Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Friday, March 24, 2017

Some Fun Things to Remember

I just looked out the window and it's snowing right now.
This is the hardest time of year for us in the Northeast because we're craving Spring weather but still very much stuck with lingering winter days. Warm weather cannot get here fast enough, let me tell you! I am desperate to get outside on a regular basis, and it's just too plain cold to keep Levi outside for any length of time.
However, yesterday we did just that. It was frigid and windy BUT the sun was shining and we made the most of it! Isabelle's class was going on a field trip to a textile museum (yawn), and we had actually already visited when we were homeschooling, so I asked her teacher if it was all right to take her on our own special field trip. We had fun!

We drove to Endicott Park in Danvers, MA because I'd read some neat things about it and it's fun to go places we've never been before. I have to admit I was a bit nervous that our special day might not seem all that exciting and I really didn't want Isabelle to be disappointed. But how bad can it really be when you're anywhere but stuck at a boring museum?
We started our adventure off on the right foot with a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for a pink frosted with sprinkles...before lunch! gasp! It's fun to be a Yes! Mom, sometimes. ;)

After one wrong turn, which I've decided was not entirely my fault because the highway got all screwy with unidentified sections and forks, we finally made it. Isabelle got the royal treatment for sure because she got to eat in the car AND watch a movie the whole way - she had on the wi-fi headphones and she looked really cute. We kept making eye contact in the mirror and she'd look up and smile really wide. That sure made my day! Levi was a champ, an absolute angel, and slept the whole time.
It was such a pretty place! We're definitely going back this summer.

 She loves both horses and anything related to Laura Ingalls Wilder - we were imagining Laura and Almanzo riding in this buggy with their friends.
Side note: Laura had a huge influence on me becoming a teacher :)

The playground there did not disappoint!
Levi hasn't been in a swing for several months and he sure looked nervous at first...
 ...still not sure
 And then he loved it!
 He really loved it. Isabelle kept fake-sneezing and he got laughing and laughing. Such a fun time together!
 Because one can never see too many adorable baby in a swing pictures...
 And where did my little baby go?!?
He looks like a full blown toddler boy here.
 My sweet, pretty girl
 I also learned that the trunk is an excellent makeshift baby jail.
ha ha ha

After I took yet another wrong turn, arggggh, we met up with Daddy in a Target parking lot for a McDonald's picnic. Which was supposed to have taken place at the actual McDonald's. Ugh. I don't think anybody really cared. It was fun!

I'm backing up a bit here...I did get Whoppie Pies made for St. Patrick's Day, which was a feat in and of itself with all the crazy that goes on here day to day. Yum! They are so good!
 Levi also spent much of that day showering me with kisses.
Lots and lots of kisses.
He's been on quite the PDA kick lately, and I love every single minute. ha ha
Of course he's also quite interested in March Madness. I'm still the winner so far in our family, but that isn't saying much at this point.
And when he isn't shooting hoops, he's helping me. ;)
I took this earlier this morning, and the mat he's sitting on holds the dog's water dish, which I let him play with for a few minutes of peace- I was washing dishes right there near him. Anyhoo. He was absolutely soaking wet by the time I took the bowl away, and he was just having the best time getting into things and being the adorable mess-maker that he is.

Poor Caleb was home sick for a couple days this week, but not super sick, so we enjoyed our time together. This morning he was excited about the very first meeting of a new chapter of FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) at his school. We had to leave a little early to get him there before his school day begins but had several minutes in between dropping off Jonah, so yet again we found ourselves stopping for treats. These kids, I tell ya. ;)
Actually, Caleb was a sweetheart and pumped gas for me, which worked out well because I may have on a scarf but I'm also wearing pj pants here. No, I would not have gotten out of the car like that, I had a quarter of a tank left! Now I feel the need to explain and defend myself, ha ha. 

I still can't believe my baby is turning one so soon. He is acting more and more like a big boy, more on that in another post.
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring Maternity Outfits :: Third Trimester

I think it's funny that while I was in my twenties and having our babies, I really didn't like much about the whole thing - I had difficult pregnancies with severe morning sickness and other pregnancy-related health issues, and that was a looong time ago (our oldest is 17.5 now, thankyouverymuch) so maternity clothes were just the pits. Thankfully, I made myself some clothes that I didn't hate as much, but still, pretty awful.
So when I found out I was expecting my fourth baby boy (our adopted daughter makes five) at forty years old, I didn't quite know what to expect. Well, I loved nearly everything about it! Time has such a great way of changing our perspective on things, and after experiencing several heartbreaking losses over the past few years, I was simply overcome with gratitude and excitement this time around.
And maternity clothes are so much better now! Even though my entire legs swelled up and I had morning sickness until like the eight month, I had lots of fun dressing my not-so-little miracle baby bump.
And the miracle baby?
He's turning one, two weeks from today!

I thought it would be fun to have a blog post dedicated to some of my very favorite outfits from my surprise pregnancy so I can always look back and remember that special time. And two weeks before his first birthday seems like a pretty good time, ha ha. #betterlatethannever
 Maybe it will give someone else an idea or two as well, so yay!

Scarves became my very best friends.
During transitional days when it was cooler but I craved spring touches, pretty scarves made all the difference.
Plus, they added just a little something to keep things from being super boring.

A pretty cardigan is a great accessory, too.

And you can wear both at the same time :)

 This empire-style black dress was a maternity staple for me. It was easy to dress it for winter and then spring, and the fit of the dress was perfect for me because I carry very low.
I was just holding back the skirt part here to capture the bump in all its glory. :)

 I lived in this grey knit cinched tank dress for the last month. It was perfect for the beach (we took the entire family to Florida before baby came as one last family hurrah!) by itself, but it was so easy to "dress up" a bit. I would have felt way too self-conscious to parade around in a tank dress by itself for day-to-day outings, and the cardigan/sweater plus scarf did the trick for me.

(This is my gorgeous crew. And can you say, age gap much with the new baby? ha ha ha)
The pic below is around 38 weeks... another cardi, another scarf...
 (Those black shoes barely fit, and my flip flops were the only other things I could wear...but it was still very much pre-sandals season here in New England in late March!)

 This dress was my splurge outfit, even though it totally wasn't- I think it cost maybe $27?!
I ordered it from Etsy and I looooved this dress. It was comfortable enough to travel to Florida by crowded minivan (over 25 hours, people) and didn't wrinkle at all! So lightweight with just the right amount of stretch. Every expecting Mama should have at least one or two dresses that make them feel happy happy happy every time you put them on.

Looking through all these pictures is making me a bit teary-eyed. 
I am so glad I was intentional about capturing some of these things in photos because in nearly every picture I have, beyond the thicker-than-normal arms and swollen legs, puffy face and often irritated stomach, I see sheer joy on my face. And that means the world to me.
 The pics above were 34-35 weeks
Here I was around 39 weeks

This was the dress I made for my Baby Shower. I loved it, but it hasn't proven to be as forgiving post-baby as I'd hoped it would be. This is 39 weeks, about two weeks after the shower.

Not even going to try shoes, ha ha

I lived in this striped tee from Target. It was on clearance and I got this one and a lavender stripe, but hardly wore the other shirt. The navy worked so much better for me, ha!

 It made it all the way to the very end...
 I'm including this last one because it's so special to me: about an hour before leaving for the hospital, the last real outfit I ever wore while being pregnant!
By that time the next day, I was holding our new baby boy...well, technically, maybe about 29 hours later, but who's counting? Ugh, it was rough!

I'm just a regular wife and Mom, a fashionista by no means, but I really enjoyed putting in a little bit of effort to look -and feel!- better during those last challenging weeks. It was so worth it! Do I wish I had one of those adorable teeny tiny baby bumps? Um, of course! But that just isn't the way my body makes babies, and that's okay, because we are ALL different.
Now, a year later, and after a brutal winter that's still kicking around and hardly any sleep, I'm in a bit of a slump. Nothing fits right/feels right, so I'm going to up my activity as much as I can and really pay attention to what I'm eating, and I'll get there. In the meantime, I'm relying on lots of grace. :)

Oh, I forgot! This dress!
I bought it specifically with a maternity photo shoot in mind while we were in Florida, and I'm glad I did- I love how the pictures turned out! I wrote a post about taking your own maternity photos with a selfie stick HERE if you want to read it.

linking up with Lindsey for wiww

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday Favorites ... St. Patty's Edition

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
I'm linking up with these Erika, Narci, and Andrea for Friday Favorites today. 

I know some people have a blast with this day and do tons of crazy-fun things...but we do just a few fun, simple things to celebrate. Mostly involving food. Of course!

Favorite #1
Festive food!
Our hands down, absolute favorite of all time has to be... these Whoopie Pies!
This recipe has REAL creme filling - no gross fluff!
For St. Patrick's Day, I add a little peppermint flavoring and green dye to the filling.
They are So Good.

You can omit the flavoring and dye and stick with rainbow sprinkles- don't they look so fantastic!?!
You can read the recipe HERE.

And you cannot go wrong with this gorgeous array of fruit!
Sometimes I put out some Rolos in a small bowl for the Pot o' Gold next to the "rainbow."
We've had a few Irish dinners in the past, but they weren't such big hits. And tonight is Burger Friday so the chances of my guys letting me make something else is pretty slim, ha!

Favorite #2
Spring flowers!
Even though we just got 18 new inches of snow dumped on us from the storm this week, I still decorated our front door and entry way with springy flowers and decorations and will wait not-so-patiently for warmer weather. I usually do this on or near St. Patrick's Day, depending on where Easter falls on the calendar. It's super late this year, so we may even have an actual chance of not wearing snow pants to church on Easter Sunday. #goals

I put on this adorable blue bow for my Baby Shower last year, but for St. Patty's Day, I obviously stick with green. Obvs. ;) Just can't find a pic with the green bow and it's so cold, I am not going out to snap a pic! I can't wait for sandals weather, sigh.
 Gosh, just looking at this has my spring fever skyrocketing. 
I hear we're getting more snow this weekend and throughout next week. Nooooooo.

This is also the time of year that I get daffodils!!
They're such a pretty reminder that Spring is on the way. I planted a few bulbs in the fall and am anxious to see how they do.

Favorite #3
When the older boys and Isabelle were small, of course they drank green milk and ate green pancakes and eggs, courtesy of a mischievous leprechaun that had visited.  As they've gotten older, we're all about Shamrock Shakes and coffee with non-alcoholic Bailey's, but the green pancakes still make an appearance.
Sometimes I got the kids plain white carnations and we put them in vases or cups filled with water the different colors of the rainbow- so fun to watch the petals transform and have your own rainbow bouquet! We've done just plain green, too. (I wish I could find a photo but I didn't used to label my pictures, and trying to find them years later is haaaaard, ha)
I thought we'd try something new this year, so when I read about these fun treats in this post , I knew Isabelle would just love to help me make them. We think they turned out so cute! Every ten or so minutes, I would hear Isabelle wondering aloud if they were ready to eat, going to check on them and announcing even louder that they looked about ready now.  ha ha ha   She wanted one soooo bad! I'm mean Mom, making her wait until tomorrow.

I've read about making treasure maps for your kids with little treats awaiting them at the end and that sounds like so much fun, but I've never done it. I think it's hilarious to put little green footprints on the toilet and turn the bowl water green, too! I'm going to have to do these for little Levi!

Favorite #4
This guy on the move!
Well, truth be told, now I don't have a nanosecond of peace throughout the day. But...he looks so cute with his little peg leg crawl that it totally makes up for it! Such joy he brings our family! Best surprise everrrrrrr.

Favorite #5
March Madness
I'm off to a pretty great start, too! Everyone in our family filled out a bracket and now It.Is.On!!!
We're having a lots of fun with this this year!

One last extra Favorite because Easter is right around the corner... this Eyelet Baby Bonnet!
 Isn't it the sweetest!
And this gingham seersucker bonnet? Can't even.  :)
 They're for sale in my shop, Rose & Ruffle, and there's still plenty of time to get an order in for Easter, but don't wait if you want one! They're selling out quickly!

These are my other favorites, so pretty and feminine
And they're reversible, so it's like getting two for the price of one!

Someone's Daddy might be very mad at me for possibly using our newborn son as a bonnet model, but I'm not admitting to anything ;)
This shows you the style and fit when worn, though it was a bigger size - this is my own design and I really love it.

And there you have it...can't wait to read about your favorites this week!
Thanks for reading! Have a fantastic weekend!

ps: I'd love to hear any thoughts or advice on getting our 11-month-old to sleep better...I wrote about it in  this post . It's beyond rough, it's brutal. I'm losing my mind! Thanks!!!
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