October 2, 2018

Twins 4th Birthday!

Yes, I realized that it is OCTOBER already and I'm JUST now posting these. But I'm documenting them nonetheless. The twins turned 4 in July and we celebrated with a sweet and simple rainbow popsicle party. Having a summer birthday growing up in Phoenix doesn't give much room for doing anything outside other than swimming. And I'm sure you can see by the sweaty glow on our faces in these pictures that this day was a HOT one. But it didn't stop us from doing something special. Swimming was their favorite activity all summer so it only made sense that we added that into the fun. This summer they both learned how to swim on their own fully so that was another milestone to be remembered in this fourth year of their life. 

These twins of mine never cease to keep me on my toes, constantly challenging the boundaries and figuring out what they can and can't get away with. It's exhausting to say the least, but recently the thing I've reflected on most in being their mama is how much of myself needs to grow up. The things that are hard in parenting them have began to shift my perspective and grow my heart in ways I didn't know needed to grow before. And for that I'm eternally grateful for this gift in them that I see God has given. Apart from the hard stuff, they are the epitome of joy and excitement and all things FUN. They know how to laugh at the silliest things and create beauty and kindness around them. 

Throwing this rainbow themed party for them was just a reflection of who they are...bright, beautiful, and something you always want to be around. We ate melted popsicles, swam until the sun went down and celebrated with homemade rainbow cupcakes. These girls have been a surprise and challenge since the moment we found out they were arriving, but my heart couldn't be more thankful for them and how they have made our family what it is today. 

August 6, 2018

Cabin Time

I'm sure you've seen me post a time or two on Instagram how much I dread the heat during Arizona summers. Like so much that I start playing Christmas music in July just to get me dreaming of cooler days! haha! To help our summer blues we tried to plan as many little getaways as possible to get us through so the long weeks and hundred temp days wouldn't be as debilitating. (Am I sounding dramatic!?! Try living here in the desert for the summer and then you'll see what I mean ;))

Anyways, a couple times this summer we've gone up north to Flagstaff and its been a breathe of fresh air. Shane's grandparents own a cabin tucked in the woods where he's been going to ever since he was a kid and I love that we get to bring our kids here to play and do things he did when he was growing up. I love that there's been years and years of memories in this place throughout our family history and making more memories with our kids here almost brings me to tears. 

You can't help but take the days slower and soak in the surrounding beauty when you're up there. We took a small hike up the backside of the cabin with the girls where we found a rustic tree house that overlooked the country. It was a sweet sweet moment watching my girls get so excited to be adventurous and get dirty. 

I wore my new favorite baby sling from Sakura Bloom to keep Dash close to me as we hiked and walked around the lake all weekend. This carrier is a new must have for mamas that I'll rave about over and over again. I love that its lightweight and easy to get on and off without all the bulky buckles or extra fabric hanging all over. Its also so pretty isn't it!?! Honestly I get at least one compliment about it every time I'm out and about with it on. The fabric on it is so breathable which makes it the perfect carrier for our hot weather. 

We're about to head out to California for our last family trip of the summer and before Raleigh starts pre-school (WHAT!?! did I just say that out loud!?! queue all the tears). We'll be staying in another cabin in the woods which I'm excited to show you all. Can't wait to be sitting in the lake, drinking coffee in the woods and walking around doing slower days again with my best people. 

July 26, 2018

Life Lately- July

1. This year we started a new tradition taking our girls out on dates one on one each week. Its been my favorite thing to do with them, seeing their personalities in different ways when they're not surrounded by the rest of their siblings. Jaelynn and I tried out AZ Pops in town for the first time and we were hooked! Yummy, fruity creative popsicles to beat the summer heat--yes please!

2. We took a little trip to the woods over the Fourth of July weekend. It was a sweet getaway for our little family. We took the girls on a little hike up the hills behind our cabin and they were troopers. The best was seeing them get excited about the tree house we found at the top and going all out to climb all over it. I love watching kids become adventurous and excited to explore new things. We all need a bit of this in our lives every once in a while, don't you think!?!

3. Something I look forward to all year long is our week away to the beach with Shane's whole side of the family. Each year our tribe gets bigger and bigger with little ones running around. We're on the sand day in and day out and the week goes by all too fast once its here. Each year brings new memories that I'm forever grateful for. Watching our kids get to do something I grew up doing (summers on the beach) in a place Shane and his family have been going to since he was a kid is the sweetest gift from it all. 

4. The twins turned FOUR this month. FOUR! Which means I have three 4 year olds in our house now (Raleigh is still a few weeks away from turing FIVE and then the tears will really start coming). We decided to do an overnight stay at a hotel for their birthday and it was the best idea! They LOVED it. Shane and I decorated the room the night before as they were sleeping and I just kept thinking how grateful I am that we get to do this, and that they get to wake up to have a special day to remember like this. As we were decorating I smiled at Shane and said "this is so fun"--The fun being that we are in the midst of doing things I always dreamt of, raising a family and giving them memories that will shape and allow them to feel loved and cared for. The fun being that we get to create traditions that they will talk about for years to come and maybe give to their kids someday. It sure is bittersweet watching your kids grow up, but being in the present of it realizing how much of a gift it is that I get to do this puts me in a place of full gratitude and joy!

July 17, 2018

Out With Five + Whirlwind Bags

One thing Shane I were always determined to make a priority with having a lot of kids is still making time to get out and do things we value. We've always been spontaneous and adventurous and this was something we wanted to bring into our parenting as well. Of course, with having lots of little ones planning things out is a good idea and usually makes whatever adventure we have coming up go a lot smoother, so there is some strategy to getting out of our house most days. Like, figuring out how long it will take to get everyone dressed and packing up a bag for what we might need if we decided to stay out longer, things like that. With five little ones in tow now our biggest adventure of the month might only look like going to a restaurant for dinner, but its an adventure nonetheless. 

Since getting out of the house can sometimes be a drudging task in itself, finding ways to make the process easier is a necessity for me...which is where Whirlwind bags comes in! I've been through a handful of diaper bags over the years, my last one being a flimsy backpack I bought at Walmart for $15 and wore down to its last thread in less than a year! ha! But when it came close for Dash to make his appearance I knew I needed to find something that was durable and long lasting that could hold up with our everyday lifestyle. 

I love that this "diaper bag" doesn't really look or feel like your average diaper bag. It has the perfect amount of pockets inside and out to store all the big and little things we need. Not only is it durable with its thick canvas material to uphold the wear-with-all it inevitably will endure, but the design and appeal is aesthetically pleasing too, which is the perfect combination in my book! I also love that its neutral enough for Shane to wear and still look good in ;) 

The bag comes in three different colors to choose from, all of which I LOOVED so it was hard to pick! I chose the bag in wheat because it's what I'm most drawn to and just couldn't get away from it. The pockets inside hold diapers and wipes in specific places so I don't have to go scrounging around the bottom of my bag to find what I need.  My favorite feature might be the pockets on the sides of the bag making it easy for me to grab my keys or phone right away while still wearing it on my back. The leather details are the perfect touch making it feel like it's going to last just by looking at it. 

I knew from the minute I opened up the package this one would be a winner for our growing little family! Its been traveling around with us for a few months now and still in perfect condition. So if you're on the look out for a great bag that is easy, functional, and durable then you've found your match. I know I have and I'm so thankful to know I finally have something that will last long through the years with all the crazy littles we have. 

Thank you Whirlwind bags for creating and sending us the perfect backpack for our whirlwind days!

You can follow Whirlwind bags here or brows through their website here.https://shopwhirlwind.com/collections/frontpage 

June 29, 2018

Dash's Birth Story

It's been a while since I've written on here thanks to a certain someone entering our world. While I've been able to do a little work here and there since Dash's birth, he and his sisters have taken up majority of my time thus putting blogging on the back burner. Which, I guess,  is just how it should be. :)

I got a couple hours to get away today to work so I'm sitting at a coffee shop sans kids (my husband is the best!) and thought I'd take the time to finally document Dash's story. Mostly, I'm doing this as keepsake for myself for later on because I don't want to forget the sweet details that brought him into our lives. 

A little back story leading up to his birth was figuring out when he was actually going to come. When I took the test at home I thought for a couple months that my due date would be mid March. But after my first ultrasound saying how far along I was, my mom and I realized my due date was actually coming a whole month earlier than I had in mind! From there, I had been given three different due dates since my first visit. The first due date was February 14th, based on my last period before I got pregnant. The second due date was February 20th, based on the second ultrasound I had at 6 months along. And the third and final one my midwife and I landed on was February 25th, based on the measurements from the very first ultrasound I had done at 12 weeks-- for whatever reason we couldn't get those results from the first clinic I visited for months, but once we had them we were able to have a more accurate due date.

Not having an exact due date for a while kind of made it feel easier not knowing. I remembered with Sage being three days past her due date felt like an eternity. So going into this birth seemed a little more freeing not having my head wrapped around a certain date for a while. I just knew it would happen when it was supposed to happen. 

A lot of this pregnancy felt different to me. I felt bigger, heavier, a little queasy to begin with and e v e r y t h i n g hurt down low! We didn't know what the gender would be until he was born so the whole time I wrote off the differences as it being my fifth baby and all the changes my body had gone through before. I kept telling myself over and over it was probably another girl. (This post shares a bit about why we chose to wait on finding out)

Two of the due dates I was given went by with no sign of baby on the way. A few days leading up to his birth I started feeling some slight contractions off and on, but nothing to make me think anything was going to happen. Days went by with more contractions off and on. I had my membranes stripped after I saw my midwife at 40 weeks. She said that if anything was going to happen then this would just kick things into gear, so I went for it. At this point I was ready for baby to be out!

Another day went by and nothing. The morning of February 25th I was stripped again and did a lot of walking aallll day long. Nothing started to roll until around dinner time that night. It still wasn't anything very painful and I kept thinking the contractions would just fade away, like it did the night before. We had dinner at Shane's parents house that night and all through the couple of hours we were there I had mild contractions off and on, so we headed home to get the girls to bed. 

On the way home I had a couple more contractions and remember saying very sternly to Shane to turn the heater down because it was too hot in the car. Again, I still didn't think anything was going to happen that night but apparently the tone in my voice made him think this was the night it was going to happen! haha

We got home around 7:30pm and decided to settle the girls down on the couch with a show before bed time while I rested through the contractions. While Shane and the girls sat on the couch, I decided to do some cat-cow yoga moves on my hands and knees to try and get the baby movin down. The contractions were light and I could still talk and move through them easily. I think I did about 3 or 4 cat-cows when suddenly something felt like it popped inside of me and a warm gush a water poured out (sorry if thats TMI!) I screamed and yelled "AH! I think my water just broke!" 

This feeling was new to me since I never felt it break with the girls until I was already well into hard labor. Shane shot up from the couch and told all the girls to get in bed because the baby was coming! I laughed and told him I think we still have a little bit of time. I quickly texted my midwife and doula friend to let them know what was happening. I waited out the contractions a little longer to see how close they would get. I wanted to labor at home as much as possible until I felt it was really time to go. We stayed another hour at home as I timed contractions and texted the rest of the family that it was baby time!

We got our things together, waited for my in laws to come to the house to be with the girls and gave them each hugs and kisses before we left. I told them that when they wake up they get to meet the new baby, which I think motivated them to get to sleep faster :) They couldn't wait!

We arrived at the hospital around 9 pm and at this point I couldn't talk or walk through contractions anymore. It felt like it took us forever to walk from the parking lot into triage! Triage was the worst part for me, filling out papers, getting poked and prodded all while having a baby push through me. I kept telling the nurses "its coming, I can't talk, I need to push"-- things like that. Every contractions felt like things were happening faster...and they were. It was evident I needed to get to a room quickly so they got me in a bed and rolled me into the nearest room, all while I hummed and breathed through more contractions.

We made it into the room around 9:45 and I wasn't feeling comfortable on my back anymore. I decided to move positions to keep things going and stood on the side of the bed, leaning onto a medicine ball for rest and support. Shane stood by me the whole time, holding my hand and rubbing my back through each contraction. My mother in law and all three of my sisters- in-law showed up at this point to come watch the show! My mom was face-timed in too from California. The whole gang was there, eager to see what this baby would be. 

My midwife soon showed up and was the best and letting me do things the way I wanted to do them and what made me feel most comfortable. As I was standing next to the bed, I felt like I needed to push more which made me feel more uncomfortable. She suggested I get back on the bed to a comfortable position. I tried the back again but couldn't do it, so I turned around for support on my hand and knees. Shane stood in front of me where I could see and hear him next to my ear, encouraging me through each push. I remember being so excited to know if this baby was a boy or a girl and just wanting it out already so I could see!

 After pushing for what felt like forever I remember yelling to my midwife " just get it ooout!!" I was over the waiting...and the pain. (No epidural here). I could feel the baby coming down and then going back up when the contraction was over. The next thing I yelled was "its stuck! its stuck!" My midwife assured me it wasn't stuck and to relax and breathe. She kept coaching me through and slipped in saying "SHE's almost here". Shane and I looked at each other like "What!?! did she just tell us it was a girl?!" She realized what she had said and told us over and over she didn't know, it was just her natural reaction to call it a "she". I remember thinking after that, that she must've known it was a girl and was only trying to cover it up, so my heart was set that we'd be adding another girl to our crew. 

Each push got harder and I knew it was getting closer, but still felt like this baby was never going to come. I think I pushed for about 30 minutes until I heard them saying they could see the head! I told them to just take it out the next time cuz I didn't want to go through the pain again. Another push was coming and I screamed again "get it out! get it out!" I felt my midwife help the baby come down and the shoulders slide out then instant relief that it was finally done.

The next and only words I could hear were Shane's next to my ear. "Its a boy!" over and over again "its a boy!" More voices shouted around us "its a boy!" Since I couldn't see anything just yet, I replied back "no its not, no its not!" I just couldn't believe it! I think I kept saying this to protect myself in case they were tricking me or something. But the way Shane said it and the look on his face told me it was true. Our prayers were answered and our BOY was finally in our arms. 

The tears flowed. The smiles lit up the room. And this beautiful boy was actually here, nuzzling on my chest. He was born at 11:21pm on Sunday February 25th making this the fastest labor and delivery I've had yet. I still get choked up looking at these pictures, thinking about that night, and holding him in my arms. He is the sweetest dreamiest little thing that I can't get over! 

If it's not obvious already, we are all pretty in love with him. Not a minute goes by in the day where one of the girls isn't asking to hold him or feed him. Watching them love their brother is the sweetest icing on the cake! I still can't believe it sometimes, that we get to parent a boy. Watching Shane be a dad is one of my favorite things on earth and words can't say how grateful I am to our God that I get to watch him raise this little guy! 

People keep asking me how the adjustment has been adding another baby into the family and I honestly can say that its been just what our hearts have longed for. Having Dash here feels like he's been here all along, like I always knew he was coming someday and now we finally get to live it out. I know when I say it out loud that we're a family of seven it sounds so big, and it is I know, but somehow it feels like we're still this little crew and there's a lot more room to grow! haha. Not sure what that means for our future of how many kids we'll end up having all together, but I know there still room in our hearts for more. 

So I guess that means we'll start praying for Dash to get a little brother ;)