current favorites

Riggs loves to read books and if it were up to him he'd probably read at least 20 every night before bed. But his mean mama has a rule of two books, and they have to be from the 'bedtime book' shelf. He's not really supposed to read his bedtime books during the day - and by 'not really supposed to' I mostly mean if he wants to look at them it's ok but I won't read them to him during the day. The purpose of this is to keep these books special and interesting for at bedtime, and to make sure the books we're reading before bed help him wind down and think about going to sleep.

Anytime I find a good bedtime book I add it to our little collection, but I admit I'm pretty picky. Llama Llama barely made the list, because it's a little bit rousing for him, but he loves it so much I try to always read it to him first and choose a calmer choice for the second (and last) book. I know there are a goodnight-truck-type books out there but for Riggs they just aren't a good choice. He'd get so excited about the trucks/construction equipment/trains that he wouldn't settle down into the quiet mood I like him to be in while we read bedtime books.

Riggs' Favorite Bedtime Books 2014

one | I Would Tuck You In - We picked this one up at Costco and love it so much. The illustrations are beautiful and there are little facts about the animal featured on the bottom of each page.

two | Time For Bed - Another Costco find actually, when I was pregnant with Riggs. I read this book to him every night when he was a little baby before bed, so it definitely has special meaning for me. He really like it too, and it was through reading this book that Riggs learned a lot of his animals at an early age.

three | Llama Llama Red Pajama - This book came in the mail through our Imagination Library subscription. Like I mentioned earlier I was a little bit skeptical and read through the whole thing myself before introducing it to Riggs. He really loves it and has never tried to imitate Baby Llama (stalling bedtime by asking for water) which is something I was a little worried about when I first read it.

four | Goodnight Moon - I don't think I really need to say anything about this one, except that every child should own it. It's such a classic and it fostered a love for the moon in Riggs that both Steve and I love so much. Plus I love books that have lots of little detail in the pages, like the little mouse that moves around from page to page, Riggs loves to find him and point him out to whoever is reading it to him.

five | Guess How Much I Love You - The illustrations in this book are probably my favorite thing about it, they are so dreamy and magical. I love the message too, and Riggs is obsessed with bunnies so any book with bunnies is a favorite of his.

six | Sweet Dreams Lullaby - This is another beautifully illustrated book and I particularly like it because it's written as a true lullaby, in rhyming verse. Again the main character is a bunny so Riggs really likes that too.

seven | All of Baby Nose to Toes - This was another book we received in the mail through the Imagination Library program and we both love to read it. Riggs names every character as someone from our family which I just love. And it never technically mentions bedtime but the baby takes a bath, gets dressed for bed, gets loved on by family then snuggles sleepily on it's mamas shoulder with a blanket on the last page. Riggs always says "goodnight baby" so I think he figures the baby is going to bed too. We do read this during the day before nap, but it's the only one from this list that we 'break the rule' for.

eight | Love You Forever - Oh my goodness, this book. I can barely read it to Riggs without tearing up, and I'm sure he thought I was crazy when I have broken down with a wobbly voice and a few tears a few times. It is just so sweet and really touches a chord inside me, because one of the biggest things that scared me about having a boy was 'losing' him as he grows up. I think every family should have this book on their shelves, it's just too sweet to miss.

nine | Under the Silvery Moon - I found this one recently at a used book store in Anchorage (Title Wave) and it is by far my new favorite. It's just a beautifully written and illustrated book and I could read it every single night. Riggs loves it too and picks it as one of his books at least every other night it seems.

Another favorite bedtime books is called Tiger's Bedtime, and it was mine when I was little. I would have added it to the list but I couldn't find it for sale online (or even a picture of it). I love reading it to Riggs because it brings back so many memories from my own childhood. What are some good bedtime books that I'm missing here? I'm always looking for more to add to our little shelf :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Festivities!

We have had such an amazing Easter this year, it was such a blessing to have the family gather at our house after church this year to eat and play and laugh together. I'm so incredibly thankful for the ultimate sacrifice made my Jesus Christ so that I might have life.